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Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur who is seeking the Democratic nomination, at Sunday’s Iowa event. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—In both subtle and not-so-subtle ways, the sprawling field of Democratic presidential hopefuls made clear Sunday that Joe Biden has a large political target on his back.

Following a week in which Mr. Biden stumbled as he reversed his stance on abortion funding, several 2020 candidates sought to contrast themselves with the Democratic front-runner at the Iowa Hall of Fame celebration, one of the party’s annual fundraisers. The heightened combativeness served as a preview to the first primary debates late this month.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Mr. Biden’s chief rival according to polls, said Democrats won’t defeat President Trump “unless we bring excitement and energy into this campaign.” He added, “The status quo—same old, same old kind of politics—will not do that,” in what many among the 1,400 state Democratic activists gathered at the event interpreted as a jab at the former vice president.

Without mentioning Mr. Biden by name, Mr. Sanders said there were some “well-intentioned Democrats and candidates” who thought the best way to achieve victory in 2020 is through a “middle ground strategy that antagonizes no one, that stands up to nobody and that changes nothing.”

Mr. Biden didn’t attend the gathering although Iowa will launch the Democratic nomination voting in less than eight months. Nineteen of his 22 rivals were scheduled to speak, with candidates each getting five minutes to make their pitch.

The former vice president, who also bypassed a California convention last weekend that attracted 14 candidates, instead plans to hold two days of campaign events in Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday, overlapping with Mr. Trump’s first visit to the state this year.

Mr. Biden’s campaign didn’t comment on his rival’s pitches and he tweeted Sunday that he was thrilled to watch his granddaughter graduate from high school.

Joe Biden, seen last month in Philadelphia, didn’t attend the Iowa gathering. Photo: dominick reuter/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Last week, Mr. Biden said he now opposes a ban on the use of federal funds for most abortions, reversing his longstanding position amid pressure from fellow Democrats and abortion-rights groups. He said he could no longer support the Hyde Amendment, which bans government funding of abortions except for victims of rape and incest. Mr. Biden blamed Republican efforts to limit access to the procedure and overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

An Iowa Poll of likely Democratic caucus-goers released over the weekend showed Mr. Biden atop the field with 24%. The survey, sponsored by the Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom, showed Mr. Sanders supported by 16%, followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 15%, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 14% and Sen. Kamala Harris of California at 7%. No one else topped 2%.

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Will Joe Biden’s strategy of avoiding multi-candidate events ahead of the debates help or hurt him? Join the conversation below.

The biggest political event in Iowa this year was a mecca for those involved in Democratic presidential politics. Campaign workers and volunteers waved signs and led cheers outside the venue while candidates milled about the exhibit hall, seeking to impress Democrats who will be crucial in the state’s leadoff presidential caucuses.

Inside the hall, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York chatted with former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, and his wife, Christie Vilsack, as guests helped themselves to a buffet of chicken satay, spicy meatballs and spinach dip. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, meanwhile, greeted Doug Emhoff, the husband of Ms. Harris, while Marianne Williamson, an author and spiritual adviser, chatted with activists.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who has built a large organization in Iowa in his long-shot bid, said the party needed to have “bigger aspirations and bolder dreams” than simply defeating the president.

“Beating Donald Trump is the floor—it is not the ceiling. Beating him will get us out of the valley but it will not get us to the mountaintop,” Mr. Booker said. The senator also referred to abortion funding, saying, “abortion is health care, and health care is a right, not a privilege.”

Mr. Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor and military veteran, made a generational pitch, saying the party couldn’t succeed by returning to old policies. “We’re not going to win by playing it safe,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “We Democrats can no more promise a return to the ‘90s than the Republicans can deliver on a promise to return us to the ‘50s.”

Mr. Swalwell, meanwhile, said he would only appoint Supreme Court justices who would uphold Roe v. Wade. But he said that’s not enough. “Let’s repeal the discriminatory Hyde Amendment,” Mr. Swalwell said.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California at the Iowa event Sunday. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Ms. Harris focused on her record as a prosecutor during a tongue-in-cheek speech, rattling off various forms of “fraud” that she would prosecute against the president. She said Mr. Trump committed “securities fraud” for striking up friendships with authoritarian leaders like Kim Jong Un of North Korea and Vladimir Putin of Russia, and tax fraud for the GOP’s tax rewrite of 2017.

She noted that Mr. Trump has on several occasions called himself the best American president. “Well, I say, let’s call Barack Obama because that’s identity fraud,” she said.

Before her address, Ms. Warren told reporters that she had no plans to attack fellow Democrats, even though she has sought to contrast her positions with Mr. Biden. “I’m not here to knock another Democrat, I’m just here to talk about my campaign,” she said.

