What Happened?

What day is it? How did I get into bed? What are all those empty Tequila bottles?

Actually it wasn’t like that at all. I had family obligations that took most of the day and it’s only going to get more like that as we move deeper into Spring/Summer/Fall travel season. I try to be dutiful for my readers and most times you wouldn’t know anything happened at all because unless it’s funny or newsworthy it’s not relevant to the topics we try and feature here.

On the other hand Internet service can be spotty and sometimes there are simply not enough hours or energy in the day and, well, priorities. If you think I’m going to miss out on Whitewater Rafting in Nova Scotia so I can work on my Prison Pallor and Carpal Tunnel you are mistaken.

My point is that when I lose touch with the flow it’s usually because I’ve been road bound or in social positions where checking your Cell constantly is not possible (it’s never polite, I excuse myself to compose).

And yesterday was one of those days.

As nearly as I reconstruct it, Speaker Nancy Pelosi went into an early morning meeting with her Caucus where sentiment is continuing to build for Impeachment, or at least Impeachment Hearings. She lost Steny Hoyer on the subject Tuesday and if you don’t think that’s a Bombshell you have not been paying close enough attention to Democratic House politics. Steny is Nancy’s Consigliere and this is a serious crack in the family.

Nancy was still making meally mouthed noises after that meeting on the way to another one with her, Schumer, and Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio, supposedly about an Infrastructure Plan.

The Unidicted Co-conspirator, Bottomless Pinocchio, ran one from his failed Government Shut Down playbook. He walked in, had a meltdown about how unfair it is that he’s being caught for all his crimes, and that it’s simply not possible to do any Government business.

Then after holding his breath and stomping his feet, he continued to scream at Chuck and Nancy as he left, slamming the door very, very hard so you could tell he was really pissed off this time.

At least it was brief, 3 minutes or less, the rest of us I’m told by reliable sources were subjected to a drooling, cherry faced, spittle inflected (the right word here, though inflicted would do), Rant in the Rose Garden that lasted about 27 days. Heck, it could still be going on.

It was, as Schumer and Hoyer noted, totally scripted in a WWE Improv kind of way and probably intended to mostly cover for the fact that while the Democrats have a Plan (several), Republicans have no Plan any more than they do for Heath Insurance Reform or anything else except their usual- Cut Services, Cut Taxes.

I’m not sure it’s having the effect Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless intended. By late afternoon Pelosi was pointedly not taking Impeachment off the table.

That proceeds apace.

Trump’s Financial Secrets Move Closer to Disclosure
By Emily Flitter, Jesse McKinley, David Enrich and Nicholas Fandos, The New York Times
May 22, 2019

A federal judge in Manhattan ruled against a request from President Trump to block his longtime lender, Deutsche Bank, from complying with congressional subpoenas seeking his detailed financial records. In Albany, New York lawmakers approved a bill that would allow Congress to obtain Mr. Trump’s state tax returns.

Those actions came two days after a federal judge in Washington ruled against Mr. Trump’s bid to quash another congressional subpoena to get his accounting firm to hand over his tax returns and other financial documents.

The court rulings and the New York legislation represent the most serious attempts to pierce the veil that surrounds Mr. Trump’s finances. They increase the odds that congressional Democrats, who have become more vocal in their calls to undertake impeachment proceedings against the president, could enter such a fray with ample ammunition about Mr. Trump’s business dealings.

Mr. Trump has already appealed the ruling over the subpoena to his accounting firm, Mazars USA, and will almost certainly appeal the ruling handed down on Wednesday. The committees have already agreed to give any appeals a chance to play out before enforcing the subpoenas, but House Democrats are now closer than ever to securing a vast cache of long-sought documents.

Mr. Trump’s finances have been largely a mystery from the moment he declared his candidacy for president. He broke with decades of precedent by refusing to release his federal tax returns. His company, the Trump Organization, is private, and he has disclosed minimal information about how the company makes money and the sources of that income.

The New York legislation, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat and regular critic of Mr. Trump’s policies and behavior, would authorize state tax officials to release the president’s state returns to any one of three congressional committees.

The returns — filed in New York, the president’s home state and site of his Trump Tower headquarters in Manhattan — are likely to contain much of the same information as his federal tax returns, which the Trump administration has refused to hand over to Congress.

