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Saudi king blames Iran for 'chaos', says strikes failed to hurt kingdom's development

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 07:36

Saudi king blames Iran for 'chaos', says strikes failed to hurt kingdom's developmentSaudi Arabia's King Salman struck a defiant note against the kingdom's enemies, saying on Wednesday that missile and drone strikes it blames on Iran had not halted development and reiterating that Riyadh will not hesitate to defend itself. In an annual address to the appointed Shura Council, he called again on the international community to stop Tehran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and halt regional intervention, saying it was time to stop the "chaos and destruction" generated by Iran, according to prepared remarks. "Though the kingdom has been subjected to attacks by 286 ballistic missiles and 289 drones, in a way that has not been seen in any other country, that has not affected the kingdom's development process or the lives of its citizens and residents," the king told assembled council members, royals and foreign diplomats.

A Catholic priest condemned a teen's suicide at his own funeral. Now, his mom is suing

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 07:04

A Catholic priest condemned a teen's suicide at his own funeral. Now, his mom is suingThe complaint filed in Wayne County on behalf of Linda Hullibarger said that Rev. Don LaCuesta questioned whether her son, Maison, would go to heaven.

Former Baltimore mayor charged with wire fraud over 'Healthy Holly' book sales

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 06:28

Former Baltimore mayor charged with wire fraud over 'Healthy Holly' book salesFormer Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was charged on Wednesday with wire fraud and tax evasion relating to sales of her self-published "Healthy Holly" children's book to charities where she worked, federal prosecutors said. The charges against the Democrat and former state lawmaker relate to her dealings with the University of Maryland Medical System, where she was a board member, and which paid her for her children's books. Pugh, 69, who initially defended the arrangement, called it a “regrettable mistake” in March and resigned in May.

Yields of 100% Push Lebanon’s Bonds Into Venezuela Territory

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 06:25

Yields of 100% Push Lebanon’s Bonds Into Venezuela Territory(Bloomberg) -- The political crisis in Lebanon has sent yields on some of its dollar bonds into triple digits.Rates on the government’s $1.2 billion of notes maturing in March next year have climbed 28 percentage points this week to 105%. They were at 13% five weeks ago, just before the start of protests that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and exacerbated the nation’s economic woes.Protesters marched to parliament in Beirut on Tuesday, forcing it to suspend a session as the army and riot police tried to disperse them.With Lebanon viewed by many bond traders as a default waiting to happen, cash prices have become more important than yields as they factor in potential recovery rates. That’s inverted the government’s curve and distorted yields at the shorter end. The price of Lebanon’s 2020 debt is 77 cents on the dollar, while that of its April 2021 securities is 56 cents.Still, it’s extremely rare for a nation’s dollar yields to reach 100%. Even in Argentina -- where investors are far from convinced that the incoming leader Alberto Fernandez can fix an economic mess -- they haven’t gone far beyond 85%. Some of Venezuela’s bonds reached triple figures around the time it defaulted in late 2017.Lebanon, one of the world’s most indebted countries relative to the size of its economy, has consistently said it will honor its liabilities and has downplayed any talk of a restructuring. It’s never defaulted on its sovereign debt, most of which is held by local banks.According to central bank Governor Riad Salameh, Lebanon has the money to repay $1.5 billion of securities maturing at the end of this month. The next Eurobonds after that are those due in March 2020.(Updates yield in second paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Wallace in Dubai at pwallace25@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Nicholson at anicholson6@bloomberg.net, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Ex-U.K. Consulate Worker Claims Chinese Secret Police Tortured Him for Info on Hong Kong Protests

