Tag: News Sites

Jamal Khashoggi case: Saudi Arabia says journalist killed in fight

Jamal Khashoggi Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption This is the first time Saudi Arabia has admitted the death of Jamal Khashoggi

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the country’s state TV reported quoting an initial probe.

It said deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, were dismissed over the affair.

US President Donald Trump said what had happened was “unacceptable” but that Saudi Arabia was a “great ally”.

This is the first time the kingdom has admitted Mr Khashoggi has died.

The acknowledgement follows two weeks of denials that Saudi Arabia had any involvement in the disappearance of the prominent Saudi critic when he entered the consulate in Istanbul on 2 October to seek paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

The Saudi kingdom had come under increased pressure to explain Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance after Turkish officials said he was deliberately killed inside the consulate, and his body dismembered.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Turkish forensic investigators have already searched the Saudi consulate and consul’s residence

On Friday, Turkish police widened their search from the consulate grounds to a nearby forest where unnamed officials believe his body may have been disposed of.

Observers are questioning whether Riyadh’s Western allies will find the Saudis’ account of a “botched rendition” convincing – and whether it will persuade them not to take punitive action against Saudi Arabia.

‘This is only a first step to the truth’

Analysis by BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner

The Saudi leadership will now be hoping that its belated admission that Khashoggi did die after all inside its consulate – coupled with a handful of sackings and arrests – will be enough to draw a line under this affair. It won’t.

This is only a first step towards publicising the truth of what really happened. Given the days of indignant denials by the Saudi leadership it’s doubtful we would have even got this far without sustained international pressure.

There can only be one of two possible alternatives here. Either – as many suspect – the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was to blame, or he had lost control of his inner circle, something most observers find hard to believe.

MBS, as he’s known, has a huge following amongst young patriotic Saudis who see him as a visionary reformer. If that support were now to ebb away then the crown prince could find himself dangerously isolated at court.

What is Saudi Arabia’s version of events?

A statement from Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi, who had fallen out of favour with the Saudi government, and people who met him in the consulate – ending with his death.

The investigations are still under way, it said, and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested. The Saudi authorities have yet to give evidence to support this version of events.

State media said Saudi King Salman had ordered the sacking of two senior officials.

Saud al-Qahtani is a prominent member of the Saudi Royal Court and adviser to Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Image copyright Twiiter/@suadq1978
Image caption Saud al-Qahtani has over a million followers on Twitter

Major-General Ahmed al-Assiri has acted as the top spokesman for the kingdom about the war in Yemen.

Gen Assiri spoke to the BBC in 2017 about the conflict, defending Saudi Arabia’s actions.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionNawal Al-Maghafi speaks to Major-General Ahmed al-Assiri

King Salman has also reportedly ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed, to restructure the intelligence services.

Saudi Arabia said it had acted on information provided by Turkish authorities as part of its inquiry, investigating a number of suspects.

How did Trump react?

President Trump said the arrests were an important “first step”. He praised the kingdom for acting quickly, and while he said sanctions were an option against the country, he spoke of the possible effect such moves would have on the US economy.

Asked if he found Saudi Arabia’s version of events credible, he replied, “I do.”

He stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and pushed back against the need for sanctions against the country in light of the new information, talking about the effect of such a move on the US economy.

He spoke of his visit to Saudi Arabia – his first trip abroad as president – and the $110bn (£84bn) arms deal he signed with the kingdom.

“I’d rather keep the million jobs [in the US] and find another solution,” he said.

Earlier this week Mr Trump said there would be “very severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was proved to have killed the journalist.

The White House said in a separate statement the US was “deeply saddened” to hear confirmation of Mr Khashoggi’s death.

US Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican highly critical of the Saudis, said he was “sceptical” of the report on the journalist’s death.

Why does Turkey say he was murdered?

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate, and his body then removed – and they say they have video and audio evidence to back this up.

Saudi Arabia has denied this, and initially insisted Mr Khashoggi had freely left the embassy.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Turkish newspapers with close links to the government have published gruesome details of the alleged audio, including what they describe as the sounds of screams and Mr Khashoggi being interrogated and tortured.

Meanwhile, Turkish media say they have identified a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on the day of the disappearance.

Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: The key events

2 October

  • 03:28: A private jet carrying suspected Saudi agents arrives at Istanbul airport. A second joins it late afternoon
  • 12:13: Several diplomatic vehicles are filmed arriving at the consulate, allegedly carrying some of the Saudi agents
  • 13:14: Mr Khashoggi enters the building, where he is due to pick up paperwork ahead of his marriage
  • 15:08: Vehicles leave the consulate and are filmed arriving at the nearby Saudi consul’s residence
  • 21:00: Both jets leave Turkey by 21:00

3 October

  • Turkish government announces Mr Khashoggi is missing, thought to be in the consulate

4 October

  • Saudi Arabia says he left the embassy

7 October

  • Turkish officials tell the BBC they believed Mr Khashoggi was killed at the consulate. This is later strongly denied by Saudi Arabia

13 October

15 and 17-18 October

  • Forensic teams carry out searches of consulate

20 October

  • Saudi state TV reports an initial investigation shows Jamal Khashoggi died in the consulate
  • Two Saudi senior officials are dismissed and King Salman announces the formation of a ministerial committee to restructure the intelligence services

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Scientists prepare for expedition to the world’s deepest depths

No Comments

(Reuters) – For the first time, humans will visit the deepest part of each of the five oceans, plunging to the sea floor using a two-person craft designed to withstand the intense pressures more than 5.5 miles (9 km) below the surface.

The project, known as Five Deeps Expedition, will use a special submersible vehicle that took more than three years to build. It is made of titanium and other special materials that can dive to the bottom of the ocean, said Victor Vescovo, an explorer who will pilot the vehicle after it leaves its supporting boat and descends toward the deepest parts of the ocean.

“I’m very much looking forward to pushing not only the limits of the technology and myself and my crew, but also hopefully push humanity forward a little bit in terms of our understanding of our world and showing what we can do as a species,” said Vescovo, who has climbed the world’s seven highest mountain peaks and trekked to both the North and South Poles.

The maker of the submersible vehicle, Triton Submarines LLC of Vero Beach, Florida, said on the company website that it is the only submersible certified to carry humans on dives of 36,000 feet (11,000 meters). Discovery and Science Channel will capture the entire mission for a project known as “Deep Planet” that will air in 2019.

Reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault in New York; Editing by David Gregorio

ZF takes 35 percent stake in autonomous driving specialist ASAP

No Comments

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen said on Friday it acquired a 35 percent stake in ASAP, a Germany-based maker of software and testing systems for autonomous driving applications and electric vehicles.

ASAP specializes in car-to-x communication, human-machine interfaces and electronic architecture and last year generated sales of 84 million euros. It employs 1,100 staff.

ZF’s Chief Executive Officer Wolf-Henning Scheider recently said ZF will invest about 12 billion euros in electromobility and autonomous driving over the next five years.

A purchase price for the ASAP stake was not disclosed.