In Washington, two congressional committees issued subpoenas last month to Deutsche Bank, the president’s primary lender over the last two decades, and Capital One, where Mr. Trump keeps some of his money. The subpoenas sought decades of personal and corporate financial records, including any documents related to possible suspicious activities detected in Mr. Trump’s personal and business accounts.

Since 1998, the bank has lent him a total of more than $2 billion, and Mr. Trump owed Deutsche Bank more than $300 million at the time he was sworn in as president. The bank is by far his largest creditor, and it possesses a trove of financial records — including portions of his federal tax returns — that it is prepared to provide to congressional investigators.

The president has multiple accounts with Capital One. His relationship with the bank came under scrutiny earlier this year when his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, presented Congress with two checks he had received from Mr. Trump’s Capital One accounts. Mr. Cohen said Mr. Trump wrote him the checks, for $35,000 each, to reimburse him for making a hush-money payment to the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.

Lawyers for the Trumps argued that the congressional subpoenas were politically motivated and had no legitimate legislative purpose.

Patrick Strawbridge, the lawyer for the Trump family, argued Wednesday that the subpoenas raised “serious questions about the outer reach of power of the Congress,” putting members of the legislative branch in the position of law enforcement officials.

“Congress cannot assume the role of the executive branch,” he said. He also lamented the subpoenas’ reach, noting that they sought records relating to transactions by Mr. Trump’s in-laws and grandchildren.

Douglas Letter, the lawyer for congressional Democrats, said the subpoenas were intended to elicit information on potential money laundering and financial fraud and that they were not overly expansive.

Judge Edgardo Ramos of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York appeared to agree. “Lots of people do things, they hide assets, they create dummy corporations, they put their relatives in charge,” the judge said in court before he issued his ruling.

Judge Ramos said he agreed with Mr. Trump’s claim that turning over financial records to Congress could cause him and his family irreparable harm. But, he said, the merits of the congressional committees’ goals outweighed that harm.

After issuing his ruling, Judge Ramos said he thought it was unlikely that Mr. Trump and his family would win in a trial.

Under an agreement reached before the hearing on Wednesday, the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees had agreed to hold off on enforcing the subpoenas until seven days after the judge’s ruling, giving Mr. Trump’s lawyers time to appeal the ruling.

“We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations,” said Kerrie McHugh, a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman.

Capital One representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

The legal setbacks for the president and his family came days after The New York Times reported that Deutsche Bank anti-money-laundering specialists had flagged potentially suspicious transactions involving legal entities controlled by Mr. Trump and his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner. Bank managers overruled those employees and chose not to report the transactions to a federal agency that polices financial crimes.

A little New York centric but as good as any I suppose. What they leave out is that it was a summary judgement. Final oral arguments in the morning, Decision in the afternoon. Decision scathing- case has no legal basis, Congress has an explicit right to investigate. Cites and refers to Mehta. Slam dunk, could hardly ask for better. Downside the 7 day appeal window but it’s pretty much the minimum customary.

Detailed in the piece should you click through is some rumination about the possible flaws in the New York State Law. I suppose your optimism should be based on your faith in Albany to craft a Constitutional law.

My personal expectations are not high but I’m willing to be proven wrong.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Waldman: Why aren’t Trump and Republicans pilloried for failing to ‘reach out’?

The presidential campaign has begun, which means that Democrats are being asked again and again why they aren’t doing more to “reach out” to Republicans. But there’s something important missing from this discussion: any acknowledgement that we treat this subject with an absolutely ridiculous double standard.

As you may have heard, the Democratic candidates have a disagreement about whether it’s a good idea to appear on Fox News, a discussion that stands in — inaccurately, I’d argue — for a larger question of how they should address Americans whose chances of voting for a Democrat in 2020 are somewhere between slim and none. As South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg said in his recent Fox News town hall, “There are a lot of Americans who my party can’t blame if they are ignoring our message, because they will never hear it if we don’t go on and talk about it.”

The only problem with that as a reason for appearing on a network that is a propaganda organ for the White House is that it implicitly assumes that there’s just no other way to talk to conservatives besides going on Fox.

