Wall

The U.S.-Mexico border fence is seen in El Paso
FILE PHOTO – The U.S.-Mexico border fence is seen in El Paso, Texas, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

March 25, 2019

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A caravan of some 1,200 migrants from Central America and Cuba began moving towards the U.S. border from southern Mexico this weekend, migration authorities said on Sunday.

The National Migration Institute said the migrants were already inside Mexico when they opted to form a caravan in the southern city of Tapachula on the border with Guatemala.

Early on Saturday, the large group of people set off towards the town of Huixtla in the southern state of Chiapas, a route followed by previous groups heading north, the institute said.

Caravans of migrants bound for the United States have sparked friction with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has accused Mexico of failing to contain illegal immigration and wants a border wall built to stop people crossing.

The new government of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pledged to curb the migrant flows by better regulating the movement of people, and by offering job opportunities and better pay for those willing to stay.

The migration institute said the roughly 1,200 migrants were from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Cuba.

(Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Source: OANN

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

A megawealthy German family with stakes in recognizable businesses like Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Panera Bread announced they will donate roughly $11 million to charity in reaction to new knowledge about how their family business profited off of the Nazi regime during World War II.

German newspaper Bild reported Sunday that the family’s ancestors Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr. took advantage of forced laborers under Nazi control. Family spokesman Peter Harf confirmed Sunday that the Reimanns had recently received information that confirmed Bild’s report, which detailed the family’s business operations during World War II, reported Sky News.

The family has not decided what organization will benefit from the donation and will release the report, which they first commissioned in 2014, when it is ready, Harf said according to The Associated Press. Harf is also a managing partner of the Reimann’s JAB Holding Company. (RELATED: Democratic Senate Candidate Mark Kelly Returns $55,000 Check For Speaking In United Arab Emirates)

“We were all ashamed and turned as white as the wall,” Harf said of the family’s reaction to the revelations. “There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting.”

Peter Harf, chairman of the board of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, attends a shareholders' meeting in Brussels April 26, 2011. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

Peter Harf, chairman of the board of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, attends a shareholders’ meeting in Brussels April 26, 2011. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

Reimann Sr. and Reimann Jr. died in 1954 and 1984, respectively, and the family believed they knew the extent of the company’s connection to the Nazis through a 1978 report, according to the AP. But the University of Munich historian they hired found that their predecessors used French prisoners of war and Russian civilians as forced labor. Forced laborers made up about 30 percent of its industrial chemical company’s workforce in 1943.

Before the Nazis took control of Germany, the Reimanns donated to The Schutzstaffel, also known as SS, a paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler.

The family now has controlling stakes in Pret a Manger, Keurig Green Mountain, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Caribou Coffee Co., according to the AP.

Many organizations have gone back and investigated their connections to the Nazi regime in World War II’s aftermath. A yearlong internal review by the AP itself released in May 2017 concluded a photograph exchange agreement the news organization made with Nazi Germany did not aid the regime.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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Source: The Daily Caller

The flu has not been as severe as in recent years, but it is extending into spring at historical highs, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The rate of medical visits due to the flu is double the baseline 2.2 percent, recording a 4.4 percent for the week ending March 16, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports. It is the highest mark this late in the year since the CDC began recording the data 20 years ago.

"The CDC expects flu activity to remain elevated for a number of weeks, suggesting this season is likely to be relatively long," according to the report, per USA Today. ". . . Flu activity is expected to remain elevated nationally through April."

The flu season generally runs from October to May, and 44 states have widespread flu reports, while 26 are reporting high activity.

"Influenza-like-illness levels have been at or above baseline for 17 weeks this season," CDC reported. "By this measure, the last five seasons have averaged 16 weeks, with a range of 11 to 20 weeks."

Flu symptoms include: stuffy nose, fever, cough, muscle or body aches, headaches, and tiredness.

There have been 76 flu-related pediatric deaths nationwide, according to the report.

Source: NewsMax America

Sister of Owais Malik, a suspected militant, displays her phone with the picture of Malik, at her home in south Kashmir's Kulgam district
Sister of Owais Malik, a suspected militant, displays her phone with the picture of Malik, at her home in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Zeba Siddiqui

March 24, 2019

By Zeba Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari

KULGAM, India (Reuters) – Kashmiri farmer Yusuf Malik learned that his son Owais, a 22-year old arts student and apple picker, had become an armed militant via a Facebook post.

