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  • The Ultimate Recovery: Cycles of pain anchor Biden's moment news

    “I’m Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for United States Senate,” he announces, shaking the hand of a grinning beautician. The pitch, captured in an October 1972 broadcast by WPVI in Philadelphia, is one Biden has made repeatedly since, winning seven terms in the Senate and two as vice president. On this, his third attempt, the White House is within Biden's reach at what in some ways seems an improbable moment.

    Sat, 15 Aug 2020 00:06:56 -0400
  • Japan marks 75th anniversary of war end with no Abe apology news

    Japan on Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of its surrender in World War II, with Emperor Naruhito expressing “deep remorse” over his country’s wartime actions at a somber annual ceremony curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic. Naruhito pledged to reflect on the war's events and expressed hope that the tragedy would never be repeated. There was no word of apology from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who gave thanks for the sacrifices of the Japanese war dead but had nothing to say about the suffering of Japan’s neighbors.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 23:53:23 -0400
  • How a BBC show helped shape Africa news

    The BBC Focus on Africa programme has played a dramatic role in covering the continent over the last 60 years.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 21:42:39 -0400
  • 75 years later, can Asia shake off shackles of the past? news

    Northeast Asia doesn’t so much repeat history as drag it along like an anchor. The bombs stopped falling 75 years ago, but it is entirely possible — crucial even, some argue — to view the region’s world-beating economies, its massive cultural and political reach and its bitter trade, territory and history disputes through a single prism: World War II and Japan’s aggression in the Pacific. Japan in 2020 is unrecognizable to the fascist military machine that once rolled across Asia.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 21:32:03 -0400
  • Huawei lawyers say U.S. evidence 'unreliable' in Meng extradition case news

    Meng, 48, was arrested in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States which alleges that she misled the bank HSBC about Huawei's business dealings in Iran. Meng's lawyers submitted testimony from expert witnesses including John Bellinger, a former White House lawyer, as well as a Huawei Technologies Co Ltd presentation outlining its relationship with businesses operating in Iran, to back Huawei's argument that the United States left out key facts about communication with HSBC about Huawei's operations in Iran when requesting Meng's extradition from Canada.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 20:51:40 -0400
  • Huawei lawyers say U.S. evidence 'unreliable' in Meng extradition case

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 20:39:13 -0400
  • UN rejects Iran arms embargo extension, crisis looms news

    The United Nations Security Council overwhelmingly rejected a US resolution to extend an Iranian arms embargo on Friday, in a move with huge repercussions for the Iran nuclear deal.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:56:51 -0400
  • Teen leading in Kansas race admits blackmail, revenge porn

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:43:42 -0400
  • US sees embarrassing UN defeat over Iran arms embargo proposal news

    Just one country joins US in vote, highlighting Washington’s isolation as it seeks more drastic action against IranThe US has suffered a humiliating defeat at the United Nations as its proposal to extend an arms embargo on Iran won support from only the Dominican Republic at the security council vote.The US resolution was never likely to be passed in the face of Russian and Chinese opposition. It was proposed as a ploy by the Trump administration to open the way to more drastic action against Iran.But the scale of the defeat on Friday underlined US isolation on the world stage ahead of a major diplomatic confrontation that threatens to consume the security council and further sap its authority.The US stripped anti-Iran rhetoric from earlier drafts of the resolution in the hope of recruiting more supporters, but its insistence that an extension to the UN embargo would be indefinite made that impossible. Estonia and Tunisia withstood eleventh-hour US pressure to support the revised draft, a measure of diminished American clout at the UN. Russia and China voted against the resolution, the US and the Dominican Republic voted in favour, and all the other council members abstained.In his response to the vote, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, lashed out at other member states.“The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable,” he said in a statement issued even before the result of the vote had been declared.US officials have said that following the defeat of the arms embargo resolution, they would embark within days on a legally controversial tactic in an effort to restore UN sanctions lifted when Iran signed a nuclear deal with major powers in 2015.The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has a mechanism that allows any of the parties to the agreement to “snap back” UN sanctions on Iran.Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA in 2018 but US diplomats and lawyers will argue it is still technically a party to the agreement and therefore empowered to snap back sanctions. Most of the rest of the world, including some of Washington’s closest allies, disagrees, but the Trump administration has so far shown itself ready to proceed virtually alone.“The US goal this week has pretty obviously been to table a resolution that will fail, so they’ve got an excuse for going to snapback next week,” Richard Gowan, UN director at the International Crisis Group. “It’s just a little bit embarrassing that it has failed so badly.”The US special envoy on Iran, Brian Hook, announced his resignation days before the arms embargo resolution at the UN.If the US proceeds with its snapback plan, it could lead to a situation in which there is no agreement on the status of UN arms sanctions, with the US declaring they are in effect and most other countries insisting there are not.“Frankly, we’re soon going to be entering what you could call ‘security council in Wonderland’, by which the US will claim that the snapback train is rolling and others refuse to accept that,” Gowan said. “There will be lots of procedural fights in the council. But basically there will be two realities.”The UK could find itself trapped between those two realities, forced to choose between them. London so far has stuck closely to an agreed European line with France and Germany.“It appears the UK has chosen to put its security relationship with Paris and Berlin ahead of its desire for a Brexit trade deal with the US,” Gowan said.Vladimir Putin has suggested a videoconference summit on Iran, and the Élysée Palace in Paris signaled that Emmanuel Macron was open to the suggestion. Donald Trump said he had heard about the proposal but had not been told the details. Trump and Macron spoke by phone on Friday but the White House account of the call did not mention the proposed summit.Suzanne DiMaggio, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment Institute for Peace, said that the US focus was not on building coalitions on the issue but on provoking a diplomatic confrontation at the UN to please Trump’s core supporters.She said the ultimate US aim was also to try to provoke Iran into a reaction, possibly leaving the JCPOA itself, or even expel international nuclear inspectors.“It is a scorched-earth approach, destroying the JCPOA in order to make it difficult for a Biden administration, and for the Iranians, to return to it,” DiMaggio said. “They’re not concerned with keeping a lid on Iran’s nuclear program. They really want to kill this deal.”