Reporting by Arno Schuetze, editing by Riham Alkousaa

New Academic Journal Seeks Marketing and Tech Writers – SEOJournal.co

SEOJournal.co seeks to add a new voice in SEO discussions by providing a peer-reviewed research periodical.  While there are a lot of journals providing SEO top ten lists this journal will serve as an academic source.  The new journal is already registered with the Library of Congress as a periodical and its first publication is planned in the next several months.

Students and practitioners are welcome to submit various skill levels for beginner audiences to expert data scientist. The journal has two volunteer editors both with Masters of Education and Technology backgrounds.  The journal is a non-profit endeavor and will not include advertisements or charge subscriptions.

This is an excellent way to get published and acknowledged outside of the buzzword gallery of blogs.  Visit https://seojournal.co to subscribe for upcoming editions or to submit works for inclusion.

Robot market growth slows as trade war hits industrial spending: robot industry chief

No Comments

TOKYO (Reuters) – An escalating trade war between the United States and China has dampened manufacturers’ appetite for investment in equipment, causing growth in the industrial robot market to slow, the chief of the global robot industry group said.

Many global manufacturers “are now in a wait-and-see mode, wondering whether to shift production (away from China) to, let’s say, Vietnam or the United States,” said Junji Tsuda, chief of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in an interview on Thursday.

IFR, which brings together nearly 60 global robot suppliers and integrators, predicts worldwide industrial robot sales this year to grow 10 percent compared to last year’s 30 percent jump.

China is the world’s largest robots market with a 36 percent global share, with its sales volume exceeding the total of Europe and the Americas combined.

Tsuda, also the chairman of Japan’s Yaskawa Electric Corp, said the manufacturers would move out of the wait-and-see mode by the end of this year.

It will take a while for the direction of the trade war to be clear, Tsuda said. “But global demand for smartphones, semiconductors and autos have been solid, and the time will eventually come that they can wait no longer and will resume investment to meet the demand.”

Yaskawa, one of the world’s top robot manufacturers, last week cut its annual operating profit forecast to 59 billion yen ($524.40 million) from 65.5 billion yen, citing a slowdown in smartphone-related demand in China and growing caution over the trade dispute.

From next year onwards, however, IFR expects the robot market growth to pick up again, forecasting an average 14 percent increase per year through 2021.

($1 = 112.5100 yen)

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

Crimea attack: College assault kills 17

Scene of Crimea school shooting, 17 October 2018 Image copyright PA

At least 17 people have been killed and dozens more wounded in an attack at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea.

Officials initially said an “unidentified explosive device” detonated, but now say all the victims died of gunshot wounds at the technical college in Kerch.

Russian investigators said an 18-year-old student blamed for the attack had killed himself.

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in a widely criticised move.

The annexation followed a disputed vote that was condemned by many Western powers.

The alleged perpetrator of the college attack has been identified as Vladislav Roslyakov, who is said to have opened fire on those in the building. Forty people were injured.

Russia’s RBC TV interviewed a friend who said he “hated the technical school very much”.

Image copyright PA

The incident had initially been described as a “terrorist act”, but Russia’s investigative committee has now reclassified it as “mass murder”.

President Vladimir Putin described it as a “tragic event” and expressed condolences to the victims’ relatives.

Image copyright PA
Image caption National guard soldiers were deployed

A local official said most of the victims were students of the technical college, which is a vocational school for 850 teenagers.

A major emergency response operation launched as the victims were taken to hospitals.

Four military planes were ready to evacuate the wounded and military hospital facilities were ready to accept victims if necessary, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Investigators had at first released a statement saying an explosive device filled with “metal objects” had detonated in the dining area.

In earlier reaction, the director of the college, who was not at the scene at the time of the attack, told Russian media that unknown armed men had broken into the building. She compared it to the school siege of Beslan in 2004, during which about 330 people died.

Reuters news agency said that schools and pre-schools were being evacuated in the city.

Kerch is situated at the point where Russia built a bridge between the Crimean peninsula and Russia.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine remain strained by the Crimea annexation and a continuing conflict involving Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The speaker of the Russia-backed Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, suggested Kiev may have been behind the attack, saying “the entire evil inflicted on the land of Crimea is coming from the official Ukrainian authorities”.

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Jamal Khashoggi: Pressure grows on Saudis as US envoy meets king

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meeting Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 16 October 2018 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Pompeo thanked the king for his “commitment” to an investigation

Pressure is growing on Saudi Arabia to explain the fate of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met King Salman in Riyadh.

Mr Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents but the Saudis have denied this.

However, US media are reporting that the Saudis may be preparing to admit that Mr Khashoggi died as a result of an interrogation that went wrong.

Overnight, Turkish police completed a search of the consulate after being admitted by Saudi authorities.

What’s likely to come from the Pompeo meeting?

The secretary of state and the king have now met in Riyadh.

While much of what was discussed during has yet to be announced, the US State Department said that Mr Pompeo had used the time to thank the king for his “commitment to a thorough, transparent investigation” into Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Mr Pompeo was also expected to seek further clarification over a conversation between the king and President Donald Trump on Monday.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionPresident Trump and the King of Saudi Arabia discussed the disappearance of the Saudi journalist

Tweeting earlier about the call, Mr Trump said: “Just spoke to the king of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen’.”

He later told reporters: “The denial was very, very strong. It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?”

There is a lot at stake given the strength of Saudi-US ties. Mr Trump has already ruled out cancelling a lucrative arms deal, although he did threaten “severe punishment” if the kingdom were found to be responsible for the death.

King Salman ordered an investigation into the missing journalist on Monday. Saudi statements up to now have dismissed allegations of a killing as “baseless” and “lies”.

The kingdom has also angrily rejected what it called political and economic “threats”, saying it would respond to any punitive action, such as sanctions, “with a bigger one”.

Mr Pompeo is also expected to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his day in Riyadh. The secretary of state may then head to Turkey.

What is this US media line about?

It appeared in the New York Times and on CNN, quoting unnamed sources.

They said Saudi Arabia would acknowledge that Mr Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong and the intention had been only to abduct him from Turkey.

This may explain in part Mr Trump’s “rogue killers” line.

Who such killers could be and how it fits into reports of a Saudi team being despatched to the consulate before Mr Khashoggi’s arrival will presumably need to covered.

CNN said the Saudis may argue the operation was conducted without clearance and those responsible would be held accountable.

The Khashoggi family in Saudi Arabia issued a statement calling for an “independent and impartial international commission”.

Reputations may be forever tainted

By Frank Gardner, BBC News

The recent, highly charged exchange of words between Washington and Riyadh now appears to have given way to a mutual search for the least bad explanation. Both countries’ leaders know they have an enormous amount to lose if this affair ended up splitting apart their 73-year old strategic partnership.

Iran, as the regional rival to Saudi Arabia, would be the prime beneficiary if the Saudis were to lose their defensive US umbrella. President Trump is also correct when he says thousands of US jobs would be lost, with China and Russia to be among those lining up to replace them.

Which begs the wider question: is the West’s relationship with Saudi Arabia so important that it outweighs the need to condemn and punish what many believe was a state-sponsored murder of a journalist inside a consulate?

