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(Bloomberg) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lobbed a rare direct rebuke at the rulers of Abu Dhabi over their backing of Khalifa Haftar and the Russian mercenaries fighting on his behalf in Libya.Erdogan said that the emirate is bankrolling thousands of Russian fighters who support the forces controlled by the Libyan general, whom he derided as a “desert lord.” Turkey has responded to the Russian deployment by providing military support to the internationally recognized government in Tripoli.The Turkish president’s criticism comes as a truce agreed this month appeared to be under severe strain with each side accusing the other of violations. A conference convened by Germany days after the cease-fire was struck had sought a cessation of hostilities to pave the way for an end to the civil war in the North African country.“Haftar is, at the moment, like a desert lord in Libya,” Erdogan told reporters during a flight from Algeria to Gambia, according to a transcript of his remarks published by his office. “He has control in desert areas but not in populated regions.”In fact, Haftar holds sway over the country’s east and many Libyan cities as well as most of its key oil installations. This month, his forces also took the city of Sirte.Turkey is currently monitoring Haftar’s “ugly attempts” to grab more land but will do whatever is necessary to stop him, Erdogan said.The United Arab Emirates Foreign Ministry and the Abu Dhabi executive council, the sheikhdom’s top decision-making body, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Erdogan’s remarks.The direct criticism once more lays bare tensions between Turkey and Abu Dhabi. The oil-rich Gulf emirate has turned into a regional rival in recent years as Erdogan supported Islamist political movements seen as a threat by Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de-facto leader of the U.A.E.Russian mercenaries back Haftar’s forces, officials have told Bloomberg, and he also has support from Egypt and the U.A.E., who see him as a bulwark against Islamic extremists. Turkish soldiers are training forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have also joined the conflict.Dueling GovernmentsWestern officials say more than 1,400 fighters with the Russian Wagner group, headed by a confidant of President Vladimir Putin, have arrived since September to back Haftar’s Libyan National Army in its offensive to capture Tripoli.Meanwhile, Erdogan’s government has dispatched military advisers, armed drones and Syrian militiamen in support of the Government of National Accord in the Libyan capital.Despite the Berlin accord, foreign backers of both sides have sent in fighters and advanced weapons, the United Nations mission in Libya said late Saturday. Such moves raise questions over their commitment to halting the oil producer’s latest war, which began when the eastern-based Haftar ordered his forces to march on the capital in April.When asked this month about Russian mercenaries operating in Libya, Putin didn’t explicitly deny their presence but wouldn’t specify their number and said they receive no financing from Russia itself.“If there are any Russian citizens there, they neither represent the interests of the Russian state, nor receive funding from the Russian state,” Putin said Jan. 11 after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow.(Updates with Western estimate of mercenaries, Turkey’s involvement under ‘Dueling Governments’ subheadline)\--With assistance from Zainab Fattah and Samer Khalil Al-Atrush.To contact the reporter on this story: Onur Ant in Istanbul at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at firstname.lastname@example.org, Paul Abelsky, Mark WilliamsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Hong Kong on Tuesday announced drastic measures to cut the number of people crossing into the city from mainland China in a bid to curb the spread of a SARS-like virus that has already killed more than 100 people. With tour groups from the mainland already suspended, the new measures blocking individual travellers will dramatically reduce the number of Chinese able to visit the semi-autonomous city. The number of flights from the mainland to Hong Kong will be halved and all ferry services suspended to "reduce the mobility of people from both sides", city leader Carrie Lam said, adding six of 14 border checkpoints will close from January 30 "until further notice".
(Bloomberg) -- The Chinese Embassy to Denmark wants the newspaper Jyllands-Posten to apologize for publishing a drawing that depicts China’s flag with virus symbols instead of five stars.“We express our strong indignation and demand that Jyllands-Posten and [cartoonist] Niels Bo Bojesen reproach themselves for their mistake and publicly apologize to the Chinese people,” the embassy said in a statement posted on its website.When asked to comment, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen avoided any direct reference to Jyllands-Posten’s cartoon.“I have nothing to say on the matter other than [to note that] we have a very strong tradition in Denmark not just for freedom of speech for also for freedom of satire, and we’ll continue to have that in the future,” she said, according to multiple news media including Politiken. “This is a well known Danish position and we’re not going to change it.”Denmark’s largest newspaper has faced international backlash over its cartoons in the past. In 2005, the paper printed 12 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad, which angered many nations in which Islam is the main religion and sparked a diplomatic crisis. Back then, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen also defended freedom of speech and said governments had no place telling newspapers what to write.The Chinese flag was printed in the opinion section of the newspaper’s Monday edition with a caption titled “Corona virus”.Editor-in-Chief Jacob Nybroe said the paper won’t apologize.“We can’t apologize for something we don’t think is wrong,” Nybroe told news agency Ritzau. “We have no intention to demean or mock but we don’t think this drawing is doing that.”(Updates with comment from Denmark’s prime minister)To contact the reporter on this story: Morten Buttler in Copenhagen at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Christian Wienberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, Tasneem Hanfi BröggerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Now in charge of the sprawling Ethiopian Somali region, the former activist and aid worker has seven months before people vote on his reforms to a system where extrajudicial killings were rife. Authorities this month set Aug. 16 as the date for Ethiopia's landmark elections. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed promised free and fair polls when he took power in April 2018, and wider change after years of deadly political violence.
