Trump ‘Likely To Be Indicted’ On Campaign Finance Violations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

Fox News Contributor: Trump ‘Likely To Be Indicted’ On Campaign Finance Violations

“It’s clear that Trump is the target,” former U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy said.
X

Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy has bad news for President Donald Trump: Get ready to be indicted for violating federal campaign finance laws.

McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, said on “Fox & Friends” Sunday that attorneys with the Southern District of New York are “clearly” going after Trump, given recent revelations about statements by Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer, to the U.S. district court.

“They are clearly going after the president on campaign finance violations and I think if you read the sentencing memo the Southern District filed in Cohen’s case, it’s clear that Trump is the target and he’ll be indicted eventually,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy served as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District for 18 years before leaving the Justice Department in 2003.

On Friday, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District filed a sentencing memo recommending Cohen receive a 42-month prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of business and tax fraud, making false statements to Congress and violating campaign finance law.

Cohen told the court in August that during the 2016 presidential campaign Trump directed him to make hush money payments to at least two women who say they’ve had affairs with him after he married his third wife, Melania. The president has denied the affairs and the hush money allegations.

Prosecutors say the payments violate federal campaign finance laws.

The first payment in question ―  $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels ― violated campaign finance law restrictions against donations of more than $2,700 in a general election, according to federal prosecutors.

The second payment under legal scrutiny is $150,000 made by American Media Inc. to silence Karen McDougal, which prosecutors say constituted an illegal corporate donation to Trump’s campaign. The National Enquirer’s parent company was chaired at the time by Trump’s longtime confidante, David Pecker.

The Southern District case involving Cohen stems from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice.

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Mueller did not take a position on Cohen’s sentence but the special counsel’s office wrote in their sentencing memo that Cohen has “gone to significant lengths” to help in their investigation.

Fox News host Ed Henry on Sunday appeared taken aback by McCarthy’s prediction.

“You think the president of the United States is going to be indicted… I mean that kind of stops me in my tracks,” Henry said.

McCarthy said he can’t be positive whether the Justice Department would indict a sitting president or wait until Trump is out of office.

“I think what can happen is they could indict and he could be tried down the road when he’s out of office,” McCarthy said. “But will [Trump] be charged? Are they setting the stage to file charges against him? If you read that sentencing memo, I can’t come to any other conclusion.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Trump “may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”

“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him,” Schiff said.

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.@AdamSchiff on the Russia Investigation: My takeaway is there’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office the justice department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.

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McCarthy delved deeper into the case in an Op-Ed published Sunday on Fox News’ website.

“Campaign finance violations have a high proof threshold for intent,” McCarthy wrote. “President Trump could argue that because there was no spending limit on his contributions, he did not think about the campaign-finance implications, much less willfully violate them.”

“The point for this day is that the Cohen case in New York City is not about Cohen,” he concluded. “The president is in peril of being charged.”

Women to Get Equal Representation in UAE’s FNC as per President’s Directives

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Women to Get Equal Representation in UAE’s FNC as per President’s Directives

Sunday, 9 December, 2018 – 10:30
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan among members of the Federal National Council (FNC) (WAM)
Abu Dhabi – Asharq Al Awsat
Women’s representation in UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) will be increased to 50 percent in the coming parliamentary term, as per the directives of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. In a step reflecting the country’s future approach aimed at achieving full empowerment of Emirati women and emphasises their pioneering and effective role in all vital sectors of the UAE.

The President’s directives include doubling the current percentage of women’s representation in the Council from 22.5 percent to 50 percent in the coming parliamentary term, aiming to place UAE in top positions worldwide in terms of representation of women in parliament, reported Emirati News Agency (WAM).

This will enable the UAE women to achieve, in a record time, what has been achieved by their international counterparts in decades.

The National Council is comprised of 40 members, and the number of women will increase from nine to twenty next year. The Council discusses general issues such as bills and government budgets.

Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, voiced his support for the plans to further improve gender parity in government.

He noted that this “is a great leap forwards in cementing the legislative and parliamentary role of women in our nation’s development.”

