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Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between its allies Iran, US

Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between its allies Iran, USBAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq offered to mediate in the crisis between its two key allies, the United States and Iran, amid escalating Middle East tensions and as Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers steadily unravels.

POSTED MAY 26, 2019 10:30 PM

51 attorneys general call on Betsy DeVos to cancel up to 42,000 disabled veterans' student debts

51 attorneys general call on Betsy DeVos to cancel up to 42,000 disabled veterans' student debts"As a nation, we have a moral obligation to assist those who have put their lives on the line to defend us,"  the attorneys general wrote.

POSTED MAY 25, 2019 2:58 PM

Turkey sends weapons to Syrian rebels facing Russian-backed assault- Syrian sources

Turkey sends weapons to Syrian rebels facing Russian-backed assault- Syrian sourcesTurkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian rebels it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and rebel sources said on Saturday. Russia is backing the Syrian army's large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of rebel-held territory in the northwest of the country. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched the assault last month, saying rebels had breached an existing ceasefire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding Idlib and adjacent areas.

POSTED MAY 25, 2019 11:15 AM

Eating Way Too Much Rice Almost Doomed Japan's Imperial Navy

Eating Way Too Much Rice Almost Doomed Japan's Imperial NavyAfter the war, the Emergency Beriberi Investigative Committee investigated the disease’s devastation of Japanese ranks. Worried about the composition of the committee and fully aware of Takaki’s success, the emperor stepped in. “The army’s beriberi problem can be effectively prevented if the army provides a staple of barley and rice,” the emperor stated.In August 1882 in Incheon Bay near Seoul, four Japanese warships were locked in a tense stand-off with two Chinese warships that had brought troops to quell a revolt on the Korean peninsula.On paper, the Japanese flotilla outnumbered the Chinese, but the hulls of the Japanese ships hid a deadly secret. Less than half of their crews could man their stations.The Korean peninsula erupted into conflict on July 23. A soldiers’ protest against ill treatment, unpaid wages and poor provisions turned into widespread mutiny. Ousted from power, the former regent of the king set the mutineers upon the government—and against the Japanese advisers working to modernize the Korean army.

POSTED MAY 26, 2019 12:30 AM

Violence and disruption against abortion clinics at highest rates since 1999

Violence and disruption against abortion clinics at highest rates since 1999Violence and disruption against abortion clinics in the US increased to its highest levels since the 1990s last year, a report by the National Abortion Federation has found.The increase in violence was attributed, at least in part, to president Donald Trump and his administration’s rhetoric.The report noted a significant increase in obstruction, vandalism, and trespassing, with 1,135 incidents of trespassing recorded in 2018 - the most since the NAF began tracking the crime in 1999.There were also 3,038 instances of obstruction, a 78 per cent increase compared to the previous year, and nearly 100,000 instances of picketing.“Anti-choice individuals and groups have been emboldened by the rhetoric of president Trump, vice president Pence, and other elected officials and we are seeing this play out in more instances of activities meant to intimidate abortion providers and disrupt patient services,” said Dr Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, who serves as interim president and CEO of NAF.She added: “Demonising health care providers and women who rely on them for abortion care has become one of the go-to tactics for anti-choice politicians. Those lies have consequences and it is not the anti-choice politicians who are facing those consequences; it is those who are denied abortion care and the providers targeted by threats, harassment, and violence who are. It is time for the demonizing of abortion providers and their patients to end.“Given the political climate and the increase in hate incidents throughout the country, it is more important than ever that law enforcement and prosecutors appropriately respond to anti-abortion criminal activity.”The study did note a decrease in stalking, burglary, assault, and battery against abortion providers.It comes during a fresh wave of anti-abortion legislation such as the Alabama abortion ban, which is currently being contested in a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, and “heartbeat bills” which ban elective abortion after a foetal heartbeat is detectable.As a foetal heartbeat is first detectable at six weeks - a point where many pregnant people may not even know they are pregnant - these initiatives are seen as a back-door abortion ban and are also being contested in court. Politicians in support of banning abortion hope these cases will rise to the Supreme Court of the United States and lead to an overturning of Roe V Wade, which set the precedent for elective abortion until the end of the second trimester in the US.

POSTED MAY 25, 2019 12:16 PM

Here's What's Open and Closed on Memorial Day 2019

Here's What's Open and Closed on Memorial Day 2019It's time for the three-day weekend. Here's what's open and closed on Memorial Day 2019 from Costco to Planet Fitness.

POSTED MAY 26, 2019 5:13 AM

Rescuers search for survivors after Oklahoma tornado kills at least two

Rescuers search for survivors after Oklahoma tornado kills at least twoThe tornado that hit El Reno on Saturday night was the latest in a barrage of violent weather that is expected to continue after pounding the Central Plains states last week with deadly tornadoes, high winds, drenching thunderstorms and widespread flooding. In addition to the two fatalities, 29 people suffered minor to critical injuries in the El Reno twister and hundreds more were displaced, the city's mayor said. People have absolutely lost everything." Rescue workers searched the debris field that had been a mobile home park and an Americas Best Value Inn motor lodge where the tornado did its worst damage in the community about 25 miles (40 km) west of Oklahoma City.