As hundreds of Americans prepare to evacuate Wuhan, the central Chinese city at the heart of a new virus outbreak that has killed over 100, San Francisco native Doug Perez is staying behind. Perez, 28, and his girlfriend have hunkered down in their apartment for the past five days. “A lot of foreigners are stuck here,” Perez said.
When Fran met Bruce Lindahl, he didn’t seem like a monster. Today, more than 40 years later, she considers herself lucky to be alive.She was 15 and Lindahl was in his early twenties when he first invited Fran and her friends over to his apartment in Lisle, Illinois, she recalled to The Daily Beast. He would buy alcohol for the girls and host parties at his place with his live-in girlfriend.He initially seemed like a “wonderful person,” according to Fran, whose last name is being withheld at her request. (The Daily Beast does not name survivors of sexual violence without their consent.) He took her ice skating or to the movies, and even earned the trust of Fran’s mother, who allowed him to be the adult driver in the passenger seat when she only had her learner’s permit. Perhaps most of all, he was charming, she said.Now, police say Lindahl—who has been dead since the 1980s—could easily prove to be a serial killer.Is a Serial-Killer Gang Murdering Young Men Across the U.S.?On Jan. 13, police detectives in Lisle, a Chicago suburb, announced that thanks to advanced DNA forensics they were able to tie Bruce Lindahl to the murder of Pamela Maurer of Woodridge, who was found strangled on the side of a road in 1976. Mauer, who was just 16 at the time, decided to walk to a nearby store to buy a Coke that night. Police found her body the next morning. Perhaps most disturbing about the latest developments in the case: The lead detective, Chris Loudon, suggested DNA evidence could eventually tie Lindahl to dozens of other victims of violent crimes ranging from rape to murder.“If Bruce wouldn’t have accidentally killed himself, the death toll would have likely been astronomical,” Loudon told The Daily Beast, adding that he would “bet his entire paycheck” Lindahl was responsible for at least nine murders—and may be linked to 12. And with at least 25 tips coming in daily, Loudon said, he believed that number could grow. He and fellow officers have leaned on some of the same techniques that were at least partially responsible for the capture of the suspected Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo, in 2018. Through DNA databases from popular services like 23andMe, a composite sketch was created. It bore a striking resemblance to Lindahl.Lindahl often had run-ins with the law, and investigators had suspected him in a number of heinous crimes prior to his death in 1981. He was charged with kidnapping and raping a woman named Debra Colliander in 1980, but the case fell apart when the victim went missing two weeks before she was set to testify. Her body was discovered in 1982.By then, Lindahl was dead, having been found in an apartment in the nearby Chicago suburb of Naperville, draped over 18-year-old Charles Huber. Detectives concluded Lindahl accidentally severed his own femoral artery while stabbing the young man 28 times with a six-inch kitchen knife.But Fran knew Lindahl was capable of wanton brutality and violence before police did.When she was still a teenager, Lindahl invited her over for drinks early one morning, which had become a regular occurrence by then. When Fran arrived, she recalled, he had her favorite—a scotch on the rocks—ready for her. But after just a couple of sips, she said, she dropped the drink, lost control of her motor functions, and went limp.Lindahl proceeded to attack her, she said, stripping her of her clothes, taking photographs of her in various poses, and raping her. She recalled the assault continuing until she grew “very, very sick.”She said she asked Lindahl to take her to a nearby hospital and that he refused, insisting she was OK. Instead, Fran remembered Lindahl going so far as to take some of her friends skiing that same day. She spent the day trying to sleep in the back of his car.Despite the assault, Fran added, she didn’t feel comfortable completely distancing herself from Lindahl, and their relationship—abusive and violent though it was—would continue for a few more years. “When Bruce said jump, I said, ‘How high?’” she said.At the time, and perhaps even today, Fran says, she felt responsible for what happened to her. Although she was just a teenager, she described some sexual encounters with Lindahl that were “consensual” in her mind.She didn’t tell any of her friends or family. Not only did she worry about being believed, she felt that Lindahl would do “something terrible” to her.Fran recalled another night when Lindahl insisted she come over to his place. When she arrived, Lindahl’s girlfriend was sleeping in the next room. He then forced Fran to perform oral sex on him and demanded she sneak out the window when he was finished, she recalled.“I thought if I screamed, he would hurt me,” she said. Fran still remembers the last time she saw Lindahl, too.She was 18 and had taken a job that required her to work the graveyard shift. That meant she almost never saw Lindahl anymore. She thought she had escaped him, or perhaps that he had moved on to other women.Until one morning, when she passed Lindahl’s car on the way home from work. Lindahl must have been waiting for her; he followed her back to her house.She pleaded with Lindahl that she was tired from work and needed sleep, but he ignored her and followed her into the house, she said. When he grabbed the family Polaroid camera and followed her upstairs, she feared the worst.To this day, Fran isn’t entirely sure how she convinced Lindahl to leave that morning. But she was able to coax him out of the house and escape unharmed.Learning of his death was the only way out of being haunted by him.“I was thrilled,” she said, recalling relief washing over her when she saw him on local news.Fran never allowed Lindahl to define her life. She started a family and worked hard; years would go by without her thinking about the man. But she never stopped worrying about Lindahl’s girlfriend, she said.Years after Lindahl died, she thought she ran into her in a Chicago suburb. When Fran asked if she was who she thought she was, the woman denied it and turned white. She was living under a different name than Fran remembered, she said. “I always worried that maybe she didn’t know Bruce was dead,” she said. “That maybe she was living her life in hiding.”Over the years, Fran has grappled with guilt and wondered if she should have spoken up sooner. But when she saw the news of his being tied to so many other grisly crimes, she realized how close she may have come to becoming one of Lindahl’s alleged murder victims herself.She said she doesn’t feel brave or courageous telling her story. But after reading pleas from detectives in media reports, she felt the need to come forward. “I always felt like everything was my fault. I guess I’ve always been that way,” she said. She subsequently reached out to police and was interviewed by Detective Loudon. Still, Fran added, she couldn’t help suspecting that keeping her head down saved her at a time when perpetrators of sexual violence were even less likely to be prosecuted than they are today.“Somehow, I always knew to be afraid,” she said. “I feel lucky I kept my mouth shut.”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.
