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Lebanon counter-protesters clash with police in Beirut -

Lebanon counter-protesters clash with police in BeirutLate Saturday afternoon, young counter-protesters from an area of Beirut dominated by the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah and fellow Shiite movement Amal tried to raid a key anti-government protest camp in Martyrs' Square. The square, in central Beirut, has been at the epicentre of protests which flared in mid-October over perceived official corruption, poor services and economic woes. Both Amal and Hezbollah are partners in Lebanon's cross-sectarian government.

Sat, 14 Dec 2019 13:05:03 -0500

Supporters of Iran-backed Iraqi group protest US sanctions -

Supporters of Iran-backed Iraqi group protest US sanctionsHundreds of demonstrators supporting a powerful Iran-backed militia group in Iraq poured into a central Baghdad plaza Saturday, some burning American flags to protest recent U.S. sanctions against key leaders. The protest came as Washington pointed fingers at Iranian proxy groups for a recent spate of rocket attacks against its military bases in Iraq. The protesters burned American and Israeli flags, as well as cardboard cutouts of U.S. President Donald Trump in Firdous Square, a central plaza that is close to where anti-government demonstrators have been camped out since Oct. 1.

Sat, 14 Dec 2019 12:54:56 -0500

Jeremy Corbyn's humiliating defeat a 'canary in the coal mine' for Democrats warns Mike Bloomberg -

Jeremy Corbyn's humiliating defeat a 'canary in the coal mine' for Democrats warns Mike BloombergPresidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg has described Jeremy Corbyn’s crushing defeat as a “canary in the coal mine” for the Democrats as the party gears up for 2020 election. With the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary only a couple of months away, Democrat centrists have seized upon the UK election results as evidence of the danger the party faces if it drifts too far to the left. In recent weeks divisions between the centrist and radical wings have been laid bare, particularly over health care. Leading left-winger Elizabeth Warren, who had been polling strongly, has come under attack for her blueprint which would eventually see America’s private health insurance system replaced by a state-run Medicare system. Moderates have warned that her radical policies would make her unelectable. Speaking in Alexandria, Virginia, Mr Bloomberg, a former New York mayor and late entrant to the Democrat race, said the party should learn the lessons of Mr Corbyn’s disastrous campaign. Democrat candidates "I think it's sort of a catastrophic warning to the Democratic Party to have somebody that can beat Donald Trump and that is not going to be easy. Americans want to change, but I think they don't want revolutionary change — they want evolutionary change." Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who is now leading in Iowa and New Hampshire, has emerged as the main hope of the centrists as Joe Biden’s campaign shows signs of faltering. He also suggested there were lessons to be learned from the UK.  “It means that you’ve got to be ready to build a coalition and gather that majority,” Mr Buttigieg said. Another moderate Democratic candidate, John Delaney, urged the party to take on board what had happened in the UK election.  “Despite the turmoil caused by Brexit, Boris Johnson just won a massive victory with the British electorate, which should be a wake-up call to Democrats," he said. "Johnson proved that mainstream voters will not embrace an extreme economic plan that will cause upheaval, just because they are not fans of the conservative leader." Meanwhile, Mr Biden, whose main pitch to has been his ability to beat Donald Trump, will rely on a bastion of states in the US South to see him to the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination - and potentially the White House. Although the former vice president is faltering in New Hampshire and Iowa, the latest polls show him building seemingly impregnable leads in the South. Mr Biden leads easily in South Carolina, which will the fourth state to vote. He is also comfortably ahead in Texas, Mississippi,  North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee - in some cases by over 20 points. Mr Biden's base in the southern states relies on his support from black voters. In South Carolina two-thirds of the Democrat primary electorate is black. A Quinnipiac poll this week showed Mr Biden with 51 per cent support from black voters in the state, with his nearest rival Mr Sanders on 13 per cent.

Sat, 14 Dec 2019 12:19:00 -0500

Boris Johnson's victory is 'catastrophic warning' to Democrats: Bloomberg -

Boris Johnson's victory is 'catastrophic warning' to Democrats: BloombergBoris Johnson's election victory is a 'catastrophic warning' to Democrats in the United States, presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg has warned.

