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US releases photos to bolster claim Iran attacked tankersIn an effort to bolster its public case against Iran, the Pentagon on Monday released new photos that officials said show that members of Tehran's Revolutionary Guard were responsible for attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf. The images, many taken from a Navy helicopter, show what the Pentagon said were Iranian forces removing an unexploded mine from the side of the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. The release of the photos came as the U.S. works this week to convince members of Congress and allies that the accusations against Tehran are true.


6/17/2019 4:01:37 PM

Trump to Florida Rally Crowd: Democrats ‘Want to Destroy You’President Trump officially “kicked off” his 2020 re-election campaign in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday night by telling a crowd of riled up supporters that Democrats are hell-bent on “destroying” them. “The Democrats don’t care about Russia,” the president growled. “They only care about their own political power. They went after my family, my business, my finances, my employees, almost everyone that I have ever known or worked with, but they are really going after you!”Asserting that the Russia investigation was really about erasing the votes of his supporters, Trump claimed it was all an attempt to erase the “legacy of the greatest campaign and the greatest election probably in the history of our country.”“And they wanted to deny you the future that you demanded and the future that America deserves and that now America is getting,” he added.After soaking in some more cheers from the audience, the president said his “radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage” before turning up the inflammatory rhetoric.“They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it,” Trump snarled. “Not acceptable. It’s not going to happen!”His supporters, meanwhile, lapped it up, exploding in applause.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


6/18/2019 7:40:45 PM

Duterte Stands by China, Doubts Own Fishermen in Sea Collision(Bloomberg) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is standing by China over a collision involving the two nations’ boats in the South China Sea, with his spokesman casting doubts on local fishermen’s accounts of the incident.In his first public statement about what he described as a “maritime incident,” Duterte said China’s side should be heard on the collision that resulted in a Philippine vessel carrying 22 fishermen sinking in disputed waters on June 9. The crew were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat and a Philippine Navy ship.“It is best investigated. I don’t issue a statement now because there’s no investigation and no result," Duterte said in speech at a Philippine Navy event on Monday night. "The only thing we can do is wait and give the other party the right to be heard.”The Philippines will not escalate tensions with China by sending military ships to the South China Sea following the collision, he added, reiterating his nation isn’t ready to go to war with Beijing.At a briefing Tuesday, Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said there are "circumstances that give doubt to the version" of the Filipino fishermen, including how most of them were asleep when the collision happened.“The President doesn’t want this to be blown into an international crisis,” Panelo said. “We are being careful because there will be repercussions if we make the wrong move.”‘Passive’ PolicyDuterte stuck to his pro-China stance despite calls from the opposition, led by Vice President Leni Robredo, to change his “passive” China policy by actively asserting the nation’s rights in the disputed waters. Robredo, in a Facebook post Sunday, also called on Duterte’s government to demand the Chinese fishermen’s trial in the Philippines.Duterte now has to convince the public that friendly ties with China is still the way to go, said Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines’ Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea.“Between the Philippine government and the Chinese government the friendship policy has been set, but this incident has happened and casts doubt on the sincerity and wisdom of it to the Filipino people,” Batongbacal said.The Philippines’ long-term position in the South China Sea dispute may be weakened if Duterte maintains his pro-Beijing stance after the incident, said Professor Jeffrey Ordaniel, a fellow at Hawaii-based foreign policy research institute Pacific Forum. “The Duterte administration’s China policy is unfortunately helping the Chinese pursue their maritime ambitions.”Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang described the incident as an “accidental collision" at briefing on Monday, adding that politicizing the collision “is not appropriate.” Beijing’s embassy in Manila earlier said the Chinese vessel’s captain tried to rescue the Philippine fishermen after bumping into their boat, but was afraid of being "besieged" by other Filipino fishing boats.The incident took place near Reed Bank, an area claimed by both Manila and Beijing where there’s a pending oil exploration plan by Philippines company PXP Energy Corp.\--With assistance from Dandan Li and Philip J. Heijmans.To contact the reporter on this story: Andreo Calonzo in Manila at acalonzo1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecilia Yap at cyap19@bloomberg.net, Ruth Pollard, Caroline AlexanderFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


