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May’s last day in power? PM fills gap in her creaking Cabinet despite possibly being just HOURS away from quitting amid massive pressure for her to go TOMORROW after Leadsom’s dramatic resignation

  • Theresa May’s time in power is drawing to a close after an all-out Tory mutiny over her Brexit Bill concessions
  • The PM proposed offering MPs a vote on a second referendum and joining a temporary customs union with EU
  • Commons leader Andrea Leadsom dramatically resigned last night as Mrs May’s grip on No10 loosened
  • The Tories face being hammered by Brexit Party in European elections taking place across the UK today   

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Theresa May and husband Philip after casting their votes in the Euro elections this afternoon in her Maidenhead constituency

Theresa May and husband Philip after casting their votes in the Euro elections this afternoon in her Maidenhead constituency

Desperate Theresa May could be just hours away from the end of her time in power as she battles to hold on amid a full-scale Brexit mutiny in the Conservative Party. 

The Prime Minister fled London this afternoon to cast a vote in the European election in her Berkshire constituency knowing it could be one of her last actions as Tory leader.

With a resignation announcement seen as almost inevitable after she meets Tory 1922 committee chief Graham Brady tomorrow she could have quit or been forced out before the results – widely tipped to be disastrous for her party – are revealed on Sunday and Monday.

The Prime Minister is trying to maintain dignity as the sun sets on her time in power – She has already bowed to pressure to pull the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which she previously said would happen early next month. 

The prospect of giving MPs a choice on whether to hold another referendum had sparked a furious response from Tories – with Commons leader Andrea Leadsom dramatically quitting last night and putting the last nail in Mrs May’s coffin. 

The PM promoted Treasury Mel Stride to fill the gap this afternoon, and met Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid to discuss how the Bill might be rewritten.

However, there appears little chance that she will be able to avoid agreeing to the start of a Tory leadership contest, potentially as early as next week. 

One of the PM’s last acts as Tory leader is set to be overseeing a catastrophic performance in European elections, which are taking place across the UK today.

Theresa May left Downing Street today (pictured) as she contemplated the end of her premiership after a huge Tory mutiny over the Withdrawal Agreement Bill

Theresa May left Downing Street today (pictured) as she contemplated the end of her premiership after a huge Tory mutiny over the Withdrawal Agreement Bill

Andrea Leadsom's letter

Mrs Leadsom in Westminster today

In her letter to the Prime Minister last night (left), Andrea Leadsom (right) said a second referendum would be ‘dangerously divisive for the country’ and she could not support the concession

A jubilant Nigel Farage outside a polling station in Kent today with his Brexit Party apparently racing towards victory

A jubilant Nigel Farage outside a polling station in Kent today with his Brexit Party apparently racing towards victory

Amid the Brexit chaos and infighting, support for the Conservatives has slumped to just 7 per cent in some polls – with fear that all the party’s MEPs could be wiped out.   

Meanwhile, Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party has surged and is now on track to top the poll – while the Lib Dems have also overtaken Labour. 

The elections today have put a temporary hold on the frenzied leadership jostling to succeed Mrs May. However, the campaigns by contenders including Boris Johnson, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and others are already in full swing behind the scenes. Ms Leadsom is also considering a run.

Mr Johnson was boosted today by support from backbencher Johnny Mercer.

The PM promoted Treasury Mel Stride (pictured) to Commons leader this afternoon

The PM promoted Treasury Mel Stride (pictured) to Commons leader this afternoon

‘It’s very clear to me that there is one individual that we can go forward and sort of try and govern from the centre/centre-right as a one nation Tory,’ he told ITV’s Peston programme.

‘And that is Boris Johnson… I’ve had many conversations with him. We’re going to try and do it together.’ 

There are expected to be as many as 10 candidates nominated to start with – who will be whittled down to a final two in a series of votes by MPs. The Tory membership will then choose between the last two.

However not everyone believes she will quit this week. 

A 1922 Committee source said they expected Mrs May would stay until June 10, but warned there would be ‘much greater pressure’ for her to go immediately if she introduces the WAB.

‘Hopefully what will happen is she will stand down as Tory leader I think on or before June 10, and she will hopefully remain as caretaker Prime Minister until such time as a new Tory leader is elected,’ they said.

‘My feeling is that she will stay until June 10.’

The source said a new leader would ideally be in place by the end of the summer to get a Brexit deal through Parliament before October 31.

The drama was brought to a head on Tuesday when Mrs May delivered a speech spelling out a series of concessions designed to get her Withdrawal Agreement Bill – known as WAB – past its first Commons hurdle.

The offer of votes on holding a second referendum and joining a temporary customs union with the EU caused uproar among Conservative MPs. And Cabinet anger erupted amid claims that Mrs May had gone further in her speech than had been agreed in a fraught two-hour meeting. 

At one stage yesterday, some aides believed Mrs May was on the verge of quitting on the spot – and even started preparations for a resignation statement.

But chief whip Julian Smith later told the 1922 committee of backbench MPs that Mrs May intended to campaign in today’s elections and would instead meet the group’s chairman Sir Graham Brady tomorrow.

At that point they are expected to set the timetable for a Tory leadership election – although she will remain as PM until a replacement is chosen. 

The MPs on the executive of the 1922 have already staged a secret ballot on whether to change Tory rules so a fresh no-confidence vote can be held. However, they will only count the votes if Mrs May does not set out a resignation timetable tomorrow.     

Mrs May refused to see rebel ministers yesterday afternoon, leading to accusations that she was bunkered down in No 10.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘The sofa is up against the door, she’s not leaving.’ 

Jeremy Hunt in Downing Street this week

Sajid Javid has also opposed the concessions in the WAB

Both Jeremy Hunt (left) and Sajid Javid (right) had demanded meetings with Mrs May to voice opposition to her Brexit concessions in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill

The Mays seemed in good spirits as they cast their ballots in Sonning, despite the mounting pressure on her to resign

The Mays seemed in good spirits as they cast their ballots in Sonning, despite the mounting pressure on her to resign

Philip May, pictured right voting with the PM in Sonning today, is being urged to step in and make his wife accept the 'reality' that her premiership is over - after she dramatically pulled the vote on her hated Brexit Bill

Philip May, pictured right voting with the PM in Sonning today, is being urged to step in and make his wife accept the ‘reality’ that her premiership is over – after she dramatically pulled the vote on her hated Brexit Bill

However sources said meetings with senior ministers were postponed because Mrs May was having her regular audience with the Queen, who she was expected to brief on her intentions. 

Whitehall insiders said the legislation that the Prime Minister announced on Tuesday might never now see the light of day.

She agreed to meet Sir Graham tomorrow to discuss arrangements for the election of a new Conservative Party leader.

An ally said: ‘The chances of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill coming forward now are very slender – there is too much opposition in Cabinet. 

‘That was her last move – she’s made her last move. I think she accepts that.’ 

Another said: ‘We completely understand what has happened over the course of the last 24 hours. 

‘She wants to be able to say that in her own words in short order. You will see that clearly when the elections are done.’

Ms Leadsom’s husband Ben stopped to speak to reporters as he left their London home on his bicycle this morning. ‘It was a tough day yesterday, but she’s happy she made the right decision,’ he said. 

Ms Leadsom's husband Ben stopped to speak to reporters as he left their London home on a bicycle this morning (pictured). 'It was a tough day yesterday, but she's happy she made the right decision,' he said.