Sat, 14 Dec 2019 11:37:22 -0500

Greta Thunberg may be the world's savviest Twitter troll. Here are the presidents and pundits she has put in their place. -

Greta Thunberg may be the world's savviest Twitter troll. Here are the presidents and pundits she has put in their place.The teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has mastered the art of trolling world leaders on Twitter after they criticize her.

Sat, 14 Dec 2019 10:46:00 -0500

$625,000 Settlement for Woman Whose Child Was Torn From Her Arms -

$625,000 Settlement for Woman Whose Child Was Torn From Her ArmsNEW YORK -- The video quickly spread widely online: Security guards and police officers pry a baby boy from his mother's arms as she lies on the floor of a public benefits office in Brooklyn."They're hurting my son!" the mother, Jazmine Headley, can be heard crying as she struggles to hold onto the boy while the officers try to arrest her. "They're hurting my son!"The episode, in December 2018, touched a nerve, capturing what New Yorkers who rely on public benefits say is the uncaring and even hostile treatment they often get from city workers who themselves feel pressure to follow rules.The charges against Headley were ultimately dropped. Her public benefits, which had been stripped, were restored, and Mayor Bill de Blasio apologized to her publicly. Nonetheless, saying she was standing up for herself and others in similar circumstances, she filed a federal lawsuit against the city.On Friday, the de Blasio administration said that it would pay $625,000 to settle the suit."Ms. Headley came to the city seeking help, and we failed to treat her with the dignity and respect she deserved," Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a spokeswoman for de Blasio, said in a statement. "While this injustice should have never happened, it forced a reckoning with how we treat our most vulnerable."In February, Headley, 24, testified tearfully about her experience before the City Council in support of a package of bills meant to improve how city employees, especially security guards, interact with those seeking public benefits."From day one, Ms. Headley insisted that this incident was not just about her, but about the dignity of every young woman of color raising her family with immense love and hard work, in a difficult world," her lawyer, Katie Rosenfeld, said.The city's most notable moves in the wake of the episode involving Headley included the introduction of mandatory training in how to de-escalate tensions for the security guards who work in the city's public benefits offices. Twenty-two security guards at the city's welfare agency resigned or were fired.The Department of Social Services established an Office of Constituent Services to handle complaints from benefits recipients. The agency is now required to issue quarterly reports on use-of-force incidents. And within a few weeks, security guards will begin wearing body cameras that will capture their encounters with the public."The steps that we said we would take that would mitigate the horrible things that happened to Ms. Headley have been taken," Steven Banks, social services commissioner, said in an interview Friday.Headley had taken the day off from her job cleaning offices on Dec. 8, 2018, to go to a public benefits office in Boerum Hill. She wanted to find out why the city had abruptly stopped paying for day care for her son, who was 1 at the time.Unable to find a seat in the office's crowded waiting room after about three hours, Headley sat on the floor next to her son's stroller. When security guards told her to leave, she asked to speak with a supervisor.When she walked away from the guards, they and police officers who had been called in grabbed her. She was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and trespassing."By the end of the day, Ms. Headley had been humiliated, assaulted, physically injured, threatened with a Taser, brutally separated from her son, handcuffed, arrested, and jailed -- all by employees of the City of New York," her lawsuit said, noting that the guards and police officers should have been trained in how to defuse such situations.Banks acknowledged that there was more to be done to cut down the long lines in benefits offices that can fuel tensions between city workers and those who depend on public assistance.Advocates for benefits recipients agreed."Have we heard of another incident like the one that occurred with Jazmine Headley?" said Craig Hughes, a supervising social worker at the Urban Justice Center. "No, not that we know of. But I can say it continues to be a frustrating, time-sucking and sometimes traumatizing experience."Linda Tavares, 28, said she had visited a Bronx office in November where more than 100 people were waiting to be seen. She said she was told to leave and return two weeks later.Tavares, who works in cleaning and maintenance, said that the security guards were friendly, but that she still felt mistreated because of the wait and chaos. She said she was seeking cash public assistance because she was in danger of being evicted."I don't really have anyone to help me," she said in Spanish, speaking through an interpreter. "They should have more people staffed there."Banks said he wanted to make it possible for people like Tavares to be able to get access to services without having to go to an office and wait."That," he said, "will ultimately be the lasting impact of what happened to Ms. Headley."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

Sat, 14 Dec 2019 10:05:47 -0500

Johnson's win may deliver Brexit but could risk UK's breakup -

Johnson's win may deliver Brexit but could risk UK's breakupLeaving the European Union is not the only split British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has to worry about. Johnson’s commanding election victory this week may let him fulfill his campaign promise to “get Brexit done,” but it could also imperil the future of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland and Northern Ireland didn’t vote for Brexit, didn’t embrace this week’s Conservative electoral landslide -- and now may be drifting permanently away from London.