Days after Owais disappeared from his home in this picturesque valley below the Himalayan ranges, his picture appeared on the social network, posted by a user the family said they did not recognize. The short, thin, curly-haired young man in casual jeans and a T-shirt stared resolutely at the camera, both hands clutching an AK-47 rifle.

In blood red font on the photo was scribbled his new allegiance: the Hizbul Mujahideen, or ‘The Party of Warriors’, the largest of the militant groups fighting to free the mostly-Muslim Kashmir from Indian rule.

“He was a responsible kid who cared about his studies,” said Yusuf, 49, staring down at the carpeted floor of his brick home where he sat on a recent winter morning, clasping his folded hands inside his traditional pheran cloak.

The family said it has not heard from Owais since.

Owais is one of a rising number of local militants fighting for independence of Kashmir – an insurgency being spread on social media amid India’s sustained, iron-fisted rule of the region.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops and armed police are stationed in this lush region at the foot of the Himalayas. India and rival Pakistan have always disputed the area and in the past three decades, an uprising against New Delhi’s rule has killed nearly 50,000 civilians, militants and soldiers, by official count.

Historically, that insurrection has largely been led by militants from Pakistan, who have infiltrated into the valley.

But now, an increasing number of locally-born Kashmiris are picking up arms, according to Indian officials. About 400 local Kashmiris have been recruited by militants since the start of 2016, nearly double the number in the previous six years, according to government data. India says Pakistani groups continue to provide training and arms – a claim Islamabad rejects. 

Just a month before Owais Malik showed up on Facebook, another young man, Adil Ahmad Dar, left his home in a nearby part of Kashmir to join a militant group. This February, his suicide attack on a paramilitary convoy killed 40 Indian policemen, and took India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

After Dar’s attack, Indian security forces launched a major crackdown, searching Kashmiri homes and detaining hundreds of supporters, sympathizers and family members of those in armed groups. At least half a dozen gunbattles broke out between Indian police and militants.

The families of Dar and other young militants, as well as some local leaders and political experts, say run-ins between locals and security forces are one of the main reasons for anger and radicalization. After the recent crackdown, they expect more young people to take up arms.

“FREEDOM, MARTYRS”

Outside the narrow lane that leads to the Malik family home in Kulgam in southern Kashmir, children walk to school past shuttered shopfronts and walls spray-painted with the word “azadi”, the local word for “freedom”. The graveyard at the end of the lane has an area for militants, who are remembered as “martyrs”.

Dar’s family claims he’d been radicalized in 2016 after being beaten up by Indian troops on his way back from school for pelting stones at them.

“Since then, he wanted to join the militants,” said his father Ghulam Hassan Dar, a farmer.

India’s home and foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

In news conferences since the suicide bombing, Lt. Gen. K.J.S. Dhillon, India’s top military commander in Kashmir, has dismissed allegations of harassment and rights abuses by Indian troops as “propaganda”. He said the recent crackdown by security forces has resulted in the killing of the masterminds of the attack, and militant recruitment has dipped in recent months.

Syed Ata Hasnain, a retired army general who has served in Kashmir for over 20 years, said the rise in homegrown fighters does not surprise him. 

“Those who were born in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the conflict started, have now come of age,” he said. “This is a generation that has only seen the jackboot. The alienation of this generation is higher than the alienation of the previous generation.”

A 17th century Mughal emperor called Kashmir “paradise on earth”. But violence has ebbed and flowed in the valley since the subcontinent was divided into predominantly Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan after independence from Britain in 1947.

The question of Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, was never resolved, and it has been the catalyst for two wars and several violent clashes between the countries.

Tensions have risen after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in New Delhi in 2014. Modi promised a tougher approach to Pakistan and gave security forces the license to retaliate forcefully against the insurgency.

CULT FOLLOWING

Around that time, many young Kashmiris started rallying around Burhan Wani, who had left home at the age of 15 to join the insurgency. Wani had a large following on social media, where he appeared in videos dressed in military fatigues and armed with an assault rifle, calling for an uprising against Indian rule. 

He and his brother were beaten by security forces when they were teenagers, his family told local media. Wani was 22 when he was killed by security forces in 2016 and thousands attended his funeral despite restrictions on the movement of people and traffic.

