France’s Macron to name ministers Wednesday as rivals fear ‘dynamiting’

OANN

May 16, 2017

By Ingrid Melander and Emmanuel Jarry

PARIS (Reuters) – A leading French conservative accused President Emmanuel Macron of “dynamiting” the political landscape on Tuesday as he put together a government that is expected to include former rivals on both left and right.

Macron wants to break through the left-right divide that has dominated the euro zone’s second-largest economy for decades, and so is drawing in figures from outside his year-old centrist Republic on the Move (REM) party to complete his list of ministers, expected on Wednesday.

“We want to bring people together, beyond old divides that have become pointless,” REM’s secretary-general Richard Ferrand told France Inter radio.

The divide-and-conquer tactics by the centrist Macron, elected on May 7, are spreading alarm in the Socialist party and the conservative Republicans (LR), both of which are still licking their wounds after their presidential defeat.

They fear he will poach more of their leading figures as he tries to widen his political base before crucial parliamentary elections in June.

In a sign of that concern, LR senior lawmaker Francois Baroin disowned party colleague Edouard Philippe for accepting Macron’s offer of the job of prime minister on Monday.

“What Emmanuel Macron is proposing is dynamiting not political reshaping,” Baroin told BFM TV.

Baroin is leading LR’s campaign for the parliamentary elections, which will be key for his party’s future as well as Macron’s chances of carrying out his pro-business, pro-EU policies.

Benoit Hamon, who gathered just over 6 percent of the votes for the Socialist Party in the first round of the presidential election in April, said left-wingers did not belong in the upcoming government.

“Who can think that the Left will pull itself together if it is part of a coalition led by a member of The Republicans party?” he said.

But the list of those tipped to be part of the government included veteran Socialists, as well as conservatives, centrists and newcomers to French politics. Macron has said he wants a team of maximum 15 ministers, fewer than in the outgoing Socialist administration.

Initially expected for late Tuesday, the announcement of who will be part of the government was postponed to 3 p.m. Wednesday (1300 GMT). The president’s office said Macron wanted to allow time for thorough checks on the ministers’ background, including their tax situation, and avoid conflicts of interest.

HEAVYWEIGHTS?

Among the names being touted by French media are three veteran socialists: outgoing defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and ex-World Trade Organization boss Pascal Lamy. Le Drian with Philippe on Tuesday, giving weight to talk that he could keep his job.

There are also centrists, including Modem party leader Francois Bayrou and EU lawmaker Sylvie Goulard, a former adviser to former European Commission president Romano Prodi.

Conservatives whose names are being floated include LR lawmaker Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, as well as Thierry Breton, who was economy minister under conservative President Jacques Chirac.

Among possible civil society nominees is Nicolas Hulot, a popular former TV documentary star turned environment activist, who helped prepare the 2015 United Nations COP21 climate summit in Paris. A spokesman for Hulot told Reuters he was in talks with Macron but that nothing had been decided.

An overwhelming majority want politicians from the Left, Right and center to be included in the government, a Harris Interactive poll showed on Tuesday.

But in a sign of how little known France’s new prime minister is, 57 percent of those surveyed said they did not know him well enough to say if his appointment was a good or a bad thing, while just under a third said it was a good thing.

Some conservative lawmakers said they doubted Macron could poach any big names. “The heavyweights won’t give in,” a source close to former prime minister Alain Juppe said.

But over 20 LR members of parliament, including some party heavyweights and former ministers, issued a joint statement on Monday urging the party to positively respond to the “hand extended by the president”.

While the head of France’s main employers group Medef, Pierre Gattaz, said Macron’s first days in office were “faultless”, the head of the country’s largest union, the CFDT, warned him not to “go at it with an axe” to carry out his planned business-friendly reforms.

“No one wants him to fail. We don’t know what would happen if he did, there could even be violent clashes,” he told Les Echos daily in an interview, urging him to consult unions.

Macron was to meet U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday evening to discuss issues including Syria and climate change, and he is set to visit French troops in Africa on Friday, sources said.

(Additional reporting by John Irish, Richard Balmforth, Marine Pennetier; Editing by Andrew Callus and Ralph Boulton)

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Group linked to NSA spy leaks threatens sale of new tech secrets

Reuters Technology

FRANKFURT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group that took credit for leaking NSA cyber spying tools - including ones used in the WannaCry global ransomware attack - has said it plans to sell code that can be used to hack into the world's most used computers, software and phones.
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Tuesday's Campaign Round-Up, 5.16.17

MSNBC

Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.

* In the new Public Policy Polling survey, the Democratic advantage on the generic congressional ballot has reached double digits: 49% to 38%. That’s up from a six-point advantage last month. A Quinnipiac poll released last week showed Dems with a 16-point lead on the generic ballot.