Hence the urgent dispatching of US Secretary of State for talks with the Saudi leadership. In private there may well be some strong words, in public both countries may want to present a united stand. But one thing is certain: whatever narrative emerges, the international reputation of the Saudi Crown Prince and power-behind-the-throne Mohammed Bin Salman will forever be tainted by this affair.

What happened with the consulate search?

For the first time since the journalist disappeared on 2 October, Turkish investigators were allowed to enter the building.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Turkish officers search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

A Saudi team entered first on Monday, followed roughly an hour later by Turkish forensic police.

The Turkish investigators, some wearing overalls, gloves and covered shoes. stayed for about eight hours, leaving in the early hours of Tuesday.

They reportedly took with them samples, including of soil from the consulate garden.

Saudi Arabia agreed last week to allow Turkish officials to conduct a search but insisted it would only be a superficial “visual” inspection.

Turkey rejected that offer. The Sabah daily newspaper said investigators had wanted to search the building with luminol, a chemical which shows up any traces of blood. It is not clear whether that happened.

Reports on Tuesday said Istanbul police would also search the Saudi consul’s residence.

What allegedly happened in Istanbul?

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who has written for the Washington Post, was last seen walking into the consulate on 2 October.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi went to get paperwork for his forthcoming marriage.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents but Riyadh insists that he left the consulate unharmed.

Mr Khashoggi was once an adviser to the Saudi royal family but fell out of favour with the Saudi government and went into self-imposed exile. He is a US resident.

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Jamal Khashoggi: Turkey ‘to search Saudi consulate’ in Istanbul

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionJamal Khashoggi: What we know about the journalist’s disappearance

Turkish officials investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will search Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul later on Monday, according to reports.

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents nearly two weeks ago, but Riyadh strongly denies this.

Diplomatic pressure is growing on the Saudis to give a fuller explanation.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman ordered an investigation into the case.

“The king has ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi matter based on the information from the joint team in Istanbul,” an official quoted by Reuters news agency said.

Last week, Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal to form a joint working group to investigate Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The latest moves come as more leading business figures say they will not attend a major investment conference in Riyadh later this month.

The head of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, is one of the latest high-profile executives to pull out.

When will the search take place?

Turkish diplomatic sources said the consulate would be searched by a joint Turkish-Saudi team in the late afternoon or evening.

Details of how the search will be carried out have not been revealed.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police barricades have been set up in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Saudi Arabia agreed last week to allow Turkish officials to search the building but insisted it would only be a superficial “visual” inspection.

Turkey rejected that offer. The Sabah daily newspaper said investigators had wanted to search the building with luminol, a chemical which shows up any traces of blood.

King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on Sunday evening, officials said, and stressed the importance of the two countries working together on the case.

What is alleged to have happened in Istanbul?

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who has written for the Washington Post, was last seen walking into the consulate on 2 October.

A Turkish security source has told the BBC that officials have audio and video evidence proving Mr Khashoggi was murdered inside the building.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi went to get paperwork for his forthcoming marriage.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents, but Riyadh insists that he left the consulate unharmed.

Mr Khashoggi was once an adviser to the Saudi royal family but fell out of favour with the Saudi government and went into self-imposed exile. He is a US resident.

How have other countries reacted?

US President Donald Trump has threatened Saudi Arabia with “severe punishment” if it emerges that Mr Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

In an interview with CBS News, Mr Trump said that, if true, the fact that a journalist was murdered was “terrible and disgusting”.

However, he ruled out halting big military contracts with Riyadh.

On Sunday, Riyadh angrily rejected political and economic “threats” over the missing journalist and said it would respond to any punitive action “with a bigger one”.

The UK, Germany and France have called for a “credible” investigation into the disappearance.

Their foreign ministers said that if anyone were found responsible they should be held accountable, and urged a detailed response from Riyadh.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that whatever happened now was “absolutely up to Saudi Arabia”.

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Kangaroo attacks couple in northeastern Australia, injures woman

No Comments

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian wildlife carers Jim and Linda Smith are lucky to be alive, an ambulance official said, after they were attacked by a kangaroo in northeastern Queensland state.

The Smiths were feeding wild kangaroos on their property in the Darling Downs when a grey kangaroo buck struck out at Jim Smith, knocking him to the ground.

The kangaroo attacked his wife, Linda, when she ran to help him, leaving her with a collapsed lung, broken ribs, cuts and scratches.

“It’s scary, it knocked me over once or twice and once they grab you, you can see what they do”, Jim said, showing his injuries.

It was only when their son came out and hit the kangaroo with a piece of wood that the marsupial stopped the attack and returned to nearby bushland, Australian media reported.

Linda Smith was taken to Toowoomba Hospital, where she underwent surgery, media reports said.

“If the kangaroo was able to continue to inflict further injury, her life was, yes, in danger,” Queensland Ambulance Service’s senior operations supervisor Stephen Johns said.

Australia has roughly 45 million kangaroos and it is not unusual for them to come into conflict with people as housing has expanded to areas where the marsupials live.

They are even more likely to be driven into populated areas in search of food and water in drought-stricken areas.

Reporting by Stefica Nicol Bikes; Writing by Karishma Singh

Jamal Khashoggi case: Saudis defy ‘threats’ over missing writer

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionJamal Khashoggi: What we know about the journalist’s disappearance

Saudi Arabia rejects political and economic “threats” over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a source quoted by state news agency SPA says.

The country would respond to any punitive action “with a bigger one”, the unnamed senior source said.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, vanished on 2 October after visiting its consulate in Istanbul.

US President Donald Trump said he would “punish” Saudi Arabia if it were found responsible for killing him.

The authorities in Istanbul believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents – claims Riyadh has dismissed as “lies”.

Britain and the US are considering boycotting a major international conference in Saudi Arabia this month.

What is the latest from the Saudis?

The source quoted by SPA said: “The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure.

“The kingdom also affirms that it will respond to any action with a bigger one. The Saudi economy has vital and influential roles for the global economy.”

The Saudis have come under considerable international pressure over the disappearance.

Diplomatic sources told the BBC’s James Landale that both US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox might not attend next month’s investment conference in Riyadh, which has been dubbed “Davos in the Desert”.

The event is being hosted by the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to promote his reform agenda. Several sponsors and media groups have decided to pull out.

A joint statement of condemnation, if it is confirmed that Mr Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents, is also being discussed by US and European diplomats.

What has Mr Trump said?

The president has said the US will inflict “severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for the death of Mr Khashoggi.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionDonald Trump says he’d be very angry if Saudi Arabia ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

He said he would be “very upset and angry if that were the case”, but ruled out halting big military contracts.

“I think we’d be punishing ourselves if we did that,” he said. “If they don’t buy it from us, they’re going to buy it from Russia or… China.”

Where is the investigation now?

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevut Cavusoglu said Saudi Arabia had not so far co-operated with the investigation – despite a statement from Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz saying his nation wanted to uncover “the whole truth”.

Mr Cavusoglu has urged the kingdom to allow Turkish officials to enter the consulate.

