U.S. attorney general nominee will not target law-abiding marijuana…

WASHINGTON ( ) - President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the,爱北京验证阿拉爱上海Talon, U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday he disagreed with a decision by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse

Senator Graham says U.S.-Saudi cannot move on until prince ‘dealt…

ANKARA ( ) - Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said on Saturday the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia cannot move forward until Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin

More than 60 British lords criticize Labour’s Corbyn over…

LONDON ( ) - More than 60 opposition Labour members of Britain’s upper house of parliament signed a statement in a newspaper on Wednesday accusing leader Jeremy Corbyn of failin,2019上海龙凤419Talon,g

Obama to nominate Supreme Court justice when Senate returns: White…

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. ( ) – President Barack Obama will not rush through a Supreme Court choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia this week but will wait to nominate a candidate until the U.S. Senate is back in session, the White House said on Sunday.

“,上海419论坛体验Eason,Given that the Senate is currently in recess, we don’t expect the president to rush this through this week, but instead will do so in due time once the Senate returns from their recess,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.

“At that point, we expect the Senate to conside,上海后花园1314龙凤论坛上不去Eden,r that nominee, consistent with their responsibilities laid out in the United States Constitution,” he said.

Obama is traveling in California and returns to,爱上海北京验证论坛Gabi, Washington on Tuesday. The Senate returns from recess on Feb. 22.

Making a recess appointment would have been extremely controversial.

The White House declined to give a more specific timeline for Obama to announce his nominee.

For his previous two Supreme Court picks, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, the president took about 30 days each to announce his selection after their predecessors, Justice John Paul Stevens and Justice David Souter, respectively, said they planned to step down.

In remarks honoring Scalia on Saturday, Obama made clear he would not succumb to pressure from Republicans to leave the selec爱上海tion of a new justice to his successor.

The president, who leaves office in January 2017, said he would make his choice in due time.

“These are responsibilities that I take seriously, as should everyone. They’re bigger than any one party. They are about our democracy,” he said. “They’re about the institution to which Justice Scalia dedicated his professional life, and making sure it continues to function as the beacon of justice that our founders envisioned.”

Scalia’s death and the upcoming fight over his replacement gives the White House an unexpected shot at shifting the balance of power on the Supreme Court in what would be a legacy-defining act during his last year in office. It also keeps the president from slipping quickly into “lame duck” status during an election year.

White House officials are unlikely to drag out the process of announcing Obama’s choice.

“They should move with dispatch,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s former senior adviser.

To rebut Republican arguments, the White House points to a host of previous Supreme Court nominees who have received speedy hearings and votes regardless of which party had control in Congress.

House panel approves plan to privatize air traffic control

WASHINGTON ( ) – A Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives panel approved legislation to privatize the U.S. air traffic control system on Thursday as part of a six-year bill to authorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Democrats failed in their attempt to amend the legislation to retain the flight service as part of the FAA.

By a 32-26 vote along party lines, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent the measure to the floor for consideration by the full House.

Republicans, including committee Chairman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, say air traffic control must be transferred t,上海后宫阁419Radcliff,o the private sector to protect the system from deficit reductions and government shutdowns and to ensure timely upgrade of decades-old technology.

“Our,上海后花园阿拉网Earl, proposal ensures that the air traffic organization can operate as a high-tech service provider, not as a huge bumbling bureaucracy,” Shuster said at a hearing to mark up the legislation for full House consideration.

The failed Democratic amendment to keep air traffic control within the FAA would have made FAA funding mandatory, protecting it from political squabbles over the budget. It would also have required reforms to ensure adequate controller staffing and the more efficient FAA adoption of new technology.

“The only guarantee with privatization is years of transition costs and litigation,” said Representative Peter DaFazio, the top Democrat on the committee, who had introduced the amendment. “Regrettably, including this controversial proposal in this legislation is likely to hold up enactment of the rest of the bill.”

The committee also rejected a proposed Democratic amendment that would have lifted existing restrictions on the ability of the U.S. Transportation Department to regulate air shipments of lithium batteries, seen by safety experts as dangerou,上海楼风419论坛Fabi,s fire hazards when transported as cargo.

Over the objections of Democrats, the panel approved a measure directing the FAA to authorize package delivery by commercial drones within a year and to establish a pilot program for testing a traffic management system for unmanned aircraft. The FAA expects to issue commercial drone regulations late this summer, but drone advocates fear the rules will not accommodate sophisticated technologies needed for package del上海419论坛ivery.

Also accepted was a Republican amendment to encourage Uber-style flight sharing by allowing private pilots to use the Internet to find multiple passengers willing to share flight expenses.

‘Neither war nor peace’: Doctors targeted in Syria’s lawless rebel…

ISTANBUL ( ) – Doctor Khalil Agha was working at a hospital in northwest Syria when masked gunmen knocked at his door, waved a piece of paper saying he was wanted by a powerful Islamist group, and bundled him into their car, bound and blindfold.

The surgeon, whose captors demanded $100,000 for his freedom, was one of 10 medical personnel who doctors say have been seized this year in a rebel-held region sinking into anarchy.

A deal between Russia and Turkey three months ago averted a Syrian army offensive to recapture the region, centered around Idlib province. But cuts in foreign funding – both to militant groups and local police struggling to assert some order – have undermined security.

Now medical workers are feeling the impact as armed gangs compete for influence and money. Doctors are targeted because they are well-known, comparatively well-paid and inclined to express views that put them at odds with their kidnappers.

For the first five years of the civil war, until the end of 2016, there were almost no attacks on medics, said Munther Khalil, head of the Idlib Health Directorate. “But in the last two years, there have been explosive devices that target our cars, car thefts, detentions and assassination attempts.”

Four months ago Agha was working a shift at his hospital in eastern Lattakia province, near Idlib, when he heard a knock. He opened the door to find two armed men who told him he was wanted by a court run by the Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which controls much of the region.

They tied his hands and covered his eyes. “It wasn’t until they released me seven days later that I saw daylight,” he said.

His kidnappers accused him of working with Turkey, foreign NGOs and another Syrian opposition group and demanded $100,000 from his wife. She sold her jewelry and his car, and borrowed money from as many people as she could to pay the ransom.


The arrival of tens of thousands of fighters and civilians from defeated rebel enclaves elsewhere in Syria has made a bad situation worse in the northwest, the last major bastion of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.

“The number of factions increased, and the fighting between factions increased as some groups took control and others went extinct,” Agha said.

“Everyone started working alone, according to their own agenda – religious or political – leaving no one in complete control,” he said.

The area is held by an array of rebels, the most powerful being Tahrir al-Sham, an amalgamation of Islamist groups dominated by the former Nusra Front – an al Qaeda offshoot until it distanced itself from the group in 2016.

Other groups fight under the rebel Free Syrian Army banner with Turkish backing, in an alliance called the “National Front for Liberation”.

Foreign payments to several factions were halted following a U.S. decision to halt its funding program last year, cutting off groups that depended almost wholly on donations from outside and driving some to kidnapping to make ends meet.

Earlier this year, a cut in British support ended funding for projects including an independent police force.

The Free Syr爱上海ian Police, which operates only in rebel-held areas outside the control of Tahrir al-Sham, was unarmed in accordance with a deal with Western backers – the United States, Britain, Denmark, Netherlands, Canada and Germany.

Since the funding ended, some policemen have taken up arms. But they cannot defend civilians and doctors against kidnappings by armed groups in areas out of their control.

“We don’t have a magic wand,” said Colonel Maher Ghrebeh.

