HBO says it has renewed “Silicon Valley” for a fifth season to air in 2018.
Brazilian President Michel Temer recalled troops from Brasilia less than 24 hours after deploying them to restore order in the nation’s capital.
US Republican Greg Gianforte, charged with assaulting the Guardian’s Ben Jacobs, is elected to Congress.
Just last week LaVar Ball was telling a TV show host to “stay in your lane.” Now he’s selling T-shirts with the slogan.
Blake Lively has signed on to executive produce and star in the big-screen adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s novel “The Husband’s Secret.”
Here?s what you need to know to start your day.
All but one of the 22 victims has been publicly identified, bringing a measure of closure after Britain?s worst terrorist attack since 2005.
A good mentor should be able to give you some inspiration, help you be creative and also push you to reach your potential. Choose a mentor who you know is skilled or experienced in a field that you are interested in Most of the nitpickers in and around Baltimore offer their services for free to the children and the elderly people.. Always know that it is possible for you to have more than one mentor during the same period.
At least five companies have pulled ads after Sean Hannity’s perpetuation of a conspiracy theory.
The assault on Ben Jacobs has given us a window into what millions of women experience daily behind closed doors.
Wednesday evening the Republican candidate for Montana?s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives body slammed Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian. An eyewitness to the attack described it in a first-hand account, ?Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.?
In the aftermath, the Billings Gazette rescinded its endorsement of Gianforte writing, ?We?re at a loss for words. And as people who wrangle words on a minute-by-minute basis, that doesn?t happen often. What happens even less ? hopefully never again ? is a Montana candidate assaulting a reporter.?
While the perpetrator and victim in this case are an unusual pairing? a candidate and a reporter? this type of interpersonal violence is far from unusual. Attacks like the one on Ben Jacobs happen every day to women at the hands of an intimate partner. In fact, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a US woman is assaulted every nine seconds. A third of women and a quarter of men have been abused by an intimate partner.
Like most perpetrators of domestic violence, Gianforte presented a false account of the incident and blamed the victim, implying he deserved the assault. Through spokesperson Shane Scanlon, Gianforte explained, ?It is unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.?
Perpetrators of domestic violence employ the same tactic, blaming the victim and framing a one-sided assault into misunderstanding or mutual dispute. Ben Jacobs was able to produce an audio recording of the assault, and several witnesses have corroborated his version of the attack. Domestic violence takes place in secret, without witnesses. Victims rarely report, and when they do, their perpetrators? Giantforte-esque explanations render criminal prosecution difficult.
The Gianforte assault has generated near-universal outrage from politicians, journalists, and the general public. To contrast, most incidents of domestic violence go unreported and happen in the privacy of the victim?s home without witnesses or media attention. When a celebrity is accused of domestic violence, the response is often inadequate. In 2015, Giants kicker Josh Brown was accused of domestic violence. In fact, his wife reported over 20 physical incidents to police. His initial punishment? A one-game suspension.
It is commendable that the Billings Gazette rescinded their endorsement of Gianforte. And, it is commendable that they articulated their outrage and horror in the face of such violence.
Domestic violence should generate the same outrage and sense of horror. Victims of domestic violence deserve the same level of concern, solidarity and sympathy as Ben Jacobs.
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Greg Gianforte, the Republican running for the House in Montana, was charged with misdemeanor assault on Wednesday.
Charlotte Campbell, whose daughter Olivia was killed in the Manchester attack, has urged people not to let the attack beat them.
Flying between the West African capitals of Freetown and Banjul should take about an hour. But as the BBC’s Umaru Fofana found out, it can be quicker and easier to fly via Morocco or even Belgium.
A brilliant Eoin Morgan century leads England to a 72-run victory over South Africa in the first one-day international at Headingley.
The launch date of Psyche, one of NASA’s two newest Discovery Program missions, has been moved forward a year to take advantage of a more efficient trajectory.
Billy Horschel’s wife Brittany said her husband had been her rock during her battle with the disease.
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was on the sidelines for voluntary organized team activities due to a broken hand suffered in a “freak accident.”
LeBron James missed a dunk Tuesday in the Eastern Conference finals, but Michael Jordan also had a failed slam in the 1992 playoffs. Which blunder was worse?
“Orange Is the New Black” will be back for a fifth season on Netflix on June 9. New dramedy “Glow” also premieres this month, along with the film “Rogue One.”
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a safeguard of the world?s most important crops, flooded after permafrost surrounding the entrance thawed in Norway. Look inside in 360 degrees.
Print newspapers have been on a decline, with even old publications like the New York Times, moving online. A lot of traditional newspapers have moved online, like Professional head lice treatment is offered at both lice salons and lice clinics.. The new format gives them the felxibilty to do a lot of new things which were not possible before.
Footage from east Mosul, Iraq, reveals the legacy of horror left by so-called Islamic State, but also suggests some of life is returning to normal.
Ariana Grande’s mother helped escort a group of fans to safety after the deadly explosion at her daughter’s concert in England on Monday night.
Salman Abedi, 22, is the man suspected of having killed 22 people and injured 59 in a suicide attack at Manchester Arena.
Visitors to the Thames River in England captured footage of an unusual vehicle, an amphibious car, making its exit from the water.
Putting mice into something like a meditative state may shed light on the human brain.
The president has backtracked on several issues that are key to Israel, including the location of the U.S. Embassy and settlement-building.
Ford plans to announce Monday that Jim Hackett, who heads the Ford Smart Mobility LLC subsidiary, will take over as CEO.
The 87-year-old former entertainer denies four charges of indecent assault between 1971 and 1983.
In raising the issue of President Trump?s removal from office, either through impeachment or finding of impairment via the 25th Amendment, I keep hearing otherwise sensible people say, ?But then we?ll just get President Pence, and the Republicans will have time to regroup and recover.?
Well, think again.
For starters, Donald Trump is a unique menace to American democracy and to planet Earth. Getting him out of office should be the top priority ? the sooner, the better.
Secondly, in purely partisan terms, replacing Trump with Pence would be far from a romp for Republicans. Pence is no Trump. He lacks Trump?s feral charisma, his weird genius as an entertainer, and the image of being a champion of aggrieved heartland forgotten voters.
Pence was a fairly ordinary religious conservative Republican. He was an extremely clumsy governor of Indiana, facing a defeat for re-election. Indeed, he was one of the few Republican politicians even willing to consider being Trump?s running mate, mainly because he had few other options if he wanted to stay in politics.
Most importantly, if Trump is forced out of office, it will split the Republican base. The white nationalist, don?t-bother-me-with-facts hard core, for whom Trump can do no wrong, will be livid. The Republicans will have a very tough time rallying their troops for 2018, while Democrats will be on the march.
So, yes, on all counts, Pence is preferable to Trump. Nixon?s successor, Gerry Ford, a very nice and well-liked politician, could not manage to win re-election in 1976 against an unknown peanut farmer, one Jimmy Carter.
Ford?s decision to pardon Nixon was part of the story, but not the only part. (And Pence would be under substantial pressure to pardon Trump.) There was a landslide swing to Democrats in the 1976 congressional elections because the Republicans were disgraced and dispirited after Nixon.
Now, from the point of view of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, Pence may still be preferable to Trump ? because Trump is becoming more of an embarrassment by the day. The Republican outlook for 2018 might be even worse if Trump stays in the White House. But, given the larger stakes, that?s no reason for Democrats to want to keep Trump.
Oh, and there is one complication. What did Pence know, and when did he know it?
Unlike, Gerald Ford, who was a Republican insider but a complete outsider to the Nixon White House, Pence may not have entirely clean hands.
As head of Trump?s transition team, Pence evidently knew plenty about Michael Flynn, and he may well have known a lot more. Though Pence does not have to answer to Trump?s other grave misdeeds, such as firing the FBI director after he refused to go easy on Flynn or personally profiting from office, Pence could well get swept up in special counsel Robert Mueller?s investigation.