“Women are half of our society: they should be represented as such,” said Sheikh Mohammed in a tweet.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, congratulated Emirati women on the decision.

“We congratulate the Emirati women on raising their representation in the Federal National Council. This is an additional step to enhance their role and contribution to national decision-making,” he asserted.

The Crown Prince described women as the partners and supporters in the process of building and development as well as “a role model in giving and excellence.” He added that women proved effective in various work fields, wishing them all the success.

Half of the Council’s members are elected by electoral bodies whose members are nominated by the rulers of the various emirates, while the other half is appointed.

Elections for a new set of FNC members will be held next year. Currently, there are nine women members, representing 20 per cent of the 40 available seats.

Current chairperson and speaker of the FNC is Amal al-Qubaisi, who became the first woman leader of a national assembly in the UAE and Arab world three years ago. Qubaisi was also the first woman elected to the FNC in 2006

Father denied visa for slain daughter’s funeral

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWS)

 

Father denied visa for slain daughter’s funeral as suspect charged with rape, murder

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A 34-year-old man is facing murder, forcible rape, kidnapping and other charges in connection with the disappearance of 13-year-old Hania Noelia Aguilar from Lumberton, North Carolina. The news comes as Aguilar’s father, a Guatemalan citizen, was denied a U.S. visa and missed his daughter’s Saturday funeral.

The charges against suspect Michael Ray McLellan were released by the FBI on Saturday. Prior to his arrest, McLellan was being held in custody on unrelated charges, according to the FBI.

Despite tens of thousands of signatures on a Change.org petition calling on U.S. agencies to allow Hania Aguilar’s father  to attend his daughter’s funeral, Noé Aguilar was not granted a visa, Naimeh Salem, a Texas immigration lawyer, confirmed to USA TODAY in a Saturday email.

Noé Aguilar was denied requests for a second interview and humanitarian parole, Salem said in a written statement.

Hania Aguilar’s funeral was Saturday at Lumberton High School, ABC11 WTVD reports. A video of the event shows purple balloons and bows decorating the venue as a large crowd gathered for a bilingual service.

Hania was abducted Nov. 5 after going outside to start an SUV for a relative who was going to drive her to the school bus. A neighbor said she heard screams, then saw a man force Hania into the SUV and drive away.

The FBI joined local and state police in a massive search. The vehicle was found three days later in a wooded area several miles from Hania Aguilar’s home.  In late November, a body tentatively identified as Hania Aguilar’s was found in North Carolina.

Salem told the New York Times that Noé Aguilar’s visa was denied by American officials because they believed he might not return to his native country.

“To tell you the truth, with past administrations, we never had a problem like this,” Salem is quoted by the Times. “With this administration, most everything that is discretionary is getting denied.”

Suspect McLellan faces 10 state charges filed by the Lumberton Police Department, but more may be filed as the investigation continues, an FBI statement says.

Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY; The Associated Press; WCNC-TV, Charlotte, wcnc.com

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Germany: Angela Merkel’s Party Elects A Successor

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Angela Merkel’s Party Elects A Successor As She Begins Her Exit From German Politics

German Chancellor and leader of the German Christian Democrats Angela Merkel waves after her last speech as party leader on Friday in Hamburg, Germany.

Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

In an emotional farewell for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Christian Democratic Union party delegates gathered to elect a successor in Hamburg, the city where Merkel was born.

Merkel, 64, will pass the baton to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the 56-year-old general secretary of the CDU and strong supporter of the chancellor. “AKK,” as some Germans affectionately call her to avoid stumbling over her name, was Merkel’s preferred candidate, at least according to many German media and analysts because the chancellor never publicly endorsed anyone. Kramp-Karrenbauer narrowly defeated fellow party member, Friedrich Merz — Merkel’s staunch rival and the former leader of the party’s parliamentary group.

Ahead of the vote, Merkel looked somewhat tired and uncharacteristically stumbled over her words during her 30-minute speech before the vote.

Nevertheless, Merkel kept her message simple and straightforward as she has over 18 years as leader of the Christian Democrats. She even took a moment to poke fun at herself for being no-nonsense and “bone dry.”

