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The Latest: Oil price rises on new Iran drone incident -

The Latest: Oil price rises on new Iran drone incidentThe price of oil is up as tensions escalate in the Persian Gulf region, where a fifth of the world's crude is shipped through. Energy prices rose on Friday, a day after President Donald said a U.S. warship had downed an Iranian drone. Iran denies its drone was struck and says all its unmanned aircraft in the region returned to base safely.

Fri, 19 Jul 2019 07:53:45 -0400

Hong Kong Protesters Who Stormed Legco Seek Asylum in Taiwan, Apple Daily Says -

Hong Kong Protesters Who Stormed Legco Seek Asylum in Taiwan, Apple Daily Says(Bloomberg) -- Dozens of Hong Kong protesters involved in the ransacking of the city’s Legislative Council this month have arrived in Taiwan to seek asylum, the Apple Daily newspaper reported.About 30 protesters have already landed in Taiwan, while as many as 30 others -- and possibly more -- are planning to try soon, the Hong Kong newspaper said, citing unidentified people who assisted them.The fleeing activists were part of the group that smashed into the legislature on July 1, the paper said. The people who assisted the protesters told the paper they had been in contact with Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which handles the island’s relations with Beijing, to seek help.The council hasn’t received any formal asylum applications from Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency, its deputy minister Chiu Chui-cheng said in a text message. If Taiwan receives any applications, authorities will handle them appropriately based on existing regulations and the principle of protecting human rights, Chiu added.Read more: Pain From Hong Kong Protests Spreads as Luxury Names Get HitA flight to Taiwan by Hong Kong asylum seekers would be fraught with geopolitical risk. It threatens to raise tensions between the administration of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen, a China critic who’s up for re-election in January, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has already faced embarrassment over the global attention paid to Hong Kong’s anti-government protests.Hong Kong’s historic demonstrations over legislation that would allow extraditions to the mainland for the first time have resonated widely in democratically run Taiwan, which China considers a wayward province.Seeking RefugeThe Taiwan Association for Human Rights, a top local non-governmental organization, wouldn’t comment on the case. “We cannot divulge any information regarding any individual case,” said Secretary-General, Chiu E-ling. “If there are individuals who approach us for help, we’ll interview these people and help them get in touch with government officials if that is what they wish.”Earlier: China Drafting Urgent Plan to Resolve Hong Kong Chaos, SCMP SaysProtesters used a metal cart as a battering ram to break their way into the legislative building on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return from British rule, spray-painting slogans on its chamber’s walls and draping a Union Jack-emblazoned colonial flag across the dais.At the time, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam condemned the “extreme use of violence and vandalism” and supported the police’s decision to leave it undefended in the face of a small group of protesters.Emily Leung, a spokeswoman for Lam, referred queries on the report to the Hong Kong police, who declined to comment on Friday.who didn’t immediately respond to a call and an email Friday for comment.(Updates with police comment in final paragraph.)\--With assistance from Ina Zhou, Kari Lindberg and Debby Wu.To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at;Adela Lin in Taipei at alin95@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Fri, 19 Jul 2019 06:27:27 -0400

Ukraine's president says he backs prisoner swap with Russia -

Ukraine's president says he backs prisoner swap with RussiaUkraine's president on Friday outlined the details of an impending prisoner swap with Russia, saying that Kiev is willing to release a jailed Russian journalist in exchange for a Ukrainian film director. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's statement comes at the end of the week of shuttle diplomacy, with the Russian and Ukrainian human rights ombudswomen holding talks both in Moscow and in Kiev. The flurry of activity around imprisoned Russians and Ukrainians follows last week's first telephone call between Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Fri, 19 Jul 2019 05:31:03 -0400