Saudi share reaction

On Sunday, stocks on the Tadawul All-Shares Index plummeted 7% in early trading, wiping out all the gains made this year, before recovering slightly around noon.

In two sessions it lost $50bn (£38bn) of its $450bn capitalisation, AFP news agency reported.

Salah Shamma, of Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity, told Reuters: “The market is reacting negatively to sentiment around the Khashoggi case.”

What is alleged to have happened in Istanbul?

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

A Turkish security source has told the BBC that officials had audio and video evidence proving Mr Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washington Post, was murdered inside the consulate.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi entered the building to get paperwork for a marriage.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents.

Turkish TV has broadcast CCTV footage of the moment Mr Khashoggi walked into the consulate.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionSecretary General Antonio Guterres told the BBC’s Kamal Ahmed “we need to know exactly what has happened”

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Nepal storm kills several climbers in Himalayan peak Gurja

An ice avalanche is shooting down an icy rock slope Image copyright Frank Bienewald/Getty
Image caption Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks

At least eight climbers died when a violent snowstorm destroyed their camp on a Himalayan peak in western Nepal.

A five-member South Korean expedition team and four Nepali guides were at the base camp of Mount Gurja when the storm struck, police said on Saturday.

A rescue helicopter at the scene confirmed seeing eight bodies in the ruins of the camp, but was unable to stay due to bad weather conditions.

The ninth climber has yet to be found but is feared dead.

“Five South Korean climbers are dead, three Nepalese nationals are also dead. One Nepali guide is missing,” police spokesman Sailesh Thapa told the BBC.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Kim Chang-ho has won awards for his mountaineering efforts

Local media report that South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, the fastest person to summit the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen, is among the dead.

“The camp was completely destroyed,” the BBC heard from Myagdi district official Liladhar Adhikari. “[A recovery team] could see the bodies of the climbers scattered near the camp.”

He said another recovery team would be sent on Sunday, weather conditions permitting.

Expedition organisers raised the alarm after losing contact with the group, which set off on 7 October, for nearly 24 hours.

The climbers had been waiting for a window of good weather so they could reach the summit, when the storm hit Friday.

The base camp, which is at least one-day’s trek from the nearest village, is at 3,500m (11,483ft), on the 7,193m-high mountain.

The rarely-climbed Mount Gurja sits in Nepal’s Annapurna region, next to avalanche-prone Dhaulagiri, the world’s seventh highest mountain.

According to the Himalayan Database, no-one has stood on Gurja’s summit since 1996.

Only 30 people have successfully climbed to its peak compared with more the than 8,000 people who have reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Everest.

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Hurricane Michael leaves ‘unimaginable destruction’

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionAerial footage shows the destruction in Mexico Beach, Florida

Hurricane Michael left “unimaginable destruction” as it ploughed into coastal areas of Florida, the state’s governor, Rick Scott says.

“So many lives have been changed forever,” he said. “So many families have lost everything.”

The worst hit areas of Florida’s northwest coast saw houses ripped from their foundations, trees felled, and power lines strewn across streets.

Hurricane Michael struck on Wednesday with winds of 155mph (250km/h).

It weakened to a storm as it moved inland towards the north-east, but at least six people have died, most of them in Florida.

More than 370,000 people in Florida were ordered to evacuate but officials believe many ignored the warning.

Governor Scott said the US Coast Guard carried out 10 missions overnight, saving at least 27 people.

Which areas are worst affected?

Michael ploughed into Florida’s Panhandle coast near the town of Mexico Beach at 14:00 (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the US mainland.

Ranked four on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale and with a storm surge of 9ft (2.7m), it lifted homes from their foundations and heavily damaged others in districts closest to the sea in Mexico Beach, CNN helicopter footage showed.

Twenty survivors were found in the town overnight, AP reports, but 285 had refused to obey warnings to evacuate.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mexico Beach saw widespread destruction

Head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, called Mexico Beach “ground zero” due to the damage.

Trees were downed in Panama City, northwest of Mexico Beach, buildings flattened, boats and electrical cables scattered.

Apalachicola, with 2,300 residents, was also badly affected, the mayor reporting that downed cables were making it difficult to get through the town.

Debris and floodwater are also making some of the worst-hit areas difficult to reach.

Governor Scott urged residents not to return until the authorities “make sure things are safe”, given the danger from power lines and other debris.


Silence and sun

By Gary O’Donoghue, BBC News, Mexico Beach, Florida

One of the first things you notice as you walk into Mexico Beach is the stillness.

No wind, almost no-one on the street, just the beating hot Sun and the debris: debris everywhere, tossed and scattered – the calling card of a monstrous storm.

And then you hear faint bleeping sounds coming from all directions – a dissonant symphony of high-pitched notes that turn out to be myriad small alarms, still transmitting their warnings from the batteries which power them.

On the left, as we walk, there’s a mattress slumped at the roadside, on the right a Dean Koontz novel lies in the dirt.

Picking our way through a mass of rubble and detritus that was once a house, we spot an American flag on the ground; in amongst it all there is also a toy car and a cracked glass plate from a microwave.

A little further on, and a woman, accompanied by a friend, is sifting through the remains of her home, loading what she can salvage into the boot of a car. This was her dream retirement place she tells me – the last four years spent doing it up. “I’ll never step back in there,” she says through her tears.

The sheer force of Hurricane Michael has been well analysed, but it’s only when you see the everyday stuff of people’s lives crushed, broken, smashed to pieces, that you realise they will be living with this long after we have gone.

Who are the victims?

Six deaths have been confirmed – four in Florida, one in Georgia and one in North Carolina.

Florida officials say one man died when he was crushed in an incident involving a tree in Gadsden County.

In Seminole County, Georgia, a metal car-shelter lifted by a gust of wind hit a mobile home, killing a girl of 11.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Residents of Mexico Beach have returned to find homes heavily damaged

Travis Brooks, director of Seminole County’s emergency management agency, told ABC News there was “complete and total devastation”.

Michael earlier reportedly killed at least 13 people as it passed through Central America: six in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.

Winds have knocked out power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses across Florida, Alabama, the Carolinas and Georgia.

Around 6,000 are thought to have sought refuge in official shelters, mainly in Florida.

What is the storm doing now?

With reduced winds of 50mph, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Michael has moved north-east crossing Georgia and is now bringing heavy rain to North Carolina and Virginia.

The NHC warned that communities in north-west Florida and North Carolina faced the threat of life-threatening flooding as rising water moved inland from the coast.

The Carolinas are still recovering from the floods of Hurricane Florence.

States of emergency have been declared in all or parts of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

And further north, in Virginia 202,000 people are without power, officials said.

Hurricanes

A guide to the world’s deadliest storms

Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses.

Hurricanes develop from thunderstorms, fuelled by warm, moist air as they cross sub-tropical waters.
Warm air rises into the storm.

Air swirls in to fill the low pressure in the storm, sucking air in and upwards, reinforcing the low pressure.

The storm rotates due to the spin of the earth and energy from the warm ocean increases wind speeds as it builds.

When winds reach 119km/h (74mph), it is known as a hurricane – in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific – or a typhoon in the Western Pacific.