During her speech, Merkel urged the party to join together and show Germans it can lead their country through turbulent times of growing polarization and crises like war, terror attacks and climate change. Merkel said the CDU is well-suited to do so if it sticks to its core values, but at the same time remains open to change and looks to the future instead of the past.

“Now it’s time to open a new chapter,” and bring in new leadership, Merkel said. “At this moment, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. It was a great pleasure for me, it was an honor for me.”

The delegates rose and delivered a lengthy ovation to their long-time leader, with some holding up signs that simply said: “Thanks, boss.” Merkel went back out on stage to acknowledge the crowd several times with nods, smiles and waves. She eventually returned to the microphone and reminded the delegates they still had “a lot of work to do.” And that they did, as the three-way race for Merkel’s successor was a heated one.

In the initial round of voting Friday, Kramp-Karrenbauer came in first receiving 450 delegate ballots, but she didn’t get a majority. So a runoff was held between her and second highest vote-getter Merz. The 63-year-old Merz advocates a more conservative, harsher approach to the party than Merkel, and in recent weeks, had advocated for a more combative approach to silencing those in the CDU center.

Kramp-Karrenbauer narrowly defeated Merz in the run-off winning with 517 ballots to his 482. After the results were announced, a tearful Kramp-Karrenbauer hugged Merkel and gave her a peck on the cheek. Merkel, a mentor to the newly elected successor, smiled broadly and looked happier than she has in months, as she now faces a less politically turbulent transition when she hands over the reins of government at the end of her term as chancellor in 2021.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was formerly the premier of the small German state of Saarland and fairly new on the national political stage, is pretty much assured to be the CDU’s successor candidate for chancellor in that national German election. But the mother of three also inherits the difficult task of ending the CDU’s lackluster showing over the past three years in local, regional and national elections, as well as winning back hundreds of thousands of voters.

Most of them defected to the far-right Alternative for Germany over Merkel’s controversial decision to openly welcome asylum seekers back in 2015 when hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans and others came to Germany and other European Union countries to escape war and poverty.

After her win, Kramp-Karrenbauer immediately extended an olive branch to Merz and her other key opponent, German health minister Jens Spahn.

“There’s a place for both in this party,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said, adding the renewed confidence their party elections raised in Germans “must continue and must be connected with the goal that unites us all, to preserve and shape our great people’s party.”

Some German observers predict that even if her CDU party unites behind her over the next few years, Kramp-Karrenbauer has a long road ahead to persuade German voters and the greater European Union that she can be as stabilizing and powerful a chancellor as Merkel.

(Poem About A Nation’s National Ethics)   Money, or Lives

(Poem About A Nation’s National Ethics)   Money, or Lives

 

This Man is a Murderer as this the Sane World knows

How much Muddy Water is worth the life on one man

Our War Machine is primed our Bombs dropping every day

Billions can be won or lost on what the Trump Card plays

No doubt the Man is in a spot, what will He Tweet today

 

Common Sense and Ethics tell us how to play this game

But was it truly Common Sense if they take your job away

Chinese and the Russians ready to buy your Friends today

Blood is Blood yet when has been a Royal Prince been hung

Strutting around the World like one Big Ole Bird Fed Cat

 

How much money do we put on the price of one single life

Depends on the Keys you wear and how High Up is Your Ass

Government’s and Corps kill 10’s of thousands every day

Dow Jones is The King Of Crowns His Feet the Big Boys Kiss

For a few Greenbacks a million of us poor folks won’t be missed

 

 

(Philosophy Poem) Taking Money From The Devil

Taking Money From The Devil

 

When you are down and out, be careful of the spout

Water is never pure when it is coming from the sewer

Muddy water from a swamp just kills you a little slower

When drowning in the sand one will grasp at any hand

Sweet words to reel you in to slather you on their spit

 

Promises of help all disguised to steal your life and land

Taxes and tolls with high interest you can never repay

Bridges that they build are just their avenue to invade

Belts and Roads built to plunder the poor man last dollar

Upon the Roads their Armies march your sovereignty do part

 

