Indian border officials on lookout for fugitive cosmic guru

Indian border officials on lookout for fugitive cosmic guru

Indian border officials and embassies have issued an alert for a fugitive guru accused of rape, the government said, days after the holy man announced the creation of his own "cosmic" country. Swami Nithyananda -- one of many self-styled Indian "godmen" with thousands of followers and a chequered past -- is wanted by police for alleged rape, sexual abuse, and abduction of children. Earlier this week, he announced online that he has created his own new country -- reportedly off Ecuador's coast -- complete with cabinet, golden passports, and even a department of homeland securit

Plot Emerged to Fix Venezuela Without Maduro or Guaido

Plot Emerged to Fix Venezuela Without Maduro or Guaido

(Bloomberg) -- The standoff in Venezuela briefly took a new twist, according to a report from the Spanish newspaper ABC.People close to both President Nicolas Maduro and his rival Juan Guaido plotted to push both men aside and end the nation’s crisis with the rule of a temporary junta, the newspaper reported without citing where it got the information.The article didn’t cite sources by name, nor was it completely clear how deeply embedded the plan was before it was discovered and fell apart. But the story suggests a strong desire within the camps of both men to end the standoff between Maduro and Guaido almost a year old. Guaido, the National Assembly president, has been recognized by more than 50 countries, including the U.S., as Venezuela’s leader.Third WayThe ABC story suggested a third way, which the paper reported was born out of talks between emissaries of high-ranking Venezuelan officials with opposition leaders, in four countries between April and October this year, after huge rallies demanding Maduro’s exit.The key figure appears to be Humberto Calderon Berti, then the designated ambassador to Colombia who Guaido dismissed last month. He was the main Guaido negotiator in the talks with the emissaries for Venezuelan officials who defied Maduro.At some point in the talks, the paper said, Calderon Berti was approached to head a “transitional junta” -- a small group of powerful men who would lead the nation for 18 months. The paper said that an agreement was drafted by August, with the document outlining the political changes to oust Maduro, sideline Guaido and install the junta sent around to the key players.The Venezuelan officials who sent emissaries for the secret talks included president of the National Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello, one of Venezuela’s most powerful men with strong ties to the military, Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.The negotiations were complex, involving the reconciliation of various factions within the army and voiding the May 2018 presidential elections Maduro is widely seen as winning only by fraud.Temporary JuntaThe paper cites discussions in which a Cabello emissary, army captain Carlos Aguilera Borjas, suggests that Calderon Berti head the temporary junta. The paper says that Maduro’s regime discovered the talks, which then came to an end.Calderon Berti told ABC newspaper that he met with Aguilera Borjas and others. But these meetings were part of his diplomatic duties and had nothing to do with a plot to form a junta, Calderon Berti said.Guaido’s representatives declined to comment on the ABC report, while the Maduro government didn’t respond to requests to do so.To contact the reporter on this story: Jose Orozco in Mexico City at jorozco8@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ney Hayashi at ncruz4@bloomberg.net, Ian Fisher, Matthew G. MillerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.

Body of slain doctor returns home to Japan from Afghanistan

Body of slain doctor returns home to Japan from Afghanistan

The body of a Japanese doctor killed in a roadside shooting in Afghanistan arrived back home Sunday, with government officials on hand to lead a brief ceremony of mourning at Tokyo's Narita International Airport. Tetsu Nakamura was killed last week, along with five Afghans who had been traveling with him. Keisuke Suzuki, Japan's state minister of foreign affairs, joined other officials in bowing their heads in prayer after laying flowers by the coffin, draped in white, in a solemn ceremony in honor of Nakamura at the airpor

Lebanon's Hariri reemerges as PM candidate as Khatib withdraws

Lebanon's Hariri reemerges as PM candidate as Khatib withdraws

Lebanon's leading Sunni Muslim politician, Saad al-Hariri, re-emerged as a candidate for prime minister on Sunday when businessman Samir Khatib withdrew his candidacy to lead a government that must tackle an acute economic crisis. Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29, prompted by mass protests against an entire political class blamed for state corruption and steering Lebanon into the worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war. Under the country's power sharing system, the prime minister must be a Sunni Musli