It would be truly bizarre, unprecedented, and constitutionally tricky to remove the president and vice-president simultaneously. Something like this nearly happened in the Watergate affair, when an entirely separate investigation revealed that Nixon?s V.P. Spiro T. Agnew, had extorted bribes and not reported them on his taxes while serving as Baltimore County Executive years earlier. (Nixon sure had a gift for picking talent.)
Agnew was allowed to plead guilty to one criminal count, on condition that he resign the vice-presidency. That was in October 1973, only ten months before Nixon was forced out. Imagine if Agnew had succeeded Nixon.
So, weirdly, we should be hoping that Pence is tarnished enough to be an embarrassment, but not so tarnished that he, too, has to leave office.
Stay tuned, folks.
Robert Kuttner is co-editor of The American Prospect and professor at Brandeis University?s Heller School. His latest book is Debtors? Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility.
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NPR’s Michel Martin speaks with three generations of African-American police officers from Indianapolis: Clarence White Sr., Clarence White Jr. and Rodney White Jr. for our series: Generations.
WASHINGTON ? Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said Sunday he wants every single note the White House has on President Donald Trump?s meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office earlier this month.
In the past week, multiple damning reports have emerged regarding what was discussed during Trump?s May 10 meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, which was closed to U.S. press. Lawmakers expressed frustration that they only learned of notes documenting what was said in the meeting from media reports, and struggled to catch up to one scandal before another surfaced.
?I want every note that they have,? Cummings, ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, said on ABC?s ?This Week.? ?There have been so many lies, so many contradictions. And I think documents will help us to ferret out exactly what?s the truth and what?s a lie.?
Cummings added that he hopes Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) will ?issue subpoenas so that we can get every document.? The clock is ticking for Chaffetz, who has announced he will resign at the end of June.
Chaffetz appeared alongside Cummings on Sunday, saying he doesn?t even know if there are documents on the president?s meeting, or if the memos that fired FBI Director James Comey reportedly kept on his conversations with Trump do indeed exist.
?I don?t know where they reside. I don?t know if there are documents,? Chaffetz said. ?But we?re certainly pursuing them. And if they?re there, I hope we find them and get them sooner rather than later.?
Chaffetz added that he expects to speak with Comey on Monday. The former FBI director has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee sometime after lawmakers? weeklong break for Memorial Day.
After his interview with ?This Week,? Cummings released a draft subpoena that he urged Chaffetz to sign and send to the White House.
?The White House is obstructing our investigation on the Oversight Committee, covering up for General Flynn, and refusing to produce a single document that Chairman Chaffetz and I asked for in a bipartisan letter two months ago,? Cummings said in a statement. ?I have prepared a subpoena that the chairman could sign today. If he does not want to do that, we ask that he allow the committee members to vote on it.?
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The Daily Show’s Hassan Minhaj says minority comedians are replying with energy to the US president.
Cats and dogs are beautiful pets. They do need a regular checkup. Let With it being the middle or winter remind your children not to use other children’s hats to prevent the spread of head lice, treatment can be found in the Arlington area. do the job and ensure your pets healthy life.
A couple manages to mix romance and renovation, and a country singer provides an assist.
An EU directive goes into force today, with new rules regulating the tobacco industry. The U.K. is going further: Cigarettes must now be sold in plain green packaging with graphic health warnings.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Dontrelle Inman underwent recent surgery to repair an injured core muscle and will be out until the start of training camp.
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He’s behind the theme music for public-radio programs like Morning Edition and Marketplace. Now, Leiderman finally has an album of his own: BJ, which features Béla Fleck on several tracks.
His first foreign trip starts in Saudi Arabia amid controversy over his sacking of the FBI director.
A statue of Robert E. Lee, ensconced on a 80-foot perch for 133 years, was removed Friday. It was the last of four Confederate monuments taken down in New Orleans.
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The criminal investigation into Russia?s links to the Trump campaign includes a senior White House official and we don?t know if we?ll ever fully be able to process such a betrayal from Trump?s Coca-Cola delivery guy. The president reportedly said firing James Comey eased a lot of his pressure, because the only thing this controversy was missing was language typically reserved for Maalox commercials. And Trump?s news cycle is so bad a Democratic congressman from not too long ago is being added to the sex offenders registry and no one seems to really care. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, May 19th, 2017:
INVESTIGATORS LOOKING AT POSSIBLE COVER-UP – ?Ms. Conway, did you just eat that document?? ?Mnphphphph!? Matthew Schofield and Lesley Clark: ?Investigators into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential elections are now also probing whether White House officials have engaged in a cover-up, according to members of Congress who were briefed Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That avenue of investigation was added in recent weeks after assertions by former FBI Director James Comey that President Donald Trump had tried to dissuade him from pressing an investigation into the actions of Trump?s first national security adviser, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, members of Congress said, though it was not clear whom that part of the probe might target?. Cover-ups have traditionally been a major part of investigations that have threatened previous administrations. Articles of impeachment levied against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton included allegations of obstruction of justice, as they were suspected of trying to hide other wrongdoing.? [McClatchy]
RUSSIA PROBE FOCUSING ON CURRENT WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL – Barron, how could you? Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky: ?The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter. The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official. The revelation comes as the investigation also appears to be entering a more overtly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The intensity of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, the people said.? [WaPo]
TRUMP FIRED COMEY BECAUSE THAT IS HIS XANAX – Matt Apuzzo, Maggie Haberman and Matthew Rosenberg: ?President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved ?great pressure? on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting. ?I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,? Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. ?I faced great pressure because of Russia. That?s taken off.? Mr. Trump added, ?I?m not under investigation.? The conversation, during a May 10 meeting ? the day after he fired Mr. Comey ? reinforces the notion that Mr. Trump dismissed him primarily because of the bureau?s investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives. Mr. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.? [NYT]
It?s Jared Kushner, freelance writer Yashar Ali says, citing four unnamed sources. Maybe that?s true?
Like HuffPost Hill? Then order Eliot?s book, The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide To Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government
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SAUDI ARMS DEAL MAY BE ILLEGAL – Take a number, y?know? Akbar Shahid Ahmed: ?The human rights arm of the American Bar Association has sent the Senate a legal analysis saying that President Donald Trump?s plan for an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth more than $100 billion would be illegal because of the Saudis? role in the ongoing conflict in Yemen. Citing ?multiple credible reports of recurring and highly questionable [air]strikes? by the Saudi military that have killed civilians, the U.S. ?cannot continue to rely on Saudi assurances that it will comply with international law and agreements concerning the use of U.S.-origin equipment,? Michael Newton, a prominent Vanderbilt University law professor and former military judge advocate general, said. Newton, in his 23-page opinion, said the strikes have continued ?even after Saudi units received training and equipment to reduce civilian casualties.?? [HuffPost]
STAAAAAND BYYYYY YOOOUR MAAAAAAN – Assuming he isn?t disbarred, Rosenstein has a tremendous and lucrative future representing the Trump Organization in court. Ryan J. Reilly: ?Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who offered a memo used to justify President Donald Trump?s termination of former FBI Director James Comey, told members of Congress on Friday that he?d discussed the need for new leadership at the FBI with Attorney General Jeff Sessions long before Trump fired Comey. Rosenstein told members of Congress he knew that Trump planned to fire Comey before he wrote his memo. Rosenstein told members of the House of Representatives that he respected Comey, but believed his public handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?s emails went against DOJ regulations.? [HuffPost]
TRUMP TO REFORM HEALTH CARE BY DESTROYING IT – He really seems to believe people will blame Obama for this. Josh Dawsey, Jennifer Haberkorn and Paul Demko: ?President Donald Trump has told advisers he wants to end payments of key Obamacare subsidies, a move that could send the health law?s insurance markets into a tailspin, according to several sources familiar with the conversations?. Many senior administration officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, are leery of ending the payments, however, because it could immediately unravel the Obamacare insurance markets and strongly discourage insurers from participating next year.? [Politico]
THIS WON?T IMPACT RECIDIVISM AT ALL – Ryan J. Reilly: ?The federal Bureau of Prisons has quietly fired an education specialist the Justice Department hired to serve as the first ?superintendent? of the educational system within federal prisons, HuffPost has learned. The Obama administration brought on Amy Lopez last year to overhaul educational programs for federal prisoners, with the hope of easing their re-entry into society and reducing recidivism. Lopez was fired last week ? leaving the future of the reform efforts under President Donald Trump in doubt. ?They?re shitcanning it,? a person who worked on the prison reform efforts disclosed to HuffPost this week.? [HuffPost]
CONGRESS? WEED DEALER FIGHTING FOR YOU – There were a lot of weed puns we tried with all our might to avoid on this one. From Eliot: ?It now has fallen on [Earl] Blumenauer to partake in a different type of weed dealing: serving as an unofficial liaison between official Washington and a cannabis industry that is, even by its own vigilant standards, pretty spooked by the prospect of a federal crackdown on it?. Blumenauer set out to calm nerves this week by holding meetings with cannabis industry representatives in Washington for a lobbying blitz?. He speculated that legalization could come about in a number of ways, including through legislation or by executive action from ?the new administration that will replace Trump? that de-lists marijuana as a controlled substance.? [HuffPost]
Trump?s weekend getaways are destroying a historic airport.