Tulsi Gabbard Raised Negative $20 for Her House Campaign -

Tulsi Gabbard Raised Negative $20 for Her House CampaignSean Rayford/GettyAs she runs for the Democratic nominee for president, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) also faces a primary challenge for her seat in the House. But if recent filings made by her political team are any indication, she’s not sweating. Gabbard raised just $11 in the second quarter of 2019. That number does not factor in a $31 contribution refund, which means her campaign committee ended in the red during that three month period.The committee spent just $8,828.59 during the quarter—almost all of which was on financial compliance—leaving it with just over $30,000 cash on hand. The absence of any fundraising or spending on her House race has left political observers with the impression that Gabbard may not return to Congress at all if her White House bid falls short. By contrast, during this quarter in the 2018 election cycle, Gabbard brought in more than $225,000 in net contributions, per federal filings. The congresswoman has been coy about such a situation in the past. Back in January, she told CNN’s Jake Tapper that she’d “cross that bridge when we get there.” Since then, Democratic state Senator Kai Kahele has formally launched a campaign for Gabbard’s seat. Kahele has won the endorsement of progressive groups and currently has $309,977 cash on hand in his campaign coffers and has used Gabbard’s presidential run against her. “What Hawaii needs is a full time representative in Congress who will show up and whoʻs sole focus is fighting on behalf of the people of the 2nd Congressional District,” he said.One Hawaii Democrat called Kahele the most formidable opponent that Gabbard has faced in her congressional career. But even that official cautioned that it would be difficult to unseat the congresswoman should she decide to run for re-election to the House in the wake of a White House bid falling short.That’s because Gabbard’s current cash flow problems could be easily remedied. The congresswoman has developed a national political following during her presidential bid—her presidential campaign raised $1.5 million in the second quarter—giving her the type of grassroots fundraising network to quickly replenish her coffers. Beyond that, campaign finance laws allow her to transfer money from her presidential campaign to her House campaign should the former come to an end, provided that no individual donor exceeds federal donation limits in the course of that transfer. “Since the contribution limit for presidential and house campaigns is the same, there would be no issue with the initial transfer, just a question of which donors would already have contributions against their limit for her House campaign,” explained David Mason, a former member of the Federal Election Commission. “These would be reported as memo entries on the house committee report along with the transfer.”Gabbard’s team did not return requests for comment. But what is notable about her lack of any congressional campaign operation is how different it is from her contemporaries also running for the White House. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) is also running for the Democratic presidential nomination. But during the second quarter of 2009, he still raised $30,255.83 for his House campaign arm and spent $56,764.02 from that same account. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), who is running for president and—like Gabbard—faces a primary challenge for his House seat, raised $39,409.17 in the second quarter for his congressional campaign arm. He spent $162,225 from that account during that same quarter, including nearly $8,000 on Facebook ads. Moulton employed at least 13 staffers from his House campaign account. Gabbard, by contrast, had no one on her House campaign payroll. 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.

Fri, 19 Jul 2019 04:46:37 -0400

How Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution Was Resurrected—and Betrayed -

How Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution Was Resurrected—and BetrayedCourtesy Bill GentileBill Gentile covered the Central American wars of the 1980s that haunt the United States to this day. In the first chapter of this series he wrote about the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. In the second, he looked at the U.S.-backed counter-revolution. Here he looks at what has become of the region, and of journalism.* * *Return Trips* * *MANAGUA, Nicaragua—Journalists follow the news. So when peace came to Central America at the beginning of the 1990s, I knew it was time for me to leave. The story there that had dominated front pages and nightly news for more than a decade dissipated almost overnight. In any case, I was ready to expand my work from Latin America and the Caribbean to more distant frontiers and Claudia, my Nicaraguan wife, was glad to escape the pressure cooker of a country mired in perpetual crisis. So we moved to Miami, a blend of developed and developing countries, where I still could cover major national and international stories, where my experience in conflict reporting and fluency in Spanish would be assets, and from where I could cover not just the region but stories far beyond.Central America’s Wars of the ’80s Still Haunt the U.S.It was a difficult transition. The logistics made sense, but the profession itself faced growing threats. By the end of the 1980s and especially at the beginning of the 1990s, the craft of photojournalism was contracting. Digital photography was becoming accessible to everyone; social media began to compete with the old mainstream operations, and 24/7 cable meant legacy outlets like Newsweek, my employer, became the platforms of old news before they even hit the stands.A peasant walks past a cotton plantation in western Nicaragua.Courtesy Bill GentileI moved to Philadelphia and began working for Video News International (VNI), the first company in the nation to use the new digital “prosumer” cameras to generate television content. Claudia and I separated and eventually divorced. When VNI fell apart, I turned to freelancing with video. By the year 2000 I had begun teaching as my main gig and freelancing as much as time and energy would allow.But Nicaragua never left me. And I never left Nicaragua.* * *‘The World Stopped Watching’* * *White Pine Pictures is a Canadian documentary film production company whose members in 1986 produced The World Is Watching, about the coverage of the Contra War in Nicaragua by Western media. I was one of the featured journalists. In 2002, some 16 years later, White Pine contacted me to ask whether I would be willing to return to Nicaragua to film a sequel.“Absolutely.”I proposed we scan a handful of images from my book, Nicaragua, and publish them in the country’s newspapers. We’d ask people to contact our producer in Managua if anyone recognized the people in the pictures, then we’d follow up on their stories since the Sandinista victory on July 19, 1979. A peasant man and daughter make adobe blocks for building their new home.Courtesy Bill GentileIt worked. Sandinista soldiers. Contra fighters. Peasants. Workers. Our producer’s phone rang off the hook. And in the end? I found myself trying to explain how terrible those days had been, in large part because they failed to advance the Sandinistas’ plan for a more equitable Nicaragua than the one they inherited from the Somoza dictatorship.‘Terrible and Glorious Days’ Covering the Contra War of the 1980sCalling their sequel The World Stopped Watching, the White Pine filmmakers produced a documentary explaining how the absence of international media loosens the restraints on the bad guys, who can do whatever they want because we, the international observers and watchdogs, are not around to hold them accountable. And that’s exactly what has happened.At their electoral defeat in 1990, the Sandinista government accepted the process and, with no small amount of urging by former President Jimmy Carter, handed over power to a new government. It was the first time in Nicaragua’s history that a sitting government peacefully handed over power as the result of a legitimate, internationally recognized election.At a news conference recognizing their landslide loss, Sandinista leaders, including ousted President Daniel Ortega, showed up with pallid, drawn faces. Most of the international press corps was stunned by the results as well.A mural of famed guerrilla fighter and liberator Augusto Cesar Sandino in the northern mountains.Courtesy Bill Gentile“El cuadro esta pintado,” one high-ranking Sandinista official declared just days before the vote. “The painting is finished,” he said, assuring me with blind confidence that the Sandinistas would crush the opposition. The result was a measure of how deeply the Sandinista leadership was disconnected from the people.But at a rally not long after the vote, Ortega promised his followers that, “We will rule from below.” In other words, the highly organized Sandinista party would flex its muscles and get its way no matter who was president.* * *Malign Neglect* * *Anthony Quainton is Distinguished Diplomat in Residence in the School of International Service (SIS) at American University in Washington, D.C. He spent 38 years in the U.S. foreign services as a diplomat in Nicaragua, Peru, Kuwait and the Central African Republic. He also served as Coordinator of the Office for Combating Terrorism. At a recent conference, Quainton delivered a keynote speech titled, “Managua and Washington in the Early Sandinista Revolution,” calling his his assignment in Nicaragua in the early 1980s “Mission Impossible.”He argued that had the United States made a major and long-term commitment to the social and economic development of the region and backed off its support for corrupt regimes, “some of the problems we are now encountering might have been avoided or at least ameliorated. Unfortunately when the Sandinistas were eventually voted out of power in 1990, the United States largely lost interest in the region. We are reaping the whirlwind of that neglect in the refugee and gang crises we are now facing,” he said.“Opportunities to create a more stable Central America existed four decades ago,” said Quainton. “They were lost. Both sides could not see beyond their ideologies. Neither could escape from its history. The Sandinistas believed that they were a vanguard party and that history had entrusted them a revolutionary mission. … They could not escape from the troubled history of Yankee intervention. We could not escape from Vietnam and the experiences of the Cold War. Bridging the historical, ideological and emotional divide between us was more than I or my colleagues could do. Try as we could, the Mission was always impossible.”Quainton’s argument is balanced and cogent, but it presumes there was some kind of parity in 1979 between a little country devastated by earthquakes and wars with no tradition of good governance, and a stable, global, functional democracy and superpower some 200 years old. Prior to 1979 much of the Sandinista leadership lived in La Montaña and in clandestine cells. They had little or no institutional foundation to build on. No Harvard or Oxford background to draw from. No Jefferson, Washington or Lincoln to emulate.A young woman washes clothes in Lake Managua, which borders the capital, Managua.Courtesy Bill GentileInstead, they were forced to cope with political, economic and military aggression by the single most powerful nation on the planet. To justify that action, Ronald Reagan warned a group of conservative supporters that defeat of the contras would create "a privileged sanctuary for terrorists and subversives just two days' driving time from Harlingen, Texas." He warned that “feet people” trudging north would be “swarming into our country” to escape communism.But if, as the Trump administration claims, Central Americans are now headed north in huge numbers, it’s because of the complete failure to address their hopes, their needs, and their safety.* * *Rule and Ruin* * *Yet none of this justifies what Sandinista rule has become.Today, most of the original Sandinista leadership has abandoned the Ortega regime, viewing it as a betrayal of the organization’s original promises to the Nicaraguan people. Daniel Ortega has been president, once again, for the past 10 years. His wife, Rosario Murillo, is vice president.Facing Down the Death Squads of NicaraguaDuring anti-government protests in the spring of 2018, Sandinista police and Sandinista-backed armed thugs killed an estimated 300 people. Media outlets are constantly harassed and shut down. Even international non-governmental organizations whose only agenda is to help the poor and underprivileged have abandoned the country because of government restrictions and intervention. Nicaragua continues to be rated as the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.So where do journalists and journalism fit into all this? How do we see our role? Four decades after my first arrival in Managua, have I helped bring about positive change? Did I do any good here?I certainly hope so. I hope the images I created and published via UPI, Newsweek magazine, my Nicaragua book and other outlets, have contributed to the visual record of that time and that place in history. It’s important to remember that, at the time when I was covering the region, there was no Facebook, no Google, no Instagram, no email. There was no internet! Television was limited to ABC, CBS and NBC. CNN was just beginning. Fox did not exist. So most of the world relied on a handful of magazines including Newsweek, Time and U.S. News & World Report, Life and National Geographic, for its visual explanation of the globe. Major newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post published only black and white pictures back then.A tiny handful of women and men, including myself, were privileged to be part of a small cadre of photojournalists entrusted with the mission of providing the world with a visual explanation of itself. And we did so sometimes despite great peril.But there is another dimension to what we do, perhaps more important than our impact on the wider world. And that is the mere act of practicing our craft defines and validates us. Like La Montaña for the guerrillas, journalism is the anvil upon which we test, forge and mold ourselves into what we aspire to be.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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