* Hillary Clinton has launched a new organization called Onward Together, which is intended to encourage progressives “to get involved, organize, and even run for office.”

* In Georgia’s congressional special election, much of the Republican message against Jon Ossoff (D) has focused on his out-of-state support. It was therefore a little odd to hear his opponent, Karen Handel (R) boast to supporters about her out-of-state supporters.

* In Virginia’s gubernatorial primary, a new Washington Post-Schar School poll shows Ed Gillespie, a former RNC chair and George W. Bush aide, with “a commanding lead.” The primary is scheduled for June 13.

* The same poll found that Donald Trump’s approval rating in Virginia is down to just 36%.

* Speaking of the Commonwealth, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer will headline a fundraiser on Thursday for the Republican Party of Virginia. The event will be held at a Trump-owned venue, raising ethical questions Team Trump prefers to ignore.

* Though there’s been some chatter on the subject, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates told the New Yorker she’s “totally ruling out” running for governor in Georgia next year, though she left open the possibility of pursuing public service in some other capacity.




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Trump hosting Turkey’s Erdogan as tensions simmer

OANN

May 16, 2017

By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump was set to hold talks on Tuesday with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan amid tensions over the U.S. decision to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria that angered Ankara, a crucial partner in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State forces.

The meeting between Trump and Erdogan comes during an uproar in Washington over reports that the U.S. president disclosed sensitive information regarding Islamic State to senior Russian officials during a White House meeting last week.

Trump’s approval of plans to supply the Kurdish YPG militia as it advances toward the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in Syria cast a shadow over the talks between the leaders of NATO allies Turkey and the United States. U.S. officials disclosed the plans on May 9.

Erdogan has pledged to use the White House meeting to try to get Trump to change course on the YPG. Ankara regards the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought an insurgency in southeastern Turkey since 1984 and is considered a terrorist group by the United States, Turkey and Europe.

The YPG, or People’s Protection Units, effectively serves as the military of the autonomous Kurdish-led regions that emerged in northern Syria with the retreat of state authority in 2011 that accompanied the outbreak of civil war.

The United States sees the YPG as distinct from the PKK and as a valuable partner in the fight against Islamic State.

Trump, who took office in January, has sought to reach out to Erdogan, and was criticized by some in the United States for congratulating the Turkish president on his contested win in a referendum on constitutional changes that gave him sweeping new powers.

With the two leaders at odds on treatment of the Kurdish fighters and other issues, the White House meeting is unlikely to produce significant results, said Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington.

“The best thing to be hoped for from this is that they come out saying that they are both determined to work on the relationship and that Turkish concerns are being taken into account,” said Aliriza, who described the move to arm the YPG as an earthquake in U.S.-Turkish relations.

The visit is further complicated by Turkey’s calls for the United States to take steps to extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan blames Gulen supporters for a failed coup attempt last July and has conducted a crackdown on them, drawing criticism from Washington. Gulen has denied involvement in the coup and remains in the United States.

The Turkish government has also raised concerns about a U.S. criminal case against Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national, arrested last year and charged with helping Iran process millions of dollar in transactions that violated U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Will Dunham)

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Not so fast - EU court ensures 32 vetoes on Brexit trade

Reuters Top News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain may have to wait - and hope - for every single one of its European Union neighbours to give full legislative consent before it can fully benefit from any post-Brexit free trade deal, EU judges ruled on Tuesday.
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Cannes deploys flower power to boost film festival security

OANN2

May 16, 2017

By Robin Pomeroy

CANNES, France (Reuters) – Cannes’ promenade was pretty enough before authorities installed a row of 400 giant flowerpots. But the potted plants aren’t there to look good – they are a security measure to avert terrorist attacks during the film festival.

The Cannes festival, which begins on Wednesday, is the first since the attack in nearby Nice last July, when a Tunisian man drove a 19-tonne truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day on the promenade, killing at least 80 people.

The shoulder-high flower pots along the Cannes Croisette are supposed to acting as discreet concrete barriers that should stop any similar car or truck attack.

The police have also invested in 160 meters (175 yards) of spiked chains that can stop a truck, deployed extra forces and called on a battalion of civilians volunteers to inform them of any suspect activity.

Some 550 security cameras are keeping an eye on things, too, said Yves Daros, head of the municipal police.

“It’s the densest (camera) network in France. In Cannes, we have a camera for every 140 inhabitants,” Daros told Reuters TV.

France has been under a state of emergency since November 2015 when coordinated gun and bomb attacks in Paris killed 130 people and wounded 368. Just last month, a policeman was shot dead in central Paris – the most recent in a string of attacks claimed by Islamist militants.

The U.S. State Department has a long-standing travel alert for France and some other European countries, warning Americans to be on their guard around potential targets such as “high-profile events”.

