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The Auschwitz Museum denounced an online marketplace for independent artists Wednesday over the sale of memorabilia featuring images of the infamous Nazi death camp.

“Do you really think that selling such products as pillows, mini skirts or tote bags with the images of Auschwitz — a place of enormous human tragedy where over 1.1 million people were murdered — is acceptable? This is rather disturbing and disrespectful,” the museum tweeted at Redbubble, an Australian-based company.

The museum details the history of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex in Poland, where over 1 million people — most of them Jews — died during World War II.

US MAN TRIED TO STEAL ITEM FROM AUSCHWITZ DEATH CAMP, AUTHORITIES SAY

Redbubble features dozens of products emblazoned with images and references to the Holocaust and the concentration camp, including stickers, T-shirts, coffee mugs and pillows. The company did not respond to a Fox News request for comment late Tuesday.

The company replied to the museum’s tweet, saying: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The nature of this content is not acceptable and is not in line with our Community Guidelines. We are taking immediate action to remove these and similar works available on these product types.”

In March, the museum criticized an image of visitors balancing themselves on railroad tracks in a tweet, the Washington Examiner first reported.

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“When you come to @AuschwitzMuseum remember you are at the site where over 1 million people were killed. Respect their memory. There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolizes deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths,” the museum said.

An exhibit slated to open Wednesday at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York will tell the story of Auschwitz death camp through 700 artifacts, most of which are borrowed from the Auschwitz Museum. The traveling exhibition titled “Auschwitz, Not Long Ago, Not Far Away,” was first seen in Madrid by over 600,000 visitors in a 14-month period, the New York Times reported.

Source: Fox News World

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he addresses AK Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul, Turkey March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

March 24, 2019

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey will take the issue of the Golan Heights to the United Nations.

In an interview with broadcaster TGRT Haber, Erdogan said U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement on Golan Heights was a “gift” to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of elections there.

Trump moved on Thursday to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory seized in war, marking a dramatic shift in U.S. policy.

In a speech at a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Friday, Erdogan said the legitimization of the occupation of the Golan Heights cannot be allowed.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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Sudan’s ruling military council on Tuesday warned protesters against any further “chaos” as organizers call for mass rallies later this week.

Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council, said council members “are committed to negotiate, but no chaos after today.” He reiterated the military’s demand that protesters clear roads and railways, saying seven provinces were running low on food, water and fuel.

The military overthrew long-ruling President Omar al-Bashir earlier this month amid four months of mass protests. The protesters have remained in the streets, demanding an immediate transfer to civilian rule and calling for mass rallies on Thursday.

The two sides are negotiating the formation of a new transitional government but are divided over the role of the military, which is dominated by al-Bashir appointees.

Dagalo said at least 12 security forces have been killed in clashes with protesters across the country since al-Bashir’s April 11 ouster, without providing further details.

The protesters at the main sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum remained defiant, accusing the military leadership of trying to preserve al-Bashir’s regime.

“Our message is clear: all these people won’t go back for any reason,” said Mohammed Adam, one of the protesters. “We are ready to die, because this is a message to the previous regime. We want to build a new country.”

Another protester, Muhanad Ali Jumaa, said the sit-ins must continue if the revolution is to succeed.

“For a revolution, if you don’t block the roads then we won’t be putting pressure on these people,” he said.

Source: Fox News World

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FILE PHOTO: Uber's logo is displayed on a mobile phone
FILE PHOTO: Uber’s logo is displayed on a mobile phone, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Munsif Vengattil

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc is six months into a major mapping project that fills holes in its coverage of Middle Eastern cities ahead of a possible takeover of regional rival Careem Networks and this year’s hotly anticipated initial public offering, according to a source with knowledge of the project.

A team of 28 engineers and other staff, working for Indian tech sector outsourcer Wipro, are on the verge of completing detailed mapping of businesses and public buildings in Saudi Arabian cities and have been asked to accelerate work as the company eyes a stock market launch in April, the source said.

The team in the Indian city of Hyderabad has also recently been entrusted with mapping Egypt and is under pressure to speed up the work, the source added, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly.

