US Military Says it Conducts Successful Missile Defense Test

The U.S. military said it successfully tested a missile defense system to knock down an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile class target on Monday, demonstrating its ability to defend against ICBMs from countries like North Korea.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said two ground-based interceptors were used in the test. One destroyed the re-entry vehicle, and the other “looked at the resulting debris and remaining objects, and, not finding any other re-entry vehicles, selected the next ‘most lethal object’ it could identify, and struck that,” it said.

The target was launched from a test site in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, more than 4,000 miles (6,400 km) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where the interceptors were launched, the agency said.

MDA Director Lieutenant General Sam Greaves called the test a “critical milestone.”

“The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat,” Greaves said.

North Korea in 2017 test-fired ICBMs designed to reach the U.S. mainland.

In January President Donald Trump unveiled a revamped U.S. missile defense strategy that called North Korea an ongoing and “extraordinary threat,” seven months after he declared the threat posed by Pyongyang had been eliminated.

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Beto O’Rourke’s Casual Style to be Tested by National Campaign

He doesn’t prepare speeches. He doesn’t like pollsters. And, so far at least, Democratic presidential contender Beto O’Rourke doesn’t always have the capacity to coordinate basic campaign logistics.

Just ask Des Moines County Democratic Party Chairman Tom Courtney.

Last week, Courtney got an 8 p.m. text from the frantic owner of a local cafe who heard rumors that O’Rourke planned to hold a campaign event at her business the next day. But she hadn’t heard from O’Rourke’s team. When his representatives did reach out later that night, the cafe owner was left scrambling to find a half dozen additional employees with just hours of notice to work the event.

Almost a week later, Courtney is still incredulous.

“He’s a nice candidate, and I liked him,” Courtney said. “But if he does that kind of organization, he’s gonna piss everybody off.”

Welcome to Betomania, a nascent presidential campaign that’s still learning how to balance the 46-year-old Democrat’s freewheeling style with the demands of running a nationwide political organization.

O’Rourke attracted overflowing crowds, record fundraising and tremendous media buzz for his inaugural tour as he raced across Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada over the last week. He also irritated Democratic leaders at times with a seat-of-the-pants campaign approach that may ultimately raise questions about his ability to govern.

With little executive experience to speak of, the former three-term congressman’s 2020 presidential campaign – which is essentially a multimillion-dollar nationwide company that already features thousands of volunteers and dozens of paid staff – may represent the most significant leadership test of his life.

The former punk rocker employed an unconventional approach to his 2018 Senate campaign in Texas, nearly upsetting Republican Sen. Ted Cruz with a rebellious strategy that rejected pollsters, political consultants and scripted speeches. Advisers suggest O’Rourke will eventually be more open to such conventions in his 2020 presidential bid.

But in sharp contrast to the Democratic Party’s last presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, who lost the presidency in part because of her inability to connect with voters in an authentic way, O’Rourke’s campaign is focused on a stripped-down presidential playbook that features little more than a rented van and a microphone.

His team insists that early bumps are the natural byproduct of a candidate who genuinely didn’t decide he was running until a week or two before his March 14 announcement.

“I’m not someone who’s been running for president for my life or for years,” O’Rourke said as he barnstormed through South Carolina over the weekend. “I’ve been thinking about it in a serious way for a couple of months and have been a declared candidate for 7 days, so I understand that that can pose some challenges.”

Indeed, many top-tier candidates in the crowded 2020 presidential field have spent much of the last year – or longer – building shadow campaigns of prospective staff, donors and volunteers to allow them to ramp up their presidential operation quickly. O’Rourke had never stepped foot in Iowa before launching his presidential campaign.

Aides report that he considers his wife, Amy, his most trusted adviser. But O’Rourke took a big step toward professionalizing his operation on Monday, 11 days after announcing his candidacy, by naming veteran Democratic strategist Jen O’Malley Dillon to serve as his campaign manager. She has experience on five previous presidential campaigns, most recently serving as deputy campaign manager to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election. 

O’Rourke’s skeleton crew moved into his El Paso, Texas, campaign headquarters on the Monday before his Thursday announcement, advisers said. Most of the current 24 paid staff were hired on a one-month temporary employment agreement to start. O’Rourke’s former congressional chief of staff, David Wysong, who has no presidential campaign experience, is currently directing campaign operations.

Advisers note that the campaign is still relying heavily on its network of volunteers across the country but has received more than 6,000 applications for paid staff positions.

​Despite the challenges, O’Rourke’s campaign has attracted a flood of cash and positive media attention in the early days of his presidential bid.