The funding cut also forced policemen to find other jobs to make ends meet, undermining their security work, said General Fouad al-Sweid, head of the Idlib Free Police. “Policemen are being forced to leave work and go work in their olive groves, harvest potatoes, work as laborers or bakers.”


Over the summer, doctors in Idlib went on a three-day strike to protest against the kidnappings and rampant insecurity. Some doctors started carrying small arms for protection, though others said that would not protect them.

“What good would a light weapon be in the face of an armed group?” said one pharmacist who was recently abducted.

The pharmacist, who asked not to be named, was doing his rounds in a village in Idlib when he was stopped by masked men. Armed and riding a pickup truck with a ,上海楼风419论坛Pablo,mounted rifle, the seven men forced him to abandon his car, blindfolded him and took away his phone.

They then drove him to an unidentified location and put him in a dark, guarded room, where he was held for five days and tortured. They sent recordings of the torture to his wife and demanded $150,000 in exchange for his release.

The pharmacist’s wife sold all her jewelry and borrowed money until she had $18,000, negotiating the armed group down to that amount and won his release.

Agha didn’t go back to his hospital for three months after being freed, and he now has a list of 29 people he owes mone,后楼凤419Barbara,y.

He says he’s still afraid, but despite friends warning him against returning, he’s back doing surgery at the hospital.

In the relative lull which followed September’s truce, Agha says they almost miss the bombs.

“We wish for bombardment and clashes, because people get distracted,” he said with a weak laugh.,上海推油论坛新419Earl, “The situation we’re in, neither war nor peace, is a disaster.”

London’s Gatwick airport reopens again, police make two arrests

LONDON, England ( ) – London’s Gatwick Airport reopened on Friday after a mystery saboteur wrought 36 hours of travel chaos for more than 100,000 Christmas travelers by using drones to play cat-and-mouse with police snipers and the army.

Sussex police made two arrests late on Friday in connection with the disruption and urged the public and passengers around the airp,爱上海同城最新Jackson,ort to remain vigilant.

After the biggest disruption at Gatwick since an Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in 2010, the airport had said around 700 planes would take off on Friday, although there would still be delays and cancellations.

Gatwick, Britain’s second busiest airport, briefly closed again on Friday to investigate a new drone sighting but was soon o,上海419论坛Kaiden,perating as normal.

“Flights have resumed,” a spokeswoman said. “The military measures we have in place at the airport have provided us with reassurance necessary to re-open our airfield.”

Britain deployed unidentified military technology to guard the airport against what transport minister Chris Grayling said were thought to be several drones. “This kind of incident is unprecedented anywhere in the world,” he said.

The motivation of the drone operator, or operators, was unclear. Police said there was nothing to suggest the crippling of one of Europe’s busiest airports was a terrorist attack.

Gatwick’s drone nightmare is thought to be the most disruptive yet at a major airport and indicates a new vulnerability that will be scrutinized by security forces and airport operators across the world.

Syrian rebels say U.S. troops remain in key garrison near Iraq

AMMAN ( ) – U.S. troops have not left the strategic Tanf garrison on the Iraq-Jordan border following President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria, the leader of a Pentagon-backed rebel group there said on Saturday.

Colonel Muhanad al Talaa, leader of Maghawir al-Thawra whose several hundred fighters work alongside U.S. troops at the Tanf camp, said although they,上海龙凤1314 shlfNadia, were notified of Washington’s decision, the situation on the ground remained as it was.

“American troops plan to withdraw completely form Syria but I don’t have details and things are as they are up until this moment,” Talaa told from the base.

The garrison is located in a strategic area near Syria’s Tanf border crossing with Iraq at the crossroad of a main Baghdad-Damascus highway, Tehran’s main arms supply route by land to Syria and Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah militia.

Russia and the Syrian government have repeatedly called on Washington to pull its troops from the Tanf base, where it has declared a 55 km (35 mile)-radius “deconfliction zone” which has become a safe haven for at least 50,000 civilians, mostly women and children, who live in the Rukban camp within it.

The garrison was first set up when Islamic State fighters controlled eastern Syria bordering Iraq but since the militants were driven out, Tanf has assumed a role as part of a U.S. strategy to contain Iran’s military buildup in eastern Syria.

Tanf is the only position with a significant U.S. military presence in Syria outside the Kurdish-controlled north, where it has much larger air bases

Only several months ago, U.S. marines h上海419论坛eld major rare exercises in the base in what Western military officials said was a strong message to Russia and Iran that the Americans and the rebels it supports intend to stay.

A western diplomatic source and a regional intelligence source told the decision to leave Tanf will not necessarily affect the broader U.S. strategy against Iran, where regional power Israel will continue its aerial strikes.

Israel has in the last year hit several suspected,上海千花验证归来Macey, Iranian-backed militia convoys and bases near Tanf where Iran’s proxies are expanding their foothold, especially in the city of AlBukamal to the northeast of the base, another intelligence source involved in Syria said.

Washington’s,龙凤网419论坛Idaline, decision means an even bleaker future for these camp dwellers for whom the camp was a safe haven as many fear retribution if they return back to their towns in Syrian government-controlled areas in eastern Syria, residents say.

Bangladesh says foreign election observers welcome, rejects U.S….

DHAKA ( ) – Bangladesh said on Sunday it had approved 175 foreign observers for next weekend’s national election, dismissing U.S. criticism for failing to secure accreditation for a U.S funded monitor.

Past elections have been chaotic and sometimes violent. International observers shunned the last vote上海龙凤419 in 2014 that was boycotted by the main opposition party as there was no caretaker administration to oversee the process.

The U.S. State Department said on Friday it was disappointed by Bangladesh’s “inability to grant credentials and issue visas within the timeframe necessary” for the majority of international election monitors from the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), which is funded by the U.S. government.

ANFREL, which has operated in 57 election observation missions across Asia since 1997, said it had terminated its observer mission on Saturday due to “significant delays in the accreditation approval by the Bangladesh Election Commission and visa approvals by the (foreign ministry)”.

“With ANFREL’s withdrawal, the organization registers its doubts regarding the integrity of the elections, especially with the reports on civil society restrictions and arrest of numerous opposition members,” it said on its website on Sunday.

Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said ANFREL canceled its observation mission itself while the approval process was under way, adding it was “disheartened” by the State Department’s statement.

It said it welcomed international monitors for next Sunday’s election that would be held in a “festiv,爱上海同城aishOctavien,e atmosphere”.

“As of now, 175 foreign election observers from different countries and organizations have been accredited to undertake election monitoring missions,” the ministry said. It gave no details which countries the monitors would come from.

The Election Commission could not immediately be reached for comment outside regular business hours.

Activists and supporters of the two main parties, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), regularly engage in violence around elections in the country of 165 million people, sometimes disrupting its multi-billion-dollar garments industry.

Apart from the foreign observers, the Election Commission had registered 118 local bodies to m,上海贵族宝贝论坛Eden,onitor the polls, the ministry said.

Tens of thousands of armed forces personnel will from Monday fan out across the country to support police as preparations for the vote heats up, a move that has cheered the opposition front that includes the BNP, who envisage greater protection for them.

“We hope that this ,上海后花园1314龙凤论坛上不去Caitlin,deployment will create a congenial electoral environment which was not existing before. Armed forces must create a level playing field for all parties and play a positive role,” said Kamal Hossain, the convener of National Unity Front, part of the opposition grouping.

Illinois judge to decide jurisdiction over Cruz eligibility complaint

CHICAGO ( ) – An Illinois judge on Friday said she would decide next month whether she had jurisdiction over a voter’s complaint that Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz should not be on the state’s primary ballot because he was born in Canada.