Ms Leadsom’s husband Ben stopped to speak to reporters as he left their London home on a bicycle this morning (pictured). ‘It was a tough day yesterday, but she’s happy she made the right decision,’ he said.

Tories braced for a summer leadership campaign: who are the frontrunners to replace Theresa May? 

A huge field of candidates is expected to run to replace Theresa May. 

While as many as 25 could run they will swiftly be whittled down into a workable number as MPs show their allegiances and plot to get their chosen man or woman into Downing Street.

Here we look at the main runners and riders, with their odds with Ladbrokes and how they voted in the 2016 referendum:

Boris Johnson: The long-running thorn in May’s side  who has recently had a ‘prime ministerial’ makeover

Boris Johnson has undergone a prime ministerial makeover as Theresa May’s days appeared increasingly numbered 

  • Former foreign secretary and mayor of London
  • Voted leave and has become an increasingly hardline Brexiteer 
  • As likely to make headlines over his private life
  • Has recently lost a lot of weight and smartened up his appearance
  • Leadership odds 6/4 

The former foreign secretary, 54, who quit last July and has been tacitly campaigning for the leadership ever since. He finally went public last week to confirm he would run.

Never far from the limelight the father-of-four recently split from his wife Marina and is in a relationship with former Conservative staffer Carrie Symonds, 20 years his junior. 

As an increasingly hawkish Brexiteer who says we should not be afraid of leaving without a deal he is hugely popular with the party faithful.

At the start of the year he underwent what might be deemed a ‘prime ministerial’ makeover, losing weight and taming his unruly mop of blonde hair.

Popular with the rank-and-file membership he has less fans in the parliamentary party and may face a concerted campaign to block his succession. Received the surprise backing of Johnny Mercer last night.

Dominic Raab: Brexiteer who quit rather than back Mrs May’s deal

Dominic Raab has become a cheerleader for a hard Brexit since stepping down as Brexit secretary in November

  • Shortlived Brexit secretary last year, replacing David Davis in the hot seat 
  • But walked in November over terms agreed by PM
  • Voted for Brexit in 2016
  • Leadership odds 4/1 

Mr Raab, 45, is another Vote Leave member who became Brexit secretary after David Davis quit alongside Mr Johnson last July over the Chequers plan.

But he lasted just a matter of months before he too jumped ship, saying he could not accept the terms of the deal done by the Prime Minister.

Like Mr Johnson and Mr Davis he has become an increasingly hardline Brexiteer, sharing a platform with the DUP’s Arlene Foster and suggesting we should not be afraid of a no-deal Brexit.

The Esher and Walton MP’s decision to quit in November, boosted his popularity with party members but he lacks the wider popular appeal of Mr Johnson.

And like Mr Johnson he might benefit from having quit the Cabinet at an earlier stage and dissociating himself with the dying days of the May administration.  

His odds have shortened as he is seen as possibly a more palatable alternative Brexiteer to Boris by MPs seeking to block Mr Johnson’s run.

He recently posed for a glossy photoshoot with wife Erika at their Surrey home, seen as a sign he will run. 

Andrea Leadsom: May’s former rival who finally decided she could take no more

Ms Leadsom (pictured today) quit the cabinet yesterday. She is a Brexiteer who frequently clashed with Speaker John Bercow

Ms Leadsom (pictured today) quit the cabinet yesterday. She is a Brexiteer who frequently clashed with Speaker John Bercow

  • The Commons’ Leader challenged May in 2016
  • Voted for Brexit 
  • Hosted Brexiteer ‘pizza party’ plot last year 
  • Increasingly outspoken Brexiteer
  • Leadership odds 16/1 

The former Commons’ Leader piled pressure on the Prime Minister by announcing her own resignation from the Cabinet last night. 

In a parting blast, the Commons Leader said she could not stomach the latest version of Mrs May’s Brexit deal, with its offer of a second referendum.

It was the final act by an MP whose departure had seemingly been on the cards for months.  

Mrs Leadsom, a mother of three, stood against Mrs May for the party leadership in 2016 before conceding defeat before it was put to a vote of MPs.

As collective responsibility largely broke down among ministers she became an increasingly vocal and clear Brexiteer voice in the Cabinet along line similar lines to Mr Johnson and Mr Raab.

She was the host of a Brexiteer ‘pizza party’ in Parliament that included Michael Gove and Liz Truss as the vying wings of the Cabinet plotted to shape the Brexit deal they wanted.

In her role as Commons’ Leader she frequently clashes with Speaker John Bercow over issues including bullying in Parliament.

It is something that will do her no harm among the Tory backbenches where he is widely loathed. 

Jeremy Hunt: Remainer turned Brexiteer unity candidate who wants to heal the party

Jeremy Hunt, a born-again Brexiteer after supporting Remain, toured Africa last month with wife Lucia

Jeremy Hunt, a born-again Brexiteer after supporting Remain, toured Africa last month with wife Lucia

  • The Foreign Secretary voted Remain 
  • But has become an increasingly vocal Brexiteer
  • Former health secretary backs May’s deal
  • Has approached ministers about running as a unity candidate
  • Leadership odds 10/1 

The Foreign Secretary who has undergone a Damascene conversion to the Brexit cause and is seen as a safe if uninspiring pair of hands.

The 52-year-old South West Surrey MP has reportedly been selling himself to colleagues as a unity candidate who can bring together the fractious Tory factions into something approaching a cohesive party. 

A long-serving health secretary, the father-of three replaced Mr Johnson as the UK’s top diplomat and has won some plaudits over issues like the imprisonment of British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran.

But critics point to tub-thumpingly comparing the EU to the USSR at the party conference last year – which was very badly received in Brussels – and a gaffe in which he referred to his Chinese wife  as ‘Japanese’ as a reception in China.

Last month he went on a tour of Africa in which his Chinese wife Lucia made a major appearance, after he gaffed by forgetting her nationality.

Last week he called for a ‘decisive’ hike in defence spending to see off the rising threat from Russia and China – in a speech seen as a clear signal of his leadership ambitions. 

Speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet Mansion House in the City of London, he said the UK’s hard power must be strengthened, with billions more spent on new capabilities to tackle drones and cyber attacks.

Michael Gove: The boomerang cabinet minister with a Machiavellian reputation

Michael Gove has made a remarkable political comeback after being sacked by Theresa May in 2016

Michael Gove has made a remarkable political comeback after being sacked by Theresa May in 2016

  • Leading Vote Leave figure in 2016 who now backs PM’s Brexit deal
  • Former journalist, 51,  who stood for leadership in 2016
  • Was sacked as education minister by Theresa May
  • Later returned as Environment Minister
  • Leadship  odds 12/1

A Brexiteer with a Machiavellian reputation after the 2016 leadership campaign in which he first supported Boris Johnson for the leadership and then stood against him, to their mutual disadvantage.

The former education secretary –  sacked by Mrs May –  was rehabilitated to become a right-on environment secretary – complete with reusable coffee cups and a strong line on food standards after Brexit.

Despite being a former lead figure in the Vote Leave campaign alongside Mr Johnson the former journalist and MP for Surrey Heath has swung behind Mrs May’s Brexit deal –  which might count against him.

But while he noisily supports the deal – he views the alternatives as worse – the father-of-two – married to Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine –  is quieter when it comes to supporting the Prime Minister and practically mute when it comes to her future.