He raised $6.1 million from more than 128,000 individual donors in the first 24 hours after announcing his candidacy, a figure that bested Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ $6 million and the $1.5 million raised by the next closest first-day fundraising leader, California Sen. Kamala Harris. And in the days leading up to his announcement, O’Rourke was featured prominently in media coverage, including large spreads in Vanity Fair, The Washington Post and a documentary film that debuted at the SXSW film festival.

The documentary made it clear that the candidate seeks to use the media to his advantage. Scenes showed him talking to advisers about trying to bait certain reporters into favorable coverage while complaining about having to “dance” for national outlets. In El Paso, O’Rourke critics have complained about him using the city as a prop for East Coast newspaper reporters.

Amid the success on some fronts, the inexperience is showing elsewhere on the ground in key states.

On the night before O’Rourke’s highly publicized arrival in New Hampshire, state Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley didn’t have any details about when or where to see him. House Speaker Steve Shurtleff, one of the state’s top elected Democrats, spoke with O’Rourke on the phone but could not arrange a time to meet in person.

Some people find O’Rourke’s “quirky campaign” endearing, Shurtleff said, although tracking him down can be difficult.

“It’s almost like ‘Where’s Waldo.’ Where’s he going to pop up next?” Shurtleff asked. “It’s hard for some people to plan.”

Others notice that O’Rourke’s team was taking unusual routes from event to event, which strained his schedule and prompted jokes about unnecessary travel on bumpy backroads.

“I looked at his New Hampshire schedule and said, ‘Here’s a man who doesn’t know New Hampshire,”’ said Susan Chandler a 72-year-old retired assistant principal who attended one of O’Rourke’s 11 events in the state over two days last week.

That may be the point.

O’Rourke and his team don’t yet know the states that matter most on the presidential primary calendar. He says his unorthodox approach on the campaign trail will help him connect with voters of all walks of life – especially in areas he doesn’t know. For now, he’s largely depending on an inexperienced staff and a huge collection of energized but inexperienced volunteers to guide him.

His campaign, he said in South Carolina, “is all about people and about all people.”

“I don’t care how red or rural, blue or urban the community is. Everyone in this country is important, and we want to bring forward and not leave behind a single soul in this country,” O’Rourke said. “And that’s not just how I want to serve as president. That’s how I want to campaign as a candidate.”

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Pompeo Condemns Rise of anti-Semitism, Blasts Britain’s Labour Party

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday condemned the rise of anti-Semitism as a “cancer metastasizing” in the Middle East, Europe and in the United States, where he said the Trump administration would vigorously oppose it.

In a speech to a major pro-Israel U.S. lobby group in Washington, Pompeo accused Britain’s opposition Labour Party of tolerating anti-Semitism, calling it a “national disgrace.”

He said attacks against Jews were increasing in France and Germany and  hate crimes against Jews in the United States were up by one third in 2017. He slammed the “multiple attacks” on the Orthodox Jewish community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, Pompeo said anti-Zionism – opposition to the existence of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people – was a form of anti-Semitism that was on the rise.

“The Trump administration opposes it unequivocally and we will fight it relentlessly,” he said, “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

Earlier on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights in a boost for Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu, who faces an election on April 9.

Some political analysts say that Republicans hope support for Israel will attract Jewish voters and note Republicans in Congress were outspoken in condemning comments by Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar that some viewed as anti-Semitic.

At the same time, critics have credited Trump’s confrontational, nationalistic rhetoric with encouraging right-wing extremists and feeding a surge in activity by hate groups in the United States. The administration has flatly rejected that charge.

After a counter-protester was killed in 2017 at a white supremacist rally in Virginia where demonstrators chanted “Jews will not replace us,” Trump said there was blame on “both sides.”

In Britain, Labour has been battling accusations of anti-Semitism for over two years. Nine lawmakers have quit the party, citing the leadership’s handling of anti-Semitism in the ranks as well as its Brexit stance as their reason for leaving.

In France, home to the largest Jewish community in Europe, anti-Semitic attacks increased 74 percent in 2018 to 500, according to figures released in February.

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Hong Kong Ex-Official Patrick Ho Jailed 3 Years for Bribery

Hong Kong’s former home affairs secretary Patrick Ho Chi Ping was jailed for three years Monday for a scheme to bribe African officials to boost a top Chinese energy company that was part of Beijing’s global Belt and Road initiative.

Ho, 69, who worked for the controversial energy conglomerate CEFC China Energy, was sentenced by a New York judge after being convicted in December on seven charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and money laundering for bribes.

He was accused of paying off top officials in Uganda and Chad to support the Shanghai conglomerate’s projects in their countries.

Some of the deals were arranged in the halls of the United Nations, leading to the U.S. arrest in November 2017 of Ho and a co-conspirator, former Senegalese top diplomat Cheikh Gadio.

