At a rally Saturday in Queens, N.Y., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made her endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders for president official.
The head of Northern Ireland's influential Orange Order said on Sunday unionists in the province should avoid staging violent protests over British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal despite feeling that they had been let down. The deal struck with EU leaders last week has been met by fierce opposition from pro-British politicians in the region, including Johnson's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) allies, who say it weakens Northern Ireland's place in the United Kingdom. "There is a feeling people need to do something but I would be encouraging people that it isn't a case for street protest at this time," Orange Order Grand Secretary Mervyn Gibson told Reuters in a telephone interview.
At least eight people have been killed in Chile during a second day of protests and rioting in the South American nation.Three people were left dead after a looted building was set ablaze, the governor of Santiago, the country’s capital, said.
As many as 100,000 Californians are eligible to receive payments for the damages they suffered from a series of devastating wildfires over the last several years. Concerned that as many as 70,000 victims may miss out on payments, attorneys filed court papers Friday to alert the bankruptcy judge that wildfire survivors — many still traumatized and struggling to get back on their feet — aren't aware of their rights to file a claim. "People really are overwhelmed and don't understand what they need to do," said Cecily Dumas, an attorney for the Official Committee of Tort Claimants, a group appointed by the court to represent all wildfire victims in the bankruptcy.
The refusal of the French government to take back Islamic State fighters from Syria could fuel a new jihadist recruitment drive in France, threatening public safety, a leading anti-terrorism investigator has told AFP. David De Pas, coordinator of France's 12 anti-terrorism examining magistrates, said that it would be "better to know that these people are in the care of the judiciary" in France "than let them roam free". Turkey's offensive against Kurdish militia in northeast Syria has sparked fears that some of the 12,000 jihadists, including thousands of foreigners, being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape.
* Chief of staff defends Doral G7 fiasco and own Ukraine remarks * Nancy Pelosi visits Jordan to discuss Turkey Syria incursionMick Mulvaney in his news conference at the White House on Thursday. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPASenior Trump administration officials were on Sunday scrambling to defend the president from escalating domestic and foreign policy scandals, ranging from impeachment proceedings in Washington to the US troop withdrawal in northern Syria.Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was forced to row back comments he made earlier in the week acknowledging the administration withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to elicit assistance investigating Donald Trump’s political opponents.In a White House briefing on Thursday, Mulvaney listed “three issues” tied to the decision to withhold almost $400m in aid. These included “whether [Ukrainian officials] were cooperating in an ongoing investigation with our Department of Justice” related to the origins of the inquiry into Russian interference in 2016 election, which Mulvaney linked to an unfounded conspiracy theory which says Ukraine was involved in the theft of emails from Democratic servers.Asked if that was tantamount to a quid pro quo, Mulvaney said: “We do that all the time with foreign policy.”Speaking to Fox News Sunday, Mulvaney claimed his words had been misreported, stating he had not acknowledged a quid pro quo.> That’s what people are saying that I said, but I didn’t say that> > Mick Mulvaney“That’s what people are saying that I said, but I didn’t say that,” he said.But he had clearly changed his line, now stating there were only “two reasons” aid was withheld: “rampant corruption in Ukraine” and “whether or not other nations, specifically European nations, were helping with foreign aid to the Ukraine”.The existence of a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine is at the centre of an impeachment inquiry led by Democrats in the House of Representatives.The committees involved are also investigating Trump’s request that the Ukrainain government commence an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The president made the request during a 25 July phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.Mulvaney has denied that the Biden request was tied to the decision to withhold aid.The acting chief of staff is under the spotlight in the impeachment inquiry after testimony from a state department official, George Kent, placed him at the centre of efforts to create a separate diplomatic channel to Ukraine staffed by Trump loyalists including outgoing energy secretary Rick Perry and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.Democrats are weighing up whether to summon Mulvaney, according to reports.Reports also emerged on Sunday that Mulvaney was facing ejection from his post before the impeachment inquiry began. CNN reported that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and other advisers began screening for new candidates last month.Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman, is the third White House chief of staff under Trump although he retains the “acting” prefix. He said on Sunday he had not considered tendering his resignation this week.