Jim Garrett, a legislative director for a transportation union who attended the gathering, said he understood Mr. Biden’s absence from the event. “He’s going to have other opportunities,” he said. “What are you going to learn from him in five minutes that you don’t already know?”

Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur who is seeking the Democratic nomination, was the first to mention Mr. Biden by name, saying, “When I saw the program for today, I thought the same thing you all did, which is this: Joe Biden must really not like to travel.”

Write to Ken Thomas at ken.thomas@wsj.com and John McCormick at mccormick.john@wsj.com

Some American embassies chose to decorate their facilities with rainbow-colored items ahead of this weekend, despite the Trump administration’s refusal to allow embassies to hang LGBT flags on official flag poles.

The U.S. embassy in New Delhi changed its cover photo to an image of rainbow lights on the building, though it’s not clear if the picture was taken at the embassy this year or a previous one.

Screen Shot 2019-06-09 at 11.15.58 AM.png

The U.S. Consulate General Chennai in India held a ceremony and flag-raising ceremony May 31.

The U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, posted a large pride flag on the front of the building in late May, ahead of what is known as “Pride Month” in June. The flag was larger and hanging higher than the U.S. flag hanging out front, which would have violated the standards held by former President Barack Obama’s State Department.

The U.S. embassy in Santiago, Chile, raised a flag on May 17 in honor of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The American embassy in Austria, Vienna, also raised a flag in mid-May, though it remains unclear if those flags are still up as of June 8.

Representatives from embassies in Brazil, Germany, Israel, and Latvia had requested permission to show support for the LGBT community, but were denied.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has said he believes marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman, was in his post during June last year, though it’s not clear what protocols the administration set into place at the time.

Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his April 2018 hearing he did not support marriage between two people of the same sex.

“When I was a politician, I had a very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry,” Pompeo said at the time. “I stand by that.”

“So do you not believe it is appropriate for two gay people to marry?” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., asked.

“Senator, I continue to hold that view,” Pompeo said.

The effectiveness of President Donald Trump’s unprecedented weaponization of tariffs in addressing non-trade issues is facing its most significant tests yet in Mexico and China.

In the case of Mexico, he had threatened new 5% tariffs on Mexican goods – which were to be imposed as early as Monday. The aim was to force the Mexican government to stem the flood of undocumented migrants across U.S. borders.

The United States and Mexico reached a deal Friday night in which Trump dropped the tariff threat in return for Mexico’s commitment to increased immigration enforcement.

In the case of China, Beijing officials have grown convinced that the Trump administration’s aim is – at the very least – to alter the way the autocratic capitalist regime does business. At the very most, they believe Trump officials would like to slow or stop China’s rise and perhaps change the regime itself.

A draft trade agreement, which U.S. officials say the Chinese initially accepted before rejecting, appears to have included a Chinese commitment to change its laws to rein in illegal tech transfers, intellectual property theft and anti-competitive state subsidies.

No one disputes, least of all Mexican officials themselves, that Mexico should do more to help the United States address the migrant problem. Last month, U.S. officials apprehended or refused entry to more than 144,000 people who crossed the southern border illegally, the most in a single month in some five years. That number has grown consistently since January, fueled by the fear of even tougher restrictions to come and a desire to get in the door before it shuts.

Top Mexican officials flew to Washington this past week on an emergency mission to broker a deal to head off he tariffs. Ahead of the weekend, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebard confirmed reports that Mexico would send 6,000 of its national guard troops to its southern border – the sort of physical showing designed to appeal to Trump. Mexico also has offered changes, U.S. officials have said, to its asylum rules that would require Central American migrants to seek asylum in the first foreign country they enter – namely Mexico

No one disputes either how positive it would be if Trump could coax the Chinese to mend their unfair trading ways, an effort that has broad global support and bipartisan political support at home. Yet Chinese officials say they drew the line, and they unusually leaked details of the talks to support their argument, when the U.S. side went beyond economic goals toward demands that Beijing rewrite its laws to alter its state-controlled system.

However commendable even the Trump administration’s most ardent supporters might find the president’s goals in Mexico and China, the unfortunate truth is that tariffs are insufficient at best and counterproductive at worst in achieving non-trade outcomes.

Ultimately, Mexico achieved a stand-down from the higher tariffs . The deal, however, won’t address the underlying problem.

The Atlantic Council’s Tony Wayne, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, argued this week: “Central American governments’ inability to provide for the basic needs and safety of many of their citizens, fueling the migration, has deep-rooted causes that will take years to solve.”