Lawrence Joyce, a lawyer and pharmacist, filed a complaint in January with the Illinois State Board of Elections saying that under the U.S. Constitution, the Texas senator cannot run for president since he is not a “natural born” citizen. Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta of a Cuban father and an American mother.

The B,上海419会所高级论坛Sabine,oard rejected Joyce’s complaint – saying Cruz became a natural-born citizen at the moment of his birth because of his mother’s citizenship – so he petitioned the Cook County Circuit Court to revie,上海千花论坛骑士团验证Paisley,w that decision.

Circuit Court Judge Maureen Ward Kirby said she was not sure she had jurisdiction, and set a March 1 hearing for arguments on whether to dismiss the complaint.

The complaint comes in the wake of repeated attacks on Cruz about his eligibility by New York businessman and presidential rival Donald Trump.

Children born abroad to American citizens can immediately be registered as U.S. citizens through a consular report of birth abroad, but Joyce said that process is a form of naturalization.

A /Ipsos poll in January found that one quarter of Republicans did not think Cruz was qualified to be president because of his birthplace.

Cruz and Trump are locked in a battle to win the Republican nomination,上海后花园龙凤Paige, for the Nov. 8 election. Cruz won the first nominating contest in Iowa while Trump prevailed in New Hampshire.

“A potential nightmare scenario may be developing if Ted Cruz becomes the nominee and is then forced to resign the nomination,” Joyce told reporters. He backs Republican candidate Ben Carson but said no candidate was involved in his lawsuit.

Voters in New York and in Alabama have also filed legal challenges to Cruz’s eligibility.

“It is widely assumed and believed that no court is going to invalidate a presidential candidate on this issue,” said Gerald Rosenberg, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

Lawyers for both Cruz and the Illinois State Board of Elections said they would present motions to dismiss the case based on jurisdiction and because they said Lawrence did not properly serve notice of his complaint. 爱上海

The Illinois primary is March 15 but early voting has already begun.

Republican Marco Rubio winning Wall Street fundraising race

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK ( ) – Republican Marco Rubio’s presidential run has drawn more money from Wall Street donors than any other candidate, according to a review of campaign finance disclosures, shoring up his position as his party’s establishment alternative to front-runner Donald Trump.

The U.S. senator from Florida has received more than $4 million from the employees of banks and investment firms like Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) since launching his bid for t,上海后花园花千坊Rae,he presidency last year, according to the analysis of individual donations totaling more than $200 each. (Click here for a graphic: reut.rs/1Q4ZisK)

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who dropped out of the race on Saturday after poor finishes in the early nominating contests of Iowa, Ne上海419论坛w Hampshire and South Carolina, came in second in Wall Street donations, accumulating $2.45 million in contributions, while Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton took third place with $723,361, according to the review.

The amounts include contributions to the candidates’ respective Super PACs, fundraising groups that are not directly connected to their campaigns but whi,上海千花网Kailani,ch spend on their behalf.

More money could be on the way for Rubio a,上海419会所高级论坛Gabi,s the Republican field narrows. Within minutes of Bush leaving the race, for example, some of his donors told they were preparing to throw their financial support behind Rubio.

Wall Street donations, however, can hurt as well as help a candidate, especially with voters who blame bankers for the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing Great Recession.

“The idea of raising cash from Wall Street is a tricky one,” said University of Iowa professor Tim Hagle. “Even on the Republican side, there’s a certain mistrust among the base for that sector.”

But Hagle added that the financial support could help Rubio as he seeks to become the Republican party’s anti-Trump candidate.

“The advantages of having the additional funding at this critical time seem to be worth the extra criticism that might come his way as a result,” the professor said.U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who won Iowa’s caucuses but trailed Rubio slightly in South Carolina’s primary, where he had hoped to win second place, has drawn just under $85,000 from Wall Street employees, according to the review.

The support for Rubio was largely driven by donations to his allied Super PAC, Conservative Solutions. Billionaire investor Paul Singer endorsed Rubio in October and contributed $2.5 million to the Super PAC, according to the filings.

In January, Rubio raised $9,792, the third-highest total for the month in the presidential field behind Clinton, with $51,000, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, with $26,000. Christie has also dropped out of the race.

Bush raised just $5,513 from the sector in January.

Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump have received some of the smallest totals from Wall Street.

Sanders, who has blamed the financial crisis on Wall Street and has promised to break up big banks, raised $26,650 from bank employees since launching his bid, a tiny fraction of the $96 million he has raised from all sources.

Trump, a billionaire businessman who is self-funding his campaign, raised only $1,566 from employees of banks. Most of Trump’s fundraising has come in the form of selling merchandise on his website.

China says discusses with Pakistan ‘new changes’ in Afghanistan…

BEIJING ( ) -,上海龙凤1314 shlfFabiana, Senior Chinese and Pakistani diplomats discussed on Tuesday “new changes” to the situation in Afghanistan, China’s foreign ministry said, amid plans by the United States to withdraw about half of the 14,000 U.S. troops based in the country.

U.S. officials have told that President Donald Trump has issued verbal orders to plan for a drawdown of close to 7,000 U.S. troops. The White House and the Pentagon have not yet commented publicly.

China, a close ally of Pakistan, has been deepening its economic and political ties with Kabul and is using its influence to try to bring the two uneasy nei,上海419龙凤体验Sabia,ghbors closer.

Meeting in Bei上海419论坛jing, the Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood ,爱上海同城对对碰aishFabi,Qureshi had a “deep discussion about new changes to the situation in Afghanistan and reached a broad consensus”, China’s Foreign Ministry said.

“Both sides believe that military means cannot resolve the Afghanistan issue, and promoting political reconciliation is the only realistic way,” the ministry said in its short statement.

“The two sides welcome the various efforts made by all parties and are willing to maintain close communication and strategic coordination.”

There was no direct mention of the planned U.S. troop drawdown.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, speaking at a daily news briefing, reiterated the statement and did not answer a question on whether the meeting was connected to the U.S. troop withdrawal.

Wang visited Kabul earlier this month, where he pledged to help Afghanistan and Pakistan overcome their longstanding suspicions of each other.

China has long worried about the effect of instability in Afghanistan on China’s violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur people and where China says it faces a threat from Islamist militants.

Venezuela calls U.S. comments on Guyana dispute ‘interventionist’

CARACAS ( ) – Venezuela’s foreign ministry on Tuesday described as “interventionist and disrespectful” U.S. comments on a weekend incident in which the country’s navy stopped two ships exploring for oil for Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) off Guyana’s coast.

Each of the neighboring South American countries says the incident on Saturday occurred within its territorial waters. In response to the event, the U.S. State Department said Venezuela had behaved “aggressively” and called on the country to “respect international law and the rights of its neighbors.”

“It is evident that the U.S. government is interfering in a matter that is not at all incumbent upon上海419论坛 it, with the goal of promoting corporate interests closely linked to the Washington ruling elite,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro has accused the United States of plotting to invade Venezuela and overthrow his government, while Washington has placed sanctions on Venezuela’s debt and members of Maduro’s government over accusations of corruption, human rights violations and election-rigging.

A century-long territorial dispute between Venezuela and Guyana has flared up in recent years with Exxon’s discovery of more than 5 billion barrels of oil and gas off Guyana’s coast. In OPEC-member Venezuela, crude output is hovering near 70-year lows amid a severe economic crisis.

Guyana says Caracas gave up its claim to the Essequibo, a sparsely populated jungle area making up two-thirds of Guyana’s territory, after an 1899 ruling by an international tribunal, but Venezuela later backtracked on that decision. The U.N. this year referred the dispute to the International Court of Justice.