Belarus crowds rally against closer Russia ties

Belarus crowds rally against closer Russia ties

Roughly 1,000 Belarusians joined an unauthorised demonstration on Saturday against the prospect of a closer union with Russia. Long-time ruler Alexander Lukashenko was meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Russia on Saturday to discuss "key issues in our bilateral relations, including the prospects for deepening integration", according to the Kremlin. Police quickly intervened to oversee the demonstration but made no arrest

Evidence tampering alleged in police chief firing case

Evidence tampering alleged in police chief firing case

A female Chicago police officer who was reportedly seen on video drinking with and kissing the now-fired police superintendent the night he was found asleep behind the wheel of his SUV has been accused of tampering with a cellphone investigators wanted to examine, a police department spokesman said Friday. Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said officials noticed that the phone was damaged when the woman left then-Superintendent Eddie Johnson's security detail to join the evidence and recovered property unit, three days after the incident. According to the Chicago Tribune, which first reported the allegations about the phone, a sergeant in the unit that the officer was joining noticed that the SIM card was missing and filed a formal complaint against the office

Biden Says He Would Consider Giving Ambassadorships to Donors

Biden Says He Would Consider Giving Ambassadorships to Donors

(Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden said Friday he would not rule out appointing donors as ambassadors, but wouldn’t make decisions about those roles based on someone’s financial contributions.“Nobody in fact will be appointed by me based on anything they contributed,” he told a group of reporters aboard his “No Malarkey” bus in Decorah, Iowa.“But, for example, you have some of the people who are out there that are prepared to in fact, that are fully qualified — head of everything from being the ambassador to NATO to be the ambassador to France or any other country — who may or may not have contributed, but that will not be any basis upon which I in fact would appoint anybody.”Other Democratic presidential candidates, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, have criticized the longstanding practice of appointing donors to governmental positions. Warren, who has sworn off high-dollar fundraisers, has vowed to not nominate wealthy contributors as ambassadors.In a wide-ranging 20-minute interview, Biden also defended his response to an Iowa voter who confronted him Wednesday over his son’s work in Ukraine, which has come into sharp focus during the U.S. House impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump. He said he wanted to keep the focus on Trump, but reacted because the man made accusations that were false.Biden said his son did nothing wrong and referred to a statement by Hunter Biden that he exercised “poor judgment” in joining the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.”My son speaks for himself,” the former vice president said. “He’s a 47-year-old man. He didn’t do anything wrong.”Joe Biden, who is at the end of an eight-day bus tour across Iowa, again spoke about the need for bipartisan cooperation. He emphasized the vital role that the two-party system plays in American democracy, and the importance of having a robust Republican Party.“I’m really worried that no party should have too much power,” he said. “You need a countervailing force.”He added: “You can’t have such a dominant influence that then you start to abuse power. Every party abuses power if they have too much power.”Biden also touted his ability to help other Democrats get elected, as he argued why he is best suited to bring about gains for party candidates as the presidential nominee.Biden, who often cites polls in swing states that show him defeating Trump, said the requests from candidates in swing districts for him to campaign on their behalf in the midterms is evidence of his appeal.“I don’t have to go out and look at a poll,” he said. “Just go into those states. You can feel it. You can taste it.”(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)To contact the reporter on this story: Tyler Pager in Decorah, Iowa at tpager1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.