The U.S. recently cut aid to Central America, despite its growing needs, inadvertently fueling even more incentive to migrate. And though Mexico and the United States have agreed in principle to promoting economic development in southern Mexico and Central America, they haven’t delivered anything concrete.

Whatever Mexican officials may promise the Trump administration, it’s unclear they would have the capacity to deliver. “Mexico’s immigration and refugee agencies are severely understaffed, under-resourced and overwhelmed by the increased numbers of Central Americans heading north,” Wayne said.

The difficulty is even greater in addressing the multi-dimensional China challenge through escalating tariffs, even when one adds to that other economic tools such as the recent ban on Huawei selling its 5G products in the United States.

The combination of the tough line U.S. officials took in trade talks and the escalating confrontation over Huawei has prompted a more nationalist and assertive response by the Chinese government, reflected in President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia this week to meet with Vladimir Putin, previewed last week in this space.

Xi and Putin left little doubt that their growing closeness is in no small part motivated as a coalition against the United States. It was also telling that among the 30 deals and agreements signed by the two leaders was an accord for Huawei to develop a 5G network in Russia together with Russia’s MTS telecoms company.

There’s little doubt the U.S. moves against Beijing will slow Chinese growth and complicate Huawei’s ability to expand its impressive hold on global telecom and emerging 5G markets.

Yet tariffs and tech sanctions can achieve little of lasting value without an accompanying set of talks and how the two powers together can manage the global future with a set of agreed rules that will allow them to be both strategic collaborators and competitors.

Trump’s tariff struggles with Mexico and China are only part of what the Economist on its cover this weekend called in a blazing headline, “Weapons of Mass Disruption,” printed beside a compelling illustration of a bomb tipped with Trump’s face heading earthward with these words stenciled on its side: “TARIFFS, TECH BLACKLISTS, FINANCIAL ISOLATION, SANCTIONS.”

Though tariffs on Mexico and China lead the news now, the U.S. this week also cancelled preferential trading rules for India, it continues to use sanctions in efforts to tame and punish Iran and Russia, it wields them in its effort to denuclearize North Korea and it deploys sanctions, working alongside some 50 other democracies, to replace Venezuela’s dictator with democracy.

U.S. economic weapons are the most potent in the world, and 88% of world trade is still done in dollars, although the U.S. share of global GDP has shrunk from nearly half after World War II to 38% in 1969 to about 24% now. That remains the case because for many years a good part of the world viewed this arrangement positively.

It remains to be seen – in Mexico, China and beyond – how much Trump will gain through his unique willingness to use economic weapons.

What’s clear already is that friends and rivals are more interested than ever before in exploring alternatives to the U.S.-dominated system. Such a transition would take many years, involve enormous costs and unfold in stages. However, consistent overuse of U.S. economic power has made the unthinkable more plausible.

Frederick Kempe is a best-selling author, prize-winning journalist and president & CEO of the Atlantic Council, one of the United States’ most influential think tanks on global affairs. He worked at The Wall Street Journal for more than 25 years as a foreign correspondent, assistant managing editor and as the longest-serving editor of the paper’s European edition. His latest book – “Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth” – was a New York Times best-seller and has been published in more than a dozen languages. Follow him on Twitter and subscribe here to Inflection Points, his look each Saturday at the past week’s top stories and trends.

For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.

Hail To American Royalty! Trump Visits English Royalty, How Do you Think It Will Go?

President Trump heads to Europe: Pomp, circumstance, turmoil, ‘fake news’ and remembering D-Day

President Trump is in Europe for a weeklong visit that is both ceremonial and official: It will include a state visit and an audience an lavish dinner with Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family in London, D-Day commemoration ceremonies on both sides of the English Channel and his first presidential See More visit to Ireland. His visit to the United Kingdom comes days before British Prime Minister Theresa May will step down as head of the Conservative Party on Friday for failing to secure a Brexit deal. Trump has praised her her rival, prime ministerial hopeful Boris Johnson, saying that he thinks he would do “a very good job.” Trump is not expected to meet with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who called him a “global threat.” Trump has called Khan a “twin” of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, only “shorter.” 

Trump stirred controversy when, in an interview with the Sun, he referred to Meghan Markle, the American-born Duchess of Sussex, as “nasty” for her past criticism of him. (Markle, who just gave birth last month, was not expected to meet with Trump this week.) Trump pushed back Sunday against the report, tweeting: “I never called Meghan Markle “nasty.” Made up by the Fake News Media, and they got caught cold!” The Sun posted the audio of the interview on its website.

