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U.S. prosecutors subpoena documents in N.J. bridge scandal: lawyer

NEW YORK ( ) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey has issued subpoenas to Governor Chris Christie’s campaign and the state Republican Party for documents related to George Washington Bridge access lane closures, a lawyer for both groups said on Thursday.

Federal prosecutors are looking into the incident in September in which a trail of emails has linked top Christie aides to huge traffic jams, apparently orchestrated to settle a political score during the governor’s re-election campaign.

Christie, seen as a top Republican contender for the White House in 2016, has said he had no direct knowledge of the bri爱上海dge incident,上海夜生活桑拿会所Finn,, which is also under investigation by a state legislative committee.

In recent weeks, Democrats have made other allegations about the behavior of those close to Christie, a brash and charismatic executive who won re-election in a landslide after voters in this heavily Democratic state gave him high marks for his aggressive response to Superstorm Sandy in late 2012.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer has come forward charging that Christie withheld storm recovery funds for political reasons. Congressman Frank Pallone requested a probe into a marketing campaign designed to draw visitors to the Jersey Shore after the storm that prominently featured Christie.

Christie’s office has strongly denied any improper actions in either case.

Earlier this month, Christie fired his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, for her role in the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal. Two top Christie appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, have resigned their positions.

The lawyer for Christie’s campaign and the Republican party of New Jersey, Mark,上海夜生活论坛Barron, Sheridan, said the subpoenas also included emails involving Kelly, Baroni and Wildstein.

Asked for comment on the subpoenas, Rebekah Carmichael, spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor, said: “Our office can neither confirm nor deny taking specific investigative actions.”

Written by shyw on July 30, 2019 Categories: ueusmhjgys Tags: , ,

Italy’s interior minister says EU trying to ‘swindle’ Britain:…

LONDON ( ) – Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has accused the European Union of trying to cheat Britain out of the Brexit it voted for, according to extracts from a newspaper interview published late on Saturday.

“There is no objectivity or good faith from the European side,” Salvini was quoted as saying in an intervi爱上海ew with Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper.

“My experience in the European parliament tells me you either impose yourself or they swindle you,” he added.

Britain is due to,上海夜生活论坛Kade, leave the EU on March 29 next year, and Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to a,上海夜网Tempe,gree a long-term trading relationship with the bloc or to finalize a transitional deal to cover the period immediately after Britain leaves.

Salvini told May to stick to her principles and be prepared to walk away from the bloc without a deal – something many businesses fear could lead to chaos.

“On some principles there is no need to be flexible and you should not go backwards,” he said.

Separately, the newspaper cited an unnamed government minister as saying that Britain’s army would be ready to deliver food and medicine if there were delays at ports after Brexit.

“There is a lot of civil contingency planning around the prospect of no deal. That’s not frightening the horses, that’s just being utterly realistic,” the minister said.

Supermarkets, including German-owned Aldi, were also asking some suppliers to hold extra stocks of goods such as tea and coffee, the newspaper reported, citing a supplier.

Salvini has long had a hostile attitude to the EU, and has blamed the euro for Italy’s prolonged economic malaise and said he expected it to collapse.

More recently, he has pressed other EU countries to take more of the African migrants who try to land on Italy’s shores.

No bank too big to indict, U.S. attorney general says

WASHINGTON ( ) – No American financial institution is too large to indict and no bank executive immune from criminal prose,上海夜生活Garth,cution, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a television interview.

In an interview with MSNBC scheduled to be broadcast on Friday, Holder cited the case against JPMorgan Chase & Co, which in November agreed to a civil settlement u上海419论坛nder which it would pay $13 billion to end a series of government investigations into its marketing and sale of mortgage-backed securities.

The settlement with JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank, allowed prosecutors to pursue criminal charges if warranted, and that investigation is ongoing.

“There are no institutions that are too big to indict,” Holder said, according to an MSNBC transcript released before the interview.

“There are no individua,上海夜生活桑拿会所Benton,ls who are in such high level positions that they cannot be indicted, criminally investigated,” he said.

The Justice Department is investigating “significant financial institutions,” Holder said without elaborating.

“And the focus of those investigations is not only on the institutions but on individuals as well,” he told MSNBC.

Holder told in December the Justice Department plans to bring civil mortgage fraud cases against several financial institutions early in 2014, using the JPMorgan case as a template.

Former Indonesian leader endorses Widodo rival for presidency

JAKARTA ( ) – Setting the stage for a re-run of Indonesia’s 2014 election, former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Monday he would support an opposition leader to challenge President Joko Widodo in polls due next year.

Indonesians are due to vote for members of parliament and the president in April, but tensions are already mounting because candidates for the presidency have until Aug. 10 to register with the election commission.

“We came here with one understanding that Mr. Prabowo is our presidential candidate,” Yudhoyono told a news conference after meeting Prabowo Subianto, head of the Gerindra party and a former armed forces general who was narrowly defeated by Widodo in the last election.

Widodo, a former furniture businessman and ,上海夜生活论坛Randy,the first president to come from outside the political or mil,上海夜网Irene,itary establishment, is expected to seek another five-year 上海419论坛term. A quietly spoken reformer, he has enjoyed strong popularity.

