Politics

Politics

Trump to Discuss Renewable Fuel With Ethanol Critic Ted Cruz

President Donald Trump will confront the conflict between farm-state and oil-state Republicans over renewable fuel standards as he meets Thursday with Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a leading critic of requirements for ethanol use, and other Republican lawmakers. Cruz insisted on the meeting to discuss possible changes to the biofuel mandate before he will stop blocking a vote on Trump’s nomination of Iowan Bill Northey to be an undersecretary of agriculture. A White House official said the president understands the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard to rural America, and also understands the objections of the oil refining sector about “compliance burdens.” Trump will listen to the concerns of the senators with the hope of finding common ground on both sides of this debate, the...

It’s Only Been Two Months, But Angola Leader’s a Bond-Market Hit

He’s only led Angola for a couple of months, but bond investors already like what they’ve seen from Joao Lourenco. Angola’s $1.5 billion of bonds due in 2025 have returned 8 percent since Lourenco was sworn in as president on Sept. 26, replacing Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who had ruled the OPEC member and former Portuguese colony since 1979. That’s a better performance than any other country in the Bloomberg Barclays Emerging Markets USD Sovereign Bond Index, which includes debt from more than 70 nations. It’s not just down to oil prices rising about 5 percent in the period — the bonds of other major producers such as Mexico, Russia and Saudi Arabia have barely budged. Overall, Eurobonds issued by emerging-market governments returned an average of 0.3 percent. Lourenco, 63, has moved f...

Man gets probation for throwing cat against wall, killing it

AKRON, Ohio –  An Ohio man who pleaded no contest to killing his roommate’s cat by throwing it against a wall has been sentenced to two years’ probation. The judge said Tuesday that prison time wasn’t an option for 21-year-old University of Akron student Matthew McCullough. A state law mandates probation for the first offense of certain low-level felonies that are not deemed violent. A new law last year elevated certain animal cruelty offenses from misdemeanors to fifth-degree felonies, but prosecutor Justin Richard says the cat’s death was treated as a “property crime.” The Akron Beacon Journal reports that McCullough apologized at the sentencing. Attorney Reid Yoder said McCullough is “not a deviant.” The cat allegedly scratched and urinate...

Catholic Church, state clash on law barring headstone sales

TRENTON, N.J. –  A federal judge is weighing whether to scrap a state law barring private religious cemeteries from selling headstones after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark and the state clashed on Wednesday in court over the legislation. U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp said from the bench in Trenton that he would issue a written ruling, expected early next year. The dispute goes back to 2013, when the archdiocese expanded its inscription rights program, the proceeds from which it used to care for cemeteries. Under the program, the church offered the option for a headstone but retained ownership of it in perpetuity. The idea was that a bereaved family could write an inscription on a headstone but the church would care for the headstone going forward. The Monument Builders Associ...

LA to become largest US city with recreational marijuana

Marijuana buds sitting next to prescription medicine bottle  (FatCamera) The American city known as a temple of coastal elites is about to get even more liberal.   Los Angeles — home to sun, surf, palm trees, progressive bubbles, and Hollywood — will become the nation’s largest city with recreational marijuana after the City Council voted Wednesday to license sales next year. After months of debate and political snags, the council approved rules to usher in commercial sales and cultivation set to begin in less than a month under an initiative approved by state voters. Under the Los Angeles regulations, residential neighborhoods would be largely off-limits to marijuana businesses, and buffer zones would be set up around schools, libraries and parks. However, with the new year just weeks awa...

Al Franken told to resign by several female Democratic colleagues after sixth woman accuses him of sexual misconduct

A growing group of Democratic senators on Wednesday called for Sen. Al Franken to resign in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct complaints made against the Minnesota lawmaker.  Sens. Claire McCaskill, Maggie Hassan, Kirsten Gillibrand, Patty Murray, Mazie K. Hirono, Kamala Harris, Debbie Stabenow, Tammy Baldwin and Heidi Heitkamp were among the women who called for Franken to step down.  Faced with multiple calls to resign, Franken’s office announced he will make an announcement on Thursday. His colleagues didn’t mince words on what they thought he should do. “I believe the best thing for Senator Franken to do is step down.” – Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. “Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere. I believe the best...