POSTED MAY 26, 2019 4:01 PM

EU election results analysis: How the Brexit Party won the most UK seats

EU election results analysis: How the Brexit Party won the most UK seatsNigel Farage's Brexit Party has won the most UK seats in the European elections, with 28 of their candidates elected across the country compared to Labour's 10 and the Tories' three. Just under a third of voters backed the Brexit Party while the Conservatives slumped to their lowest share of the vote ever in a national ballot.  This pattern fits into a continent-wide trend of traditionally large parties taking a hit, with smaller outfits gaining support. It has resulted in the two large establishment blocs in the European Parliament losing their combined majority under rising populist and liberal support. Labour, as well as the Conservatives, lost ground with the pro-Remain Lib Dems and Greens picking up seats alongside the pro-Brexit Brexit Party. The Lib Dems ended up in second place in the UK, while the Greens managed to top the Conservatives nationally.  European election: UK results The Brexit Party gained seats across the country So far, with only Scotland and Northern Ireland yet to declare, the Brexit Party have secured a seat in every region of the UK. Mr Farage's party secured over 35 per cent of the vote in every region but London, the North West and Wales, with its best showing in the North East, where it picked up 38.7 per cent of the vote.  This compares to the Lib Dems, Greens and Change UK, who collectively failed to win seats in Wales and the North West. Of the Remain-backing parties, Change UK received by far the worst results, failing to win a single seat. EU election: UK region vote share map Farage beat his 2014 level Nigel Farage's attempt to win the 2019 European election surpassed his 2014 attempt with Ukip, which is impressive considering the fact that the Brexit Party is only six weeks old.  In 2014, Ukip won the European election with 27.5 per cent of the vote. Farage built on this this time round, securing 33.3 per cent of the national vote and 28 seats - four more than his tally five years ago.  The rise of the Brexit Party in the polls was significant, going from around 10 per cent of the vote 40 days ago, to over 30 per cent today.  Brexit polling - Farage 2019 ahead of Farage 2014 Brexit parties were out-polled those backing Remain The only concern for Mr Farage's party will be the the fact that straightforwardly pro-Brexit parties were out-polled by those who are arguing for a second referendum and a halt to Brexit. The Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid and Change UK - all backers of a second referendum - collectively gained the support of 40.3 per cent of the public in England and Wales, against no-dealers Ukip and the Brexit Party's collective 36.7 per cent.  These policies commanded 77 per cent of the vote, against the 23 per cent of the pro-compromise parties of Labour and the Conservatives. Pro-Brexit parties outperformed anti-Brexit ones in the EU elections As predicted, the lack of a Remain alliance - with the Lib Dems, Greens and Change UK all competing and splitting the pro-European vote - made their job of converting votes into seats even harder. With the vote being read as a proxy for a second referendum, Nigel Farage's does-what-it-says-on-the-tin Brexit Party managed to unite the pro-Brexit vote under one banner, which helped him under the voting system used in the EU election. The D'Hondt system is a list system of voting where multiple MEPs are elected per constituency after each voter has cast a single vote for a party (rather than a specific candidate). The vote share from these party level votes is then used to determine how many MEPs are elected from each party. Our interactive explainer, below, explains how it all works. European Parliament elections: how the UK's seats were assigned   Brexit debate fires increase in EU election turnout Early indications are that UK turnout in the European election is at its highest level since 2004 - although admittedly this was a low bar to surpass. The previous high for European election turnout in the UK was just 38.5 per cent, hit in 2004. With two regions yet to declare, turnout in England and Wales is estimated at 36.5 per cent - an increase of almost one percentage point on 2014.  Turnout across Europe increased significantly, to its highest level for 20 years at 51 per cent. The increased enthusiasm was seen by some commentators as a response to challenges ranging from climate change to the rise of eurosceptic parties. European election turnout in UK In the rest of the EU, establishment parties suffered At a continent level, the European Union's established centre-Left and centre-Right blocs were forecast to lose their combined majority in the elections. The latest polls indicate that the two large pan-European blocs, the EPP and the S&D;, will lose seats under a tide of both populist and liberal support. Respectively, they won 221 and 191 seats in the 2014 election. European election: EU results The loss of their combined majority is likely going to be because of the rise of the liberal Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and eurosceptic Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF). These parties are currently forecast to pick up an extra 37 and 34 seats, respectively. The latter of these blocs, the populist-Right ENF, is likely to morph into a new group called European Alliance of People and Nations after the election, under Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini.  The ALDE and ENF are forecast to make the largest gains in the election, leading experts to warn that the new Parliament could be more fractious with majorities harder to come by.

POSTED MAY 27, 2019 1:41 AM

Air New Zealand orders eight Boeing long-haul jets

Air New Zealand orders eight Boeing long-haul jetsAir New Zealand said Monday it had ordered eight Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft in what it described as a "multi-billion dollar investment". Air New Zealand said it had secured a "significant discount" on the $US2.7 billion list price of the eight new aircraft but would not be publicly releasing how much it was paying. Chief executive Christopher Luxon said the 787-10 was "perfect" for the airline's Pacific Rim focus.

POSTED MAY 26, 2019 6:16 PM

US sanctions on Iran felt in Iraqi Shiite tourist districts

US sanctions on Iran felt in Iraqi Shiite tourist districtsBAGHDAD (AP) — For years, Karar Hussein has sold sweets in his shop near the entrance to one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines, accepting whatever currency was offered to him by his clients, many of them religious tourists from neighboring Iran. But lately, when Iranian pilgrims ask about prices, he tells them he can only sell if they pay in Iraqi currency. They often walk out, disappointed.

POSTED MAY 26, 2019 5:53 AM

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