China and Mexico ready to talk
China and Mexico, the two largest sources of U.S. imports who face the possibility of new tariffs in the coming weeks, are reportedly willingness to negotiate with Washington over escalating trade issues. On Sunday, Beijing reportedly released a governmentpolicy paper on trade issues, accusing the Trumpadministration of scuttling the negotiations, which stalled in May.

While saying Trump’s “American First” policy is hurting the global economy, China also said it is willing to negotiate. Mexico, meanwhile, rushed a delegation to the U.S. to discuss immigration issues, following the Trump administration’s threat last week to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods entering the U.S. if the Mexican government fails combat the migrant crisis at the border.

Gillibrand town hall gets heated
Things got heated at a Fox News town hall in Iowa Sunday when Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. used the platform to blame the network for allowing discussions of infanticide in debates about abortion and women’s reproductive rights. When asked by a retired pediatric nurse named Susan about her stance on late-term abortions, Gillibrand pivoted to an attack on Fox News. Gillibrand accused Fox of fueling what she called the infanticide “red herring” and “false narrative” by devoting 6.5 hours of coverage to the debate, including comments from guests on the network. Town hall moderator Chris Wallace cut her off.

“Senator, I just want to say, we’ve brought you here for an hour,” Wallace said. “We’ve treated you very fairly. I understand that maybe to make your credentials with the Democrats who are not appearing on Fox News you want to attack us. I’m not sure it’sfrankly very polite when we’ve invited you to be here.”

Investigators still seeking motive in Virginia Beach shooting 
Virginia Beach police are still looking for a motive behind the workplace shooting that left 12 people dead last Friday. TheVirginia Beach shooter, identified as 40-year-old DeWayne Craddock, had submitted his resignation earlier that morning, officials said Sunday. Craddock, was an engineer with the city’s public utilities department for 15 years. In a news conference Sunday morning, Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen described the man’s work performance as “satisfactory” with no ongoing issues of discipline. Hansen also reiterated that Craddock was not fired or in the process of being fired leading up to the shooting

Love triangle in Connecticut?
The estranged husband of a missing Connecticut mother is being held on $500,000 bond at the Bridgeport Correctional Center and is expected to be arraigned on Monday at 10 a.m. in Norwalk Superior Court. His girlfriend is also being held on $500,000 bond. Jennifer Dulos, the Connecticut mother of five who has been missing for more than a week. Fotis Dulos was arrested and charged with hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence, New Canaan police said Sunday. His girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, 44, was also arrested and booked on similar charges over the weekend.

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Senior North Korea official thought imprisoned by Kim Jong Un pictured at concert with dictator.
AOC plays 2020 Democratic contender gatekeeper.
Roger Stone post calls for former CIA Director John Brennan to be ‘hung for treason’: report.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
In the US-China trade war, how tech is saving farmers money.
Trade dispute, fuel costs will hit global airline profits, outlook slashed.
‘This is Us’ star Chrissy Metz reveals what she learned while working at McDonald’s,

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On Thursday night, President Trump ignited a potential trade war with America’s second-largest trading partner by announcing on Twitter that the U.S. would impose tariffs on all goods coming from Mexico until the border crisis is “remedied.”

This is crazy. To merge trade with immigration is not just bad policy. It’s a lose-lose-lose policy: bad for American consumers, workers, and businesses, especially U.S.-based businesses that have production sites in Mexico.

Friday morning we already saw the effects of this ill-conceived strategy as the markets opened lower and sent stocks tumbling, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1.4% over the course of the day. Shares of the big three American automakers were particularly hard hit — Fiat Chrysler stock fell 5.8%, General Motors fell 4.25%, and Ford fell 2.3%. In Mexico, the peso tumbled 2% against the U.S. dollar.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox told me, “Trump has a dangerous mindset, and these tariffs will impact tens of thousands of jobs for U.S. workers, and further alienate the U.S. from their economic partners.” He noted that, “the big three, General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, all have large production sites in Mexico.”

By invoking the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which grants the president authority over commerce during a national emergency, Trump can impose sanctions like tariffs on goods coming from Mexico. Doing this, however, would lump Mexico (our friend, neighbor, and trade ally) in with dictatorial enemies such as Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea.

Trump’s trade war with Mexico also threatens passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. For all of the rhetoric coming from the White House, NAFTA was actually a miracle. It wasn’t a perfect agreement, and it certainly needed to be revised, but according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NAFTA supports 14 million jobs for U.S. workers. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, more than $583 billion is traded each year with Mexico. That’s $1 million every minute in trade going back and forth between our two economies.

