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Trump Points Finger at Iran in Attacks on Oil Tankers in Gulf

Trump Points Finger at Iran in Attacks on Oil Tankers in Gulf“Iran did do it, and you know they did it,” Trump said Friday during a phone interview with Fox News. The president’s comments follow American officials’ release of images they said show that Iran was involved in an attack on an oil tanker near the entrance to the Persian Gulf on Thursday, one of two incidents that have raised tensions between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic.




POSTED JUNE 14, 2019 3:35 PM

Memphis Man Killed in Police Shooting That Sparked Violent Protests Was Wanted for Assault, Robbery, Authorities Say

Memphis Man Killed in Police Shooting That Sparked Violent Protests Was Wanted for Assault, Robbery, Authorities Say"This was a violent felon who did not obviously want to go jail and they ended up, from my knowledge, doing what they had to do to not only protect themselves but to protect other people around them in the neighborhood."




POSTED JUNE 14, 2019 3:04 PM

O'Rourke: White Americans don't know full story of slavery

O'Rourke: White Americans don't know full story of slaveryBeto O'Rourke took a path somewhat less traveled on Friday, meeting with a small group representing a community of slave descendants in South Carolina as he strives to make connections with the black voters who will play a dominant role in next year's Southern presidential primaries. In a Baptist church in Beaufort, the Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman met with leaders of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, a culture of coastal slave descendants whose separation from the mainland allowed them to retain much of their African heritage, including a unique dialect and skills such as cast-net fishing and basket weaving. "White Americans do not know this story," O'Rourke said, noting that until a tour of the church's grounds, he hadn't known anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman had lived in the area.




POSTED JUNE 14, 2019 8:36 PM

Indiana man arrested for hitting Delta flight attendant on Paris flight, causing diversion

Indiana man arrested for hitting Delta flight attendant on Paris flight, causing diversionA federal complaint says a man struck a flight attendant in the throat during a flight from Indianapolis International Airport to Paris.




POSTED JUNE 14, 2019 9:33 PM

Embattled Hong Kong leader Lam suspends China extradition bill

Embattled Hong Kong leader Lam suspends China extradition billHong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Saturday delayed indefinitely a proposed law to allow people to be extradited to mainland China for trial after widespread anger and large-scale protests in the Asian financial hub. In one of the most significant climbdowns by the government since Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, Lam said the city's legislature would stop all work on the bill. About 1 million people marched through Hong Kong last Sunday to protest the bill, according to organizers of the march.




POSTED JUNE 15, 2019 3:30 AM

Anita Hill: I still hold Biden accountable but would consider voting for him

Anita Hill: I still hold Biden accountable but would consider voting for himThough Hill was not satisfied with Biden’s apology over Clarence Thomas testimony, she could see herself voting for him in 2020 When asked whether Joe Biden’s behavior was comparable to that of Donald Trump, who has denied multiple accusations of sexual assault, Anita Hill said: ‘Absolutely not.’ Photograph: Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images Anita Hill has said she could see herself voting for Joe Biden, despite his past treatment of her, saying she considers him “perfectly capable of running for president”. Before announcing his presidential bid in April, Biden contacted Hill to express his “regret for what she endured” while testifying against US supreme court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991, a hearing over which the former vice-president presided and where Hill was given little support as she alleged persistent sexual harassment from Thomas when they worked together. She later said she was not satisfied with Biden’s comments and that she did not consider it a proper apology. In an interview broadcast on Thursday evening, Hill, now a law professor, said she still holds Biden accountable, but has not ruled out voting for him if he were to become the Democratic nominee in next year’s presidential election. “I don’t think it has disqualified him,” she told NBC News. “He’s perfectly capable of running for president. I think we will have to make our decisions about what we want our leaders to be doing in the future around these issues of gender violence.” When asked whether his behavior was comparable to that of Donald Trump, who has denied multiple accusations of sexual assault, she said: “Absolutely not. I never said that and never intended to say that.” Adding: “I’m not actually sure that anything I’ve said has actually hurt Joe Biden’s campaign. He still is leading in the polls.” In response to a question about whether she could see herself voting for Biden if he were to become the 2020 nominee, she said: “Of course I could.” She declined to name a favorite from the packed field of Democratic candidates, but she that she would like to see gender violence discussed in the debates and for political leaders to take the issue seriously. “I want our leaders to stand up and say this is a serious problem that women are not safe in the workplace, not safe in our schools, they’re not safe on our streets and that we are going to use the government resources to illuminate the problem,” she said. Biden is ahead in the polls. Despite some signs that he is losing his lead, a recent poll put the former vice-president a solid 13 points above Trump. But his tendency for insensitive comments, inconsistency and gaffe-prone behavior on the campaign trail continues. A 2006 video uncovered by CNN shows him saying that he does not view abortion as “a choice and a right” and that “we should be focusing on how to limit the number of abortions”. It comes after his about-face last week on the Hyde amendment, which prevents federal funding from being used for abortions – dropping his longstanding support of it following a backlash. Shortly before he announced his run, Biden faced a storm of complaints and criticism for initiating too much physical intimacy with women and girls he knew or met at events. He addressed the issue in public statements, but has since been joking on the campaign trail about it and continuing to make sexist remarks. He most recently drew criticism at an event after reportedly advising the brothers of a 13-year-old girl from Iowa: “You’ve got one job here, keep the guys away from your sister.” And last month he told a young girl: “I bet you’re as bright as you’re good-looking” at an American Federation of Teachers town hall in Texas. But his biggest test to date will be the first Democratic primary debates later this month.




