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  • The real danger of impeachment for Trump and Dem candidates: It's the calendar

    The real danger of impeachment for Trump and Dem candidates: It's the calendarThe real problem for President Trump and his would-be 2020 rivals is the loss of something even more precious and irrevocable than polling percentage points: time.


  • PHOTOS: Deadly shooting at California football party

    PHOTOS: Deadly shooting at California football partyFour people were killed and six more wounded when “unknown suspects” sneaked into a backyard filled with people at a party in central California and fired into the crowd, police said.


  • French interior minister blames protest violence on 'thugs'

    French interior minister blames protest violence on 'thugs'French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner blamed "thugs" and "bullies" on Sunday for the violence that hit demonstrations the previous day marking marked the first anniversary of the anti-government "yellow vest" protests. "Yesterday, what we saw were few (legitimate) demonstrators but thugs, bullies and morons," Castaner told Europe 1 radio when asked about the violence in Paris on Saturday. Demonstrators torched cars and pelted police with stones and bottles and police fired tear gas and water cannon during the rallies to mark a year since the birth of the anti-government yellow vest movement.


  • Ukraine ex-president named witness in power abuse probe

    Ukraine ex-president named witness in power abuse probeUkraine's former president Petro Poroshenko has been designated a witness in a criminal investigation related to the nomination of judges, the state investigation bureau said on Monday. Poroshenko has been embroiled in a number of investigations since leaving office in May. "His status is that of a witness," a spokeswoman for the state investigation bureau, which handles high-profile cases, told AFP.


  • The Problem with Hypersonic Missiles: "None of this stuff works yet."

    The Problem with Hypersonic Missiles: "None of this stuff works yet."Don’t get too excited about hypersonic weapons, one prominent U.S. defense journalist advised. According to him, we still don’t know for sure whether the Mach-5-plus munitions actually work.


  • 'Kill, rob, burn and bury the bodies': Man convicted in 3 grisly farm deaths

    'Kill, rob, burn and bury the bodies': Man convicted in 3 grisly farm deathsSean Kratz and his cousin were “on a mission to kill, rob, burn and bury the bodies,” Assistant District Attorney Kate Kohler told jurors.


  • This Decision Could Be Bigger Than Impeachment

    This Decision Could Be Bigger Than ImpeachmentPhoto Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily BeastOverlooked as the nation was riveted by the opening days of the televised impeachment proceedings was an appeals court decision that started a clock ticking for the Supreme Court to finally pick a side in what Attorney General Bill Barr has called a “scorched earth, no-holds-barred war” between Congress and a president who has categorically refused to cooperate with its investigations into his misconduct.Unless the Supreme Court acts, Trump’s taxes—which he has fought furiously to keep hidden since beginning his campaign for the presidency— will be turned over to Congress as soon as Wednesday.Thus, the nation will soon begin to learn whether the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is, as Trump himself hopes, composed of “Trump judges” willing to side with the president in cases where lower courts have shrugged aside the president’s weak arguments for stonewalling investigations into his misconduct.SCOTUS’ Choice: Trump or the Rule of LawOn Wednesday, the full District of Columbia Court of Appeals refused to rehear an Oct. 11, 2019, decision ordering Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars, to turn over his tax returns and other financial records to the House Oversight Committee. On Friday, Trump made an emergency stay application to Chief Justice Roberts, which he is likely to refer to the full Supreme Court. Therefore, unless five justices vote Trump’s way, the tax returns that Trump has hidden for years could be handed over to the Democratic-controlled House in a matter of days.Meantime, on Thursday, Trump filed a cert petition asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of a New York federal appeals court requiring Mazars to provide the same financial records to a Manhattan grand jury, although that proceeding will be stayed by agreement of the parties while the case remains pending before the court.Neither of these cases is expressly about Congress’ pending impeachment inquiry. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court’s response to Trump’s petitions could well signal if the court is willing to provide support and legitimacy for Trump’s sweeping declaration, yet to find acceptance in the lower courts, that the inquiry is “constitutionally illegitimate.” Indeed, the two cases are reaching the court at a linchpin moment. Trump continues to withhold the testimony of his closest aides from Congress even as he asserts that the evidence of other witnesses should be ignored as “hearsay.” If the Supreme Court fails to support Trump’s categorical stonewalling, his claim that the impeachment inquiry is illegitimate, and with it his rationale for withholding witnesses and evidence, could lose much of its already weakening political, as well as legal, force.The battle lines have been drawn sharply, both by recent Trump judicial appointees, as well as by Trump’s chief law enforcement officer, and assiduous protector, William Barr. Only three members of the D.C. Circuit dissented from the full appellate court’s refusal to rehear the Mazars decision. Two of them were Trump’s own appointees: Neomi Rao and Gregory Katsas. Katsas, a former Trump administration official, absurdly asserted that Congress’ subpoena for Trump’s wholly personal business records (many of which predate Trump’s presidency) presents a greater “threat to presidential autonomy and independence” than the subpoena for White House tapes the Supreme Court upheld in United States v. Nixon. Just how obtaining presidential tax returns could threaten the autonomy of the president went unexplained.In an extraordinary speech on Friday to the conservative Federalist Society, Barr offered a further explanation of what the president believes is at stake. The attorney general declared that the Democratic Party is now part and parcel of a “Resistance” force, engaged in a “war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.” According to Barr, the “Resistance” force that now controls the House (that is, duly elected representatives) is rallying “around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of [Trump’s] administration.” Barr’s message is clear: Because Trump is the putative victim of an “incendiary” “insurgency” that has declared war on his presidency, the president must be afforded wide latitude in his efforts to resist the “Resistance”—including by outright defying Congress.Neither of the cases now before the Supreme Court are squarely about the House impeachment investigation. The House issued its subpoena to Mazars before commencing the inquiry, and the lower court decisions addressed the power of Congress to obtain presidential records in connection with normal “legislative” oversight, not impeachment. Did Kavanaugh’s Replacement, Neomi Rao, Show the Supreme Court a Path to Justify Trump’s Defiance of Congress?Yet Judge Rao (also a former Trump administration official), who dissented from the initial D.C. Circuit panel decision, has made it extremely clear that the president’s battle against impeachment was at the forefront of her mind. Rao endorsed Trump’s wholly baseless claim that he has “due process” rights in connection with the House impeachment investigation. Rao’s “due process” rationale gives rise to an implication that courts could well back Trump’s efforts to stonewall what the White House has declared to be a “constitutionally illegitimate” impeachment inquiry by refusing to enforce impeachment subpoenas on the ground that Trump’s “rights” have been violated. In their Supreme Court stay petition, Trump’s lawyers echoed Rao’s logic, warning that, “[g]iven the temptation to dig up dirt on political rivals, intrusive subpoenas into the personal lives of Presidents” could “become our new normal in times of divided government.” It is particularly audacious for Trump—who faces impeachment for trying to extort a foreign country into manufacturing dirt on a political rival—to be warning the Supreme Court about the supposed dangers of Congress using formal, legal tools to obtain evidence regarding potential presidential misconduct. But to Trump’s partisans, such congressional intrusions simply cannot be tolerated, given that Congress is, in effect, a battlefield adversary.In his Federalist Society speech, Barr complained about an “encroaching judiciary” that he claimed has improperly taken it upon itself to resolve “turf disputes between the political branches.” But, as the current litigation before the Supreme Court demonstrates, Trump has no problem asking the federal courts to step in to wholly insulate him from congressional oversight, or from the prying eyes of state law enforcement agencies. In fact, Trump’s clear hope is that he can enlist the Supreme Court as his ally in a battle with the “insurgency,” as his attorney general now calls a duly elected house of Congress controlled by a different political party.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.