The United Nations said in a report last year that in trying to quell mass protests in Kashmir since 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to between 130 and 145 killings, according to civil society estimates.

Thousands were injured, including around 700 who sustained eye injuries from the use of pellet guns by security forces, it said. Thousands of people had simply disappeared since the insurgency began, it said.

The Indian government has rejected the report as false. Indian forces have long been accused of rights abuses and torture in custody in Kashmir, but officials routinely deny the charges.

Instead, India points the finger at Pakistan. Officials say the rebellion in Kashmir is being funded and organized by Pakistan and if they cut off those resources, the insurgency will weaken and it can then focus on building Kashmir’s economy. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group claimed responsibility for the latest attack, which was the deadliest in the insurgency.

Pakistan says it only provides moral support to the Kashmiri right to self-determination.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the Muslim spiritual leader of Kashmir who is considered a moderate separatist, contests that India has true plans to engage politically with the people of Kashmir.

“In the past five years we have seen that the government of India has only spoken to Kashmiris through the barrel of the gun, that’s it. There is no political approach,” he said.

“Nobody is dying in Kashmir for lack of roads, electricity and water.” 

LOSING ANOTHER SON

A few miles south of Owais Malik’s home in Kulgam lives Masuma Begum, who said her son and brother had been called in to an army camp two days after the latest bombing and have been held since then.

A military spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Behind the glass panes of a wall shelf above her were photos of a smiling young man, an assault rifle slung on his shoulder.

“That’s my other son, Tausif,” Masuma Begum said. The 24-year-old had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen in 2013 and been killed by the army the same year, she said. “I don’t want to lose another son.”

(Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari in KULGAM; Editing by Martin Howell and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Source: OANN

After news broke Friday that the Mueller report was finished and no more indictments were forthcoming, the walls “closed in” around an ominous phrase that many political and media figures used frequently over the past two years.

Presumably hoping that his two-year inquiry would lead to the president’s impeachment and removal from office, many verified Twitter accounts had described special counsel Robert Mueller as “closing in” around President Donald Trump at various times throughout the investigation, according to a popular meme circulating online and confirmed by The Daily Caller.

FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller, as FBI director, listens during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing about the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller, as FBI director, listens during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing about the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo

One of the earliest uses of the phrase seems to be from a tweet by Foreign Policy magazine that touted a column by Max Boot, a Washington Post columnist and senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations. “Trump should be scared,” the tweet warned. “Robert Mueller is closing in on him.”

Written June 2017, a month after the special counsel’s appointment, Boot’s piece claimed that Trump was terrified in light of Mueller’s character—”universally respected for his integrity and doggedness”—and the tenacious competence of his “hunter-killer team of crack investigators and lawyers.” He asserted that “what worries Trump is not that Mueller may be a Democratic partisan […] but that the Marine combat veteran cannot be bought off or intimidated.”

Boot teamed up later that year with Max Bergman, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, to write a December 2017 column for The Guardian about how much further Mueller had “closed in.” “Mueller is coming,” they predicted in the wake of the indictments of Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn. (RELATED: Michael Flynn Charged With Making False Statement To The FBI)

Claiming that Mueller’s indictments were moving closer and closer into the president’s inner circle, Bergman and Boot argued that an indictment of Trump was inevitable, for which reason Congress was duty-bound to pass legislation preventing the investigation from being shut down.

Over the years, the “closing in” analogy seemingly became a mantra among those who anxiously awaited Mueller to issue the death knell of the Trump presidency.

Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen departs after he testified behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen departs after he testified behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Former Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown went after Trump and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 7, 2018, after the Department of Justice sued the state of California for failing to enforce federal immigration law. Brown dismissed the lawsuit as a “political stunt” enacted by an attorney general who could not be normal because Mueller was “closing in” and about to issue more indictments. (RELATED: California Gov. Channels Trump In Response To DOJ Lawsuit)

Outspoken liberal Hollywood director Rob Reiner, who became famous in the 1970s playing progressive layabout Michael “Meathead” Stivic on “All in the Family,” claimed on May 10, 2018, that Vice President Mike Pence’s call for an end to the Mueller investigation was an indication that “the special counsel is closing in on guilt” and that Trump “doesn’t know whether to shit or wind his watch.”