THIS ONE WEIRD TRICK WILL SAVE YOU $800,000 – Being rich. That?s the trick. Daniel Marans: ?Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Montana?s open House seat, stands to get tax cuts worth nearly $800,000 a year if the House health care bill becomes law, according to a new analysis. The American Health Care Act, as the Republican bill that passed the House of Representatives is known, repeals the two tax hikes on higher earners that the Affordable Care Act used to fund expansion of insurance coverage: a 3.8 percent tax on net investment income and a 0.9 percent increase in the Medicare Hospital Insurance tax. Both taxes apply to individuals making $200,000 a year or more, and married couples making $250,000 a year or more.? [HuffPost]
WEINER PLEADS GUILTY SEXTING A MINOR, WILL REGISTER AS SEX OFFENDER – This is not the future liberals want. Andy Campbell, Sebastian Murdock and Sam Levine: ?Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) pleaded guilty on Friday to a federal obscenity charge after he sent explicit text messages to a minor. Weiner turned himself over to the FBI on Friday morning, and by 11:30 a.m. he was a convicted sex offender. He stood in a suit in Manhattan federal court, sobbing as he described how he met a stranger online ?whom I knew to be 15 years old.? ?I engaged in obscene communication with this teen, just as I had done and continued to do with adult women,? Weiner said in front of Judge Loretta Preska. He read from a letter he prepared for his plea, often pausing as he tried to compose himself.? [HuffPost]
BOB BECKEL: WE KNEW YE – Beckel can now pursue his original passion: being a stock photo of a grumpy man The Onion uses in its op-eds. David Moye: ?Fox News announced on Friday it has terminated Bob Beckel, co-host of ?The Five.? The network released this statement to Variety: ?Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee.? A black IT worker who came to work on Beckel?s computer reported the comment on Tuesday, according to attorneys Douglas H. Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen, who are currently representing the IT employee and other current and former staff ? including anchorman Kelly Wright ? in a class action suit alleging rampant racial discrimination at Fox News. Beckel allegedly told the employee he was leaving the office because the man was black, Wigdor and Christensen stated.? [HuffPost]
Your year was not bad, if you really think about it: ?Huma Abedin filed for divorce Friday from disgraced perv hubby Anthony Weiner ? the same day he pleaded guilty to sexting with a minor. Abedin brought an ?Anonymous vs. Anonymous? action in Manhattan Supreme Court, asking for the court to seal the case. The filing is uncontested, meaning she is not expecting a fight over custody of the couple?s only child, 5-year-old son Jordan, or their assets.? [New York Post?s Julia Marsh]
BECAUSE YOU?VE READ THIS FAR – Here?s a baby emu annoying some basset hounds.
– We know that ?spirit animal? jokes are stale, but this fat monkey ? known as ?Uncle Fat? ? is definitely our spirit animal.
– The machine that draws yellow divider lines in parking lots is hypnotizing.
– Help scientists count elephants in the rain forest with this web app.
Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan kept the identity of his goalie quiet before finally revealing it on Friday.
The ex-congressman, whose wife, Huma Abedin, was a top aide to Hillary Clinton, admitted to sending sexually explicit images to a girl he knew was 15.
The Wikileaks founder says he is ready for dialogue with the US and UK authorities about his future.
Milwaukee’s voucher program serves some 28,000 students. Most of them are African-American and come from low-income families.
Former Newcastle youth coach George Ormond faces 29 charges spanning three decades.
Friday: Gauging reactions to the deadly crash, weekend events, and Brooklyn?s newest museum.
Four men are being questioned on suspicion of murder after the attack at a London shopping centre.
Researchers at Universite Laval in Quebec have developed a smart T-shirt that is capable of monitoring the wearer’s respiratory rate in real time.
David Harris claimed he was researching a thriller novel when he tried to hire men to kill his partner.
Former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has died, the network says, citing a statement from the late executive’s family. Ailes resigned from his post leading Fox News last July.
How hard is it? Mum Lacey says milk “spurted out like a hose with holes”.
Animal Planet, https://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/my-cat-from-hell/ having Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/AnimalPlanet has been renowned fortakien g care of cats and dogs and we long to take our pets in Derm Illusion. we cant really wait to travel with them
The party’s manifesto includes big changes to the way care for the elderly is funded in England.
On August 21, the United States will be able to see a solar eclipse in the sky. While beautiful, Head lice is not a sign of poor hygiene, states a salon in Edison. it can be dangerous. NASA issued a warning, telling people to only look at it through special glasses. These glasses should be certified, and can be bought online, or at special retailers. The eclipse can damage your eyes, so be careful, and enjoy the view.
How hard is it? Mum Lacey told us about the challenges she faced.
Defensive end Jacquies Smith, who missed virtually all of last season with an ACL injury, signed his restricted free agent tender with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
I have found a new and very good restruant which i really want to visit with my current girlfriend on Looking for a sensual slim-fitting sexy wedding dress? so that i can spend some quality time with her, which i havent done in a long time. I cant wait to hear her stories
Since Donald Trump became president, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 41,318 individuals known or suspected of being in the country illegally.
Ari Berman, author of Give Us the Ballot, says the new commission will keep alive the idea that voter fraud is rampant ? despite the fact that “all the studies show the opposite.”
Support for an extended OPEC-led effort to balance the market with production declines helped boost oil prices Wednesday despite a build in U.S. supplies.
This story is part of a series on ocean plastics.
Clacking away at my laptop on a rainy morning last month, while working on a story about how plastic trash is choking our oceans, I became suddenly aware of the object that I had been chewing on mindlessly: a plastic straw punched through the plastic lid of a plastic cup holding my daily iced coffee.
Through my reporting, I had learned some staggering facts about single-use plastic packaging, things made to be used once and thrown away. Experts say these items are the leading source of trash found in or near bodies of water worldwide. Plastic drinking straws and cups ? like the ones I get at the coffee shop before work ? rank among the top 10 most common types of beach and marine litter.
Versatile, inexpensive and used to make everything from electronics to medical equipment to airplane components, plastics are an essential part of modern life. And for most of us, it?s not feasible to give them up entirely, said environmental engineer Jenna Jambeck, whose research last year concluded that our oceans are being inundated with 19 billion pounds of plastic garbage annually. This barrage is mostly due to inadequate or mismanaged waste disposal systems and littering.
Plastics don?t biodegrade and could exist in the environment for centuries or more. While the industries that make plastic products should work toward mitigating this crisis, people should take action too. Cutting back on the use of single-use plastic products is the number one step individuals can take, several experts told me.