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:21:20 -0400
  • AP PHOTOS: Clowns suffer, adapt in Peru due to the pandemic news

    Circuses in Peru are built around clowns, providing work for more than 500 of the characters. The coronavirus has kept millions of Peruvians locked down at home, dealing a hard blow to the hundred or so small circuses in the country. In an empty lot in Lima, Santos Chiroque keeps the yellow tent, logs and ropes that he used until March to set up the circus that fed him and his family.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 19:06:30 -0400
  • EXPLAINER-What is the U.S. threat to trigger 'snapback' of U.N. sanctions on Iran?

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 18:36:34 -0400
  • U.N. Security Council rejects U.S. bid to extend Iran arms embargo -Pompeo

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 18:01:38 -0400
  • Israel hits Gaza militant sites after incendiary balloons

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 17:35:36 -0400
  • Coronavirus: South Africa crime rate plummets during lockdown news

    A top minister hails a "crime holiday" as figures show offences fell by 40% between April and June.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 17:28:59 -0400
  • UN launches $565 million appeal for Beirut victims news

    The United Nations launched a $565 million appeal Friday to help Lebanese people affected by the explosion at Beirut’s port with immediate humanitarian assistance and initial recovery efforts. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the money wll enable the U.N.'s humanitarian partners “to help people in need by targeting food security, health, shelter and protection, as well as water and sanitation hygiene support.” U.N. humanitarian officials said some of the $300 million pledged at a donor conference Sunday co-chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations may be committed to the $565 million appeal, but the amount won’t be known for some time because the pledges include a mixture of humanitarian and reconstruction activities.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 17:19:50 -0400
  • US allows killing sea lions eating at-risk Northwest salmon news

    U.S. authorities on Friday gave wildlife managers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho permission to start killing hundreds of sea lions in the Columbia River basin in hopes of helping struggling salmon and steelhead trout. “These are places where the fish are really vulnerable,” said Shaun Clements, senior policy analyst for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The new permit allows the states and several Native American tribes to kill 540 California sea lions and 176 Steller sea lions over the next five years along a 180-mile (290-kilometer) stretch of the Columbia, from Portland to the McNary Dam upriver, as well as in several tributaries.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 17:05:16 -0400
  • UN launches $565 mn appeal for blast-hit Lebanon news

    The United Nations launched an appeal Friday to raise $565 million to help Lebanon recover from this month's devastating port blast that killed 171 people.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 16:38:48 -0400
  • Census Bureau adds emails, phone calls to door-knocking news

    If you haven't filled out the 2020 census form yet, you may be getting an email, call or questionnaire in the mail asking you to answer the questions. The U.S. Census Bureau said Friday it was sending out emails to homes in neighborhoods where the response rate was less than 50%. The Census Bureau said it expects to send out 20 million emails, a first for a decennial census, as the agency enters the homestretch of the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 16:26:48 -0400
  • US confirms seizure of Iranian fuel on Venezuela-bound ships news

    The US Justice Department on Friday confirmed it had seized the fuel cargo aboard four tankers sent by Iran to crisis-wracked Venezuela, tying the shipments to Tehran's Revolutionary Guards and stepping up the pressure on its foe.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 16:06:00 -0400
  • Trump dodges question on QAnon conspiracy theory news

    President Donald Trump on Friday twice ignored a question about whether he supports QAnon, a convoluted, right-wing, pro-Trump conspiracy theory. A reporter asked the president about the theory at a White House briefing Friday after Trump tweeted his congratulations to a QAnon-supporting candidate. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won her House primary runoff in Georgia this week, has called the theory “something worth listening to and paying attention to" and called its source, known as Q, a “patriot.”

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 16:00:21 -0400
  • Study hints, can't prove, survivor plasma fights COVID-19 news

    Mayo Clinic researchers reported a strong hint that blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors helps other patients recover, but it’s not proof and some experts worry if, amid clamor for the treatment, they'll ever get a clear answer. More than 64,000 patients in the U.S. have been given convalescent plasma, a century-old approach to fend off flu and measles before vaccines. There were fewer deaths among people given plasma within three days of diagnosis, and also among those given plasma containing the highest levels of virus-fighting antibodies, Joyner and colleagues reported.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 15:38:09 -0400
  • UN soundly defeats US demand to extend arms embargo on Iran news

    The U.N. Security Council on Friday resoundingly defeated a U.S. resolution to indefinitely extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, with the Trump administration getting support from only the Dominican Republic but vowing further action to prevent Tehran's sale and export of conventional weapons. Russia and China strongly opposed the resolution, but didn’t need to use their vetoes.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 15:30:50 -0400
  • At Sturgis, Trump supporters look to turn bikers into voters news