The French police have no information about a specific threat, but few events in France have a higher profile than the annual film festival. This year, Will Smith and Nicole Kidman will be among the Hollywood A-listers.

U.S. film critic Scott Roxborough said people were aware of the security risk, but not afraid to come.

“The talent might be a bit more worried about having to come to a festival and might not be 100 percent secure, but given the fact that with the studios it’s about money and about business, I think that overweighs things.”

The local police chief said that while budget cuts were hitting public spending around France, security was one area where expense was not being spared.

“The state has put in more resources this year than ever in the past,” Daros said.

The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 17 to May 28.

(Additional reporting by Helena Williams and Sarah Mills, editing by Larry King)

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Ubisoft sees slower sales growth but improved profitability for 2018-2019

Reuters Technology

(Reuters) - French video games maker Ubisoft cut its full-year 2018-2019 sales guidance but sees room to boost profitability by relying more on older games, the company said on Tuesday.
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Tottenham's Rose to miss rest of season after knee surgery

Reuters Sports

(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur full-back Danny Rose has undergone surgery on his left knee and will not return to action until next season, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.
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Researchers say global cyber attack similar to North Korean hacks

Reuters Top News

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cybersecurity researchers have found evidence they say could link North Korea with the WannaCry cyber attack that has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide, as global authorities scrambled to prevent hackers from spreading new versions of the virus.
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Researchers say global cyber attack similar to North Korean hacks

Reuters World

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cybersecurity researchers have found evidence they say could link North Korea with the WannaCry cyber attack that has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide, as global authorities scrambled to prevent hackers from spreading new versions of the virus.
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Facebook adds Snapchat-like camera filters to Instagram

Reuters Technology

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc's Instagram has souped up its camera with quirky face-tracking filters, adding another feature similar to one offered by social media rival Snap Inc's Snapchat.
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Denmark may extend border controls beyond six more months, defying EU

Reuters World

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark said on Tuesday it would disregard a European Union directive to lift temporary border restrictions within six months unless the bloc "miraculously" secured its external frontiers against undocumented migrants.
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Merrick Garland not interested in FBI job, friends say - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Merrick Garland not interested in FBI job, friends say
Washington Post
Judge Merrick Garland, whose nomination to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama was blocked by Senate Republicans, has no interest in being the new FBI director, according to associates. Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for ...
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The Hill -Washington Examiner -NBCNews.com -TIME
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EU executive to decide on migration penalties in June

Reuters World

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission will decide next month on any legal cases against countries failing to resettle asylum-seekers as agreed in the bloc, taking a small step towards potential punishment for Poland and Hungary.
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France's Macron prepares to name ministers as rivals fear 'dynamiting'

Reuters World

PARIS (Reuters) - A leading French conservative accused President Emmanuel Macron of "dynamiting" the political landscape on Tuesday as he put together a government that is expected to include former rivals on both left and right.
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Tata Steel agrees British pensions deal

Reuters Top News

LONDON (Reuters) - Tata Steel has agreed the key commercial terms of a deal to cut benefits and improve the funding position of its British pension scheme, the Indian company said on Tuesday.
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Tata Steel agrees British pensions deal

Reuters UK

LONDON (Reuters) - Tata Steel has agreed the key commercial terms of a deal to cut benefits and improve the funding position of its British pension scheme, the Indian company said on Tuesday.
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Novelion CEO quits Novo Nordisk board due to NASH conflict

Reuters Health

(Reuters) - Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk said on Tuesday the chief executive of Canadian biotech company Novelion Therapeutics had left its board with immediate effect due to "a potential conflict of interest".
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McConnell says he recommended judge Garland to Trump for FBI head

OANN

May 16, 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he has told President Donald Trump that he should pick federal appeals judge Merrick Garland to succeed ousted director James Comey at the head of the FBI.

Speaking in an interview on Bloomberg Television, McConnell said he has spoken with Trump and that Garland, a former federal prosecutor, would be “an apolitical professional” to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Garland was Democratic former President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, but Senate Republicans led by McConnell refused to act on the nomination for nearly a year. The delaying tactic allowed Trump to nominate conservative Neil Gorsuch to fill the seat after he took office in January.

Garland, 64, has been praised by both Democrats and Republicans in his 20 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, often called the second highest court in the country. His appointment there is a lifetime one, and if he took on a 10-year term at the FBI it would open up a top judicial seat for the Republican president to fill.

Trump fired Comey last Tuesday, sparking a tide of criticism in light of the FBI’s probe of alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible ties between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Comey’s replacement would need to be someone with a deep background in law enforcement and no history of political involvement, McConnell said. Garland “is an example of that,” he added. “It would serve the country well and lead to, I think, a more bipartisan approach.”

