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thunderball last won the day on February 25

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  2. 关闭开放注册通知 各位会员,本站目前已关闭开放注册,仅接受邀请注册。每人赠送7枚有效期7天的邀请码。7天后未使用的邀请码自动删除。 GOOGLE TRANSLATION: Close Open registration notification Members, this site is closed Open registration, only accept the invitation to register. Each person presents 7 invitation letters valid for 7 days. 7 days after the unused invitation code is automatically deleted.
  3. SIX people have been injured, two of them critically, following an explosion that left a building in the English city of Leicester in flames. A shop and house on Hinckley Road collapsed and fire services struggled to prevent the flames from spreading to nearby buildings. Leicestershire Police initially asked the public to stay away from the road where the explosion happened while first responders tended to what was described as a “major incident.” The department said on its website about three hours later there was no indication the emergency was terror-related. Local media reports witnesses as hearing a heavy explosion and photos and video posted on Twitter and Facebook show an intense fire in a building in the residential street. “It’s blown the shop across both sides of lanes and there is carnage everywhere. It rattled doors and windows here,” one witness told The Mirror. A Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “This is a search and rescue at the moment. It is unknown if people are injured or trapped.” The affected property was a two floor building with a loft conversion that had suffered a “pancake collapse”, she added. The Western Park Convenience Store, at the seat of the blast, is believed to have been open at the time of the explosion. Sixty surrounding homes were evacuted. Jonny Halliwell told The Mirror he joined people running down the street immeidately after the blast to see if they could help. “People grabbed blankets and ran towards the fire to try to help people. There was rubble and shop fittings everywhere. I saw people pulling up chunks of rubble and searching for people underneath.... “The shop was open until 10pm so there would have been people in there at the time” Another witness tweeted: “The Polish shop next to the bus stop has blown up. Avoid the area. Roads closed and lots of sirens in attendance. Smoke everywhere.” Nearby resident Christine Stephens said on Facebook: “Omg our front and back doors shuddered and couldn’t understand why, tjs on Hinckley road has exploded huge fire st the moment.” Police say they are uncertain if anyone was in the Western Park Store or the apartment above it at the time of the blast. Julie Dexter, 56, told The Sun online: “It felt like the house was falling down. I was scared to death. The sound – I thought it was a bomb! There’s just glass everywhere, the road is full of debris, there’s plumes of smoke. I had just gone to wash my hair – I ‘d just dried it and then everything just shook. The doors, windows – the whole house just shook.” “The cause of the explosion will be the subject of a joint investigation by the police and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service,” police said. Leicester is 177 kilometres north of London.
  4. ICELANDIC politicians are considering a law that would ban the circumcision of boys for non-medical reasons, making it the first European country to do so. Some religious leaders in Iceland and across Europe have called the bill an attack on religious freedom. It is seen as a particular threat by Jews and Muslims who traditionally embrace the practice. Under the proposed law, the circumcision of boys — removing the foreskin of the penis, usually when the child is a newborn — would be viewed as equal to female genital mutilation and punishable by up to six years in prison. “This is fundamentally about not causing unnecessary harm to a child,” said Silja Dogg Gunnarsdottir, a politician with the centrist Progressive Party, who introduced the bill this month. The proposed law calls circumcision a violation of human rights “since boys are not able to give an informed consent of an irreversible physical intervention.” Circumcision is not common in Iceland, a small island nation of 340,000 people that is overwhelmingly Lutheran or atheist, with an estimated 100 to 200 Jews and about 1,100 practising Muslims. The bill does not have the formal backing of any government ministers but has drawn the support of 422 Icelandic doctors who favour outlawing the 4,000-year-old religious practice. They have issued a joint statement saying that circumcision violates the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. “In Western societies, circumcision of healthy boys has no significant health benefits,” the doctors’ statement read. Doctor Eyjolfur Thorkelsson said the 422 signatures (a quarter of the country’s practising physicians) were collected in just 48 hours. “For many doctors, it’s an uncomfortable request from parents,” Dr Thorkelsson said. This view is not accepted in Jewish and Muslim communities. During Friday services at a prayer space above a home goods store, Imam Salmann Tamimi warned his multinational congregation about the proposed law. “Circumcision is harmless if it’s done at a hospital,” he said. “This bill is appealing to people’s emotion, not evidence.” He said circumcision was important to Muslims but even more so to Jews. “This is an attack on all religion and especially Judaism,” he said. Rabbi Avi Feldman of the Chabad Jewish Center, who last month became Iceland’s first permanent rabbi since World War II, says he hopes the bill does not become law. In a statement to the AP, he said circumcision is a core Jewish practice that serves as a bedrock of Jewish life. He was hopeful that the “rights for people of all faiths will be preserved and respected.” Parliament is to continue the first reading of the bill in the next week. Ms Gunnarsdottir said many male “victims” of circumcision had reached out to share their stories and seek support since she introduced the bill. “It’s important for us as a society to discuss this,” she said. “The experience of many men who have had this done to their body without consent confirms that.”