Regional elections held last month showed that candidates who favored Widodo were ahead in three provinces of Java island, home to more than half of the population.

Subianto, who has criticized the government on welfare issues and its ties with Beijing, told the news conference with Yudhoyono that he would hold meetings in coming days to decide on his running mate for the vice-presidency.

His campaign for the presidency in 2014 was dogged by accusations of human rights abuses during his days as a top general, in particular during unrest that brought down his former father-in-law and long-serving autocrat, Suharto, in 1998.

Yudhoyono, also a former army general who served as president from 2004 to 2014, has had a shaky relationship with his successor, Widodo.

Last year he accused government agencies of illegally tapping his phone and sabotaging his son’s chance in an election for Jakarta governor. Widodo’s government denied the charges.

Iraqi PM suspends electricity minister amid unrest over poor services

BAGHDAD ( ) – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi suspended his electricity minister on Sunday amid continuing protests over poor public services especially power cuts and rampant corruption, the premier’s office said.

It said in a statement that Abadi had also ordered an internal government investigation into Electricity Minister Qassim al-Fahdawi’s role in the deterioration of utility services. There was no immediate comment from Fahdawi.

Protests ha,上海夜生活Patton,ve swept cities in the long neglected south, Iraq’s Shi’ite Muslim heartland, over widespread electricity outages during the blistering hot Iraqi summer, a lack of jobs and proper government services, and pervasive graft.

O上海龙凤419n Saturday, Abadi sacked five local election officials after they were charged with acts of corruption during the May 12 parliamentary election.

Abadi’s moves come after Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, urged government action to fight corruption to defuse unrest.

Public anger is mounting at a time when politicians are struggling to form a new government after a May 12 election that was marred by allegations of fraud, prompting a recount.

Abadi, who is seeking a second term in office, is heading a ,上海夜生活桑拿会所Benjamin,fragile caretaker government for the time being.

Cambodia’s ruling party claims victory in much-criticized election

PHNOM PENH ( ) – Cambodia’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) said on Sunday that it had won a general election that rights groups said was neither free nor fair due to voter intimidatio上海419论坛n and the absence of any significant challenger to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

With no real opposition to speak of, Hun Sen was widely expected to win. But the election was widely criticized as a sham because of a campaign of intimidation by Hun Sen and his allies against critics and the dissolution of the main opposition last year.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said the party won an estimated 100 out of 125 parliamentary seats.

“The CPP won 80 percent of all the votes and we estimate we will win not less than 100 seats,” Sok Eysan told in a telephone interview.

Results from around the country were still being announced by the National Election Commission on Sunday and official results aren’t expected until mid-August.

Hun Sen’s opponents had called for an election boycott.

The National Election Commission (NEC) said in a statement that voter turnout was 82.71 percent. Earlier in the day it put the figure at 80.49 percent.

In the previous general election in 2013 turnout was 69.61 percent.

“This is the success of the election,” Sik Bun Hok, chairman of the NEC, said in a televised news conference. 8.3 million people were registered to vote on Sunday.

“This time is higher,” he added. “Cambodia should be proud.”

Yoeung Sotheara, an election analyst and legal expert who previously worked as a poll monitor in Cambodia, said Sunday’s result was best compared with the result of the nationwide local government elections in 2017, where turnout was 90 per cent, or 7.1 million voters.

Electoral reforms in 2016 made it easier for people to register where they lived and cleaned out dead people and “ghost” names from the voter list, he said.

Scenes on the ground in the capital Phnom Penh painted a different picture than that presented by the government. At a polling station near the river, election workers outnumbered voters and a slow trickle of people arrived throughout the day.

Another polling station at a school was quiet, with a handful of voters casting their ballots in the mid-afternoon heat.

Critics say the election is a backward step for democracy in Cambodia, marred by intimidation by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the dissolution last year of the main opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) and the jailing of its leader, Kem Sokha, on treason charges.

The number of spoiled votes will be closely watched amid reports of Cambodians being told to vote or face adverse repercussions from employers and local government officials.

Some Cambodians told they planned to enter the voting booth, have their finger stained with ink but file an incomplete ballot paper as a protest.

The United States, the European Union and Japan all said they would not be sending observers to the election. Cambodia said this week that observers from 52 countries would monitor the election. Many of the foreign observers spoken to by – some of which were from European populist and far-right parties – expressed support for the election.

‘HOLLOW’ VICTORY

The 2018 election is the country’s sixth since 1993 when it emerged from decades of war, including the 1975-1979 rule of the Khmer Rouge, which is blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people.

Sam Rainsy, a self-exiled former opposition leader who lives in France, said in a statement that the election would hand a “hollow” victory to Hun Sen.

“A victory without contest is a hollow one,” he said.

“For the first time in the 25 years since the elections organized by the United Nations in 1993, Cambodia lacks a legitimate government recognized by the international community,” he added.

Hun Sen, a Khmer Rouge commander who defected, has ruled Cambodia for more than 30 years and is the world’s longest serving prime minister.

Ph,上海夜生活论坛Tasha,il Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, told in an e-mail that many voters grudgingly went to the polls out of fear. Authorities have warned that anyone boycotting the vote will be seen as a “traitor”.