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Well, we’re about to get punched in the face.”
Florida Mayor Bob Buckhorn, ahead of Hurricane Irma (2017)

The central eye of calmer weather is surrounded by a wall of rainstorms.
This eyewall has the fastest winds below it and violent currents of air rising through it.

A mound of water piles up below the eye which is unleashed as the storm reaches land.
These storm surges can cause more damage from flooding than the winds.

“Urgent warning about the rapid rise of water on the SW FL coast with the passage of #Irma’s eye. MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER!”
Tweet from the National Hurricane Center

The size of hurricanes is mainly measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale – other scales are used in Asia Pacific and Australia.

Winds 119-153km/h
Some minor flooding, little structural damage.
Storm surge +1.2m-1.5m

Winds 154-177km/h
Roofs and trees could be damaged.
Storm surge +1.8m-2.4m

Winds 178-208km/h
Houses suffer damage, severe flooding
Storm surge +2.7m-3.7m

Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused $71bn damage in the Caribbean and New York

Winds 209-251km/h
Some roofs destroyed and major structural damage to houses.
Storm surge +4m-5.5m

Hurricane Ike (2008) hit Caribbean islands and Louisiana and was blamed for at least 195 deaths

Winds 252km/h+
Serious damage to buildings, severe flooding further inland.
Storm surge +5.5m

Hurricane Irma (2017) caused devastation in Caribbean islands, leaving thousands homeless

“For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life.”
Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin ahead of Hurricane Gustav, 2008

Click arrow to proceed

Loading …


Are you in the area? If you’ve been affected by Hurricane Michael and it’s safe to share your experiences, please email .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Storm Michael: Record-breaking ‘hell’ storm mauls US

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionDevastation as Michael makes landfall

The third-strongest storm in recorded history to hit the mainland US has battered north-west Florida, flooding beach towns and snapping trees.

Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday afternoon as a category four storm with 155mph (250km/h) winds in the state’s Panhandle region.

Two people, including a child, were killed by falling trees, officials say.

Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm as it weakened over Georgia on its way to the Carolinas.

Storm-surge warnings are in place between Panama City Beach and Keaton Beach in Florida, and between Ocracoke Inlet and Duck in North Carolina, the US National Hurricane Center says.

There are fears for people who ignored evacuation warnings in some of the areas now flooded.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were left without electricity in Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

Florida officials said a man was killed when he was crushed by a tree in Gadsden County while a child died when a tree fell on a home in Seminole County, Georgia, CBS news reports.

Michael earlier reportedly killed at least 13 people as it passed through Central America: six in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.

How powerful was Michael when it hit?

Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, at around 14:00 (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Only the unnamed Labor Day hurricane, which hit Florida in 1935, and Hurricane Camille, which struck Mississippi in 1969, made landfall with greater intensity.

The Labor Day storm’s barometric pressure (the lower the number, the stronger the storm) was 892 millibars and Camille’s was 900, while Michael blew in with 919.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Trailer homes were ravaged in Panama City, Florida

Michael was so powerful as it swept into Florida that it remained a hurricane as it moved further inland.

Its rapid intensification caught many by surprise, although the storm later weakened.

Unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico turbo-charged the storm from a tropical depression on Sunday.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionHurricane Michael strikes Florida

Only on Tuesday it was a category two hurricane but by Wednesday morning it had reached borderline category five, the highest level.

How badly was Florida hit?

More than 370,000 people in Florida were ordered to evacuate but officials believe many ignored the warning.

The coastal city of Apalachicola reported a storm surge of nearly 8ft (2.5m).

“There are so many downed power lines and trees that it’s almost impossible to get through the city,” local mayor Van Johnson was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Images from Mexico Beach show many homes submerged in water, and there was severe damage to buildings in the state’s Panama City area.

“We are catching some hell,” Timothy Thomas, who rode out the storm with his wife in their home in Panama City, told the Associated Press news agency.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption This McDonald’s sign was twisted by the storm in Panama City Beach

The storm knocked out power to a quarter of a million homes and businesses, as power lines were smashed by falling trees.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionHurricane Michael as seen from space

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long said at the White House that he was especially concerned about buildings constructed before 2001, and not able to withstand such high winds.

“We just hope those structures can hold up,” President Donald Trump responded. “And if not, that they’re not in those structures.”

Hurricanes

A guide to the world’s deadliest storms

Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses.

Hurricanes develop from thunderstorms, fuelled by warm, moist air as they cross sub-tropical waters.
Warm air rises into the storm.

Air swirls in to fill the low pressure in the storm, sucking air in and upwards, reinforcing the low pressure.

The storm rotates due to the spin of the earth and energy from the warm ocean increases wind speeds as it builds.

When winds reach 119km/h (74mph), it is known as a hurricane – in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific – or a typhoon in the Western Pacific.

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Well, we’re about to get punched in the face.”
Florida Mayor Bob Buckhorn, ahead of Hurricane Irma (2017)

The central eye of calmer weather is surrounded by a wall of rainstorms.
This eyewall has the fastest winds below it and violent currents of air rising through it.

A mound of water piles up below the eye which is unleashed as the storm reaches land.
These storm surges can cause more damage from flooding than the winds.

“Urgent warning about the rapid rise of water on the SW FL coast with the passage of #Irma’s eye. MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER!”
Tweet from the National Hurricane Center

The size of hurricanes is mainly measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale – other scales are used in Asia Pacific and Australia.

Winds 119-153km/h
Some minor flooding, little structural damage.
Storm surge +1.2m-1.5m

Winds 154-177km/h
Roofs and trees could be damaged.
Storm surge +1.8m-2.4m

Winds 178-208km/h
Houses suffer damage, severe flooding
Storm surge +2.7m-3.7m

Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused $71bn damage in the Caribbean and New York

Winds 209-251km/h
Some roofs destroyed and major structural damage to houses.
Storm surge +4m-5.5m

Hurricane Ike (2008) hit Caribbean islands and Louisiana and was blamed for at least 195 deaths

Winds 252km/h+
Serious damage to buildings, severe flooding further inland.
Storm surge +5.5m

Hurricane Irma (2017) caused devastation in Caribbean islands, leaving thousands homeless

“For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life.”
Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin ahead of Hurricane Gustav, 2008

Click arrow to proceed

Loading …

States of emergency have been declared in all or parts of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

Schools and state offices in the area are to remain shut this week and Florida has activated 3,500 National Guard troops.

What happens next?

As of early Thursday morning local time, the storm winds had dropped to 60mph, the NHC said.

It warned that communities in north-west Florida and North Carolina faced the threat of life-threatening flooding as rising water moved inland from the coast.

The Carolinas are still recovering from the floods of Hurricane Florence.


Are you in the affected region? What preparations have you made? If it is safe to do so, please get in touch. Email .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Purrfect job; Russian town hires cat chief to attend to strays

No Comments

MOSCOW (Reuters) – It was an unusual job advert. Wanted: Cat chief. Location: Zelenogradsk, Russia: Duties: Tending to the town’s approximately 70 stray cats.