    It's a Friday night at a crowded biker bar in South Dakota when Chris Cox, founder of Bikers for Trump, takes the stage. While many have come to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for some combination of riding and partying, Cox's focus is on something else: voting. As the Trump campaign struggles to gain momentum less than 90 days from the election, Bikers for Trump has taken advantage of recent motorcycle rallies to make direct appeals to register to vote.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 15:30:36 -0400
  • Brussels expects next round of Brexit negotiations to be like 'shadowboxing before the real engagement begins' news

    European Union sources expect next week’s Brexit talks to be a round of “shadow boxing”, after the UK and Brussels made concessions in the previous set of negotiations. About 50 British officials are expected to travel to Belgium on Tuesday, despite the country being put on the UK’s coronavirus red list. “Both sides have moved closer together but we see this round as laying the foundations for future breakthroughs,” an EU source close to the negotiations said. “Imagine two fencers sizing each other out or two fighters shadow-boxing before the real engagement begins.” The negotiations come after a break following five solid weeks of intensified negotiations, which finally brought concessions from both sides. The UK signalled that it would accept the future relationship being governed by a single treaty. Previously it had insisted on a suite of separate agreements covering issues such as the trade deal and fishing rights. Brussels, in return, finally accepted the British red line that the European Court of Justice could have no role in future UK-EU relations. After both sides made significant concessions, hopes were raised that next week’s round could bring further breakthroughs. On Thursday, David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator said the British assessment was that a deal could be done in September. The same day, Ireland's Taoiseach Micheál Martin said a “landing zone” for an eventual trade deal had emerged.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 15:16:06 -0400
  • Cleric extradited from Jamaica to NYC on terrorism charges

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 14:15:35 -0400
  • 9th Circuit ends California ban on high-capacity magazines news

    A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday threw out California's ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution's protection of the right to bear firearms. “Even well-intentioned laws must pass constitutional muster,” appellate Judge Kenneth Lee wrote for the panel’s majority. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office said it is reviewing the decision and he "remains committed to using every tool possible to defend California’s gun safety laws and keep our communities safe.”

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 13:21:26 -0400
  • The UAE-Israel deal is Trump's first real foreign policy success, experts say news

    A shared interest in countering Iran has fueled an alignment between Israel and the Gulf Arab states, a convergence that seemed impossible not long ago.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 13:02:00 -0400
  • Nigerian police rescue Kano man locked up in his parents' garage news

    The emaciated aged 30 had been left for at least three years without proper care, police say.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 12:52:41 -0400
  • Pompeo urges unity on Iran ahead of UN arms embargo vote news

    The secretary of state said it was “nuts” to allow Iran to buy and sell weapons at will.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 12:22:46 -0400
  • U.S. confiscates Iranian gas heading for Venezuela in ‘largest-ever’ seizure of fuel shipments from Iran: officials news

    The United States has confiscated the cargo of four tankers that were carrying Iranian fuel shipments to Venezuela, essentially disrupting a multi-million deal in the largest-ever seizure of gas shipments from Iran, U.S. officials said Friday. The sale of more than 1 million barrels of petroleum was arranged by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, a designated foreign terrorist organization, in violation of U.S.-imposed sanctions on the two countries, the Justice Department said in a news release. A U.S. district court judge in Washington, D.C., authorized the seizure after the federal government filed a complaint last month seeking to forfeit the cargo as it traveled toward Venezuela, authorities said.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 12:11:29 -0400
  • Liberty University and Falwell: A bond that's hard to break news

    Jerry Falwell Jr. has been toppled, at least temporarily, from the presidency of evangelical Liberty University, but whether he will break permanently with the Christian institution that is synonymous with his family name is another matter. Falwell apologized after posting a vacation photo that showed him with his pants unzipped and his arm high around the waist of his wife’s pregnant assistant. Critics of Falwell’s leadership say Liberty needs a new direction, but many who know the school well have a hard time envisioning its governing board saying goodbye to the heir who played a major role in transforming it into a conservative Christian mainstay.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 12:08:58 -0400
  • Ex-FBI lawyer to plead guilty in Trump-Russia probe review news

    A former FBI lawyer plans to plead guilty to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation into the probe of ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, his lawyer said Friday. Kevin Clinesmith is accused of altering a government email about a former Trump campaign adviser who was a target of secret FBI surveillance, according to documents filed in Washington's federal court.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 11:41:44 -0400
  • Watchdog: Homeland Security officials were wrongly appointed news

    The two most senior officials in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were improperly appointed to the posts under federal law by the Trump administration, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog said Friday. The Government Accountability Office says acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and his acting deputy, Ken Cuccinelli, are ineligible to run the agency under the Vacancy Reform Act. It was not immediately clear what effects the determination would have on DHS, an agency that has acting officials, serving without Senate confirmation, in a number of prominent roles and is at the forefront of key administration initiatives on immigration and law enforcement.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 11:39:32 -0400
  • Volunteers rescue pets, search for lost ones in Beirut blast news

    When the massive explosion tore through Beirut last week, it did not only kill and injure thousands of people and destroy a large part of the city — it also left scores of animals trapped or lost in the rubble of the Lebanese capital. Animals Lebanon, a Beirut-based group, said it sprang into action within hours of the blast. The Aug. 4 explosion in the Beirut Port, when thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate ignited, sent a shock wave through several neighborhoods of the city, destroying thousands of apartments and blanketing the streets with glass and debris.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 11:34:35 -0400
  • Rural families without internet face tough choice on school news