Seen as one of the Cabinet’s strongest political thinkers and having stood once it is unthinkable that he would not stand again.

But like many others he has yet to publicly declare his candidacy. 

If he did it would again pitch him pitched against Mr Johnson in a battle for Brexiteer votes. 

Penny Mordaunt: The highly regarded Brexiteer promoted to take on defence

Ms Mordaunt is an outsider for the leadership but is highly thought of in Brexiteer groups

  • The MP for Portsmouth North is a Royal Navy reservist
  • Highly regarded in Brexiteer circles 
  • She has been consistently tipped to quit over Brexit but remains in the Cabinet 
  • Once appeared in a swimsuit in a reality TV show 
  • Leadership odds 20/1 

The new Defence Secretary – the first woman ever to hold the post – is highly regarded in Brexiteer circles. 

The Royal Navy reservist, 46, carved out a niche at International Development with some eye-catching suggests about changing how the UK spends disperses aid cash.

She has become an increasingly serious politician after initially being seen as lighthearted when she appeared in a swimsuit in ITV reality TV show Splash!

She was promoted earlier this month to replace Gavin Williamson when he was sacked for leaking details from a confidential meeting about Huawei.   

Over the preceding few months she was at the heart of persistent rumours that she would be the next Brexit-supporting minister out the door over Brexit. 

She has yet to announce she is running but last month she backed a thinktank report saying the party needed to attract new voters.

She said the party needed to ‘act swiftly’ to win over the younger generations who were turning away from the centre-Right in ‘unprecedented’ numbers. 

Yesterday, after other Cabinet Brexiteers including Andrea Leadsom were notable by their absence during Prime Minister’s Questions, she remained at her post. It remains to be seen whether this loyalty will count for or against her. 

Sajid Javid: Remainer star who has run into trouble over knife crime and refugees

Sajid Javid has seen his stock take a hit over the knife crime crisis and migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats

Sajid Javid has seen his stock take a hit over the knife crime crisis and migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats

  • The most senior cabinet contender
  • Voted Remain but wants to see Brexit delivered
  • Faced criticism as Home Secretary 
  • But has taken a hard line on Shamima Begum case 
  • Leadership odds 20/1

The Home Secretary, a Remainer who wants to see Brexit delivered, was the leading candidate from inside the Cabinet to replace Mrs May.

After replacing Amber Rudd last year he consciously put clear ground between himself and the Prime Minister on issues like caps on skilled migrants after Brexit.

But his credentials have taken a hit recently. He finds himself facing ongoing criticism of his handling of the knife crime crisis affecting UK cities, which sparked a Cabinet row over funding for police.

He also lost face over his handling of the influx of migrants crossing the English Channel in January, being seen to move slowly in realising the scale of the problem.

But more recently the 49-year-old Bromsgove MP has made a serious of hardline decision designed to go down well with Tory voters. 

Most notably they have included moving to deprive London teenager turned Jihadi bride Shamima Begum, 19, of her British citizenship, after she was discovered among former Islamic State members in a Syrian refugee camp.

Matt Hancock: Waffle-loving health secretary who wants Tories to choose a younger leader 

Mr Hancock took stroopwafels in for Cabinet the day after he was pulled up for eating them on television

Mr Hancock took stroopwafels in for Cabinet the day after he was pulled up for eating them on television

  • The youngest front-runner at 40
  • A Remainer who now backs Theresa May’s Brexit deal
  • He wants the party to look to the future and attract younger voters
  • Leadership odds 25/1

The Health Secretary is, like his predecessor Jeremy Hunt, seen as something of a unity candidate.

The 40-year-old father of three is seen as a safe pair of hands despite a few teething problems in his latest Cabinet role.

Last year he was accused of breaking ethics rules after he praised a private health firm app in a newspaper article sponsored by its maker.

But he has since make some hard-hitting interventions in ares like the impact of social media on health. 

Last month he joined Ms Mordaunt in backing the Generation Why? report showing that the Tories needed to become more relevant to younger voters. 

He called on the party to change its ‘tone’ towards modern Britain or face Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, in a speech widely seen as setting out his leadership credentials.

This week he showed his human side by unashamedly chomping calorific stroopwafels before a TV broadcast, saying he people should enjoy things in moderation. 

Rory Stewart: Remainer rising star and friend of royals who is not short of confidence 

The father of two is married to Shoshana, whom he first met when they worked together in Iraq and she was already married

The father of two is married to Shoshana, whom he first met when they worked together in Iraq and she was already married

  • Penrith MP, 46, is a former tutor to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex
  • Old Etonian ex-soldier worked for Foreign Office in Iraq and set up a charity for the Prince of Wale sin Afghanistan
  • Voted for Remain and still backs a soft Brexit
  • Leadership odds  25/1

The former prisons minister who once vowed to quit if they did not improve within a year declared his candidacy almost as soon as he was promoted to the Cabinet.

He stepped up to International Development Secretary earlier this month to replace Ms Mordaunt and days later declared he will run for the Tory leadership.

The Theresa May loyalist praised the PM for her ‘courageous effort’ to pass her Brexit deal but admitted he would throw his hat in the ring when she steps down.

Urging his party not to ‘try to outdo Nigel Farage’, the development secretary said the Tories should ‘stretch all the way from Ken Clarke to Jacob Rees-Mogg’.

The Old Etonian former tutor to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex previously worked for the Foreign Office in Iraq and set up a charity for the Prince of Wales in Afghanistan.

He has also written several books about walking. 

The father of two is married to Shoshana, whom he first met when they worked together in Iraq and she was already married.   

Seen as highly intelligent his staunch Remainer and soft Brexit credentials look likely to count against him in a race set to be dominated by the Brexiteer wing of the party.  

Esther McVey: Former TV presenter and minister who quit Government over Brexit 

The former television journalist, is engaged to fellow Tory backbench Brexiteer Philip Davies, 47

The former television journalist, is engaged to fellow Tory backbench Brexiteer Philip Davies, 47

  • The 51-year-old was Work and Pensions Secretary until quitting in November
  • She was a presenter on GMTV before entering politics
  • Is engaged to fellow Tory MP Philip Davies
  • This week launched a ‘blue collar Conservatism’ project 
  • Leadership odds 50/1 

The former Work and Pensions Secretary declared her leadership bid last month and has set out a stall as a right-wing blue-collar candidate from a working class  Liverpudlian background.

The former television journalist, is engaged to fellow Tory backbench Brexiteer  Philip Davies, 47, having previously had a romance with ex-minister Ed Vaizey. She has no children.

This week she set out her leadership pitch by calling for the party to use £7billion of foreign aid cash on buckling British police forces and schools.

Launching a ‘blue collar conservatism’ campaign the Brexiteer MP, 51, said her party had ‘lost the trust’ of working people by failing to leave the EU already and must pursue ‘radical conservative agendas’ to win it back’.

She said that keeping cash in the UK that is currently sent abroad would allow an increase of £4billion in spending on schools and £3billion for police, which are both demanding more money.

And she declined to rule out doing a post-election deal with Nigel Farage – but said that if the Tories got the UK out it would mean that his Brexit Party would have no reason to exist. 

Speaking in Westminster she reiterated her call for the next party leader to be ‘someone who believes in Brexit’ – a dig at Mrs May, who supported the Remain campaign in 2016. 