  • TikTok is reportedly considering a rebrand in the US to shed its Chinese roots

    TikTok is reportedly considering a rebrand in the US to shed its Chinese rootsByteDance, the company which owns short-form video app TikTok, has recently come under fire due to the fact that it is headquartered in China.


  • Russia offers job to Maria Butina, woman convicted by U.S. of being an agent

    Russia offers job to Maria Butina, woman convicted by U.S. of being an agentIn her first public appearance since being deported by U.S. authorities who had jailed her for being a Russian agent, Maria Butina was on Monday offered a job by Moscow to defend Russians imprisoned abroad. During an event for the media, Russia's human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, offered Butina, 31, a job working for her commission. Butina, who flew back to Russia on Oct. 26 after being deported, did not say whether she would accept the offer made at what she called her first public appearance since she was mobbed by wellwishers in front of the media at the airport on her arrival home.


  • Rep. Justin Amash turned on Trump. Will his Michigan district follow him — or turn on him?

    Rep. Justin Amash turned on Trump. Will his Michigan district follow him — or turn on him?If you want to understand how impeachment is being seen by actual Americans, there may be no better place to go than Grand Rapids, Mich. In part that’s because the area around Grand Rapids, comprising Michigan’s Third Congressional District, is one of only about two dozen districts in the nation to vote for Barack Obama and for Donald Trump.


  • Three family murder-suicides within ten days shock Turkey as the country faces record unemployment

    Three family murder-suicides within ten days shock Turkey as the country faces record unemploymentThe deaths of three separate families within ten days have shocked Turkey as the country struggles with mass unemployment and a financial crisis.  On Friday, authorities confirmed that a family of three had been found dead in their home in the central Istanbul district of Bakırköy, poisoned by cyanide.  Police had entered the house after neighbours complained of a chemical smell. Bülent Kerimoğlu, the local mayor, said that the father, a jeweller, had financial troubles, and had poisoned himself, his wife, and his six-year-old child. It follows two similar stories involving cyanide. Earlier in the month, police discovered the bodies of a family of four, including a nine year-old daughter and a five year-old son, in their home in the southern city of Antalya.  According to reports in local media the father, Selim Şimşek, left a note explaining he had been unemployed for nine months, adding: “I apologise to everyone, but there is nothing I can to any more. We are ending our lives.” On Nov 5, four siblings aged between 38 and 50 killed themselves in their shared flat in Fatih, a conservative district in Istanbul, after leaving a note taped on their door reading: "Beware of cyanide. Call the police, do not enter." Turkish lira crisis sends shock waves on markets as defiant Erdogan prepares for more 'economic attacks' They were reportedly unable to pay their debts. Turkish media has discussed the incidents at length even though conversations about suicide are usually taboo in the predominantly Muslim county.  The opposition Republican People’s Party has said the suicides are the human cost of the country’s slow recovery from its economic crisis last year, during which the lira plunged 30 per cent in value. Fuat Oktay, Turkey’s vice president, said there was not enough evidence to link the suicides to unemployment, and pro-government media warned about the risk of news reports fuelling copycat incidents.    Unemployment is still near record levels, and according to official statistics published last week, the rate rose to 14 per cent for August, or 4.5 million Turks, with youth unemployment at 27 per cent.  Şeyfettin Gürsel, the head of Bahçeşehir University’s Centre for Economic and Social Research Centre, describes the current rate of unemployment as "a real threat to the stability of Turkish society."   This is the first time Turkey has faced such a sustained period of high unemployment.


  • Hong Kong protesters attempt daring escape down ropes as police seal off university

    Hong Kong protesters attempt daring escape down ropes as police seal off universityDozens of Hong Kong protesters escaped a two-day police siege at a campus late Monday by shimmying down ropes from a bridge to awaiting motorbikes in a dramatic and perilous breakout that followed a renewed warning by Beijing of a possible intervention to end the crisis engulfing the city. Clashes rumbled throughout the day between protesters and police who had threatened to use deadly force to dislodge activists holed-up in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The university siege has become a battle of wills between Hong Kong's stretched police force and the constantly-innovating protest movement. Late Monday dozens of black-clad protesters used a rope to slither down several metres on to a motorway below where they were picked up by waiting motorbike riders. In an apparently co-ordinated effort, thousands of Hong Kongers streamed towards the Polytechnic University campus to break the siege, as clashes simultaneously raged with police nearby in Kowloon. It was not immediately clear how many protesters remained inside Polytechnic University. This was probably the most surreal thing I have ever witnessed in the Hong Kong protests. Protesters just attempted a daring escape through a bridge at Polytechnic University. Volunteers on motorbikes came in drives to drive them out asap. Police fired teargas. HongKongProtestspic.twitter.com/huhSo3Mxo9— Michael Zhang 張雨軒 (@YuxuanMichael) November 18, 2019 Demonstrators barricaded inside the university lit a fire at an entrance in efforts to deter police surrounding the campus, after officers stormed in early morning and made arrests. Protesters have continued to arm themselves with bows and arrows, petrol bombs and bricks.  Police have said that anyone leaving campus will be taken into custody, and urged all protesters still on campus to surrender peacefully.  “A university is supposed to be a breeding ground for young talents, but it has unfortunately become a battlefield for criminals and rioters,” said Kwok Ka-chuen, a police chief superintendent. “Hong Kong’s rule of law has been pushed to the brink of total collapse.” Police have described the Polytechnic campus as a “weapons factory,” saying they had received a report that several toxic and dangerous chemicals, including highly volatile explosives, had been stolen from a laboratory.  Police have been accused of using excessive force against protesters Credit: AFP “We must warn that the university campus has become a powder keg where danger is far beyond what we can estimate,” said Mr Kwok. As the university deadlock continues, former British foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind urged Hong Kong authorities to exercise restraint.  “A bloodbath on a Hong Kong campus would be devastating,” he said in a statement issued by Hong Kong Watch, a UK-based advocacy group. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam “has the responsibility to do everything possible to prevent a massacre.”  Protesters also appear to be facing down a timeline as supplies run out.  “Hong Kong police are creating a humanitarian crisis inside PolyU,” Ken Woo Kwok-wang, acting president of the student union, told a Hong Kong newspaper. “We are trapped. There is insufficient food and the number of injured is on the rise, and the hygiene situation is getting worse.” Protests have disrupted Hong Kong continuously for nearly six months. They first kicked off against a now-withdrawn extradition proposal, though sentiments have pivoted to target the police, who protesters accuse of brutality, and more broadly, China, over concerns that Communist Party rule is eroding freedoms in the former British colony. Demonstrators have called for a range of political and governance reforms, though Beijing has reiterated that it won’t give in to demands. There is “absolutely no room for compromise,” read a harshly-worded editorial in the People’s Daily newspaper, a Communist Party mouthpiece. Demonstrators set the entrance to PolyU ablaze Credit: Emilio Navas/SOPA/REX As clashes escalated significantly over the last week, forcing schools to shut, fears have grown that China may again call on military reinforcements to restore order, a move that would recall the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 when soldiers fired on peaceful student demonstrators.  Speculation mounted further after Chinese troops stationed in Hong Kong were spotted in the streets over the weekend cleaning up protest sites, an act authorities have said was voluntary. Hong Kong authorities said Monday it would stop enforcing an anti-mask ban after the city’s highest court ruled it unconstitutional. The order was first enacted in October, using an emergency regulations ordinance that gives Ms Lam sweeping authority, a move that could make it easier for police to identify protesters and make arrests.  On Wednesday, judges will hear arguments to decide whether further actions will be taken over the ban.  Some hospital services were unavailable on Monday as staff weren’t able to travel given transport and traffic disruptions due to the protests. Subway stations in some areas also remain closed after serious vandalism, including setting train cars ablaze. Skirmishes broke out in other neighbourhoods, leaving clouds of tear gas hanging in the air. In the neighbourhood of Mongkok, protesters formed a human chain by early evening, with some reportedly making petrol bombs on the street.  Since mass protests kicked off in early June, police have arrested nearly 4,500 people, aged 11 to 83, for unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons, arson, and taking part in a riots – a serious charge that carries a maximum of ten years in prison. About 150 of those arrests, of individuals aged 13 to 54, were made over the weekend. Additional reporting by Yiyin Zhong


