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Soccer: U.S. Women's National Team World Cup Media Day
May 24, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Carli Lloyd , Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe take questions during the U.S. Women’s National Team World Cup media day at Twitter NYC. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2019

By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The 1999 U.S. women’s team may defy comparison in the eyes of many soccer fans but, 20 years after their famous World Cup triumph, the challenges they faced are all too familiar with pay and conditions still at the top of the agenda.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has boosted the prize money for this year’s women’s World Cup to $30 million but that figure is dwarfed by the roughly $448 million on offer at the men’s tournament in Russia last year.

“For the resources and for the ability that FIFA has to implement that change (more investment), they’re not doing nearly enough,” co-captain Megan Rapinoe said on Friday. “I hope that it’s just so much better (in 20 years) than it is now.”

The success of the 1999 team, playing in front of huge home crowds, turned players like Mia Hamm into household names and inspired a generation of girls and female athletes, even if the promise of widespread gender parity in sports remains elusive.

In March, the U.S. women’s squad sued U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination, saying the sport’s national organizing body paid them less than the men’s team despite their superior performance and provided them with sub-standard facilities.

Julie Foudy, a midfielder on the 1999 team, told Reuters earlier this week that she was “frustrated” there was still a need to pursue the dispute.

“It’s exhausting to keep fighting that fight and especially (for them) to do it right before a World Cup,” Foudy said.

All 23 members of this year’s squad spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Mexico, part of a farewell series of friendlies ahead of next month’s tournament in France where they will be defending the title they won in 2015.

“I think it’s pretty clear women in sport have not been treated with the same care and financing that men’s sports has,” said Rapinoe.

Despite the frustration over the progress made by the women’s game since the U.S. beat China 5-4 on penalties to win the 1999 World Cup, that triumph continues to resonate.

Co-captain Alex Morgan, who has drawn comparisons to Hamm, said the 1999 team were very influential in her development.

“The ’99ers had a huge impact on me and growing my passion to want to play, and being good friends with a lot of them now, I still draw a lot of inspiration from them,” she said.

The U.S. launch their title defense against Thailand on June 11 in Group F which also features Sweden and Chile.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: OANN

The $16 billion in aid to farmers that the Trump administration announced Friday is an increase on the $12 billion aid package last year. Administration officials said the total amount of aid was hiked and the formula for distributing it tweaked because of the broadening nature of President Trump’s trade war with China and other countries.

“We account[ed] for some other variables such as repeated distortionary trade policies by China and other countries that have contributed to the slow pace of market adjustment and trade that we’ve seen for agricultural production,” Agriculture Department chief economist Robert Johansson told agriculture industry reporters Thursday. “So that brings us to the $16 billion level.”

The bulk of the aid will be provided through the agency’s Commodity Credit Corporation, which provides price supports for farmers and doesn’t require congressional approval. The program gets $30 billion annually that can be distributed at the agriculture secretary’s discretion.

“It is using CCC funding,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters. “The president feels very strongly that the tariff revenue [from levies on China] is going to be used to support this program, which will come back out and replenish the CCC, as it does every year.”

The program’s funding is not directly tied to any tariffs, however. Congress appropriates CCC funding through the farm bill, legislation passed about once every five years to cover agriculture subsidies. The most recent version was 2018’s Agricultural Improvement Act, which totaled $867 billion.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall applauded the assistance, but said that farmers and ranchers would rather the U.S. ended the trade wars instead. “We are grateful for the work that President Trump and Secretary Perdue have devoted to this issue,” he said. “However, the real, long-term solution to our challenges in agriculture is good outcomes to current negotiations with China, Japan and the European Union, as well as congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”

Of the $16 billion in aid this year, $14.5 billion will be provided to farmers in direct payments, the same method as the aid package last year. The formula for determining payments was tweaked, however.

Last year’s aid package provided payments to farmers based on the crops they had planted. The aid program announced Thursday will factor in a rate assigned to the county the crops were planted in. Those rates would be based on the USDA’s estimation of the economic damage done by retaliatory tariffs.

“We are looking back a number of years to look at what China has purchased from us in the past, and we’re bringing that into our baseline,” Johansson said.

Payments will go to producers of alfalfa, barley, canola, corn, peas, cotton, lentils, rice, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, sesame seed, chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seeds, and wheat, among other products, based on a farm’s total plantings of those crops for this year multiplied by the per-county rate. Pork producers will receive payments based on their livestock headcount, and dairy producers will receive payments based on their past production levels.