Two vessels owned by Norway’s Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS.OL) and under contract by Exxon Mobil were conducting seismic survey work in the area. The ships sto,上海龙凤419Nadine,pped their work and turned east after the Venezuelan navy told them Guyana did not have jurisdiction there.

When asked on Monday if there were plans for the vessels to resume their activities, Guyana Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge said the government was “in discussion” with Exxon. Neither Exxon nor PGS immediately responded to requests for comment on Tuesday, and the U.S. State Department declined to comment.

On Monday, the Caricom group of 15 Caribbean nations including Guyana – many of which have historically received subsidized oil from Venezuela under Caracas’ Petrocaribe program – said it viewed the “interc,爱上海419论坛Tallulah,eption” by Venezuela’s navy “with grave concern.,爱上海419Pablo,”

“Such acts violate the sovereign rights of Guyana under international law,” the group said in a statement.

In a Tokyo neighborhood’s last sushi restaurant, a sense of loss

TOKYO ( ) – “I’ll have a draft,” says Yasuo Fujinuma, heaving himself down at the sushi counter. He pulls a pack of cigarettes from a frayed pocket of his sweater. From the corner of the restaurant, a small TV hums the noon weather forecast. He never drinks at noon.

“I’ve just come from the hospital,” he says, tapping the filter end of his cigarette on the bar. “My s,爱上海419论坛Lake,ister died.”

The chef puts his knife down. Another customer peers over the top of his sports pages. After a pause, the chef returns to his cutting board.

“You took good care of her,” he says, placing a sheaf of haran leaf on the chipped black counter. He lines the leaf with a dozen nigiri sushi and hands Fujinuma a mug of beer.

Conversations roll on like this at the Eiraku sushi bar. They start mid-sentence with no hellos or how-are-yous and veer into private thoughts without much fanfare, punctuated by news of ordinary tragedies.

The chef and Fujinuma talk about how his sister was last in a few years ago, stopping by after an evening dip in the public bath across the street. She had her usual sushi and a beer, then walked home with her cane past an abandoned karaoke bar, past the empty tempura restaurant, turning the corner where two more pubs used to stand.

Eiraku is the last surviving sushi bar in this cluttered neighborhood of steep cobblestoned hills and cherry trees unseen on most tourist maps of Tokyo. Caught between the rarified world of $300 omakase dinners and the brutal efficiency of chain-restaurant fish, mom-and-pop shops like it are fast disappearing.

Fujinuma, 76, pops sushi into his mouth and thinks out loud about the arrangements still to be made for his sister. A hospital consent form he just signed is handed around and examined at the bar.

“It’s just me now,” he says, his mouth still half-full with vinegary rice and fresh fish. He nods at the man and woman behind the counter. “You’re lucky you have each other.”

Chef Masatoshi Fukutsuna and his wife, Mitsue, smile without a word. In the 35 years since they opened up shop, the couple has seen many of their friends move away for a job or family, only to return decades later, often without the job or the family, their absence unspoken.

Absence is a part of life here on what remains of the Medaka shopping street, a road so narrow that cars have to drive up onto the sidewalk to let another vehicle pass.

No one can say exactly when the first shop on the street closed. People squint a little and say it was probably the electronics store a decade ago, or maybe it was the rival fishmongers across the street from each other. Next to close was probably the butcher shop, they say, then maybe the Chinese restaurant after that. In the past decade, three family-owned sushi restaurants in the area have shuttered. In the empty spaces left behind, fluorescent 7-11s have moved in, with microwave bento boxes and $5 trays of sushi and men in tired suits smoking alone outside.

Once the sky turns pink and the sun sets, the street ,上海419论坛宝山Sabine,descends into shadow, save for the faintest glow from halogen lamp posts.

It’s a neighborhood in twilight. More like it are scattered across this city, their corner cafes and stores far from the neon blare of the famous shopping districts. The number of independent, family-owned sushi bars in Tokyo has halved to 750 in the last decade, a trade association says, driven out of business by fast-food joints and a younger generation that doesn’t want to inherit them.

“People would rather pay 100 yen for a plate of sushi at a really cheap place or they’d shell out tens of t,上海后花园1314Octavien,housands of yen to go to a famous sushi restaurant in Ginza that they heard about on television,” says the chef, absentmindedly changing the channel of the TV. “But places like ours, shops that are right in the middle, we just can’t seem to survive.” A game show starts playing, and canned laughter soon fills the room.

To compete with cheaper corporate-backed restaurants, Eiraku has kept its lunch and dinner prices unchanged for the past 10 years. Their sushi lunch sets start at $8, while dinner and drinks usually cost around $50 per couple. To keep expenses down, Fukutsuna drives his Honda motorcycle to the new Toyosu wholesale market every morning to haggle over small amounts of fish. He buys only what he might sell in a day, but takes pride in picking the best seafood himself. His oldest son, who works as a manager of a three-story sushi chain with hundreds of tables on the other side of the city, never goes to the market himself and orders his supplies in bulk.

“They charge you 30 percent more if you order by fax, online or by phone,” Masatoshi says.

Despite their best efforts, the office workers and factory men who once stopped by during the day are long gone, their offices and workshops outsourced to far-flung neighborhoods or foreign countries. One of the couple’s former customers, an executive of a medical equipment firm, still sends one of his junior employees across town every year to deliver a new company calendar. It stands on the restaurant’s limited wall space like a bittersweet reminder, hung across the room from an aerial photograph of the old Tsukiji fish market.

The bar can only seat 10 people at a time. Most patrons prefer to sit on one of the four stools at the counter, where they can point directly 上海419论坛at the fish on display and watch the chef prepare their dish. Elderly customers find it harder to sit at the two low tables set out on tatami mats near the front of the restaurant. When the couple’s children come home for the holiday season, their grandchildren throw off their shoes and play on the cushions.


At 5 p.m., moments after flicking on the restaurant sign to open for dinner, Mitsue walks over to the whiteboard and takes sardines off of the daily menu. Too expensive. It could be global warming, the pair say, or it’s just an off week or year, a bad harvest. Fishmongers give them a different answer each time. Whatever the reason, they can’t serve the fish tonight.

Behind the counter, Mitsue and Masatoshi work in comfortable silence, often with their backs to each other. The 63-year-old chef, despite his wispy white hair, still has the look of a bemused boy, while Mitsue, 61, has an unlined face that sometimes betrays an expression of concern. They met when Mitsue was still in high school.

Like many long-together couples, they bookend each other’s sentences, and Mitsue often repeats orders for her husband and nudges him to finish a train of thought.

“The only reason why we can stay in business…” he starts. “Wait, what was I going to say?” he turns to his wife, who is never more than a few feet away from him in their tiny kitchen. She stirs a pot of miso soup on their two-burner gas stove. “We can stay in business because our children are grown, because we own the place ourselves, and we make just enough for the two of us to live on,” she says.

They can’t say when they will retire, but they’re both adamant their oldest son shouldn’t take over the business.

“I want him to make his own way, and do well for his family,” says the chef.

In the meantime, they make sure never to go away for longer than a few days. Even when they traveled to Guam with their children and grandchildren two years ago, they were gone just four days.

“I don’t want them to think that we’ve gone out of business,” Mitsue says.

Shop closings are quiet, middle-of-the-night affairs. Neighbors only find out when they see an ominous sheet of paper tacked onto bolted doors. The notes, usually hastily written, are letters of gratitude to their customers of 10, 20 or 30 years. Soon, vines will tangle over the empty doorway, and its passing will barely be remembered by those still here.

Night falls, and neighbors shiver down the street in their heavy coats.