It was not clear how Democrats, who strongly backed Garland for the Supreme Court, would react if he were nominated to the FBI. Democrats have threatened to hold up a vote on a new FBI director until a special prosecutor is named to investigate potential ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Representatives for Garland have not responded to repeated requests for comment regarding talk by some lawmakers floating the possibility of his nomination. National Public Radio, citing two sources close to Garland, reported that he intends to remain in his current judicial post.

At least 11 people have been under consideration for the FBI top job. Trump said on Monday his search was moving quickly, even as some possible contenders withdrew their names from contention, including U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy.

In the 1990s, as a senior Justice Department official under former Democratic President Bill Clinton, Garland oversaw the prosecution in the Oklahoma City bombing case in which 168 people were killed.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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China's Lenovo announces restructuring to focus on consumer

Reuters Technology

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Lenovo Group Ltd announced a plan to restructure its China business to cope with the changing personal computer (PC) industry.
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Bill Cosby Thinks Sexual Assault Allegations May Be Rooted in Racism - E! Online

World


E! Online

Bill Cosby Thinks Sexual Assault Allegations May Be Rooted in Racism
E! Online
Sirius XM radio host Michael Smerconish said he interviewed Bill for 30 minutes, during which time he asked about the dozens of stories of alleged sexual misconduct on the comic's behalf, which reportedly occurred between 1965 and 2008. Preview clips ...
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Trump to meet Turkish leader amid storm over shared intel - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Trump to meet Turkish leader amid storm over shared intel
Washington Post
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will hold his first face-to-face meeting with Turkey's president Tuesday amid accusations that Trump gave Russian officials classified intelligence from a foreign ally. Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip ...
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Researchers say global cyber attack similar to North Korean hacks

OANN

May 16, 2017

By Ju-min Park and Dustin Volz

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cybersecurity researchers have found evidence they say could link North Korea with the WannaCry cyber attack that has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide, as global authorities scrambled to prevent hackers from spreading new versions of the virus.

A researcher from South Korea’s Hauri Labs said on Tuesday their own findings matched those of Symantec <SYMC.O> and Kaspersky Lab, who said on Monday that some code in an earlier version of the WannaCry software had also appeared in programs used by the Lazarus Group, identified by some researchers as a North Korea-run hacking operation.

“It is similar to North Korea’s backdoor malicious codes,” said Simon Choi, a senior researcher with Hauri who has done extensive research into North Korea’s hacking capabilities and advises South Korean police and National Intelligence Service.

Both Symantec and Kaspersky said it was too early to tell whether North Korea was involved in the attacks, based on the evidence that was published on Twitter by Google security researcher Neel Mehta.

The attacks, which slowed on Monday, are among the fastest-spreading extortion campaigns on record.

WannaCry includes hacking tools believed to belong to the U.S. National Security Agency which were leaked online last month. A group that has taken credit for the leak threatened to release more recent code to enable hackers to break into the world’s most widely used computers, software and phones.

A blog post claiming to have been written by the ShadowBrokers group promised from June to release tools every month to anyone willing to pay for access to some of the tech world’s biggest commercial secrets.

It also threatened to dump data from banks using the SWIFT international money transfer network and from Russian, Chinese, Iranian or North Korean nuclear and missile programs, without providing further details. “More details in June,” it promised.

NO INFORMATION TO SHARE

In China, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she had no information to share, when asked about the origin of the attack and whether North Korea might be connected.

Several Asian countries have been affected by the malware, although the impact has not been as widespread as some had feared.

In Malaysia, cybersecurity firm LE Global Services said it identified 12 cases so far, including a large government-linked corporation, a government-linked investment firm and an insurance company. It did not name any of the entities.

“We may not see the real picture yet, as companies are not mandated to disclose security breaches to authorities in Malaysia,” said LE Global CEO Fong Choong Fook.

“The real situation may be serious. In one of the cases, the attack was traced back to early April.”

Vietnam’s state media said on Tuesday more than 200 computers had been affected, but one of the country’s leading anti virus companies, Bkav, later put the figure at 1,900.

Taiwan Power Co. <TAIWP.UL> said that nearly 800 of its computers were affected, although these were used for administration, not for systems involved in electricity generation.

EXPERTS URGE CAUTION

FireEye Inc <FEYE.O>, another large cyber security firm, said it was also investigating, but it was cautious about drawing a link to North Korea.

“The similarities we see between malware linked to that group and WannaCry are not unique enough to be strongly suggestive of a common operator,” FireEye researcher John Miller said.

U.S. and European security officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity that it was too early to say who might be behind the attacks, but they did not rule out North Korea as a suspect.

The Lazarus hackers, acting for impoverished North Korea, have been more brazen in their pursuit of financial gain than others, and have been blamed for the theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank, according to some cyber security firms. The United States accused it of being behind a cyber attack on Sony Pictures in 2014.