The payments will be made in up to three tranches, the first coming in late July or early August, with later payments to be determined based on market conditions. The remaining $1.4 billion will be used to purchase surplus beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and milk.

It is unclear exactly how much of last year’s $12 billion allocation was ultimately spent. Perdue told the Senate Agriculture Committee in February, “To date, [assistance] programs have provided more than $8 billion to assist with the disruption in commodity markets caused by unfair tariffs on U.S. agricultural products.”

Counselor Kellyanne Conway, White House communications director Mercedes Schlapp, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the White House on Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

WASHINGTON—President Trump smiled as he entered the Roosevelt Room in the White House, armed with $16 billion in good news for farmers struggling amid his continuing trade conflict with China. By the time he left, Mr. Trump had effectively carpet bombed what little remained of his relationship with congressional Democrats by mocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s intelligence, ridiculing her speaking style and calling the first woman to lead the U.S. House “a mess.”

Thursday brought another episode of the Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi show, culminating in a roster of senior presidential advisers lining up along the wall of the historic room attesting to how calmly Mr. Trump had handled Wednesday’s installment.

With more than a dozen American farmers looking on, including an Idahoan wearing a red “Make Potatoes Great Again” hat, Mr. Trump was asked by reporters about comments from Mrs. Pelosi earlier in the day that the president’s family should stage an intervention after his behavior during a meeting on Wednesday. At that gathering, Mr. Trump told Democrats he wouldn’t work with them while investigations of him continued and then abruptly stormed out of the room before anyone else could speak.

Mr. Trump responded to the question by calling upon five White House aides—one after the other—to stand in front of TV cameras and vouch for the prudence and discipline he said he displayed at a meeting a day earlier with Democrats.

“No temper tantrum,” said Kellyanne Conway, his counselor. Hogan Gidley, a deputy press secretary, wasn’t even in the room for the meeting, but still attested to the president’s composure. Larry Kudlow, Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser who is hobbled with a bad hip, leaned on a cane as he limped to the front of the room to tell his boss, in front of television cameras, “You were very calm.”

President Trump lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling her ‘crazy’ after she suggested the president’s family stage an intervention, and asked his staff to vouch for his calm and collected behavior as a dozen farmers looked on. Photo: EPA

“I’m an extremely stable genius,” Mr. Trump told reporters.

After 28 months in office, Mr. Trump has amassed a highlight reel of astonishing, must-see moments on live television, and his impromptu news conference on Thursday provided another. The latest performance demonstrated his concern about Mrs. Pelosi’s comments and his desire to counter. Often that happens on Twitter, but he has twice in two days delivered his ripostes in televised news conferences from the White House.

The round of testimonials from his staff most closely recalled the unusual cabinet meeting in June 2017, when agency heads and senior staff—men and women Mr. Trump had nominated or hired—showered him with adulation as the TV cameras rolled. “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people,” Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff at the time, told him.

The cabinet meeting two years ago came as the administration’s travel ban had been blocked again by an appeals court and as then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions agreed to testify in public about his connections to an investigation of Russian meddlings in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump unleashed his latest performance amid escalating tensions between he and Mrs. Pelosi.

Before traveling to the White House to meet with Mr. Trump Wednesday, Mrs. Pelosi accused the Republican president of engaging in a “coverup” as a growing faction of Democrats called for Mr. Trump’s impeachment. She described Mr. Trump as having a “temper tantrum” at their meeting in the White House and on Thursday urged his staff and his family to “have an intervention for the good of the country.

“I pray for the president of the United States,” she said, adding that “this is not behavior that rises to the dignity of the office of president of the United States.”

Mr. Trump’s frustration was palpable in the White House on Thursday. He said that he made a point of telling his staff he would be calm with Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer so that they couldn’t accuse him of “ranting and raving.” Mr. Trump had wanted to avoid a repeat of his meeting with leaders in January over a government shutdown, when, frustrated after the lack of progress, he ended it after 20 minutes by putting his hands in the air—two open palms on either side of his face—and said, “Bye-bye,” and left the room.