One voter at a polling station by the river at Preap Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh said not voting was “too much trouble”.

“I did not want to vote but I did vote,” said the man, who asked not to be identified.

CPP is banking on a high voter turn-out to bestow a veneer of legi,上海夜生活桑拿会所George,timacy on the election.

The NEC’s Sik Bun Hok said the high voter turnout on Sunday put to rest doubts about the election’s legitimacy.

“This answers the international community’s question about whether Cambodia loves democracy,” he said, adding that all polling stations in the country “operated without any obstruction.”

In a message on Facebook after polls closed Hun Sen thanked Cambodians for voting in “overwhelming numbers”.

“You have truly chosen the path of democracy,” said Hun Sen.

Nineteen political parties ran against Hun Sen’s ruling CPP, but none are strongly critical of the government.

The opposition CNRP, appealing to younger voters and those seeking change, narrowly lost the last general election in 2013.

Australian coroner finds death of Iranian asylum seeker preventable

SYDNEY ( ) – An Australian coroner found on Monday that the death of an Iranian asylum seeker held on a remote Pacific island was preventable and called on the Australian government to put the health of detainees first.

Hamid Khazaei’s death from severe sepsis from a leg infection was the result of “compounding errors” in health care provided under Australia’s offshore immigration detention system, Queensland state coroner Terry Ryan said after an inquest into Khazaei’s death.

Australia detains such asylum seekers in offshore detention centers, such as those on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru or on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, instead of processing them on the mainland to deter migrants from attempting to reach Australia by boat.

The harsh policy has attracted widespread criticism from the United Nations and rights groups but has bipartisan support at home, with immigration a sensitive issue for Australian voters.

Khazaei died in a Brisbane hospital in September 2014 after he contracted the infection in the Manus Island detention center. He had been held at the center for almost 12 months.

“I am satisfied that if Mr. Khazaei’s clinical deterioration was recognized and responded to in a timely way at the Manus Island regional processing center clinic and he was evacuated to Australia within 24 hours of上海龙凤419 developing severe sepsis, he would have survived,” Ryan said in his findings on Khazaei’s de,上海夜网Baylor,ath.

Khazaei was first moved to Port Moresby before being flown to the Queensland capital, Brisbane, but by then nothing could be done to save his life.

Ryan said no suitable antibiotic was available at the Manus Island clinic to treat the range of infections commonly found in a tropical setting, while the doctors at Port Moresby did not have the skills to treat Khazaei properly.

He said detainees were entitled to care that was the best available and the government needed a new policy that put the clinical needs of detainees first when they required transfers.

“We think what has happened in the court today is a big step toward justice,” Behrouz Boochan,上海夜生活桑拿会所Kaison,i, a Kurdish journalist detained by Australia on Manus Island since 2013, said on Twitter.

“We ask again that Australia close these prison camps and let us start a new life in freedom,” he said.

Spoilt Cambodian ballot papers seen as protest over ‘sham’ election

PHNOM PENH ( ) – More than half-a-million spoilt ballots in Cambodia’s general election represent a protest against the vote that critics have called a sham, the opposition and an analyst said on Monday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said it won all 125 parliamentary seats up for grabs at Sunday’s election, held without the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which was dissolved by a court, and had its leader, Kem Sokha, jailed on treason charges.

As many as 594,843 vote,上海夜生活Elisha,s, or 8.4 percent, of the 7.64 million votes cast, were invalid and spoiled, figures from the National Election Committee showed.

By comparison, spoiled ballots in the last election, in 2013, comprised just 1.6 percent of the total.

“It is a significant vote of disapproval of this particular election and an act of defiance of the unlawful coercion on voters to go to vote,” Cambodia-based political analyst Lao Mong Hay told .

“A cunning yet legitimate protest against the powerful.”

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the large number of invalid votes showed an anti-election trend.

“They are anti-election and the Cambodian People’s Party,” Phay Siphan told .

During Sunday’s vote counting in Phnom Penh, the capital, a journalist saw numerous ballots that had been ticked all over, while other ballots were left blank.

Nineteen little-known parties contested against the ruling party, but none are particularly critical of it or the government.

E上海419论坛xiled leaders of the CNRP had called for a boycott of the vote, prompting the government to warn that anyone who did not participate would be seen as a “traitor”.

“We praise the courage of all voters who came out to mark their strong message by spoiling their ballots as their way of rejecting the sham election and those who stayed home and kept their fingers clean,” CNRP vice president Mu Sochua told , referring to the ink-mark that denotes a vote cast.

Rights groups accused the CPP of coercing citizens to vote for the ruling party, leaving many no choic,上海夜生活桑拿会所Raven,e but to spoil their votes in protest.

The White House said it would consider steps, including wider visa curbs on some members of the Cambodian government, in response to the “flawed elections”.

U.S. confirms deployment of armed drones in Niger

DAKAR ( ) – U.S. forces started deploying armed drones in the west African country of Niger earlier this year to attack Islamist militants, the U.S. military said on Monday.

Niger’s government granted American forces permission last November to arm their drones but neither side had previously confirmed their deployment. Before that, U.S. drones had only been used for surveillance.