Sat, 14 Dec 2019 09:30:12 -0500

The 25 Best Survival Games -

The 25 Best Survival Games

Sat, 14 Dec 2019 09:00:00 -0500

Why is the president of the United States cyberbullying a 16-year-old girl? -

Why is the president of the United States cyberbullying a 16-year-old girl?What it says to girls is: no matter what you do, no matter how much you achieve, powerful men will try to cut you downThe morning after election day 2016, I got a call from a girls’ school in New York where I was scheduled to speak. “We have to reschedule,” said a representative from the school. “The girls are too upset.”Girls across the country were upset when Trump was elected, but not simply on partisan grounds. They were upset because Donald Trump was a bully, a cyberbully, and he bullied girls and young women like them – women like the former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who revealed that, when she was 19, he called her “Miss Piggy,” a dig at her weight.In a New York Times poll in the run-up to the election, nearly half of girls aged 14 to 17 said that Trump’s comments about women affected the way they think about their bodies. Only 15% of girls said they would vote for him if they could.And now Trump has a new target for his bullying: Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old environmental activist. Thunberg seems to be really making Trump upset, without meaning to. She doesn’t fit into any of his ideas of how girls are supposed to act. She isn’t trying to be a contestant in one of his beauty pageants. She’s too busy trying to get world leaders like him to do something about the climate crisis. She’s too occupied by giving speeches at places like the UN – where Trump was laughed at, when he gave a speech in 2018, and Thunberg was met with respect, despite slamming the entire body for “misleading” the public with inadequate emission-reduction pledges.In the last couple of weeks, while Trump was seemingly mocked by his peers at the Nato summit in London, and impeachment hearings against him began, Thunberg was named Time’s person of the year, an honor Trump reportedly wanted. And so he did what he always seems to do, on Twitter, when he’s upset: he lashed out by accusing the person upsetting him of the very things he’s feeling, or is guilty of.“Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “Chill Greta, Chill!”Poor Trump. This tweet didn’t sound very chill. And Thunberg knew it. Like the majority of girls growing up in the digital age, she has been cyberbullied before – by Trump himself, who, after her celebrated speech before the UN General Assembly, sarcastically tweeted, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”Both times Trump has tweeted about her, Thunberg’s responses have been jocular, and sarcastic in kind. This week, she changed her Twitter bio to: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”In her handling of being cyberbullied by the president of the United States, at age 16, Thunberg has become an inspiration for girls two times over – first as a climate activist, then as a social media ninja.But that doesn’t mean that Trump’s cyberbullying of Thunberg is any less despicable, or dangerous. What it says to girls all over the world is: no matter what you do, no matter how much you achieve, powerful men can and will try to cut you down.This message is depressing, scary and not without potentially dire consequences. It’s a message that has contributed to a precipitous rise in the suicide rate among girls. It’s a message that has contributed to rising anxiety and depression among girls and young women. It’s a message that Trump’s wife, Melania, is supposed to be combatting, with her campaign against cyberbullying.But girls don’t need Melania Trump to be their role model in fighting against online harassment. They have each other, and they have Thunberg. * Nancy Jo Sales is a writer at Vanity Fair and the author of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

Sat, 14 Dec 2019 06:15:21 -0500

Anger erupts at U.N. climate summit as major economies resist bold action -

Anger erupts at U.N. climate summit as major economies resist bold actionMajor economies resisted calls for bolder climate commitments as a U.N. summit in Madrid limped toward a delayed conclusion on Saturday, dimming hopes that nations will act in time to stop rising temperatures devastating people and the natural world. With the two-week gathering spilling into the weekend, campaigners and many delegates slammed Chile, presiding over the talks, for drafting a summit text that they said risked throwing the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle global warming into reverse. "At a time when scientists are queuing up to warn about terrifying consequences if emissions keep rising, and school children are taking to the streets in their millions, what we have here in Madrid is a betrayal of people across the world," said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, a climate and energy think-tank in Nairobi.

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