As I chewed on my plastic straw, my conscience nagging at me, I made a decision. Inspired by the fast-food documentary ?Super Size Me,? in which filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ate only McDonald?s food for 30 days, I decided to embark on a similar personal experiment ? only, instead of embracing consumption, I?d be shunning it.
For a month, I vowed to refuse any and all single-use plastic products offered to me at shops. I couldn?t purchase these items either.
To my surprise, the challenge wasn?t insurmountable. Sure, I struggled at times; but overall, I found it doable and liberating. I also saved some money and might?ve even inspired some friends in the process.
Here are the guidelines I set for myself:
Carry a reusable coffee tumbler for that daily cup of java. (Bonus: The insulated container keeps coffee icy for hours!)
Bring a reusable water bottle to the gym.
Stuff reusable tote bags into purses, briefcases, desk drawers and the car, so there?ll always be one handy for shopping.
Carry snacks and other food in reusable steel containers. Bye-bye, plastic zipper bags!
Keep a set of metal cutlery ? fork, spoon, knife and chopsticks ? at work.
Reuse plastic takeout containers at eateries. Since I eat lunch virtually every day at the same salad shop across the street, I?ve begun reusing the plastic bowl they give customers. I wash the bowl every day after eating, and return with it to the salad bar the next day.
At restaurants, tell your waiter to please hold the drinking straw.
Bring your own garment bag and hanger to the dry cleaner.
Hold back on online shopping. E-commerce packaging is a major ? and growing ? source of waste. A single tube of lipstick or a single battery often arrives in an absurdly large box stuffed with an unnecessary amount plastic, paper and foam peanuts.
After a month, I was both aghast and encouraged by the amount of personal waste I?d reduced, either from bringing my own containers and bags with me, or reusing items:
- 34 plastic cups
- 38 plastic straws
- 24 plastic bags*
- 19 plastic to-go containers
- 30 plastic bottles
*I?ve also saved about 14 paper bags over the same period. It turns out that choosing paper or even biodegradable plastic over regular plastic isn?t necessarily better. The best practice is to reduce the usage of all single-use items, no matter what they?re made of.
My breakup with throwaway plastics didn?t always go smoothly. I failed to fulfill the basic criteria of the experiment on at least three occasions.
Once, I accidentally (I swear!) opened and started drinking a bottle of mineral water offered to me at a concert. It reminded me of how mindlessly and instinctively I use plastic products. The second time was when I went to an Indian restaurant to order takeaway for lunch and forgot to bring my own container ? and that sambar rice was too enticing to pass up. (Full disclosure: I have no regrets. it was delicious). The third instance occurred when I went to the supermarket without my own bag (d?oh!) and, faced with way too much to carry, I accepted the smallest possible plastic sack and refused the double-bagging.
There have also been days when I?ve been annoyed at the (admittedly minuscule) additional weight that my tumbler, water bottle, reusable tupperware or bag has added to my daily baggage. I?ve also lost count of the many times I?ve accidentally thrown away my plastic salad bowl, before sheepishly fishing it out of the trash, and the many occasions I?ve mechanically accepted a plastic bag from a store before hastily returning it to the shopkeep.
But though this challenge has required a bit more thought on my part, on the whole I?ve been pleasantly surprised at how easy the transition has been and how readily the people around me have accepted and, in some cases, even emulated my new plastics practice.
The first time I returned to the salad place with my washed plastic bowl, I remember feeling nervous about what the staff would think of me: Would they scoff? Would they refuse to reuse the container? But my anxiety was unfounded. They accepted the bowl without question or comment, and nowadays before I can even proffer the bowl, they ask if I?ve brought it.
At my usual coffee stop, I felt similarly timid that first day as I offered up my coffee tumbler. But the baristas didn?t bat an eyelid. In fact, they gave me 20 cents back for bringing my own cup. Double win!
During the first weekend, two encouraging moments: My boyfriend stopped himself from buying bottled water of his own volition. ?Plastic,? he said solemnly, looking at me with a knowing glance. A day before that, a friend had witnessed me refusing a plastic straw, a move that prompted a conversation about ocean pollution and her vowing to reduce her own plastic consumption.
Ultimately, ?no silver bullet solution? exists to the massive plastic waste problem we?re facing globally, but Nick Mallos of Ocean Conservancy said individuals should not underestimate the impact their personal choices can have.
People ?need to be making those better decisions on a personal basis: skipping the plastic straw, not using plastic bags, making better choices when it comes to food packaging,? he said. ?We?re not going to become a completely reusable society overnight, but if each individual reduces their personal footprint, the returns of these choices will absolutely pay off.?
I challenge you to try quitting single-use plastics for a month (or even a week if that seems too long). It may not always be possible and may take some getting used to, but you?ll probably be amazed at how much personal waste you?ll cut down and how quickly you?ll adapt to this new way of doing things.
Personally, it?s hard to imagine going back to my old consumption habits.
I don?t think I?ll ever look at a plastic bottle in the same way again.
For more tips and tricks on how you can reduce your plastic footprint, explore the slideshow below:
Leo Messi is a Argentinian leo messi footballer. Mostly considered as the magic Getting the best chiropractor inColumbus ga of football. Even he is compared to the football greats like Pele and Maradona and is also in the contention of the Greatest Of All Time the world has ever seen. He is often compared against another prolific goal scorer named as Cristiano Ronaldo but according to the football analysts, Cristiano does not even come close to him.
More than $40 million in bonds are available to help India, one of the world’s leading economies, address challenges from climate change, a bank said.
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The brutal assault on two women undermined Australia’s reputation as a safe place, a judge says.
Progressive candidate Larry Krasner clinched the Democratic nomination in the primary race for district attorney in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, continuing a growing trend of reform-minded candidates overtaking tough-on-crime prosecutors in what had historically been safe seats.
Krasner was declared the winner in a seven-candidate primary, earning about 38 percent of the vote with 89 percent of the precincts counted. Krasner is heavily favored in the November general election, when he faces Republican Beth Grossman.
In February, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced he would not seek a third term. Williams, who came into office with a message of reform, has been seen as a disappointment by progressive voters with his heavy use of asset forfeiture and his decision to sue Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf for declaring a moratorium on the death penalty.
Williams has been indicted on 29 federal fraud charges involving campaign funds and other financial disclosures.
Progressive advocates and reformers from across the country, including the Democratic Socialists of America, veterans of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and the Black Lives Matter movement, flocked to Krasner?s campaign and viewed it as an opportunity to notch a symbolically important win against the hard-line criminal justice agenda of President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Sessions subscribes to a lock-?em-up approach to crime that was in vogue in the high-crime 1980s and 1990s but has since fallen out of favor with conservative and liberal experts alike. He has already instructed federal prosecutors to pursue maximum penalties for drug-related offenses, effectively undoing reforms initiated by the Barack Obama administration.
But the feds? approach to crime stands in sharp contrast with how an overwhelming number of Americans are voting, said John Pfaff, a criminal law professor at Fordham University School of Law.
?Prosecutors respond to the electorate that chose them: Philadelphians made it clear that they wanted a reformer, so Krasner will respond to that far more than whatever overheated rhetoric is coming out of D.C.,? Pfaff said by email Tuesday.
Pfaff noted the local desire for reform is strong throughout the country ? even in some areas that voted for Trump. He cited Oklahoma as a prime example, where 65 percent of residents voted for Trump, one of the largest margins in the country. At the same time, 55 percent of them voted in favor of two referendums that decriminalized drug offenses and shifted resources into treatment.
The desire to strike a blow for criminal justice reform is especially strong in Philadelphia, which had the fourth-highest per capita jail population as of 2008, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Research Initiative.
Philadelphia?s use of cash bail, which has been criticized for being effectively a poor tax that traps low-level offenders, increased from 2003 to 2009, and with cash bail amounts jumping 39 percent over the same period, according to Pew.