  5. SOCIAL media app Snapchat became famed for its fun face filters, which can transform your facial filters Now surgeons say the filters are leading to a concerning new trend — coined “Snapchat Dysmorphia” — with plastic surgery. According to The Sun, Dr Matthew Schulman, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in New York, says patients are even bringing in photos of celebrities with the Snapchat filters and requesting their digitally enhanced features. He revealed: “Everybody basically is using a filter on their own and they’re either taking that next step to bring it to me saying, ‘Hey, this is what I want to look like.’ “Not everyone is going that far, but in their head, that’s what they want to look like and then they’re coming to me and saying I want smoother skin, I want my eyes to be opened up, I want my lips to be fuller. You kind of have those two groups of people.” Renee Engeln, professor of psychology at Northwestern University, and author of Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women, says: “There’s an issue with losing perspective on what you actually look like, and it’s not something we talk about much.” “It’s not enough [to] have to compare yourself to these perfected images of models, but now you’ve got this daily comparison of your real self to this intentional or unintentional fake self that you present on social media. “It’s just one more way to feel like your falling short every day.” She adds: “It’s a real bind we put women in when we give them this non-stop pressure to conform to this particular beauty ideal and then try to shame them when they feel that pressure and they do something about it.” “I don’t think that’s the key here. I think what we want to be moving toward is more real representations of ourselves and I think that’s becoming harder and harder.” This comes after a plastic surgery addict spent $26,000 on huge backside implants but has since admitted she wants them removed. Earlier this month, it was revealed that belly button shaping is the latest plastic surgery trend. Patients are apparently requested a more hooded shape, apparently like model Emily Ratajkowski. It comes as Kylie Jenner, Snapchat’s most-viewed account ever, tweeted last week she was not really using the social media site anymore, causing stocks to plummet US$1.3 billion ($1.7 billion).
  6. AS SOME of their colleagues hid behind cars outside, two police officers ran towards the bloodbath that was unfolding inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. With outrage over reports that at least four Broward County sheriff’s deputies failed to enter the Parkland, Florida, school building while Nikolas Cruz went on a deadly six-minute shooting rampage, the officers from the Coral Springs Police Department recalled the “awful” and “surreal” experience of treating injured kids and trying to convince terrified victims that it was safe to come out of hiding. It “was bad as you can imagine — times 10,” Officer Chris Crawford, an ex-Marine, told reporters. “I have a 2-year-old. I don’t want to send him to school.” According to the New York Post, officer Crawford stuffed gauze into the wounds of a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the back, shoulder, thigh and arm, and treated a girl with shrapnel injuries before paramedics arrived, he said. He then ran into the building, where he found dozens of students who had barricaded themselves inside a classroom. Officer Crawford had to slide his ID badge under the door to convince the victims they could come out. “I had to negotiate [with them]. I don’t blame them,” he said. The day was worse for Sgt. Jeff Heinrich — his wife and son were at the school when the shooting started. Off duty, Sgt. Heinrich raced to the school, where he helped care for a wounded kid before more officers arrived. “It was surreal,” said Sgt. Heinrich. “You never hope it would happen and it did.” His wife and son made it out uninjured, he said, “by the grace of God.” A Coral Springs police dispatcher, meanwhile, was left with a heart-wrenching choice: She decided not to give one Stoneman Douglas caller instructions on how to perform CPR on the wounded, fearing the movement would make the caller a target. “Well, I can’t risk her life to do that, though, so you’re kind of torn for a second,” Julie Vidaud told reporters Friday. Communications administrator Kathy Liriano heard the gunshots echoing on emergency calls. It was a teacher who told Liriano a student had been shot through a door window, but was out of her reach. “I asked her, ‘Is there any way that you can go help?’ And she said, ‘I can’t. I can’t help him right now,’ ” Ms Liriano recalled. The Coral Springs staffers detailed their experiences as reports revealed school Resource Officer Scot Peterson, who was armed, never entered the school as Cruz was killing people. One mom said she was baffled by Mr Peterson’s decision not to enter: “Maybe he was in shock. There is no explanation.”