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Democrats left that meeting saying Mr. Trump had pounded the desk in anger, but he denied acting violently. Mr. Trump said on Thursday that he left his meeting on Wednesday and “went directly to the press conference” to show reporters he was calm and stave off accusations that he was fuming.

“I didn’t want them to say I did it—they said it anyway,” Mr. Trump said, closing his eyes for effect.

Mr. Trump’s complained about “the narrative” from Democrats about him. And accused them of lying to score political points. “They don’t feel they can win the election,” he said about his re-election campaign in 2020. “So they’re trying to do the thousand stabs.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who momentarily left the news conference, returned as staff was praising the president. She added some levity when Mr. Trump asked if he was “screaming and ranting and raving” at the meeting, or if he was calm.

“I’ve seen both,” she said. “This was definitely not angry or ranting. Very calm and straightforward.”

The response drew laughs from much of the room, but not Mr. Trump, who only flashed a brief but tight smile.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who was in the room for the announcement about aid to farmers, said it was “frustrating” that the positive news for farmers likely would be overshadowed by Mr. Trump’s latest back-and-forth with Mrs. Pelosi.

“Obviously he is a very passionate leader,” Mr. Perdue said.

Write to Michael C. Bender at Mike.Bender@wsj.com

FILE PHOTO: An employee of a bank counts US dollar notes at a branch in Hanoi
FILE PHOTO: An employee of a bank counts US dollar notes at a branch in Hanoi, Vietnam May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

May 24, 2019

By Daniel Leussink

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar held steady on Friday, having come off two-year highs on lower U.S. yields in the previous session amid fears that a trade war with China will hurt the U.S. economy more than previously thought.

The greenback was not helped by rising expectations for an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve later this year to help boost the world’s biggest economy.

Against a basket of key rival currencies, the dollar was largely unchanged at 97.906, having fallen from a two-year high of 98.371 overnight. The index is still up 1.8% for the year.

“Global risk aversion stemming from the intensifying U.S.-China trade tension is causing the stronger yen,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities.

“Markets are pricing in the potential negative impact on the U.S. economy and the U.S. equity markets,” he said, referring to U.S.-China trade tensions.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump said U.S. complaints against Huawei Technologies Co Ltd might be resolved within the framework of a U.S.-China trade deal, while at the same time calling the Chinese telecommunications giant “very dangerous.”

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield was last up slightly at 2.3309%.

Overnight, it fell to its lowest since October 2017 after an early read on U.S. manufacturing activity for May posted its weakest pace of growth in almost a decade, suggesting a sharp slowdown in economic growth was underway.

There was only a 38.2% expectation on Thursday that U.S. interest rates will be at current levels in October of this year, compared to 58.3% a month ago, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

Against the yen, the dollar edged up to 109.695 yen, having giving up two-thirds of a percent overnight to record its steepest drop in a single session in two months.

The greenback is still 0.6% above a three-month trough of 109.02 yen touched on May 13.

The Australian dollar held steady at $0.6904, putting it on track to finish the week with a 0.5% gain, its first positive weekly performance in six weeks.

Elsewhere in the foreign exchange market, the euro was flat at $1.1183, having bounced from a two-year low of $1.11055 during the previous session.

The single currency came under pressure after a private survey showed activity in Germany’s services and manufacturing sectors fell in May, aggravating fears about the effect of unresolved trade disputes on Europe’s largest economy.

Compounding these worries, European parliamentary elections began on Thursday with eurosceptic parties expected to do well, raising concerns about the single currency’s stability.

(Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 – http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh)

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

Julian Assange

Julian Assange from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court on April 11, 2019 in London, England. Among the charges are three counts that Assange violated the Espionage Act, which prohibits the disclosure of national defense information. | Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The Justice Department has hit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with Espionage Act charges, escalating a legal fight against the high-profile activist and alarming press freedom activists.

DOJ had previously only indicted Assange on a single count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Thursday’s revelation of the additional 18 charges, filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, means Assange could face significantly more prison time if found guilty.

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The alleged Espionage Act violations relate to Assange’s complicity with Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army soldier who was convicted in July 2013 of violating the Espionage Act after she shuttled troves of classified government information to WikiLeaks. Officials said Assange solicited the information from and then brazenly published details that put the government’s human sources at risk, disregarding explicit warnings from the government.

Traditionally, the Espionage Act has been used against government officials, like Manning, who reveal such classified information, rather than the journalists or foreign nationals who publish the information.