  • Reporter blames 'cruel' Vanuatu ban on China coverage

    Reporter blames 'cruel' Vanuatu ban on China coverageA leading Pacific journalist who has been barred from returning home to Vanuatu from Australia on Monday blamed his treatment on government unease at his coverage of China's growing influence in the Pacific nation. Vanuatu Daily Post media director Dan McGarry was stopped from boarding a flight from Brisbane to Port Vila on Sunday, with airline staff telling him that the immigration department was behind the move. The travel ban comes just days after McGarry was told his work permit would not be renewed and the veteran reporter said he was being singled out over the Post's stories about China's activities in Vanuatu.


  • Elephant dies in captivity after killing villagers

    Elephant dies in captivity after killing villagersAn elephant named after Osama bin Laden, the late al-Qaida leader, has died in captivity after he was captured following a massive hunt in northeastern India, officials said Sunday.


  • Spanish court says wanted Venezuelan spy still missing

    Spanish court says wanted Venezuelan spy still missingA Spanish National Court official confirmed Monday that a former Venezuelan spymaster accused of attempting to "flood" the United States with drugs remains missing since an order for his arrest pending extradition was issued this month. The official said the order for Maj. Gen. Hugo Carvajal’s arrest in Madrid was issued Nov. 8, after the court reversed an earlier ruling that rejected the U.S. extradition request for allegedly being politically motivated. Carvajal was for over a decade the eyes and ears in the military of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.


  • Back in 2017, Russian Nuclear Submarines Fired Torpedoes at Each Other

    Back in 2017, Russian Nuclear Submarines Fired Torpedoes at Each OtherIt was a drill--and thank god for that.


  • Lebanon’s Protests Divide Hezbollah. Will It Strike Back?