  7. A MAN attacked a woman from behind at a public library near Boston on Saturday and stabbed her repeatedly with a hunting knife, killing her and injuring an elderly man who came to her aid, authorities said. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said the 22-year-old woman was studying or doing work at a table in the Winchester Public Library’s reading room when 23-year-old Jeffrey Yao attacked her with a 10-inch knife, according to the New York Post. The woman suffered numerous slash and stab wounds to her head and upper torso, Ms Ryan said before staggering toward the door. Several people tried to help her, including a 77-year-old man who also was stabbed in the arm. He is expected to survive, Ms Ryan said. The district attorney said authorities are working to determine a possible motive and whether Yao and the woman knew each other. Ms Ryan said Yao was “known to police,” but declined to elaborate in her statement. Yao is charged with murder and armed assault with intent to murder and is being held without bail until he appears in court on Monday. A phone number for him could not be found and it was not immediately clear whether he had an lawyer. The woman’s identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Russ Ganz told The Boston Globe that he was walking by around 11am when he saw a woman being taken out of the library on a stretcher. Mr Ganz said the woman, who was upright and conscious, appeared to have injuries to her shoulder. “I thought somebody fell down the stairs,” he told the newspaper. According to the Boston Globe, neighbours who lived near Yao knew he was a threat and had alerted authorities to his violent behaviour, which included smashing windows and slamming himself against neighbours’ doors. “We knew something would happen,” Leslie Luongo, who lives nearby, told the Globe. “We didn’t know when.” One neighbour called the police and Yao was arrested over an incident in which he hurled a deck chair at the neighbour’s door. When a court official called the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, about the case, he told the official then that Yao was a danger, saying: “He is going to kill somebody.” But police told neighbours not to worry about Yao as he was on their “watch list” and they were shadowing him at night when he went out. Winchester is a small and picturesque suburban New England town located just 14 kilometres north of downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It is an affluent municipality and is a bedroom community for professionals who work in Boston.
  8. THE PyeongChang Olympics were hailed as the “Games of new horizons” as the curtain came down on the biggest Winter Games in history on Sunday night. Declaring the Games closed, International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said the Olympics had been opened up to new athletes, countries, events and technologies. “Therefore I can truly say: the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are the Games of new horizons,” he said. “We are embracing these new horizons. We offer our hand to everybody to join forces in this faith in the future.” The closing ceremony held before tens of thousands on the eastern end of the Korean Peninsula. As part of the ceremony, the Winter Games were “handed off” to Beijing, which will host them in 2022 after staging the 2008 Summer Olympics. Ivanka Trump attended, sitting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife, Kim Jung-sook. These games were punctuated by unexpected diplomacy between the two estranged Koreas, North and South, that resulted in their fielding a joint Olympic team — a diplomatic accomplishment that could signal an enduring thaw between the rivals. Officials from both North Korea and the United States, which wants the North to give up its nuclear weapons, attended both the closing and opening. During the closing, the South Korean president’s office announced that a North Korean delegate had said Pyongyang is willing to hold talks with the US. Earlier, Mr Bach handed off the Olympic flag to the mayor of Beijing, Chen Jining, symbolising the Winter Games’ journey over the next four years from PyeongChang, South Korea, to the Chinese capital in 2022. Beijing will be the first city to host both the summer and winter games. It hosted the summer edition in 2008. The handover of the Olympic flag from one host city to the next was followed by a hi-tech lightshow where illuminated giant pandas and dancers skated around the Olympic Stadium. It comes as American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy questioned what Ivanka Trump was doing at the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Games. Kenworthy tweeted a photo of his teammates Sunday and said: “So proud of all these people! Everybody here has worked so hard to make it to the Olympics and have the opportunity to walk in the closing ceremony! Well ... Everyone except Ivanka.” He then used an abbreviated profanity in asking why she was there. The elder daughter of US President Donald Trump watched the closing ceremony in the same box as South Korean President Moon Jae-In and top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol. She has said the purpose of her visit is to advocate maximum pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear program. Kenworthy earlier made headlines when he shared a televised kiss with his boyfriend after his Olympic run.