Whether a Panda or a Card they smile as they cut your throat

The Poor are only fodder for the weapons of the rich man’s dollar

Poor people do all the work but to Ivory Towers go all the perks

Just look to your Capitals for Fallen Angels disguised as rich Jerks

Soon all money will come from one hand, will be the Devil, not a man

Israel: Please Tell Me That The Prime Minister Is Not This Petty And This Stupid

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

‘What a Hanukkah gift’: Bitter PM slams police call to charge him with bribery

Accusing cops of an ongoing witch-hunt, Netanyahu denies deal to help Bezeq boss Elovitch in return for favorable coverage from the businessman’s Walla news site

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a Likud party event in Ramat Gan marking the first night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, on December 2, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a Likud party event in Ramat Gan marking the first night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, on December 2, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back hard Sunday evening against Israel Police’s bombshell recommendation earlier in the day that he be indicted for taking bribes in the Bezeq-Walla corruption probe, known as Case 4000.

“The witch-hunt against us continues,” Netanyahu told a crowd of Likud supporters at the party’s official Hanukkah lighting ceremony at the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel in Tel Aviv. The investigation, he claimed, was biased and “skewed from the start… A year ago, before even opening the investigations,” he charged of the police, “they decided what the outcome would be and leaked their conclusions.”

Investigators said earlier Sunday they believed there was enough evidence to bring Netanyahu to trial on charges of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust, and fraudulently accepting benefits. It is the third case in which police have recommended bribery charges against the prime minister. They also recommended that his wife, Sara, stand trial in the case.

But Netanyahu said the allegations were “baseless” and that the truth would eventually emerge. Hanukkah marks “the victory of light over darkness,” he said, and declared, “the light will always win out.”

He also noted that Hanukkah is a festival of miracles, and mused bitterly, “How did they know to time (the publication of) these surreal allegations precisely on the very last day of the police chief? What can I tell you? A real Hanukkah miracle. What a gift they gave us for the festival,” he said, in tones dripping with sarcasm met with cheers from his upbeat supporters.

Sunday was police commissioner Roni Alsheich’s final full day in office.

Investigators said that Netanyahu advanced regulatory decisions benefiting Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder in Bezeq, the country’s largest telecommunications firm — despite opposition from the Communication Ministry’s career officials — in exchange for positive coverage from Elovitch’s Walla news site. At the time when a merger of Bezeq with the Yes satellite operator was approved in 2015 — a deal at the heart of the case, said to have benefited Elovitch to the tune of hundreds of millions of shekels — the prime minister was also serving as acting communications minister.

Shaul Elovitch arrives at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court for extension of his remand in Case 4000, February 22, 2018. (Flash90)

Netanyahu rejected the specific allegations, saying that there was no benefit to either side in the alleged quid pro quo. “I didn’t give anything to Elovitch and I didn’t get anything from Elovitch,” he said.

“Not only did Elovitch not get anything from me during my tenure as communications minister, he lost a fortune,” the prime minister charged. “As minister of communications, we instituted the wholesale market reform that lowered the prices of the Internet and collapsed Bezeq’s share — a reform that seriously hurt Elovitch. In other words, Bezeq received nothing, but lost,” he said.

He also said that the claim he received positive coverage from Walla was untrue. “What did I get?” he asked the crowd rhetorically. “I’ll tell you: I got terrible coverage at Walla… Walla is a left-wing website that gives and has given me negative coverage for years, especially on the eve of the last elections.”

In their blistering statement, police had said “the prime minister and his associates intervened in a blatant and ongoing manner, and sometimes even daily, in the content published by the Walla News website, and also sought to influence the appointment of senior officials (editors and reporters) via their contacts with Shaul and Iris Elovitch,” the Bezeq owner’s wife.

Netanyahu, however, said there was nothing wrong with being in contact with owners of major media outlets.

“I don’t think it okay in a democracy for the police to investigate ties between politicians and the media,” he said, accusing investigators of singling him out, and noting that dozens of lawmakers receive “flattering coverage” and are not probed by authorities.

“I wasn’t surprised the recommendations were published, or that they were published today,” Netanyahu added, citing the timing of the announcement on Alsheich’s last full day, and accusing the police chief of leading a smear campaign against him.