    Lebanon’s Protests Divide Hezbollah. Will It Strike Back?Marwan Naamani/APBEIRUT—He has fought Israel since the 1990s and killed many fighters in Syria’s civil war, but the increasing difficulty of working-class life in Lebanon and a popular revolt against the country’s leaders has forced Abu Hussein to reevaluate his decades-long service to Hezbollah. The group whose name translates as “the Party of God” has been branded a terrorist organization by the United States since the 1980s. Backed by Iran, it is more powerful than Lebanon’s military and holds a political veto on state policies. The Trump White House has made Hezbollah a prime target in its “Maximum Pressure” campaign against Iran, which seeks to squeeze the Islamic Republic economically until it signs a new, Trump-approved deal covering not only nukes, but ending Iran’s support for militias like Hezbollah. Sanctions have targeted the party’s members in Lebanon’s parliament and a Lebanese bank accused of involvement managing Hezbollah accounts. Lebanon’s Wild ‘WhatsApp’ Revolution Challenges Hezbollah and the Old ElitesBut the U.S. efforts have only added pressure to Lebanon’s economic crisis. And Iran has many ways to fight back.“Iran sees Lebanon as an important arena in the duel with Washington and will not sacrifice its prize horse Hezbollah no matter the cost,” says Raghida Dergham, founder of the Beirut Institute, an independent think tank. The cost to the country of an effort to crush the uprising could be enormous, and some Hezbollah fighters want no part of it.* * *ABU HUSSEIN* * *I have met Abu Hussein several times over the last four years, but this conversation in the southern suburbs of Beirut is like none we’ve had before. Regardless of how grim the fighting had been in Syria, when he came back home Abu Hussein was always unwaveringly loyal and ideologically committed to the party. (He uses a pseudonym here because Hezbollah fighters are barred from speaking to Western media.) Now he is frustrated with Hezbollah’s response to the widespread discontent in the streets by masses of people fed up with corruption, austerity and the high cost of living. After years fighting abroad as the commander of a rapid response unit that numbered as many as 200 fighters, it is domestic rather than regional issues that pushed him to abandon the movement.Hezbollah first built its strength and reputation fighting the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. “Am I a member of Hezbollah against the Israelis? Yes I am,” says the weathered officer. “Am I member of Hezbollah when it’s against the people in the streets? No!” Two months ago, as Israel and Lebanon stood on the brink of war after an exchange of cross-border fire, Abu Hussein was part of redeployment from Syria, leading patrols and reconnaissance missions on Lebanon’s southern border with Israel. But then, last month, working- and middle-class people from across Lebanon took to the streets condemning a ruling political class still lingering since the 1975-1990 civil war and enriching itself as the country’s economy collapsed. Rather than the traditional hurling of blame across the sectarian divide of Lebanon’s confessional political system, this time Christians, Druze, Shia and Sunni Muslims condemned the failures of their own leaders, and for Abu Hussein, something changed. Now he says he refuses to go back to Syria, has not gone on patrol in the south since the protests started, and won’t be mobilized in Beirut.  “The protesters’ demands are 100 percent legitimate and they have no other choice to get their demands met,” he says of a movement that calls for an end to the sectarian system that Hezbollah relies on to leverage power. He contends that a growing number of his comrades in arms support the demonstrations and roadblocks where people chant “all of them means all of them.”It’s a rebuke to all of the country’s political leaders: Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Maronite Christian President Michel Aoun, Shia Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, the powerful Druze leader Walid Joumblatt—and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.“Hezbollah made a major mistake; they thought they were too big for Lebanon,” says Abu Hussein of a movement focused on expanding regional military influence while its Shia working class base endured some of the worst of the country’s economic pain. “They never thought people would rebel against them with this force and now they feel the heat.”For Hezbollah, a movement inspired by the Iranian revolution and loyal to the Islamic Republic, this loss of confidence is a problem its military successes can’t solve.  In southern cities like Nabatieh and in Bekaa valley towns where Hezbollah competes with Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal movement for Shia support, demonstrators have cursed both Berri and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Young people from the low-income Shia-majority Beirut suburb of Dahieh have joined the protests in the capital center around Martyrs’ Square. “There were the kids of Hezbollah MPs telling their fathers that the people’s demands should be heard,” says the commander, emphatically describing the mood among Hezbollah’s core constituents. He is careful to keep Nasrallah above reproach, blaming those around him and his tenuous ally, Berri, who went from warlord to parliamentary speaker in 1992 and has held the position ever since.But Abu Hussein does not mince words about Nasrallah’s response to the uprising. In a televised addresses broadcast across the country on Oct. 25, Nasrallah tried at first to dismiss the protests as a hostile foreign plot while claiming he would not accept the government or president’s resignation. Three days after the government collapsed, on Nov. 1, he went on air again, this time to begrudgingly accept the reality of the Hariri led cabinet resignation. He tried to distance himself from his previous comments about the protests being a Western and Israeli plot and called for dialogue.  Unable to to appear in public because of the threat of Israeli assassination, the long serving secretary general always makes his televised addresses from an undisclosed location.“Hezbollah can say what it wants,” the commander tells me, annoyed by the allegations of foreign interference. He says he knows many people who have been joining the protests and that the demonstrators are changing people’s minds. “Every time they reach a point they feel they are in trouble with their own people, they blame someone else,” he adds. “They are in trouble and don’t know what to do.”* * *PARADIGM SHIFT* * *The clanging of pots and pans echoing nightly off apartment buildings across Beirut has become the latest sound of discontent ringing out here, a month into the country’s popular revolt. Lebanon’s economic crisis continues to deepen, with banks restricting withdrawals and transfers abroad while the gap between the official and street-traded exchange rate of the Lebanese lira, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar, grows wider. As protests and political stagnation add to the economic crisis, faith in the established parties continues to dissipate, even among core supporters.This erosion is not unique to Hezbollah but rather seems to be happening across the establishment’s political divide, threatening the future of all parties, whether allied to Iran and Syria or the West and the Gulf. It is discontent with a system of proxy politics that exploits sectarian divides while ignoring the basic needs of people that is threatening to upend politics and power in Lebanon. The Master Terrorist Behind America’s Blood Feud With Iran“There is a paradigm shift in the way people are thinking. People have been able to move away from the traditional parties that they have been attached to and there is a general dislike of party partisanship,” says Ahmad Mousalli, a political science professor and specialist in Islamic movements at the American University of Beirut. “Most of the people on the ground these days have not been through the civil war in Lebanon, but they have known nothing but these corrupt cronies,” he continues.At the same time, the parties have continued to fight over which of their traditional blocks will dominate in the new government, each claiming to carry the street’s anti-corruption, economic reformist goals and demands for a secular civil democracy. “They are trying to ride the wave in one way or another,” says Mousalli before adding, “I don’t think the population at large want this anymore.” Mousalli notes that this trend has impacted Hezbollah, but argues that the intense ideological conviction of its members, especially its fighters, puts it in better shape than other established parties in a political system where loyalty is usually based on patronage. While Abu Hussein says he is among an increasing number of fighters leaving the organization, Abu Abdullah, who also declines to use his name because of Hezbollah’s restrictions on its fighters talking to the media, is unwavering in his support. He fought Israel in 2006, then bolstered the Assad regime in Syria’s civil war, and now he trains fighters. Describing Hezbollah units across the country as on “full alert,” he says they are looking out for American or Israeli acts of destabilization through the protests. Abu Abdullah also knows people from Dahieh going to the protests and hears about discontent with Hezbollah along with the rest of the political class, but he has listened to Nasrallah’s accusations and is convinced that the protests are the result of foreign agitation. “The Israelis and Americans feel they can enter through these protests and we aren’t going to let them,” he says decisively.In 2008, Hezbollah fighters took over the streets in Beirut in a display of their military dominance and effective control of the country, but Abu Abdullah states univocally that Hezbollah has no intention of doing that at the moment. Mousalli concurs, saying that any military action against Lebanon’s people would likely only create bigger problems for Hezbollah, exacerbating internal divisions and alienating its base. Still, Abu Abdullah contends Hezbollah will not allow the collapse of a sectarian system that it uses to secure its interests while avoiding the international isolation for Lebanon that would come from a party the U.S. has long labeled a terrorist organization officially running the country. It’s a position he’s willing to kill for and he says he’s ready to do whatever his commanders deem necessary.“If I get an order and a fatwa to shoot the people,” he says, “then yes, I’ll shoot my brother.”For Abu Hussein, there is no order or religious decree that could make him turn on his people and he would sooner abandon his post than help Hezbollah use its might against its own. For Hezbollah, concerns that the number of Abu Husseins is growing in its ranks may be one reason its reaction, so far, has remained political.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.


  • Chile police stopped rescue workers helping dying protester: human rights watchdog

    Chile police stopped rescue workers helping dying protester: human rights watchdogChile's independent human rights watchdog said on Saturday it would file a formal complaint for murder against police officers who allegedly prevented paramedics from attending a heart attack victim amid a protest Friday. Security forces firing tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons made it impossible for rescue workers to properly treat the victim, Chile's publicly-funded National Institute for Human Rights said. Twenty-nine year old Abel Acuna died shortly after at a nearby Santiago hospital.


  • Meet the Republican who wants to cancel college debt

    Meet the Republican who wants to cancel college debtA. Wayne Johnson wants to be appointed the next U.S. senator from Georgia, after spending two years in the Department of Education, where he worked on higher education financing. That experience left him so rattled that he now wants to forgive college loans altogether.