As a result, the use of the Espionage Act against Assange set off alarm bells among press freedom activists on Thursday. While WikiLeaks isn’t a conventional news organization, press advocates have long feared that charging Assange for the publication of government secrets could open the door to prosecuting reporters for doing the same.

“Any government use of the Espionage Act to criminalize the receipt and publication of classified information poses a dire threat to journalists seeking to publish such information in the public interest, irrespective of the Justice Department’s assertion that Assange is not a journalist,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, in a statement.

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who also touched off a debate about the media’s role in publishing secret files when he leaked classified information to reporters in 2013, proclaimed: “the Department of Justice just declared war – not on Wikileaks, but on journalism itself.”

John Demers, head of DOJ’s national security division, pushed back at that argument on Thursday, insisting Assange is “not a journalist,” and alleging that the WikiLeaks founder “purposely published names he knew to be confidential human sources in warzones.”

It’s a debate that Justice Department officials have grappled with for years. The Obama administration previously looked into bringing similar charges against Assange, but decided against it.

“We didn’t bring this [Espionage Act] case for a couple of reasons,” said Matt Miller, an Obama-era DOJ spokesman. “First, we thought it was a dangerous precedent to prosecute Assange for something that reporters do all the time. We didn’t believe Assange was a journalist, but the Espionage Act doesn’t make any distinction between journalists and others, so if you can apply it to Assange, there’s no real reason you couldn’t apply it to [The New York Times]. Second, and it’s related, it’s not at all clear that charging someone with the publication of classified information could survive court scrutiny.”

Assange’s legal case took off in April after Ecuador revoked its seven-year asylum, forcing him out of the embassy in London and paving the way for his extradition to the United States for one of the biggest ever leaks of classified information. Justice Department officials said they could not comment on how this might affect Assange’s extradition from the U.K. to the U.S.

Among Thursday’s charges are three counts that Assange violated the Espionage Act, which prohibits the disclosure of national defense information. The Justice Department alleged that Assange published select State Department cables that contained the unredacted names of human sources in Iran, China and Syria. He also published Afghan activity reports and Iraq activity reports that endangered local Afghans and Iraqis, prosecutors alleged.

“It was explicitly stated in the State Department cables that the identity of sources was to be protected,” a Justice Department official told reporters on Thursday. “Assange was warned by the State Department not to release the names but he did so nevertheless.”

However, the government has not identified any individuals who were directly killed a result of Assange’s disclosures. The U.S. counterintelligence official who led the Pentagon’s review of the bombshell leaks told a court during Manning’s sentencing hearing in 2013 that investigators had not been able to find any such instances.

Still, Zach Terwilliger, the assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, stressed that the government was “not charging Assange for passively obtaining classified information.” Rather, he is being prosecuted for publishing “a narrow set of classified documents in which Assange also published the names of innocent people who risked their safety” to help the United States.

“Assange is not charged simply because he is a publisher,” Terwilliger told reporters on Thursday.

Prosecutors said Manning had contacted Assange as early as November 2009, responding “to Assange’s solicitation of classified information made through the WikiLeaks website.” The appeal included a “Military and Intelligence Most Wanted Leaks” category that solicited CIA detainee interrogation videos.

Assange also encouraged Manning to transfer him Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment briefs in March 2010, according to chats obtained by the government, as well as Iraq rule of engagement files and 75,000 Afghanistan war-related significant activity reports.

John Brown, the FBI assistant director for national security, said the indictment was “the result of nearly a decade” of work.

The original Assange indictment, brought in March 2018 and unsealed in April of this year, charged the WikiLeaks founder with conspiring with Manning to hack a government computer to obtain hundreds of thousands of U.S. military reports about U.S. wars in the Middle East. WikiLeaks later published the leaked information.

Assange faces up to 10 years in prison on each count.

Manning was jailed in March after being held in contempt by a judge in Virginia for refusing to testify before a grand jury about Assange. She is still in prison, and DOJ officials would not comment on her situation on Thursday.

Michael Calderone contributed to this report.

Shipping containers are seen at a port in Lianyungang
FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers are seen at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

May 23, 2019

By Doina Chiacu and Stella Qiu

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States and China had a heated exchange on Thursday, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accusing Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies of lying about its ties to the government and Beijing saying Washington must end its “wrong actions” if it wanted trade talks to continue.