FILE PHOTO: Molten rare earth metal Lanthanum is poured into a mould at a smelting workshop near the town of Damao in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
FILE PHOTO: Molten rare earth metal Lanthanum is poured into a mould at Jinyuan Company’s smelting workshop near the town of Damao in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region October 31, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

May 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Rare earth elements are used in a wide range of consumer products, from iPhones to electric car motors, as well as military jet engines, satellites and lasers.

Rising tensions between the United States and China have sparked concerns that Beijing could use its dominant position as a supplier of rare earths for leverage in the trade war between the two global economic powers.

WHAT ARE RARE EARTHS USED IN?

Rare earths are used in rechargeable batteries for electric and hybrid cars, advanced ceramics, computers, DVD players, wind turbines, catalysts in cars and oil refineries, monitors, televisions, lighting, lasers, fiber optics, superconductors and glass polishing.

Several rare earth elements, such as neodymium and dysprosium, are critical to the motors used in electric vehicles.

RARE EARTHS IN MILITARY EQUIPMENT

Some rare earth minerals are essential in military equipment such as jet engines, missile guidance systems, antimissile defense systems, satellites, as well as in lasers.

Lanthanum, for example, is needed to manufacture night vision devices.

The U.S. Defense Department accounts for about 1% of U.S. demand, which in turn accounts for about 9% of global demand for rare earths, according to a 2016 report from the congressional U.S. Government Accountability Office.

WHICH COMPANIES ARE MOST DEPENDENT ON CHINESE SUPPLIES?

Companies such as Raytheon Co, Lockheed Martin Corp and BAE Systems Plc all make sophisticated missiles that use rare earths metals in their guidance systems, and sensors. Lockheed and BAE declined to comment. Raytheon did not respond to a request for comment.

Apple Inc uses rare earth elements in speakers, cameras and the so-called “haptic” engines that make its phones vibrate. The company says the elements are not available from traditional recyclers because they are used in such small amounts they cannot be recovered.

Since 2010, the government and private industry have built up stockpiles of rare earths and components that use them, according to Eugene Gholz, a former senior Pentagon supply chain expert, who teaches at the University of Notre Dame.

Some suppliers have scaled back their use of such elements, he said.

WHAT ARE RARE EARTHS AND WHERE DO THEY OCCUR?

Rare earth metals are a group of 17 elements – lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, scandium, yttrium – that appear in low concentrations in the ground.

Although they are more abundant than their name implies, they are difficult and costly to mine and process cleanly. China hosts most of the world’s processing capacity and supplied 80% of the rare earths imported by the United States from 2014 to 2017. In 2017, China accounted for 81% of the world’s rare earth production, data from the U.S. Geological Survey showed.

Importers made limited efforts to reduce rare earth consumption and dependence on China after a diplomatic dispute between China and Japan in 2010. Japan accused China of halting rare earth supplies for political reasons, sparking recognition worldwide of the risks of dependence on one supplier. China denied it had halted supplies.

Few alternative suppliers were able to compete with China, which is home to 37% of global rare earths reserves.

California’s Mountain Pass mine is the only operating U.S. rare earths facility. But MP Materials, owner of Mountain Pass, ships the roughly 50,000 tonnes of rare earth concentrate it extracts each year from California to China for processing. China has imposed a tariff of 25% on those imports during the trade war.

Australia’s Lynas Corporation Ltd this week said it signed a memorandum of understanding with Texas-based Blue Line Corp to build a rare earth processing facility in the United States.

Rare earths are also mined in India, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Estonia, Malaysia and Brazil.

HOW ARE RARE EARTHS AFFECTED BY U.S. TARIFFS?

So far, the U.S. government has exempted rare earths from tariffs on Chinese goods.

OPTIONS TO REDUCE RELIANCE ON CHINESE IMPORTS

U.S. senators introduced legislation in May to encourage development of domestic supplies.

Recycling has also emerged as a potential source for rare earth minerals.

Nebraska-based Rare Earth Salts is taking old fluorescent light tubes and recycling them for their rare earth elements, which comprise about 20 percent of the bulb, according to the Association of Lamp and Mercury Recyclers.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder, Mike Stone, David Brunnstrom, Gui Qing Koh, Stephen Nellis, and Andrea Shalal; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Simon Webb and Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

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Congressman Jerrold Nadler is currently playing a lead role in a grand drama aimed at removing President Trump from office. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the ultra-partisan Nadler is handing out subpoenas left and right. On May 8, the day Judiciary Committee Democrats voted — at his prompting — to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt, Nadler declared a “constitutional crisis.” 

This is the same Nadler who, during the Clinton impeachment proceedings, objected to even releasing the Ken Starr report and likened the impeachment to a “partisan coup d’etat.” And during Bill Clinton’s last days in office, as he was handing out 140 pardons (many as thanks for helping his wife’s successful senatorial bid), Nadler had nothing to say. In fact, he was instrumental in getting a pardon for a convicted terrorist. This was Susan Rosenberg, sister soldier in a bloody alliance between the Weather Underground and Black Liberation Movement.

Rosenberg’s role in the “Family,” as this confederation of white and black domestic terrorists called themselves, was to use her “white privilege” to do such things as acquire weapons, purchase vehicles, and rent apartments for safe houses and storage units for explosives and weapons. In 1981, she allegedly drove a getaway car in the Brink’s armored car holdup in Rockland County, N.Y., in which two policemen and a guard were murdered. Authorities nabbed her in 1984 when she and Timothy Blunk were caught in New Jersey unloading the following from a U-Haul truck to a storage unit: 640 pounds of stolen explosives, an arsenal of weapons, manuals on terrorism, and false IDs.

Rosenberg has steadfastly maintained her innocence of involvement in the Brink’s murders. During her trial, however, she proclaimed herself not a criminal, but a revolutionary. In “An American Radical,” published 10 years after Jerry Nadler helped her out of prison, she proclaims herself to be a political prisoner.

She recalls how she had met Blunk when both were organizing against the Ku Klux Klan — presumably, in her mind, a right-wing hate group on the ascendancy in the northeastern United States in 1979. She describes being indicted in a federal conspiracy case and charged with participating in the prison break of Joanne Chesimard — and in the Brink’s robbery. Her own imprisonment, claims Rosenberg, stemmed from “being part of a group of white radicals who aided and abetted a group of black revolutionaries in their attempt to build a revolutionary organization.”

“The Brink’s robbery,” she conceded, “had been a devastating blow to the Rockland community, where two local police officers, Edward O’Grady and Waverly Brown, died along with a Brink’s guard, Peter Paige. The subsequent investigation into this robbery and multiple deaths led to several prosecutions, grand juries, indictments, trials, and convictions. Many people who were both remotely and closely connected to the events were targeted and I was one of them.”

Rosenberg does not say the three murdered men were shot to death by members of the “Family,” nor does she hint why authorities believe she helped make it happen. Rather, she speaks of herself as more of a bystander, part of a larger, well-intentioned network, remotely “connected to the events.” The Antioch College creative writing program from which she obtained a master’s degree while in prison seems to have taught her quite well how to manipulate language, to use the passive voice to avoid causality and generalities to deflect responsibility.