Former CIA Director John O. Brennan said Dec. 7, 2018, on “Morning Joe” that “Mr. Trump is seeing more and more of the walls closing in on him, which is why he’s becoming increasingly desperate.” (FLASHBACK: John Brennan Predicted Additional Mueller Indictments Just Two Weeks Ago)

Politico quoted multimedia journalist Chris Whipple in December 2018 as saying, “This White House is headed into a world of trouble — a Democratic Congress, Mueller closing in, and anybody who comes into this White House has to be thinking about lawyering up.”

The Democratic Party’s National Lawyers Council chair Andrew Weinstein scolded Trump for the impending government shutdown on Dec. 20, tweeting, “The economy is slowing, the Dow is tanking, Mueller is closing in, North Korea still has nukes, Putin is getting his way in Syria, and yet Republicans in Congress are willing to shutdown the government over Trump’s stupid wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for. What a disgrace.”

On the same day, executive producer of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Andy Lassner, tweeted, “Trump knows Mueller is closing in fast. So now, he’s gonna bring down the whole fucking thing with him. Brace yourselves.”

When BuzzFeed reported on Jan. 17, 2019 that Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen told investigators that the president had instructed him to lie to Congress, former CBS news anchor Dan Rather tweeted that the bombshell, if true, was “a political earthquake” and concluded that “the walls do appear to be closing in” around Trump. Mueller’s office personally denied BuzzFeed’s story the next day, in a rare public statement. (RELATED: Mueller’s Office Disputes BuzzFeed’s Report)

Since Mueller delivered his report to Attorney General William Barr with no further indictments, many pundits have been comparatively muted as the walls have seemingly stopped closing in for now. As Reuters tweeted Friday, “Robert Mueller is closing up shop …”

Max Boot reminded his Twitter followers Saturday that “Trump is doing great damage even when he is not violating the law.”

“I figured I would go on Twitter to suggest we all give social media a break until we actually have something to read and talk about,” Dan Rather reflected Saturday afternoon. “Maybe take a walk? Call an old friend? Read a book? Check out college basketball…”

Source: The Daily Caller

NASCAR: Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube
FILE PHOTO: Mar 3, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) celebrates after winning the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — With surgical efficiency, Joey Logano continued his domination of knockout qualifying at Martinsville Speedway.

Saving his car and his tires for the final round of Saturday’s time trials at the .526-mile short track, Logano won the pole for Sunday’s STP 500 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) with a lap at 97.830 mph (19.356 seconds).

Driving the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, Logano edged Stewart-Haas Racing Ford driver Aric Almirola (97.643 mph) for the top starting spot by .037 seconds. Brad Keselowski (97.458 mph) qualified third, followed by Kevin Harvick (97.382 mph), as Ford drivers captured the top four positions on the grid.

The Busch Pole Award was Logano’s first of the season, his fifth at Martinsville and the 21st of his career. Logano ran only three laps total in the first two rounds, allowing him to save his tires for a four-lap run in the final round. His last lap was his fastest.

“It’s awesome to get another pole and hopefully we can top it off with another win,” said Logano, who used a victory in last year’s Playoff race at Martinsville as a springboard to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. “This is a fun race. I always look forward to coming up here.”

Logano has earned his five of the last seven contested poles at Martinsville over a nine-race span, with two of the qualifying sessions canceled because of adverse weather.

All told, Fords claimed six of the top 12 starting positions, including Team Penske drivers Logano and Keselowski and all four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers — Almirola, Harvick, Daniel Suarez (10th) and Clint Bowyer (11th). In contrast to Logano’s economical runs, Bowyer had 16 laps on his tires at the end of the final round.

Five-time Martinsville winner Denny Hamlin paced the first two rounds but had to settle for fifth when the starting order for the top 12 drivers was decided. Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. (ninth) were the only Toyota drivers to make the final round.

William Byron was sixth fastest in the money round to lead four Chevrolets in the final 12. He was joined by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson (seventh) and fellow Hendrick Motorsports drivers Chase Elliott (eighth) and Jimmie Johnson (12th), who leads active drivers with nine victories at the paper-clip-shaped track.