A Hungarian security officer fired three warning shots early on Tuesday after about 60 migrants tried to force their way through a checkpoint on the EU member state's southern border with Serbia, police said. Police said the group tried to enter the European Union at the Roszke crossing at about 0430 GMT, prompting the security officer on site to open fire. The crossing was the scene of a large-scale riot at the peak of Europe's migrant crisis in 2015, when police clashed with hundreds trying to break through the frontier into the EU.
Li Ziqi, 29, has garnered millions of followers with her videos of her idyllic life in rural Sichuan. Is she too good to be true?Since she began posting rustic-chic videos of her life in rural Sichuan province in 2016, Li Ziqi, 29, has become one of China’s biggest social media stars. She has 22 million followers on the microblogging site Weibo, 34 million on Douyin (China’s version of TikTok) and another 8.3 million on YouTube (Li has been active on YouTube for the last two years, despite it being officially blocked in China).Li’s videos – which she initially produced by herself and now makes with a small team – emphasize beautiful countryside and ancient tradition. In videos soundtracked by tranquil flute music, Li crafts her own furniture out of bamboo and dyes her clothing with fruit skins. If she wants soy sauce, she grows the soybeans themselves; a video about making an egg yolk dish starts with her hatching ducklings. The meals she creates are often elaborate demonstrations of how many delicious things can be done with a particular seasonal ingredient, like ginger or green plums.There is even a Li Ziqi online shop, where fans can purchase versions of the steel “chopper” knife she uses to dice the vegetables she plucks from her plentiful garden, or replicas of the old-fashioned shirts she wears while foraging for wild mushrooms and magnolia blossoms in the misty mountainside.While she occasionally reveals a behind-the-scenes peek at her process, Li – who did not respond to interview requests for this article – is very private. By all accounts, she struggled to find steady work in a city before returning to the countryside to care for her ailing grandmother (who appears in her videos).Recently, Li has been thrust into a wider spotlight by the Chinese government, who seem to have realized her soft power potential. In 2018, the Communist party of China named her a “good young netizen” and role model for Chinese youth. In September 2019, the People’s Daily, a CPC mouthpiece, gave Li their “People’s Choice” award, while last month, state media praised Li for helping to promote traditional culture globally, and the Communist Youth League named her an ambassador of a program promoting the economic empowerment of rural youth.As the government increasingly champions her, Chinese citizens have taken to Weibo to question whether Li’s polished, rather one-dimensional portrayal of farm work conveys anything truly meaningful about contemporary China – especially to her growing international audience on YouTube.They have a point: Li’s videos reveal as much about the day-to-day labor of most Chinese farmers as the Martha Stewart Show does the American working class. As Li Bochun, director of Beijing-based Chinese Culture Rejuvenation Research Institute told the media last month: “The traditional lifestyle Li Ziqi presents in her videos is … not widely followed.”In reality, many of China’s rural villages have shrunk or disappeared completely in past decades as the nation prioritized urbanization and workers migrated to cities, with research suggesting the country lost 245 rural villages a day from 2000 to 2010. The 40% of China’s population still living in rural areas encompass a huge diversity of experience, yet life can be difficult, with per-capita rural income declining sharply since 2014 and environmental pollution often as rife as in industrial centers. That’s not to say the beautiful forests and compelling traditions of Li’s videos are not genuine – like many social media creators, she simply focuses on the most charming elements of a bigger picture.So what do Li’s videos reflect about modern China, if not average daily life in the countryside?For one, they say something about the mindset of her mainland audience – primarily urban millennials, for whom a traditional culture craze known as “fugu” or “hanfu” has been an aesthetic trend for a number of years.“Fugu”, according to Yang Chunmei, professor of Chinese history and philosophy at Qufu Normal University, reflects the “romanticized, pastoral” desires of youth “disillusioned by today’s ever-changing, industrial, consumerist society.” In practice, it looks like young people integrating more traditional clothing into their daily looks, watching historical dramas and following rural lifestyle influencers like Li. (While Li is an extremely popular example of the trend, she’s not the only young farmer vlogging in China right now, and outdoor cooking videos of people making meals with wild ingredients and scant equipment are a genre of their own on Douyin.)Among urban millennials in the west, giving up the nine-to-five grind and living humbly and closer to nature is a popular dream. In China, the contemporary experience of burnout is compounded by the intensity of “urban disease”, an umbrella term for the difficulties of living in megacities like Shanghai or Guangzhou, which can be used to refer to everything from traffic jams and poor air quality to employment and housing scarcity.Also at play in Li’s popularity is the particular tenor of Chinese wistfulness. “It’s called xiangchou. Xiang means the countryside or rural life, and chou means to long for it, to miss it,” says Linda Qian, an Oxford University PhD candidate studying nostalgia’s role in the revitalization of China’s villages.