Israeli Chief of Police Roni Alsheich seen with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a welcoming ceremony held in Alsheich’s honor in Jerusalem, on December 3, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Alsheich ends his term on Monday after three years. Both Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan have clashed with the outgoing commissioner and declined to extend his tenure for the customary additional year.

Earlier this year, police recommended that Netanyahu be charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in two other corruption cases, designated 1000 and 2000. The following month, Netanyahu said that law enforcement officials were being pressured to pursue criminal investigations against him. He has since railed against Alsheich, accusing the police chief of leaking information to the press and of conducting a “witch-hunt” against him and his family.

Alsheich’s departure comes amid a cloud over his successor vis-a-vis the Senior Appointments Advisory Committee, also known as the Goldberg Committee, which announced last week that it could not recommend Maj. Gen. Moshe “Chico” Edri as the next police chief, citing a meeting Edri held during the nomination process with the lawyer of a Tax Authority whistleblower who has accused Edri of harassing him.

Erdan, who nominated Edri, harshly criticized the committee over its decision and vowed to push ahead with the appointment despite the disqualification. Alsheich had also reportedly been against the appointment.

In a further attack on police integrity, Netanyahu said he did not know who next the Israel Police commissioner will be, “but I do know one thing. He’ll have some serious restoration work because, how should I say this, the public’s trust in the police is not at an all-time high.”

In Case 1000, the so-called “gifts scandal,” Netanyahu is suspected of “systematically” demanding benefits worth about NIS 1 million ($282,000) from billionaire benefactors, including Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian resort owner James Packer, in exchange for favors.

Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid-pro-quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister work to weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing in all of the cases, insisting the gifts were given by friends and were not bribes, and that he never intended to act on his conversations with Mozes.

Rallying his supporters on Sunday, the prime minister repeated a mantra he has used throughout the investigations: “Nothing will happen, because…,” he began. And the crowd joined in, “…nothing happened.”

In their Sunday statement, police noted that the investigation had not found enough evidence to charge Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu’s son, Yair Netanyahu, who was questioned a number of times during the investigation.

The recommendations in Case 4000 now go to the Attorney General’s Office, where they will first be reviewed by the state prosecutor before going to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

Mandelblit, who will make the final decision whether to indict the prime minister, intends to examine all three cases at the same time, which will be possible only after he receives the state attorney’s recommendations based on the final police reports.

That process makes late 2019 the likely timing for any final word on whether Netanyahu will face trial. The next Knesset elections are currently slated for November 2019, but may very well be held earlier.

Coalition partners have previously said that they would not leave the government unless a full indictment was filed against the prime minister, but recent crises may have shifted allegiances in the coalition after it was reduced last month to a paper-thin majority of just 61-59 in the 120-seat Knesset.

READ MORE:

Israel Releases Jerusalem Governor, 9 Fatah members

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Israel Releases Jerusalem Governor, 9 Fatah members

Monday, 3 December, 2018 – 10:00
Gheith and members from Fatah movement warmly welcomed after their release. AFP
Tel Aviv- Asharq Al-Awsat
Jerusalem magistrate court released on Sunday Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem Governor Adnan Gheith and nine activists of Fatah movement, but it banned them from entering the West Bank for two other weeks.

The prosecution confirmed that their arrest was due to their “involvement in military activities serving the interests of PA security services” and their role in pursuing Palestinians who sell real estate to Jews.

The prosecutor spoke about Gheith and his colleagues’ role in arresting one of the Palestinians, who was suspected of selling real estate to settlement associations, and torturing him in intelligence prisons in Ramallah.

He said that the Israeli government decided to fight this phenomenon and punish every Palestinian who contributes to it.

In addition to releasing Gheith, the court decided to release Hatem Mahlus, Alaa Abu al-Hawa, Amer Awwad, Khalil Bashir, Mohammad al-Qaq, Ahmad Mustafa, Iyad Hadra, Hadi Mahmoud and Hussam Abu Isnineh.

According to the lawyer from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Mohammad Mahmoud, the court decided to release Geith and the rest of the detainees because their arrest turned into a major political scandal.