Trying for his third straight Cup win on Sunday — not to mention a weekend sweep of the Martinsville races — Saturday’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victor Kyle Busch will start 14th in the STP 500.

“Too loose. Just didn’t have it with track conditions today,” said Busch, who opted not to make a mock qualifying run during practice.

For Byron, the sixth-place run was a welcome end to a frustrating day. Early in Saturday’s opening practice, his No. 24 Chevrolet bounced off the outside wall. His crew spent the rest of the session — and then some — repairing the car.

“I’m kind of optimistic, but we’ve had a rough day,” Byron said after qualifying. “These two-day shows are tough, and we started out with a flat right front (tire) and hit the wall. Then in second practice, we were way behind because we didn’t have enough practice time.

“The guys made a lot of great changes to get it right going into qualifying. We were really struggling over the bumps over both ends, really, and getting on the concrete (in the corners). We’ll see what happens — should be fun.”

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying — 70th Annual STP 500

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

1. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 97.830 mph.

2. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 97.643 mph.

3. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 97.458 mph.

4. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 97.382 mph.

5. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 97.362 mph.

6. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet, 97.202 mph.

7. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 97.098 mph.

8. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 97.053 mph.

9. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 97.018 mph.

10. (41) Daniel Suarez, Ford, 96.830 mph.

11. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 96.706 mph.

12. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 96.573 mph.

13. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 96.755 mph.

14. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 96.716 mph.

15. (21) Paul Menard, Ford, 96.696 mph.

16. (47) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 96.671 mph.

17. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 96.647 mph.

18. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 96.602 mph.

19. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 96.602 mph.

20. (1) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 96.499 mph.

21. (6) Ryan Newman, Ford, 96.484 mph.

22. (95) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 96.465 mph.

23. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 96.357 mph.

24. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 96.146 mph.

25. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 96.298 mph.

26. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 96.107 mph.

27. (43) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 95.917 mph.

28. (00) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 95.709 mph.

29. (8) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 95.603 mph.

30. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 95.569 mph.

31. (15) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 95.415 mph.

32. (36) Matt Tifft #, Ford, 95.415 mph.

33. (52) Jeb Burton(i), Chevrolet, 94.689 mph.

34. (77) DJ Kennington(i), Chevrolet, 94.618 mph.

35. (32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 0.000 mph.

36. (51) Cody Ware #, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.

–Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, Special to Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NASCAR: Daytona 500
FILE PHOTO: Feb 17, 2019; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch prior to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — A week after locking up his 200th NASCAR national series victory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Kyle Busch took the first step toward the next century mark.

Holding off challenges from Ross Chastain and runner-up Ben Rhodes, Busch survived a late restart in winning Saturday’s TruNorth Global 250 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

The race ended under a last-lap caution, after Reid Wilson’s No. 44 Chevrolet spun in Turn 4 and nosed toward the inside wall. Rhodes was running second when the yellow flag waved, with reigning series champion Brett Moffitt third and Chastain fourth.

The victory was Busch’s second at the .526-mile short track in his own Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. Busch has won each of his three starts this season and now has 54 victories in Trucks, extending his series record.

“These guys worked really, really hard this weekend,” Busch said of crew chief Rudy Fugle and the No. 51 team. “We unloaded, and I didn’t like where we were at. We made wholesale changes to this thing all weekend long and just tried to keep improving this Cessna Beechcraft Tundra and make it faster…

“All these guys kept trying to make it turn the center (of the corner) better. At Martinsville, you have to turn the center without getting too loose in or too loose off. … And we had enough tire at the end to hold them all off.”

Busch led 174 of the 250 laps, including the final 66. He passed Chastain for the top spot on Lap 185 and held it the rest of the way through four subsequent cautions before the final restart with three circuits remaining.

“Today we just kind of let the race play out and come to us,” Busch said.

Rhodes had a second-place car but not a race winner — and he knew it.

“It was a good day at Martinsville,” Rhodes conceded. “It was the best finish I’ve had here yet. I was surprised — qualifying 16th. We had a fast Ford F150, but we just needed a little more. We got beat by the best in the business. He knows what he’s doing here.

“It was fun following him and seeing how he was pacing himself. That’s something I’ve struggled with in the past… Anytime you restart next to that guy, I try to log it in my memory banks so I can just try and get him next time.”