The two men allegedly offered a $2 million bribe to Idriss Deby, the president of Chad, “to obtain valuable oil rights,” and a $500,000 bribe to an account designated by Sam Kutesa, the minister of foreign affairs of Uganda, who had recently completed his term as the President of the U.N. General Assembly, according to the charges.

“Patrick Ho schemed to bribe the leaders of Chad and Uganda in order to secure unfair business advantages for the Chinese energy company he served,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “Foreign corruption undermines the fairness of international markets, erodes the public’s faith in its leaders, and is deeply unfair to the people and businesses that play by the rules.”

CEFC was an upstart company that quickly grew to be worth tens of billions of dollars despite a murky track record.

It was considered to be a vital player in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious One Belt One Road plan to build commercial networks around the world.

CEFC was led by Ye Jianying, an ostensibly well-connected businessman who built a network of global contacts, and notably was able to meet with members of then-vice president Joe Biden’s family and a former CIA director.

But after Ho was arrested by U.S. authorities in 2017, CEFC’s business began to crumble.

Last year, Ye disappeared and is now believed to be held by Chinese authorities for unspecified charges.

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Hong Kong Ex-Official Patrick Ho Jailed 3 Years for Bribery

Hong Kong’s former home affairs secretary Patrick Ho Chi Ping was jailed for three years Monday for a scheme to bribe African officials to boost a top Chinese energy company that was part of Beijing’s global Belt and Road initiative.

Ho, 69, who worked for the controversial energy conglomerate CEFC China Energy, was sentenced by a New York judge after being convicted in December on seven charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and money laundering for bribes.

He was accused of paying off top officials in Uganda and Chad to support the Shanghai conglomerate’s projects in their countries.

Some of the deals were arranged in the halls of the United Nations, leading to the U.S. arrest in November 2017 of Ho and a co-conspirator, former Senegalese top diplomat Cheikh Gadio.

The two men allegedly offered a $2 million bribe to Idriss Deby, the president of Chad, “to obtain valuable oil rights,” and a $500,000 bribe to an account designated by Sam Kutesa, the minister of foreign affairs of Uganda, who had recently completed his term as the President of the U.N. General Assembly, according to the charges.

“Patrick Ho schemed to bribe the leaders of Chad and Uganda in order to secure unfair business advantages for the Chinese energy company he served,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “Foreign corruption undermines the fairness of international markets, erodes the public’s faith in its leaders, and is deeply unfair to the people and businesses that play by the rules.”

CEFC was an upstart company that quickly grew to be worth tens of billions of dollars despite a murky track record.

It was considered to be a vital player in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious One Belt One Road plan to build commercial networks around the world.

CEFC was led by Ye Jianying, an ostensibly well-connected businessman who built a network of global contacts, and notably was able to meet with members of then-vice president Joe Biden’s family and a former CIA director.

But after Ho was arrested by U.S. authorities in 2017, CEFC’s business began to crumble.

Last year, Ye disappeared and is now believed to be held by Chinese authorities for unspecified charges.

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Airbus Wins China Order for 300 Jets as Xi Visits France

Airbus signed a deal worth tens of billions of dollars on Monday to sell 300 aircraft to China as part of a trade package coinciding with a visit to Europe by Chinese President Xi Jinping and matching a China record held by rival Boeing.

The deal between Airbus and China’s state buying agency, China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, which regularly coordinates headline-grabbing deals during diplomatic visits, will include 290 A320-family jets and 10 A350 wide-body jets.

French officials said the deal was worth some 30 billion euros at catalogue prices. Planemakers usually grant significant discounts.

The larger-than-expected order, which matches an order for 300 Boeing planes when U.S. Donald Trump visited Beijing in 2017, follows a year-long vacuum of purchases in which China failed to place significant orders amid global trade tensions.

It also comes as the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX has left uncertainty over Boeing’s immediate hopes for a major jet order as the result of any warming of U.S.-China trade ties.

There was no evidence of any direct connection between the Airbus deal and Sino-U.S. tensions or Boeing fleet problems, but China watchers say Beijing has a history of sending diplomatic signals or playing off suppliers through state aircraft deals.

“The conclusion of a big (aviation) contract … is an important step forward and an excellent signal in the current context,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a joint address with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

The United States and China are edging towards a possible deal to ease a months-long tariff row and a deal involving as many as 200-300 Boeing jets had until recently been expected as part of the possible rapprochement.

Long-term relationship

China was also the first to ground the newest version of Boeing’s workhorse 737 model earlier this month following a deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash, touching off a series of regulatory actions worldwide.

Asked if negotiations had accelerated as a result of the Boeing grounding or other issues, Airbus planemaking chief and designated chief executive Guillaume Faury told reporters, “This is a long-term relationship with our Chinese partners that evolves over time; it is a strong sign of confidence.”