  • When it Comes to Climate-Change Adaptation, As Goes California, So Goes…the World

    When it Comes to Climate-Change Adaptation, As Goes California, So Goes…the WorldHow California deals with climate change adaptation will help determine, for better or worse, how the rest of the world deals with it.


  • Bangladesh organises onion airlift as prices hit record high

    Bangladesh organises onion airlift as prices hit record highSouth Asia's onion crisis has widened, with Bangladesh airlifting supplies of the vegetable and the prime minister claiming prices are so high she has stopped eating them. The spike in Bangladesh has put a staple ingredient for much South Asian food out of reach of the country's poor and follows a similar price hike in India. Prices in Bangladesh rocketed after India banned exports to conserve its own stocks after they were hit first by drought and then by heavy monsoon rains. As prices reached record levels, Bangladesh’s largest opposition party blamed the government for the hike and on Monday called for nationwide protests. The humble bulb is so important to daily cooking in South Asia that shortages have a history of political fallout and a reputation for even toppling governments. One kilo of the vegetable in Bangladesh usually costs 30 taka (27p) but soared to up to 260 taka (£2.37) after India's export ban was imposed. Hours-long queues have formed to purchase the staple of South Asian cuisine Credit: AFP India has seen its own spike in prices after a sharp fall in production and the issue has become a political headache for Delhi. India has already released its national buffer stocks and imposed measures to stop onion hoarding. Hasan Jahid Tusher, deputy press secretary for Bangladesh's prime minister Sheikh Hasina, told AFP onions were being imported by air freight, and that “prime minister said she has stopped using onion in dishes”. None of the dishes at the PM’s residence in Dhaka on Saturday contained onions, he added. Media in Bangladesh reported onion consignments arrived at a major port in Chittagong city on Sunday after the government imported stocks from Myanmar, Turkey, China and Egypt. The increasing prices have pushed onions off restaurant and domestic menus, with Bangladeshis having to adjust their cooking and tastebuds. “Onion has become an essential part of the taste buds of the people of this region, including Bangladesh,” a restaurateur called Shafiqul Islam told bdnews24. “A food can be eatable, but not much delicious without onion. Onion is a must for fish and meat recipes, biriyani and many other dishes.” The state run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) has attracted long queues waiting for subsidised onions. “Even if I have to stand another two hours, I will do that. I can save some 250 taka by buying one kilo of TCB onion. I am standing here because I have to save money,” said Ratan, an English teacher. “I am 41 years old. I have never seen onion prices ever crossing beyond 120 taka.” Drought badly hit India's first onion harvest in the spring, while unusually heavy monsoon rains hit the second harvest. The fluctuating price of onions is widely used as an everyday measure of inflation and a sudden inability for the poor to buy them can quickly focus concern over wider economic problems. Indira Ghandi came to power in 1980 citing soaring onion prices as a metaphor for economic failures of the government. The issue dominated state elections in 1998 and again became a political crisis in 2010. India last week said it was importing 100,000 tons of onions in a bid to curb rising prices. Pakistan has meanwhile seen its own vegetable inflation, with a spike in tomato prices. A government finance adviser came in for widespread mockery after he insisted tomatoes were to be found for 17 rupees (8p) per kg. The price is more than 10 times that.


  • Leading Muslim groups to challenge India holy site court ruling

    Leading Muslim groups to challenge India holy site court rulingTwo leading Muslim groups said Sunday they will file petitions in India's top court challenging its decision to award Hindus control of a bitterly disputed holy site that has sparked deadly inter-religious violence. The Supreme Court ruled on November 9 that the holy site in Ayodhya, where Hindu mobs destroyed a 460-year-old mosque in 1992, must be managed by a trust to oversee the construction of a Hindu temple. A separate piece of land in Ayodhya would be given over to a Muslim group to build a "prominent" new mosque.


  • Mom gets a laugh from charge she's carrying a doll to steal yogurt: 'My baby is 100% real'

    Mom gets a laugh from charge she's carrying a doll to steal yogurt: 'My baby is 100% real'A New Jersey woman's infant is so cute, an Aldi patron believed the baby was a ploy to steal yogurt. It gave lactose-intolerant mom a laugh.


  • Pope Francis compared rhetoric from anti-gay politicians to Hitler speeches

    Pope Francis compared rhetoric from anti-gay politicians to Hitler speechesPope Francis compared anti-gay comments made by politicians to speeches made by Adolf Hitler in a speech on Friday in which he denounced homophobia.


  • How To Turn China's A2/AD Strategy Back on Them

    How To Turn China's A2/AD Strategy Back on ThemThreatening severe repercussions for China's access-denial strategy would dampen Chinese aggression.


  • Avalanche hits Indian army post in Himalayas, 6 killed

    Avalanche hits Indian army post in Himalayas, 6 killedAn avalanche hit an Indian army post Monday on a Himalayan glacier in the disputed Kashmir region, killing four soldiers and their two civilian porters, the army said. Rescuers pulled six soldiers and two porters from the snow, said army spokesman Lt. Col. Abhinav Navneet. The group was on patrol near the post when the area was hit by the avalanche, Navneet said.


  • U.S. has world's highest rate of children in detention -U.N. study

    U.S. has world's highest rate of children in detention -U.N. studyThe United States has the world's highest rate of children in detention, including more than 100,000 in immigration-related custody that violates international law, the author of a United Nations study said on Monday. Worldwide more than 7 million people under age 18 are held in jails and police custody, including 330,000 in immigration detention centres, independent expert Manfred Nowak said.


  • Pelosi: Trump's 'insecurity as an impostor' drives his Twitter attacks

    Pelosi: Trump's 'insecurity as an impostor' drives his Twitter attacksHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi strongly criticized President Trump’s “totally wrong and inappropriate” Twitter attack on a long-serving U.S. diplomat during last week’s impeachment testimony.


  • Chris Wallace Accuses Top Republican of ‘Very Badly’ Mischaracterizing Impeachment Testimony