Pole winner Stewart Friesen finished fifth after leading 19 laps, third most behind Busch and Chastain (53). Myatt Snider, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Bubba Wallace completed the top 10.

French Canadian driver Raphael Lessard finished 14th in his first start in the Truck Series.

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race — 21st Annual TruNorth Global 250

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Saturday, March 23, 2019

1. (2) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 250.

2. (16) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 250.

3. (5) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 250.

4. (10) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 250.

5. (1) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 250.

6. (15) Myatt Snider, Ford, 250.

7. (19) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 250.

8. (6) Matt Crafton, Ford, 250.

9. (8) Johnny Sauter, Ford, 250.

10. (13) Bubba Wallace(i), Chevrolet, 250.

11. (18) Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 250.

12. (21) David Gilliland, Toyota, 250.

13. (12) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 250.

14. (7) Raphael Lessard, Toyota, 250.

15. (3) Todd Gilliland, Toyota, 250.

16. (9) Austin Hill, Toyota, 250.

17. (4) Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, 250.

18. (11) Derek Kraus, Toyota, 250.

19. (14) Tyler Ankrum #, Toyota, 250.

20. (24) Spencer Davis, Ford, 249.

21. (23) Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 249.

22. (26) Austin Theriault, Ford, 248.

23. (20) Tyler Dippel #, Chevrolet, 248.

24. (27) Reid Wilson, Chevrolet, 247.

25. (30) Korbin Forrister, Toyota, 246.

26. (29) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 246.

27. (25) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 244.

28. (32) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, 240.

29. (28) Brennan Poole, Toyota, 239.

30. (31) Daniel Sasnett, Chevrolet, 238.

31. (22) Cory Roper, Ford, Rear End, 225.

32. (17) Gus Dean #, Chevrolet, Oil Line, 61.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 70.175 mph.

Time of Race: 1 hours, 52 minutes, 26 seconds. Margin of Victory: Under Caution Seconds.

Caution Flags: 7 for 50 laps.

Lead Changes: 8 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders: S. Friesen 1-8;K. Busch(i) 9-74;A. Hill 75-79;K. Busch(i) 80-120;S. Friesen 121-130;R. Chastain(i) 131-180;K. Busch(i) 181;R. Chastain(i) 182-184;K. Busch(i) 185-250.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch(i) 4 times for 174 laps; Ross Chastain(i) 2 times for 53 laps; Stewart Friesen 2 times for 18 laps; Austin Hill 1 time for 5 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 51, 52, 13, 4, 45, 88, 24, 16, 8, 46

Stage #2 Top Ten: 45, 99, 51, 52, 24, 18, 13, 16, 27, 4

–By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service. Special to Field Level Media.

Source: OANN

NASCAR: Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube
Mar 3, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) celebrates after winning the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Joey Logano offers understanding, but no apologies.

After he applied the bumper to Martin Truex Jr.’s Toyota in the final corner of last year’s fall race at Martinsville Speedway, Logano edged past Truex for the race victory and a guaranteed berth in the Championship 4 event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In that season finale, Logano went on to win his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.

Logano understood why Truex was upset at being denied his first short-track win on the final lap. But Logano wasn’t sorry.

Given that the series is returning to Martinsville this weekend for the first time since last November’s memorable race, it was inevitable that the subject of the bump-and-run would come up.

“I mean, it’s in the past at this point,” Logano said. “But I think at that point Martin texted me and, like I told you guys, he was pretty clear that he was frustrated with the move. I understood, and I think he understood why I had to do it, and it kind of played out and worked out, but my move to him was that I didn’t wreck you. I gave the old bump-and-run.

“That happened 15 times a race here at Martinsville, and that one was just a little more popular. I think there’s a fine line. You don’t want to straight out bump somebody on purpose, but you also, when it comes down to the end of the race like that and there’s that much on the line, … that was our shot to win a championship.

“So I think every driver has a line that they are OK with and that you can go to sleep at the end of the night and say, ‘I did what I had to do and I’m all right with it,’ and if it happened to me, you have to be OK with that as well. I think that was the situation for me that I was trying to explain to him.”

COREY LAJOIE SUFFERS BRAKE FAILURE, HARD CRASH IN PRACTICE

Perhaps the most uncomfortable feeling at any race track comes from stabbing the brakes and feeling the pedal sink to the floorboard.