POSTED JUNE 14, 2019 1:31 PM

United Airlines plane skids off runway after tyres burst on landing at New York airport

United Airlines plane skids off runway after tyres burst on landing at New York airportA United Airlines plane skidded off the runway after its tyres burst as it landed at an airport near New York.Some passengers suffered minor injuries when Flight 627 slid off the tarmac at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the Boeing 757-200’s left main landing gear was “stuck in a grassy area” following the incident at 1pm.“The aircraft will be towed off the airfield after passengers leave the aircraft via stairs,” it added in a statement.No injuries were reported to the FAA but United said some passengers had refused treatment for minor injuries. The airline did not say how many people were hurt.The pilot told those on board the plane had blown two tyres as it landed, according to passenger Caroline Craddock. She said at least one person hit their head and another suffered an elbow injury.Arrivals and departures were suspended at Newark following the incident. Flights resumed after passengers were “safely deplaned”, the airport tweeted.The FAA said it was sending officials to the airport to begin an investigation.




POSTED JUNE 15, 2019 4:48 PM

Jupiter’s Europa is seriously salty

Jupiter’s Europa is seriously saltyOf all the places in our solar system (besides Earth, of course), Jupiter's moon Europa might have the best chance of hosting life. Scientists studying the planet are intrigued by its massive ocean of liquid water hiding beneath a thick icy shell, and it's possible that life is lurking there, too.Now, a new research paper reveals that the colossal ocean isn't just liquid water, it's salty liquid water, making it potentially even more like Earth's oceans than we originally thought. The study was published in the journal Science Advances."The potential habitability of Europa's subsurface ocean depends on its chemical composition, which may be reflected in that of Europa's geologically young surface," the researchers write.But actually visiting Europa to see what its oceans are made of isn't really in the cards at the moment, so scientists have done the next best thing. Using the powerful spectrograph instrument on the Hubble, researchers are able to sniff out the makeup of nearby worlds, and in the case of Europa it's very, very salty.If the planets are indeed as salty as they appear, it could be a sign that the waters there are suitable for life. Whether or not any life forms have ever taken root there, however, is a far more challenging question to answer.Researchers have considered the possibility of sending some kind of robotic probe to the planet's surface. Its incredibly thick sheet of ice would need to be penetrated in order to sample the liquid water below. Such a mission would be costly, however, and while there's plenty of interest among scientist searching for life outside of Earth, NASA and other groups are largely focused on trips to the Moon and Mars in the immediate future.




POSTED JUNE 13, 2019 11:07 PM

China probes FedEx after Huawei parcels misrouted

China probes FedEx after Huawei parcels misroutedChina on Friday launched an investigation into FedEx for "failing to deliver express packages" to the correct addresses in the country, state media said, after the US delivery service misrouted some Huawei parcels. FedEx apologised earlier this month for the delivery mishap after Chinese telecoms giant Huawei said it was reviewing its ties with the package service over the incident. The US delivery firm said at the time that "no external parties requested that FedEx transfer these packages".