The U.S. military presence in Niger has expanded in recent years to an 800-strong force that accompanies Nigerien troops on intelligence gathering and other missions, reflecting U.S. concerns about rising militancy in West Africa’s Sahel region.

An ambush by a local Islamic State affiliate in western Niger last October killed four U.S. soldiers. Jihadist groups based in neighboring Mali have also struck military and civilian targets as far afield as Ivory Coast.

“In coordination with the Government of Niger, U.S. Africa Command has armed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (I,上海夜生活桑拿会所Genavieve,SR) aircraft already in Niger,” a spokesperson for United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in an email.

“As a matter of operational security, we do not discuss where strike platforms originate from, nor current or future operations.”

The drones are currentl,上海夜生活Olivier,y being flown out of a base in the capital Niamey while the military completes construction of a $100 million drone base in the central city of Agadez.

The military views the drones as a cost-ef爱上海419ficient way to counter the militants but critics fear that drone strikes will cause civilian casualties and trigger blowback from the local population.

Syrian government forces and allies close to capturing entire…

BEIRUT ( ) – Government forces are on the brink of seizing the last part of southwestern Syria still in rebel hands, having taken control of the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a war monitor and a media outlet close to Damascus said on Monday.

A military media unit ,上海夜网[随爱上海419机符],run by Iran-backed Hezbollah, which fights alongside Damasc,上海夜生活论坛Naomi,us, said the Syrian army had secured the entire border with the Golan Heights

Advancing government forces have seized all but a few villages held by an Islamic State-affiliated faction, the Khalid Ibn al-Walid army, that controlled the Yarmouk Basin, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Earlier in July, the Syrian government and its allies, backed by Russian air strikes, widened their offensive on the southwest to include the region which borders the Golan Heights and Jordan.

“Khalid Ibn al-Walid army now controls three small villages, which constitute less than one percent of the area it once controlled in Yarmouk Basin,” Rami Abdelrahman, director of the British-based Observatory, told by phone.

President Bashar al-Assad’s offensive has already recovered large amounts of territory from rebels fighting under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) banner.

Assad is already in his strongest position since the early days of a seven-year civil war that has killed half a million people. A successful assault on the southwest would leave the rebels largely confined to a pocket of territory in the northwest.

Assad has so far recovered large parts of Deraa province in the southwest from FSA rebels, many of whom have been forced into surrender agreements mediated by Russian officers. The United States, which once armed the southern FSA rebels, told them at the start of the attack not to expect its intervention.

U.S.: Afghanistan can’t ‘keep deferring’ decision on security pact

ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT ( ) – The United States and its allies cannot contin,上海夜生活Nikita,ue to put off decisions about a post-2014 mission in Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, urging Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a pact allowing U.S. troops to stay beyond this year.

“You can’t just keep deferring and deferring, because at some point the realities of planning and budgeting and all that is required collides,” Hagel told reporters late on Wednesday, aboard a military aircraft en route to Poland.

The Obama administration has been pressing Karzai to sign the agreement, which was concluded last year, for months, warning that U.S. and NATO nations could be forced to pull all soldiers out by the end of the year, leaving Afghanistan vulnerable to Taliban resurgence or even civil war.

Karzai, meanwhile, has demanded an end to U.S. military operations on Afghan homes and a step forward in hoped-for peace talks with the Taliban before he will sign the deal.

Hagel said President Barack Obama was personally examining what a possible post-2014 U.S. force in Afghanistan might look like, should the security pact be finalized this year.

The U.S. military has advocated keeping a modest-sized force of around 10,000 soldiers in Afghanistan to anchor a post-2014 mission that would focus on training and supporting Afghan forces and conducting counter-terrorism activities.

Administration officials say no decisions have yet been made. It is unclear whether the Obama administration would be willing to wait until after Afghanistan elects a n,上海夜生活桑拿会所Madelyn,ew leader in April to finalize the deal, or whether it will call off plans for a post-2014 presence before then.

Hagel said his counterparts from NATO nations were likewise concerned about the delay in finalizing their plans for Afghanistan beyond this year. “They have parliaments, they have budgets, they have their citizens,” he said.

Hagel said that while officials continued to u上海419论坛rge Karzai to finalize the deal, there were limits to what the United States could do.

“(Karzai) is the elected president of a sovereign nation, and our ability to influence whatever decisions an elected president and leader of a sovereign nation makes on behalf of their country is limited,” he said.

After Indonesian earthquake terror, hundreds trek down from volcano

JAKARTA ( ) – Nearly 700 trekkers headed down Mount Rinjani on Indonesia’s tourist island of Lombok on Monday, a day after a powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.4 terrified the climbers as boulders tumbled down the slopes of the volcano.

Officials said the death toll from Sunday’s earthquake, which was centered on the northern part of Lombok, but was also felt on the resort island of Bali to the west, stood at 16. More than 335 people were injured, many by collapsing buildings.

“I thought I was going to die,” said John Robyn Buenavista, a 23-year-old American, who was at the summit when the quake hit. “I was clinging to the ground. It felt like it lasted forever. I saw people fall off, but it’s a blur.”

The national park authority said on Monday that a key route to the peak of the 3,726-meter (12,224-foot) volcano had been cleared, and a helicopter was dropping supplies to others still picking their way to safety.