That’s what happened to Corey LaJoie, whose No. 32 GoFas Racing Ford crashed hard into the Turn 1 wall after his brakes failed in Saturday’s opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Martinsville Speedway.

The car suffered extensive front-end damage, leaving the right front tire barely rolling at a cockeyed angle as LaJoie nursed the car back to pit road.

“I’ll tell you, there is no coffee strong enough that will wake you up like losing brakes into Turn 1 at Martinsville,” LaJoie said after the crash. “It’s not a good feeling losing brakes. It had like a half-pedal, and then it felt like it blew through the seal or something.

“It’s unfortunate, because small teams like ours, we don’t really bring a backup (car) that’s fully ready to go, so my guys have a lot of work ahead of them. I’ll probably pitch in and help a little bit, but, obviously, our backup is not going to be as good as the car that we choose and bring as our primary.”

MARTINSVILLE CUP PRACTICES PRODUCE MIXED BAG OF LEADERS

With teams toggling back and forth between race trim and qualifying trim, Saturday’s two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice sessions at Martinsville Speedway produced radically different groups of cars at the top of the leaderboard.

Clint Bowyer, defending race winner in Sunday’s STP 500 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), paced the opening session with a lap at 97.674 mph. Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola, Bowyer’s teammates at Stewart-Haas racing, were second and third fastest, respectively.

Happy Hour was a completely different story. With Chase Elliott leading the way at 97.542 mph, Hendrick Motorsports drivers claimed the top three spots on the leaderboard. Alex Bowman was second fastest, followed by nine-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson, who is looking for a turnaround after four straight finishes of 12th or worse at the .526-mile short track.

Martin Truex Jr., the victim of a last-lap bump-and-run in last year’s Playoff race at Martinsville, figures to be a contender again Sunday, after leading consecutive-lap averages over runs of five, 10 and 20 laps.

Near the end of final practice, Cody Ware wheel-hopped into the outside wall. His No. 51 Chevrolet sustained heavy damage in the accident.

–By Reid Spencer, NASCAR wire service. Special to Field Level Media.

Source: OANN

A woman walks past a wall painted with the election symbol of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in an alley at a residential area in Kolkata
A woman walks past a wall painted with the election symbol of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in an alley at a residential area in Kolkata, India, March 22, 2019. Picture taken March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

March 23, 2019

By Zeba Siddiqui

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – For over a decade Arvind Singh has worked as a watchman in New Delhi, doing the rounds of the streets with a whistle and a wooden stick to keep vigil at night.

Watchmen like him are so ubiquitous in India, guarding everything from offices to homes and stores to factories, that their presence goes almost unnoticed. But over the past week, the watchman has dominated India’s headlines.

That’s because the latest campaign to be launched this week by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just before a general election beginning on April 11 is the “Main bhi chowkidar” or “I am also a watchman” campaign.

He tied an appeal to tens of millions of often poorly paid watchmen to the priorities of his own job, following a suicide bomb attack that killed 40 paramilitary policemen in the northern region of Kashmir last month.

“We both work day and night. You guard homes and I guard the nation,” Modi said in an audio speech addressed to watchmen on Wednesday.

“The watchman has become a symbol of the country’s nationalism,” he said, equating everyone from teachers and doctors to watchmen guarding the country in their own way.

The campaign came in response to the opposition Congress party’s slogan “chowkidar chor hai”, or the nation’s “watchman is a thief”, which it began using late last year to refer to Modi in connection with allegations of irregularities in the awarding of a defense contract. Modi has denied any wrongdoing.

In recent days, leaders and supporters of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have launched a coordinated effort to popularize his watchman campaign, with many changing their social media names to add the prefix ‘chowkidar’.

But for many watchmen, who are among the millions in India’s vast informal economy where workers are often poorly paid and barely protected by labor laws, Modi’s campaign is a political gimmick that is unlikely to improve their lives.

“I don’t know why they started it,” said Rakesh Yadav, a 37-year-old watchman from India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

“In the last four years they have done nothing for us,” he said, looking up from a newspaper while on duty outside a residential complex in New Delhi.

“If PM was a chowkidar, would Nirav Modi run away?” said another watchman, Mohammed Nayyar, referring to a billionaire jeweler who fled to Britain last year before an alleged $2 billion loan fraud he is accused of being involved in came to light. The jeweler is not related to the prime minister.