POSTED JUNE 14, 2019 12:16 PM

US releases footage 'showing Iran removing unexploded mine' from stricken oil tanker

US releases footage 'showing Iran removing unexploded mine' from stricken oil tankerThe US military released a video on Friday that it says shows Iran's Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded mine from one of the oil tankers targeted near the Strait of Hormuz. It suggested the Iran had sought to remove evidence of its involvement from the scene. US Central Command also released photographs showing the apparent mine, which attaches to the side of a ship magnetically. Release of the classified black-and-white images showed US determination to convince the international community that Iran was responsible for Thursday's attacks on the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, and the Norwegian-owned Front Altair. However, the Japanese operator of Kokuka Courageous said the crew saw "flying objects" just before the attack, suggesting the tanker was damaged by something other than mines. Yutaka Katada, the company president, said reports of a mine attack were "false". Both vessels suffered explosions, forcing crews to abandon ship and leave them adrift in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran. All crew members were safely evacuated. Navy Captain Bill Urban, a Central Command spokesman, said the Revolutionary Guard vessel was observed at 4.10pm local time approaching the Kokuka Courageous. He said: "It was observed and recorded removing the unexploded limpet mine from the Kokuka Courageous." He added: "The United States has no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East. However, we will defend our interests."  Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said: "Taken as a whole these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran". Mr Pompeo said American assessment of Iran's responsibility was based on intelligence sources, the weapons used and the level of expertise, saying "no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication". In a statement the Iranian mission to the United Nations said Tehran "categorically rejects the US unfounded claim with regard to 13 June oil tanker incidents and condemns it in the strongest possible terms." It accused the United States and its allies, including Saudi Arabia, of "warmongering." Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, said the UK believed the US assessment that Iran was responsible but repeated his warning there was a serious danger of the US and Iran stumbling into an unwanted war.  “We have no reason not to believe the American assessment and our instinct is to believe it because they are our closest ally," Mr Hunt told the Today programme.  “We are very worried about the situation in Iran because at the moment both sides in this dispute think the other side doesn’t want war and the risk you have is that then they doing something provocative that leads to catastrophic consequences that weren’t intended.”  The explosions, which left one of the oil tankers burning outside the strategic Strait of Hormuz waterway, marked the most serious incident since the White House warned in early May that Iran was plotting attacks in the region.     The incident came one month after Iranian forces allegedly used naval mines to blow holes in two oil tankers and two smaller ships off the Emirati port of Fujairah. The US publicly said Iran was behind that attack, while Tehran denied responsibility.  Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said “suspicious doesn’t begin to describe” the incident in Gulf of Oman. He previously suggested without evidence that Israel was staging the attacks to undermine Iran.    Responding to Mr Zarif's comments, Mr Pompeo said: " Foreign Minister Zarif may think this is funny but no one else in the world does." The explosions at sea came hours before Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, met with Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, on a diplomatic mission intended to try to ease tensions between Iran and the US. But the Japanese leader’s efforts appeared to bear little fruit. Ayatollah Khamenei refused to hear any messages from Donald Trump delivered by Mr Abe, the Iranian government said. The ayatollah also said Iran was not seeking nuclear weapons but “America could not do anything” to stop Tehran if it did decide to pursue a nuclear course.  Mr Trump on Thursday ruled out the possibility of making a deal with Iran, saying: "While I very much appreciate PM Abe going to Iran to meet with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, I personally feel that it is too soon to even think about making a deal. They are not ready, and neither are we!" Both tankers were carrying “Japanese-related” cargo, according to Japan’s government. It was not clear if that was a coincidence or if the targeting of the ships was done deliberately to coincide with Mr Abe’s visit to Tehran.    While Iran’s civilian government denies responsibility for any of the attacks, it is possible that the Revolutionary Guard, who answer directly to the supreme leader, are carrying out operations without the government’s knowledge or consent.  Iran tries to keep tensions between the two sides concealed but they spilled into the open early this year when Mr Zarif threatened to resign after he was left out of a key meeting while a senior Revolutionary Guard commander was invited. Markets Hub I Brent Spot The attacks capped six weeks of building tensions between Iran and the US during which time Mr Trump has ordered an aircraft carrier, a bomber taskforce and 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East.  Both the US and Iran say they are not looking for war but Britain and other countries have warned of the danger that the two sides could stumble into an unintended conflict.  Antonio Gutteres, the UN secretary general, condemned the attack and warned that the world cannot afford “a major confrontation in the Gulf region”.  Any fighting near the Strait of Hormuz, the waterway which transports 20 per cent of the world’s oil, would likely cause serious damage to global energy supplies. Analysts said that Iran appeared to be lashing out in order to send a message in response to crippling US sanctions imposed by Mr Trump after he withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal. “I think Iran is showing that it has teeth,” said Charles Hollis, a former British diplomat in Tehran who is now managing director of the Falanx Assynt consultancy. “It’s a way of showing that if they are backed into a corner they are not without means of causing grief.”  Iran has warned that it will begin enriching high-grade uranium, the kind that could be used for a nuclear weapon, in July unless Europe finds a way to get around US sanctions and prop up the Iranian oil and banking sectors.




POSTED JUNE 14, 2019 1:52 AM

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