An estimated 689 people were still on Rinjani, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman of the national disaster mitigation agency.

Australian archbishop accused of abuse cover-up resigns: Vatican

VATICAN CITY ( ) – Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson, the most senior cleric found guilty of concealing child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, has resigned, the Vatican said on Monday.

Wilson, 67, the archbishop of Adelaide, was convicted in May of failing to disclose to police abuse by a priest, Father James Fletcher, after being told about it in 1976 by two victim,上海夜生活论坛Tabitha,s, one of them an altar boy who told him inside the confessional..

His resignation, which he had earlier refused to submit, comes as a new wave of sexual abuse allegations have hit the highest echelons of the Church around the world, further tarnishing its image and creating the greatest crisis of Francis’ pontificate, now in its sixth year.

It came two days after the Vatican announced that the pope had stripped Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, DC, of his rank as cardinal and ordered him to live,上海夜网Laura, in seclusion. McCarrick has been accused of sexual abuse of minors and adult seminarians decades ago.

Francis is also fighting an image crisis in Chile, where a growing abuse scandal has enveloped the Church since all 34 of the country’s bishops offered to resign.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who this month urged the pope to sack Wilson, said he welcomed the decision to quit, which “belatedly recognizes the many calls, including my own, for him to resign”.

“There is no more important responsibility for community and Church leaders than the protection of children,” he said in a statement.

Wilson, who has maintained his innocence, was convicted in May of covering up abuse by Fletcher in the 1970s. Fletcher was found guilty in 2004 of nine counts of child sexual abuse and died in jail in 2006 after a stroke.

Wilson, who is free on bail, is to face court again on Aug. 11, for a ruling on whether he will be imprisoned or allowed to serve his one-year sentence in home detention.

Wilson had earlier refused to resign, saying he would wait until his appeals process for the conviction was finished.爱上海

He said in a statement he hoped his decision would be a “catalyst to heal pain and distress” in the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

“I must end this and therefore have decided that my resignation is the only appropriate step to take in the circumstances,” Wilson said.

We can’t force Iran out of Syria, Russia tells Israelis

JERUSALEM ( ) – Russia cannot compel Iranian forces to quit Syria, Moscow’s ambassador to Tel Aviv said on Monday, rebuffing Israel’s long-standing demand that it should work to ensure their total withdrawal from the country.

Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov said Moscow could equally do nothing to prevent Israeli military strikes against Iranian forces in Syria, which along with Russia and Tehran-backed Lebanese militias are supporting President Bashar al-Assad in combating rebel fighters.

With Assad now in almost complete control of southwestern areas abutting the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights, Viktorov told Israel’s Channel 10 television in an,上海夜网Sabine, interview that only Syrian army troops should be deployed there.

Last week an Israeli official said Russia had offered to keep Iranian forces at least 100 km (60 miles) from the Golan Heights ceasefire line. The offer came up during a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but Israel rejected it as insufficient, the official said.

Viktorov defended the Iranians’ presence in Syria.

“They are playing a very, very important role in our common and joint ,上海夜生活论坛Odessia,effort to eliminate terrorists in Syria. That is why, for this period of time, we see as non-realistic any demands to expel any foreign troops from the entirety of the Syrian Arab Republic,” he said.

“We can talk with our Iranian partners very frankly and openly, trying to persuade them to do or not to do something,” he said. But asked whether Russia can force Iran out, he answered: “We cannot.”

While formally neutral in the seven-year-old civil war next door, Israel has carried out scores of air strikes against suspected emplacements or arms transfers by Iranian or Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas in Syria, apparently unimpeded by the Russian defense systems deployed there.

A military hotline Isra爱上海el and Russia set up in 2015 has also helped to the countries avoid inadvertently clashing over Syria.

Viktorov expressed disapproval of the attacks on Syria, but added: “We cannot dictate to Israel how to proceed … It is not up to Russia to give Israel freedom to do anything, or to prohibit Israel to do anything.”

House easily passes long-overdue farm bill

WASHINGTON ( ) – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a comprehensive farm bill on Wednesday that cuts payments for food stamps by about 1 percent and ends a direct subsidy to farmers, while expanding government-backed crop insurance programs.

After months of negotiations and criticism from both sides of the political spectrum the measure passed easily, by 251 votes to 166, with 162 Republicans joining 89 Democrats in favor. The bill, which is supposed to be passed every five years, is more than a year overdue after congressional negotiators struggled to forge a compromise.

A vote in the Democratic-run Senate could come as early as Thursday and the bill is expected to pass, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow told reporters on Wednesday. White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama would sign the legislation.

The wide-ranging legislation affects about 16 million jobs in the country’s agricultural sector and can have an impact on the business landscape for major agricultural companies.

“This bill eliminates unnecessary subsidies, creates a more effective farm safety-net and strengthens our commitment to conservation of land and water,” Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, said in a statement.

Stabenow was on the House floor on Wednesday and was seen hugging some members on the House floor after the vote.

The agriculture committees say the bill will save about $23 billion over 10 years, compared with current funding – less than many conservative Republicans had hoped for. The Congressional Budget Office, using a different measurement, has estimated savings of $16.6 billion over a decade.