“It is quite prevalent for youth living the city life. They get really sick of [the city] so the countryside” – or a fantasy of it – “looks increasingly like the ideal image of what a good life should be.”Qian also likens Li’s appeal to that of “Man vs Wild”-style entertainment in the west. “We’ve gotten to a certain point of materialism and consumption where there’s only so much you can buy, and we’re like, ‘What other experiences can I have?’” she says. “So we go back to what humans can do.”Yet as her fame grows internationally, some have questioned, in comments, blogposts and Reddit threads, whether Li’s channel is communist propaganda.In addition to providing China a form of international PR, Li embodies a kind of rural success the government hopes to generate more of through recent initiatives. With the aim of alleviating rural poverty, the Communist Youth League has embarked on an effort to send more than 10 million urban youth to “rural zones” by 2022, in order to “increase their skills, spread civilization, and promote science and technology”.“We need young people to use science and technology to help the countryside innovate its traditional development models,” Zhang Linbin, deputy head of a township in central Hunan province, told the Global Times last April.By using technology to create her own rural economic opportunities while simultaneously championing forms of traditional Chinese culture before a huge audience, Li may seem like a CPC dream come true.According to Professor Ka-Ming Wu, a cultural anthropologist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong: “Li represents a new wave of Chinese soft power in that she’s so creative and aesthetically good, and knows how to appeal to a general audience whether they’re Chinese or not.” And yet, “I don’t think this is some kind of engineered effort by the Chinese state,” she says.Li’s narrative hinges on her failure to thrive in the city; that failure is antithetical to China’s overarching narrative of progress and urban opportunity. Were she a manufactured agent of propaganda, Wu speculates, “[Her failure] is something the Chinese state would never even mention.“And I think that’s what really fuels her popularity,” says Wu. “That despair of not being able to find oneself in the ‘Chinese dream’. I don’t think she’s propaganda because one of her major successes is that she’s making that failure highly aesthetic … However, the Chinese government is very smart to appropriate her work and say that she represents traditional culture and promote her.”According to some Chinese media, Li’s content is better than propaganda – doing more to generate genuine domestic, and especially international, interest in rural Chinese traditions than any government initiative of the past decade. “Dozens of government departments with billions at their disposal spent 10 years on propaganda projects, but they have done a worse job than a little girl,” writes the South China Morning Post’s Chauncey Jung, summarizing a tweet from journalist Jasper Jia.However you feel about Li as a cultural force, her ability to flourish despite a unique set of contradictory circumstances is impressive. Out of the past and present, failure and success, independence and authoritarianism, she’s spun a truly pleasant vision. If only life was really so simple.
Afghan forces and Taliban fighters clashed in a central region where a U.S. military aircraft crashed, officials said on Tuesday, as the government tried to reach the wreckage site in a Taliban stronghold. On Monday, the U.S. military said an E-11A aircraft crashed in the province of Ghazni, but disputed Taliban claims to have brought it down, without saying how many were aboard or if any had been killed. Security forces were sent to the site immediately after receiving a report of the crash in the Deh Yak district, but were ambushed by Taliban fighters, Ghazni provincial police chief Khalid Wardak told Reuters.
A Mexican soldier was killed and a general wounded Monday when traffickers opened fire on a military patrol that sought to intercept a drug plane as it landed on a roadway, officials said. The dramatic pre-dawn shootout in the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo showed the brazenness of drug cartels that are flying increasing amounts of cocaine in from South America. The traffickers pulled up in two vehicles near where the small plane landed on a road near the coastal lagoon resort of Bacalar and tried to unload an estimated 1,750 to 2,200 pounds (800 and 1,000 kilograms) of cocaine in 26 packages, authorities said.
Officials in the UK have confirmed they are looking into reports that a British man has died while in the custody of US immigration authorities.Reports said a 39-year-old had been found dead while being held in Florida by the enforcement of arm of the nation’s border agency, known as ICE.
China's capital on Monday recorded its first death from a deadly coronavirus as it struggles to contain a rapidly spreading disease that has sparked global alarm, with countries scrambling to evacuate their citizens from the epicentre of the epidemic. The fatality in Beijing raises the death toll from the new virus to 82, with more than 2,700 people infected across the nation. The United States urged its citizens to "reconsider" all travel to China and told them not to go to central Hubei province, where the pneumonia-like virus emerged.
Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, an ardent ally of President Donald Trump and vocal opponent of his impeachment, is expected to announce he will challenge fellow Republican and newly appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler for her seat this year, a Republican official said Monday. The decision by the four-term lawmaker could complicate the GOP's chances of holding onto the seat as Republicans battle to retain their Senate majority in this November's elections. Loeffler, 49, was appointed this month to the seat by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to replace the retired Sen. Johnny Isakson, who left office due to deteriorating health.