On the issue of illegal immigration, Fox told me:

“This is not a national emergency for Trump, it’s a political emergency because for too long, he has painted Mexico as the enemy, and campaigned that he was going to build a wall, and that Mexico would pay for it. Let me be clear, Mexico is not paying for that wall. And now, he struggles to find the funding from Congress to pay for a silly campaign promise.”

Every country has the right to protect and secure its borders, but demanding that Mexico pay for a wall is outrageous. Illegal immigration is an issue that the U.S. has failed to properly address in the past, and as a result, people are still crossing the border. The people that are crossing the border are not Mexicans, they are Guatemalans and Hondurans.

Fox said that if Trump is serious about addressing border security, then he should focus on Central America. “The solution to immigration and the problems around the border is not building a wall and picking a fight with Mexico. It’s going to the source of the problem, it’s going to Central America and developing economic opportunities for Central Americans.”

A trade war with Mexico will hurt our economies, it will hurt hard-working people, and it will tarnish a friendship and partnership that has endured for decades. And rather than point the finger at Mexico for America’s illegal immigration problem, lets do what we’ve always done — collaborate and share resources. The future of our children and grandchildren depend on it.

Mark Vargas (@MarkAVargas) is a tech entrepreneur, political adviser, and contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog.

How Do You Negotiate With Terror? North Korea executes five officials over failed Kim-Trump summit! How Will Trump Respond? How Would You?

Trump using tariffs as new weapon to combat border crisis; Buttigieg’s story questioned by brother-in-law

Tariffs: Trump’s new weapon to combat the migration crisis

President Trump on Thursday announced a new 5 percent tariff on Mexico beginning in early June, saying the levy will “graduallyincrease” until the ongoing illegal See More immigration surge at the southern border is “remedied” and illegal migrants “STOP.” Fox News is told the tariff on all goods by land, sea, and air from Mexico will hike to 10 percent on July 1 — and potentially increase substantially from there.

“Thousands of innocent lives are taken every year as a result of this lawless chaos. It must end NOW!” Trump said in a White House statement. Specifically, White House sources told Fox News that Mexico would need to step up security efforts on the border,target transnational smugglers, crack down on illicit bus lines and align with the U.S. on a workable asylum policy.

South Korean media: North Korea executes five officials over failed Kim-Trump summit
North Korea has executed five officials for their role in the failed second summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last February, according to a South Korean newspaper. Citing the newspaper, Bloomberg News reported that Kim Hyok Chol, North Korea’s special envoy to the U.S., and four other North Korean Foreign Ministry officials were executed in March because of the breakdown of the February summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. Trump’s closely watched summit with Kim ended abruptly, without the two leaders signing any agreements over nuclear disarmament. Top Kim aide Kim Yong Chol is reportedly sentenced to hard labor for his part in the summit.

Mueller may still sit on the hot seat
One thing Special Counsel Robert Mueller made clear Wednesday in his only public remarks on his findings in the Russia investigation was that he had no desire to testify before Congress. The hundreds of pages in his report, Mueller believed, are his best testimony. However, Mueller may not have a choice. Not satisfied with Mueller’s comments, some leading Democrats are anxious to have the now-former special counsel testify under oath.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has already said in a statement that Mueller’ public remarks left many questions unanswered. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., also said that Mueller’s report was not enough, telling the New York Times that “there is a difference between reading the book and seeing the movie on the big screen.”

Exclusive: Mayor Pete’s brother-in-law says his ‘rags-to-riches’ story is made up
Pastor Rhyan Glezman, brother-in-law of Pete Buttigieg, said Thursday evening that the “rags to riches” narrative in a newspaper profile about the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and his husband is a lie. The “story couldn’t be further from the truth,” Glezman explained on Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on “The Ingraham Angle.” The Washington Post article claimed that Chasten Buttigieg — the candidate’s spouse — had been “shunned” by his family and even struggled with homelessness. Glezman said the family has no memory of Chasten’s supposed homelessness and shunning. “There has never been any amount of shunning him from the family. I love my brother dearly. I want the best for him. I want the best for Pete,” Glezman said. He said he thinks Buttigieg made up the story because it helps to have a compelling narrative to stand out in a crowded field of candidates.

‘H-I-S-T-O-R-I-C’: National Spelling Bee declares 8 co-champions after 20 rounds
Spell it U-N-P-R-E-C-E-D-E-N-T-E-D. After a historic 20 rounds, eight competitors were named co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Sixteen kids had advanced to the finals Thursday, pared down from 50 competitors after 5 1/2 hours of competition in Oxon Hill, Md. The winners were Rishik Gandhasri, 13; Erin Howard, 14; Saketh Sundar, 13; Shruthika Padhy, 13; Sohum Sukhatankar, 13; Abhijay Kodali, 12; Christopher Serrao, 13 and Rohan Raja, 13.