Krasner opposes practices like cash bail, as well as financial asset forfeiture, the death penalty and mass incarceration ? all reliably progressive stances. Yet instead of setting him apart as an outlier, Krasner?s leanings effectively pulled the other candidates toward more progressive stances as well, Philly Mag noted.
?I think we will see state and local governments take consistently more reformist approaches than the feds in the years ahead, but that?s not too surprising; that was the pattern under Obama as well,? professor Pfaff said.
Around the country, in counties that encompass cities including Chicago, Cleveland and Miami, a combination of declining overall crime rates and grassroots activism have pushed the trend of prosecutorial reform.
The Pennsylvania branch of the Working Families Party, a labor union-backed progressive faction, was among those groups to endorse Krasner early. The WFP estimates that as of Tuesday it will have knocked on over 70,000 doors in its efforts to elect Krasner.
Working Families Party national communications director Joe Dinkin predicted that a win for Krasner would reverberate well beyond Philadelphia.
?He?ll set the pace across America for a criminal justice reformer, because he knows that justice is what makes communities safe, not super-harsh sentencing,? Dinkin told HuffPost early Tuesday.
?This is a tide-turning election,? Rashad Robinson, a spokesman for the criminal justice reform PAC, Color of Change, which supported Krasner, said after his win Tuesday.
?At a time when Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to reignite the discriminatory and failed drug war, Philadelphia can be a beacon to the nation of what real criminal justice reform looks like.?
To mark the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, Lisa-Marie Rae, a photo editor at Getty Image, picks out some of her favourite moments.
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President Trump and Turkey’s leader pledged to fight terrorism Tuesday, although the U.S. arming of Kurdish fighters in Syria has caused a hiccup in relations.
Humanity is on the brink of extinction in the final trailer for “War for the Planet of the Apes.”
The boy was discovered wrapped in three bin bags and a towel by a plumber, Grimsby magistrates hear.
Texas Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday with a strained right hamstring, and the Rangers announced he is expected to miss four to six weeks.
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TRUMP REPORTEDLY REVEALED HIGHLY CLASSIFIED INFORMATION DURING MEETING WITH RUSSIAN OFFICIALS President Donald Trump allegedly discussed information that ?jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State,? according to The Washington Post during a meeting last week with Russian officials. The newspaper withheld the specific details discussed in order not to further jeopardize the intelligence. And here?s everything you need to know about declassification. [HuffPost]
CRITICS PILED ON ACROSS THE AISLE GOP Sen. Bob Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations committee, said the White House needed to reverse its ?downward spiral.? House Speaker Paul Ryan put out a statement asking for a full explanation from the administration. Democrats fumed, with Sen. Mark Warner calling this a ?slap in the face to the intel community.? The former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Dan Rather and Twitter also weighed in. [HuffPost]
NORTH KOREA SUSPECTED IN GLOBAL RANSOMWARE ATTACK Although the investigation is far from over. [Reuters]
U.S. ACCUSES ASSAD REGIME OF BUILDING CREMATORIUM In the Sednaya prison to cover up mass murders. [HuffPost]
WHY POSSIBLE 2020 CANDIDATES ARE SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY ON ONLINE ADS ?The opportunity is there to get out of the traditional fundraising rat race and to make a direct appeal to donors on a widely distributed small-dollar basis.? [HuffPost]
EVEN ANN COULTER CAME FOR TRUMP ?Everyone who voted for him knew his personality was grotesque,? she told The Daily Caller in an interview Sunday. ?I?m not very happy with what has happened so far,? Coulter added. ?I guess we have to try to push him to keep his promises. But … if he doesn?t keep his promises I?m out.? [HuffPost]
CALLING ALL AVID MORNING EMAIL READERS! We?re giving away an Amazon Echo to three lucky winners who correctly answer the question below. To enter for a chance to win, please send your answer to Alexabriefing@huffpost.com.
North Korea?s latest missile launch landed 60 miles south of what region of Russia?
LOVE (ON REALITY TV) IS DEAD Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell from season 20 of ?The Bachelor? have called it quits. [HuffPost]
THIS OFFICER OVERDOSED ON FENTANYL Just by brushing it off of his shirt. [HuffPost]
HACKERS STOLE THE LATEST ?PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN? And are demanding a massive ransom from Disney. [Deadline]
GENERAL MILLS IS GIVING AWAY 10,000 BOXES OF ONLY MARSHMALLOW LUCKY CHARMS And they?re going full-scale Willy Wonka to do it. [HuffPost]
WINTER ISN?T COMING FAST ENOUGH So now we get a fifth ?Game of Thrones? spinoff. [HuffPost]
BEFORE YOU GO
Trump has dramatically expanded the ?global gag rule? on abortion.
This mom gave up her life on Mother?s Day to save her daughter.
Sean Hannity wants to get rid of the daily White House press briefing as you know it.
The New York Daily News cover is brutal to Trump this morning.
How the White House tries to prevent fake news from reaching the president.
Abby Wombach has married Christian mommy blogger Glennon Doyle Melton.
We?re mildly obsessed with these teeny-tiny gourmet meals.
Stranded on a stopped Amtrak train? Your pizza guy will save you.
Possibly the scariest part of ?The Handmaid?s Tale?? The fact theydisregard the rules for Scrabble.
This woman carried twins for her sister, who had suffered nine miscarriages.
What it?s like when the guinea worm living in your body burrows out.
TV nerds, rejoice: All the trailers for the 2017 pilot season are trickling in.
Check out the most beautiful colleges in each state ? we?re biased about the winner for D.C.
Of course Russian President Vladimir Putin whipped out his piano skills while casually waiting to speak with the president of China.
On May 16, 1932, following the assassination of Premier Tsuyoshi Inukai, fears began to spread that a militarist ‘super-party’ was taking shape in Japan.
The war against the Islamic State, currently being waged (to varying degrees) by the United States, Iraq, Iraqi Kurds, Iran, Syria, Syrian Kurds, Syrian Rebels, Turkey, and Russia is approaching a big turning point. The Islamic State has been steadily losing territory for over a year now, and they?re on the brink of losing control over the two most important cities in their self-proclaimed caliphate: Mosul and Raqqa. This could be a death blow to the Islamic State?s territorial claims, although the group itself will probably survive as a stateless international terrorist organization (much like Al Qaeda).
This war is both complicated and slow, which are two reasons why Americans haven?t been paying much attention to it lately. Military alliances shift as you cross the Syrian/Iraqi border, and Syria is engaged in its own multiyear civil war, of which the fight against the Islamic State is but one part. Complexities abound, which isn?t really that surprising for a conflict in the Middle East.
Putting most of those complexities aside, though, when you focus solely on the Islamic State, it?s pretty obvious that they?re losing, and losing badly. By the end of the year (at the latest), the Islamic State could lose control of all the territory in Iraq they once held. The situation in Syria is much harder to predict, but even there the Islamic State?s footprint is definitely shrinking.
While breaking down the progress made so far, it is helpful to refer to three maps. The first map was published in the Washington Post at the real turning point of the struggle to stop the Islamic State?s advance and turn it into a retreat. This was published in February of 2015, when Kurdish fighters took control of a section of major roadway in northern Iraq, which heads from Mosul into the Islamic State?s Syrian territory. Together with the successful defense of Kobani, a town on the border between Syria and Turkey, this halted the advancing Islamic State blitzkrieg and began the offensive to retake all the territory they had grabbed. The map is useful now to show the maximum extent of the Islamic State?s control. In Syria, they controlled a large stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border, allowing a pipeline for foreign fighters to join their cause. They were threatening Aleppo, Hama, and Homs in the western part of Syria as well. In Iraq, they were closing in on Baghdad itself, only miles away from the city limits in multiple directions.
The second map to look at is the Wikipedia tracking map which shows the current state of the war. In Syria, the government forces (Assad?s troops) are marked in red, Turkish forces in green, Kurds in yellow, and rebel forces in light green. Islamic State territory is marked in black. In Iraq, Kurds are still marked in yellow and the Islamic State is still black, but the red dots are the Iraqi government forces and the Iranian militias. The third map is an inset of the second, which shows the current state of the battle for Mosul. As you can see, the noose is tightening on the remaining Islamic State fighters there.