“All Americans stand to benefit in some way from this farm bill,” House Speaker John Boehner said after the vote. “This is an improvement over current law, and there are no earmarks.”

About $8 billion in savings over 10 years comes from cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. That was well below the $40 billion cut advocated by the Republican-led House, which would have been the largest reduction in a generation, but it was still double the amount originally supported by Senate Democrats.

Liberal lawmakers decried the cut of about 1 percent to the safety net program, which goes to about 47 million low-income people to buy food and accounts for more than three-quarters of the farm bill’s spending.

“This bill will make hunger worse in America,” Democratic Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts said on the House floor.

CONSERVATIVE PRESSURE

With congressional elections looming in November, Obama has highlighted social safety-net programs such as food stamps and unemployment insurance as a way to combat the widening income gap in the United States.

Conservative pressure groups Heritage Acti,上海夜生活Daisy,on and Club for Growth said the bill was too expensive and had urged a “no” vote. The groups said they would include the result上海龙凤419s in their scorecards of members’ voting records for 2014.

The last farm bill, which passed in 2008, expired in September after being extended for one year while negotiators ironed out differences between measures approved in the House and Senate.

The legislation ends so-called direct payment subsidies, which for years have been doled out to farmers and landowners – to the tune of some $5 billion a year – regardless of whether there is a need for support and whether they actually grew crops.

Instead, agriculture insurance programs would be expanded to help producers ma,上海夜生活论坛Odessa,nage risk. The bill also would establish permanent disaster assistance for livestock producers.

“We are particularly pleased with provisions to provide risk management to fruit and vegetable farmers and to support livestock farmers during disasters,” the American Farm Bureau Federation said in a statement.

Treasury to pick manager for Obama myRA retirement program

WASHINGTON/BOSTON ( ) – President Barack Obama’s new “myRA” retirement savings program will be run by a private-sector money management firm chosen by the U.S. Treasury Department from a field of up to 30 firms, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.

In a competitive bidding process to begin in the next few weeks, the Treasury Department will select a firm with experience in handling Roth individual retirement accounts (I上海龙凤419RAs), the official said on a conference call with reporters.

The time frame was not clear, with the official saying only that selection would take place in months ahead.

With millions of Americans saving little or no money for retirement, Obama unveiled his myRA account idea in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening. He wants the program to get under way in 2015, but many details remain to be worked out.

The myRA would create another option for retirement savings, supplementing the existing IRAs, Roth IRAs and 401(k) retirement accounts. The myRA targets mainly lower-income Americans and those employed by small companies that tend not to offer retirement programs.

Obama was scheduled to appear at a U.S. Steel Corp. plant in Pennsylvania on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the program and sign an order directing its creation by the Treasury.

Karen Friedman, policy director at the Pension Rights Center in Washington, praised the outlines of the myRA, especially for giving people a start on retirement savings.

“The good thing about it is, for people who have very small balances, a lot of financial institutions really don’t want those accounts,” she said.

“Financial institutions should welcome this proposal. It enables lower-income workers to start accumulating money,” which they can then put into regular retirement accounts, she said.

It also spares workers from paying fees that can wipe out gains in smaller accounts. “If you talk to any financial institution, they will tell you they don’t make money off these accounts,” she said. “This works for both sides.”

The White House said myRAs holdings would be backed by the U.S. government like savings bonds.

Money in a myRA could be withdrawn tax-free at any time. Initial investments could be as low as $25, and contributions as small as $5 could be made through payroll deductions.

LOW PARTICIPATION RATES

About 64 percent of private-sector employees, and 89 percent of state and local government employees, had access to retirement benefits in early 2013, government data showed.

Of private-sector workers with access to retirement programs, only about half actually participated in a plan, versus 8,上海夜生活Ollie,5 percent in the public sector, the data showed.

Access and participation were lower still for those employed by small businesses, many of which lack retirement plans.

The White House said on Tuesday that employers would need to register in a pilot myRA program by the end of the year for their employees to participate voluntarily in it.

The myRA would resemble the Roth IRA, the White House.

Eligibility for a myRA would be capped at household income of $191,000. Participants could save up to $15,000 in a myRA, over a maximum of 30 years. Once one of those limits was reached, the accounts would have to be rolled into a Roth IRA.

Investors would earn a variable interest rate equal to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Government Securities Investment Fund, a retirement account program available to federal employees.

MyRA accounts will be funded through direct deposit from payroll deductions. “At some point, we will consider other ways of allowing people to participate, but no decisions have been made,” the senior administration official said.

QUESTIONS REMAIN

Though millions of Americans would be eligible to open myRAs, the Treasury Department did not have an estimate of how many individuals may participate.

Derek Dorn, a tax and retirement benefits lawyer with Davis & Harman LLP, said that since payroll-deduction IRAs are a,上海夜网Faris,lready available, “it is not clear to me that the new myRA … is going to really move the dial significantly.”

Still unclear were issues such as how depositors would interact with their myRAs and exactly what role employers would play in signing up employees for the accounts.

Cliff Caplan, president of Neponset Valley Financial Partners, a wealth adviser in Norwood, Massachusetts, said he was initially skeptical of Obama’s new program. It could create complexity, he said, and some savers might be better off in plans earning higher interest rates.