    John Ross worries about his children returning to their classrooms this fall with coronavirus cases rising in Kentucky, but he feels he doesn't have much of a choice: His family's limited internet access makes it nearly impossible for the kids to keep up with schoolwork from home. “They’re going to have their education,” the father of three in rural Lee County said as he recalled his children’s struggles to do their work this spring over a spotty cellphone connection. Lee County, a community of around 7,000 people deep in the Appalachian Mountains, is one of many rural school districts around the country where the decision over whether to bring students back into classrooms is particularly fraught.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 11:13:14 -0400
  • José Filomeno dos Santos: Son of Angola's ex-leader jailed for five years news

    José Filomeno dos Santos was accused of stealing $500m from Angola's Sovereign Wealth Fund.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 10:44:22 -0400
  • Trump and his allies got a win. Palestinians had their isolation writ large. news

    Many Palestinians will be reciting a version of this adage on Friday, a day after the United Arab Emirates said it had agreed to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel in a U.S.-brokered deal. The announcement was widely cheered within Israel, the U.S., Europe and even some corners of the Middle East, but it provoked despair among many Palestinians who feel abandoned by their traditional allies, many of whom have turned their focus away from Israel and onto Shiite Iran as their enemy. “May you never be sold out by your 'friends,'” the veteran Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi tweeted in reaction to the announcement by the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 10:24:00 -0400
  • California wildfires burn amid high risk of brutal blazes news

    Bone-dry vegetation fueled three wildfires near Los Angeles amid warnings Friday that the risk of new blazes erupting was high as temperatures spike and humidity levels drop during a statewide heat wave. A huge forest fire that prompted evacuations north of Los Angeles flared up Friday afternoon, sending up an enormous cloud of smoke as it headed toward the California aqueduct in the Antelope Valley. The so-called Lake Fire was just 12% contained, and after threatening more than 5,400 homes, it had charred more than 18 square miles (46.6 square kilometers) of brush and trees.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 09:56:24 -0400
  • Conversations with American Legends: Ambassador Andrew Young Discusses the U.S.’ Standing on the World Stage

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 09:00:00 -0400
  • Palestinians warn Israel-UAE deal imperils Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 08:29:16 -0400
  • Renewable biogas from cow manure injected into grid in UK first news

    Renewable biogas made from cow manure has been injected into the National Grid in a UK first which will create enough energy to power ten homes for a year. The Murrow Anaerobic Digestion Plant in Cambridgeshire mixed the manure with straw and left it in an oxygen-free environment to produce methane, which has been sold to the grid so people can use it to cook meals and heat their homes. Biogas is being increasingly looked at by energy companies as it offers far better carbon emissions savings than natural methane gas. It could also be a boon for farmers, who could sell their manure to energy companies in order for it to be turned into renewable gas. The post-brexit agriculture bill also enshrines extra payments for farmers who use their land and livestock to help the environment. This method is currently being explored in California, US, with farmers hoping it could be a "new goldrush" and help offset the methane emissions from the cows throughout their lives on the farms. This trial began in July and the National Grid confirmed this week that it was connected to the Gas National Transmission System late last month, successfully enabling flows of up to 15,000 standard cubic meters per hour of the biogas into the grid. There are now plans to roll this method of creating energy from farm waste out country-wide in order to increase the amount of renewable energy we use. Ian Radley, head of gas systems operations at National Grid, said this method will "play a critical role in the journey to Britain achieving net zero". He added: "We've collaborated closely with Biocow on this innovative project to ensure we met their needs and ultimately successfully connected their site to the National Transmission System; supporting the transition to a low carbon economy and paving the way for similar projects in the future."

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 08:19:29 -0400
  • Pompeo urges unity on Iran ahead of UN arms embargo vote news

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday called for the world to unite around a long-shot American bid to indefinitely extend a United Nations arms embargo on Iran. As members of the U.N. Security Council voted remotely on a U.S. resolution to prolong the embargo that is widely expected to fail, Pompeo said it was “nuts” to allow Iran to buy and sell weapons at will. Pompeo spoke well before an announcement of the results of the vote, which many diplomats believe will end in an embarrassing defeat for the Trump administration.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 07:25:53 -0400
  • Coronavirus: How fast is it spreading in Africa? news

    There are signs the rate of increase in cases is slowing, but do we know the true scale of the outbreak in Africa?

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 07:14:00 -0400
  • Global Audio Codecs Industry

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 07:05:00 -0400
  • EU urges Turkey to 'deescalate' energy dispute with Greece news

    The European Union's foreign policy chief expressed “full solidarity” with Greece and Cyprus and urged a “immediate deescalation” by Turkey after EU foreign ministers held urgent talks Friday on high military tensions over offshore drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean. For the past five days, the Greek and Turkish navies have been engaged in a game of brinkmanship in waters between the Greek island of Crete, Cyprus and Turkey over offshore drilling rights.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 06:16:14 -0400
  • Turkey threatens to cut diplomatic ties with UAE over Israel peace deal news