In this and many other chapters of her memoir, Rosenberg belabors the purity of her motivations. Her activism was spurred by “Seeing [in Vietnam] the B52s dropped from planes, watching the burning of civilians with napalm and Agent Orange,” which a reader supposes is her idea of poetic license. On the home front, the civil rights movement opened her eyes to the fact that “we lived in a segregated society, in a divided country where black people were still slaves.” Several pages of such explanation lead up to “that awful and cold day in November [1984]” when Rosenberg, then 29, was arrested. “[T]here was no immediate, specific plan to use the explosives,” she assures us. “We were stockpiling arms for the distant revolution that we all had convinced ourselves would come soon.”

Blunk and Rosenberg acted as their own attorneys during the trial. Rosenberg screamed revolutionary slogans in court and demanded the maximum sentence. “The truth,” Rosenberg pronounced, was that “revolutionary resistance fighters were defending the world-wide anti-colonial and anti-imperialist peoples and nations.” “The system,” she thought, would not last as long as her sentence. A federal jury, the majority of whom were women, found her guilty, and she was sentenced to 58 years in prison. Rudolph Giuliani, the United States attorney at the time, decided not to try Rosenberg on complicity in the Brink’s case since conviction on the other charges amounted to a virtual life sentence.

President Clinton’s eleventh-hour pardon of Rosenberg in 2001 elicited a chorus of outrage, including from then-Mayor Giuliani, New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, Rockland County police union official David Trois, and even Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer. Without question, it stunned the widows and children of those men murdered by Rosenberg’s coadjutors. In an editorial headlined “Pardons on the Sly,” the New York Times editorial board agreed.

The Times specifically condemned the pardon of Rosenberg, for whom “Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat, served as a courier … forward[ing] pardon information to the White House.”

Nadler’s involvement seems to have originated at his synagogue, B’nai Jeshurun, on New York’s Upper West Side. In 1990, the synagogue’s social action committee showed the documentary “Through the Wire,” about the Lexington, Ky., prison that housed Rosenberg. It was described by Walter Goodman in the New York Times as leaving the impression that Rosenberg and fellow internees Silvia Baraldini and Alejandrina Torres “were not convicted for their connection with explosives or attempted prison breakouts or bank robberies or seditious conspiracy, but because they happened to be attending a rally in Central Park.”

Her father and Rabbi Marshall Meyer were on a discussion panel. Meyer, as Rosenberg writes, accepted her father’s view that she was “a political prisoner being repressed by the Reagan and then Bush administrations.” Meyer’s friend, Rabbi Rolando Matalon, began to work for her release. As Rosenberg attests, her parents were longtime “supporters” of Democrats, including of Nadler and his predecessor, Ted Weiss, who died unexpectedly of heart failure one day before the primary election in 1992. Nadler was put on the ticket and won the general election. They had helped found the anti-nuclear organization SANE (in 1957) and the antiwar organization Peace Now (in 1978).

In 1993, Susan Rosenberg’s mother and Rabbi Matalon met with Nadler to enlist his aid in getting permission for Rosenberg to visit her dying father. As Nadler told Truthout, a far left news outlet, in a 2011 interview (shortly after Rosenberg’s book came out), “The story was that she was in jail for a long time, her father was dying.” So Nadler spoke to the head of the Bureau of Prisons.

In that interview, Nadler admitted to helping obtain a commutation of Rosenberg’s sentence, though not by applying “pressure.” He does not mention, however, his efforts to get her paroled in 1994. His letter of July 18, 1994, to the parole board cited Rosenberg’s work in the AIDS education program, reports of the staff psychologist, her 4.0 grade point average, two awards from the PEN American Writing Center’s Prison Program, and Rabbi Matalon’s glowing assessment based on his “regular in-depth interviews with her for several years.” Matalon was so convinced that she had altered “her views about social change” that he promised her “a full time position as coordinator of social and community projects at his own congregation.”

Mary Jo White, U.S. attorney in New York City at the time, opposed parole. Despite the decision not to charge Rosenberg in the Brink’s heist, compelling evidence pointed to her complicity, White wrote to the parole board in a Nov. 8, 1994 report. This letter may have had the desired effect: The parole board wrote Nadler on December 5, 1994, saying that it had been informed on Nov. 22 through Rosenberg’s attorney that Rosenberg had signed the I-22 form “waiving parole consideration.”

However, Rosenberg’s attorney, Mary K. O’Melveny, asked Nadler on July 23, 1998 for additional help. Since the government had not prosecuted Rosenberg in the Brink’s case, O’Melveny argued for Rosenberg’s unfair treatment — given that her accomplice, Timothy Blunk, had been released in March 1997 “after being convicted of the identical charges and receiving the identical sentence.”

Nadler told the Truthout interviewer in 2011 that he thought Rosenberg’s case was “a failure of due process.”

“She was accused of involvement in the Brinks [sic] robbery,” he explained, “in which a couple of cops were killed. She proclaimed that she was innocent of that. There were two Brinks trials. And in the second trial, which she could have been a member of, the evidence was so overwhelming that five of the seven accused were acquitted by the jury. Meanwhile, she was caught red-handed in possession, and of having transferred over state lines, dynamite and small arms, and other stuff. For this, she was sentenced to 58 years in jail, which was a hell of a sentence, you know, 59 months for this stick of dynamite, 59 months for that stick of dynamite.” The “sticks” of dynamite, as Nadler must have known, were 640 pounds of explosives, enough to level a city block.

The slain “couple of cops” Nadler mentioned were Edward O’Grady, married with three children — the youngest of whom was 5 months old — and Waverly Brown, the first black man to serve on the Nyack police force and father of a 17-year-old son.

A Feb. 18, 2001, Daily News article quoted Brown’s son, Gregory, then a 36-year-old U.S. Postal Service sergeant, about how difficult his last year of high school had been: “My father was supposed to help me, he was supposed to be there. I was looking for guidance from him.” When people asked how he felt, he usually replied, “‘I don’t have the words.’”

His four children knew their grandfather only by his scrapbooks. O’Grady’s widow, Diane, had to move away from the area of such painful associations to raise her children. In 2001, she proudly spoke of the two youngest who were in college and the oldest who was a Navy helicopter pilot. “I never believed in my heart [President Clinton] would do this,” she said. “After [the federal office building attack in] Oklahoma, how could you pardon anybody who was caught in this country with weapons of mass destruction?”

Although Nadler admitted that the court was understandably “hostile to Rosenberg because she called the judge a pig, she advocated violence, she made all kinds of crazy statements,” he claimed Rosenberg was a changed person. The parole board, he said, should not have postponed the possibility of parole for another 15 years after the last appeal in 1998 because of the Brink’s charge, which “she denied and was never convicted of.”

Rosenberg by then was in the Danbury, Conn., facility where her job was to teach fellow inmates about HIV/AIDS prevention and black history based on the teachings of Marcus Garvey, Robert Williams, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, and various communist writers. Teaching the class, Rosenberg recalled, “brought into sharp relief the fact that the United States has always been in the business of human bondage, first through slavery, and now through the criminal justice system.” Her Antioch College thesis adviser, Henry Bean, “a prominent screenwriter,” introduced her to Howard Gutman, who worked for Williams & Connolly, “the biggest and most prominent law firm in Washington,” one that boasted a senior partner who was Bill Clinton’s lawyer.