6/17/2019 11:51:07 PM

This Tank Could Stop a Chinese Invasion of TaiwanThe Trump administration’s plan to sell tanks, missiles and ground-launched air defenses to Taiwan embodies what might be called a strategic paradigm shift to empower the small island’s deterrence posture against an often-threatened Chinese invasion.While much existing discussion centers upon strengthening Taiwanese air, sea and undersea defenses, there also appears to be an unequivocal need for major land defenses. The existing air-sea emphasis is extremely important, yet there are certainly elements of this approach which invite further discussion about the need to provide Taiwan with a strong, armored ground force as well.The proposed $2 billion arms package includes 108 main battle tanks, 250 Stinger anti-air missiles, as well as 409 Javelins and 1,240 TOW anti-tank missiles.Drawing heavily upon a US Pacific presence along with Asian-theater allied support, a maritime-air Taiwan defense strategy has clearly had a deterrence impact in recent years. Part of this ability to keep a Chinese invasion at bay has naturally hinged upon a strong US posture ensuring defense of the island.


6/18/2019 1:42:00 AM

Investigators crack cold case murder of South Dakota womanThe murder of a pharmacist who was raped and strangled in her home in a South Dakota city more than half a century ago has been solved with the use of DNA technology and genealogy databases, police said. Investigators believe Eugene Carroll Field killed 60-year-old Gwen Miller in 1968 when he was a 25-year-old living in Rapid City, Detective Wayne Keefe said at a news conference Monday. It is "a little surreal" to finally identify the killer after 51 years and up to 5,000 hours of work, Keefe said.


6/18/2019 1:55:07 PM

Waves of Chinese tourists invade North KoreaDecades later, the monument is a regular stop for new waves of Chinese going to the North, this time as tourists. Hundreds of soldiers and workers have been sprucing up the obelisk and its grounds in recent days ahead of a state visit to Pyongyang by Chinese President Xi Jinping this week. An inscription on it lauds "the Chinese People's Volunteer Army, who fought with us on this land and smashed down the common enemy".


6/17/2019 10:38:57 PM

Masked gunman who opened fire outside Dallas courthouse identified as Army veteranA masked gunman who traded gunfire with police outside a federal courthouse in Dallas is a 22-year-old recent college graduate who served 19 months in the U.S. Army; Casey Stegall reports.


6/18/2019 7:46:41 AM

Death toll from China quakes rises to 11BEIJING/SHANGHAI, June 18 (Reuters) - The death toll from two strong earthquakes in China rose to 11 on Tuesday, with 122 people injured, state media said, adding that rescuers pulled some survivors from rubble in a part of the country that often suffers strong tremors. The quakes, roughly 30 minutes apart, hit the southwestern province of Sichuan late on Monday, with shaking felt in key regional cities, such as the provincial capital of Chengdu and the metropolis of Chongqing. People rushed into the streets and cracks were left in some buildings by the quakes, pictures posted on the social media accounts of state media showed.


6/17/2019 6:07:13 PM

Accidental cat filter turns press conference live stream into a memeIn something of a ridiculous and yet lighthearted story, a Pakistani politician's press briefing with journalists recently became comedic fodder after a cat filter was applied to the faces of individuals being recorded via Facebook live. The incident, which was attributed to human error, showcased regional minister Shaukat Yousafzai -- and others -- with cat ears and whiskers while talking about otherwise serious topics.The cat filter was live for a few minutes before someone noticed it and promptly removed it. But for a few glorious minutes last Friday, viewers were witness to an event seemingly lifted out of a kids-version of Black Mirror.The Guardian reports:> It was several minutes before organisers realised that the minister had acquired pointy ears. When one of his moustached party colleagues began to speak, looking earnest and holding a pen, he too was transformed into a cat.> > Party followers watching online immediately started making jokes at the expense of Pakistan's provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. They offered up a whole series of feline puns.Hardly a surprise, folks on Twitter had a field day with the minor debacle. And truth be told, using photo filters during all political events might actually persuade more people to become politically active.https://twitter.com/nailainayat/status/1139583166115540992All told, it's been interesting to see how quickly filters have evolved. Back during the early days of Instagram, for example, photo filters were relatively straight forward and simply involved adding some nice tonal effects to photos. These days, with Snapchat leading the way, photo and video filters have transformed dramatically. Today, filters have become incredibly quirky and now exist across a multitude of social networking sites and apps.


6/17/2019 6:08:33 PM

House inches toward 11th hour deal on aid for border crisis“We’ve been going back and forth with mainly some minor things,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard said.


6/19/2019 10:58:07 AM

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