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, has threatened to sever diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and recall his ambassador after the Gulf state signed a peace deal with Israel. "I gave an order to the foreign minister. I said we could suspend diplomatic relations with the Abu Dhabi administration or withdraw our ambassador," Mr Erdogan told reporters on Friday. As part of the deal, announced by President Donald Trump on Thursday, the UAE would become the first Gulf state to normalise relations with Israel, which in return is expected to suspend its plans for annexation of the West Bank. However, the historic peace deal has laid bare tensions between the Middle East’s former imperial powers and youthful, oil-rich nations in the Gulf, with both Iran and Turkey strongly condemning the accord. On Friday, Tehran condemned the UAE’s decision to normalise ties with Israel as an “act of strategic stupidity,” while Ankara said history would never forgive the Gulf state for its “hypocritical behaviour.” "History and the conscience of the region's peoples will not forget and never forgive this hypocritical behaviour of the UAE, betraying the Palestinian cause for the sake of its narrow interests," said a statement by the foreign ministry of Turkey, which once led the Ottoman Empire. "It is extremely worrying that the UAE should, with a unilateral action, try and do away with the (2002) Arab Peace Plan developed by the Arab League. It is not in the slightest credible that this three-way declaration should be presented as supporting the Palestinian cause." Meanwhile a spokesman for the foreign ministry of Iran, the former Persian empire, said: "The oppressed people of Palestine and all the free nations of the world will never forgive the normalising of relations with the criminal Israeli occupation regime and the complicity in its crimes.” It also emerged on Friday that the Israeli security agency Mossad is due to lead a delegation to the UAE for further discussions on the deal. Under the terms of the deal, Israel agreed to suspend controversial plans to annex parts of the West Bank in return for a full diplomatic relationship and lucrative trade deals with the United Arab Emirates. Forging closer links between Israel and Arab nations is a key pillar of Mr Trump’s strategy for the Middle East, and the diplomatic coup on Thursday could provide a major boost for US elections in November. However, setting up diplomatic ties with Israel and increasing trade and cooperation in key security areas, such as Iranian regional influence, has also been a longstanding ambition for the UAE.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 05:31:35 -0400
  • Global Automotive Electronic Power Steering Industry

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 05:05:00 -0400
  • Global Automotive Exhaust Systems Industry

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    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 04:45:00 -0400
  • The Search Is on for the First LGBTQ Supreme Court Justice, Thanks to These Presidential Pioneers news