The cash-based economy suffered a serious hit from the Modi government’s shock move to ban high-value currency notes in 2016.

‘DONE A LOT’

Singh remembers being unable to feed his children for some days and standing in long queues at the banks to exchange the voided currency for new notes.

“What has changed in our lives? We are doing the same duty we were doing some years ago,” he said, adding that his salary had not increased from about $130 a month in three years.

The chowkidar campaign is a distinct reminder of Modi’s 2014 “chaiwallah” campaign in which he flaunted his past working for his father as a chaiwallah, or tea vendor.

It may be a gimmick, but such things have worked for Modi in the past, said Priyavadan Patel, a veteran political scientist from Modi’s home state of Gujarat and scholar at the Lokniti research program of Delhi’s Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

“The chaiwalla campaign worked in a big way,” Patel said.

Such connections with the common man helped the BJP to gain a big parliamentary majority, the likes of which had not been seen in three decades in India, in 2014.

But that’s unlikely to be repeated this time.

Polls predict Modi might win a second term but with a much smaller majority, amid concerns about a lack of jobs growth and millions of farmers dissatisfied over depressed crop prices.

Some of the most challenging battleground states for Modi’s party are those that depend on the farm economy. “The chowkidar campaign may not work in such areas,” Patel said.

One of those states is Bihar, where the watchman Singh migrated from 12 years ago. He said he wouldn’t go back because working on the farm back home was not profitable.

Yet, he said he believes in Modi, and praised him for air strikes on neighboring Pakistan in response to last month’s bomb attack.

“I feel like Modi ji has done a lot,” he said, using a suffix that denotes respect. “And I think he will do a lot more in the coming years.”

(Edited by Martin Howell, Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The Viacom office is seen in Hollywood, Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: The Viacom office is seen in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

March 22, 2019

By Helen Coster, Liana B. Baker and Kenneth Li

(Reuters) – Viacom Inc’s bitter contract renewal talks with AT&T Inc’s DirecTV that could see the blackout of MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central by midnight Friday are weighing on a possible tie-up of CBS and Viacom, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Although the boards of CBS and Viacom have not discussed or decided on pursuing a merger, these sources say they are studying AT&T’s impact on Viacom and how it affects the company’s motivation to pursue a CBS merger. Viacom needs to resolve the AT&T contract before considering any other strategic moves including mergers and acquisitions, sources said.

Both companies are controlled by the Redstone family’s National Amusements Inc, which pushed for a merger last year but backed off as CBS explores other options before deciding on another run at Viacom.

Viacom would take a substantial financial hit without an AT&T deal. AT&T is Viacom’s largest distributor, representing 24.5 million total video subscribers, and was responsible for about 15 percent of Viacom’s 2018 revenue. At stake are about $2 billion annually in fees and advertising, which are seen declining in any new deal, according to Wall Street estimates.

The 2017 Viacom and Charter Communications Inc renewal resulted in a 15 percent rate decrease. A similar outcome with AT&T could lead to a $156 million drop in annual affiliate fees paid by AT&T to Viacom, although some analysts have estimated an approximate 10 percent decrease this time.

Viacom and AT&T declined to comment. Negotiations continued as of Friday afternoon, sources said.

Failure to reach a deal is seen emboldening CBS and Viacom’s controlling shareholder’s position to put the companies together to give them better leverage in future distribution contract talks.

“Viacom’s clear need for greater negotiating leverage after being dropped by AT&T might be the final factor necessary to drive the long-speculated CBS-Viacom merger given the common control of both companies by the Redstone-controlled National Amusements,” Credit Suisse analyst Doug Mitchelson said in a research note this week.

If AT&T and Viacom walk away from the table, the No. 2 U.S. telecoms company’s position could also be weakened, especially if it faces a combined CBS and Viacom by the end of June, when CBS’s contract with AT&T expires.

Dropping the CBS broadcast network and NFL games would be disastrous to AT&T, and they may end up paying more for Viacom channels through CBS, analysts have said.

Losing Viacom will also weaken AT&T’s leverage as it faces Walt Disney Co and Fox later this year.

(Reporting by Kenneth Li, Helen Coster and Liana B. Baker; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN


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