Some 80 applicants applied for the new role with the municipality in the small town in the Kaliningrad region, which has also erected a cat statue and added a feline to its emblem in a bid to rebrand itself as Russia’s foremost cat-loving community.

In the end, local resident Svetlana Logunova was appointed guardian of the town’s felines. To help her with the task, she was given a bicycle and uniform, including a bright green jacket, black bow tie and hat.

She has been given a budget of 5,700 roubles ($85) a month to ensure all the seaside community’s cats are happy, dishing out food, strokes and free rides in the basket on her bike.

“I alone cannot care for every single one and a helping hand would go a long way,” Logunova said.

($1 = 66.1257 roubles)

Editing by Patrick Johnston

Louisville Voter Guide Takes It Up A Notch Locally

Louisville Voter Guides have in the past left something to be desired.  The official state guide at govoteky.com only gets a voter to register and understandably it leaves out most of the candidate information.

Louisville voters guide

Sean Delahanty’s campaign site similarly must remain neutral as a judge must remain nonpartisan but his voter guide includes candidates website links when available, and a side by side tweeter comparison for the Louisville Metro Mayor‘s race.  This adds a more rich experience to visitors looking for more than just a piece of the puzzle.

Local Election Coverage

The Complete Voter Guide as it is termed on the site aims to form a puzzle from all of the pieces of other sites.  Jefferson County Clerk’s site provides precinct and voter statistics, the Kentucky Secretary of State’s site provides voter information lookup capabilities and various mapping sites provide legislative districts for State House, State Senate, Metro Council Districts and suburban cities.

What District Am I In?

When Louisville merged with Jefferson County decades ago it did a secular thing in leaving all of the other cities in the county in tact.  This means that in addition to Louisville election districts the same voters may have additional cities and districts to vote upon.  The cities of Shively, St. Matthews and Jeffersonville are the largest of these examples.  Some cities barely cover a couple blocks such as Stratford Manor.  The voter guide at Sean Delahanty’s site provides a Louisville Neighborhoods and Districts map to aid voters in those regards.

Metro Council Districts Map
Metro Council Districts map in voter guide

Comparatively other voter guides are actually used in the voter guide such as Vote411.org and Ballotpedia.

Election Polling and Statistics

Its an interesting collection of info and insights that Louisville voters don’t usually see in local elections.  Polling is almost nonexistent at this level but the voter guide still makes an attempt with their polling for entertainment purposes.  The site’s inclusion of crime data for the last ten years is also unique as it divides incidents by category and zip code.

Its a good guide from a nonpartisan candidates campaign.

Jamal Khashoggi: Turkish TV airs video of missing Saudi journalist

This image appears to show Jamal Khashoggi entering the consulate last week Image copyright TRT World
Image caption This image appears to show Jamal Khashoggi entering the consulate last week

Turkish TV has aired video from CCTV said to show missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi monarchy, visited on 2 October but failed to re-emerge.

Turkish security sources say they fear he was killed there. Saudi Arabia denies this.

The video also shows vehicles driving up to the consulate, including a black van thought central to inquiries.

Footage broadcast by Turkey’s TRT World channel also shows a group of men apparently passing through security at Istanbul airport.

Turkey’s Sabah newspaper reports that it has identified 15 members of an intelligence team it says was involved in the Saudi’s disappearance.

Mr Khashoggi was visiting the consulate to finalise his divorce so he could marry his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz.

What has the international reaction been?

The UK’s foreign secretary has told Saudi Arabia that Britain expects urgent answers over the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi.

In a phone call to Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Jeremy Hunt warned that “friendships depend on shared values”.

Earlier on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said he had not yet spoken to Saudi officials about the journalist’s disappearance.

“I have not but I will be at some point,” he told reporters.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Saudi Arabia to “support a thorough investigation” of his disappearance and “to be transparent about the results”.

UN experts have demanded a “prompt independent and international investigation” into his disappearance.

Last week, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed told Bloomberg News that his government was “very keen to know what happened to him”, and that Mr Khashoggi had left “after a few minutes or one hour”.

Crown Prince Mohammed’s brother and the Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Khaled bin Salman al-Saud, has insisted all the reports about his disappearance or death “are completely false and baseless”.

How has Khashoggi’s fiancee reacted?

Hatice Cengiz has appealed to the US for help.

In an emotional article in the Washington Post, she wrote: “I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal’s disappearance.”

“We were in the middle of making wedding plans, life plans,” when he vanished, she said.

“Jamal is a valuable person, an exemplary thinker and a courageous man who has been fighting for his principles. I don’t know how I can keep living if he was abducted or killed in Turkey.”

Turkey says it will conduct a search of the Istanbul consulate.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said the country was “open to co-operation” and a search of the building could go ahead as part of the investigation.

Ankara is demanding that Saudi Arabia prove he left, while not providing definitive evidence to support the claim he was killed inside.

Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

A critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the US and writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post before his disappearance.

A former editor of the al-Watan newspaper and a short-lived Saudi TV news channel, he was for years seen as close to the Saudi royal family. He served as an adviser to senior Saudi officials.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionJamal Khashoggi: Saudi Arabia needs reform, but one-man rule is “bad” for the kingdom

But after several of his friends were arrested, his column was cancelled by the al-Hayat newspaper and he was allegedly warned to stop tweeting, Mr Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia for the US.

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Trump apologises to Kavanaugh over ‘unfair’ treatment

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionBrett Kavanaugh spoke of his record of promoting women

President Donald Trump has apologised to his new Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh for what he described as a “campaign of lies” during the confirmation hearings.

He was referring to the acrimonious debate over Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination, after sexual assault allegations were made against him.

Mr Kavanaugh said he was not bitter despite the “contentious” confirmation.

He has denied the claims made by several women.

The judge was confirmed by the Senate on Saturday, in a 50-48 vote that largely followed party lines.

It is seen as a major victory for President Trump, tilting the balance in the nation’s highest court in favour of conservatives for years to come.

One of the women accusing the judge, Prof Christine Blasey Ford, said Mr Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party in 1982 when they were high school students.

She provided testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and Mr Trump initially called her a “compelling” witness – but he later questioned her credibility and mocked her at a rally.

What did Mr Trump highlight?

As the White House ceremony got under way on Monday, Mr Trump said: “On behalf of our nation, I want to apologise to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure.”

And he decried a “campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception”, adding that “under historic scrutiny”, he had been “proven innocent”.

Last week, the FBI completed a report on sexual misconduct allegations against Mr Kavanaugh – but the findings have not been released to the public.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionTrump: “The main base of the Democrats have shifted so far left we’ll end up being Venezuela.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionDonald Trump’s nominee has been embroiled in a bitter battle over sexual assault allegations.

Prof Ford has been unable to move back home because of “unending” death threats, according to one of her lawyers.

Mr Trump says Democrats will lose in the 6 November congressional elections, which will shape the remainder of his presidency.

What did Justice Kavanaugh tell the ceremony?

The 53-year-old justice told the White House gathering that he would not let the “bitter” confirmation process affect his work on the highest court in the land.

“The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional,” Justice Kavanaugh said.

“That process is over. My focus now is to be the best justice I can be,” he added.