As authorities in China scrambled to handle a coronavirus that has killed at least 81 people, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday described a surging potential crisis even as they pushed back on the latest thinking from Beijing about just how easily it spreads.Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters that the number of confirmed cases stateside had reached five—and that there had been a total of 110 “persons under investigation” for the virus in 26 states over the past week.Thirty-two of those people tested negative, and there had been no confirmed person-to-person transmissions inside the country, Messonnier said on Monday. The confirmed cases in the U.S. include patients in Orange County, California; a man in his 30s in Washington state; a woman in her 60s in Chicago; a passenger who felt ill after flying into Los Angeles International Airport; and a student at Arizona State University who does not live in university housing, the CDC said on Sunday. All of the U.S. cases appeared to involve patients who had recently traveled from Wuhan, China—the epicenter of the deadly virus. Seventy-three people were still being evaluated for the virus as of Monday.Fifth U.S. Case of Coronavirus Confirmed in Patient Who Traveled From Wuhan, China“We understand that many people in the United States are worried about this virus and how it will affect Americans,” Messonnier said, adding that “risk depends on exposure,” which for Americans remained “low” on Monday.In each U.S. case, health officials have said they will trace the patient’s contacts and identify anyone who may have had prolonged exposure, then monitor those individuals for symptoms. In the U.S., anyone who has had close contact with confirmed patients has not been quarantined unless and until they display symptoms.That policy came into question over the weekend, when China’s health minister Ma Xiaowei said “the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger” and that authorities in that country now believe the virus can spread during the incubation period—even before infected patients become symptomatic. A study published last week in the journal Lancet appeared to bolster that contention.But Messonnier said the CDC had not seen “any clear evidence of patients being infectious before symptom onset” as of Monday, even if authorities in the U.S. “are being very aggressive and very cautious in tracking close contacts” of infected individuals.“This outbreak is unfolding rapidly, and we are rapidly looking at how that impacts our posture at the border,” said Messonnier. “I expect that in the coming days, our travel recommendations will change.”Experts said that even as statements from Chinese health officials had to be viewed through a political lens, outright dismissal of asymptomatic transmission was premature.Eric Toner, a senior scientist with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the University’s School of Public Health, called the question “nuanced.” “It’s hard to know why the [Chinese] minister was so sure,” said Toner. “The evidence we have seen is quite suggestive of pre-symptomatic transmission, at least in some people, but not conclusive. He may have information that we do not.”For now, officials were still screening passengers at five American airports: Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Of course, fewer travelers are coming out of Wuhan in the wake of a travel lockdown late last week; Messonnier said the CDC had screened approximately 2,400 people in those airports so far but that “the number of people coming from Wuhan is declining.”Though Chinese authorities halted travel from Wuhan to stop the spread of the virus, the U.S. is among several countries—including France and Russia—that were given special permission to evacuate diplomats and private citizens. In addition to the 81 dead in China—76 of whom reportedly lived in Wuhan—nearly 3,000 people across the world, including a 9-month-old baby girl in Beijing, had confirmed cases of the virus as of Monday morning. Aside from the five cases in the U.S., more have been reported in Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, Macau, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, France, Canada, Vietnam, and Nepal. There had been no deaths from the virus reported outside of China as of Monday morning. But the new fatalities in that country over the weekend, including an 88-year-old man in Shanghai, stoked fears that the government had failed to contain the infection’s spread. Beijing announced Monday morning that it would push back the official end of the Lunar New Year holiday to Thursday from Sunday in order to “reduce mass gatherings” and “block the spread of the epidemic,” according to a statement from China’s cabinet.Meanwhile, Wuhan’s mayor, Zhou Xianwang, on Monday offered to step down, along with the city’s party secretary, Ma Guoqiang, in order to “appease public indignation.” He said the pair were prepared to take responsibility for the crisis after days of public outcries from citizens, on social media and elsewhere.“Our names will live in infamy, but as long as it is conducive to the control of the disease and to the people’s lives and safety, Comrade Ma Guoqiang and I will bear any responsibility,” Zhou reportedly said Monday.Dr. Adrian Hyzler, chief medical officer for Healix International, which provides medical information to travelers, told The Daily Beast the CDC will know much more about how easily the virus spreads once the incubation period—estimated at a maximum of 14 days—has passed in the five U.S. cases. “If, as the Chinese are saying, patients are contagious before symptoms develop, then it is much harder to control,” he said.Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the CDC cleared 32 people who tested negative for the virus out of 110 potential cases.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Israelis were not welcome to visit the kingdom after Israel decreed that Israeli citizens could visit Saudi Arabia under certain circumstances, CNN reported on Monday.
A Virginia woman was sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole Monday in the death of a West Virginia man who was decapitated. Roena Cheryl Mills, 43, of Rural Retreat, Virginia, was sentenced for her December conviction on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Bo White, 29, of Lenore, news outlets reported. A neighbor called police after seeing Mills covered in blood.
French President Emmanuel Macron drew a sharp rebuke from the country's top magistrates on Monday for criticising a court ruling on the 2017 murder of a Jewish woman in Paris. Sarah Halimi, an Orthodox Jewish woman in her sixties, died after being pushed out of the window of her Paris flat by a neighbour shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great" in Arabic).