But consider this: When was the last time you heard some chin-scratching pundit say that President Trump will never be able to reach liberals if he doesn’t go on MSNBC?

The fact that you’ve never heard anyone say that isn’t just because of how we think about the media choices politicians make. It’s because of something even more fundamental. Nobody asks whether going on MSNBC is the best way for Trump to talk to liberals because nobody even suggests that Trump should talk to liberals in the first place.

Michelle Cottle: A Charge of ‘a Cover-Up,’ a Trump Tantrum and the Gears Grind to a Halt

The president stormed out of a meeting with congressional Democrats, saying he won’t negotiate while they investigate. What now?

Late Wednesday morning, President Trump headed into what was supposed to be a meeting with congressional Democrats on how to fund a $2 trillion infrastructure package he and they had agreed on last month. Instead, he spent three minutes berating Democratic leaders for saying unpleasant things about him, before proclaiming that he would not work with them until they stopped investigating him.

Mr. Trump then strode out to the Rose Garden, where the news media had been hastily assembled to hear him deliver a similar message, and delivered another tirade about the illegitimacy of the special counsel’s Russia investigation. “This whole thing was a takedown attempt at the president of the United States,” he asserted. Affixed to his lectern was a printed sign declaring, “NO Collusion. NO Obstruction.”

The proximate cause of Mr. Trump’s outrage was an accusation by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, made earlier in the day, that he “is engaged in a cover-up.”

“I don’t do cover-ups,” he said in his Rose Garden remarks.

Rather than talk roads and bridges, the president issued a challenge: “I told Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. But, you know what? You can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.’ ”

Put another way, don’t expect any progress on any legislation any time soon.

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Who won the Cup Final in 1949?

The KISS Army

It was in fact, Wolverhampton Wanderers who beat Leicester 3-1

Get Out


It’s Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature

The Breakfast Club (Compromise)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Top Nazi official Heinrich Himmler commits suicide; Israel captures fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann; Bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde killed; Industrialist John D. Rockefeller dies; Golf legend Sam Snead dies.

Breakfast Tunes


Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions. Harvey Milk

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Six In The Morning Thursday 23 May 2019

Narendra Modi’s BJP eyes landslide in India vote count

By Ayeshea Perera, Aparna Alluri, Krutika Pathi, Simon Fraser, Vikas Pandey, Courtney Subramanian and Kevin Ponniah

Traditionally, the BJP has found its strongest support in India’s populous Hindi speaking states in the north. (Of the 282 seats the party won in 2014, 193 came from these states.)

The exceptions are Gujarat, Mr Modi’s native state and a BJP bastion, and Maharashtra, where the BJP has ruled in alliance with a local party.

Under Mr Modi, the BJP has expanded geographically.

They have formed governments in key north-eastern states like Assam and Tripura, which are primarily Assamese and Bengali speaking.

No voice, no future? Roma ignored as Europe goes to polls

Europe’s 10 million Roma badly underrepresented at a time when populist forces are trying to villify communities

Pata-Rât is just a few miles outside Cluj-Napoca, in north-west Romania, but it feels a world away from the pretty streets and baroque architecture of the bustling city centre. Here, rubbish from the city and region is deposited in vast mounds, and the air is thick with the smell of rotting waste.

About 1,800 people call Pata-Rât home, almost all of them of Roma origin, living in depressing and unsanitary conditions in a makeshift camp backing onto a landfill site. Many were evicted from housing in the city centre and forced into the camp’s crowded huts.

Linda Zsiga, a 37-year-old Roma woman who spent several years living in Pata-Rât after she and her family were evicted with just two days notice from dwellings in central Cluj back in 2010, has been campaigning to close the site, and rehouse its residents in social housing inside the city. So far, she has had little success, despite government promises and pressure from European bodies.

Biker gang raid: What do we know about Al-Salam-313?

In a dawn raid, more than 500 police officers stormed 49 properties in eleven cities across the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. What exactly do we know so far about the group that was targeted? DW investigates.

The objective of Wednesday’s major raid on the Al-Salam-313 biker gang was to collect and prepare evidence, and its preparation took several months, said Herbert Reul, interior minister for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The gang is suspected of having committed a variety of crimes ranging from illegal weapons trading, people smuggling, passport forgery, and drug distribution. Police have identified 34 suspects, who are mainly of Iraqi and Syrian descent. The minister said the raid dealt a “blow to organized crime.”