An official at South Korea’s Korea Internet & Security Agency said on Tuesday the agency was sharing information with intelligence officials on recent cases reported for damages but was not in position to investigate the source of the attack.

The official declined to comment on intelligence-related matters.

A South Korean police official that handles investigations into hacking and cyber breaches said he was aware of reports on the North Korean link, but said police were not investigating yet.

Victims haven’t requested investigations but they want their systems to be restored, the official said.

North Korea has denied being behind the Sony and banking attacks. North Korean officials were not immediately available for comment and its state media has been quiet about the matter.

Hauri researcher Choi said the code bore similarities with those allegedly used by North Korean hackers in the Sony and bank heists. He said based on his conversations with North Korean hackers, the reclusive state had been developing and testing ransomware programs since August.

In one case, alleged hackers from North Korea demanded bitcoin in exchange for client information they had stolen from a South Korean shopping mall, Choi added.

While the attacks have raised concerns for cyber authorities and end-users worldwide, they have helped cybersecurity stocks as investors bet governments and corporations will spend more to upgrade their defenses.

Cisco Systems <CSCO.O> closed up 2.3 percent on Monday and was the second-biggest gainer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

(Additional reporting by Eric Auchard in Frankfurt, Dustin Volz in Washington, Jim Finkle in Toronto, Jess Macy Yu in Taipei, My Pham and Mai Nguyen in Hanoi, Michael Martina in Beijing and Liz Lee in Kuala Lumpur; Writing by Jeremy Wagstaff in Singapore; Editing by Sam Holmes, Michael Perry, Mike Collett-White and David Stamp)

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Trump says he has 'absolute right' to share facts with Russians

Reuters Top News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended having disclosed information to senior Russian officials last week, saying he had an "absolute right" to do so and had shared facts to get Moscow to step up its fight against the Islamic State militant group.
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Trump says he has 'absolute right' to share facts with Russians

Reuters World

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended having disclosed information to senior Russian officials last week, saying he had an "absolute right" to do so and had shared facts to get Moscow to step up its fight against the Islamic State militant group.
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Researchers say global cyber attack similar to North Korean hacks

Reuters Technology

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cybersecurity researchers have found evidence they say could link North Korea with the WannaCry cyber attack that has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide, as global authorities scrambled to prevent hackers from spreading new versions of the virus.
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#NBArank: Every team's best and worst picks - ESPN

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ESPN

#NBArank: Every team's best and worst picks
ESPN
Editor's note: #NBArank is back! Over the next two weeks, we're ranking everything under the sun: best draft picks, best uniforms, best NBA-city restaurants, best photos and much more. Enjoy! Editor's Picks. #NBArank's best No. 1 overall picks: LeBron, ...
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Iran’s re-engagement with the world at stake in Friday presidential vote

OANN

May 16, 2017

By Parisa Hafezi

ANKARA (Reuters) – Iranians vote for president on Friday in a contest likely to determine whether Tehran’s re-engagement with the world stalls or quickens, although whatever the outcome no change is expected to its revolutionary system of conservative clerical rule.

Seeking a second term, pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani, 68, remains the narrow favorite, but hardline rivals have hammered him over his failure to boost an economy weakened by decades of sanctions.

Many Iranians feel a 2015 agreement he championed with major powers to lift sanctions in return for curbing Iran’s nuclear program has failed to produce the jobs, growth and foreign investment he said would follow.

The normally mild-mannered cleric is trying to hold on to office by firing up reformist voters who want less confrontation abroad and more social and economic freedom at home.

In recent days he has adopted robust rhetoric, pushing at the boundaries of what is permitted in Iran. He has accused his conservative opponents of abusing human rights, misusing religious authority to gain power and representing the economic interests of the security forces.

Rouhani’s strongest challenger is hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, 56, who says Iran does not need foreign help and promises a revival of the values of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

He is backed by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, the country’s top security force, their affiliated volunteer Basij militia, hardline clerics and two influential clerical groups.

Another prominent conservative, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, withdrew from the race on Monday and backed Raisi, uniting the hardline faction and giving Raisi’s chances a boost.

Under Iran’s system, the powers of the elected president are circumscribed by those of the conservative supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has been in power since 1989. All candidates must be vetted by a hardline body.

Nevertheless, elections are fiercely contested and can bring about change within the system of rule overseen by Shi’ite Muslim clerics.

CLOSE ALLY

The main challenger Raisi is a close ally and protege of Khamenei, and was one of four Islamic judges who ordered the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. Iranian media have discussed him as a potential future successor to Khamenei, who turns 78 in July.

Raisi has appealed to poorer voters by pledging to create millions of jobs.