  9. Former Texas Congressman and leading libertarian thinker Dr. Ron Paul has shared his views on President Trump's job as president after his first year in office, the situation in Syria and the renewed debate on gun control in the wake of the Florida school shooting. Trump's Year in Office Sputnik: Donald Trump has been in office for over a year. What is your general assessment of his job as president? Ron Paul: Mediocre; probably not worse than the other options. But I don't think presidents really have much control. I think the deep state – the people behind the scenes and the shadow government, who control the monetary system, who control our foreign policy and the welfare state, and are connected to the media and the military-industrial complex. – I don't think the presidency is as important as it's made out to be. But everybody talks about it; it's a political thing, and they keep churning the issue and directing everybody to ask 'is Trump a good guy or a bad guy, and are we going to impeach him or what's going to happen', rather than [asking] what kind of philosophy do we have: why do we have this philosophy of welfare-warfare, spend money, run up debt and let the central bank print all that money. They don't even talk about it; the major parties, including Trump, they sign even more controls on us when it comes to FISA courts and spying on us. In spite of the fact that government officials like the FBI and others actually spy on our own president, he supports this; he passes and signs bills on that. So that really raises questions about 'does the president really have much to say', and I think he has much less to say than a lot of people believe. I believe that if he had stuck to his guns and had a different relationship with Russia and started bringing troops home and not aggravating things, he wouldn't have been tolerated. Something would have happened. Syria and America's Place in the World Sputnik: Moving on to the Middle East, in your reports you've stated that with so many countries controlling territory in Syria, there's very little left for the Syrians. Do you think there's a good chance that government forces can regain control of the country? Ron Paul: I do. I think there will always be a Syria. What it's going to look like is the big problem. At the moment, it's hard to predict and say that the people who have invaded — the Turks, the Israelis, the United States will leave. They're going to have to suffer a defeat somewhere along the way. That may occur soon –another defeat like Aleppo. That might make them think differently, but it's still a hotbed… Sputnik: There's an ongoing campaign in the east of Demascus in Eastern Ghouta, with media portrayals of it in the West comparing the ongoing campaign to Srebrenica and what happened in Bosnia. Why do you think this is, and how is the situation being portrayed in the West? Do Americans know what's actually going on? Ron Paul: I think this, indirectly, may be a subtle bit of good news…You know Aleppo was seen as a return of Syrian territory, and a lot of people moved back! Everybody said that 'it's Assad who wants to kill his people and gas his people,' and yet they all moved back after the fighting stopped. So maybe this is one of the last desperate stands [for the anti-Damascus forces], at least for the part of Syria where Assad is stronger… Sputnik: The UN has been commenting on this to emphasize how bad things are in Syria, and particularly in Eastern Ghouta. But the situation was also really bad in Mosul in Iraq, with recent video footage showing the results of US airstrikes. Where do you think the UN was then? Ron Paul: Probably cheering them on. We often have a foreign policy, especially in the last several decades, of being the dominant power. We pressure people; if they do what we tell 'em, we send them more money, since we can print the world currency. And if they don't do what we tell 'em, then we have to participate in a little aggression by bombing and doing these kinds of things. My argument from the day they started, back to 1998 – I argued don't mess around with sanctions on Iraq, it'll lead to war. Someday, we'll go broke. I don't think that we all of a sudden will have a reasonable foreign policy. I think it's going to be financial. I believe it was the financing of the Soviet system that brought it down as much as anything; that's the way most authoritarian empires end, and I think that's the way our system is going to end. Who knows when that's going to happen, but we can't continue to do what we're doing. We can't continue to run the world. Our deficit's exploding. I think the sentiment toward the United States has started to shift too; there was a time when we were welcome, and were on the side of trying to help people, but right now it's on the side of expanding our controls around the world. Gun Control Sputnik: On the subject of gun control: You've stated that those demanding that guns be taken away don't talk much about guns when it's government authorities who are the ones shooting innocent people. Why do you think that's happening? Ron Paul: Because there are some people who believe that guns belong in the hands of the government. Those are the authoritarians. Those who believe in a free society [say] that the people should have the guns, and the government should fear the people. This was an argument back in the days when they were [creating] our constitution, and of course [Thomas] Jefferson argued the case that the government shouldn't have the guns that are ruling and controlling the people. That doesn't mean that we don't have a national defense; it just means that the people deserve guns, because ultimately, the problem that has existed throughout history has always been the abuse by government in taking freedoms away from the people. I think we see that happening now in our country. Every time there's an incident, certain groups want more regulation. But if they were consistent, if they found one of our policemen shooting somebody that may have been a petty criminal…they would never say 'Well, he overreacted, so what we have to do is take guns away from people'. No, they never even mention it…But if something like a school shooting occurs, they use that as an excuse where private guns aren't to be used. And of course my argument is that private security is superior to anything the government will offer us. Sputnik: You've said that tragedies like the one that happened in Florida can't be prevented by banning guns. What measures do you see as the most effective in addressing this national issue? Ron Paul: I think some of our problems occur because we don't have enough guns in the right place. It's more than just saying 'the guns are the problem, get rid of the guns and give them to the government,' because I don't think that's the solution… I often mention a chemical plant next door to where I live: they have a lot of security, and it's not the government, it's not the police department; they have private security, and it does quite well. They're responsible, it's a very dangerous place, they don't want anyone in there. So I think the more that's privatized, the better. Private schools don't have these problems. Home schooling obviously wouldn't have problems like this, and the smaller schools don't have problems because everybody knows everybody. Sometimes these movements towards gigantic school districts where there are thousands of kids in one school, where people don't know exactly what's going [on] sort of introduces these problems. But I think we should talk about gun-free zones…where nobody is allowed to have a gun. I hate the idea of getting more guns, but quite frankly, if I was in charge of a very dangerous area or a private school and it was getting dangerous, a private owner has a right to use a gun. So yes, there are times when I think that teachers or some other school officials could have guns and be ready to deal with them. The problem with my argument is that people will construe it as being 'oh well he doesn't care about the kids', but quite frankly, the kids still are getting killed, and when you look at what our government guns do, if you measure how many kids are dying in Yemen right now because we're allies of Saudi Arabia – why aren't we worried about that? Not only about the policemen who shoot badly, but what about our own government, that's in so many countries, with so many innocent people dying from our bombs and our interference in other peoples' lives in other countries? So I think that's involved in massively more killing than what's happening in the schools. That doesn't mean I'm not concerned about the schools, but they ought not be so inconsistent in what their arguments are. You can find the complete audio from Dr. Paul's full interview with Sputnik below.
  10. In a suspiciously soft response - particularly after its ally China accused the US of "long-arm jurisdiction - North Korea criticized Washington's decision to impose sanctions on marine vessels supplying North Korea with banned goods that could help support its nuclear program, but said it would still be open to talks with its longtime geopolitical archnemesis. nstead of threatening a nuclear attack of its own, Pyongyang accused Washington of bringing "clouds of war" to the region by imposing "the largest-ever" sanctions, as RT reports. A statement published by state news agency KCNA hailed North Korea’s leadership for their "strong determination for peace, long-awaited inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation," which began to surface during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The statement went on to say that Washington is violating the Korean Olympics truce and "is running amok to bring another dark cloud of confrontation and war over the Korean peninsula" by announcing new wave of sanctions against the North. We came to possess nuclear weapons, the treasured sword of justice, in order to defend ourselves from such threats from the United States,” the statement read, adding that “we will consider any type of blockade an act of war against us.” On Friday, Washington announced "the largest-ever set of new sanctions on the North Korean regime". The sanctions targeted the country’s industries and exports. The sanctions were levied against 27 foreign companies, 28 ships and one individual on Friday, with President Trump unveiling them during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference - Trump's second since taking office. Later in the day, Trump delivered an ominous threat, saying the North Koreans wouldn't like "phase two" of the American response to their nuclear weapons program - possibly alluding to a preemptive nuclear strike. In April, the US and South Korea will resume massive military drills called Foal Eagle and Key Resolve. Pyongyang views these exercises as a rehearsal for war, while the US and South Korea say they're necessary to prepare for a North Korean invasion. Russia and China have persistently urged the two sides to come to an agreement that they call a "double freeze" arguing that the US should cease military drills in exchange for the North suspending its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. * * * China issued a stern rebuke on Friday after the sanctions overwhelmingly targeted Chinese entities. "The Chinese side firmly opposes the US imposing unilateral sanctions and 'long-arm jurisdiction' on Chinese entities or individuals in accordance with its domestic laws," said the Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement. "We have lodged stern representations with the US side over this, urging it to immediately stop such wrongdoings so as not to undermine bilateral cooperation on the relevant area." US satellites have captured images of Chinese vessels engaged in illegal ship-to-ship transfers of energy products to North Korean-controlled ships. China is North Korea's largest trading partner, supplying 90 percent of North Korea's total trading volume according to the Council on Foreign Relations. "Today's actions will significantly hinder North Korea's ability to conduct evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters on Friday. "And limit the regime's ability to ship goods through international waters." * * * Later on Sunday, the White House released a statement reaffirming its commitment to a denuclearized Korean peninsula, adding that the White House "will see" if North Korea's message "represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization." President Donald J. Trump's Administration is committed to achieving the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The United States, our Olympic Host the Republic of Korea, and the international community broadly agree that denuclearization must be the result of any dialogue with North Korea. The maximum pressure campaign must continue until North Korea denuclearizes. As President Trump has said, there is a brighter path available for North Korea if it chooses denuclearization. We will see if Pyongyang's message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization. In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are a dead end.