China has become a key hunting ground for Airbus and its leading rival Boeing, thanks to surging travel demand.

But whether Airbus or Boeing is involved, analysts say diplomatic deals frequently contain a mixture of new demand, repeats of older orders and credits against future deals, meaning the immediate impact is not always clear.

The outlook has also been complicated by Beijing’s desire to grow its own industrial champions and, more recently for Boeing, the U.S.-China trade war.

French President Macron unexpectedly failed to clinch an Airbus order for 184 planes during a trip to China in early 2018 and the two sides have been working to salvage it.

Industry sources have said the year’s delay in Airbus negotiations, as well as a buying freeze during the U.S. tariff row, created latent demand for jets to feed China’s growth.

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«1+1» заявляє про тиск з боку Порошенка

Група «1+1 медіа» заявляє про тиск з боку президентської команди та наявність доказової бази й свідків щодо фактів, «наведених у журналістському розслідуванні» щодо президента України Петра Порошенка.

«Така реакція кандидата у президенти (судовий позов – ред.) у розпал виборчої кампанії ще раз свідчить про слабку та необґрунтовану позицію діючої влади. Розповсюдження такого роду заяв, які не мають конкретики та фактажу, із безґрунтовними звинуваченнями на адресу 1+1, свідчить про тиск на незалежні засоби масової інформації і свободу слова та є неприпустимими з боку діючого президента», – ідеться в повідомленні.

«Телеканал намагався отримати коментар в Адміністрації президента щодо наведених фактів, втім відповідь на численні звернення не була надана. Ми досі очікуємо відповіді на ці питання, а також на коментар щодо факту торгівлі з Росією заводу «Ленінська кузня», який донедавна належав Петру Порошенку, оприлюднений у розслідуванні «ТСН. Тиждень», – додають у групі «1+1 медіа».

Голова парламентської фракції «Блок Петра Порошенка» Артур Герасимов заявив 25 березня, що президент України Петро Порошенко подав до суду на телеканал «1+1» «за систематичну брехню в особливо великих розмірах». На думку Герасимова, власник «1+1» Ігор Коломойський «керується почуттям помсти» після втрати «Приватбанку» та «прагне не допустити перемоги на президентських виборах Петра Порошенка».

Президентські вибори в Україні відбудуться 31 березня.

 

 

 

ТАКОЖ НА ТЕМУ ВИБОРІВ-2019:

Війна і вибори-2019. Українці мають обрати Верховного головнокомандувача ЗСУ

Росія кинула сотні мільйонів доларів, щоб зірвати вибори в Україні (огляд преси)

Як голосують українці. Сім карт, які пояснюють вибори президента

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

«1+1» заявляє про тиск з боку Порошенка

Група «1+1 медіа» заявляє про тиск з боку президентської команди та наявність доказової бази й свідків щодо фактів, «наведених у журналістському розслідуванні» щодо президента України Петра Порошенка.

«Така реакція кандидата у президенти (судовий позов – ред.) у розпал виборчої кампанії ще раз свідчить про слабку та необґрунтовану позицію діючої влади. Розповсюдження такого роду заяв, які не мають конкретики та фактажу, із безґрунтовними звинуваченнями на адресу 1+1, свідчить про тиск на незалежні засоби масової інформації і свободу слова та є неприпустимими з боку діючого президента», – ідеться в повідомленні.

«Телеканал намагався отримати коментар в Адміністрації президента щодо наведених фактів, втім відповідь на численні звернення не була надана. Ми досі очікуємо відповіді на ці питання, а також на коментар щодо факту торгівлі з Росією заводу «Ленінська кузня», який донедавна належав Петру Порошенку, оприлюднений у розслідуванні «ТСН. Тиждень», – додають у групі «1+1 медіа».

Голова парламентської фракції «Блок Петра Порошенка» Артур Герасимов заявив 25 березня, що президент України Петро Порошенко подав до суду на телеканал «1+1» «за систематичну брехню в особливо великих розмірах». На думку Герасимова, власник «1+1» Ігор Коломойський «керується почуттям помсти» після втрати «Приватбанку» та «прагне не допустити перемоги на президентських виборах Петра Порошенка».

Президентські вибори в Україні відбудуться 31 березня.

 

 

 

ТАКОЖ НА ТЕМУ ВИБОРІВ-2019:

Війна і вибори-2019. Українці мають обрати Верховного головнокомандувача ЗСУ

Росія кинула сотні мільйонів доларів, щоб зірвати вибори в Україні (огляд преси)

Як голосують українці. Сім карт, які пояснюють вибори президента

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.