The costly and time-consuming exercise is vital to moves to scale up in what has become a crucial market for Uber, with the takeover of Dubai-based Careem and progress there a litmus test of Uber’s global ambitions after ceding other Asian countries to local competitors.

It may also have served to bolster the company’s position in talks on buying Careem, which other sources told Reuters on Sunday may announce a $3 billion takeover this week.

Mapping is a largely manual process done one block and one neighborhood at a time, requiring heavy investment, and the data must be updated regularly. Maps are the foundation of ride-hailing apps that shuttle passengers from one point to another via a navigation app.

Careem, which operates in the Middle East, Africa and southern Asia, had said previously it was 45,000 miles into mapping the region, saying that shortfalls in Google Maps in the Middle East coverage had forced it to spend on the project.

PICK-UPS

Normally Uber uses a mix of mapping resources, relying heavily on Google Maps and augmenting its knowledge of streets and pickup points using its own mapping cars and equipment carried by Uber drivers in their vehicles.

Uber’s website says its dedicated mapping cars are currently working only in Canada and around a dozen U.S. states, having previously mapped the UK, France, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Columbia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Brazil.

Uber said the team in India was curating “Places” mapping data in Saudi Arabia to back up the necessary field work as it seeks to create its own set of locations against which it can easily search for pick-ups and drop-offs. It is different from vector mapping data and is a database of trip destinations, the company said.

Uber said it had not started work in Egypt.

According to the source, the process at Wipro is threefold; beginning from validation of existing data, to verification of new data collected from fieldwork and finally manually tagging each business and establishment on the proprietary map.

The fieldwork is done by Uber’s people on the ground, who go from business to business and take pictures from all the exterior sides of a building, a requirement in tagging the location of an establishment. Workers at Wipro use official websites and social media handles, as well as other resources, to fact-check data, the source said.

Wipro said it does not comment on specific client engagements. It was not clear whether Uber had agreements with other outsourcers for mapping the region.

In the run-up to its initial public offering next month, Uber is expected to tout its global reach and strong overseas markets to investors as a differentiation from U.S. rival Lyft.

An Uber purchase of Careem, after it gave up on markets in China, Southeast Asia and Russia in the face of strong local startups, has put the Middle East at the heart of that narrative.

A tie-up with Careem would also allow both companies to stop spending so heavily on infrastructure, as well as subsidizing rides for passengers and poaching drivers with bonuses, which have generated losses for both firms.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Heather Somerville in San Francisco; Writing by Patrick Graham; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

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FILE PHOTO: Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha attends the Palang Pracharath Party's party campaign rally in central Bangkok
FILE PHOTO: Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha attends the Palang Pracharath Party’s party campaign rally in central Bangkok, Thailand, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

March 29, 2019

By Panu Wongcha-um

PHAYAO, Thailand (Reuters) – Like most in the sleepy town of Phayao in Thailand’s northern mountains, schoolteacher Mu Suthibutr voted for parties loyal to Thaksin Shinawatra in election after election, even after the populist leader was ousted in an army coup and fled into exile.

But last Sunday, Mu cast his ballot instead for the candidate of a party backing the ruling junta because he knows the candidate, a former Thaksin ally who switched sides, and thinks he “will be the most useful” for the town.

“Many feel that Thaksin will not be able to come back, so they have to vote for someone that they can depend on rather than what is in their heart,” Mu said.

The pro-junta party won in Phayao, the first time since 2001 that a Thaksin-loyal party has lost in a town that – like much of the north and northeast of Thailand – has long been a bastion of “red shirt” support for the former telecoms tycoon.

Phayao is part of a broader shift in Thailand politics as it returns to an electoral process after nearly five years of military rule, one that may make the country even more difficult to govern.

For years, the Southeast Asian nation has been divided between mostly rural and northern supporters of Thaksin and his fierce opponents – mostly urban and middle class – who revile him as a corrupt demagogue. Amid spasms of street protests, the rival camps became known as “red shirts” and “yellow shirts”.

Now, with the military entrenched in politics and the emergence of a charismatic figurehead of democracy who reminds voters of a younger Thaksin, the country’s political landscape is fragmenting.

Indeed, last week’s election – the first since the 2014 military coup – has set the scene for protracted political deadlock because no one party won the majority of parliamentary seats required to rule.