Huawei’s own OS system may be ready this year: report

Chinese telecom giant Huawei says it could roll out its own operating system for smartphones and laptops in China by the autumn after the United States blacklisted the company, a report said Thursday.

The international version of the system could be ready in the first or second quarter of 2020, said Richard Yu, the head of Huawei’s consumer business, told US channel CNBC.

The company was dealt a blow this week with Google’s decision to partially cut off Huawei devices from its Android OS following a US order banning the sale or transfer of American technology to the firm.

Botswana lifts ban on elephant hunting

Updated 0634 GMT (1434 HKT) May 23, 2019


Botswana has scrapped its ban on hunting, citing an increase in conflicts between elephants and humans during the five years the rule was in place.

The southern African nation, which is home to 130,000 elephants — or around one third of the continent’s population — imposed the ban in 2014 to deter poaching.
But while the elephants are popular with wildlife-loving tourists, locals have complained that they damage crops and affect livelihoods.

Japan hopes to avoid trade battle by wooing Trump with pomp

By Linda Sieg and Tim Kelly

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will treat U.S. President Donald Trump to an imperial banquet, front row seats at a sumo tournament and a trip to the country’s biggest warship on a state visit as Tokyo seeks to avoid a bust-up over trade.

New Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Harvard-educated Empress Masako will host a lavish dinner for Trump during his stay from May 25 through May 28, part of a display meant to showcase the two countries’ alliance.

The U.S. leader will become the first foreign dignitary to be so honored since the monarch inherited the throne this month. Trump will also play golf with Abe and inspect Japan’s Kaga helicopter carrier.

Calling A Tool For Digging Employed With The Foot A Card Suit Symbolizing Swords

Madam Zelda! Madam Zelda!

In common law legal systems, black letter laws are the well-established legal rules that are no longer subject to reasonable dispute.

Confidential draft IRS memo says tax returns must be given to Congress unless president invokes executive privilege
By Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post
May 21, 2019

A confidential Internal Revenue Service legal memo says tax returns must be given to Congress unless the president takes the rare step of asserting executive privilege, according to a copy of the memo obtained by The Washington Post.

The memo contradicts the Trump administration’s justification for denying lawmakers’ request for President Trump’s tax returns, exposing fissures in the executive branch.

Trump has refused to turn over his tax returns but has not invoked executive privilege. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has instead denied the returns by arguing there is no legislative purpose for demanding them.

But according to the IRS memo, which has not been previously reported, the disclosure of tax returns to the committee “is mandatory, requiring the Secretary to disclose returns, and return information, requested by the tax-writing Chairs.”

The 10-page document says the law “does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion in disclosing the information provided the statutory conditions are met” and directly rejects the reason Mnuchin has cited for withholding the information.

“[T]he Secretary’s obligation to disclose return and return information would not be affected by the failure of a tax writing committee . . . to state a reason for the request,” it says. It adds that the “only basis the agency’s refusal to comply with a committee’s subpoena would be the invocation of the doctrine of executive privilege.”

“Executive Privilege”, in the best case, is designed to protect the ability to give honest and straightforward advice. Hard to see how it applies here, it might to a detailed discussion of how to prepare his returns with Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio’s Accountant but not the returns themselves which are (presumably) a neutral, factual, document; explicitly designated I might add as subject to precisely this kind of inspection and oversight by Congress in Law that has not been contested or challanged (successfully) in about 100 years.

Executive privilege is generally defined as the president’s ability to deny requests for information about internal administration talks and deliberations.

On Friday, Mnuchin rejected a subpoena from the House Ways and Means Committee to turn over the tax returns, a move that probably will now lead to a court battle. Mnuchin has criticized the demands as harassment that could be directed against any political enemy, arguing Congress lacks a “legitimate legislative purpose” in seeking the documents.

Breaking with precedent, Trump has refused to provide tax returns, saying without evidence they are under audit.

Mnuchin and other senior staff members never reviewed the IRS memo, according to a Treasury spokesman. But the spokesman said it did not undermine the department’s argument that handing over the president’s tax returns would run afoul of the Constitution’s mandate that information given to Congress must pertain to legislative issues.