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 06:18

Ex-U.K. Consulate Worker Claims Chinese Secret Police Tortured Him for Info on Hong Kong ProtestsA former employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong was tortured by Chinese secret police who suspected the city's recent pro-democracy uprising was partially orchestrated by the British, the worker told Wall Street Journal in several interviews.Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who was a member of the British consulate's business-development team, was on his way back to the city from a trip to mainland China when he was detained near the border crossing on August 8.U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the treatment of Cheng by Chinese authorities "amounts to torture.""I have made clear we expect the Chinese authorities to investigate and hold those responsible to account," Raab told the Journal, saying he had summoned the Chinese ambassador to Britain "to express our outrage."Cheng said Chinese police beat him, chained him spread-eagled, and deprived him of sleep during a period of four days when he was interrogated. He was forced to stand or sit perfectly still, and if he nodded off or moved in any way his interrogators compelled him to sing the Chinese national anthem. One questioner started threatening to detain him in prison forever."I started to think about suicide," Cheng said. Police forced him to reveal passwords for social media groups used by protesters and tried to get Cheng to confess that British officials incited the demonstrations. Cheng denied the charges but was forced to confess to a charge of soliciting prostitution, which he claims was false.While Cheng's account was not independently verifiable, the details were similar to those of other people detained by China and who recounted their experiences to human-rights groups.The protests in Hong Kong began in June after the city's pro-Beijing government introduced legislation that would have allowed the extradition of Hong Kongers to mainland China, a move critics described as a significant blow to Hong Kong's independence."For Hong Kongers," Cheng said regarding the demonstrations, "it shows their fear was not ungrounded."

Another Israeli election looms as deadline to form government nears with no accord reached

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 06:17

Another Israeli election looms as deadline to form government nears with no accord reachedIsrael moved closer towards a new election on Wednesday after kingmaker Avigdor Lieberman declined to back either Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or challenger Benny Gantz with a deadline on building a government about to expire. Neither Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, nor ex-general Gantz of the centrist Blue and White secured a ruling majority in parliament in elections in April and September. Gantz was handed the task by President Reuven Rivlin next but his 28 days to form a government expire at midnight (2200 GMT).

Meet NATO's New Command Whose Job Is to Stop a Russian Attack

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 06:00

Meet NATO's New Command Whose Job Is to Stop a Russian AttackA lot of work to do.

American Airlines admitted a mid-air accident that knocked out 2 flight crew and forced an emergency landing was not caused by spilled soap

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 05:59

American Airlines admitted a mid-air accident that knocked out 2 flight crew and forced an emergency landing was not caused by spilled soapOn October 21 a flight from London to Philadelphia was forced to land in Dublin, Ireland, when two staff members were knocked unconscious.

Full coverage: Trump impeachment hearings — Day 4

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 05:21

 Trump impeachment hearings — Day 4Public hearings continued on Capitol Hill Wednesday, with witness, including U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, delivering testimony House Democrats say is damning for President Trump.

FBI seeks interview with CIA whistleblower

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 05:16

FBI seeks interview with CIA whistleblowerThe FBI recently sought to question the CIA whistleblower who filed a complaint over President Trump’s July 25 Ukraine call — a move that came after a vigorous internal debate within the bureau over how to respond to some of the issues raised by the complaint’s allegations and whether they needed to be more thoroughly investigated, according to sources familiar with the matter.

NASA just detected water vapor on a moon of Jupiter — yet another clue that Europa's hidden ocean could hold alien life

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 05:15

NASA just detected water vapor on a moon of Jupiter — yet another clue that Europa's hidden ocean could hold alien lifeAlien life could be hidden in the salty ocean below Europa's surface. An upcoming NASA spacecraft will hunt for more clues.

In rare move, N. Carolina county removes Confederate statue

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 05:01

In rare move, N. Carolina county removes Confederate statueA North Carolina county removed a Confederate statue from a historic courthouse early Wednesday, joining the handful of places around the state where such monuments have come down in recent years despite a law protecting them. Preparations began Tuesday night to carefully dismantle the statue of a soldier outside the historic Chatham County courthouse, where it had stood since 1907, and continued for hours overnight, said county spokeswoman Kara Lusk Dudley. The removal comes months after Winston-Salem officials removed a Confederate statue from land there that had passed into private hands.

A rare but spectacular 'unicorn' meteor storm is possible Thursday night

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 04:56

A rare but spectacular 'unicorn' meteor storm is possible Thursday nightA full-fledged "unicorn" meteor storm from the Monoceros constellation will light up the sky Thursday night.

