Delhi Deadlock LIVE: PM Modi Calls for Cooperative Federalism as Capital Crisis Clouds NITI Aayog Meet

Event Highlights

Even as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is on a sit-in protest for the seventh day, L-G Anil Baijal has left for the crucial NITI Aayog meeting, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a few minutes from now. The crucial meeting may turn out to be a platform for yet another show of strength by the opposition as four non-NDA, non-Congress chief ministers gear up to raise the political impasse in Delhi with PM Modi. The four chief ministers — West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh’s Chandrababu Naidu, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan and Karnataka’s HD Kumaraswamy — have rallied behind Kejriwal and sought the Centre’s intervention to end the deadlock between Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor Anil Baijal over an alleged strike by IAS officers. Their request for permission to meet Kejriwal, who is on a sit-in at the Lieutenant Governor’s office for a week, was verbally denied, after which the quartet reached Kejriwal’s home. The open support to Kejriwal by the Trinamool Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Janata Dal (Secular) comes amid opposition efforts to cobble together a rainbow coalition ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. While PM Modi is hopeful of discussing the implementation of key policies, all eyes are on the four chief ministers, who may use the opportunity to seek PM’s intervention in the “constitutional crisis” during the NITI Aayog meeting.

Stay tuned for live updates

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In a World Cup Draw with Argentina, Iceland Comes Out the Winner

High summer in Reykjavik: temperatures in the forties; a driving rain. Gathering in a square in the city center to watch Iceland take on Argentina in its first ever World Cup, people wore parkas. By the time the match began, my hands were numb. After about ten minutes, a bedraggled bride-to-be—mascara smeared, water dripping from her curled hair—straightened her tiara and declared that the party was moving to a bar. The crowd parted to let the girls go. Then it closed. The rain grew more persistent, and as the bodies huddled closer, the temperature rose.

On the screen, Iceland briefly gained possession—a rare occurrence—and the chant began. “EEEEEES-LAND! EEEESLAND!” Every time a man in a white uniform poked the ball away from Argentina, or every time the great Lionel Messi failed to capitalize on a chance, the crowd erupted as if Iceland had scored. With Argentina dominating possession, there weren’t many other chances for cheering. It didn’t matter. In Iceland, survival is sometimes as impressive as a goal.

Ascribing national character traits to national soccer teams is irresistible. Everyone knows the story of Iceland by now, the story of how a country with a tiny population (roughly four per cent the size of New York City) transformed itself from one of the worst teams in the world into one of the most beloved, if not quite one of the best. There are countless stories about how the team’s coach is a former dentist who still moonlights in his old practice—for relaxation, he claims. The goalie is a former film director, and one of the players is a part-time salt packer. Every story includes an account of how the team’s most loyal fans gather with the coach at a local bar before games, where he reveals the lineup and secret game plan, turning fandom into a kind of sacred trust. It is well known, too, how the nation built state-of-the-art training centers around the country, trained scores of coaches, and cultivated a culture of hard work and teamwork, a closeness born of familiarity and necessity.

The oft-repeated moral of Iceland’s story is how it turned weakness into strength. Smallness became tightness. A folkloric bent gave rise to a new tradition, the breathtaking unison of the Viking clap. The weather and isolation made for toughness. The exploding popularity of the team among non-Icelanders mirrored the nation’s popularity with tourists. There was even something about the team’s strategy of holding back, withstanding the opposing team’s relentless pressure, and then suddenly organizing into a quick and lethal counterattack, that seemed emblematic of the country’s unique landscape: the monotonous moonscape interrupted by iridescent mountains, geysers, and waterfalls. The team plays with the latent energy, the quiet tension, and the attendant risk of a volcano.

How much pressure could they withstand? Nearly every third word out of the announcer’s mouth seemed to be Messi; it was the only word in the sing-song Icelandic voices around me that I could pick out. But it was the striker Sergio Agüero who freed himself nearly twenty minutes in, corralled the ball, and struck a slightly off-balance shot with his left foot, and scored. The crowd reacted with disappointment, but only just. Argentina was a great soccer power; Argentina had Messi; Iceland had the friendly dentist and salt packer and film director and some impressive beards. Besides, it all seemed part of the plan, like the rain and the cold—because within five minutes, Iceland scored its first ever World Cup goal.

It wasn’t the prettiest goal. After the team’s star, Gylfi Sigurðsson, took a low, hard shot from the right, Alfreð Finnbogason struck the loose rebound into the back of the net. The volcano erupted.