Without mentioning the sexual assault allegations, he touted his record of promoting women – and the fact he has become the first justice to have an all-female staff.

He will take his seat on Tuesday – on the far right of the bench, next to Justice Elena Kagan – hearing immigration and other cases.

Who wants Mr Kavanaugh impeached?

A handful of Democratic lawmakers, including congressmen Luis Gutierrez of Illinois and Ted Lieu of California, have pressed for Justice Kavanaugh’s removal over the allegations.

But top Democrat Nancy Pelosi has said trying to impeach the new justice “would not be my plan”.

A petition to impeach Justice Kavanaugh has more than 150,000 signatures.

Ms Pelosi says she will file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to make public the confidential FBI investigation into the claims against Justice Kavanaugh.

Justice Kavanaugh also faces more than a dozen judicial misconduct complaints over his public statements as a nominee to the Supreme Court.

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Jair Bolsonaro: Far-right candidate wins first round of Brazil election

Composite photo of Jair Bolsonaro (left) and Fernando Haddad (right) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jair Bolsonaro (left) and Fernando Haddad will face each other in a run-off

A far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, has won the first round of Brazil’s presidential election.

He will face the left-wing Workers’ Party candidate, Fernando Haddad, in the second round on 28 October after he failed to win the 50% of valid votes needed to win outright.

With almost all the votes counted, Mr Bolsonaro had 46% and Mr Haddad 29%.

Opinion polls conducted before the election predicted that in a second round the two candidates would be tied.

Mr Bolsonaro’s once insignificant Social Liberal Party (PSL) is poised to become the largest force in Congress following legislative elections held alongside the presidential vote, in what analysts have described as a seismic shift in Brazilian politics.

The politician and the PSL have ridden a wave of rising anger at the Workers’ Party, which their supporters blame for a prolonged recession, rising violent crime and widespread corruption in South America’s largest economy.

Why is Bolsonaro so controversial?

The former army captain has made provocative statements on a huge range of issues.

His hard-line approach to law and order has brought back memories of the two-decade military dictatorship, and earned him backing from the military and those demanding greater safety in a country with rising levels of violent crime.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jair Bolsonaro has strong support within the armed forces

Misogynistic and homophobic rhetoric has prompted outrage and protests, while his anti-abortion stance has won him support from millions of evangelical Christians.

His son, Eduardo, tweeted a photo of himself and former chief strategist to US President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon – who, he says, is “in touch” with his father’s campaign to help fight “cultural Marxism”.

Economically, Mr Bolsonaro favours a smaller state. He has announced plans to lower taxes, privatise state companies and limit foreign ownership of natural resources.

The candidate believes selling off companies will help fight government corruption – one of the focuses of Operation Car Wash, a massive corruption investigation.

Mr Bolsonaro was stabbed on the campaign trail, drawing intense media attention to him and what are seen by many as his divisive policies.

The ‘least worst’ candidate

Katy Watson, BBC South America correspondent

Jair Bolsonaro expected to win the presidency in this first round, even if the polls said otherwise. “On the 28th October, we can all go to the beach,” he said, as he turned up to vote on Sunday. His supporters had been saying for weeks that their candidate would win this straight out.

Mr Bolsonaro may have soared in the polls recently but Brazilians are going to have to wait another three weeks to find out whether it’ll be him or Fernando Haddad as Brazil’s new leader.

Brazil feels very divided – and fragile. You could feel it when you talked to voters. So many people have told me they would be voting for the “least worst” candidate. On one side, there are those determined never to allow the Workers’ Party to rule again; on the other, those desperately trying not to allow a far-right candidate to rule this young democracy.

A feeling of nervousness hangs over Brazil – and will do for the next few weeks as both candidates ramp up their campaigning once again. The future of Brazil will vary greatly, depending on who eventually wins.

How did the election pass off?

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro celebrated outside his home in Rio de Janeiro

Mr Bolsonaro said that he was certain that if there had not been “problems” with the electronic voting system used in Brazil, he would have won outright.

“I am certain that if this hadn’t happened, we would have known the name of the president of the republic tonight.”

He did not specify what he thought those “problems” were.

Brazil’s electoral authorities have said the vote went ahead peacefully and without any major problems.

What are Bolsonaro’s policies?

Brazilians will have to choose between two very different candidates on 28 October.

Mr Bolsonaro, a Roman Catholic, won the support of many evangelical Christians by saying he would defend traditional family values. He has also won over many Brazilians who think his law-and-order stance will make Brazil safer.

On the eve of Sunday’s vote, he said that his government would hand down the tough punishments offenders deserved. He is also in favour of relaxing gun ownership laws and has spoken of torture as a legitimate practice. He also wants to restore the death penalty.

In his victory speech, broadcast live on Facebook and uploaded on to Twitter, he said there were two paths Brazilians could follow.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Bolsonaro did not turn up at the hotel where he was expected to give a news conference but spoke on Facebook Live instead

“[There is] the path of prosperity, liberty. family, on God’s side… and the other one is that of Venezuela,” he said referring to Brazil’s socialist-led neighbour, a country mired in a deep economic and political crisis which has driven more than two million people to leave.

“We can’t take another step to the left!” he urged voters. “We can’t go fraternising with socialism or communism,” he said.

He acknowledged that a lot of criticism had been levelled against him but vowed to “unite the [Brazilian] people”.

“Together we will be a great nation,” he said.

What does Haddad advocate?

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Fernando Haddad was visibly relieved that there would be a second round

He has portrayed himself as a trusted candidate for those who baulk at Mr Bolsonaro’s style and rhetoric.

After reaching the second round, he said he and the Workers’ Party would “only use arguments, we don’t use any guns”.

Referring to Mr Bolsonaro’s lead, he said he felt “challenged by the results, which alert us to the risks Brazilian democracy is facing”.

“We need to approach this with a sense of responsibility,” he told his cheering supporters. “We want to unite the democrats of this country, to reduce inequality and to achieve social justice.”

He said he and his party had been presented with “a golden opportunity” by making it into the second round.

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Brett Kavanaugh confirmation: Victory for Trump in Supreme Court battle

Brett Kavanaugh, watched by his family, is administered the judicial oath by Justice Anthony Kennedy Image copyright US Supreme Court
Image caption Brett Kavanaugh, surrounded by his family, was administered the judicial oath by outgoing justice Anthony Kennedy

President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, has been sworn in following weeks of rancorous debate.

The Senate earlier backed his nomination by 50 votes to 48.

Mr Kavanaugh had been embroiled in a bitter battle to stave off claims of sexual assault, which he denies.

But after an 11th-hour investigation by the FBI into the allegations, enough wavering senators decided to support the nomination.

His confirmation hands Mr Trump a political victory ahead of key mid-term elections in November.

Before the vote, hundreds of people protested against Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination at the US Capitol in Washington.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe moment Vice President Mike Pence announces Brett Kavanaugh’s win

During the vote, other protesters shouted “shame” from the public gallery and Vice-President Mike Pence had to call for order to be restored.

Mr Kavanaugh’s appointment is for life and he will strengthen conservative control of the nine-judge court, which has the final say on US law.