  11. In a stunning - if not altogether unexpected - blow to long-time California Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the California state Democratic Party opted not to endorse their own senior senator as she prepares to start campaigning to defend her seat in the 2018 midterms. Delegates to the state party convention instead favored progressive state Senate leader Kevin de León, over Feinstein by a 54% to 37% margin, according to results, which were announced early Sunday. And while neither candidate reached the 60% threshold required to receive the party endorsement outright for 2018, de Leon's camp claimed it as a profound victory. “The outcome of today’s endorsement vote is an astounding rejection of politics as usual, and it boosts our campaign’s momentum as we all stand shoulder-to-shoulder against a complacent status quo,” de León said in a prepared statement, quoted by Politico. "California Democrats are hungry for new leadership that will fight for California values from the front lines, not equivocate on the sidelines." Feinstein, a longtime centrist, has often maintained an uneasy truce with the progressive activists who dominate the state party. The result followed two days of lobbying by the candidates in convention speeches and throughout the convention halls. In an appeal to thousands of delegates Saturday, de Leon portrayed Feinstein as a Washington power broker and corporatist insider who wouldn't listen to progressives. Still, the state party's refusal to endorse Feinstein will ultimately have little impact on her chances of winning another term later this year. Every poll still shows her winning the race by a wide margin. But her challenger de Leon is undeterred by the unfavorable numbers: "I’m running for the U.S. Senate because the days of Democrats biding our time, biting our tongue, and trying to let it work the margins are over," he said to cheers. "I’m running because California’s greatness comes from paths of human audacity, not congressional seniority." The non-endorsement appears unlikely to immediately alter the trajectory of a contest Feinstein is leading by a wide margin. First elected in a 1992 special Senate election, Feinstein is out-polling de León 46 percent to 17 percent among likely California voters, according to the most recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California. Her financial advantage is even more overwhelming: Feinstein held close to $10 million in cash on hand at the end of last year, while de León reported raising just $500,000. Feinstein, who was one of the sponsors of the Clinton-era assault weapons ban, touted her gun-control bona fides, and stressed the importance of California Democrats maintaining unified support. California Democrats, she said, have “the largest delegation in the House. You’ve got Kamala Harris and me in the Senate.” She said Democrats can more effectively advance their principles “if we have unified support.” Feinstein lost the state party endorsement to a rival Democrat, John Van de Kamp, when she ran for California governor in 1990. And though supporters this year waved signs and stopped Feinstein to pose for photographs, she at times appeared out of step working the convention halls. Interrupted in her convention speech Saturday by music signaling her time to speak had run out, Feinstein said, "I guess my time is up." As she left the stage, de León supporters in the crowd yelled back at the 84-year-old, "Time’s up! Time’s up!" The state party returned a non-endorsement in California’s other major statewide contest, as well. In the race for governor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom led all candidates with 39 percent support, followed by state Treasurer John Chiang and former state schools chief Delaine Eastin with 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has drawn close to Newsom at the top of statewide public opinion polls, finished a distant fourth, at 9 percent. It's worth highlighting that Feinstein's circumstances in the 2018 race mirror - to a degree - the circumstances that Hillary Clinton faced during the 2016 campaign. Both represent a Democratic establishment that has failed to energize the progressive voters. And both reportedly have trouble connecting with voters. We wonder: Could Feinstein, whose seat is viewed as "safe" by pollsters, be in for an upset, either by her Republican opponent, or a progressive insurgency? For the guaranteed answer, we await the NYT and WaPo polls showing that Feinstein is a 99% favorite to win.