U.S. tech stocks were the hardest hit in an overall sharp global market drop on Thursday in signs the conflict between the world’s two biggest economies was being seen as a battle not just over trade but also about who controls global technology.

Citing national security concerns, Washington last week effectively banned U.S. firms from doing business with Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms network gear maker, taking the stakes to a different level days after negotiators appeared to be making headway on trade.

Tech companies around the world fell in line. Japanese conglomerate Panasonic Corp said it had stopped shipments of some Huawei components, a day after British chip designer ARM did the same, potentially crippling the Chinese company’s ability to make new chips for smartphones.

Asked if he believed more firms would stop working with Huawei, Pompeo told CNBC in an interview on Thursday: “We do. We’ve been working at the State Department to make sure that everyone understands the risks.”

Pompeo said the chief executive of China’s Huawei Technologies was lying about his company’s lack of ties to the Beijing government, which he said represented a security risk.

“The company is deeply tied not only to China but to the Chinese Communist Party. And that connectivity, the existence of those connections puts American information that crosses those networks at risk,” he said.

   “If you put your information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, it’s de facto a real risk to you. They may not use it today, they may not use it tomorrow.”

Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services.

U.S. HELP FOR TECH FIRMS, FARMERS

U.S. lawmakers moved on Wednesday to provide about $700 million in grants to help U.S. telecoms providers with the cost of removing Huawei equipment from their networks, and to block the use of equipment or services from Huawei and Chinese telecoms firm ZTE in next-generation 5G networks.

On Thursday, China’s Commerce Ministry hit back.

“If the United States wants to continue trade talks, they should show sincerity and correct their wrong actions. Negotiations can only continue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” spokesman Gao Feng told a weekly briefing.

“We will closely monitor relevant developments and prepare necessary responses,” he said, without elaborating.

No trade talks have been scheduled since the last round ended on May 10, when President Donald Trump hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and took steps to impose more, prompting China to respond with levies of its own.

Trump has threatened to slap tariffs of up to 25% on an additional list of Chinese imports worth about $300 billion, but his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday said he was hopeful the two sides could resume negotiations.

Sources have said the talks stalled after China tried to delete commitments from a draft agreement that its laws would be changed to enact new policies on issues from intellectual property protection to forced technology transfers.

With no resolution in sight, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday announced a $16 billion aid program to help U.S. farmers hurt by the conflict, with some funds to be used to open markets outside China to U.S. products. Farmers have been among those hardest hit by the trade war.

Retailers, including Best Buy Co Inc and Walmart Inc, are also warning that the tariffs will raise prices for consumers. The newest round will cost the typical American household $831 annually, according to research on Thursday from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Pompeo also confirmed a New York Times report on Wednesday that China was using high-tech surveillance to set up an intrusive policing effort that could be used to subdue its minorities, including ethnic Muslim Uighurs.

The United States is considering Huawei-like sanctions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision Digital Technology Co Ltd over the issue, a person briefed on the matter said.

Also feeding into tensions, the U.S. military said it sent two Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, prompting Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang to lodge “stern representations.”

Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.

Trump, who has embraced protectionism as part of an “America First” agenda aimed at rebalancing global trade, is due to discuss the farmers’ aid program in remarks scheduled for 3:15 p.m. EDT (1915 GMT) at the White House.

He is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G20 summit in Japan June 28-29, around the time when the next levies could be ready, according to Mnuchin’s calculations.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey in Washington, and Stella Qiu and Kevin Yao in Beijing; Writing by Andrea Shalal and Sonya Hepinstall; Editing by Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

The Trump administration on Thursday announced plans to offer $16 billion to farmers who were suffering losses as a result of President Trump’s failing trade war with China, which he once claimed was making the United States rich by bringing in tariff revenue.

Trump authorized the Department of Agriculture to spend up to $16 billion on “trade mitigation programs” to compensate farmers for losses stemming from China’s retaliatory tariffs.

Yet, Trump has consistently boasted about how successful his trade war would be in making the U.S. wealthier.

“Billions of Dollars are pouring into the coffers of the U.S.A. because of the Tariffs being charged to China, and there is a long way to go,” Trump wrote on Twitter last November. “If companies don’t want to pay Tariffs, build in the U.S.A. Otherwise, lets just make our Country richer than ever before!”