Donnie Cleveland Lance, 66, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Wednesday. The board on Monday declassified a clemency application filed by Lance's lawyers. Stephanie Lance Cape and Jessie Lance, the now-adult children of Donnie and Joy Lance, have submitted a letter to the parole board and plan to ask for mercy at Tuesday's hearing.
Adam Schiff did most of the heavy lifting for the House managers, and if he performed ably, he also relied on arguments and tropes that don’t withstand scrutiny.The Democratic case for impeachment and removal is now heavily encrusted with clichés, widely accepted by the media, meant to give their indictment additional weight.In his lengthy opening statement last week, Schiff relied on all of them, and then some.This is not to say that the basic charge against Trump — withholding defense aid to Ukraine to try to force investigations that he wanted — is wrong, or that Trump’s conduct was proper.It’s just that to try to get it to the level of impeachment and removal requires rhetorical gymnastics. Schiff strained to make Trump’s Ukraine scheme a piece of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, to exaggerate its national-security and electoral consequence, and to portray removal as the only remedy.Here are 15 times that Schiff related a stilted, distorted, or flatly erroneous version of events: 1. “Just as he made use of Secretary Clinton’s hacked and released emails in the previous presidential campaign.”Schiff wanted to connect Trump to Russia’s hacking, even though there is no connection. So he said Trump “made use” of the emails. But what does that mean? That he cited them. Well, so did everyone else. As Byron York pointed out the other day, the press widely reported on the WikiLeaks disclosures. If it was blameworthy to make a big deal of information revealed in the hacks, Bernie Sanders was a major offender, calling for the resignation of then–DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz after the DNC hack. 2. “In 2016, then–candidate Trump implored Russia to hack his opponent’s email account.”Again, this is an attempt to make Trump responsible for Russia’s hacking. It refers to a press conference where Trump made a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Russians' being rewarded by the press if they found Hillary’s missing emails. The Russians did attempt to spearfish a domain used by Clinton’s personal office on the same day, but it’s hard to believe Russian hackers were taking their cues from Trump, and of course, they had already hacked the DNC — hence, the occasion for Trump’s riff. 3. In pushing the Ukrainians on the discredited CrowdStrike theory, Trump was “attempting to erase from history his previous election misconduct.”Trump has been, no doubt, desperate to find someone else to finger for the Russian hacking since Russia is such a focus of his critics, but the hacking wasn’t his work, so to refer to it as “his previous election misconduct” is absurd. 4. Robert Mueller testified “that Russia systemically interfered in our election to help elect Donald Trump, that the campaign understood that, and they willfully made use of that help.” Schiff wants to portray Mueller as having found Trump guilty in his probe, when he actually found no evidence of collusion. 5. After Mueller catalogued Russian interference, the very next day, “President Trump is on the phone with a different foreign power, this time Ukraine, trying to get Ukraine to interfere in the next election.”In the Schiff version, a Trump caught red-handed working with the Russians to interfere in U.S. politics then immediately turns around to work with the Ukrainians. But the opposite was true. It was Trump’s sense of outraged innocence over the Mueller probe that partly motivated him to focus on Ukraine’s purported role in getting the Russia investigation started. 6. Trump believes “that under Article II, he could do anything he wants.”This has become a favorite chestnut of Democrats during impeachment, but it wrenches Trump’s statement out of context. He was talking about having the inherent Article II power to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Whatever you might have thought about the wisdom of such a move, Trump was correct about his power. 7. “The military aid that we provide Ukraine helps to protect and advance American national-security interests in the region and beyond.” This is certainly true, but every time Democrats revert to the importance of Ukrainian defense aid as a matter of policy, it raises the question of why, by and large, Democrats went along with Barack Obama’s refusal to provide any lethal assistance to Ukraine whatsoever and how Trump, overall, has been better on Ukraine assistance. 8. Trump is guilty of “abusing the powers of that office in such a way to jeopardize our national security.”It’s ridiculous to suggest that what turned out to be a brief hold on Ukraine aid had dire national-security consequences for the U.S. 9. “He personally asked a foreign government to investigate his opponent.”This has become the conventional way that Democrats refer to Trump’s request of Zelensky, although in concrete form it became a push to get them to commit to probe Burisma, the shady Ukrainian energy company that had Hunter Biden on its board. An investigation of Burisma is not the same thing as an investigation of Joe Biden. Assuming the Bidens aren’t at the center of some corrupt scheme involving Burisma (and there’s zero indication that they are), the investigation would have been a nothingburger in its impact on U.S. politics. Trump would have touted the investigation, but it is doubtful that this would have had any more impact than his already full-throated denunciations of Biden corruption. 10. Trump was asking the Ukrainians to help “smear a political opponent.”This accords more with Schiff’s fictional version of Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president than the reality. The Ukrainians weren’t being asked to manufacture evidence against Joe Biden, and an investigation of Burisma presumably wouldn’t have smeared him, per the above point. 11. Acting ambassador Bill Taylor testified that the Trump team wanted the Ukrainians “in a public box” by publicly committing to the investigations, and this shows that “President Trump didn’t care about the investigations being done.”Schiff’s theory is that Trump wanted only a public announcement of an investigation, so he could use it against Joe Biden in his campaign. Usually, though, if you want an official to publicly commit to something, it’s to make it harder for him to back out of his promise. 12. Trump doesn’t have a right to solicit “prohibited foreign aid in his reelection.”This makes it sound like Trump was raking in Ukrainian campaign contributions and getting the Ukrainians to run ads in swing states. In reality, he was pushing for the Ukrainians to investigate a Ukrainian company, the practical political effect of which would have been nil in the U.S. 13. “The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we can’t be assured that the vote will be fairly won.”It’s really amazing that Democrats have gone, in about three years, from insisting it’s impermissible to question the potential outcome of an election, when Trump ill-advisedly did so at a debate in 2016, to making it central to their worldview. They believe they were robbed in 2016 and also believe they will perhaps be robbed again. But Hillary lost under her own power in 2016, and regardless, it’s beyond the power of one person to rig a national election that will draw massive attention and turnout. 14. “I don’t think that impeachment power is a relic. If it is a relic, I wonder how much longer our republic can succeed.”Schiff argues that failure to remove eviscerates the impeachment power. Since no president has ever been convicted and removed, it’s not clear why this would be. It just means that there is a high bar to removal. 15. “If impeachment and removal cannot hold him accountable, then he truly is above the law.”Again, Schiff wants to portray impeachment as the only way a president can be held accountable, when Congress has all sorts of other levers — from investigations, to funding, to inter-branch relations, to censure — to hold a president accountable.