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Chicago police release batch of Jussie Smollett case documents.
New York Times bans reporters from CNN’s Don Lemon, MSNBC’s Maddow shows for being ‘too partisan:’ report.
Netflix, Disney consider boycotting Georgia, continue partnerships with Egypt, China.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
EXCLUSIVE: Trump administration in early stages of possible $100B offering of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Uber posts $1B loss, matching projections in first earnings report as public company.
College enrollments continue to drop.

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North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has been purging the officials that took part in the Hanoi summit in January. The summit abruptly finished early with no agreement between North Korea and the United States.

Blaming the officials for the failed summit, North Korea executed Kim Hyok Chol, the special envoy to the United States, and foreign ministry officials who carried out the working-level negotiations for the meeting in February, according to Reuters.

The regime accused them of spying for the United States.

Kim Yong Chol, who was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s counterpart for the meeting, was sent to a labor camp. Shin Hye Yong, the interpreter for Kim Jong Un, was also sent to a camp for political prisoners for undermining the North Korean leader.

The news comes after Trump repeated criticism of former Vice President Joe Biden from Kim Jong Un while visiting Japan during the Memorial Day weekend.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal,” he tweeted.

He later tweeted he was standing up for “Sleepy Joe Biden.”

A rescue boat is seen on the Danube river after a tourist boat capsized in Budapest
A rescue boat is seen on the Danube river after a tourist boat capsized in Budapest, Hungary, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

May 30, 2019

By Marton Dunai

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – At least seven people were killed and nearly 20 were missing after a pleasure boat carrying South Korean tourists capsized on the flooding Danube in the Hungarian capital on Wednesday, police and ambulance officials said.

The boat reportedly collided with another tourist vessel near the Hungarian parliament building, before turning over on the river, which has been flooding, with very strong currents, while a rainstorm enveloped Budapest.

In Seoul, the foreign ministry said the South Koreans aboard the vessel when it sank were 30 tourists and three tour guides, in addition to a crew of two Hungarians. Seven of the South Koreans were rescued, seven died and 19 were missing, it added.

President Moon Jae-in said South Korea would work with the Hungarian government to investigate the cause of the accident.

“What’s most important is speed,” Moon said at an emergency meeting, at which he urged the use of all diplomatic channels to ensure swift execution of search and rescue operations.

An emergency rescue team and military specialists are among the 33 officials South Korea is sending to Budapest, presidential spokeswoman Ko Min-jung said, and the government will provide counseling to victims’ families.

A Hungarian ambulance spokesman told state television that 14 people were pulled from the water. Seven have died, with the rest suffering from hypothermia but stable.

A massive rescue effort deployed boats, divers, spotlights, and radar scanning to scour the river for several kilometers downstream from the accident site.

Journalists at the scene said they saw children’s ambulances on the riverbank.

There was a six-year-old on board, said Lee Sang-moo, an official of the South Korean travel agency that booked the group tour. But the child did not figure on the list of survivors, the agency added.

Hours have passed since the accident, soon after 9 p.m. (1900 GMT), making it less likely for new survivors to be found in the central Budapest area, as strong currents have carried people far downstream, emergency rescue chiefs told state media.

The National Ambulance Service mounted searches along a stretch of the river downstream from Budapest and was on alert along a section further south in Hungary, where all boat traffic was halted.

Television images showed the bank of the Danube closed off by police on the Pest side, across from the World Heritage site of Buda Castle.

The Danube’s flooding and currents made rescue efforts extremely difficult, a rescue diver told the state broadcaster, with water temperatures ranging between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius (50 and 54 degrees F).

The boat, the Mermaid, was a 27-m (89-ft) double-decker river cruise boat with a 150-horsepower engine and could hold up to 60 people, its owner, Panorama Deck Ltd., told state media.

“We are mobilizing every resource we have to protect human lives,” it said, adding that the Mermaid had been in its fleet since 2003, with regular maintenance.

Boat registry Hajoregiszter.hu showed the ship, originally built in the Soviet Union in 1949, received a Hungarian-made new engine in the 1980s.

Neither the registry nor the operator could be immediately reached for comment on the boat’s age.

A shipping expert told state television it was likely the pleasure boat had collided with a very large vessel that had sunk it very quickly.

The hull was found on the riverbed just a few hundred meters from its usual mooring point.