A young couple walk into the restaurant and sit down at the counter. They take off their jackets and order a plate of sushi to share.

“It’s like being with mom and dad,” the woman says as she sips a glass of beer with her husband. “It’s so comforting.”

Soon, the bar is empty again. An hour or more passes, then the phone rings. Sushi delivery for two in the neighborhood. The chef gets to work, packing lacquered containers with nigiri, then grabs his red helmet. Years ago when they had more business, Fukutsuna would ask his twin brother to make deliveries at night. Only the best customers could tell the identical siblings apart. His twin eventually opened a restaurant of his own, but it failed and these days he’s back in the neighborhood. Now, deliveries are so rare the chef handles them alone.

The wood-framed Citizen clock strikes 8, and Ryuichi Sakano walks over to the bar. He pours a glass of Chivas Regal from the bottle he keeps behind the counter.

Sakano, 63, has been eating here, off and on, for decades. He’s traveled all across Tokyo working as a crane operator on big construction sites, but he’s never found another place like this.

“Their son says his father’s sushi is the best,” he says, picking at a piece of shellfish. “I’ve known Ma-kun for 50 years and he knows I’m a picky eater,” he says, referring to the chef by his schoolyard nickname. “It’s hard because lots of people ‘round here are living on a pension and they can’t afford to eat well.”

“That’s going to be us soon,” says the chef, laughing. The men start discussing the meager monthly pensions they will need to live on and wonder aloud how much longer they can keep working. Sakano has to wear a safety belt every morning to climb to the top of his tall crane and says his body just can’t keep up with the work.

“You hear about that restaurant on the main road?” Sakano asks suddenly. “The bank took the business, you know, to cover the loans.”

Mitsue looks over. “I wonder what they’ll put there,” she says.

“I think it might be a gyoza place, some chain restaurant,” Sakano replies. “Or maybe it’ll be another high-rise.” A moment later, Mitsue remembers to share news of their other customer’s death.

“He took good care of her,” repeats Sakano. “It couldn’t have been easy, all those years.”

Another silence. “It’s my daughter’s birthday today,” he says. Mitsue nods. Everyone knows he hasn’t seen her in years. The subject is left hanging and they turn back to the TV.

Sherpa widows to climb Everest to inspire single women

KATHMANDU ( ) – The widows of two sherpa climbers, who died on Mount Everest, will try to climb the world’s highes,上海贵族宝贝交流群Gabrielle,爱上海t mountain to complete the unfinished ascents of their husbands and hopefully inspire other single women, the pair said on Wednesday.

Furdiki Sherpa’s husband died while fixing ropes for his foreign clients on the 8,850-meter (29,035-ft) mountain in 2013.

She,爱上海419Talon, said she would make a joint bid in May with Nima Doma Sherpa, wife of one of the 16 sherpas killed in an avalanche near the base camp in 2014.

“We are going to climb the mountain to close our pain and to honor our husbands by reaching the peak they could not,” the two said in a statement.

Nima, 36, said both climbers had completed training and scaled two smaller peaks. Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains.

Everest, which straddles the Nepal-China border and can be reached from both sides, has been climbed by 4,833 people since it was first scaled by New Zealander Sir Ed,上海千花网新人自荐Queena,mund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953, according to a post by Everest blogger Alan Arnette.

Climbing officials say only about 500 of the Everest climbers were women.

Furdiki, 42, who like most sherpas goes by her first name, said the death of her husband resulted in immense economic hardship.

“The death of my husband is not the end of my life,” the mother of two children told . “I am undertaking the expedition to spread the message that widows can accomplish even such hard adventures.”

Three Central Asians charged in Sweden with plotting terrorist crime

STOCKHOLM ( ) – Three Central Asian men have been charged in Sweden with plotting to commit a terrorist crime as well as – along with three others – financing the Islamic State militant group, prosecutors said on Thursday.

“Three (of the suspects) acquired and stored large quantities of chemicals and other equipment in order to, among other things, kill and harm other people. If the terrorist crime had been carried out, it could have seriously hurt Swede,爱上海北京验证论坛Balthazar,n,” the Stockholm prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

It said the six men were from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, both mainly Muslim, former Soviet republics.

Five are in Swedish custody while the sixth man was freed pending trial; all have denied wrongdoing, the statement said.

Thomas Olson, lawyer for one of the accused, told Swedish Radio his client had bought a large amount of chemicals from a bankrupt firm in order to try爱上海 to sell it on, without success.

“My client left very detailed explanations as to why he was in possession of these chemicals, explanations that have been confirmed by all outsiders,” Olson said.

Prosecutors were not available for further comment.

In June, Rakhmat Akilov, an Uzbek ,上海千花验证归来Octavien,asylum seeke,验证上海后花园Kaiden,r in Sweden, was sentenced to life in prison for killing five people in Stockholm with a hijacked truck in 2017.

He stated during the trial that he wanted to punish Sweden for its part in the global fight against Islamic State, which has claimed a string of deadly attacks across western Europe since 2015.

Federal judge being considered for US Supreme Court nomination: Law…

WASHINGTON ( ) – Ketanji Brown Jackson, a federal trial judge in Washington, is being considered to fill the vacancy on the爱上海 U.S. Supreme Court, the National Law Journal reported on Friday, citing a lawyer who was contacted as part of the vetting process.

The unidentified lawyer was contacted this week and was asked about Jackson’s tenure on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in the context of her being a potential nominee for the Supreme Court, the Journal said.

The lawyer described the conversation, which lasted less than 30 minutes, as a “preliminary inquiry,” the Journal repo,上海后花园千花网Paige,rted.

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the Journal story.

President Barack Obama is expected to announce a nominee in the next several weeks to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13.

Scalia’s death left the court with four liberals and four conservatives, and Republican leaders in the Senate have vowed to block anyone Obama nominates. The Senate must confir,上海419论坛宝山Quaid,m the nominee.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a moderate Republican, took himself out of consideration for appointment to the Supreme Court this week after his name surfaced as a ,021上海贵族宝贝论坛Gabriel,possible nominee.

If nominated and confirmed Jackson, 45, would be the first African-American woman on the Supreme Court.

She was confirmed to the federal district court in Washington in March 2013.

During her confirmation hearing, she received support from U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who is related to her by marriage, the Journal reported. Jackson’s husband, Patrick Jackson, is the twin brother of Ryan’s brother-in-law William Jackson.

Jackson served as a federal public defender in Washington and then at a law firm. In 2010, she was appointed to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Corbyn: Labour bid to force general election matter of ‘when, not if’

( ) – British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn told the Independent newspaper the Labour party’s attempt to force a general election by tabli,上海后花园花千坊Jacob,ng a no-confidence motion was a matter of “when, not if.”

Corbyn suggested the move would be unavoidable爱上海419 if British Prime Minister Theresa May fails to secure backing for her Brexit policies from parliament.

“We’ve made clear it’s a question of when not if we do a vote of no confidence in the government, and obviously we do (it) at a time when their confidence is the lowest ever, which I suspect will be after they’ve lost the vote”, Corbyn told the newspaper ind.pn/2CAZymq in an interview.

The Labour leader added that the party has selected candidates in all of its marginal seats in preparation for a snap election.

A new election is not due until 2022 but one could be called if May fails to get her primary policy through parliament.

Corbyn also urged May to recall parliament early during the new year to bring forward a critical vote on the Brexit deal.

Late last week, Corbyn said ,上海楼凤个人Idaia,he would push ahead with Brexit and seek to renegotiate the terms if he won a snap election next year.

With Britain due to leave the European Union on March 29, Labour has been insisting it wants a permanent customs union with the EU and a close relationship with its lucr,爱上海Easton,ative single market.