    Chris Wallace Accuses Top Republican of ‘Very Badly’ Mischaracterizing Impeachment TestimonyFox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace repeatedly confronted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) on Sunday over the top Republican’s characterization of last week’s impeachment testimony, accusing the congressman of “very badly” misrepresenting the witnesses’ positions.Wallace pressed the Trump-boosting Louisiana lawmaker on the upcoming testimony of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sonldand, asking Scalise if it was possible Sondland could “blow a hole in the president’s defense” if he testifies that the president told him Ukraine aid was being held up unless the Ukrainian president publicly announced an investigation into the Bidens.“Well, the president’s defense is that those things didn't happen,” Scalise responded. “And it’s not just the president's word. President Zelensky himself said that the aid wasn’t conditioned and there was no pressure.”“The real bottom line is he got the money,” the GOP representative added, reiterating a key party talking point. “Ukraine got the money.”Wallace, however, pointed out that a dozen people listened in on the now-infamous July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky, noting that many of them became immediately upset that Trump pressed Zelensky on investigating a Ukrainian gas firm that Vice President’s Joe Biden’s son worked for.“Those were [House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam] Schiff's witnesses,” Scalise insisted.“No, sir, they are career foreign service officers and these are people who worked in the Trump administration,” Wallace retorted, adding that an aide to Vice President Mike Pence recently testified that Trump’s call was “inappropriate.”“You had Tim Morrison, who was on the NSC staff, who said that he—alarm bells immediately went off for him,” the Fox News host continued. “Alexander Vindman immediately went to see—these are all people, you say they are Schiff's witnesses—they all were working in the Trump administration.”Scalise attempted to pivot to the whistleblower at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, claiming the Intelligence Community inspector general said the whistleblower had political motivations. Wallace, meanwhile, snapped back: “We are not talking about the whistleblower!”After saying that he didn’t want to answer “hypothetical” questions about Sondland’s upcoming testimony, Scalise then asserted last week’s impeachment witnesses—senior State Department official George Kent, top Ukraine envoy Bill Taylor, and former U.S. Amb. to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch—essentially said Trump did nothing wrong.“All three of them were asked, did you see any impeachable offenses” he declared. “Did you see any bribery? Any of that? Not one of those things were mentioned. Not one person said they saw a crime committed.”“With all due respect—with all due respect, that very badly mischaracterizes what they said,” Wallace pushed back. “They were asked, William Taylor, for instance, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, was asked whether or not these were impeachable offenses. He said I’m there as a fact witness. I’m not there to pass judgment, but he made it clear what he thought about what the president was doing.”Wallace would then go on to play a clip of Taylor’s testimony, further noting that Taylor said that withholding aid to Ukraine to help Trump’s presidential campaign was “crazy.”This wasn’t the only time that Wallace left Scalise stumbling in Sunday morning’s interview. When the Louisiana congressman dismissed concerns about the July phone call by brushing off “third-hand” accounts while pointing to the Ukrainian foreign minister’s claim there was no link between aid and investigations, Wallace retorted that the foreign minister “was not on the call either.”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.


  • Jodie Chesney's killer jailed for life as judge laments criminals 'carving up areas' of London

    Jodie Chesney's killer jailed for life as judge laments criminals 'carving up areas' of LondonTwo drug dealing teenagers have been jailed for life for the "callous and casual" murder of girl scout Jodie Chesney, who was stabbed to death in an east London park. County lines dealer Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and his 17-year-old apprentice, Arron Isaacs had been looking to take revenge on rivals when they killed Jodie by mistake, the Old Bailey heard. The popular 17-year-old student had been relaxing with friends in Amy's Park in Harold Hill, east London, on the evening of March 1 when two shadowy figures emerged from the dark and one knifed her in the back. She screamed and collapsed in the arms of her boyfriend, Eddie Coyle, 18, as her attackers made off in a fellow drug dealer's car. Days later, they were arrested together as they fled from the rear of a house connected with the youth. The defendants denied Jodie's murder, each blaming the other for inflicting the fatal wound. But prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors that both were responsible for the killing, amid incidents of "casual violence" in the drug-dealing world. The jury deliberated for less than six hours to find them guilty last week of Jodie's murder. Jodie Chesney Judge Wendy Joseph QC handed Ong-a-Kwie a life sentence with a minimum of 26 years. She sentenced Isaacs to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure for at least 18 years. She said that Jodie's death led to a "world of anguish" for her family, which came amid "tit for tat" incidents. Jodie was the victim of "callous, casual and irresponsible violence" which had shocked the community "to the core", she said. On the evidence, she found Ong-a-Kwie was the stabber and the 17-year-old his "enthusiastic supporter". Isaacs was initially shielded by anonymity, but now he can be named after the judge lifted reporting restrictions. In doing so, she said: "What is important is that a blameless girl is dead at the hands of those engaged in and those that associate with drug dealing on the streets which Jodie and other blameless young people must live. "This death has brought great unease in the community. Those suffering, which spreads much further than Jodie's friends and family, need and have a right to known and understand how this has come about." The judge lamented the impact of criminals that had "carved up areas of the capital of this country". She added: "The dangers this brings to decent law-abiding members of the public is graphically spelled out in this case." The court heard moving tributes to Jodie and the "ripple effect" her murder had among friends, family and the wider community. Mr Coyle has been left with post-traumatic stress from witnessing her murder. Svenson Ong-a-Kwie was a county lines drug dealer Credit: PA He said: "Jodie was funny, silly, she always made fun of me and she had a bright future ahead of her. She was full of energy and was always out doing something. We had been going out for three months. "I've never lost anyone before and for the first funeral I've gone to to be my own girlfriend's is incredibly hard. I loved her." Jodie's father, Peter Chesney, who gave up a job in the City, said: "I have lost the most precious human being I will ever know. I have no idea how I'm going to continue my life or come to terms with the loss." Her sister, Lucy, said: "Jodie will be greatly missed and the people who caused such tragedy to a whole family should hang their head in shame. You have ripped away a bright future that was destined to make a change to many lives." The court heard that Ong-a-Kwie had convictions for possessing and supplying drugs. He admitted being in breach of a six-week suspended sentence for handling stolen jewellery dating back to October last year. Isaacs had previous convictions for possessing a screwdriver, actual bodily harm, possession of cannabis as well as aggravated vehicle-taking.


  • Officer in Louisiana won't face charges in 94 mph fatal crash

    Officer in Louisiana won't face charges in 94 mph fatal crashA Louisiana police officer who crashed a speeding car while off duty in 2017 will face no criminal charges in the death of a child.


  • US businesswoman says 'heartbroken' by Britain's Johnson

    US businesswoman says 'heartbroken' by Britain's JohnsonA US businesswoman at the centre of controversy over whether Boris Johnson showed her inappropriate favouritism amid an alleged affair said Sunday she had been left "heartbroken" and "humiliated" by the British prime minister. Jennifer Arcuri, who is accused of getting privileged access to foreign trade jaunts and grants when Johnson was previously London mayor, told Britain's ITV he was treating her like "some fleeting one-night stand". The technology entrepreneur said the British premier, now campaigning for re-election, had rebuffed her requests "for advice" after the scandal erupted in September and "hung up" on her.


  • 5 family members, including 3 children, dead in murder-suicide in San Diego, police say

    5 family members, including 3 children, dead in murder-suicide in San Diego, police sayFive family members have died and a boy was injured after a man shot his family and then turned the gun on himself in San Diego, police say.


  • Why Russian Fighter Jets Are Threatening NATO In The Baltics

    Why Russian Fighter Jets Are Threatening NATO In The BalticsA Russian Su-27 recent intercepted an American F-15C.