Governments need to implement "draconian" travel curbs to stop a mystery coronavirus in China becoming a global epidemic, a team of experts mapping the outbreak said Monday. Scientists at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) presented a briefing warning that the spread of the deadly SARS-like virus that first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan was accelerating. "We have to be prepared that this particular epidemic may be about to become a global epidemic," said Gabriel Leung, head of the team.
Britain's Prince Andrew has provided "zero cooperation" to U.S. authorities probing sex trafficking allegedly carried out by deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein and co-conspirators, a prosecutor said on Monday. The FBI and U.S. federal prosecutors contacted Prince Andrew's lawyers and requested an interview with the prince, who socialized with Epstein, Manhattan-based U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said at a news conference in front of Epstein's mansion.
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said Israelis were not welcome to visit the kingdom after Israel decreed that Israeli citizens could visit Saudi Arabia under certain circumstances, CNN reported on Monday. A statement from Israel's interior minister on Sunday said Israelis - if invited and permitted by Saudi authorities - would be allowed to travel there for religious reasons on pilgrimage or for up to nine days for business reasons such as investment or meetings.
Two people are dead and at least four are wounded following a shooting at a South Carolina bar on Sunday morning.The Darlington County Coroner's Office identified Dicaprio Collins, 21 and Bryan Robinson, 29 as the victims of the shooting at Mac's Lounge in Hartsville, South Carolina.
Small earthquakes and a so-called "inflation" of the mountain, signalling a potential volcanic eruption, have been reported near Iceland's famous "Blue Lagoon," local authorities said Monday. The Icelandic Met Office declared a state of uncertainty over the weekend, following days of several smaller earthquakes and a swelling of the mountain. For nearly a week, a series of earthquakes have been shaking the area around Grindavik, not far from the steaming waters of the "Blue Lagoon," a popular geothermal spa in southwestern Iceland on the Reykjanes Peninsula.
The chief of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Monday that it will retaliate against American and Israeli commanders if the U.S. continues to threaten top Iranian generals. The U.S. killed Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who headed the expeditionary Quds force, in a drone strike outside of Baghdad's airport in Iraq on Jan. 3. Five days later, Iran retaliated by launching ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq housing American troops, causing injuries but no fatalities among soldiers there.
South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg was confronted by a pro-life Democratic voter over the party's position on abortion during a Fox News town hall event on Sunday.“I am a proud pro-life Democrat,” audience member Kristin Day said. “Would you support more moderate platform language [regarding abortion] in the Democratic Party to ensure that the party of diversity and inclusion really does include everybody?” Currently, the Democratic party platform supports abortion up to nine months into pregnancy.“I support the position of my party, that this kind of medical care needs to be available to everyone, and I support the Roe vs. Wade framework that holds that early in pregnancy there are very few restrictions and late in pregnancy there are very few exceptions,” Buttigieg responded. “The best I can offer is that we may disagree on that very important issue and hopefully we will be able to partner on other issues.”The exchange happened two days after President Trump became the first U.S. president in history to address the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.“Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House,” Trump told the audience at the march.The highest-ranking Democrat to address the march was Louisiana state representative Katrina Jackson, who wrote legislation in 2014 that restricted abortion in the state.“Louisiana is the number one pro-life state. And do you know why? Because in Louisiana, the majority of Democrats who are elected are pro-lifers,” Jackson said. “Every day that I walk into the state capitol, I am greeted by pro-lifers regardless of whether they’re black, white, Republican, Democrat, male, female.”