The spokesman said the secretary is following a legal analysis from the Justice Department that he “may not produce the requested private tax return information.” Both agencies have denied requests for copies of the Justice Department’s advice to Treasury.

Some legal experts said the memo provides further evidence that the Trump administration is using shaky legal foundations to withhold the tax returns.

“The memo is clear in its interpretation of the law that the IRS shall furnish this information,” said William Lowrance, who served for about two decades as an attorney in the IRS chief counsel’s office and reviewed the memo at the request of The Post.

Daniel Hemel, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School who also reviewed the memo for The Post, said the document suggests a split over Trump’s returns between career staffers at the IRS and political appointees at that agency and the Treasury Department.

“The memo writer’s interpretation is that the IRS has no wiggle room on this,” Hemel said. “Mnuchin is saying the House Ways and Means Committee has not asserted a legitimate legislative purpose. The memo says they don’t have to assert a legitimate legislative purpose — or any purpose at all.”

“One potential basis” for refusing the returns, the memo states, would be if the administration invoked the doctrine of executive privilege.

But the IRS memo notes that executive privilege is most often invoked to protect information, such as opinions and recommendations, submitted as part of formulating policies and decisions. It even says the law “might be read to preclude a claim of executive privilege,” meaning the law could be interpreted as saying executive privilege cannot be invoked to deny a subpoena.

Earlier this month, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service published a review of Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code that found the code “evinces no substantive limitations” on the Ways and Means Committee’s authority to receive the tax returns.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Dahlia Lithwick: Democratic Reluctance to Even Utter “Impeachment” Is Becoming Untenable

There is perhaps no better encapsulation of the difference between the two modern American political parties than this one: Republicans start from the presumption that “treason” and “spying” will be prosecuted without actual evidence, while Democrats start from the presumption that only once they have seen all the evidence of everything ever, they might conclude that some further investigation is warranted. Donald Trump leads deranged stadium rallies in chanting “lock them up” without ever specifying who committed what alleged crime. Democrats, faced with a case of what would be felony obstruction of justice but for a legal guidance against prosecuting a sitting president, insist that they cannot initiate impeachment proceedings because they need to gather more information. Republicans standing two inches away from a Seurat painting see a still life in crimes committed, while Democrats standing six feet back are certain that just one more blue dot would help them see the whole picture. [..]

Democrats in leadership pretend at conviction and lack courage. The president is lawless and corrupt and surrounding himself with the machinery of lawlessness and corruption. These same Democrats are waiting for the full picture staring them right in the face to emerge. Every step they take closer allows them to miss the big picture, distort the narrative, and chase an ever more elusive final dot. If the public isn’t with them yet, it’s because the public doesn’t have all day to spend in a museum and needs to have the picture presented to them where they live. Congressional Democrats have to repaint the picture that is already directly before them. This shouldn’t be complicated. It’s proving beyond their competence.

Bob Bauer: William Barr’s Bet on Don McGahn Is Likely to Backfire

This administration now seems fully dug in against former White House counsel Don McGahn’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee. Evidence to the contrary may still surface, but it appears that the White House is not maneuvering for an eventual compromise. Consistent with the president’s political—and probably his attorney general’s constitutional—preferences, it is fighting any request or subpoena on the broad ground that the committee does not have the authority to compel McGahn to appear before Congress in the Russia (or any other) matter. The current White House counsel requested an opinion to this effect from the Office of Legal Counsel and got what he wanted and no doubt expected.

What OLC produced is not surprising. It reflects the position that the executive branch has routinely taken over time. Whether, if push came to legal shove, the White House could sustain this position in a core challenge is another question.

It’s highly unlikely the Trump White House will find vindication in the courts. At least one court has confronted an absolute immunity claim advanced by a prior administration. George W. Bush sought to prevent testimony from a White House counsel and another senior adviser about controversial firings of U.S. attorneys, but in a lengthy and carefully reasoned opinion, the court found that any such immunity was qualified only and had to yield to demonstrated congressional need for the information. It did not find that it was a close call: “The Executive’s current claim of absolute immunity from compelled congressional process for senior presidential aides is without any support in the case law.” The White House and Congress eventually reached an accommodation consisting of closed-door interviews coupled with the requirement of an interview transcript for public release. OLC dismisses this case as entitled to no or little weight, since the accommodation cut short the appellate process and prevented a definitive resolution of the issue.