In 2014, South Korea grappled with a shipping disaster that involved schoolchildren, who made up a large portion of the 300 people killed in the Sewol ferry sinking.

(Reporting by Marton Dunai and Krisztina Than; Additional reporting by Hyonhee Shin, Joyce Lee and Do Gyun Kim in SEOUL; Editing by Sandra Maler and Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

Trump Vs Biden Who Do You Think Will Win?

Trump doubles-down on ‘low IQ’ attacks on Biden, targets past support of 1994 crime bill 

President Trump on Monday did not let criticism over his siding with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an attack on 2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden muzzle him. In fact, just before beginning his journey home from his trip to Japan, the president doubled-down on his attacks on the former vice president. “Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe See More Biden is a low-IQ individual based on his record…I think I agree with him on that,” Trump said at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Trump slammed Biden’s support of a controversial 1994 crime bill, tweeting that he hasn’t “apologized” for backing it.

Trump claimed “anyone associated” with the bill “will not have a chance of being elected.” The president tweeted that his own criminal justice reform legislation – the First Step Act – “had tremendous support” and “fixed” problems in the law Biden championed. The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, signed by then-President Bill Clinton, was seen by many analysts as the culmination of efforts to fight violent crime. However, in the decades that followed, critics blamed the law for an increase in prison populations, among other problems.

Trump not bothered by recent North Korea missile tests
President Trump, in his press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Abe, said he didn’t think North Korea’s recent short-range missile launches were a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, despite his advisers’ beliefs otherwise. Trump said perhaps North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was trying to get attention. Both Abe and Trump national security adviser John Bolton agree North Korea violated U.N. resolutions and that sanctions must remain in place. In addition, Trump appeared to tone down his rhetoric on Iran and said the U.S. is not seeking a regime change just a week after he warned Tehran that a confrontation between the two countries would lead to its demise.

At least 5 million in Ohio left without power after ‘large and dangerous’ tornado
A powerful storm system that included at least one tornado considered “large and dangerous”passed through Ohio late Mondaythat resulted in widespread damage, including 70,000 power outages currently affecting over 5 million people. Social media accounts claim to show a massive funnel cloud as it hit near Trotwood, Ohio, 8 miles northwest of Dayton. At least half a dozen communities from eastern Indiana through central Ohio suffered damage from the storm system, according to the National Weather Service. There have been no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

Japan stabbing attack leaves at least two dead, 16 hurt
A knife-wielding man screaming “I will kill you!” attacked commuters — mostly schoolchildren — waiting at a suburban Tokyo bus stop during the morning rush hour Tuesday, killing at least two people, a schoolgirl and an adult man, according to Reuters, and wounding at least 16 others before he killed himself. Three of the injuries were serious while the others were not life-threatening,according to an official at the Kawasaki city office. Officials told NHK the suspect, believed to be in his 40s or 50s, attacked people near Noborito Park in a residential area of Kawasaki City. The number of wounded reportedly included 13 children. Television footage showed emergency workers giving first aid to people inside a tent set up on the street, and police and other officials carrying the wounded to ambulances.

Avenatti’s case of the Terrible Tuesday
Embattled attorney Michael Avenatti will have a busy day in Manhattan federal court Tuesday afternoon — but as a defendant, not as counsel. Avenatti, 49, is scheduled to be arraigned on charges that he stole nearly $300,000 from adult film actress Stormy Daniels, the client who rocketed him to national prominence. Approximately three-and-a-half hours later, Avenatti is scheduled to be arraigned on charges that he tried to extort up to $25 million from athletic apparel giant Nike by threatening to expose claims that the shoemaker paid off high school basketball players to steer them to Nike-sponsored colleges. If convicted on all counts, Avenatti could face a total of 69 years in prison. Avenatti repeatedly has denied any wrongdoing and is expected to plead not guilty to all charges.

NRA-opposed measure tests Texas governor
A Texas gun storage safety measure added to a massive spending bill sets up a political test for Gov. Greg Abbott as the legislation heads to his desk, the Associated Press reported. The $1 million measure was added late Sunday by budget negotiators — most of whom are Republicans. The bill was approved Sunday night by the GOP-controlled legislature. The campaign for safe home gun storage, just one part of the much broader $250 billion state budget, was fiercely opposed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun-rights activists. Abbott, a Republican who has line-item veto power in regard to the budget, must decide whether to nix the measure or ignore pressure from some gun rights groups and approve it.

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Privately funded organization ‘We Build the Wall’ starts construction of border barrier in El Paso area.
Trump seizes on NYU professor’s tweet to push change of libel laws.
Remembering Major League Baseball great Bill Buckner.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
New auto giant? Fiat Chrysler wants to merge with Renault.
China shouldn’t ban Apple, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei says.
Car depreciation by model: How quickly these popular brands lose value.