In Phayao town, though, most people accept the result that gave its House of Representative seat to the pro-army Palang Pracharat party, which is seeking to keep coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha on as an elected prime minister.

Voter accounts there of the pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai party’s loss provide a snapshot of how Thaksin’s seemingly unshakeable grip is loosening even in his political heartland after more than a decade in self-imposed exile following an earlier coup.

Thaksin did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

LOSING TOUCH?

Despite the opposition of the Bangkok-based “yellow-short” elite, parties loyal to Thaksin have won each election since 2001 thanks to his hold on the north and northeast. Thaksin still has legions of loyal supporters in these regions, but Pheu Thai’s share of their seats shrank in the latest election to 63.5 percent from 80.2 percent in 2011.

The loss of constituencies like Phayao town illustrates that Thaksin’s absence, as well as recent missteps – one of his proxy parties nominated the king’s sister as its prime ministerial candidate and was promptly eliminated – have cost him votes, one analyst said.

“Pheu Thai cannot take the north and northeast for granted,” said Titipol Phakdeewanich, dean of the faculty of political science at Ubon Ratchathani University.

Phayao, surrounded by farms about an hour’s drive north of Thaksin’s home city of Chiang Mai, is the main town in the province of the same name.

Townspeople often gather near a large lake in the city center to feed fish that swim up to the banks or sit in cafes – and, after the election, they’re happy to talk about politics.

One explanation several gave for the pro-junta Palang Pracharat’s win here is that its candidate, wealthy local businessman Thammanat Prompao, is well known in the community and also chairman of a local football team.

Thammanat, for years a prominent Pheu Thai leader, told Reuters he switched allegiance because he came to believe that if his former party won power it would only bring more conflict.

He secured the constituency with 52,417 votes, compared to Pheu Thai’s candidate’s tally of around 21,971, according to results released on Thursday.

Phayao is not the only constituency where the junta’s proxy party fielded a former Thaksin loyalist – about 30 of its candidates in 350 constituencies nationwide were ex-Pheu Thai parliamentarians or prominent supporters.

Pheu Thai’s four-time parliamentarian from Phayao, Arunee Chamnanya, says she lost her seat “because the electoral process was not a fair fight”.

For example, Pheu Thai complained that it booked a local sports arena for a rally on Jan. 10 but provincial officials revoked the permission a day before it was to be held.

“There has been an abuse of state power and usage of officials in the area,” Arunee said.

NEW VOICES

It is unclear how much of a discouraging effect such incidents had, but several former Thaksin voters said they had their own reasons for changing their minds.

The emergence of populist, youthful billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, who promises an end to military “dictatorship”, appears to have drawn votes away from Thaksin. His Future Forward Party came third in Phayao town’s constituency with 16,326 votes.

Tai Puttasarn, 45, said she had always voted for Pheu Thai but this time she voted for Thanathorn’s Future Forward Party because he is a fresh voice offering a way out of the ruinous cycle of pro- and anti-Thaksin protests.

“Choosing Thanathorn felt like when I chose Thaksin in the past. They are both exciting politicians,” she said.

Suteep Thepawong, who sells food for passers-by to feed the fish in the lake, fondly remembers when then-prime minister Thaksin introduced cheap healthcare that improved life in the north.

But it has been more than 11 years since Thaksin left Thailand to escape a corruption sentence he said was politically motivated, and Suteep felt it was time to move on.

“I didn’t vote for Thaksin this time because he is no longer around,” Suteep said. “Thanathorn is here right now.”

There are other explanations for the pro-army Palang Pracharat’s stronger-than-expected showing. Few voters Reuters interviewed confirmed reports from elsewhere in the north of voter intimidation, but some acknowledged taking money.

One local fisherman said he was paid 500 baht ($15) to vote for Palang Pracharat’s Thammanat.

“I need to vote for him otherwise it would be dishonest,” the fisherman said. “It would be a sin if I don’t do what I promise. If I accept money, I have to follow through.”

Thammanat denied any vote-buying in his campaign.

Suteep, the fish food seller who switched from Thaksin to Thanathorn, shrugged off the idea that vote-buying affected the results, saying most people just take the money and vote how they like.

But he said he was impressed by how many people voted for Thanathorn’s Future Forward even though it did not offer money.