  • Minneapolis Police Admit to Discovering 1,500 Untested Rape Kits, Spanning Over 30 Years, Found in Storage

    Minneapolis Police Admit to Discovering 1,500 Untested Rape Kits, Spanning Over 30 Years, Found in Storage“We had failure in terms of the auditing process of those kits"


  • REFILE-China will not tolerate any Taiwan independence incidents -defence spokesman

    REFILE-China will not tolerate any Taiwan independence incidents -defence spokesmanChina will not tolerate any Taiwan independence incidents, a spokesman for its defence ministry said on Monday, urging the United States to deal appropriately with the issue. The spokesman, Wu Qian, made the comments at a news briefing following a meeting of Chinese and U.S. military officials on the sidelines of defence talks in the Thai capital of Bangkok. The defence ministry of self-ruled Taiwan said a Chinese carrier ship passed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, tailed by U.S. and Japanese ships.


  • Majority of Americans support ousting Trump from office, new poll shows

    Majority of Americans support ousting Trump from office, new poll showsSeventy percent of Americans said President Donald Trump was wrong to pressure Ukraine’s leader to pursue probes into his political opponents, according to a new survey, and more than half of respondents indicated he should be removed from office. An ABC News/Ipsos poll published Monday found that 51 percent of those surveyed believed Trump should be impeached by House lawmakers, as well as convicted by the Senate. A quarter of respondents, 25 percent, said Trump did nothing wrong.


  • Iran’s top leader warns ‘thugs’ as protests reach 100 cities

    Iran’s top leader warns ‘thugs’ as protests reach 100 citiesIran’s supreme leader on Sunday cautiously backed the government’s decision to raise gasoline prices by 50% after days of widespread protests, calling those who attacked public property during demonstrations “thugs” and signaling that a potential crackdown loomed. The government shut down internet access across the nation of 80 million people to staunch demonstrations that took place in a reported 100 cities and towns.


  • Here's everything we know about Mina Chang, who rapidly rose from a self-described singer to a State Department official with a dubious résumé

    Here's everything we know about Mina Chang, who rapidly rose from a self-described singer to a State Department official with a dubious résuméA closer look at her history reveals the Trump official may have misrepresented her work history and educational background.


  • '7 employees were terminated:' Brawl at Wisconsin Popeyes caught on camera

    '7 employees were terminated:' Brawl at Wisconsin Popeyes caught on cameraSeveral employees at a Wisconsin Popeyes restaurant lost their jobs after a brawl was caught on cellphone video.


  • Vatican: top anti-money laundering official leaves post

    Vatican: top anti-money laundering official leaves postThe Vatican's top financial investigator charged with investigating money laundering and other such crimes has left his post after the non-renewal of his contract, the Holy See said on Monday. Rene Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer, had worked for the Vatican's financial watchdog, the Financial Information Authority (FIA), since 2012. "Thanking him for his service in recent years (the Holy Father) has appointed his successor," the Vatican said in a statement, saying that Bruelhart's mandate had expired.


  • Massachusetts man arrested after son, 5, allegedly takes heroin to school and brags it makes him feel like Spider-Man

    Massachusetts man arrested after son, 5, allegedly takes heroin to school and brags it makes him feel like Spider-ManA father is facing drug possession charges after his son, 5, allegedly took heroin to school and said tasting it made him feel like Spider-Man.


  • Are Gun Makers To Blame for Mass Shootings? Can They Be Sued?

    Are Gun Makers To Blame for Mass Shootings? Can They Be Sued?Mass shootings have become a routine occurrence in America. Is this a solution?


  • Private zoo owner in Crimea pleads for public to take 30 of his bears so he won't have to euthanise them

    Private zoo owner in Crimea pleads for public to take 30 of his bears so he won't have to euthanise themThe owner of a struggling safari park in Crimea is giving more than thirty bears to save them from euthanasia.  Oleg Zubkov, the owner of the Taigan Lion Park near Simferopol, said he is seeking new homes for the animals because he can no longer afford to feed them. It comes after inspectors ordered the safari park, which is famous for its large collection of lions, found violations of veterinary regulations and ordered it closed for three months.  Speaking on his Youtube channel, “the Lion Man,” Mr Zubkov said he could not afford to feed and look after the animals without the revenue from ticket sales and was left with no choice but to find them new homes or put them down.  “Twelve lions and tigers will be moved to other zoos shortly, and a final decision will be made about… shooting 30 bears from the park,” he says in the video. “I’ve forced into these extreme measures because there are no other options left,” he said. Oleg Zubkov with BBC television presenter  Simon Reeve Credit:  Jonathan Young Mr Zubkov said he had already fed several dozen of his Vietnamese pigs to the lions and tigers in a bid to cut costs, and that he had informed regional veterinary authorities about his decision to cull his bears.  Valery Ivanov, the head of the state veterinary committee in Crimea, told Interfax no documents related to the killing of animals had been received.  The Taigan Safari Park, which is home to 2,500 animals, was opened in 2012. Mr Zubkov also runs a second zoo, called Skazka, in Yalta.  Both have been the subject of numerous complaints about the conditions in which the animals are kept, according to local officials.  Last year Taigan was at the centre of a small scandal after one of the lions bit a 46 year old female tourist posing for photographs with the animal.  Mr Zubkov's career has not passed without controversy Credit: Media Drum World / Alamy Stock Photo Mr Zubkov insists that his bears live in better conditions than in many other zoos in Russia, and that the biting incident was the only one of its kind. He has complained that authorities have been trying to shut him down ever since Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsular after Vladimir Putin annexed it from Ukraine in 2014.  Mr Zubkov was an enthusiastic supporter the annexation at the time, and even featured in Russian television reports promising that his “fighting lions” would maintain order during the controversial referendum on “reunification” with Russia.  In the months afterwards he made an unsuccessful bid to enter local politics and even tried to call Vladimir Putin during his annual phone-in show to invite him to the safari park.   But by 2015 he had begun to complain that he and his zoo had become the target of a campaign of harassment by local officials apparently determined to put him out of business.


  • UPDATE 1-Saudi-led coalition says Yemen's Houthis seize ship in Red Sea

    UPDATE 1-Saudi-led coalition says Yemen's Houthis seize ship in Red SeaThe Saudi-led military coalition engaged in Yemen said on Monday that the Iran-aligned Houthi movement had seized a vessel towing a South Korean drilling rig at the south end of the Red Sea. Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a statement carried on Saudi state media that the vessel was seized late on Sunday by armed Houthis. A senior Houthi official told Reuters afterwards that the group's forces had seized a "suspect vessel" in the Red Sea and that the crew were being treated well.