  12. China issued a stern rebuke of enhanced US sanctions on North Korea on Friday, saying the unilateral targeting of Chinese firms and individuals accused of supplying Pyongyang with prohibited cargo risks harming international cooperation on the problem. "The Chinese side firmly opposes the US imposing unilateral sanctions and 'long-arm jurisdiction' on Chinese entities or individuals in accordance with its domestic laws," said the Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement. "We have lodged stern representations with the US side over this, urging it to immediately stop such wrongdoings so as not to undermine bilateral cooperation on the relevant area." The fresh sanctions were slapped on 27 companies and 28 ships linked to the North Korean shipping trade, while the U.S. urged the United Nations to blacklist entities known or believed to be smuggling prohibited cargo in or out of North Korea. Energy and shipping firms based in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore are primarily affected by the sanctions, which block US-held assets belonging to violators, and prohibit US citizens from conducting business with them. China is North Korea's largest trading partner, supplying 90 percent of North Korea's total trading volume according to the Council on Foreign Relations. China provides North Korea with most of its food and energy supplies and accounts for more than 90 percent of North Korea’s total trade volume. In the first three quarters of 2017, Chinese imports from North Korea actually fell by 16.7 percent, though exports were up by 20.9 percent. Despite announced trade restrictions in textiles, seafood, and oil products, there are reports of North Korean businesses still in operation in China. "Today's actions will significantly hinder North Korea's ability to conduct evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters on Friday. "And limit the regime's ability to ship goods through international waters." President Trump warned last week of a "phase two" that could be "very, very unfortunate for the world" if the new sanctions weren't adhered to. Beijing has pushed back, saying it has been "comprehensively and strictly implementing" UN Security Council resolutions, and "fulfilling its international obligations" in regards to the sanctions - preventing its citizens and companies to circumvent them. China says it will "seriously handle" violators in accordance with the law. "China resolutely opposes the US side enacting unilateral sanctions and 'long-armed jurisdiction' in accordance with its domestic law against Chinese entities or individuals," the ministry said. An October report reportedly showing US spy satellites catching Chinese vessels offloading oil to North Korea suggest otherwise, however. Even as China signals that it will toughen its stance toward North Korea—though stopping short of challenging its survivability—there is mounting skepticism that China alone can resolve the North Korea problem. Chinese officials have emphasized that they do not “hold the key to the issue.” Some analysts say that China’s tightening of economic ties are unlikely to deter Kim’s nuclear ambitions, while others say the North Korean leader no longer cares what China thinks of its actions. -CFR As we reported earlier, the Trump administration is coordinating with key Asian allies in the region to enforce the enhanced sanctions, according to Reuters. The joint effort between the U.S. Coast Guard and regional partners including Japan, South Korea, Australia and Singapore, would go further than ever before to physically block deliveries of banned weapons, components for its nuclear missile program and other prohibited cargo. Suspected violators could be targeted on the high seas or in the territorial waters of countries which cooperate with the coalition. Up to now, suspect ships have been intercepted on a far more limited basis. During Friday's presser, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin could not rule out physically boarding suspect ships for interdictions: QUESTION: Can you rule out the United States boarding and inspecting North Korean ships... (CROSSTALK) MNUCHIN: No, I -- I cannot rule that out. "Those who trade with North Korea do so at their own peril," added Mnuchin. "The United States will leverage our economic strength to enforce President Trump’s directive that any company that chooses to help fund North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs will not be allowed to do business with anyone in the United States." Both China and Russia have cautioned against overly harsh sanctions on North Korea, proposing a "double freeze" initiative which would entail the US and its allies ceasing military exercises in the region if Pyongyang agrees to suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile program. Washington outright rejected the suggestion. Russian envoy to Pyongyang, Alexander Matsegora, suggested that a total ban on oil exports to North Korea could be considered a declaration of war by Kim Jong-un.