“Palang Pracharat will not get the seat next time,” he added. “I think Future Forward will topple them in the next election.”

($1 = 31.8700 baht)

(Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by John Chalmers and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Australian actor Geoffrey Rush wins record defamation payout

FILE PHOTO: Australian actor Geoffrey Rush reacts as he arrives at the Federal Court in Sydney
FILE PHOTO: Australian actor Geoffrey Rush reacts as he arrives at the Federal Court in Sydney, Australia, November 8, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

May 23, 2019

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian actor Geoffrey Rush has been awarded a A$2.8 million ($1.9 million) defamation payment against a News Corp tabloid, the largest defamation payout in Australian history, after it accused him in reports of inappropriate behavior.

Australia’s Federal Court ordered that an Australian arm of News Corp pay the Oscar-winning actor A$1.98 million for past and future economic loss, in addition to an initial A$850,000 payment awarded in April, court documents showed on Thursday.

A News Corp spokeswoman did not immediately respond to emailed and telephoned requests for comment. Rush’s lawyer declined to comment.

Rush, 67, had said the articles in the Daily Telegraph of Sydney were hastily compiled because the newspaper had wanted an Australian angle on accusations of sexual assault leveled at U.S. film producer Harvey Weinstein.

Under the headline “KING LEER”, and in later articles, the paper had said Rush, playing the title role of a 2015 Sydney Theatre Company production of Shakespeare’s “King Lear”, had been accused by a co-star of unspecified inappropriate conduct.

The actor who won an Oscar in 1997 for his role in “Shine” and has since appeared in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, said the stories implied he was a “major pervert” or guilty of major depravity.

In handing down his decision in April, Justice Michael Wigney called the stories “recklessly irresponsible” and “sensationalist journalism of the worst kind, the very worst kind”.

The newspaper said this month there were 16 grounds for appeal, and that Wigney’s conduct of the case “gave rise to an apprehension of bias”.

Wigney also dismissed an application by News Corp that he recuse himself.

Australia has among the world’s strictest defamation laws. Actress Rebel Wilson was awarded $A4.6 million in damages from Germany’s Bauer Media which was found to have defamed her in a serious of articles, before that was cut to $A600,000 on appeal last year.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton, additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in SYDNEY; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

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74-year-old woman kidnapped, raped in San Francisco home: police

A 74-year-old woman was kidnapped in San Francisco street earlier this month, held captive for five hours, and raped repeatedly before being left semi-conscious on a sidewalk, police said.

Manuel Amador, 47, was arrested last Friday in connection with the May 10 attack, KTVU reported. It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.

A San Francisco woman was kidnapped and raped in a home near Prague and Curtis Streets near McLaren Park earlier this month, police said. 

A San Francisco woman was kidnapped and raped in a home near Prague and Curtis Streets near McLaren Park earlier this month, police said.  (Google Maps)

Authorities said the woman was walking through the Crocker-Amazon district around 8 a.m., when a man pulled her into a house. There was reportedly a pit bull inside that bit her. The man then locked the woman in a room and repeatedly raped her, authorities said.

ALASKA MAN RAPED UNCONSCIOUS WOMAN INSIDE POLICE STATION ‘OUT OF BOREDOM,’ POLICE SAY

Authorities said the man then dressed her, dragged her back out and left her barely conscious on the sidewalk, where a passerby found her. The woman was transported to San Francisco General Hospital where she remains, police said.

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Prosecutors cited by KGO said the suspect has confessed to the crime. He will be arraigned in court Thursday morning, the report said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News National

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Head of Virginia governor’s medical school knew about racist photo but kept quiet

A probe into Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook -- which featured a racist photo of a man in blackface standing next to someone in Ku Klux Klan garb -- revealed that the school's president, who donated to the Democrat's campaign, knew about the image but decided against taking action.

The law firm investigating the origin and content of a racist photo, which appeared on Northam's page inside the 1984 yearbook, said Wednesday that investigators were unable to determine whether the governor is one of the people seen in the photo or has any other direct connection to it.