Sri Lankan PM to step down, clearing way for new president

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 04:56

Sri Lankan PM to step down, clearing way for new presidentSri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Wednesday he will step down, clearing the way for Parliament to choose a prime minister to work with newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Wickremesinghe said he will submit his resignation to the president on Thursday. Soon after the announcement, Rajapaksa named his brother, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the next prime minister.

Sewer campus escape bid by Hong Kong protesters ends in arrest

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 04:53

Sewer campus escape bid by Hong Kong protesters ends in arrestTwo pro-democracy protesters were arrested Wednesday as they emerged from a manhole on a Hong Kong road outside a besieged campus, in a thwarted escape bid from inside the university. Two male protesters holed up in the campus for days were detained along with four people lowering ropes to help them out from the drainage system, police said. Dozens of diehard pro-democracy protesters are believed to still be inside PolyU, running out of supplies and options to avoid the police cordon around the campus.

Turkey says about 100,000 Syrians left Istanbul since early July

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 04:17

Turkey says about 100,000 Syrians left Istanbul since early JulyTurkey's Interior Minister said on Wednesday that around 100,000 Syrians living without approval in Istanbul had left it since early July, when the government set a deadline for Syrians not registered in the city to leave for other provinces. As sentiment towards Syrian refugees among Turks began to sour in recent years, authorities said Syrians not registered in Turkey's largest city should return to the provinces in which they are registered by Oct. 30, or face forced removal. Turkey hosts some 3.6 million refugees who fled the eight-year-old civil war, more than any other country.

A Hong Kong protester on why he won’t surrender to police

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 03:53

A Hong Kong protester on why he won’t surrender to policePale and thin, a teenager wandered the nearly deserted campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University at about 1 a.m. Wednesday. Only a handful of protesters remain at “Poly U,” which hundreds occupied for several days, fighting pitched battles with police in the surrounding streets.

Maria Ressa: "Our dystopian present is your dystopian future"

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 03:15

 "Our dystopian present is your dystopian future"Ressa was among a group of journalists recognized by Time magazine as 2018's Person of the Year

Nikki Haley Used System for Unclassified Material to Send ‘Confidential’ Information