Shot in the back: the dangers of being an opposition candidate in…

NOAKHALI, Bangladesh ( ) – At a library inside a small district court in southeastern Bangladesh, barrister Mahabub Uddin Khokon stood up to take off his coat and scrunched his white shirt up to his shoulders to reveal a back covered in bandages over several shotgun pellet wounds. Settling back into an office chair, the 62-year-old smiled.

“You see, my fight is not against the Awami League. It’s not them I am running against,” he said, referring to Bangladesh’s ruling party. “It’s against the police, the Election Commission, and the entire government machinery.”

Khokon, who is contesting Sunday’s parliamentary election as a candidate for the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), alleges he was shot on Dec. 15 by a senior police officer in Noakhali, a mostly-rural district in the country’s southeast. At the time he says he was out canvassing for votes along with hundreds of supporters, of whom about 40 were also injured.

“I thought the police was there to protect us,” said Khokon, who is also secretary of Bangladesh’s Supreme C,贵族宝贝mm自荐Kaiden,ourt Bar Association.

The top election official i,021上海贵族宝贝论坛Jace,n the area, who also oversees the police, has dismissed the allegations. Police, the government and the Awami League also deny opposition allegations of intimidation, and say the election campaign period has been fair.

While violence during election campaigns is not new in the South Asian nation, the attack on Khokon and his supporters has fed into the opposition accusations.

Sprawling paddy fields and coconut trees flank narrow roads in Noakhali’s Sonaimuri, about 100 miles (160 km) south of Dhaka, where Khokon is contesting.

The town was the scene of bloody violence on Dec. 15.

“The (police) officer-in-charge asked Khokon to leave the place immediately and then abruptly fired pellet bullets at the petitioner (Khokon),” said a lawsuit Khokon has filed at the Dhaka High Court against specific police officers, the government and the election commission.

One pellet hit Khokon’s chin, five his back and two his legs, the suit alleges, adding that 40 other opposition activists were also “grievously injured by illegal and unjustified firing of bullets by police” in that attack.

Tanmoy Das, the returning officer in charge of overseeing elections and police in Noakhali, said Khokon had made exaggerated claims and it was not the police but others, perhaps people from Khokon’s own party, who shot at him because of internal d上海龙凤419iscord. H. M. Ibrahim, the Awami League candidate Khokon is running against, echoed those statements.

“Some violence is usual in our politics,” Ibrahim said, adding that Khokon’s supporters had attacked an Awami League office on the same day and in the same area that Khokon was attacked. “He is a lawyer, he is trying to make a fool of the public. His own party people must have fired at him.”

Das said an investigation was un,爱上海同城交流论坛Falkner,derway, and the police officer in charge in Sonaimuri had been “replaced” on orders of the Election Commission “due to pressure.” He declined to say who the pressure was from.

“I think the situation is good here. There is a level-playing field,” Das said, adding that he had received no complaints of Awami League workers threatening or attacking anyone.

Eritrea closes border crossing to Ethiopians, official and…

ADDIS ABABA ( ) – Eritrea has blocked entry for Ethiopians at one of the border crossings that opened this year after the neighbors ended a long military standoff and restored relations, an Ethiopian official and people who live near the crossing said on F,爱上海北京验证论坛Hadleigh,riday.

Liya Kassa, spokeswoman for the regional admin,上海后花园阿拉网Eden,istration in the Tigray region which borders Eritrea, said Ethiopian citizens and Ethiopia-licensed vehicles traveling to Eritrea from the Ethiopian town of Rama were asked for “permits” on Wednesday. Those using a crossing in Zalambessa were asked the same on Thursday, she said.

“The restrictions have only been imposed on the Eritrean side,” she said. “We did not receive any prior notice.”

It was not clear why Ethiopians were being prevented from entering at the Zalambessa crossing, which was shut on Thursday morning and remained closed on Friday, said Solomon Desta, a minibus driver on the Ethiopian side, speaking by phone.

The crossing opened in Se,上海419论坛最新Lake,ptember, after the countries agreed to r爱上海emove their troops as part of a reconciliation process.

Thousands of people have crossed since. Trade has flourished and families separated since war broke out between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 1998 have reunited.

A spokesman for Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry told reporters on Thursday that he had no information about any border restrictions. Eritrea’s information minister, Yemane Ghebremeskel, did not respond to phone calls on Friday.

Tsegaye Kassaye, a tire fixer on the Ethiopian side of the frontier, said by phone that Eritreans were being permitted to enter Eritrea, and Ethiopians were being allowed to leave.

Morocco arrests Swiss national in connection with killing of…

RABAT ( ) – Morocco arrested a Swiss national on Saturday in connection with the killing of two Scandinavian women, the counter-terrorism agency said.

Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway were found dead early on Dec. 17 near the village of Imlil in the Atlas Mountains.

The man arrested is also suspected of “involvement in recruiting Moroccan and,上海419对对碰Quaid, sub-Saharan nationals to carry out terrorist plots in Morocco against foreign targets and security forces in order to take hold of their service weapons”, the Central Bureau for Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) said.

It said he also held Spanish nationality with residence in Morocco.

Nineteen other men hav,上海419论坛Pablo,e been arrested in connection with the case, inclu爱上海ding four main suspects who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State in a video made three days before the tourists’ bodies were found.

Police an,上海千花论坛官网Cade,d domestic intelligence spokesman Boubker Sabik this week described the four men as “lone wolves”, and said “the crime was not coordinated with Islamic State”.

Compared with other countries in North Africa, Morocco has been largely insulated from militant attacks.

The most recent took place in April 2011, when 17 people were killed in the bombing of a restaurant in Marrakech. In 2017 and 2018, Morocco said it dismantled 20 militant cells planning attacks in the country.

(This story has been refiled to add dropped word “he” in paragraph four)

Kerry trip to Cuba for rights dialogue canceled: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON ( ) – Tentative plans for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to visit Cuba before mid-March for a human rights dialogue have been canceled, two U.S. officials said 上海龙凤419on Thursday, amid concerns over the Cuban government’s human rights record.

Kerry told a congressional hearing on Feb. 23 that he might be in Cuba “in the next week or two” to hold a dialogue on human rights, ahead of President Barack Obama’s scheduled trip to the island on March 21,上海419论坛体验Jackson,-22.

The sources said the trip had been canceled because U.S. and Cuban officials were deep in negotiations on issues including which dissidents Obama might see in Havana and that a trip in the timeframe Kerry had mentioned was not seen as constructive.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said he had no updates regarding Kerry’s potential travel to Cuba.

“The Secretary is still interested in visiting in the near future, and we are working with our Cuban counterparts and our embassy to determine the best ti,爱上海同城对对碰aishMace,meframe,” Kirby said in an emailed statement.

U.S. critics of Obama’s opening to Cuba have complained that the president has received little in return for restoring diplomatic relations with the former Cold War foe.

On Feb. 24, the Cuban government granted seven dissidents who were out of prison on paro,后楼凤419Jacob,le a one-time permission to travel outside the country in an apparent gesture to the United States ahead of Obama’s historic visit.

UAE court upholds 10-year jail sentence of rights activist Mansoor

DUBAI ( ) – A court in the United Arab Emirates upheld on Monday a 10-year jail sentence against pro-democracy campaigner Ahmed Mansoor for criticizing the government on social media, two sources said on Monday.

The state security court’s ruling against Mansoor, who prior to his imprisonment had been one of a tiny number of publicly active rights campaigners in the UAE, was later reported by the Abu Dhabi-government,爱上海同城aishEden, owned National newspaper.