Rosenberg hoped for a pardon from Clinton, a president who she noted had “apologized for slavery” and, more to the point, commuted the sentences of 12 members of FALN, the fringe Puerto Rican Marxist organization that set off more than 138 bombs in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s, killing six Americans. She thought he “could understand my motivations and consider clemency.”

She wrote to Gutman and sent copies to her group of advocates, including O’Melveny, Matalon and Jane Aiken, “head of the prisoners’ rights teaching clinic” at Washington University Law School. Through the Antioch program she met a short story writer whose husband, John Marks, was working as a producer for “60 Minutes.” He and senior producer Steve Reiner, a former member of SDS, visited her. That led to her four-hour conversation with Morley Safer and a “60 Minutes” segment that, according to National Review’s Jay Nordlinger, gave “the impression that Rosenberg was basically a political leafleteer, perhaps caught with the wrong crowd.”

Six weeks after it aired, on Dec. 19, 2000, Clinton announced his first round of pardons. Although Rosenberg was not on the list, she seemed to realize another round was coming. When she “heard that an important congressman had seen President Clinton at a dinner and had handed him a letter from Rabbi Matalon that contained another letter from Elie Wiesel asking to grant me a pardon, I thought I might really get out.” By the time her pardon was announced — within the hour before George W. Bush’s inauguration — she had already sent home some of her papers and books to clear out her cell.

Susan Rosenberg’s dreams of a Marxist revolution in America brought about with explosives and guns did not come to fruition. But she left prison with a master’s degree and accolades from prisoner advocates for her “poetry.” She no doubt hoped to land the same kind of cushy teaching job enjoyed by fellow Weathermen, like Mark Rudd, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Kathy Boudin. Her partner in explosives transportation, Timothy Blunk, has parlayed his experience as a “political prisoner” for “over 13 years in some of America’s most notorious prisons for his activism in resistance to racism, US support for apartheid in South Africa, and involvement in Central America during the 1980s,” into a career as a performance artist, curator, theatrical set designer, and college instructor, recently at Bergen Community College in New Jersey, according to his website.

The truckload of explosives is apparently not worthy of mention.

Susan Rosenberg came close to landing a position at Hamilton College, an elite liberal arts college in upstate New York. Nancy Rabinowitz, the professorial head of the Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society and Culture — a lavishly funded social-justice redoubt at the college — quietly redefined an “artist-in-residence” position to an “activist-in-residence” position in order to hire Rosenberg.

The month-long course, to begin in January 2005, was to be called “Resistance Memoirs: Writing, Identity, and Change.” Rabinowitz is the daughter-in-law of Victor Rabinowitz, attorney who partnered with Leonard Boudin to form, arguably, the most radical-left law firm in American history. Boudin’s daughter, Weatherman Kathy Boudin, was the Family member in the Brink’s robbery who pleaded with Officer O’Grady to put his gun away just before he and Waverly Brown were ambushed by six men with automatic weapons jumping out of the back of the U-Haul. Boudin, paroled in 2003, ended up teaching at Columbia University.

Thanks in large part to a timely op-ed by Roger Kimball in the Wall Street Journal and the published objections of Hamilton College history professor Robert Paquette (who would go on to found The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization), public outrage over the appointment of Rosenberg to a teaching position at Hamilton erupted. Alumni expressed their outrage and threatened to end donations to the college.

At the kickoff to a major fundraising campaign at the New-York Historical Society, trustees, administrators, and alumni had to pass through a gauntlet of angry, placard-carrying police officers before entering the building. Under considerable pressure, the college announced that Rosenberg had “withdrawn” from the appointment.

Following Rosenberg’s release, Congressman Nadler provided a most sympathetic and disingenuous account of her past while downplaying his role as minor and pointing to his rabbi. But recently Nadler also added his signature to a list of “notable supporters” for Judith Clark, another member of the “Family” who served as a driver of a getaway vehicle in the Brink’s robbery. This came after he signed a letter urging her release in 2017. In an amazing confluence of talent, it seems that Clark too has done work in the AIDS/HIV prison counseling field and is a PEN award-winning poet. Thanks to the overflow of support from politicians like Nadler and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and academics in the field of prison abolition, Clark was released without notice on May 10, five days earlier than the announced date, apparently to avoid media attention and possible protests.

Clark’s writing is thematically similar to Rosenberg’s, evoking sympathy for the imprisoned, but not quite as ideologically honest as “An American Radical.” Rosenberg’s book suggests that her time behind bars taught her how to soft-pedal the radical ideology she still clings to. She speaks of taking “up the radical choice of trying to help make a revolution” as “part of the left that grew out of the 1960s.” It was a “different time,” she explains, a “time when I — and thousands of people like me — believed that ‘you’re either part of the solution or part of the problem’ … a time of massive civil conflict.”

Rosenberg’s “narrative” about the “prison industrial complex” has become a common theme on college campuses. Her past as a terrorist brought her invitations to participate in PEN panels, including in 2007 and in 2011, on “The Prison Industry.” According to her memoir, she has worked since 2004 as communications director for a “faith-based human rights organization” and has participated “in prison reform, women’s studies and legal conferences around the country.”

She has given lectures at law schools at Yale, Stanford, Georgia State University, and Washington University, as well as in other departments at Columbia, Rutgers, Brown, New York University, University of Michigan, University of Massachusetts, and CUNY Graduate Center. One assumes the postmodern campus offered honoraria commensurate with her radical heroine status. No doubt the fact that her memoir is on the “prison abolition syllabus,” recommended for classroom use at such places as Duke University, boosts her royalty payments. Perhaps we shall see a similar piece of creative writing from Judith Clark.

In 2011, when House Speaker John Boehner sought to open the 112th Congress by reading from the Constitution, Jerrold Nadler objected and called it “nonsense,” and little more than an act of “propaganda.”

In 2019, Nadler’s machinations as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee would suggest disdain for that very document in his use of congressional power to advance partisan aims. His claims of a “constitutional crisis” are about as valid as the claims of members of the terroristic “Family” he has helped spring and who have contributed to the new academic discipline of prison abolition studies.

Mary Grabar holds a Ph.D. in English and is a resident fellow at The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization.

Source: Real Clear Politics

FILE PHOTO: President of the ANC Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy David Mabuza wave to supporters ahead of the ANC's 106th anniversary celebrations in East London
FILE PHOTO: President of the ANC Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy David Mabuza (L) wave to supporters ahead of the ANC’s 106th anniversary celebrations in East London, South Africa, January 13, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

May 22, 2019

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – South Africa’s deputy president, David Mabuza, will not be sworn in as a lawmaker on Wednesday after requesting a postponement to address allegations he brought the ruling African National Congress (ANC) into disrepute, president Cyril Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa, who is also the leader of the ANC, is due to be elected on Wednesday by the 400 lawmakers in parliament’s National Assembly and lower house, where his party holds the majority. He will be inaugurated on Saturday.

The ANC easily won South Africa’s May 8 general election but its share of the vote fell, reflecting anger at corruption scandals and racial inequalities that remain entrenched a generation after the party took power.

Mabuza, the former premier of Mpumalanga, a coal-producing northeastern province, has struggled to shrug off longstanding allegations of corruption there. A report by the ANC’s Integrity Commission suggested he had brought the party into disrepute.

“The deputy president has indicated he would like to have an opportunity to address… these allegations,” said Ramaphosa in an ANC statement. “The deputy president believes that the ANC as a governing party should advance the electoral mandate in an environment of public trust.”