Notably, these arrests have raised a wave of public protests in Jerusalem and its environs.

Administrative and educational cadres and students of al-Umma Secondary School in Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, organized Sunday morning a rally to express solidarity with Governor Gheith.

They raised banners calling releasing Gheith and all the other prisoners.

In addition, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education circulated an order in schools throughout the governorates to organize a silent sit-in for three minutes in support for Jerusalem’s governor and his fellow detainees.

It also asked these schools to use the school radio to talk about the detainees and the role of the students in defending Jerusalem and its Arabism.

Congress which questioned existence of Lord Ram now talking about Hinduism?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Congress which once questioned existence of Lord Ram now talking about Hinduism, says Smriti Irani

Referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on prime minister Narendra Modi that he did not understand the foundation of Hinduism, Smriti Irani said that it was strange that the party which had once raised question on Lord Ram’s existence was talking about Hindu and Hinduism.

INDIA Updated: Dec 02, 2018 22:20 IST

Union minister Smriti Irani hit out at the Congress saying the party which had once questioned the existence of Lord Ram was now talking about Hinduism.(PTI)

Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani on Sunday hit out at the Congress saying the party which had once questioned the existence of Lord Ram was now talking about Hinduism.

Referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on prime minister Narendra Modi that he did not understand the foundation of Hinduism, Irani said that it was strange that the party which had once raised question on Lord Ram’s existence was talking about Hindu and Hinduism.

“Where was the Hindu in Rahul Gandhi when Congress had submitted an affidavit that Lord Ram does not exist?..,” she asked.

In September 2007, the then UPA government withdrew from the Supreme Court its two affidavits, including a controversial one filed by the ASI claiming there was no historical or scientific evidence to establish existence of Lord Ram and Rama Setu as a man-made bridge. The then government had backtracked after the ASI affidavit triggered a massive controversy.

Read: Owaisi will have to flee like the Nizam if BJP wins, says Adityanath

When questioned on Punjab minister Navjot Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan and his remarks on chief minister Captain Amrinder Singh, Smriti Irani said that Congress president needed to answer on it.

“Why does a Congress minister insult chief minister of his state? Rahul Gandhi should answer it. Why does a Congress leader love Pakistan more than India, Congress should think about it,” she said.

She also questioned the “silence” of Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Navjot Sidhu’s Pakistan visit.

“Pakistan foreign minister said Pakistan could throw a ‘googly’ at India due to action of this (Sidhu) Congress leader. But, Rahul Gandhi is quiet on the issue..,” she said.

Also Read: Congress leaders offer prayers in temples when polls near, but for BJP they are cultural issues, says Rajnath Singh

Earlier in the day, home minister Rajnath Singh in reply to a question in Jaipur said Congress was talking about Hinduism which it has avoided discussing till now.

“Hinduism should not be connected with any sect, caste and religion. It is a way of living life and it is a human religion. What will they talk about Hindu and Hinduism? They have called Lord Ram a fictional character in the affidavit submitted in Supreme Court in Ram Setu case in 2007,” he said.

First Published: Dec 02, 2018 22:13 IST

In Yemen, Lavish Meals for Few, Starvation for Many

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

In Yemen, Lavish Meals for Few, Starvation for Many and a Dilemma for Reporters

A woman in the poor mountain village of Al Juberia, Yemen.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
Image
A woman in the poor mountain village of Al Juberia, Yemen. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

SANA, Yemen — At a restaurant in the Yemeni capital, Sana, a waiter brought bowls of slow-cooked lamb served with mounds of rice. For dessert there was kunafa, the classic Arab dish of golden brown pastry filled with cheese.

An hour later I was back at work, in a hushed hospital ward filled with malnourished children with skeletal faces, hanging between life and death for want of money and a good meal.

If that juxtaposition strikes you as jarring, even distasteful, it felt that way to me, too.

Crisis zones are often places of stark contrast, but in Yemen the gulf is particularly uncomfortable. The problem isn’t a lack of food; it’s that few people can afford to buy what food is available.

Years of blockades, bombs and soaring inflation have crushed the economy. A crushed state means there is no safety net.