VIRGINIA GOV. NORTHAM’S MEDICAL SCHOOL 'UNABLE TO DETERMINE THE IDENTITY OF THE INDIVIDUALS' IN RACIST PHOTO

Fox News obtained a copy of the 1984 yearbook page from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library in Norfolk.

Fox News obtained a copy of the 1984 yearbook page from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library in Norfolk.

But the EVMS investigation report disclosed that school President Richard Homan -- a donor to Northam's campaign -- had learned about the racist yearbook photo from his staff, raising questions about whether politics was taken into consideration in Homan's decision not to address the matter.

“The staff members were advising the president at the time of the photograph and asking if EVMS had an obligation to or should do something about it, such as notifying Governor Northam about it,” the report read.

“The president of EVMS decided that the school should not take steps to publicly announce the photograph or to call Governor Northam's attention to it.”

“The president of EVMS decided that the school should not take steps to publicly announce the photograph or to call Governor Northam's attention to it.”

— Investigation report

Staff members told investigators that they thought the governor would “already be aware of what was on his personal yearbook page,” while Homan insisted on moving forward rather than revisiting photos from the past.

RALPH NORTHAM YEARBOOK PHOTO BACKLASH: 3 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRGINIA GOVERNOR

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Homan has been supporting Northam’s political ambitions since 2013. He donated $1,000 to Northam’s campaign for lieutenant governor. He then contributed another $1,000 when Northam ran for governor and later donated $10,000 to his inaugural committee in 2017.

Working on behalf of EVMS, McGuireWoods investigators said they couldn't “conclusively determine” the identities of either person in the 35-year-old photo – leaving all interested parties exactly where they were when the scandal first broke nearly four months ago.

The photo first gained attention after a conservative blog, Big League Politics, dug it up. The backlash was immediate against the Democratic governor, prompting him to go into damage control, offering conflicting statements within hours.

Northam initially issued two apologies within hours of the publication of the photo. He reversed course the next day and said he wasn’t convinced he was one of the men pictured. He did, however, reveal he wore blackface once, decades ago, to look like Michael Jackson for a dance contest.

The 36-page report found no one “with first-hand knowledge of an actual mistake on any page, including any personal page, within the 1984 yearbook” and no evidence that the photo was placed in error, according to the report.

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The report also identified 10 photographs depicting individuals in blackface based on the law firm’s review of all EVMS yearbooks, according to the school.

Fox News Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

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Embattled travel firm Thomas Cook downgraded by Fitch, S&P

Illustration photo of a Thomas Cook logo
FILE PHOTO: The Thomas Cook logo is seen in this illustration photo January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

May 23, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Credit rating agencies Fitch and S&P have downgraded Thomas Cook after the travel firm’s latest profit warning, saying the indebted company could struggle this summer in the face of weak demand.

Thomas Cook issued its third profit warning in less than a year last week, saying subdued demand had led to increased promotions and earlier discounting than usual. The profit warning led Citi to cut its price target for the stock to zero.

The company has put its airline up for sale and also agreed a 300 million pound ($379 million) bank facility to provide more liquidity for the 2019/20 winter season.

“The downgrade reflects the tight liquidity we expect TCG (Thomas Cook Group) to face toward the end of 2019 should it not sell its airline division or be able to draw on the planned GBP300 million senior secured facility,” Fitch said as it cut Thomas Cook’s rating to CCC+ from B.

“We expect EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) and profitability to be lower than our previous forecasts as the company faces lower bookings in its main markets, continuing fierce competition and Brexit uncertainty.”

S&P downgraded its rating on Thomas Cook to CCC+ from B-, citing risks from the soft market conditions and uncertainty over the sale price of the airline unit.

Last week Thomas Cook said it had received multiple bids to take over all or parts of its airline business. The company declined to comment on the credit ratings downgrades.

Shares in Thomas Cook were down 6% at 0854 GMT, with other travel and leisure stocks also lower.

The yield on Thomas Cook euro-denominated bonds that mature in 2022 rose <, but remained below Monday’s all-time high.

The stock is up 37% since hitting 8.33 pence on Monday, its lowest since November 2011, as the company has sought to reassure travelers that their holidays are safe in the wake of the profit warning.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Additional reporting by Josephine Mason and Helen Reid; Editing by Mark Potter)

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2 US warships sail through Taiwan Strait, draw China protest

Two U.S. warships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait in an apparent show of support for the government of the self-ruled island, which China claims as its own.