Mabuza played a key role in ensuring Ramaphosa was elected in a tight contest to take over from scandal-plagued predecessor Jacob Zuma at the ANC’s election conference in December 2017.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Peter Graff)

Source: OANN

Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14 is pictured during its second test-fire
FILE PHOTO: Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14 is pictured during its second test-fire in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on July 29, 2017. KCNA via Reuters

May 21, 2019

By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) – The risk of nuclear weapons being used is at its highest since World War Two, a senior U.N. security expert said on Tuesday, calling it an “urgent” issue that the world should take more seriously.

Renata Dwan, director of the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), said all states with nuclear weapons have nuclear modernization programs underway and the arms control landscape is changing, partly due to strategic competition between China and the United States.

Traditional arms control arrangements are also being eroded by the emergence of new types of war, with increasing prevalence of armed groups and private sector forces and new technologies that blurred the line between offence and defense, she told reporters in Geneva.

With disarmament talks stalemated for the past two decades, 122 countries have signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, partly out of frustration and partly out of a recognition of the risks, she said.

“I think that it’s genuinely a call to recognize – and this has been somewhat missing in the media coverage of the issues – that the risks of nuclear war are particularly high now, and the risks of the use of nuclear weapons, for some of the factors I pointed out, are higher now than at any time since World War Two.”

The nuclear ban treaty, officially called the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, was backed by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

The treaty has so far gathered 23 of the 50 ratifications that it needs to come into force, including South Africa, Austria, Thailand, Vietnam and Mexico. It is strongly opposed by the United States, Russia, and other states with nuclear arms.

Cuba also ratified the treaty in 2018, 56 years after the Cuban missile crisis, a 13-day Cold War face-off between Moscow and Washington that marked the closest the world had ever come to nuclear war.

Dwan said the world should not ignore the danger of nuclear weapons.

“How we think about that, and how we act on that risk and the management of that risk, seems to me a pretty significant and urgent question that isn’t reflected fully in the (U.N.) Security Council,” she said.

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

Libya's U.N. Ambassador Elmahdi Elmajerbi, attends a Security Council meeting in New York
Libya’s U.N. Ambassador Elmahdi Elmajerbi, attends a United Nations Security Council meeting at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

May 21, 2019

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Libya is on the brink of a civil war that could “lead to the permanent division of the country,” a top U.N. official warned the Security Council on Tuesday as he urged the world body to stop countries that were fueling the conflict with weapons.

U.N. Libya envoy Ghassan Salame did not name any countries supplying arms to the U.N.-recognized government of national accord (GNA) or rival eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

But he referenced recent arms deliveries to both parties. Libya has been subject to a U.N. arms embargo since 2011, however the government is allowed to import weapons and related materiel with the approval of a U.N. Security Council committee.

“Without a robust enforcement mechanism, the arms embargo into Libya will become a cynical joke. Some nations are fueling this bloody conflict; the United Nations should put an end to it,” Salame told the Security Council.

Any action by the U.N. Security Council is unlikely as it has been deadlocked over how to deal with the latest violence.

The most recent flare-up in the conflict in Libya – which has been gripped by anarchy since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011 – began in early April, when Haftar’s LNA advanced on the capital Tripoli. The LNA is now bogged down in southern suburbs by fighters loyal to Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj’s GNA.

GNA-allied forces received a shipment of armored vehicles and arms on Saturday. Pictures and videos posted on their Facebook pages showed what appeared to be dozens of Turkish-made BMC Kirpi armored vehicles in Tripoli’s port.

Salame described the delivery as a “blatant and televised breach of the arms embargo,” adding that the LNA had been receiving “ongoing deliveries of banned modern weaponry.”

Since 2014, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have provided Haftar’s LNA with military equipment such as aircraft and helicopters, according to U.N. sanctions monitors. They reported earlier this month they were investigating the likely use of an armed drone by the LNA or a supporting “third party” in a recent attack on GNA-affiliated forces.

“Many countries are providing weapons to all parties in the conflict without exception,” Salame told the Security Council.

The UAE and Egypt see Haftar’s forces as a bulwark against Islamists in North Africa.

However, Salame warned the focus of Haftar’s forces on Tripoli had created a security vacuum in the south that was being exploited by Islamic State and al Qaeda militants.

“Libyan forces that had in the past courageously defended their country against these terrorist groups are now busy fighting each other,” he said.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Paul Simao)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Coca-Cola are pictured in a cooler during a news conference in Paris
FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Coca-Cola are pictured in a cooler during a news conference in Paris, France, April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

May 20, 2019

(Reuters) – Coca-Cola Co said on Monday it had dropped plans to refranchise its Africa bottling business, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), and would instead keep its majority stake in the unit for the time being.

The U.S. beverage giant had wanted to refranchise the unit as part of its global plan to divest its manufacturing and distribution assets to focus on main beverage business and boost margins.

“While we remain committed to the refranchising process, we believe it’s in the best interests of all involved for Coca-Cola to continue to hold and operate CCBA,” Coca-Cola said in a statement.

The company said it has had discussions with a number of potential partners. Coca-Cola HBC and rival Coca-Cola European Partners were seen as potential buyers for the unit.

Shares of Coca-Cola HBC were down 7.4%.

Coke in 2016 bought a majority stake in CCBA, the continent’s largest soft drink bottler, with operations in a dozen markets including South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, from Anheuser-Busch InBev SA.

The company said it would reclassify its financial statements from second quarter in 2019 to include CCBA as part of its continuing operations.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

Source: OANN

Former South African President Jacob Zuma arrives to cast his ballot in the country's parliamentary and provincial elections, in Nkandla
Former South African President Jacob Zuma arrives to cast his ballot in the country’s parliamentary and provincial elections, in Nkandla, South Africa, May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

May 20, 2019

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Jacob Zuma’s lawyers argued on Monday that the former South African president had been treated unfairly by prosecutors in his bid to have revived corruption charges set aside because he is unpopular in the country at large.

Zuma has applied for a permanent stay of prosecution from 16 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a deal to buy 30 billion rand of European military hardware for South Africa’s armed forces in the late 1990s.

The 77-year old, appearing in court on Monday for the fifth time since the charges were reinstated, has previously said he is the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt.

On the first day of the hearing, Zuma’s lawyer, Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, described his treatment by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as “mob justice” and said Zuma had been charged because the country does not like him.

“Suppose we know that he may well have done what we suspect he did. Does he get stripped of human dignity, is there a reason to deal with him in a particular way because he is Mr Zuma?” Sikhakhane said in his opening address.

“Zuma was denied the opportunity to challenge evidence that implicated and prejudiced him,” the lawyer added.

He accused prosecutors of being biased against the former president, who was ousted by the ruling party in February 2018 after nine years in power marked by graft allegations and economic stagnation that led to credit rating downgrades.

The charges against Zuma were originally filed more than a decade ago but the NPA set them aside shortly before he successfully ran for president in 2009.

After his election, his opponents fought a lengthy legal battle to have the charges reinstated, finally succeeding in 2016. Zuma countered with his own legal challenges.

The case in Pietermaritzburg, the capital and second-largest city in KwaZulu-Natal province, is a rare example of an African leader being held to account for his actions. Zuma denies wrongdoing.