“Though unrealistic, such promises will surely attract millions of poor voters,” said Saeed Leylaz, a prominent Iranian economist who was jailed for criticizing the economic policies of Rouhani’s hardline predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Although the supreme leader is officially above the fray of everyday politics, Khamenei can sway a presidential vote by giving a candidate his quiet endorsement, a move that could galvanize hardline efforts to get the conservative vote out.

“Raisi has a good chance to win. But still the result depends on the leader Khamenei’s decision,” said a former senior official, who declined to be identified.

So far in public Khamenei has called only for a high turnout, saying Iran’s enemies have sought to use the elections to “infiltrate” its power structure, and a high turnout would prove the system’s legitimacy.

A high turnout could also boost the chances of Rouhani, who was swept to power in 2013 on promises to reduce Iran’s international isolation and grant more freedoms at home. The biggest threat to his re-election is apathy from disappointed voters who feel he did not deliver improvements they hoped for.

“The result depends on whether the economic problems will prevail over freedom issues,” said an official close to Rouhani. “A low turnout can harm Rouhani.”

Polls taken by International Perspectives for Public Opinion on May 10 show Rouhani still leads with about 55 percent of the votes, although such surveys do not have an established record of predicting election outcomes in Iran.

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of votes cast, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff election on May 26.

Because the conservatives are now mostly united behind Raisi, the result is likely to be closer than four years ago, when Rouhani won more than three times as many votes as his closest challenger en route to a victory in a single round.

SLOW PACE OF CHANGE

Opposition and reformist figures are backing Rouhani, and his recent fiery campaign speeches have led to a surge of public interest. But voters’ expectations of radical change are low.

“I had decided not to vote … Rouhani failed to keep his promises. As long as Khamenei runs policy, nothing will change,” said art student Raika Mostashari in Tehran.

But she eventually decided to vote for Rouhani, she said, because former president Mohammad Khatami, spiritual leader of the pro-reform movement, had publicly backed him.

Rouhani’s signature accomplishment has been his nuclear deal, which could be in jeopardy if he loses power, even though it was officially endorsed by Khamenei and all candidates say they will abide by it.

U.S. President Donald Trump has frequently called the agreement “one of the worst deals ever signed” and said Washington will review it.

Although the agreement lifted international sanctions, the United States continues to impose unilateral measures that have scared off investors. Washington cites Iran’s missile program, its human rights record and support for terrorism.

Some experts say Iranian establishment figures may want to keep Rouhani in power to avoid being cast back into isolation.

“With the deal in jeopardy, the system will be in vital need of Rouhani’s team of smiling diplomats and economic technocrats to shift the blame to the U.S. and keep Iran’s economy afloat,” said Iran analyst Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group.

Polls expected to open at 03:30 GMT and close at 13:30 GMT, which can be extended. Final results are expected by Sunday.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by William Maclean and Peter Graff)

The post Iran’s re-engagement with the world at stake in Friday presidential vote appeared first on One America News Network.




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Brawn willing to work with MotoGP on F1 calendar

Reuters Sports

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One has sounded out MotoGP for cooperation and advice as the sport embarks on a period of change under new owners Liberty Media.
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Mourinho bemoans fixture congestion ahead of Saints clash

Reuters Sports

(Reuters) - Manchester United's squad has been stretched to the breaking point by the demands placed on the club by an extended run in Europe's second-tier club competition, according to manager Jose Mourinho.
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Gigantic 'alien megastructures' built by an advanced civilisation could be orbiting dozens of nearby stars, boffin says

FOX

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Bill Cosby gives first interview in more than 2 years: 'I just hope I’m not in trouble now'

FOX

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INTERVIEW-Motor racing-Brawn willing to work with MotoGP on F1 calendar

Motor Sports - Reuters

LONDON, May 16 (Reuters) - Formula One has sounded out MotoGP for cooperation and advice as the sport embarks on a period of change under new owners Liberty Media.
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Killing of teenager pushes Venezuela protest death toll to 40

Reuters World

CARACAS (Reuters) - A 17-year-old Venezuelan youth died on Tuesday after he was shot in the head during a protest the day before, taking the death toll from six weeks of anti-government unrest to at least 40.
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U.S. ally 'might stop sharing...

MSNBC

Donald Trump’s first overseas trip as president was already poised to be awkward. Foreign Policy magazine reported yesterday that our NATO allies are “scrambling” to tailor their upcoming meeting “to avoid taxing President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention span.”

A source briefed extensively on the meeting’s preparations explained, “It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump. It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child – someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing…. They’re freaking out.”

And that was before our NATO partners learned that Trump apparently shared highly classified secrets with Russia for unknown reasons. The Associated Press reported today that U.S. allies “have anxiously wondered” if America’s strange amateur president could be trusted with sensitive national security information, and now those countries have “new reasons to worry.”