This is just one of many times in which he’s lied about the effects of tariffs, even arguing that revenue generated by them would help pay down the federal debt.

As Thursday’s announcement shows, however, his misguided trade war is just another example of how one bad government policy begets another. First, he slaps a tax on imports, which will inevitably lead to retaliatory action on our exports. The solution, then, becomes more government subsidies.

Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth asked the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general Thursday to investigate whether the agency broke the law in granting dozens of waivers to the oil industry to not blend corn ethanol into the gasoline supply.

Duckworth said new documents show that EPA has deceived members of Congress about its reasons for granting 35 small refinery exemptions in the last two years, compared to the seven granted under the Obama administration.

“Recent document disclosures reveal that the EPA misled Members of Congress, industry and the public,” the senator said in a letter to EPA acting Inspector General Charles Sheehan. “This deception by EPA political appointees may indicate improper motives and conflicts of interest, and it warrants a thorough review.”

Duckworth is the first lawmaker to call on the EPA inspector’s office to launch such a probe after months of prodding by the likes of Iowa Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst demanding that agency stop granting the exemptions to oil companies. They argue that most of the refineries were attached to large oil companies such as Exxon, which do not meet the requirements for an exemption under the law.

Duckworth’s state is the third-largest ethanol producer in the country behind Iowa and Nebraska. The ethanol industry argues that the agency’s refinery exemptions have caused producers of the corn-based fuel to lose market share.

The refinery industry says the ethanol industry’s argument is baseless, arguing that they need the waivers to reduce the costs imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard. The standard requires refiners to blend an increasing amount of ethanol and other renewable fuels into the fuel supply each year.

But with increased pressure on farmers from President Trump’s trade policies with China, lawmakers say the exemption program is exacerbating the economic harm to farmers. Farmers are suffering from China’s retaliatory tariffs on soybeans and a range of other U.S. agricultural commodities.

Nevertheless, the EPA is poised to roll back regulations in a week to allow more ethanol to be sold during the summer months by lifting restrictions on 15% ethanol fuel blends. The pro-ethanol camp says the plan, endorsed personally by Trump, will be a boon to corn farmers. But with the trade war and the refinery exemptions in place, they say, those gains could be lost.

Meanwhile, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., on Thursday introduced legislation to prevent the agency from abusing the refinery exemption program. The ethanol lobby in Washington applauded the bipartisan bill as a means of ensuring transparency is reintroduced back into the refinery waiver program.


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. 

Narendra Modi’s landslide reelection is good news for America. It means that India will continue its slow but significant movement towards economic modernity and will support the evolving architecture of U.S. global order.

While the final results aren’t yet in, it’s clear that Modi has won big. The prime minister’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to secure a majority of around 300 seats in the 543-seat Lok Sabha Parliament, beating out its closest rival, the Indian National Congress, by a ratio of 6 to 1. That will enable Modi to advance his reforms over the resistance of the INC-led progressive alliance and consolidate India’s footprint as a major global power.

Modi’s reforms have stagnated recently, so we can hope that this new mandate will give him new energy to push through the vested interests and turn India into a dynamic free-market economy.

That economy, in and of itself is in America’s interest. After all, with a young, increasingly wealthy population, India offers a major new market for higher-value U.S. exporters. Firms like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and medical companies will be beneficiaries here, as will the U.S. economy at large. In the interest of consolidating India’s trust in a U.S. economic alliance, President Trump should push for a near-term trade deal. That will give Modi the means of a new job surge in export markets. But it will also set the groundwork for U.S. exports in the decades ahead. Free trade can benefit us all.

Modi’s victory is also important for U.S. security. The world’s most populous democracy, India can become the keystone partner to U.S.-led international order in the 21st century. The challenge of China looms large here.

Fortunately, thanks to Xi Jinping’s immeasurable penchant for ill-advised arrogance, India is recognizing that China is no friend. And in recent months, Modi has escalated India’s naval capability and his support for the U.S. military. This offers a geostrategic linchpin against China’s domination of the Indian Ocean and gateway to the Arabian and Mediterranean seas. If that sounds like a very ambitious Chinese aspiration, it is. But remember, the Chinese think in terms of decades and generations, not two- or four-year election cycles. To beat them, we need a long-term partner.

Modi is helping shape that partnership. In the prime minister, we have a pro-American partner who shares our values and our concerns. We should double down on India with haste.


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