The liberation of Mosul has been a hard slog, but the end is now in sight. Estimating progress is tough in this urban fight, but it now seems that within the next few weeks (by the end of June, at the latest), Islamic State fighters will be completely evicted from the city, captured, or killed.
Mosul was always the crown jewel for the Islamic State ? the biggest city they had ever seized. Initially, the Iraqi army fled the Islamic State fighters, and beat a humiliating and disorganized retreat. This was part of the initial Islamic State tsunami which almost led to fighting within Baghdad. But since the tide began to turn, the Iraqi army forces have had an unbroken string of successes at liberating cities and towns the Islamic State once controlled.
On the large-scale Wikipedia map, you can clearly see the progress that has so far been made. From Baghdad heading west, the following have been retaken: Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, and Ramadi, as well as all the territory extending to the town of Haditha. The Islamic State still controls the border town of Qaim, and a stretch of the Baghdad highway.
From Baghdad heading north, the government forces have retaken Tikrit and the Baiji oil fields, and then they continued north along the highway to Mosul. The Islamic State still controls an ?island? of territory around Hawija, and they still control a section south of Sinjar, against the Syrian border. On the outskirts of Mosul, the town of Tal Afar is still in Islamic State hands as well.
The fight to retake Mosul started last October (you can see on the inset map?s history list how this fight has progressed). It?s been a long, hard slog and it?s not over yet, but the end is finally in sight.
Mosul was always partially surrounded by Kurdish-held territory, as the Kurds prevented the Islamic State from advancing all the way to Irbil. Mosul was bordered to the east, north, and northwest by Kurdish territory. Kurds also began to retake territory before the fight for Mosul was launched, by retaking Sinjar and the major road from Mosul into Syria (including retaking the border crossing itself). But the Kurds halted this advance and never pushed very far south of the road or retook the town of Tal Afar from the Islamic State.
This set the stage for the battle for Mosul. Government and militia forces pushed up from the south, retaking town after town on the main Mosul-Baghdad route. They took the key Qayyarah airfield that allowed for air support during the urban fighting ahead. Then they began the push for Mosul itself, from the east and south.
It took months, but eventually this succeeded in taking all the land on the east bank of the Tigris River. The advance then pushed north of the city and retook all territory on that side of the river all the way up to the Kurdish lines.
While this was going on, the Iranian militias (for the most part) threw a cordon around the city?s outlying towns to the south and west. They made it all the way to the road to Sinjar, and by doing so totally cut off the Islamic State forces within Mosul itself. The noose had been drawn, and it now would tighten. The militia forces still haven?t advanced to Tal Afar, and are instead appear to be waiting for the final fall of Mosul.
The west bank of the Tigris contained the old city, with narrow streets that armored vehicles cannot navigate. This will likely be where the Islamic State forces make their final stand (marked on the inset map as the Prophet Zarzis district of the city). The Iraqi forces pushed up from the south and then worked their way around the outskirts in a clockwise fashion, also leaving the old city for the final fight.
They have almost completed this work. Eventually they?ll retake everything but the city center, all the way to the banks of the Tigris. The final siege of the old city may take longer than expected, as the Iraqi forces are trying to avoid as many civilian casualties as they can (after an airstrike that killed many civilians was condemned in the worldwide media). The street-by-street urban warfare will be most intense at the end, in the narrow alleys of the city center.
But although it?s been excruciatingly slow, the Iraqi forces have so far won ground consistently, without a major setback. The Islamic State has been on a losing streak in Iraq for over a year. This will be celebrated when Mosul finally is completely liberated, no doubt.
Syria is much more complicated, obviously, since there are so many warring factions it is hard to keep them all straight. This makes it hard to see which Islamic State areas are likely to be retaken by which armies, among other things.
In Syria, the Islamic State has also been losing ground in a major way since their high-water mark. In the north of Syria, the Kurds have been the most successful at resisting and turning back the Islamic State tide. Kurdish fighters have successfully retaken an impressive stretch of the Turkish border, and were only halted in their westward march when Turkey sent troops to deny them any further territory (Turkey considers all the Kurdish fighters to be terrorists, one of the major complications for the United States). The Kurds retook all the borderlands up to Manbij and are now pushing southward towards Raqqa.
Assad?s forces have been having more mixed success at retaking Islamic State ground. The government forces have had to retake Palmyra twice now, after they lost control when the Islamic State counterattacked. But, to date, this has been the only victory the Islamic State has managed since the tide turned on them over a year ago. And even this wasn?t ultimately successful, when Assad?s troops retook the city a second time.
The battle for Raqqa is imminent, however, and it will be the biggest psychological defeat for the Islamic State yet. The city was proclaimed the capital of the new caliphate, so losing it is going to be a propaganda blow against the Islamic State?s claims to glory. Coming almost simultaneously with the defeat in Mosul, losing Raqqa will be a one-two punch that (hopefully) the Islamic State will never recover from.
The Kurds have pushed into the outskirts of Raqqa from the north and from the northwest. In preparation for this fight, they have retaken the road heading east from Raqqa, on the north bank of the Euphrates River. They?ve pushed down the routes from the north, and are now reportedly only a few miles from the city limits. With American help, Kurdish fighters were airlifted in to the area around Tabqa (and the dam nearby), and have now cut off a supply line to Raqqa?s west.
This hasn?t completely circled Raqqa, but a Mosul-style complete siege probably won?t be necessary (Raqqa is smaller than Mosul, for one). Especially considering that last week the U.S. announced it would be sending heavy arms to the Kurdish forces for the fight for Raqqa (Turkey?s not happy about this, but it was always pretty obvious geographically that the Kurds would be the only logical force to take Raqqa).
It?s anyone?s guess how soon the battle for the city actually begins in earnest. The Kurds may wait and continue retaking surrounding towns and territory, or they may elect to just push on into Raqqa within the next few weeks. It also remains to be seen how long it?ll take to defeat the Islamic State fighters and retake the whole city.
But at this point it?s a pretty safe bet that the Islamic State will indeed be defeated and their hold on Raqqa will end. They?ll likely fight hard to keep it because of the symbolism of losing their self-proclaimed capital, but they?ve been on such a long losing streak that it doesn?t seem possible they?re going to be successful in defending Raqqa.
If the Islamic State loses both Mosul and Raqqa within a fairly short period of time, it could be the end of their dreams of controlling a territory they call a ?caliphate.? It probably won?t be the end of the Islamic State group, but it will be at least the beginning of the end of their reign of terror over major portions of Iraq and Syria.
This is not to say there won?t be further battles to win to completely wrest control of territory currently under Islamic State control. In both Iraq and Syria, there will still be pockets to be cleaned up. This will probably be accomplished in Iraq first.
There will still be four remaining areas of Iraq that will need reconquering, even after Mosul falls. Tal Afar will likely be the first of these to be retaken, as part of the mopping-up of the Mosul operation. There are indications that the militias will also clean out the area south of Sinjar as part of this mopping-up as well. If true, this will leave only two chunks of territory left to reclaim: the area surrounding Hawija, and the border area around Qaim. These will require major offensives, but nothing like the scale of the battle for Mosul. Which is why it is now conceivable that all of these objectives could be completed by the end of this year, denying the Islamic State any remaining foothold within Iraq.
In Syria, the biggest problem is going to be how far the Kurds are willing to push south. Kurds are more interested in fighting for their historic lands, and the remnants of the Islamic State are going to flee far beyond these areas. So at some point the Kurdish fighters may voluntarily decide they?ve gone far enough, and hunker down to defend the territory they?ve taken.