“I’m very happy working there. Did I have the perfect press conference? No.” He said.The Ukraine scandal is only one of a number in which the administration is currently embroiled.On Saturday evening Trump was forced into an embarrassing climbdown, announcing his golf resort in Doral, Florida would no longer host the G7 summit next year following bi-partisan criticism of the decision.> At the end of the day he [Trump] still considers himself to be in the hospitality business> > Mick MulvaneyIn an attempt to defend the move, Mulvaney said: “At the end of the day he [Trump] still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.”The administration is also reeling from bipartisan criticism of its decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria.On Sunday, secretary of state Mike Pompeo sought to defend a fragile and brief ceasefire brokered with Turkey, which he described as “the outcome that President Trump sent us to achieve”.The US and Turkey reached an agreement on Thursday to halt Turkish operations against Kurdish forces for five days to allow military and civilians to evacuate an area of land around the border about 20 miles deep, before the territory is claimed by Turkey.An American soldier mounts the US flag on a vehicle near the town of Tel Tamr in northern Syria. Photograph: Baderkhan Ahmad/APBoth sides have accused the other of violating the agreement. Republicans and Democrats in Washington argue the deal has undermined US interests in the region and delivered a significant victory to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.Pompeo, also at the centre of the Ukraine scandal, distanced himself from such criticisms during an interview with ABC’s This Week, when asked if the Turkish government had been handed everything it had asked for.“I was there. It sure didn’t feel that way when we were negotiating,” Pompeo said. “It was a hard-fought negotiation. It began before the vice-president and I even arrived in Ankara.”Trump chimed in on Twitter, quoting his defense secretary on how “the ceasefire is holding up very nicely”. In his first version of the tweet, the president typed Mark Esper’s name as Mark Esperanto.Later on Sunday he returned to the subject of impeachment, tweeting that the Ukraine whistleblower was a “fraud, just like the Russia Hoax”.> ....fiction to Congress and the American People? I demand his deposition. He is a fraud, just like the Russia Hoax was, and the Ukraine Hoax is now. When do the Do Nothing Democrats pay a price for what they are doing to our Country, & when do the Republicans finally fight back?> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2019Over the weekend, Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi led a bipartisan delegation to Jordan to discuss the fallout of Trump’s troop withdrawal.“Our bipartisan delegation is visiting Jordan at a critical time for the security and stability of the region,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement released on Saturday.“With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to Isis, Iran and Russia.”Despite the chaos over US Syria policy, one of Trump’s most ardent supporters in the Senate seemed to have abandoned his previously stringent criticism.Speaking to Fox News, Lindsey Graham said he was “increasingly optimistic that we can have some historic solutions in Syria that have eluded us for years if we play our cards right”.
MEDAN, Indonesia -- Ais likes to dance. She knows the words to "I'm a Little Teapot." Her dimples are disarming.Her parents didn't want their daughter to dance. They didn't want her to sing. They wanted her to die with them for their cause.Last year, when she was 7, Ais squeezed onto a motorcycle with her mother and brother. They carried a packet that Ais refers to as coconut rice wrapped in banana leaves. Her father and other brother climbed onto a different bike with another parcel. They sped toward a police station in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, a place of mixed faith.The parcels were bombs, and they were set off at the gate to the police station. Catapulted off the motorcycle by the force of the explosion, Ais rose from the pavement like a ghost, her pale head-to-toe garment fluttering in the chaos. Every other member of her family died. No bystanders were killed. The Islamic State militant group, halfway across the world, claimed responsibility for the attack.Ais, who is being identified by her nickname (pronounced ah-iss) to protect her privacy, is now part of a deradicalization program for children run by the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs. In a leafy compound in the capital, Jakarta, she bops to Taylor Swift, reads the Quran and plays games of trust.Her schoolmates include children of other suicide bombers, and of people who were intent on joining the Islamic State in Syria.Efforts by Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, to purge its society of religiously inspired extremism are being watched keenly by the international counterterrorism community. While the vast majority of Indonesians embrace a moderate form of Islam, a series of suicide attacks have struck the nation, including, in 2016, the first in the region claimed by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.Now, with hundreds of Islamic State families trying to escape detention camps in Syria amid Turkish incursions into Kurdish-held territory, the effort has taken on more urgency. The fear is that the Islamic State's violent ideology will not only renew itself in the Middle East, but may also metastasize thousands of miles away in Indonesia.There are signs