    Ruben J. Gonzales, vice president of the Victory Institute, and his colleagues have a favorite cautionary saying: “If you’re not at the table, you might be on the menu.”Whoever forms the next administration, the Victory Institute—sister organization of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which supports LGBTQ candidates running for office—would like that administration to appoint for the first time an out LGBTQ Supreme Court justice, the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet member, and the first ambassadors who are LGBTQ women, LGBTQ people of color, and transgender. Revealing its Presidential Appointments Initiative exclusively to The Daily Beast, the institute said it would also like the administration to “ensure LGBTQ presidential appointees are equal to or exceed our percentage in the U.S. population.”The Powerful Gay Meaning of Pete Buttigieg’s Presidential Run“We know that having LGBTQ people at the decision-making tables influences the policies put forward and ensures the LGBTQ community is understood firsthand,” said Gonzales. “That was reflected in the Obama administration’s guidance on protecting trans students under Title IX [revoked by current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos]. Even the most valuable allies we have may not know those experiences—around dealing with teachers, gym class, the nurse’s office. Some of those nuances we get from having LGBTQ voices at the table.”Gonzales emphasized the campaign is not about tokenism or mere numbers. “It is important that these LGBTQ appointees are qualified. People who object to what we are calling for always say ‘it doesn’t matter’ if a person is LGBTQ, just that they are qualified. Yes, they should be, but LGBTQ people—our lives and experiences—should also be represented at these decision-making tables.”The first of the institute’s appointment initiatives was launched during the Clinton administration; of the Obama administration’s record-breaking 330 out-LGBTQ appointees, 158 were assisted by the institute.Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, the first out-trans person to work as a permanent White House staffer, told The Daily Beast she did not realize her appointment as outreach and recruitment director on President Obama’s staff would “make the headlines around the world that it did.” She eventually became Obama’s primary LGBT liaison.“I literally walked into the office, I kid you not, and saw myself on CNN and MSNBC announcing my appointment throughout the day,” she recalled to The Daily Beast. “It was a little bit of a shock, but I absolutely appreciated that this was a step forward for our community, particularly for trans women and trans women of color. I was also ready to just do my job as part of a brilliant team.”James C. Hormel, who was the United States’ first out-gay ambassador—appointed by Bill Clinton to Luxembourg in 1999—told The Daily Beast he was “very aware” of making history because of the efforts made by the Senate to scupper his nomination. “We had the votes, and we tried to get a vote for two years,” Hormel recalled. “But Trent Lott, then the Senate majority leader, wouldn’t bring it up, he absolutely refused. Finally, it was done as a recess appointment. Through the course of it all, I learned a great deal about how things worked and didn’t work in Washington, and international relations.”The homophobia Hormel faced, he said, “was ridiculous. The accusations were absurd. There was a definite ‘religion’ aspect to it. It was said out loud, ‘How can you send a gay man to represent us in a Roman Catholic country like Luxembourg?’ Meanwhile, Luxembourg had already approved the nomination and they were offended because they didn’t have an ambassador. They weren’t offended by me. They were offended by the process.”Hormel said “the most ridiculous” charge was leveled by then-Arkansas Republican Sen. Tim Hutchinson, “who was one of three people who put a hold on my nomination. He asked me, ‘Would you disavow [famous nun drag troupe] the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence?’ I replied, ‘I never avowed them.’ He said, ‘Well, you’re on a videotape laughing at them.’ I said, ‘Well, they were funny.’ It was one silly thing after another.”Eric Fanning, former Army secretary (2016-17), was the first openly gay head of any service in the U.S. military. He had served in the Pentagon in both the Clinton and Obama administrations and “moved up the ladder, rung by rung,” he told The Daily Beast. The Victory Institute’s presidential appointments project helped connect him to his landmark post. His sexuality first made news during the confirmation process for his role as undersecretary of the Air Force. “When I got the Army nod, I was more prepared, but it still got more attention than you expect or are fully prepared for,” he said. “I joke my name went from ‘Eric Fanning’ to ‘Gay Man’ during those transitions because that would be the headline. The difference was, with the Air Force appointment you would get to my name in the third paragraph. With the Army post it was in the first.”Fanning hoped that the news might be “of value to someone to see ceilings broken, and provide inspiration for others who see they themselves in a job of leadership and, through me, know there is a path for them.”Four years ago, The Daily Beast understands that the then-Hillary Clinton presidential campaign reached out to Fanning to inform him he was on the shortlist of five possible defense secretary picks. (Fanning would not comment on this to The Daily Beast.) Now, he said, the number of LGBTQ people who would excel in such roles has “exploded. There is no dearth of LGBTQ candidates. We had one running for president [Pete Buttigieg] rather successfully.”“The government serves the people, and so should represent the full diversity of American people—and that includes LGBTQ Americans,” Ann Mei Chang, chief innovation officer of USAID from 2014 to 2017, told The Daily Beast. “If we don’t have people making the decisions, setting policies, coming from all walks of life, then it is hard for the government to truly represent the people.”At USAID, Chang said she hoped she made a difference by being a role model for others “to see that it was possible to have a senior role in government as an out woman of color. I heard from younger staff that this was meaningful. It was incredible to show people something was possible that they may not have thought possible otherwise. We can’t underestimate how important it is to see people in roles who look like yourself, who come from backgrounds like yourself, and have experiences like yourself. It means those things might be possible for you.”In the Trump administration, Richard Grenell, the former ambassador to Germany, served as acting director of national intelligence from February to May—making him the first out-gay person to serve in a Cabinet-level position. Last month, via Twitter, Grenell accused the Victory Fund of anti-Republican bias (tagging in the IRS), which the fund denies. “We are a 527 political organization! We are NOT tax-exempt! We are non-partisan because we choose to be, not because we have to be,” the group responded.In the last 3 1/2 years, fewer than 10 LGBTQ people submitted their résumés to the Victory Institute, expressing an interest in working within the Trump administration. Nearly 100 people in the last month submitted résumés in the hope of a future Biden administration—reflecting, said Gonzales, the disparity many LGBTQ people see between where they see President Donald Trump standing on LGBTQ equality versus former Vice President Joe Biden.“We are non-partisan,” said Gonzales. “If there are LGBTQ people who support full equality who want to join the Trump administration, we will support them.”The importance of LGBTQ presidential appointees being “in the room” is made painfully apparent by the homophobia and transphobia of the Trump administration, Hormel claimed.“The current administration, regardless of the words they speak, are doing whatever they can to diminish the LGBTQ constituency, especially in respect of transgender people and those trans people serving in the military,” Hormel told The Daily Beast. “It’s outrageous to me, and I don’t think it would be happening if there were more LGBTQ people in positions of leadership.”