The 53 year old was sworn in on Saturday evening in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath and retired justice Anthony Kennedy – whom Mr Kavanaugh is replacing – administered the judicial oath.

Protesters had gathered outside the court and at one point some ran up the steps and banged on its ornate doors. Other demonstrators climbed on the nearby statue of justice.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protesters sat on the statue of justice outside the Supreme Court

What has Mr Trump said?

He sent out a tweet of congratulations:

Later he spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One, saying Mr Kavanaugh had withstood a “horrible attack by the Democrats” and that women were “outraged” at what had happened to the nominee.

Mr Trump also said he was “100% certain” that the woman who had accused Mr Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, had named the wrong person.

So what were the numbers in the Senate?

The upper house is split 51-49 in favour of the Republicans and the vote was largely along party lines. In the end, there was indeed a two-vote margin, the closest nomination vote since 1881.

The only party dissenters were Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who had intended to vote no, and Democrat Joe Manchin, who voted yes.

That should have meant a 51-49 tally, but the absence of Republican Steve Daines, a yes voter who was at his daughter’s wedding, altered the final figures.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionDonald Trump’s nominee has been embroiled in a bitter battle over sexual assault allegations.

Ms Murkowski opted instead to simply mark herself as “present”, leaving the final vote 50-48.

What was said in the Senate?

In their final summations, the two Senate party leaders reflected how bitter the divide had become.

Minority Democrat leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Kavanaugh did not belong on the bench as he had “obscured his views to the American people”, “repeatedly misled the Senate” and delivered one of the “bitterest and most partisan testimonies ever presented by a nominee”.

He also said Mr Trump had “stooped to new depths” in mocking the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The decision of Susan Collins to vote yes helped sway the final tally

Mr Schumer said that for all those who opposed the nomination, “there is one answer – vote” in the November mid-term elections.

Majority Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Mr Kavanaugh was a “serious scholar, a brilliant student of the law and a meticulous and dedicated public servant”.

He said events had “strained our basic principles of fairness and justice” and that the vote showed the Senate was “an institution where evidence and facts matter”.

He spoke of “intimidation by the mob” and said the Senate vote should be one “to turn away from darkness”.

Ms Murkowski had earlier said that although Mr Kavanaugh was a “good man”, he was “not the right person for the court at this time” and his “appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable”.

Joe Manchin is facing a difficult re-election campaign in West Virginia, a traditionally Republican state that Mr Trump won by a landslide. He said he “found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist”.

There were shouts of “shame” from the public gallery as he voted yes.

Two Republican waverers, Susan Collins and Jeff Flake, finally decided to back the judge.

Analysis: Just the beginning

By Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court has been decided. The political war, however, is just beginning.

Donald Trump’s court pick generated a controversy that captured the nation’s attention in a way that few political issues do. It generated daily headlines rivalled only by the US quadrennial presidential elections.

Now that the bombs have been thrown, it’s time to assess the fallout.

Read more from Anthony

Why is the court so important?

Basically, it’s the final arbiter of US law.

It has the ultimate say on such contentious issues as abortion and gun control.

The Democrats are still smarting from the previous Supreme Court appointment. Republicans last year successfully stalled the process, meaning it fell to Mr Trump, not Barack Obama, to nominate the new justice. Mr Trump’s choice of Neil Gorsuch strengthened the conservative leaning.

All eyes will now be on November’s mid-term elections. Mr Trump will be able to campaign on the back of an important victory, but commentators will be watching closely how the Kavanaugh affair affects women voters.

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Brett Kavanaugh: Key senators back embattled Supreme Court choice

Brett Kavanaugh Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation process has been one of the most contentious for years

Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court seat looks all but confirmed after he won the backing of key senators despite an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations.

Republican Senator Susan Collins and Joe Manchin, a Democrat, both indicated their backing for the judge on Friday.

Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation would tilt America’s highest court in favour of conservatives.

The court has the final say on issues such as abortion and gun control.

A final vote on whether Judge Kavanaugh will join the nine-member panel is scheduled for Saturday. If confirmed, the position is for life.

Hours before the undecided senators indicated their backing, the US Senate narrowly advanced President Donald Trump’s nominee to a final vote by voting to strictly limit debate on the issue.

Friday’s “cloture” vote – 51-49 in favour – was a test of support for the embattled nominee who has faced allegations of sexual misconduct from three women, including Prof Christine Blasey Ford.

What did the senators say?

Senator Collins ended hopes she would side with Democrats in the final vote, telling fellow senators she did not believe the “charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court”.

“The facts presented do not mean that Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations failed to meet the more likely than not standard,” she said.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionCollins: I vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh

Senator Manchin, who is up for re-election in West Virginia, a traditionally Republican state that Mr Trump won by a landslide, told the Senate moments later he “found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him”.

What has the reaction been?

The reaction has been swift, with former president George HW Bush and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders both tweeting their support for Ms Collins.

Mr Manchin, however, has found himself in the firing line.

A liberal group which raises money for Democratic candidates, Priorities USA, immediately said it would not be giving any funds to his re-election campaign.

Outside, protesters shouted “shame on you” as Mr Manchin spoke to reporters about his decision.

Meanwhile, a tweet asking someone to run for Senator Collins’s seat in Maine when it comes up for re-election in 2020 from former White House communication chief, Jen Psaki, had a swift response from former UN ambassador Susan Rice.

She later clarified she was “not making any announcements” but was “deeply disappointed in Senator Collins’s vote for Kavanaugh”.

Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski – a Republican who voted against the nomination earlier on Friday – is yet to officially say which way she will vote on Saturday.

However, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin tweeted she could “see 2022 from my house”, suggesting Senator Murkowski would face a fight for her seat at the next election should she not side with her Republican colleagues in the vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

Analysis: Just the beginning

By Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is all but certain. The Republican Party has the votes and the battle appears over. The political war, however, is just beginning.

Donald Trump’s court pick generated a controversy that captured the nation’s attention in a way that few political issues do. It generated daily headlines rivalled only by the US quadrennial presidential elections.

Now that the bombs have been thrown, it’s time to assess the fallout.

Read more from Anthony

What was the FBI inquiry about?

In public testimony last week Prof Ford said she had been assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh when they were both teenagers in 1982.

Judge Kavanaugh denied the claim – and allegations that he drank to the point of memory loss at the time – in a feisty confrontation with senators.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionChristine Blasey Ford said she was “100%” sure Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her

After the testimony, President Trump agreed to a new FBI inquiry.

Federal agents are believed to have spoken to five witnesses regarding Prof Ford’s accusations and another four other witnesses involving a separate accusation by Deborah Ramirez, who said the nominee had exposed himself to her when they were both at Yale University. He denies Ms Ramirez’s allegations, too.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionFeinstein and McConnell have very different views on the FBI report

Mr Trump and his fellow Republicans said the new FBI report had cleared their nominee.

But Democratic senators said it had been incomplete.

The lawyers of both women have also complained that several witnesses they had offered to the FBI to corroborate their claims had not been contacted at all.

source

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Skip to toolbar