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Work is Work

And you’re waaay too obsessed about sex. Makes me think you’ve never had any you freakish Incel.


The thing about my jokes is, they amuse me.

The Breakfast Club (Improbable Truth)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy sign the ‘Pact of Steel’; Richard Nixon is the first U.S. president to visit the Soviet Union; Actor Laurence Olivier born; Johnny Carson hosts his last ‘Tonight Show.’

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Arthur Conan Doyle

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Six In The Morning Wednesday 22 May 2019


A look inside Huawei, China’s tech giant

Photographs by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
Story by Kyle Almond, CNN

The Chinese company Huawei is one of the giants of the tech industry. It’s the world’s largest provider of telecommunications equipment, a leader in next-generation 5G technology, and last year it passed Apple to become the second-biggest smartphone seller in the world.

But to many, especially in the West, there’s still an air of mystery around it.

And in the United States, suspicion.

Far-right Facebook groups ‘spreading hate to millions in Europe’

Avaaz uncovers 500 accounts using fake news to spread white supremacy message

A web of far-right Facebook accounts spreading fake news and hate speech to millions of people across Europe has been uncovered by the campaign group Avaaz.

Facebook, which is struggling to clean up the platform and salvage its reputation, has already taken down accounts with about 6 million followers before voting in the European elections begins on Thursday. It was still investigating hundreds of other accounts with an additional 26 million followers, Avaaz said.

In total, the group reported more than 500 suspect groups and Facebookpages operating across France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Poland and Spain. Most were either spreading fake news or using false pages and profiles to artificially boost the content of parties or sites they supported, in violation of Facebook’s rules.

Philippines election: Duterte wins backing for authoritarian regime with midterms victory

The Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte won a convincing victory in midterm elections that were seen as a referendum on his controversial administration, official results show.

Announcing the tally of results that was delayed by glitches in the automated counting machines, election officials said the winners included nine candidates backed by Mr Duterte for the 12 Senate seats up for grabs. The other three went to independents.

Only half the upper house’s 24 seats were being contested at this election, alongside positions for a total of 18,000 mayors, governors and local officials.

Eternal PoisonVietnam’s Ongoing Fight Against Agent Orange

Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese suffer from gene mutations resulting from the Americans’ use of Agent Orange during the war. Birth defects are still a regular occurrence. Now, 44 years later, the U.S. has suddenly pledged more aid.

By   and Hai Thanh (Photos)

Once the war came to an end, former Vietcong fighter Nguyen Van Bat fathered four children. Three of them suffer from memory loss, as does he. The fourth, Nguyen Thanh, spends most of her time in bed staring into nothingness.

Nguyen Van Bat, 69, is sitting in the living space of his bungalow in the city of Bien Hoa, around an hour’s drive north of Ho Chi Minh City. He is barefoot and the pattern of his shirt has faded. It smells faintly of sewage in the semi-open room and clothes hang in garbage bags above shared beds. The family is unable to afford wardrobes: They must bear the costs of caring for their disabled children largely on their own.

Protesters killed in clashes over elections, soldiers on the street in Jakarta

By Karuni Rompies


Six people have been killed on the streets of Jakarta while protesting against the election victory of Indonesian president Joko Widodo in the worst political violence in the country in decades.

National police chief Tito Karnavian late yesterday confirmed reports that people had died, but urged Indonesians not to immediately conclude that they had been killed by riot police.

In the days leading up to the protest, he said a number of weapons had been found among people planning to protest. He urged Indonesians to “remain calm and not to be provoked”.

Brexit: PM under fire over new Brexit plan

Theresa May will make the case for her new Brexit plan in Parliament later, amid signs that Conservative opposition to her leadership is hardening.

The prime minister will outline changes to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – including a promise to give MPs a vote on holding another referendum.

But shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the offer was “too weak”.

Some senior Tories will today ask party bosses for a rule change to allow a no-confidence vote in her leadership.





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