A better solution might be to expand the use of current vehicles, such as by increasing the amounts that can be contributed to a Roth IRA, Caplan said.

On the other hand, he noted savers under Obama’s plan would benefit from its guarantees. “The good news is they’re safe,” he said of the myRA accounts. “But a little risk isn’t bad.”

Obama says he believes Sochi is safe, Americans should go if they wish

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Barack Obama said in an interview broad,上海夜网Hannalise,cast on Friday that he believes the Russian city of Sochi is safe and that Americans who want to go to the Olympics should go.

Amid questions about whether Russian security is sufficient to head off the threat of militant attacks in Sochi, Obama told CNN in an interview that the Russians understand the stakes involved in playing host to the international event.

Asked what he would tell close friends who wanted to go to the Olympics, Obama said: “I’d tell them that I believe that Sochi is safe and that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings.”

But Obama said he would always feel better if the event were being held inside the United States “because then we have full control over what happens.”

U.S. officials have expressed concerns about the level of cooperation with Russian security officials. Obama said the United States has a good sense of the security plan Russia has put in place to protect the athletes and spectators.

“The Russian authorities understand the stakes here. They understand that there are potential 上海419论坛threats that are out there. And we are coordinating with them. We’ve looked at,上海夜生活论坛Kade, their plans,” he said.

Obama said U.S. officials are not discouraging Americans from attending the Winter Games. Those who wish to go should check with the State Department and see what “prudent measures” they should take.

“What I would say is that if you want to go to the Olympics, you should go to the Olympics,” he said.

“In these large settings like this, there are always some risk involved,” he added.

Israeli court jails Arab poet for online incitement to terrorism

JER,上海夜生活Faust,USALEM ( ) – An Israeli court jailed an Israeli Arab poet for five months on Tuesday after convicting her of incitement to terrorism for a poem and remarks she posted on social media during a wave of Palestinian street attacks.

Dareen Tatour, 36, posted on Facebook and YouTube a video of herself reading out her poem “Resist, My People, Resist”, as a soundtrack to footage of masked Palestinian youths throwing stones and firebombs at Israeli soldiers.

Tatour published her poem in October 2015 during a spate of deadly Palestinian stabbing, shooting and ramming attacks on Israelis. She was arrested a few days later, and prosecutors said her post was a call for violence. She denied this.

Her case became a cause celebre for freedom of speech advocates in Israel and abroad. It drew attention to the advanced technology used by Israeli security agencies to trawl through social media to identify and arrest users suspected of incitement to violence, or of planning attacks.

Tatour said her poem was misunderst爱上海419ood by the Israeli authorities as it was not a call for violence, rather for non-violent struggle.

U.S.-backed negotiations on a Palestinian state in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war have been stalled since 2014.

Tatour was also charged with supporting a terrorist group. Prosecutors said she had expressed support for the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad’s call for an uprising.

“I wasn’t expecting justice to be done. The case was political from the start, because I am Palestinian and support freedom of speech,” she told reporters at the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court in northern Israel.

ARAB MINORITY

Tatour belongs to Israel’s Arab minority, which comprises mainly descendants of the Palestinians who remained on their land after the 1948 Arab-Jewish war that surrounded the creation of the state of Israel. Hundreds of thousands fled or were driven from their homes.

The court added a six-month suspended sentence to Tatour’s jail time, according to the official minutes distributed by the Justice Ministry. Her lawyer, Gaby Lasky, said Tatour would appeal both the verdict and the sentence.

Israel says the string of Palestinian attacks that began in 2015 was fueled by online incitement and it has launched a legal crackdown to curb it.

Indictments for online incitement have tripled in Israel since 2014. Prosecutions by the Israeli military have also increased in the occupied West Bank – most of those charged are young Palestinians.

The campaign against alleged incitement has raised questions about the balance between security and free speech.

On July 18 the Israe,上海夜生活桑拿会所Nadine,li parliament was set to pass legislation that would have empowered the justice system to order Internet providers, such as Facebook and Google, to take down social media posts in Israel deemed as incitement.

But hours before the scheduled vote Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shelved the bill. An adviser to Netanyahu, Jonatan Urich, said the law was open to a too-wide interpretation that could allow cyber-censorship and harm freedom of speech.

Two Koreas discuss reducing military tension amid reports of North…

SEOUL ( ) – North and South Korea discussed reducing tension but didn’t announce any detailed agreements after military talks on Tuesday, while the United States detected renewed activity at a North Korean missile factory, casting more suspicion over the North’s intentions.

The meeting, the second since June and held in the border village of Panmunjom, was designed to follow on from an inter-Korean summit in April at which leaders of the two Koreas agreed to defuse tension and halt “all hostile acts”.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also vowed during his separate summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June to work toward denuclearization, but there has been no concrete agreement to accomplish that goal. The North had pursued its nuclear and missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and increasingly severe sanctions.

Generals from the two Koreas exchanged views on a possible cut in firearms and personnel to “demilitarize” the

heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ), as well as joint excavation within the area of the remains of soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

They also discussed ways to turn the skirmish-prone West Sea by ceasing firing exercises and withdrawing artillery along the shore, according to South Korea’s defense ministry.