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 03:01

Nikki Haley Used System for Unclassified Material to Send ‘Confidential’ InformationJohn Lamparski/GettyNorth Korea had just tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting Alaska, and the Trump administration was scrambling to react. But it seems Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, had lost her password for classified communications. That’s why on that fraught July 4, 2017, she was typing away on her BlackBerry 10 smartphone, sending “confidential” information over a system meant only for unclassified material. Haley was in a rush as she headed to her office—“On my way in”—shooting emails back and forth with top aides who’d been with her since she was governor of South Carolina. She needed to make a statement, and they were drafting it for her. “Let’s clean this up,” she writes after looking at some of the copy. “Pretty this up for me,” she says.The next day we discover what the problem is with her communications. “Can’t find my password for the high side,” she writes.The stylistic suggestions and the apparent explanation for using less secure messages was in a trove of emails recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the watchdog organization American Oversight.But most of the content is blacked out—and the redactions note various classification criteria as exempt from FOIA requests, including the B1 category: “classified national defense and foreign relations information”; 1.4(B) “foreign government information”; and 1.4(D) “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.”Nikki Haley: Trump and I Ratcheted Up the Crazy for U.N. NegotiationsFor an administration obsessed with security lapses others have committed, and for a still-rising star in the Republican Party, this could be more than a little embarrassing.“The American public has heard for years what the standard is for senior State Department officials mishandling classified information in their emails,” says Austin Evers, executive director at American Oversight, a self-described “nonpartisan, nonprofit ethics watchdog… investigating the Trump administration.”“Ambassador Haley may have found it inconvenient to update her password,” Evers told The Daily Beast, “but, as we all know, ‘convenience’ is not an acceptable reason to skirt information security rules. She should be held to the same standard as everyone else.”Asked for comment, a spokesperson for Haley requested to see the emails in question and then did not respond further.Since 2015 at least, when investigations of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email use became a major issue, Donald Trump and the Republicans have made references to her emails a constant refrain. In 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, Trump famously called on Russia to help him find missing Clinton emails. Then-FBI Director James Comey called Clinton’s practices “extremely careless,” but not worthy of a criminal prosecution, and his brief reopening of the case just before the election may have contributed substantially to her loss.Now almost three years into the Trump presidency, his administration and his congressional defenders are still fixated on Clinton’s supposed lapses. They use the issue as a knee-jerk riposte to the many accusations leveled at Trump, including mishandling classified material. Indeed, the rampant whataboutism has made “but her emails” an inside joke inside the Beltway. But the Trump obsession won’t go away. The Washington Post reported in September this year that State Department investigators had notified scores of present and former State Department staffers whose communications were found in Clinton’s unsecured emails that they “have been identified as possibly bearing some culpability” for “security incidents” as the content of those emails is examined and classified ex post facto.Unlike Clinton, Haley did not use a private email account exclusively, and did not use one to send the emails in question. She left her Cabinet post in the administration last year when she resigned as UN ambassador. She is currently pushing her new book, With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace, pitching herself as one of Trump’s great defenders amid widespread speculation she is looking to replace Vice President Mike Pence on the 2020 ticket and eventually make a run for the presidency in 2024.In July 2017, the issue Haley and her staffers were discussing over the State Department’s OpenNet system for unclassified communications was the clear and present danger of nuclear war with North Korea. “There was no time to waste,” Haley writes in her book. “The missile launches were ongoing and the regime’s capabilities were increasing with each launch.” Precisely because of the crisis atmosphere, Haley’s use of OpenNet for classified communications could be of serious concern. State Department communications often are targeted by hackers, and the Russians, Chinese, Iranians—and North Koreans—have some of the most effective. In September 2018, State acknowledged there had been what it described as “activity of concern in its unclassified email system.” The hack supposedly affected fewer than 1 percent of users and involved personal information, according to the State Department alert notice published by Politico. But the most successful hacks, of course, are the ones that go undetected, and the system’s vulnerability is a matter of record.Nikki Haley: Top Trump Aides Tried to Recruit Me to Help Subvert the PresidentAfter the frantic events of July 4 and 5, 2017, Pyongyang would test more ICBMs, including one capable of carrying a nuclear warhead anywhere within the continental United States. In early September, Pyongyang tested a hydrogen bomb. President Trump would threaten North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with “fire and fury” and dismiss him as “Rocket Man.” Kim would keep on testing missiles and testing Trump, until Kim was satisfied he could threaten major American cities with a nuclear attack. The situation grew dire indeed until Trump embraced the idea of a summit and claimed the problem was solved. Certainly tensions abated. But so far, North Korea has kept its nukes and its ICBMs.One of the emails obtained by American Oversight shows that on July 5, 2017, as Haley continued to communicate on the OpenNet system, and as she was addressing the Security Council, former Georgia Congressman and House Speaker Newt Gingrich sent a message to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Gingrich struck a Strangelovian note. If North Korea could not be coerced, “We may need a war surviving strategy,” he wrote, including “nuclear attack survival systems.” As Haley tells the story of the United Nations Security Council negotiations for tough new sanctions against North Korea, she first cajoled the Chinese into backing them, partly to avert what seemed to be Trump’s threats of a catastrophic war. In her book, she says this was a ruse. Trump was just pretending to be a madman, she claims, even though she told the Chinese, “I can’t promise you the president won’t act on his own if you don’t work with us.” Haley’s approach to the Russians was a little different, and she gives the impression in her book that she shamed them into support of North Korea sanctions. But according to the emails obtained by American Oversight, on Monday, July 10, 2017, Haley started arranging to share intelligence with Russia about the July 4 North Korean missile test: “I will try and reach out to Russia wed [Wednesday] and see if they want it. Would aim for the end of the week.”What happened next? The Haley emails released so far don’t tell us. But Russia, if you’re listening …Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.

22 farmers arrested in India for causing air pollution

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 02:41

22 farmers arrested in India for causing air pollutionTwenty-two farmers were arrested in northern India on Wednesday for setting fires to clear their fields and contributing to some of the worst air pollution in the country, a government official said. India’s Supreme court last week ordered a fine of up to 100,000 rupees ($1,420) for those polluting the air. Air pollution in northern India peaks in the winter due to smoke from agricultural fires.


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