A U.S. official said Trump revealed highly classified information about an Islamic State plot to senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week. The information had been obtained by a U.S. partner and shared with Washington, according to the official.

“If it proves to be true that the American president passed on internal intelligence matters, that would be highly worrying,” Burkhard Lischka, a senior German lawmaker, said in a statement to The Associated Press.

A second European official told the AP that their country might stop sharing intelligence with the United States as a result of Trump’s disclosure to Russia.

Consider the scope of this fiasco. On the one hand, we have U.S. intelligence agencies – the target of frequent Trump attacks for unknown reasons – which will now have an incentive to keep sensitive information from the White House in order to safeguard it from the president’s reckless incompetence.

On the other hand, we have allied governments abroad, which were already worried about Trump’s trustworthiness, and which are now weighing even less intelligence sharing with the United States.

I imagine some American intelligence professionals may resort to telling key contacts, “Don’t worry, we won’t share this with the White House,” but that’s not exactly a sustainable dynamic.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/15/17, 9:53 PM ET

Trump betrays crucial intelligences sharing relationship

Ned Price, former spokesman and senior analyst for the CIA, talks with Rachel Maddow about the vital intelligence sharing relationship that Donald Trump has potentially put in jeopardy with his reported revelation of highly classified information.
This came up on last night’s show, with Ned Price, a former spokesperson and senior analyst for the CIA, explaining:
“Look, there is a core assumption that undergirds our intelligence relationships the world over, our information sharing relationships with friends, with allies, and frankly at times even with adversaries. And that is we will share with you if you share with us with a reciprocal understanding that we will safeguard each other’s information. And there is not to be onward passage of that information without explicit consent of the country that gave us that piece of information.

“So, if the details today in the Washington Post report are true, President Trump betrayed that core premise, that core assumption under which all of our intelligence relationships are forged.

“And, of course, it will infuriate this purportedly close ally. But that’s, in a way, small potatoes.  What is a much graver threat I think to the United States and to our people is that countries around the world – countries that perhaps have a better presence in places like Syria, or have more expertise in groups like ISIL or core al Qaeda – they will think once, they will think twice, or maybe they will stop sharing information with us to begin with if they cannot be confident that we can safeguard their information.”

Even if some foreign officials decide they’ll renew a cooperative relationship with the United States once Americans elect a more responsible leader, the national security implications in the interim would be considerable – and January 2021, at the earliest, is a long time to wait.



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Chick-fil-A rolls out barbecue chicken sandwich with candied bacon

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U.S., UAE strike new defence accord on U.S. force levels in Emirates

Reuters World

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and the United Arab Emirates have signed a new, updated defence cooperation agreement that the Pentagon on Tuesday said dictated "the magnitude and conditions" of the U.S. military presence inside the Emirates.
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Europa League run brightens Manchester United's financial outlook

Reuters Sports

(Reuters) - A run to the final of the Europa League helped English soccer club Manchester United to raise its revenue and profit forecast for 2016-17 and winning the trophy would boost its finances for next season by unlocking a place in the Champions League.
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Exclusive: Democrats in U.S. Senate try to slow Republican deregulation

OANN

May 16, 2017

By Lisa Lambert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats are striking back at the regulation-cutting blitz in the U.S. Congress and White House, as Republicans ratchet up attacks on rules they say hurt business and give bureaucrats too much power.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat, on Tuesday will introduce legislation to kill the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a law Republicans used over the span of three months this year to repeal 14 regulations enacted by former President Barack Obama, also a Democrat, according to documents seen by Reuters.

Booker, one of his party’s liberal stars, says that rate shows the CRA is prone to abuse, and the law helps special interests sabotage thoroughly vetted rules they do not like.

Booker’s bill, co-sponsored by fellow Democrat Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, would resurrect the 14 annulled regulations on broadband, contraception, guns, the environment, education and other areas.

The CRA bans agencies from issuing new versions of repealed rules in the future. Booker’s bill would also lift that ban.

Senator Patty Murray, the senior Democrat of the committee overseeing labor and pensions, also is attempting to work around the prohibition through bills to make two of the eliminated regulations, on retirement savings and workplace safety, the law of the land. She has introduced a bill to help states and cities provide retirement accounts to private-sector workers and has co-sponsored another on employers’ records of injuries and deaths.

If any of the Democrats’ bills survive the Senate, they will likely die in the House, where Republicans hold an ample majority.

After sweeping Congress and the White House in November’s elections, Republicans established a beachhead in their battle against regulation through the CRA.

They are now in the next phase: limiting new rule-makings. Later this week a Senate committee will put finishing touches on the Regulatory Accountability Act and send it to the full chamber.

Supporters say the bill, already passed in the House, makes regulators more answerable to lawmakers and more responsible for analyzing rules’ costs. Critics say it establishes so many requirements that it will paralyze regulation in important areas such as education.