that it is already happening.Last week, a man whom the police linked to ISIS wounded the Indonesian security minister, Wiranto, in a stabbing. Since then, at least 36 suspected militants who were plotting bombings and other attacks have been arrested in a counterterrorism crackdown, the police said this week.Hundreds of Indonesians went to Syria to fight for ISIS. In May, the police arrested seven men who had returned from the country and who, the police say, were part of a plot to use Wi-Fi to detonate explosive devices.The risks, however, are not limited to those who have come back. Indonesians who never left the region are being influenced by the Islamic State from afar.In January, an Indonesian couple who had tried but failed to reach Syria blew themselves up at a Roman Catholic cathedral in the southern Philippines. More than 20 were killed in the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State.In Indonesia, there are thousands of vulnerable children who have been indoctrinated by their extremist parents, according to Khairul Ghazali, who served nearly five years in prison for terrorism-related crimes. He said he came to renounce violence in jail and now runs an Islamic school in the city of Medan, on the island of Sumatra, that draws on his own experience as a former extremist to deradicalize militants' children."We teach them that Islam is a peaceful religion and that jihad is about building not destroying," Khairul said. "I am a model for the children because I understand where they come from. I know what it is like to suffer. Because I was deradicalized, I know it can be done."Despite the scale of the country's problem, only about 100 children have attended formal deradicalization programs in Indonesia, Khairul said. His madrassa, the only one in Indonesia to receive significant government support for deradicalization work, can teach just 25 militant-linked children at a time, and only through middle school.Government follow-up is minimal. "The children are not tracked and monitored when they leave," said Alto Labetubun, an Indonesian terrorism analyst.The risks of extremist ideology being passed from one generation to the next are well-documented, and a number of Indonesians linked to the Islamic State are the offspring of militants.The son of Imam Samudra, one of the masterminds of the 2002 bombing on the island of Bali that killed 202 people, was 12 when his father was executed in 2008. He joined the Islamic State and died in Syria at 19.Khairul, whose father and uncles were members of a militant organization, said he understood the pull of family obligation. He was sent to prison in 2011 for armed robbery and for planning an attack on a police station. Before his conviction, Khairul taught four of his 10 children to fire weapons."Deradicalizing my own children was very difficult," he said. "My wife and my children looked at me very strangely when I got out of prison because I had changed."Some of the children under Khairul's care were taught to assemble bombs by family members. The parents of about half the students were killed in armed conflict with the Indonesian counterterrorism police."It's natural for the children to want revenge for their parents' deaths," he said. "They were taught to hate the Indonesian state because it is against the caliphate."When Indonesia achieved independence in 1945, religious diversity was enshrined in the constitution. About 87% of Indonesia's 270 million people are Muslims, 10% are Christian, and there are adherents of many other faiths in the country.A tiny fraction of the Muslim majority has agitated violently for a caliphate that would arc across Muslim-dominated parts of Southeast Asia. The latest incarnation of such militant groups is Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, considered the Indonesian affiliate of the Islamic State.The parents of Ais, who is now 8, were members of a Jamaah Ansharut Daulah cell. Each week, they would pray with other families who had rejected Surabaya's spiritual diversity.The day before Ais and her family rode up to the police station in May 2018, another family -- mother, father, two sons and two daughters -- made their way to three churches in Surabaya and detonated their explosives. Fifteen bystanders were killed. The militant family was extinguished entirely, including the two girls, who went to school with Ais.Hours later, members of two other families in the prayer group also died, either from shootouts with the police or when explosives hidden in their apartment detonated. The six children who survived the carnage are now in the Jakarta program with Ais.When they first arrived from Surabaya, the children shrank from music and refrained from drawing images of living things because they believed it conflicted with Islam, social workers said. They were horrified by dancing and by a Christian social worker who didn't wear a head scarf.In Surabaya, the children had been forced to watch hours of militant videos every day. One of the boys, now 11, knew how to make a bomb."Jihad, martyrdom, war, suicide, those were their goals," said Sri Wahyuni, one of the social workers taking care of the Surabaya children.On a recent weekday, however, the children shimmied their way through team-building exercises. During Arabic class, they squirmed. They drew the human figure they had once considered taboo.But their religious practice remains important. Although it is not required, all seven still fast two days a week to demonstrate commitment to their faith."We don't want to challenge their religion by stopping them," said Ahmad Zainal Mutaqin, a social worker who also teaches religion classes. "Indonesians