Taiwan's defense ministry said in a statement the ships passed through from south to north on Wednesday without incident, adding they were free to sail in the Taiwan Strait.

China, which last month complained about a French ship's passage through the strait, said it had expressed concerns to the U.S. side.

"According to information learnt from the relevant department, China followed closely the passage of the U.S. warships through the Taiwan Strait, and we are fully aware of the whole process," ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a news conference.

"We urge the U.S. to ... properly deal with Taiwan-related issues with caution so as to avoid further negative impacts to China-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," Lu said.

China maintains a more ambiguous sea boundary than defined by international treaty and has asserted a claim to virtually the entire South China Sea, which is contiguous with the Taiwan Strait and where several governments have competing claims.

In a statement, spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet Joseph Keiley said the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Preble and the oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl conducted "a routine Taiwan Strait transit on Tuesday-Wednesday in accordance with international law."

"The ships' transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows," Keiley said.

Also on Wednesday, Taiwan's navy held a major live-fire exercise off the island's east coast in an area increasingly threatened by Chinese ships and planes.

Navy craft fired cannons and missiles and released depth charges, while fighter jets launched munitions and anti-submarine warfare aircraft released buoys.

Submarines, along with a vast array of ballistic missiles, are considered among China's most potent weapons against Taiwan, which split from the mainland during a civil war in 1949.

China has boosted its military threat against Taiwan, with President Xi Jinping saying this year that Beijing would not rule out using force.

That comes on top of growing Chinese pressure to isolate Taiwan internationally and inflict economic pain to force independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen to agree to Beijing's contention that Taiwan is a part of China.

Source: Fox News National

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U.S. lawmakers want to help rural telecoms replace Huawei, ZTE equipment

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing evaluating Russian interference in U.S. elections
FILE PHOTO: Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing evaluating the Intelligence Community Assessment on "Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

May 23, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation on Wednesday to provide about $700 million in grants to help U.S. telecommunications providers with the cost of removing Huawei equipment from their networks.

The bill also moves to block the use of equipment or services from Chinese telecoms firms Huawei and ZTE in next-generation 5G networks, according to a statement by the senators.

The United States has accused ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd of working for the Chinese government and has expressed concern their equipment could be used to spy on Americans, allegations the Chinese government and the companies say are baseless.

“With so much at stake, our communications infrastructure must be protected from threats posed by foreign governments and companies like Huawei,” Tom Cotton, a Republican senator co-sponsoring the bill, said in a statement.

Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Roger Wicker, Democratic chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, are also backing the bill.

While large U.S. wireless companies have severed ties with Huawei, small rural carriers have leaned on Huawei and ZTE switches and equipment because they are often less expensive.

The Rural Wireless Association, which represents carriers with fewer than 100,000 subscribers, estimates that 25 percent of its members have Huawei and ZTE in their networks, and have said it would cost $800 million to $1 billion to replace it.

The move goes further than steps taken so far by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, even as it has hardened its stance on Huawei.

Last August, Trump signed a bill barring the U.S. government itself from using Huawei and ZTE equipment.

Then, last week, the U.S. Commerce Department blacklisted Huawei and 70 affiliates, barring the company from buying parts or components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval.

Five days later, the U.S. government temporarily eased trade restrictions, allowing the Chinese firm to buy American-made goods to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei headsets.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

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Hunger-striking Greek extremist wins new hope of jail leave

A lawyer for a Greek far-left extremist jailed for 11 murders says Greece's supreme court has ordered lower judges to reconsider his request for a temporary leave from prison, which had earlier been rejected.

Dimitris Koufodinas is serving 11 life terms for his role as the main hit man for the November 17 group, which killed 23 people between 1975-2000.

The 61-year-old is in intensive care due to the effects of a hunger strike he launched May 2 to protest the rejection of his furlough bid — which has sparked a violent arson and vandalism campaign by far-left sympathizers.

Lawyer Ioanna Kourtovik said Thursday the supreme court agreed to have Koufodinas' demand re-examined by a panel of judges in the central town of Volos, where Koufodinas' prison is.

Source: Fox News World


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