This will most likely leave it up to the Syrian government forces to finish the job, and Assad?s troops are in the midst of fighting other forces than just the Islamic State. So it remains to be seen whether the government forces have the resources (or the will) to completely finish off the last pockets of the Islamic State. Even if they did sweep all towns held by the Islamic State clean, it?s doubtful these areas wouldn?t be vulnerable to be retaken when Assad is busy with other battles. So while it looks like the future of the Islamic State in Iraq is about to be ended, they may be able to tenaciously cling to the lands around the town of Deir Ez-Zor and the border towns across from Qaim in Iraq, as well as some other isolated pockets of territory in western Syria.
So it is too soon to say the complete defeat and eradication of the Islamic State is close to being at hand. This won?t lessen their upcoming defeats in Mosul and Raqqa, though. The Islamic State was built on the concept of blitzkrieg warfare ? advance so swiftly that your opponent flees in complete disorganization. But this plan only works as long as your forces are advancing. Propaganda victories draw in thousands of foreign fighters only when it looks like you?ve got a real chance of winning. When it is obvious to the world you are constantly losing ground, nobody?s going to want to commit to your cause. This is why the defeat of the Islamic State in both Mosul and Raqqa are so important. Psychologically, it should break the back of the Islamic State?s grandiose claims.
Of course, even should the Islamic State be completely eradicated from both Iraq and Syria, that doesn?t mean everything will be rosy in either country. To achieve this victory, the Iraqi government allowed Iranian militias to fight the Islamic State, and they?ve been guilty of so many atrocities in the towns they?ve taken control of that Iraq could move straight from the war with the Islamic State to a period of civil war. The possibility definitely exists. As for Syria, even if the Islamic State were completely removed from the board, there will still be a multi-army civil war raging, which doesn?t seem to have any end in sight.
While all of that is important and concerning, the main objective of the United States military in the region has been defeating and destroying the Islamic State. This has been an overwhelming success, although it has been moving at too slow a pace for most Americans to pay attention. Under both Presidents Obama and Trump, the war plan has not appreciably been different. It has allowed not only for successes against the Islamic State but has also mostly avoided any American troop casualties, since it has relied on airstrikes and advising existing fighters on the ground rather than sending in American frontline ground troops.
All of this is about to be highlighted, in the next few weeks. The media loves big war stories rather than ongoing strategic analyses, and they?re about to have two big war victories to focus on. Retaking both Mosul and Raqqa from the Islamic State is going to be a heavy one-two punch that may serve as the biggest psychological defeat they?ve ever suffered ? one that largely ends the draw for foreign fighters to join them altogether. That would represent a major turning point in the battle against the Islamic State ? both for the military fight and for the ?hearts and minds? effort as well.
Chris Weigant blogs at:
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant
Consider the ante upped in the Western Conference finals, and not just because the Anaheim Ducks rallied to beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 and even the best-of-seven series.
A 13-year-old boy from Texas took less than a second to answer the word problem in the Raytheon Mathcounts National Competition.
Redevelopment of White Hart Lane begins less than 24 hours after Tottenham said an emotional farewell to their home of the past 118 years.
Jeremy Hunt says a lack of new attacks is “encouraging”, but 16 hospital trusts are still affected.
Jeremy Hunt says a lack of new attacks is “encouraging”, but 11 hospital trusts are still affected.
Secret filming shows people being fined for dropping orange peel and pouring coffee away.
The first elite Australian rules football game ever played in China is watched by 10,000 people.
The effects could be magnified as workers return to their offices in the new workweek. President Trump has ordered his homeland security adviser to coordinate a response.
The World Health Organization on Sunday confirmed a second case of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following a recent outbreak of over a dozen other suspected cases this week.
There are 19 suspected and confirmed cases in the outbreak so far, including three people who have died, WHO?s Congo spokesman Eugene Kabambi told Reuters.
WHO declared the outbreak on Friday, when the organization confirmed a first case of the disease in Congo?s Bas-Uele province, a remote area in the country?s north bordering the Central African Republic.
The first case was a 45-year-old man who died on April 22 on his way to the hospital, the organization explained on Saturday. A person who took care of the man, as well as the driver who transported him to the hospital, both subsequently became ill and passed away. It is unclear whether the driver or the care giver was the case confirmed on Sunday.
Ebola spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people or with contaminated surfaces and materials. Officials and health workers are currently trying to locate 125 people who may be at risk of infection.
According to the WHO, news about the Congo outbreak was slow to emerge because of the limited transport and communication networks in the region. It takes about three days to reach the area from the capital Kinshasa.
Karambi told HuffPost on Friday that the remoteness of the location poses logistical challenges, it also may help contain the disease. ?On the one hand, it?s lucky because the illness probably can?t spread on a wide scale. But on the other hand, it?s far from medical access,? Karambi told HuffPost on Friday.
The first Ebola outbreaks took place in 1976, when two simultaneous outbreaks were discovered in isolated areas of Congo and South Sudan. Since then, Congo has seen seven other outbreaks. The most recent one started on Aug. 24, 2014 in Equateur province. By the end of the outbreak in November that year, dozens of people had died.
At the time, a different and far more complex outbreak was raging in West Africa. More than 11,000 people died of Ebola between 2013 and 2016, most of them in Guinea, Sierra Leona and Liberia. The West Africa outbreak was the deadliest outbreak of Ebola since its discovery.
Rumours are always annoying and devastating. When a rumour monger is confronted, he/she try to be defensive which is counterproductiveIf you find signs of lice problem it is best to take care of it in the early stage before it becomes a hectic problem, so Fort Collins has many head lice removal companies who offer solutions to put an end to your lice problem.. In a calm way and having an open mind, you should express your displeasure to the person who started the gossip.
As fans toured the Stadium shrine days before the Yankees were to unveil Jeter?s plaque and retire his No. 2, it was a secret where the markers would go.
This Mother’s Day, psychologist Tania Lombrozo revisits a Google search on motherhood, noting that while being a mother is hard, the experience of motherhood is ever-changing and enchanting, too.
Players and painters often team up to create painstakingly detailed artwork that can give a goaltender an aura.
Comedian Lou Conran talks about her experience of having to give birth to her daughter, Emma, at just over 20 weeks following a scan that indicated her baby wouldn’t survive.
WASHINGTON ? Four weeks after loudly celebrating its own role in bringing home an imprisoned American aid worker from Egypt, the Trump White House has taken no steps to engage the families of three other detained Americans.
Seventeen-year-old Ahmed Hassan of Pomona, New Jersey, has been held in overcrowded Egyptian facilities with adults since December. Ahmed Etwiy, 26, and Mustafa Kassem, 52, both from New York, have each been detained for nearly four years without receiving prison sentences.
In early April, President Donald Trump personally spoke with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi about the case of imprisoned American aid worker Aya Hijazi, 30, who had been jailed for almost three years. An Egyptian court acquitted her weeks later, closing a case widely seen as an unsubstantiated witch hunt devised to boost Sissi?s image as a tough ruler independent of Washington.
A U.S. military plane flew Hijazi home, and the Trump administration soon released photos of her in the Oval Office with the president and White House aides Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Later that day, Trump boasted about the accomplishment via Twitter, in the form of a bizarre, self-congratulatory video set to the song ?Proud To Be An American.?
The three other detainees and their families grew hopeful, Hassan
?My expectations changed greatly,? Dr. Nagwa El Kordy, Etwiy?s mother, told HuffPost in an email. ?Seeing Aya released after all this time gave me hope that the same can happen for my son. So far nobody from the Trump administration has contacted me. And the [American] embassy in Cairo hasn?t visited him for almost 3 months.?
Praveen Madhiraju, an attorney for Hassan and the executive director of the nonprofit Pretrial Rights International, said the White House has not responded to multiple entreaties from Hassan?s family and lawyers ? including a letter the American teenager personally addressed to Trump.
And Mustafa Hussain Ahmed, Kassem?s brother-in-law, said he had no idea how to even contact Trump?s team. He asked if HuffPost could connect him.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment. Will Cocks, a spokesman for the State Department?s consular affairs bureau, said he could not comment on the three Americans? cases because of ?privacy considerations.?