As a result, beggars congregate outside supermarkets filled with goods; markets are filled with produce in towns where the hungry eat boiled leaves; and restaurants selling rich food are a few hundred yards from hunger wards filled with desperation, pain and death.

For a reporter, that brings a dilemma. Journalists travel with bundles of hard currency, usually dollars, to pay for hotels, transport and translation. A small fraction of that cash might go a long way for a starving family. Should I pause, put down my notebook and offer to help?

It’s a question some readers asked after we published a recent article on Yemen’s looming famine.

Many were touched by a powerful photograph by Tyler Hicks of Amal Hussain, an emaciated 7-year-old girl whose haunting stare brought the war’s human cost into shocking focus.

And many were devastated to learn that, soon after we left, Amal’s mother brought her back to the shabby refugee camp they call home, where she died a few days later.

Amal Hussain, who died at age 7 from malnutrition soon after this photograph was taken.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
Image
Amal Hussain, who died at age 7 from malnutrition soon after this photograph was taken.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Some, in their anguish, turned the focus back on us.

Why didn’t we do something to save Amal’s life, they wanted to know. Did we just take the photo, conduct the interview and move on? Couldn’t we have somehow ensured that her family would get help?

“You can take the picture AND provide assistance,” one woman said on Twitter. “One doesn’t rule out the other.”

The questions resonated. Reporters are trained to bear witness; aid workers and doctors have the job of helping people.

Donating money, or other forms of assistance, can be fraught with ethical, moral and practical complications. Is it fair to single out one person or family for help? What if they embellish their story for the next foreigner who comes along, thinking they could get more money?

Plus, we have a job to do.

Doctors show us around, and sometimes we end up acting like them — examining stick-like limbs and flaccid skin with clinical detachment; tabulating figures about weight and age; listening as families recount their tragedies with amazing calm. The prospect of death is discussed. We nod sagely, make a note, move on.

But while we may try to mimic a stone, we are not stones, and every day in Yemen someone told me something that made a lump rise in my throat.

COMMENT OF THE MOMENT

Sandra commented November 30

Sandra
Times Pick

Let’s cut to the chase and get the U.N. and it’s agencies in there. Just do it. The USA should be spear heading the effort. War between armies is one thing. War on starving people is quite another….no grey area! NONE!

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Usually it was a mundane detail, like the lack of a few dollars to take a dying child to the hospital. Yemen, you realize, is a country where people are dying for lack of a taxi fare.

An injured Yemeni fighter with the Saudi-led Arab coalition that is battling Iran-allied Houthis for control of Yemen at a field hospital in Durayhimi.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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An injured Yemeni fighter with the Saudi-led Arab coalition that is battling Iran-allied Houthis for control of Yemen at a field hospital in Durayhimi.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Yemenis have to navigate such terrain, too.

While some are dying, others are getting on with living. One night we returned to our hotel in Hajjah, a town ringed by rocky ridges in a province that has been pummeled by Saudi airstrikes. Lying in bed, I was startled by a loud bang then a burst of light that filled the sky — not a bomb, but fireworks.

Since the start of the war, the rate of marriage in Yemen has gone up. And so, in this town where malnourished infants were perishing at the city hospital, others were dancing and celebrating through the night.

But the surge in weddings, it turned out, was a survival mechanism.

Across the social spectrum, Yemenis are sliding down the poverty ladder. Where once a mother bought a sack of rice to feed her family, now she can afford only a small bag. The hand of a daughter in marriage brings a bride price, and so weddings can be a source of income for stretched families.

Disturbingly, many of the brides are children. According to Unicef, two-thirds of Yemeni girls are married before the age of 18, up from 50 percent before the war.

As we crossed Yemen — from the battle-scarred port of Hudaydah to the Houthi-held mountains — on a bumpy 900-mile journey, we saw scenes of heartbreaking suffering that unfolded against a backdrop of spectacular mountains, and customs that stubbornly endure despite everything.

Every day, town centers bustled with men buying khat, the narcotic leaf beloved by Yemenis. The khat bazaars are a social event. Men, some with guns over their shoulders, gather to trade news, meet friends and prepare for the afternoon chew.