* * *“I thought, ‘This is a too important part of me to hide’”For Ann Mei Chang, picking the first LGBTQ woman, LGBTQ person of color, or trans person as an ambassador would be significant, as she recalled seeing the-then “eight or nine” white gay male ambassadors together at a State Department event. “It was a pretty shocking image. It didn’t represent the diversity of the LGBTQ community,” Chang said. “It’s important not only domestically that we represent the full diversity of the population but overseas too. It says something about what America is about. If ‘all LGBTQ people’ are white gay men, that’s a pretty limited view and offers a limited perspective. I’m as informed in my experience as an LGBTQ person as I am by being a woman and being Asian American.”The discrimination is echoed in many institutions, said Chang, in “the advantages white men have, which also exist for gay people as well.”The military was a particularly vexed arena for LGBTQ people—particularly as Eric Fanning built his career as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was both introduced and then repealed.“In many ways the military was dragged kicking and screaming into change, but in other ways one could argue the military led the way. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was repealed before marriage equality was won. But when I first served in the Obama administration and went back into the Pentagon and ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ still existed, it was really strange for me. It didn’t apply to me, obviously, but to have this piece of discriminatory legislation still around I thought I would have to leave if it wasn’t repealed. I think my appointment had more resonance because of it.”His sexuality “wasn’t a big deal” at the Pentagon. “If anything, it exposed me to more support. It wasn’t part of either confirmation process. I had worked in national security for many years and two presidential administrations. I had my bona fides. People knew me.“I didn’t think how big a deal it was until I started hearing from people in uniform—some out, some thinking of coming out—that it had given them hope. Just because ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was repealed does not mean everybody was suddenly out. Still today, a lot of people are serving in silence.”Fanning said he did not face any homophobia inside the job but did from commentators including Mike Huckabee and right-wing blogs. “The fact it was broadcast I was gay actually made life a lot easier. People think you have a coming out moment, but you are coming out all the time. One of the first questions in the military is, ‘Do you have a wife or partner?’”Fanning said many people were supportive, others “didn’t care, and there’s that group like the old guys in the Muppets balcony [the iconic Statler and Waldorf] who complain about everything. But I thought, why make such an important decision about your life, personal integrity, and being able to live your whole self because of a worst-case scenario of those people who I promise are outnumbered by people who will support you.”Indeed, at parties if Fanning brought a male friend, that person was “swarmed” by colleagues excitedly asking if he was a boyfriend. His now-husband, Ben Masri-Cohen, has also experienced this warmth. “I hadn’t anticipated the experience would be as positive as it was,” said Fanning. It was incredibly moving on his last day in office, he said, to be applauded out of the Pentagon with Masri-Cohen at his side.Margarethe Cammermeyer, the colonel who in 1994 successfully challenged the then-ban on lesbians and gay men serving in the military in a landmark court case, told Fanning that she had never met anyone who regretted coming out. It was seeing her story that inspired Fanning himself to come out, while serving in the Clinton administration. “I thought, ‘This is a too important part of me to hide.’ I didn’t think there was anyone else who was gay at the Pentagon back then, which is ridiculous. But I couldn’t see any openly LGBTQ people in the administration, I couldn’t see a career for me. I thought, ‘People like me don’t get promoted.’”Fanning left the Pentagon, worked for CBS News, and returned under President Barack Obama.There were, said James Hormel of his drawn-out ambassadorial appointment, “moments of depression and more moments of anger—and the anger and depression had to be tempered because they wouldn’t produce any result.”In retrospect, he said, “it was helpful to me because when I arrived in Luxembourg, the government was very sympathetic and really went out of their way to work with me. We had an excellent relationship.” In 1995, Hormel was proud to give a major speech at the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva about HIV, AIDS, and human rights, “which was still an untouchable subject even then.” He also met delegates who could not be out in their countries of origin. “Looking back my service was important, and looking at what has happened since any service is important,” Hormel said. “Look at Kamala’s [Harris] reception, my god. We should be ashamed of ourselves it has taken so long [for a Black woman to be a VP pick]. She’s wonderful. I know her well, and I am in great awe and have great admiration for her. She deserves all the accolades that will come her way.”Working in many government departments meant, said Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, that LGBTQ people and issues were brought up with regard to the Zika virus. “I was able to say, ‘A lot of this messaging is very heteronormative. Folks in our community get pregnant too.’ I could also talk to our advocates too about getting messaging out to the community.”Without the presence of LGBTQ appointees, would the Obama administration have advanced so far on LGBTQ issues? this reporter asked Freedman-Gurspan.“Simply put, no,” she said. “Our heterosexual and cisgender colleagues looked to us for guidance. It also fostered good community relations. Advocates couldn’t say the White House didn’t understand with me, and others, there. Part of my job was to have sometimes tough, delicate conversations with community groups about what we could and couldn’t deliver—and that could be difficult. But that’s part of a healthy relationship.”Fanning is “100 percent convinced” that it makes a difference if LGBTQ appointees are “in the room.”“I saw it in my own career. They will at least talk about the issues differently. I was in the room and not out, when the chiefs were talking about lifting the ban and introducing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ which was a terrible compromise. At the time it felt like it was about getting us halfway down the field when really it was setting us off in the completely wrong direction. “The ways they talked about gays and lesbians was startling to me—it was the most pejorative, stereotypical, and dismissive language. ‘This is immoral,’ ‘This is unacceptable,’ ‘This flies against the values of our country and the military and what we fight for.’ ‘My soldiers won’t stand for this.’ “There was a very conservative culture in the military. The chiefs at that time did not want to end the ban. Had I been out and they knew I was gay, it wouldn’t have necessarily made their views different, but they would have at least talked differently. My bosses would have at least been better bystanders, like, ‘Oh my god, Eric’s gay, we can’t talk like this.’”That atmosphere didn’t stop Fanning from eventually coming out, but it did make him wonder if he wanted to work at the Pentagon. “It didn’t occur to me at the time that doing my job and doing it well, and others joining alongside me, could change the narrative and environment.”Serving in the Obama administration, Fanning—then focused on lifting the ban on trans servicepeople (now re-established by Trump)—invited trans servicepeople to lunch with the chiefs of their branch of the military to talk about their experiences, “to humanize their story. It brought a whole new dimension to the issue.”Fanning is hopeful that the courts or a Biden administration will strike the trans military ban down. “The debate shouldn’t be, ‘Should these people serve?’ They already are. Trans people, like gay people, like women, have always been in the military. The policies should simply be updated to reflect it. We want and need people to join the military. Why are we making it more difficult for those who really want to? This is not about ‘identity politics,’ as people sometimes say. It’s about striking down barriers that are not related to the requirements to do a job.”Fanning recalled that when the issue of “religious accommodations” was debated in the Army, he found the top brass resistant. “The colonels had the attitude ‘We’ll make it work,’ and then I met one young officer who told me that he was training alongside a Sikh who wore a turban, and ‘it’s fine,’ he said. Young people are growing up in a different world. When we were repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ my boss spoke to his daughter about what she thought. She said, ‘I think you’re an idiot for even asking me the question.’”Leaving her post, Freedman-Gurspan said she and her colleagues had “prepared a lot” for the Trump administration, “but they tossed the memos out. The reality is they have not done one positive thing for the LGBTQ community but instead a slew of anti-LGBTQ things. It’s such a shame. Our focus was on the American public writ large, while this administration has selected a few groups who will benefit, while excluding others, like immigrants and LGBTQ folks.”As an LGBTQ presidential appointee, she hoped she was “not just giving back to the LGBTQ community, but to the country at large, and it was an immense pleasure to do so.”The numbers of LGBTQ appointees under Obama had, said Chang, made for a powerful community of people and colleagues then and now, which at the time—busy as they all were—“gave me a delightful window into the diversity of experiences and people in different parts of government.” Many still keep in touch and meet up at events, said Chang, now a consultant and author of Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good.While Chang has not followed every LGBTQ twist and turn of the Trump administration, “because it has been so disheartening,” she has heard that many LGBTQ people working in government do not feel as supported as they did before. “This is people’s careers and livelihoods, and when they feel they can’t be their full selves it’s damaging on so many levels,” she said.* * *“There is a wealth of LGBTQ talent and experience”Ruben J. Gonzales told The Daily Beast that the “first-ever” targets the Victory Institute is announcing Friday would be “more likely” realized under a Biden than second Trump administration.Despite the pro-equality rollbacks of the last four years, Gonzales said there has been a doubling in the number of out LGBTQ elected officials across the country—from fewer than 430 in 2016 to more than 860 now. “The number of out LGBTQ senators doubled with the election of Kyrsten Sinema [Arizona; alongside Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin], and governors with the election of Jared Polis [Colorado; alongside Kate Brown, Oregon],” he said.Gonzales prefers not to look at why it has taken so long to break glass ceilings but rather observes that “there is a wealth of LGBTQ talent and experience” that should make the targets identified by the institute achievable, including the LGBTQ judges serving at every level of the court system who would make sound SCOTUS nominees.Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Maura Healey (Massachusetts’ attorney general), and Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) would make excellent Cabinet secretaries or hold senior positions, Gonzales said, while Pete Buttigieg could be a “well-informed” secretary of state, “representing our country well and restoring some of the faith lost in the United States.”An LGBTQ pick in the health and housing departments would be powerful, given the Trump administration’s deployment of anti-trans policies in both.When it comes to the Supreme Court, Gonzales noted “the depth and nuance” that Justice Sonia Sotomayor brought to her recent DACA concurrence as reflecting how valuable a future LGBTQ justice’s lived experience could be on the bench. The same principle applies to a Senate-approved Cabinet-level position, Gonzales said. “The presence of LGBTQ officials in these rooms makes room for more understanding and a much more nuanced conversation about our lives, and how those lives are reflected in policies and rulings.”“LGBTQ folks serving in any capacity in any place of employment bring their authentic selves and that perspective to work,” said Raffi Freedman-Gurspan. “One of the great things about the Obama administration was that many of us were out and serving in different positions.”Freedman-Gurspan said the plurality of LGBTQ voices in the Obama administration was a strength she hopes is replicated in future administrations, while recognizing that the LGBTQ community “is not a monolith. We have diversity in our politics and community—and that is part of a healthy democracy and human condition. “However, it is troubling to know our community—especially the trans community—has really been a target of this administration. We’ve seen rollbacks for trans kids in schools, to the trans military ban, and most recently in access to health care. We can’t see that the few gay men in the Trump administration have fostered any goodwill toward our community from the administration itself.”For Eric Fanning, a Senate-approved Cabinet pick would be more potent a first than an LGBTQ Supreme Court justice, “because from Day 1 the president can choose that person.”The Victory Institute’s presidential appointments project, which benefited Fanning, he hopes will benefit others. “Diverse teams lead to more creative solutions,” he said. The challenge now, he said, is to ensure that “diversity” does not just mean white gay men but LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ women, and trans people.In the national security field, Fanning said, “there is a broad, deep, diverse bench like never before of women, minorities, and LGBTQ people who are worthy of many positions. My hope is that the ceiling will be broken at the Pentagon with the first female secretary of defense and she will be awesome.”For Freedman-Gurspan, any of the symbolic first-ever appointments identified by the Victory Institute would be important to fill. If a SCOTUS justice, “I just want to make sure they are a good judge who understands the law and is impartial. A Cabinet secretary would have real practical impact on people’s lives. As a trans person, I am part of a community affected by this. I want kids like me treated as equals, for people like me not to be kicked out of housing, and that if they have complaints that those complaints are not falling on unresponsive ears and eyes and are taken seriously.”Freedman-Gurspan is now the deputy states director at the National Democratic Redistributing Committee, focused on “ending partisan gerrymandering.” She said the young person mulling a career in politics versus “becoming a nuclear scientist” should know the latter could mean ending up running NASA one day, and having just as much public impact—perhaps more—as forming public policy.Would Fanning like to take on a top job again? “I’m very happy with work and life now,” he said cautiously. (He is president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association.) “Those of us who do this have public service in our blood. It’s a calling. I don’t know when, but at some point I would love another opportunity to serve in that capacity.”“Whoever is elected in November will make a big difference,” Ann Mei Chang said. “Biden has a commitment to LGBTQ issues and staff compared to what we see in the Trump administration. There will be setbacks such as this current administration, but, as Martin Luther King said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ In the fullness of time, in the grand scheme of things, we will continue to see progress.”The State Department, former Ambassador Hormel told The Daily Beast, is particularly “pathetic” and a “major international disaster” under Trump. “I’m very concerned about how long it will take to mend relationships. The current secretary of state [Mike Pompeo] has taken actions that are appalling, and totally unsupportive of our position in the world, particularly when it comes to LGBTQ people.”“The most important single thing any LGBTQ person can do is come out,” Hormel said. “I have been saying this for 50 years. People still claim they don’t know any LGBTQ people, they still try and make out we are something we are not. Coming out is the most powerful weapon against that.”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.

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 04:37:38 -0400
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