  13. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers started construction Wednesday to replace a decaying stretch of a 2.25-mile Mexico–United States barrier, swapping it out for a new and improved 30-foot high bollard style wall. This is the first border wall contract awarded in the Trump administration outside the eight prototypes that were built last year near Tijuana, Mexico. According to CBP Public Affairs, the 2.25-mile project will stretch from the Calexico West Port of Entry extending westward beyond the Gran Plaza Outlets and include all-weather roads paralleling the new wall. KESQ-TV, an ABC-affiliated television station for the Coachella Valley licensed to Palm Springs, used their Newsdrone to survey the area where the new wall construction is underway. CBP states that the construction is located in the El Centro Sector, which is one of the “Border Patrol’s highest priority projects.” The current barrier in Calexico was erected several decades ago from recycled scraps of metal and has been proven to be widely ineffective in preventing illegal cross-border activities. The unlawful cross-border activities in the El Centro Sector are stunning. CBP provides a breakdown of seizures made by officers for the fiscal year 2017: The El Centro Sector apprehended 18,633 illegal aliens, seized 5,554 pounds of marijuana, 483 pounds of cocaine, and 1,526 pounds of methamphetamine and 2,521 ounces of heroin. During that fiscal year, there were 21 assaults against El Centro Sector agents. CBP spokesman Carlos Diaz told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday, the project was fully funded by fiscal 2017 appropriations, which will also fund projects in Southern California, New Mexico, and in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Back in November, the Trump administration awarded the $18 million contract to replace the barrier in Calexico to SWF Constructors of Omaha, Nebraska. And lastly, the administration is trying to find $18 billion in funding to extend and complete the Mexico-United States border wall. Recent funding efforts to pay for the entire stretch failed last week in the Senate. The one question we ask: Will the Trump administration have the border walls erected in time to thwart a Mexican drug cartel war spillover into the United States?
  14. The French interior minister has revealed that authorities have thwarted two planned terrorist attacks since the start of the year. Several mosques have been also shut down over preaching radical ideas, according to the official. The foiled assaults were aimed at the military and sports facilities, Gerard Collomb said in an interview with Europe 1 radio on Sunday. The suspect plotting to attack sports facilities was a convert who wanted to make his way to Syria, Le Parisien and AFP reported citing inside sources. In the second case, the 33-year-old suspect from Nimes was planning to attack soldiers taking part in Operation Sentinelle, a military operation launched in January 2015 to guard sensitive targets from terrorist attacks. According to the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI), the man pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in a video, while explosive materials were also found in his home. Collomb added that although the suspects behind both plots are now in custody, the terrorist threat still exists and will continue for several more years. For almost two years, France had been under a state of emergency following the November 2015 Paris attacks which killed 130 people. The state of emergency was lifted by President Emmanuel Macron in November of last year, only to be replaced by a controversial new counter-terrorism law giving security services more power to search and detain suspects at their homes, as well as shut down places of worship. Gerard Collomb said that three mosques had been closed on Sunday in Aix-en-Provence, Sartrouville and Marseille, for preaching radical ideas. 241 people have been killed in terrorist attacks in France since the shooting at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. Last year, three people were killed in two attacks claimed by IS in France, one on the Champs-Elysees in Paris and another at the Saint-Charles station in Marseille. According to figures provided by the interior ministry in January, 20 attacks were also thwarted that year.
  15. Mohamed Hoblos suggested rape is a lesser sin than forgetting to pray in Islam He suggested being a terrorist, a paedophile and a murderer are also lesser sins The Australian preacher made the teachings to his followers in a lecture last year A video of the lecture was posted by Middle East Media Research Institute A prominent Australian preacher has told his Muslim followers paedophiles and murderers who never miss a prayer are better, in the eyes of Allah, than good citizens who only miss one. The teachings by Mohamed Hoblos fell onto the radar this month of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which aims to bridge the gap between Western culture and the Middle East. The organisation posted a video to YouTube revealing the 2017 lecture from Mr Hoblos, in which he appears to suggest rape and murder are lesser sins than forgetting to pray in Islam. Video link In the video, he stresses the importance of prayer - known as Salah - in an impassioned two-minute speech. He asks his followers if someone who sells drugs, murders someone and rapes a child is 'good or bad'. 'This person, one person who commits all these sins on a daily basis - but he prays - is better in the eyes of Allah than the one who doesn't commit any of these sins, but doesn't pray,' he says. 'So you and your brother say: "Yeah, I'm a good guy" - habibi (my friend), go and pack that up because it's not going to work on the day of judgement. Any person who misses one Salah (prayer) for no reason - you are worse than a murderer, you are worse than a rapist, you are worse than a terrorist, you are worse than a paedophile in the eyes of Allah.' Mr Hoblos tells his followers to understand his teaching as 'fact' and something which should be 'understood very clearly'. But he also tells the congregation that all sin is still bad and should never be accepted. Mr Hoblos boasts a large social media presence and has more than 50,000 Facebook followers.