A trade and tourism hub, the UAE is an absolute monarchy which tolerates little public criticism. Mansoor, a 49-year-old electrical engineer and poet, was among five activists convicted of insulting the UAE’s rulers in 2011. They were pardoned the same year.

He was arrested again in March 2017 at his home in Ajman, on charges of publishing false information and rumors, promoting a sectarian and hate-incited agenda, and using social media to “harm national unity and social harmony and damage the country’s reputation”.

In May 2018, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and handed a fine of 1 million dirhams ($270,000).

The court upheld both the jail sentence and fine on Monday, the two sources said on condition of anonymity.

The National also said that Mansoor would remain under surveillance for three years upon his release and that Monday’s ruling was not subject to further appeal.

United Nations human rights experts, the European Parliament and rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW), are among those to have urged the UAE to release Mansoor and condemned his detention as ,爱上海419论坛Fabiana,a violation of freedom of expression and opinion.

In 2015 Mansoor received the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, an annual prize awarded by a panel of international human rights NGOs, for his work documenting the human rights situation in the UAE.

Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf said: “Instead of punishing Ahmed Mansoor for daring to express his opinions, the authorities must ensure his conviction and sentence are quashed and release him immediately and unconditionally.”

Human Rights Watch said in March 2018 it believed Mansoor was being held in solitary co,上海后花园龙凤Kai,nfinement, a concern echoed in a resolution by the European Parliament on the case.

上海419论坛The UAE’s railroading of prominent human rights advocate Ahmed Mansoor is yet another stain on the country’s reputation,” Adam Coogle, Middle East researcher at HRW, said.

“So long as Mansoor remains in prison, no amount of money nor army of public relations firms will be able to wash away this stain.”

Taliban blow up Afghan army outpost, killing five soldiers, police say

KABUL ( ) – Taliban fighters detonated explosives planted in a tunne上海龙凤419l below an Afghan military outpost, killing five soldiers, a police official said on Wednesday.

Six soldiers were wounded in the attack on Tuesday in the Maiwand district of the southern province of Kandahar, police spokesman Mohammad Ashraf Watandost said.

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said the milit,上海千花mm自荐Kaia,ants, fighting to overthrow the government and reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster, had killed or wounded 35 soldiers and destroyed a large cache of weapons and ammunition.

Afghan border security forces separately thwarted an attack on Italian military advisers at a paramilitary base in the western province of Herat on Wednesday.

Noorullah Qadri, the commander of 207 Zafar military corps, said two attackers who had infiltrated the border security forces tried to kill the Italians.

“The Italian nationals escaped uninjured. One attacker was gunned down immediately and the other was arrested,” said Qadri.

The Italian forces are part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission focused on training, advising and assisting the Afghan forces in four western provinces. Italy has 895 soldiers attached to Resolute Support.

Officials at,爱上海同城论坛网Idaleen, the Italian embassy in Kabul,上海后花园419最新Jacklyn, were not immediately available for comment.

After Jindal, Louisiana reels from corporate tax giveaways

( ) – Near the end of his eight years as Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, a tax-slashing conservative and presidential hopeful, acknowledged that the state’s business tax breaks had gone too far.

“The truth is, we have a system of corporate welfare,” Jindal said during an April speech to legislators.

The comment resonates now as the state faces its worst budget crisis in three decades – largely because of the soaring cost of subsidies, as well as personal income tax cuts, championed by Jindal.

Business tax subsidies peaked in 2012, when the state exempted 88 percent of corporate income taxes, or about $1.8 billion. It has exceeded 80 percent since then, according to the Louisiana Department of Revenue.

For a graphic showing how corporate tax exemptions soared as state revenue fell, see tmsnrt.rs/1T7qbm9

Plummeting oil prices dealt the latest blow to state revenues. Deficits are projected at $940 million for the fiscal year ending June 30 and about $2 billion for next year.

“It’s gotten pretty bad, pretty rapidly,” said the state legislature’s chief economist, Greg Albrecht, who believes Louisiana is heading into a recession.

Jindal has kept a low profile since leaving office in January and could not be reached for comment. In a January speech, he highlighted efforts to cut government and stimulate the economy without raising taxes.

“You look at the projects — the employers coming in and those who are expanding — we’ve seen tremendous progress,” he said.


In 2008, when Jindal became governor at 36, he was a rising GOP star, often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate. He cultivated that image, staking his political fortunes on a platform of slashing taxes, dismantling big government and attracting business.

The next year, Jindal helped push through legislation to cut personal income taxes and worked to enhance Louisiana’s already robust corporate tax breaks.

In July of 2009, he signed bills that created or expanded nine tax credits to sectors including film, port cargo and infrastructure. The credits are typically worth 20 to 40 percent of a company’s in-state spending, or in some cases spending on payroll or research.

In all, annual corporate tax exemptions rose during Jindal’s term by about $1 billion, to $1.96 billion in 2014, according to state data.

His tax-cutting hit a wall in 2013 when he failed to convince a Republican-controlled legislature to abolish personal and business income taxes.

“He really wanted to go to a national stage, run for president, and say he repealed the personal income tax,” said Robert Travis Scott, president of the Public Affairs Research Council, a nonpartisan organization.

Many of Jindal’s political successes had consequences for Louisiana’s budget. A state-commissioned study found that film tax credits, for example, cost the state an estimated $171 million in 2014.

“The state ends up with the short end of the stick,” said Loren Scott, author of the study, which also found some economic benefits.

Among the biggest beneficiaries of Louisiana subsidies is the petrochemical industry. One massive project under construction in Southwestern Louisiana – Sempra Energy’s $6 billion liquefied natural gas processing complex and export terminal – will receive a $2.2 billion property tax break over a de,上海爱上海Hadleigh,cade, records show.

The plant will create 130 permanent jobs with average salaries of $80,000, records show. The California-based company also got rebates on some payroll costs and a capital investment tax credit.

Louisiana’s subsidies are getting more scrutiny in the budget crisis. Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, who took office in January, has proposed cutting incentives but faces resistance from Republican legislators and business groups.

“The previous administration,” Edwards said, “blew a hole in our state budget by writing checks for tax credits, rebates, or refunds to corporations with no consideration of whether Louisiana receives a good return on our investment.”

Jindal advisor Curt Anderson said the subsidies resulted in new jobs and higher wages. “His decision to shrink the government and grow the private sector economy was purposeful.”

Business groups continue to support the incentives, saying they are invaluable to the state economy.

“In terms of economic development, Jindal was an outstanding governor,” said Michael Hecht, president of Greater New Orleans Inc. “Corporations are being scapegoated.”

Falling oil prices and personal income tax cuts also played major roles in the crisis, according to state data. Oil-r上海419论坛elated revenues are projected to drop by nearly $400 million this fiscal year, the data shows. Personal income tax breaks pushed by Jindal and predecessor, Democrat Kathleen Blanco, reduced revenues by about $800 million annually, said Albrecht, the state economist.

Most Louisiana business subsidy programs preceded the Jindal administration, but their use and cost shot up during his tenure, said Jan Moller, director of the nonpartisan Louisiana Budget Project. The governor, he said, directed state economic development officials to “aggressively pursue companies and give them as many incentives as p,上海419论坛宝山Kaiden,ossible.”


As Louisiana faced mounting shortfalls, Jindal sought solutions that didn’t involve raising taxes.

“Despite the fact that the state was hemorrhaging money, he just wanted to keep his tax virginity” for his presidential campaign, said Edward Chervenak, a political science professor at the University of New Orleans, echoing a theme common among Democrats and Republicans alike in the state.