Women in black cloaks flitted between them; in one place, a loud argument erupted into fisticuffs. Even as starvation bites, some are reluctant to cut back on their habit.

In one health clinic, Ibrahim Junaid, a worried father standing over his ailing 5-month-old son, was chewing a lump of khat that left a green stain on his teeth and lips.

Mr. Junaid was 60; his wife, 25, stood silently by his side. The nurses wrapped the boy in a gold foil blanket to keep him warm.

Ibrahim Ali Mohammed Junaid, 60, and his wife Zahra Ali Ahmed, 25, taking their son, Ahmed Ibrahim al Junaid, 5 months old, to a clinic to treat his malnutrition.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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Ibrahim Ali Mohammed Junaid, 60, and his wife Zahra Ali Ahmed, 25, taking their son, Ahmed Ibrahim al Junaid, 5 months old, to a clinic to treat his malnutrition.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Mr. Junaid regretted that his son hadn’t enough to eat, adding that he had a lot of mouths to feed; he had married twice, and fathered 13 children.

The value of practices like chewing khat may be hard to understand in such turbulent times. But for men like Mr. Junaid, it is an integral part of their day. And it is a mark of the resilience of an ancient society, one of the oldest civilizations of the Middle East.

“People say Yemen is in a state of chaos, but it’s not,” said Thierry Durand, an aid worker who has worked in Yemen since the 1980s, and now runs a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Mocha. “There is still structure.”

“You can’t put it in three lines in your paper or describe it in three minutes on TV,” he continued. “This country is structured by family, tribe, traditions — and despite everything, those structures are still there, and they are strong.”

Still, Yemeni society is being ravaged by war. Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition, aided by American bombs, have killed thousands of civilians, and displaced many more. But for most Yemenis, war strikes their lives in quieter, more insidious ways.

Bombs blow up bridges or factories, killing jobs, causing the currency to crumble and prices to soar, and forcing families to abstain from meat, then vegetables. Soon, they are dependent on international food aid or, in the worst cases, resort to meals of boiled leaves.

A bridge in Bani Hassan was damaged by a Saudi airstrike.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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A bridge in Bani Hassan was damaged by a Saudi airstrike.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Small but vital things, like a cab fare, become unattainable.

As we drove away from the small hospital in Aslam, where Amal Hussain was being treated, we passed a young couple hitching a ride on the side of the road. They were holding a small infant. We stopped and offered them a ride.

They squeezed into the passenger seat — the father, Khalil Hadi, enveloped by the black cloak of his wife, Hanna, who held their fragile 9-month-old son, Wejdan, who had just been released from the malnutrition ward.

Theirs was a typical story. Their home near the Saudi border had been bombed, so they rented a room in a house near Aslam. Mr. Hadi tried to earn money driving a motorbike taxi, and by foraging for wood to sell at the market.

But it wasn’t enough, and when he tried to go home, the Houthi soldiers told him the area was a military zone. Their diet was reduced to bread, tea and halas, the vine that grew locally. His wife was four months pregnant with their second child.

Mr. Hadi wasn’t looking for pity; many people were in similar trouble, he said. “I’d do anything to make some money,” he said. “The situation is so hard.”

At a junction in the road, the couple stepped out, offered thanks and began to walk away. Fumbling in my pocket, I called them back.

I pulled out a wad of Yemeni notes — about $15 worth — and pressed it into his hand. It seemed so futile, in the greater scheme of things. What could it buy them? A few days respite, if even that?

Mr. Hadi accepted the money with a gracious smile. As we drove off I saw the couple amble down a dusty road, toward their shelter, their ailing son held tight.

Khalil Hadi and his pregnant wife, Itanna Hassan Massani, carrying their 9-month-old son, Wejdan, from a clinic in Aslam.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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Khalil Hadi and his pregnant wife, Itanna Hassan Massani, carrying their 9-month-old son, Wejdan, from a clinic in Aslam.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Follow Declan Walsh on Twitter:@declanwalsh

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Contrast in Crushed State Presents Journalists With Ethical Dilemma. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
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