Man whose relatives died mysteriously denies allegations

CONCORD, N.H. –  A Vermont man denied in court papers Wednesday allegations that he killed his millionaire grandfather in 2013 and claims he doesn’t know the whereabouts of his mother who disappeared after a boat they were on sank off Rhode Island. Nathan Carman has been called a suspect in the shooting death of 87-year-old real estate developer John Chakalos in Connecticut. No one’s been arrested. He has also been questioned about the day his boat sank with his mother, Linda Carman, on it. She’s presumed dead. He said he doesn’t know if anyone has seen his mother since their fishing trip in 2016. In July, the three sisters of Linda Carman filed a lawsuit in New Hampshire accusing Nathan Carman of killing Chakalos and possibly his mother. They’ve asked a judge...

ANALYSIS: In Jerusalem gamble, Trump may go bust

President Donald Trump summed up his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the simplest of terms: “Old challenges demand new approaches.” That’s a succinct summation of Trumpian governing philosophy – the ethos of a confident dealmaker who’s willing to gamble to mix things up. What’s been done before hasn’t worked, so the president is choosing to do something new – something a bipartisan majority in Congress explicitly endorsed more than 20 years ago. But such logic begins to collapse in the morass that is the Middle East. It falls apart because of centuries of complicated history, of blood shed over spiritual and physical property, and of seven decades of American leadership that’s considered the case of modern Israel as the complex theological and geopolitical thick...

Power Brokers Start to Gear Up for Nigeria’s 2019 Elections

As Nigeria begins to gear up for general elections in February 2019, five senior politicians appear to be key players in Africa’s top oil producer. President Muhammadu Buhari, a 74-year-old former military ruler, will start as one of the favorites if he seeks re-election after becoming the first opposition candidate to win power in Nigeria’s history in 2015. A health scare this year — he spent more than five months in London receiving treatment for an undisclosed medical ailment — convinced some observers that he wouldn’t serve more than one term. But he returned in August with renewed vigor, regularly traveling on official trips both at home and abroad. Muhammadu Buhari Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg Buhari has pledged to boost investments to spur growth after presiding...

Investors Are Looking at Zimbabwe’s Budget to Understand the Post-Mugabe World

When Patrick Chinamasa marks the start of his second stint as Zimbabwe’s finance minister by presenting the budget on Thursday, investors will be looking for policy changes in addition to fiscal plans in the post-Robert Mugabe era. While the government needs to rein in runaway spending, end cash shortages and recapitalize banks, signals that it plans to revise or repeal contentious policies such as forcing companies to transfer 51 percent stakes to black Zimbabweans could be a game-changer. It could lure back investors and smooth engagement with lenders like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Chinamasa, a lawyer, was reappointed last week by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, less than two months after former leader Mugabe moved him to another portfolio. Mugabe resigned two wee...

Patagonia founder says he will sue to protect Utah monuments

Major outdoor retailers have come out in opposition to President Trump‘s announcement this week that he will shrink two national monuments in Utah. Outdoor gear company Patagonia made its website go black after Trump’s announcement Monday, with only large text reading: “The President Stole Your Land.” Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Choinard, also told CNN Tuesday that he plans to sue the administration to protect Bears Ears National Monument’s status. “I think the only thing this administration understands is lawsuits,” Choinard told CNN. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Tuesday the threat of lawsuits wouldn’t change the administration’s decision and that special interest groups are using the issue to raise money. Zinke specifically ...

Trump to Meet Democrats With Congress on Track to Avoid Shutdown

President Donald Trump will meet with congressional leaders from both parties Thursday to negotiate on a long-term budget deal as Congress prepares to pass a stopgap spending measure to avoid a U.S. government shutdown Saturday. The House is expected to vote on a two-week spending bill to keep the government open through Dec. 22, with Senate action coming by Friday. That measure is intended to buy time for Congress and the president to agree on overall levels for defense and non-defense spending for the next two years. Trump said Wednesday that a shutdown could happen Saturday because of Democratic demands, although House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi responded that Democrats aren’t seeking a shutdown. They’ll be joined in Thursday’s meeting by House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Senate...