Having signed a pledge not to raise taxes, Jindal turned to one-time fixes, such as offering tax amnesty to delinquent taxpayers and raiding state trust funds. That included drawing down $520 million from the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly and $540 million from a reserve fund for st,上海419会所高级论坛Dalton,ate employee healthcare, according to Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy.

Jindal failed last year to sell the state’s tobacco settlement, worth $1.2 billion over time, for an upfront lump sum of $750 million – a move Kennedy compared to “a junkie selling his TV or smartphone to buy another fix.”

Lawmakers now face tough choices. Healthcare and education budgets – particularly colleges – already have been slashed and could see more cuts. And legislators are considering raising sales taxes by up to 2 cents.

State Representative Julie Stokes, a Republican from the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, said her GOP colleagues have been reluctant to raise taxes, and she understands.

“Look, I don’t want to talk about it – I’m a conservative Republican from a conservative Republican district,” she said. “But I just feel like we’ve got to lose the talking points and have an honest dialogue.”

Thousands march in Hong Kong against China ‘repression’ after grim…

HONG KONG ( ) – Thousands of demonstrators marched in Hong Kong on Tuesday to demand full democracy, fundamental rights, and even independence from China in the face of what many see as a marked clampdown by the Communist Party on local freedoms.

Over the past year, countries such as the United States and Britain have expressed concerns about a number of incidents they say have undermined confidence in Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy under Chinese rule.

These include the jailing of activists, a ban on a pro-independence political party, the de facto expulsion of a Western journalist and barring democracy activists from contesting local elections.

The New Year’s day march included calls to restar,上海419论坛体验Hadrian,t stalled democratic reforms and to fight “political repression” from Beijing.

“Looking back at the year that passed, it was a very bad year … The rule of law in Hong Kong is falling backwards,” said Jimmy Sham, one of the organizers.

Organizers said the march drew 5,500 people, revised down from an earlier estimate of 5,800,,爱上海同城aishIdaline, while police said 3,200 people were on the streets at the march’s peak.

The former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula, with the promise of a high degree of autonomy and universal suffrage as an “ultimate aim”.

While authorities have clamped down hard on the city’s fringe, pro-independence movement, that didn’t deter around 100 independence activists from joining the march, holding up banners and chanting for the city to split from China.

China considers Hong Kong to be an inalienable part of its territory, and denounces “separatists” as a threat to national sovereignty, even though the movement has not garnered much popular backing in the city.

“There will be continuous suppression on the Hong Kong independence movement, but the movement will grow stronger and stronger,” said Baggio Leung, an independence leader who said several of his members had been harassed by purported “triads” or gangsters, before the march.

Last year, in an unprecedented ,爱上海同城对对碰Quaid,move, Hong Kong authorities banned a political group, the Hong Kong National Party, for its pro-independence stance on national security grounds.

A western journalist, Victor Mallet, was also effectively expelled from Hong Kong, soon after he hosted a talk at a press club by the head of the National Party.

Mallet’s visa denial, which the government has so far refused to explain, was criticized by some foreign governments and the American Chamber of Commerce.

S爱上海419ome protesters carried “wanted” posters of Hong Kong’s top legal official, Theresa Cheng, criticizing a decision to drop a corruption investigation into Hong Kong’s former pro-Beijing leader Leung Chun-ying, without a satisfactory explanation.

“I’m afraid the pressure will continue,” said Joseph Cheng, a veteran rights campaigner and retired professor who was raising money for a “justice” fund for activists facing hefty legal fees for several trials.

“We’re going to face a few difficult years, but we must stand firm … Unlike in mainland China, at least we can still protest.”

Ethnic clashes kill 13 in Burkina Faso as security worsens

OUAGADOUGOU ( ) – Thirteen civilians have been killed in ethnic violence in central Burkina Faso, the government said on Wednesday, echoi,后楼凤419Hadleigh,ng a rise in inter-communal conflicts in neighboring Mali linked to Islamist violence.

Burkina has seen a spike in Islamist attacks in recent months as jihadists seek to increase their influence across the Sahel. On Dec. 31, the government declared a state of emergency in several northern provinces bordering Mali.

Attacks this week show how that violence may be fuelling ethnic clashes for the first time in Burkina.

After nightfall on Dec. 31, armed men on motorbikes descended on the village of Yirgou, made up largely of people of Mossi ethnicity, and killed six people, including the village chief, government spokesman Jean Paul Badoun said.

The following day, Badoun said, Yirgou residents killed seven Fulani herders in apparent retaliation. The residents blamed the herders for sheltering the men who attacked them the day before.

The ethnic viol上海419论坛ence echoes problems seen in neighboring Mali where Fulani have been accus,新上海419论坛网[随,爱上海419论坛Macauly,机符],ed of hiding Islamists who have carried out attacks across the region in recent years. Armed men killed 37 Fulani civilians there on Tuesday.

Ten gendarmes were shot dead near the Malian border last week in an attack claimed by Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), an umbrella group for al Qaeda-linked militants in the Sahara.

JNIM claimed responsibility for other attacks this year, including one in the capital Ouagadougou in March that killed about eight security agents and wounded dozens of others.

Thousands of people have fled their homes due to the attacks and reprisals by security forces.

Congo warns of vote result delay as tallies trickle in

KINSHASA ( ) – Results from Democratic Republic of Congo’s chaotic presidential election could be delayed past Sunday’s deadline because cou,龙凤网419论坛Cain,nting centers are still waiting for more than 80 percent of local tallies, the electoral commission said.

The election, which is meant to mark Congo’s first democratic transfer of power, has already been marred by violence and logistical problems. The opposition has said there was widespread fraud, an accusation dismissed by the government.

As of Wednesday – three days after the election – counting centers had received just 17 percent of the tally sheets drawn up by individual polling stations, the president of the CENI electoral commission, Corneille Nangaa, told .

“We will try as hard as possible to meet Sunday’s deadline, but it will be challenging,” Nangaa said. He did not say what was causing the delays.

A spokesman for Felix Tshisekedi, one of two opposition candidates, said the hold-up was a further sign of fraud. “They are clearly trying to prolong the process to manipulate the truth of ,上海千花验证归来Gabriel,the ballots,” said Vidiye Tshimanga.

There was no immediate 爱上海419reaction from the government, though regional monitors earlier said the Dec. 30 vote was “relatively well-managed” given the challenges involved.

The election allowed “the majority of the Congolese population to exercise its right to vote,” the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said.

Vote counting was transparent, 59 percent of polling places it observed opened on time and police securing the polls behaved professionally, the organization added.


Approval of the election’s results by SADC powers such as South Africa and Angola will be critical for the legitimacy of the administration of the next president, who will succeed veteran incumbent Jo,后楼凤419Babette,seph Kabila on Jan. 18.

Angola and South Africa have been important allies of Kabila over the years, but relations were strained by his refusal to step down when his mandate officially expired in 2016.

Pre-election polling showed Kabila’s preferred candidate, ex-interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, trailing the main opposition candidates, Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi, but both sides say they expect to win.

An African Union observer mission said in a separate statement on Wednesday that election day was blighted by a number of logistical problems.

“The holding of these elections constitutes, in itself, a first great victory for the Congolese people,” it said. “The mission strongly wishes that the results that will be declared are true to the vote of the Congolese people.”

Kabila’s government refused to accredit election monitors from the European Union and the U.S.-based Carter Center, which said there were widespread irregularities in the 2011 election.

Contested election results in 2006 and 2011 led to violent street protests, and a disputed outcome this time could also destabilize Congo’s volatile eastern borderlands with Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, where dozens of militia groups are active.