Zuma, wearing a black suit and red tie, was subdued in court. His son Duduzane, who faces culpable homicide charges, and a few of his supporters including a former cabinet minister traveled to Pietermaritzburg to support their former patron.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Zuma’s former deputy, whose African National Congress party won a general election this month, has pledged to fight corruption as he seeks to woo foreign investment and revamp the ailing economy.

($1 = 14.4000 rand)

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Source: OANN



UPDATE: 9.30pm:

A video has surfaced of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is currently in Sandton for the Arnold Classic Africa, being kicked in the back at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Following our earlier report of the video, Schwarzenegger since tweeted to thank his fans for their concerns and to assure them that he was all right.

His tweet read, “Thanks for your concerns, but there is nothing to worry about. I thought I was just jostled by the crowd, which happens a lot. I only realized I was kicked when I saw the video like all of you. I’m just glad the idiot didn’t interrupt my Snapchat.”

As reported earlier, the video, which is circulating on social media, shows how Schwarzenegger was watching a rope-skipping competition when he was approached to take a video of the children skipping. Schwarzenegger obliges and is filmed as he gets up from his seat and then takes a video of the children while speaking into the phone camera. A man can be seen lurking behind him and it seems that he is pulled away by what appears to be Schwarzenegger’s security team.

Just as Schwarzenegger hands over the phone on which he was taking his video, the man returns again, runs up, jumps up and kicks Schwarzenegger in the back.

ALSO READ: South Africa wins the first official Test polo match held between SA and Argentina in years

Schwarzenegger tumbles forward into a crowd of people while the man who kicked him is held down by security.

Shortly afterwards, Schwarzenegger takes his seat by the side of the court again, seemingly unharmed by the incident, but a short while later he and his team get up from their seats and move through the convention centre, which is where the video ends.

Schwarzenegger has since said that there is a particular, ‘blurry’ version of the video should rather be shared:

Watch another version of the video here: 

A little later this afternoon, Schwarzenegger greeted fans in Sandton.

Did you witness the incident? Share your account on the Sandton Chronicle Facebook page

ALSO READ: What social media users must know about copyright


Shocking moment Arnold Schwarzenegger, 71, is DROP-KICKED from behind by a ‘crazed fan’ while posing for selfies in South Africa, sparking a frantic melee while the attacker is subdued

  • The ‘Terminator’ star was filming an athlete jump rope while in a gymnasium at the Arnold Sports Festival in Sandton on Saturday
  • As Arnold Schwarzenegger hands his phone back to his entourage, a stranger jump-kicks him from behind 
  • Attacker approached the 71-year-old waving but had been apprehended by security before he launched into the kick  
  • As security rushes to escort him off the premises, others rush to Schwarzenegger to make sure he is fine
  • ‘I thought I was just jostled by the crowd, which happens a lot. I only realized I was kicked when I saw the video like all of you,’ the actor said on Twitter
  • Schwarzenegger had posted on Snapchat right before the kick and the assailant can be seen over his shoulder 
  • He has shared that he does not plan on pressing charges against the ‘crazed fan’
  • A representative said police are currently processing the ‘known mischievous person’ 

Arnold Schwarzenegger was shockingly drop-kicked from behind while admiring athletes at his sports festival in South Africa.

The ‘Terminator’ star was filming an athlete jump rope while in a gymnasium at the Arnold Sports Festival at the Sandton Convention Centre, when a stranger jump-kicked him from behind.

Fortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly, despite being 71-years-old , Schwarzenegger was unfazed, writing on Twitter afterwards: ‘Thanks for your concerns, but there is nothing to worry about.

‘I thought I was just jostled by the crowd, which happens a lot. I only realized I was kicked when I saw the video like all of you. I’m just glad the idiot didn’t interrupt my Snapchat.’ 

Scroll down for videos 

Arnold Schwarzenegger, 71, can be seen speaking to his fans when seemingly out of nowhere he is kicked hard in the back by his assailant

Arnold Schwarzenegger, 71, can be seen speaking to his fans when seemingly out of nowhere he is kicked hard in the back by his assailant

Despite being 71-years-old , Schwarzenegger was unfazed, writing on Twitter afterwards: 'Thanks for your concerns, but there is nothing to worry about'

Despite being 71-years-old , Schwarzenegger was unfazed, writing on Twitter afterwards: ‘Thanks for your concerns, but there is nothing to worry about’

Moments before, the attacker approaches Schwarzenegger while waving, but a member of bodybuilding legend’s security team apprehends him.

And as the former California governor comments on how fast the jump ropers are going, the man rushes behind him and launches into his kick.

The assailant throws himself into the air and kicks the back of the Hollywood legend, sending him flying forward into the cameraman and others watching.

The attacker is immediately rushed by security personnel and taken from the scene as others rush to help ensure Schwarzenegger has not been injured.

Schwarzenegger's attacker approaches moments before his wild attack

The actor doesn't notice his assailant approaching from behind

Moments before, the attacker approaches Schwarzenegger while waving, but a member of bodybuilding legend’s security team apprehends him. 

The assailant can be seen being manhandled by his security team after his brazen kick in the middle of the gymnasium on one of the world's most famous actors

The assailant can be seen being manhandled by his security team after his brazen kick in the middle of the gymnasium on one of the world’s most famous actors

Schwarzenegger is hurled forward by the kick to his back

Members of the Hollywood star's security team deal with the threat

Schwarzenegger is hurled forward by the kick to his back (left) and members of his security team deal with the threat (right)

People gasp and a child can be heard sounding distressed in the background as an adult tries to reassure the youngster.

Bizarrely someone shouting, ‘Help me, I need a Lamborghini,’ can be heard in the aftermath. It is possible that the man was saying something in one of South Africa’s official languages.

It is not clear who is shouting.

The ‘Kindergarten Cop’ star posted video on Snapchat of right before the kick. 

The 'Kindergarten Cop' star posted video on Snapchat of right before the kick

In the brief clip, Schwarzenegger has his phone on selfie mode but the assailant can be seen right over his shoulder

The ‘Kindergarten Cop’ star posted video on Snapchat of right before the kick. In the brief clip, Schwarzenegger has his phone on selfie mode but the assailant can be seen right over his shoulder

In the brief clip, Schwarzenegger has his phone on selfie mode but the assailant can be seen right over his shoulder. The philanthropist had just turned off his phone when the kick occurred. 

Schwarzenegger posted throughout the day on his Instagram story as he watched kids show off their crafts at the massive sports festival that is judged. 

The actor played chess against an entire team, watched archers, admired native dancers, played softball and pool and watched endless sporting events before going to pet some big felines.

It is unknown what will happen to the man and Schwarzenegger does not plan on pressing charges, according to a statement from the Festival.

‘Mr. Schwarzenegger has confirmed that he has no intentions of laying charges. He views this as an unfortunate incident by a mischievous fan,’ the statement added.

The statement further explained that police in the area are familiar with the man and have had issues with him at events in the past.    

A representative from Black Circle Communications, who released the statement, told DailyMail.com that the man was a ‘known mischievous person’ who has been handed over to the police. 

‘Police are currently processing everything and we are waiting on them to get back to us but Arnold has been so generous with everything,’ spokeswoman Cassandra Gudlhuza said. 

It is unknown what will happen to the man and Schwarzenegger does not plan on pressing charges, according to a statement from the Festival

It is unknown what will happen to the man and Schwarzenegger does not plan on pressing charges, according to a statement from the Festival


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