A Fox News poll released Sunday has some good news for President Trump, but if you combine it with the poll's bad news, it's not at all clear where Trump stands with the American public or how voters are feeling about the state of the union.On the positive side, 55 percent of voters said the economy is good or excellent, the highest number since 59 percent said they felt positive about the economy in January 2001 (two months before the start of the ugly 2001 recession). A 42 percent plurality of voters credit Trump and the Republicans for the economy, and Trump's job approval rating on the economy is a record 56 percent.The bad news? A 55 percent majority of voters say the way the economy works is unfair and 56 percent say they are dissatisfied with how things are going in the country, Fox News found. Trump's overall approval rating is 45 percent, with 54 percent disapproving, and he is underwater on all non-economy issues: guns (-9 percentage points), immigration (-15 points), foreign policy (-16 points), health care (-16 points), government spending (-18 points), race relations (-19 points), the environment (-22 points), even trade deals (-1 point).Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson sees the glass half full: "The president's job approval on the economy has consistently outpaced his overall job approval," and "a strong economy creates a good foundation for an incumbent seeking re-election, even if voters will also say things could always be even better or more fair." Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, whose firm conducted the Fox News poll with GOP pollster Daron Shaw, argued that Trump's approval on the economy "is tenuous ground on which to stake his re-election," because "outside the Republican base, voters think the economy under Trump doesn't work for most people."The poll was conducted Jan. 19-22 by Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Co. (R), surveying 1,005 randomly selected registered votes over the phone. The poll's overall margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.More stories from theweek.com John Bolton just vindicated Nancy Pelosi Late night hosts don't see how GOP senators can still refuse to call John Bolton as an impeachment witness Mike Pompeo is a disgrace
(Bloomberg) -- The mother of an Israeli woman imprisoned on drug-smuggling charges in Russia said she’s hopeful President Vladimir Putin will pardon her daughter.Naama Issachar, a 26-year-old U.S.-born Israeli army veteran, was sentenced in October to 7 1/2 years for carrying a small amount of hashish in her luggage on a transit flight via Moscow after a backpacking trip to India. Her plight has become a cause celebre in Israel, where it’s widely seen as politically motivated.Putin met with Issachar’s mother, Yaffa, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday, on the sidelines of an international forum on the Holocaust. He assured her that “everything will be all right,” and on Sunday, Naama Issachar applied for a presidential pardon, her lawyers said.When asked in a text message exchange whether she expects her daughter to return to Israel soon, Yaffa Issachar replied: “I hope so.” The request for a pardon has been received and “all necessary legal procedures are being carried out at the moment so the president can take a decision on this issue in the nearest future,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on a conference call Monday.A decision to free Issachar, who’s been in detention since April, could bolster Netanyahu, who’s been indicted on corruption charges and is fighting for his political survival at the country’s third election in less than a year in March.The Kremlin said last week that Israel and Russia are also making progress in settling a dispute over the ownership of Russian Orthodox Church property in Jerusalem, which Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said could form part of a quid pro quo to secure Issachar’s release.The Russian leader has previously rebuffed multiple pleas from Netanyahu for Issachar’s sentence to be commuted.Her case for a time became entangled with that of a Russian national, Alexei Burkov, whom Israel extradited to the U.S. in November on charges including hacking and credit card fraud. Russia had offered to swap the two, according to Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician.(Adds Putin spokesman’s comment in 4th paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at email@example.com;Irina Reznik in Moscow at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory L. White at email@example.com, Amy Teibel, Tony HalpinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Senator Amy Klobuchar has broken into the top three Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa for the first time, a poll released Sunday showed. It was the third poll of the day to show her rival, Bernie Sanders as the frontrunner in an early state.An Emerson University poll showed Sanders leading in Iowa with 30% while Joe Biden followed with 21%. Klobuchar was in third with 13% ahead of Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg who had 11% and 10%, respectively. The poll was conducted from Jan. 23-26 and has a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points.Since December, Sanders has risen 8 percentage points in the Emerson poll. Conversely, Buttigieg fell 8 percentage points. Klobuchar’s rise comes on the heels of an endorsement from The New York Times.Two New Hampshire polls released Sunday morning by CNN/University of New Hampshire and NBC News/Marist both also found Sanders in first.(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)This post is part of Campaign Update, our live coverage from the 2020 campaign trail.To contact the author of this story: Emma Kinery in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Magan Sherzai at email@example.com, Virginia Van NattaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a U.S. military veteran, stood by President Trump in wake of the backlash against the commander-in-chief's comments describing brain injuries suffered by U.S. troops after an Iranian missile attack on a base in Iraq earlier this month as "headaches" and "not very serious."CBS' Margaret Brennan asked Cotton during Sunday's edition of Face the Nation if Trump should apologize to the soldiers, 34 of whom it turned out suffered traumatic brain injuries. She pointed out that Veterans of Foreign Wars, a prominent U.S. veterans advocacy group, called on Trump to apologize for his "misguided" comments about potentially dangerous injuries, while also noting Cotton likely knew several people who suffered from similar injuries during his time in the military, which included deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.Cotton, though, argued Trump wasn't "dismissing" the soldiers' injuries, but simply "describing them." > NEW: @SenTomCotton defends @realdonaldtrump 's comments about soldiers impacted by the Iran strike, says Trump wasn't "dismissing" traumatic brain injuries by calling them "headaches" pic.twitter.com/HH8daFhsIv> > -- Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 26, 2020More stories from theweek.com Mike Pompeo is a disgrace If Bernie wins John Bolton's quest for vengeance and book sales