?We?re aware of media reports of U.S. citizens detained in Egypt,? Cocks wrote in a Friday email. ?One of the most important tasks of the Department of State and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad is to provide assistance to U.S. citizens who are detained abroad.?
?When a U.S. citizen is detained overseas, the Department works to provide all appropriate consular assistance… [which] may include attempting to ensure that the detained/arrested U.S. citizens receive a fair and speedy trial with the benefit of legal counsel; visiting detained/arrested U.S. nationals in prison to ensure that they are receiving humane treatment, including medical treatment if needed; facilitating communications with their families or others as they wish; and assisting with the transfer of funds from family and friends in the United States to pay for attorneys? fees, food, and medicine while incarcerated,? Cocks went on.
Representatives for the three jailed Americans say they are dealing with the challenges Cocks describes with only minimal U.S. government support.
Hassan?s last appeals hearing, an opportunity for him to gain an early reprieve on his one-year sentence for challenging police officers who wanted to arrest his uncle, was meant to be on April 19. But authorities pushed it to July because, they claimed, not enough police officers were available to escort the 17-year-old to the courthouse.
Etwiy and Kassem have been charged but not sentenced. Both have been in prison for nearly four years since being swept up in mass arrests during 2013 political protests. Etwiy has experienced depression and severe food poisoning, according to his mother; Kassem has had to wait up to two weeks for deliveries of the blood sugar control drug, NovoLog, that he uses to manage his diabetes, according to Ahmed, his brother-in law. Ahmed said the American consular visits were ?useless? because officials told Kassem they could not be helpful beyond ensuring he does not die.
The U.S. has maintained a close relationship with Egypt despite growing human rights concerns. At least 30,000 people have been arrested since the military took control in a Sissi-directed 2013 coup. Mass trials, beatings and solitary confinement have become common, and hundreds of prisoners remain behind bars long beyond legal limits on pre-trial detention. Human rights advocates say Egypt is experiencing the worst government repression in its contemporary history. Cairo claims the actions are necessary to combat terror, while outside analysts say Egypt is actually allowing the militant group known as the Islamic State to thrive.
Estimates vary on how many Americans have been affected by the surge in state-sponsored violence. NPR reported a figure of 20 in April, but the Egyptian-American activist Mohamed Soltan, himself a former prisoner, told HuffPost this week that he thinks the number is now nine. The State Department refused to provide details. Egypt?s embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.
It?s unclear what Trump and his team are willing to do for these Americans. Soltan believes Egypt?s regime is more likely to respond to requests from Trump because of the personal praise he has showered on Sissi, one of the many authoritarian leaders Trump frequently mentions as favorite peers. The two presidents may see each other later this month when Trump meets with a group of Muslim leaders from around the world in Saudi Arabia.
But the White House?s approach thus far does not suggest such personal requests are forthcoming. Hassan?s congressional representatives, Sens. Cory Booker (D) and Bob Menendez (D) and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R) of New Jersey, sent Secretary of State Rex Tillerson a letter on April 25 inquiring about whether Trump or Tillerson had raised the young American?s case during meetings with Sissi earlier that month.
On May 2, State Department official Joseph McManus responded to LoBiondo in a message the congressman?s office shared with those of the two senators. (No similar response was sent to Booker; Menendez?s office did not respond to a request for comment. Madhiraju, Hassan?s lawyer, said he was not aware of the contents of the message.)
?We have been closely monitoring Ahmed?s case, including ensuring fair trial guarantees are respected,? McManus wrote in his letter to LoBiondo.
McManus acknowledged that Egyptian authorities had delayed Hassan?s appeals hearing. ?We have contacted Egyptian authorities to request an earlier hearing,? he wrote. He also said consular officials had visited the young American twice and requested a third visit. Hassan had not been moved to a juvenile facility because his family wanted him to stay at the police station where he was originally detained, McManus said.
?We are in frequent contact with Ahmed?s family here and in Egypt,? he wrote. ?During the consular visits mentioned above, Ahmed has not made any allegations of mistreatment during his incarceration… The family has told us they have regular access to him and that he has been treated fairly well. Ahmed?s father recently expressed concern to a consular officer about crowded and uncomfortable conditions at the police station, but told the officer he would confirm with Ahmed before for assistance to have him moved. If Ahmed requests a move during his next consular visit or through his father, we will contact the appropriate Egyptian authorities to facilitate that request.?
The letter did not respond to the third question in the lawmakers? original letter to Tillerson: ?Did you or President Trump raise Ahmed?s case and those of other American citizens when President Sissi visited Washington in early April??
Despite Trump?s talk of always putting America and Americans first, advocates believe more high-profile attention is necessary to really prompt a U.S. government push.
?It?s important to note how crucial public opinion is in creating pressure on the administration to act more intentionally on behalf of these citizens,? Soltan and his sister, the lawyer Hanaa Soltan, wrote to HuffPost. ?Mohamed?s and Aya?s case both garnered quite a bit of attention before the administrations were moved to act on them as they did.? (The Obama administration lobbied for Mohamed Soltan?s release in 2015.)
?Every case is a combination of factors, of sustained public and private engagement with the Egyptians at multiple levels from multiple actors. The strategy also depends upon what stage the case has reached in Egypt,? said Wade McMullen, an attorney for Hijazi, the freed aid worker, at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights nonprofit. ?President Trump and his administration deserve credit for personally engaging on Aya and [her husband] Mohamed?s case with President Sisi and other Egyptian officials. But a lot of people deserve credit for Aya?s and Mohamed?s freedom.?
In a Wednesday email, McMullen cited the Egyptian legal team, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and advocacy organizations and U.S. officials.
For now, the other Americans remain behind bars.
?Trump is spending his weekends golfing in Bedminster, N.J., while Ahmed will spend his 18th birthday in jail,? Madhiraju said, noting that Hassan?s birthday is on May 25 and that the president is legally required to make inquiries to any foreign government that unjustly detains an American.
Hassan described the conditions in his March letter to Trump.
?I?ve been in jail in Egypt since December 1, 2016, and am laughed at and mistreated by the police here because I am American. Please help me,? he wrote. ?I am in a jail cell with more than 20 adults. It is scary to be here with these people and the police… I am proud to be an American. I beg you to defend my right to be free.?
Using the same formula that led the Predators to victory in the first two rounds, they drew first blood in the Western Conference finals against the Ducks.
Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer, Joe Biagini pitched into the sixth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Seattle Mariners 4-0 on Friday night.
Europe’s police agency says a “complex international investigation” is needed to catch the culprits.
Emotions were high at a town hall hosted by Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) in North Dakota.
Police removed two men from the event in Mandan on Thursday afternoon after a question-and-answer session turned rowdy, according to multiple reports.
The ?Coffee with Cramer? meeting ended up focusing principally on health care reform, with Cramer?s vote in favor of legislation that repeals and replaces major parts of the Affordable Care Act a particular topic of contention.
Video going viral shows how one man approached Cramer to ask him a question, but was grabbed around the throat by another. Police escorted the throat-grabber away.
The first man then asked Cramer if the rich would benefit from a tax cut if health care is destroyed. After Cramer responded ?of course not,? the man shoved a wad of bills into the congressman?s shirt collar. He was also then ejected.
Neither of the removed men were arrested, however.
Cramer, who in March came under fire for mocking the symbolic white pantsuits that Democratic women wore to President Donald Trump?s first address to Congress, later appeared to play down the incident.
?I don?t have to agree with them, but I still have an obligation to listen to them,? he told local ABC affiliate WDAY-TV 6. ?I don?t blame people for their anger or anxiety. If they disagree with me or somebody else, I understand that.?
Cramer later released this statement via Twitter:
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The president still insists the Obama administration spied on him, despite a lack of evidence, and he attacked Mrs. Clinton and her ex-campaign chairman, John Podesta.