respect their elders, and we don't want them to think their parents were evil."Some day soon, these children of suicide bombers will have to leave the government program in which they have been enrolled for 15 months. It's not clear where they will go, although the ministry is searching for a suitable Islamic boarding school for them.The children of those who tried to reach Syria to fight get even less time at the deradicalization center -- only a month or two. Some then end up in the juvenile detention system, where they re-encounter extremist ideology, counterterrorism experts said."We spend all this time working with them, but if they go back to where they came from, radicalism can enter their hearts very quickly," said Sri Musfiah, a senior social worker. "It makes me worried."Irfan Idris, the director of deradicalization for Indonesia's National Agency for Combating Terrorism, acknowledged that threat, saying there "is not a guarantee" that the minors who have been funneled through government care pose no threat.Most children of the 1,000 or so people who have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes in Indonesia don't even have the chance to go through this effort at education and moderation. The government runs the one program in Jakarta and provides support for Khairul's madrassa."The solution is a very expensive, long-term mentoring program such as takes place with some of the white power youths in Europe, involving schools, social psychologists and attention to families," said Sidney Jones, the director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta and an authority on Islamic militancy in Southeast Asia.But the political commitment to such an extensive effort is lacking in Indonesia.Alto, the terrorism analyst, said that even the nascent efforts underway in Indonesia might only be camouflaging the problem."Although it seems that they are obedient, it's a survival mechanism," he said of the students undergoing deradicalization. "If you were taken prisoner, you will do and follow what the captor told you to do so that you will get food, water, cigarettes, phone calls."But, he added, "you know that one day you will come out."At the madrassa in Medan, which preaches the dangers of radicalism within a conservative approach to Islam, a row of boys sat on the veranda of a mosque and expounded on their worldview. Dan, 12, agreed with classmates that Indonesia should be an Islamic state.What of the churches interspersed with the mosques in Medan? Dan, who is also being identified by a nickname to protect his privacy, giggled.His hands mimicked the shock of an explosion, and he formed a word."Bomb," he said. His laughter stopped.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company
Submarines are useful for signaling intent.
Lebanon was shaken on Sunday by its largest protests in years as young and old turned out en masse to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and his coalition government. It marked the fourth day of protests following a proposal for new taxes, which ignited widespread anger over austerity measures and corruption in a deeply unequal society. The plan - to tax WhatsApp calls and other third-party applications that have long afforded cash-strapped Lebanese a chance to chat for free - was quickly dropped. But the protests have morphed into demands for an overhaul of the entire political system in the crisis-ravaged country. After on Friday laying out a 72-hour deadline for parties to agree to a framework for economic reforms, Mr Hariri held round-the-clock meetings with Lebanon’s various political blocs to discuss proposals for the 2020 budget. Late on Sunday Mr Hariri appeared to have bought himself some time with the announcement of a package of reforms including a 50 percent reduction in the salaries of current and former officials. The reforms also include $3.3 billion in contributions from banks to reduce the deficit in the heavily indebted country, and plans to overhaul the crippled electricity sector. But they will not be confirmed until approved by the cabinet on Monday, and it is unclear whether they will go far enough. On Saturday night, the resignation of four ministers from the Christian Lebanese Forces, a party allied with Mr Hariri, underscored the chaos in government. By Sunday evening, with just 24 hours to go before Mr Hariri’s deadline, the country’s streets were awash in flags and furious Lebanese taking aim at all corners. “Neither Saudi nor Iran will be able to take this protest down,” chanted demonstrators in downtown Beirut Sunday night, referencing the regional arch-rivals that have long jostled for control of the tiny Mediterranean country. In the predominantly Shia city of Tyre, in the country’s south, there were chants accusing parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, himself Shia, of corruption. There has also been vocal opposition to Hizbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah. “All of them means all of them. Nasrallah is one of them,” was heard throughout the protests. While demonstrators called for the government’s departure, its actual collapse would likely herald even greater instability and economic disaster – something MPs seem anxious to avoid. Mr Hariri has hinted at resignation if his demands are not met. But there are few obvious alternatives to the current PM. Not only is the post limited to Sunnis by the country’s power-sharing system, but it is also unclear who would be willing to take over in such a disastrous economic situation. Mr Hariri formed the current government of national unity in February after nine months of wrangling. He is currently in his third term as leader.