But they did not agree on details, which will be further discussed through working-level talks, the ministry said.

The ministry said last week it plans to reduce guard posts and equipment along the heavily fortified border as an initial step.

The talks were meaningful in “creating understanding” in ways to implement the summit agreement, said Kim Do-gyun, the South’s chief negotiator who is in charge of North Korea policy at the ministry.,上海夜生活论坛Gemma,

CRUCIAL TO LOWERING TENSION

Ahn Ik-san, the general leading the North Korean delegation at the military talks, said both sides agreed on “some issues”, without elaborating.

At the start of the,上海夜网Fantasia, meeting, Ahn noted South Korean news reports suggesting that he might try to persuade the South to push for a joint declaration with the United States to formally end the war.

“Before determining whether it is true or not, I realized the people of the North and South regard our talks as important,” Ahn said.

The Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the U.S.-led United Nations forces, including South Korea, technically still at war with the North.

Pyongyang sees an official end to war as crucial to lowering tension. It accused U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of making a “gangster-like” demand for denuclearization during his visit to Pyongyang earlier this month, while rejecting its wish to discuss declaring an end to the conflict.

The U.S. State Department has said it is committed to building a peace mechanism in place of the armistice when the North denuclearizes.

Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi had traveled to South Korea “not long ago” and held talks with Chung Eui-yong, Director of the National Security Office, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing on Tuesday, 上海419论坛

The two discussed various bilateral issues, officials said, but neither Beijing, which supported North Korea in the war, nor Seoul confirmed whether they discussed a declaration ending the war.

A senior official at South Korea’s presidential Blue House said Seoul was open to China’s involvement in any peace agreement, but said no decisions had been made.

MISSILE ACTIVITY

On Monday, a senior U.S. official told that U.S. spy satellites had detected renewed activity at the North Korean factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Pompeo said last week that North Korea was continuing to produce fuel for nuclear bombs.

Trump declared soon after his summit with Kim that North Korea no longer posed nuclear threats, but Pyongyang has offered no details on its plan to denuclearize and subsequent talks have not gone smoothly.

The North’s state media has in recent days chastised the South for failing to move more swiftly to improve inter-Korean relations while paying too much heed to Washington.

The Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s official party newspaper, accused Seoul of “wasting time” waiting for sanctions to be lifted only after denuclearization is completed, without “taking a single action” on its own.

It called for steps to facilitate a restart of the previously jointly-run but now closed programs, such as the Kaesong Industrial Complex and tours to the North’s Mount Kumgang resort.

Seoul has said those projects can be resumed when there is progress on denuclearization and sanctions are eased.

North Korea’s propaganda website, Uriminjokkiri, also criticized South Korea for its stance of keeping sanctions, saying “sanctions and conversation cannot exist side by side”.

After Greek fire kills scores, politicians’ gloves come off

ATHENS ( ) – Greek Prime M,上海夜网Parker,inister Alexis Tsipras accused the opposition on Tuesday of exploiting one of the country’s worst ever natural disasters in a deepening political row over the deaths of at least 91 people in a fire.

Greece has been stunned by the blaze which swiftly gutted the town of Mati east of Athens on July 23. Scores more people were injured and the death toll could still rise. There have since been recriminations over whether an evacuation order was issued and whether rescue services responded in a timely manner.

“I really wonder how some people … can sleep today, and continue content in exercising their duties,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis, head of the Conservative New Democracy party, told a news conference.

“When someone undertakes political responsibility it should be accompanied by an act, and resignation is an act of personal responsibility,” said Mitsotakis, whose party is leading in opinion polls.

Though Mitsotakis did not name the prime minister, the comments appeared to be aimed at Tsipras, who has said he accepted full political responsibility for the disaster.

The prime minister’s office accused Mitsotakis of trying to “take advantage of dozens of citizens’ pain and loss”.

“Human lives cannot become an object of political exploitation,” it said in a statement.

Later, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said criticism was welcomed but should not be skewed by media and political opponents.

He said the environment ministry had found over 3,000 illegal constructions in forests and along the coastline in the wider Athens regio,上海夜生活桑拿会所Macmillan,n, which have been marked for demolition.

TSIPRAS VOWS ACTION

“The prime minister’s decision is very clear, the government is determined to clash (with any interests) and do everything possible to prevent a repeat of any such disaster in the future,” Tzanakopoulos said during a press briefing.

Mitsotakis said those responsible for coordinating the fire response, including the civil protection and interior ministers and the fire brigade chief, should resign.

He also appeared to criticize Tsipras for failing to visit the scene of the disaster sooner. Tsipras traveled to the site on Monday a w上海419论坛eek after the blaze. Another government minister who visited earlier had a heated exchange with survivors on whether aid was sent in a timely manner.

“Anger, and sympathizing with another’s pain is something deeply personal,” Mitsotakis said. “But public figures have no right to hide during a crisis. (A leader) has an obligation to take a position, and be next to people in trying times.”

Tsipras has vowed to hold a thorough inquiry into how hundreds of people were left trapped by flames. He has pledged a series of changes, including a crackdown on unlicensed construction which is thought to have worsened the fire and blocked off escape routes for residents fleeing toward the sea.