Republicans are also considering keeping the CRA in play.

Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania has asked congressional auditors to determine if the law can be applied to agencies’ guidance that effectively resembles regulation. Others are weighing killing two forthcoming rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, headed by Democrat Richard Cordray, an Obama holdover.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Dan Grebler)

The post Exclusive: Democrats in U.S. Senate try to slow Republican deregulation appeared first on One America News Network.




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UPDATE 5-Tennis-Italian Open men's singles results

Tennis - Reuters

May 16 (Gracenote) - Results from the Italian Open Men's Singles matches on Tuesday Round 2 9-David Goffin (Belgium) beat Fernando Verdasco (Spain) 3-6 6-3 6-2 Round 1 David Ferrer (Spain) beat Feliciano Lopez (Spain) 4-6 6-3 6-1 15-Pablo Carreno (Spain) beat Gilles Simon (France) 6-3 6-3 16-Alexander Zverev (Germany) beat Kevin Anderson (South Africa) 6-4 4-6 6-4 Benoit Paire (France) beat Nicolas Mahut (France) 6-3 6-4 13-Ja
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Meet Robin Bell, the artist who projected protest messages onto Trump's DC hotel last night - Los Angeles Times

World


Los Angeles Times

Meet Robin Bell, the artist who projected protest messages onto Trump's DC hotel last night
Los Angeles Times
For a short period on Monday night, a large projection appeared on the facade of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., that read “Emoluments Welcome,” along with an animation of the flags of nations where President Trump has business ...
'Pay Trump bribes here' sign projected onto Trump's DC hotelCNN
'Pay Trump bribes here' projected on Trump hotelUSA TODAY
Artists project 'Emoluments Clause' on Trump's D.C. hotelNew York Daily News

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The Daily 202: Trump's chaotic White House once again makes a bad story worse - Washington Post

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Washington Post

The Daily 202: Trump's chaotic White House once again makes a bad story worse
Washington Post
With Breanne Deppisch. THE BIG IDEA: This time it did not even take 24 hours for Donald Trump to throw his staffers under the bus and contradict their denials. The president revealed highly classified (code word) information to the Russian foreign ...
White House under siege seeks to mitigate falloutCNN
Trump Defends Sharing ISIS Information With RussiaNew York Times
Trump: I have 'absolute right' to share facts with RussiaThe Hill
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Sally Yates to CNN: 'The Russians Had Real Leverage' Over Michael Flynn - Breitbart News

World


Breitbart News

Sally Yates to CNN: 'The Russians Had Real Leverage' Over Michael Flynn
Breitbart News
In a preview portion of an interview with Anderson Cooper that aired Tuesday on CNN's “New Day,” former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates said she had warned White House that about now-former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
LOCATION CHANGE: Russian Interference in the 2016 United - United States Senate Committee on the JudiciaryMeeting | Hearings & Meetings | United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
President Donald J. TrumpThe White House

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Al Shabaab gunmen kill official in northern Kenya - police, group

Reuters Africa

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Gunmen from Somalia's al Shabaab militant group burst into a government official's house in northeast Kenya and shot him dead late on Monday, police and the group said.
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Labour launches 'radical, responsible' election manifesto

Reuters Top News

LONDON (Reuters) - Promising renationalisation of some services, measures to curb corporate excess and end healthcare cuts, Britain's Labour Party made its case on Tuesday for voters to back its move to the left and throw out the Conservatives at next month's election.
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Labour launches 'radical, responsible' election manifesto

Reuters UK

LONDON (Reuters) - Promising renationalisation of some services, measures to curb corporate excess and end healthcare cuts, Britain's Labour Party made its case on Tuesday for voters to back its move to the left and throw out the Conservatives at next month's election.
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Inflation tightens screw on UK consumers as election nears

Reuters Top News

LONDON (Reuters) - British inflation hit its highest level since September 2013 last month, extending its sharp rise since the vote to leave the European Union and tightening the squeeze on living costs as a national election approaches.
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Inflation tightens screw on UK consumers as election nears

Reuters UK

LONDON (Reuters) - British inflation hit its highest level since September 2013 last month, extending its sharp rise since the vote to leave the European Union and tightening the squeeze on living costs as a national election approaches.
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Inflation tightens screw on UK consumers as election nears

Personal Finance - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - British inflation hit its highest level since September 2013 last month, extending its sharp rise since the vote to leave the European Union and tightening the squeeze on living costs as a national election approaches.
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Conservatives on 47 percent, stretch lead on rivals - Kantar poll

Reuters Top News

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives have extended their lead over the opposition Labour Party ahead of the June 8 national election as support for smaller parties wanes, a poll by Kantar Public showed on Tuesday.
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