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72nd Cannes Film Festival - Closing ceremony
72nd Cannes Film Festival – Closing ceremony – Cannes, France, May 25, 2019. Director Bong Joon-ho, Palme d’Or award winner for his film “Parasite” (Gisaengchung), reacts. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

May 26, 2019

By Sarah White and Johnny Cotton

CANNES, France (Reuters) – “Parasite”, a wickedly humorous suspense movie about class struggles directed by South Korea’s Bong Joon-Ho, won the top Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday, on a big night for newcomer filmmakers too.

Bong, who made his mark at Cannes in 2017 with Netflix-produced “Okja”, is the first South Korean to nab the award at the world’s biggest cinema showcase.

The festival also shone a light on a debut feature-length movie by Franco-Senegalese director Mati Diop, whose haunting migrant tale “Atlantics” clinched the runner-up Grand Prix award.

The unanimous decision to crown “Parasite” partly came down to its unexpected mash-up of genres, this year’s jury president, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the Mexican maker of “Birdman”, told reporters.

It was up against films by a whole cast of industry heavyweights, including Quentin Tarantino’s latest opus, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.”

Set in modern South Korea, “Parasite” follows a down-on-its-luck family of four who worm their way into jobs in a wealthy household. The darkly comic tale doubles up as a thriller, with flashes of violence.

Bong told Reuters that his film – which pokes fun at the affluent mother gushing about her art genius son, or at a family in a cramped flat trying to capture the Wi-Fi signal off their neighbors – reflected “the reality of the times.”

“I really respect films that deal with heavy political issues very seriously but I much prefer to mix that with humor,” Bong said.

“While they’re laughing I want them to be hit like a hidden blade behind their pocket when they’re not expecting it.”

The award adds to a successful run at the French cinema showcase for Asian films after Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda got the prestigious gong last year.

WOMEN RECOGNIZED

With four female directors in contention for the Palme d’Or this year out of 21 entries – at a time when filmmakers are pushing for more gender equality in the industry – it was Diop who made a splash in the end.

“Atlantics” is a ghost story that turns the spotlight on the women who are left behind as their partners and loved ones set off from Dakar on a perilous sea crossing.

Diop, the first black woman ever to vie for the top Cannes award, said it was not foremost in her mind after her win but added that the recognition was symbolically important.

“It doesn’t really belong to me but I’m OK to be that person, to be that woman,” Diop said.

French director Celine Sciamma won a prize for best screenplay for her lesbian love story “Portrait Of A Lady On Fire.”

Spain’s Antonio Banderas won the male acting prize for his role as a tortured filmmaker in Pedro Almodovar’s loosely biographical “Pain And Glory”.

He dedicated his award to Almodovar, who was hotly tipped for recognition but still has never won the Palme D’Or.

“It is a shared prize. Not only just because I’ve been directed by him, because it’s the eighth movie we’ve done together… but because I play him,” Banderas told Reuters, adding that “99.9 percent” of his character was based on the filmmaker.

Britain’s Emily Beecham won best actress after starring in Jessica Hausner’s “Little Joe” as a botanist who starts having doubts about her latest genetically modified creation.

MACRON TO SEE MOVIE

French director Ladj Ly’s first film, “Les Miserables”, a timely tale of police violence, got the Jury Prize – effectively the bronze medal – alongside “Bacurau”, a Brazilian movie by co-directors Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles.

Ly had called on French President Emmanuel Macron to watch his film after it screened at the festival, saying his thriller about a chaotic police patrol could provide an insight into a wave of demonstrations in France over the past six months.

He told reporters on Saturday that Macron had responded and that the film crew was going to organize a screening at the Elysee Palace.

The prize for “Bacurau” caps a successful Cannes for Brazilian films after another entry from the country won the second-tier “Un Certain Regard” competition on Friday.

Filmmakers there have warned about tough times ahead for the Brazilian movie industry, after far-right President Jair Bolsonaro said he would battle “cultural Marxism” and reduced the remit of Brazil’s culture ministry.

“Over the last 15 years there was a very slow build-up of interesting ideas and funding to support Brazilian film production. Now we don’t really know what’s going to happen,” Mendonca said. “The fact that these films are doing well in Cannes is important.”

Among other prizes, Belgian filmmaking duo Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne jointly won the best director prize for their movie about a radicalized teen, “Young Ahmed”.

(Additional reporting by Hanna Rantala and Reuters TV, Editing by Inti Landauro and Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN


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