  • Trump Backs Off Flavored Vape Ban, Citing Potential Job Loss

    Trump Backs Off Flavored Vape Ban, Citing Potential Job LossPresident Trump is reconsidering a proposed ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes due to concerns that the new rule will result in substantial job losses in the industry, according to the New York Times.The Center for Disease Control has reported cases of a mysterious lung illness connected to vaping, which is popular among teenagers. In September, President Trump had announced he would move to prohibit sales of most flavored e-cigarettes, which are disproportionately used by new vapers."We can’t have our kids be so affected," Trump said at the time in a press conference in the Oval Office.However, Trump's advisers counseled the president that implementing the ban would have political repercussions, the Times reported. Trump feared the ban would put independent vape shop owners out of work and hurt job numbers at e-cigarette companies like Juul, and Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale has also warned the president that a vaping ban would hurt the president among his base of voters.A poll commissioned by Trump campaign pollster John McLaughlin for the Vapor Technology Association showed that installing the ban would have negative results for the president in battleground states."Bans don’t work," said Tony Abboud, head of the Vapor Technology Association, in comments to the Times. "They never have."Proponents of vaping note that the practice causes far fewer instances of health complications than traditional cigarettes. The U.K. has touted vaping as a harm-reduction measure that helps smokers transfer to a less-harmful practice, while some National Health Service hospitals have allowed vape shops to open on hospital grounds.


  • AP Explains: Iran gas price protests quickly turn violent

    AP Explains: Iran gas price protests quickly turn violentProtests over gasoline prices have swept across some 100 cities and towns in Iran, turning violent faster than widespread economic protests in 2017 and rallies over the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election. Prior to that, online videos purported to show people abandoning their cars on major highways and marching on city centers. Demonstrations devolved into violence as rioters set fire to gas stations, attacked banks and robbed stores.


  • Russia hands back captured naval ships to Ukraine before summit

    Russia hands back captured naval ships to Ukraine before summitMOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) - Russia on Monday handed back three naval ships it captured last year to Ukraine, something Kiev wanted to happen before a four-way peace summit on eastern Ukraine next month in Paris. The handover, confirmed by the two countries' foreign ministries, occurred in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Russia seized the ships in the same area in November last year after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors.


  • Forgotten Genocide: How a Quarter of Europe’s Roma Were Murdered by the Nazis, then Erased From History

    Forgotten Genocide: How a Quarter of Europe’s Roma Were Murdered by the Nazis, then Erased From HistoryLONDON—It’s impossible to fathom the scale of the depravity. An eyewitness account by a Holocaust survivor—unearthed for a new exhibition in London—describes the conditions in the “gypsy” section of Auschwitz as even more inhumane than the rest of the appalling facility.“The conditions were worse than in the other camps,” wrote eyewitness Hermann Langbein in 1945. “The route between the huts was ankle deep in mud and dirt. The gypsies were still wearing the clothes that they had been given upon arrival… footwear was missing… The latrines were built in such a way that they were practically unusable for the gypsy children. The infirmary was a pathetic sight.”The Holocaust Didn’t End with the Liberation of Auschwitz and the Nazi Death CampsThe report by Langbein, also a survivor of the Spanish Civil War, is just one of the sickening contemporary accounts highlighted in the exhibition Forgotten Victims: The Nazi Genocide of the Roma and Sinti at London’s Wiener Holocaust Library (to March 11, 2020).Over 90 percent of the Roma held at Auschwitz did not survive the war.In total, it is estimated that up to half a million Roma and Sinti, the name taken by the nomadic people based in Germany, died during the Holocaust. Accurate estimates are impossible but that may have been a quarter of Europe’s Roma and Sinti population.The plight of these people, commonly known as gypsies at the time, was overshadowed by the scale of the genocide perpetrated against Europe’s Jewish community, but the Romani suffering was not simply eclipsed; it was systematically erased in the post-war period. Romani survivors did not qualify for restitution; the mass murder of the Roma was largely ignored at the Nuremberg trials; Germany did not formally recognize that there had been a Romani genocide until 1982.Like homeless and gay victims of the Holocaust, the Roma and Sinti people were primarily categorized by the Nazi killing machine as criminals or “asocials.” For the tiny minority who survived, this meant they struggled to apply for compensation for their treatment in the same way as Jewish survivors.Despite the German authorities’ failure to recognize this as another strand of genocide, there was plenty of evidence that the Nazis were applying similar twisted pseudo-science to portray the Roma and Jews as lesser people.The exhibition highlights the work of a man named Dr Robert Ritter, who was responsible for running the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit from 1936. In 1941, he was promoted and also became head of the Criminal Biology Unit. Much of his work focused on trying to prove that the Romani people were racially inferior using a vast array of nonsensical and unscientific methods.He supported the sterilization of Roma women and expressed his concern about preventing intermarriage with other Germans. He was also personally responsible for identifying Roma and Sinti communities in Germany and Austria which were then raided by Nazis units who transported thousands to the camps.Ritter was never brought to trial. His racist project had obviously been influential among senior Nazi officials, however. In 1938, the head of the SS Heinrich Himmler wrote: “Experience gained in combating the gypsy nuisance, and knowledge derived from race-biological research, have shown that the proper method of attacking the Gypsy problem seems to be to treat it as a matter of race.”It’s utterly extraordinary that it took the German government until the 1980s to officially take Himmler’s word for it: the mass execution of the Roma and Sinti people was a racially motivated genocide.It wasn’t just within Germany; the Roma and Sinti people were largely left out of the picture when the world united to condemn the horrors of the Holocaust.“There was no reckoning, no recognition,” said Barbara Warnock, curator at the Wiener Holocaust Library. “At the Nuremberg war crimes trials, crimes against Roma weren’t part of the indictments. There are some documents that were entered at Nuremberg that are to do with persecution against Jews that happen to mention persecution against Roma too but it wasn't something that was being particularly focused on or investigated even though people were aware of it. There's never been that big moment of acknowledgement.”Warnock told The Daily Beast that there has been a historic and continued marginalization of Roma communities in Europe. “The failure to acknowledge the extent of persecution and suffering probably hasn't been helpful,” she said.Documents that tell the typically depressing story of Hans Brann, a Roma survivor of Auschwitz, have been located by the Wiener Holocaust Library. He was one of just a couple of thousand Roma who entered Auschwitz and left alive.According to a police letter, the response to his restitution claim was to order a police inspector to investigate his claim, and prove that he was a criminal, not a racial victim. Not all of the documentation survives, but he must have been turned down because six years later Brann made the same claim of restitution. He had waited more than a decade for any recognition of the torment he had suffered.For the Roma people in Europe, the wait goes on. Recent years have seen crackdowns on communities in Italy, France and Hungary.“Reflect upon the situation in Europe today,” said Warnock. “A massive amount of prejudice and discrimination continues.” 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.


  • Two planes in 'minor' collision at Frankfurt airport

    Two planes in 'minor' collision at Frankfurt airportAn Air Namibia plane collided with a Korean Air jet after landing at Frankfurt airport on Saturday evening, officials said, adding that no one was injured. Both aircraft were damaged in what Air Namibia on Sunday called "a minor accident". A spokeswoman for Frankfurt airport said the incident happened at around 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Saturday.