Democrats Must Not Have an All-White Debate—and the White Candidates Should Say So

Democrats Must Not Have an All-White Debate—and the White Candidates Should Say So

The news that Senator Kamala Harris has dropped out of the race highlights the fact that the Democratic field is growing less diverse with each passing month. It's now reached the point where a field that showed such promising diversity at first has been whittled down essentially to four people with first-tier status, and they're all white. There is diversity within than foursome--a gay man, a Jewish man, a woman. But in a party so dependent on voters of color, this is striking--and not in a good way. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Democrats selecting a white presidential candidate to represent the party. But that should be up to the voters, and not the DNC by means of their debate inclusion practices.Those candidates can, however strike a blow for diversity. They should band together and threaten to boycott the December Democratic debate unless the DNC and media partners agree to not exclude candidates who have shown measurable public support before the voting begins. That includes, at the very least, Cory Booker and Julian Castro, and could also include Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard, who have managed to make the most recent debate stage despite long odds.Although Harris had qualified for the December debate, her exit could create an unacceptable scenario on December 19 when the candidates gather in Los Angeles. Booker and Castro’s exclusion, coupled with the probable exclusion of other candidates of color including Yang and Gabbard, means the December debate could very well include only six candidates, all of them white. (Booker, Castro, Yang, and Gabbard have all hit the fundraising threshold, but not the polling one.)Kamala Harris Quits 2020 Race: ‘She Didn’t Know What She Was About’Democrats and the DNC should be asking themselves if they really want to eliminate all the candidates of color before the first states even get to vote. And the leading candidates, all of whom are white, should do something about it.There is precedent for the top-tier candidates banding together to protect the integrity of the debate process. Back in January 2016, NBC News, as a DNC debate sponsor, tried to bar former governor Martin O’Malley from its debate, citing his poor polling numbers compared to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. While it was apparent that O’Malley’s campaign was going nowhere, it was obvious to any objective observer that eliminating him was a choice for voters in Iowa and the other primary states to make—not NBC News.On January 8, 2016 shortly after noon, Sanders tweeted that O’Malley should be allowed on the next debate stage. Literally one minute later, the Clinton campaign tweeted out similar support for O’Malley’s inclusion. And a few hours later, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted that the DNC was also demanding that NBC News include O’Malley.This joint public pressure ensured O’Malley’s inclusion. It turned out to be his final debate, but it was the voters, and not outside organizations, who chose O’Malley’s fate.Dear Debate Moderators, You Are Working Up Democrats About the Wrong IssueNow, it is the DNC itself that is the culprit of such unfair practices. The party has established criteria for the December debate, which will mean that Booker and Castro could both be possibly excluded from the stage.Booker and Castro have been able to organically secure more than 200,000 unique donors each, and both have shown measurable poll support, especially with African-Americans and Latinos respectively. Excluding these two candidates of color, who represent crucial aspects of the Democratic base, from debates before Iowa could be a mistake with lasting implications for the party and country.I personally like some of these candidates, such as Booker and Castro, while I am not fond of Gabbard. But whether I like them isn’t the point. It is not my place nor anyone else’s place to deny a candidate an equal opportunity to make their case.Maybe there is an argument to be made for a smaller debate stage at some point, but the DNC has set up criteria that allows a billionaire to buy his spot while excluding serious candidates with a following and something to say.And while we’re on the subject of Tom Steyer, he has spent $47 million of his own money in what amounts to a scam. Since he needs donors only to meet the DNC’s bizarre debate criteria, he has essentially purchased his donor base, through tactics such as selling $1 swag with free shipping—usually items worth far more than $1—that has nothing to do with him or his presidential campaign. Why should he be allowed to “sell” a button about climate change or opposing Donald Trump for $1 and use that as some kind of indicia of popular support? He has also blanketed early states with enough TV ads and fancy mail to get his name identification up to the point that just enough people might utter it to a pollster because they recognize it.Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg is eschewing debates thus far, but with his $52 billion in net worth it’s not hard to imagine clever ways for him to meet future DNC debate thresholds.A debate stage that lets a white billionaire like Steyer buy his spot but excludes substantive candidates of color like Booker and Castro is neither democratic nor representative of the Democratic Party.As a person of color, I hope the DNC and the frontrunners are listening. It isn’t the DNC’s place to eliminate viable candidates before voters are allowed a say. I hope Biden, Sanders, Warren, and others will step up to tell the DNC that the Democratic Party is stronger when all viable candidates are allowed to be heard.David de la Fuente is a senior political analyst at Third Way.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn mor

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