As the game progressed, the team seemed to stop even the pretense of trying to score. The goal was to thwart Messi, to clear the box, to run down the time. All the crowd’s energy went toward supporting the goalkeeper, Hannes Halldórsson. When Halldórsson blocked Messi’s penalty kick, early in the second half, the crowd responded as raucously as it had when Iceland scored. Finally, the last ball was booted, and the game ended with the score tied, 1–1. In Reykjavik, as in Moscow, the arms shot up in wide “V”s, and the gritty low grunt began. “HOOOO,” it went, faster and faster, before dissolving. An old man with a thick white beard turned around and flashed a grin, showing a dark gap where his front teeth had been, and gave a thumbs-up. The team had won.

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Trump to nominate Kathy Kraninger to lead consumer watchdog agency

President Trump intends to nominate an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget to lead the government’s consumer watchdog agency.

A White House spokeswoman said the nominee, Kathy Kraninger, “will bring a fresh perspective and much-needed management experience” to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The agency “has been plagued by excessive spending, dysfunctional operations, and politicized agendas. As a staunch supporter of free enterprise, she will continue the reforms of the bureau initiated by Acting Director Mick Mulvaney,” the spokeswoman said.

Mulvaney has been filling in as the bureau’s acting director along with running the OMB since late November when his predecessor, Richard Cordray, resigned.

Mulvaney has steered the bureau in a more industry-friendly direction since he took over.

The White House hopes Kraninger “will be promptly confirmed by the Senate.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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New directive takes aim at immigrants fleeing gang violence

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) – The MS-13 gang made Jose Osmin Aparicio’s life so miserable in his native El Salvador that he had no choice but to flee in the dead of night with his wife and four children, leaving behind all their belongings and paying a smuggler $8,000.

Aparicio is undeterred by a new directive from Attorney General Jeff Sessions declaring that gang and domestic violence will generally cease to be grounds for asylum. To him, it’s better to take his chances with the American asylum system and stay in Mexico if his bid is denied.

“Imagine what would happen if I was deported to El Salvador,” he said Wednesday as he waited at the border to enter the U.S.

The directive announced Monday could have far-reaching consequences because of the sheer volume of people like Aparicio fleeing gang violence, which is so pervasive in Central America that merely stepping foot in the wrong neighborhood can lead to death.

The Associated Press interviewed several asylum-seekers this past week at a plaza on the border, and each of them cited gang violence as the main factor in fleeing their homelands. They planned to press on with their asylum requests in spite of the new rule.

The decision by Sessions came as the administration faced a growing backlash over immigration policies and practices that human-rights advocates view as inhumane, including separating children from immigrant parents. They leveled similar criticism over the asylum changes, which the White House says are necessary to deter illegal immigration.

“The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes – such as domestic violence or gang violence – or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim,” the attorney general wrote Monday, overruling a Board of Immigration Appeals decision granting asylum to a Salvadoran woman fleeing her husband.

U.S. officials do not say how many asylum claims are for domestic or gang violence, but advocates for asylum seekers said there could be tens of thousands of such cases in the immigration court backlog alone.

Many Central Americans seeking asylum say they are fleeing from gangs known as “maras,” primarily the Mara Salvatrucha (or MS-13) and Barrio 18 groups. President Donald Trump has condemned those groups and the violence they commit in the U.S., referring to members as “animals.”

The gangs were formed by young Central Americans mostly in Los Angeles decades ago and spread to the so-called Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras when members were deported. Today, Honduras and El Salvador in particular routinely post some of the world’s highest homicide rates.

In Central America, maras stake out and battle over turf, attacking anyone who unwittingly crosses through their area on the way to school or work as a possible rival.

Gangsters sometimes forcibly take over people’s homes. They extort bus drivers and small business owners, killing those unable or unwilling to pay. They threaten teens and young men in attempts to recruit them, and force girls and young women to be their girlfriends.

Maureen Meyer, director for Mexico and migrant rights at the Washington Office on Latin America advocacy group, said the ruling would “make it very difficult for a lot of the people seeking asylum in the United States.”

Meyer said Central Americans commonly request asylum for extortion, forced recruitment and violence against women. Where the gangs are prevalent, moving elsewhere is not an option, she said.

“People feel very insecure in their homes and continue to see the U.S. as a safe haven in spite of Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric,” Meyer said of the steady northbound flow of Central Americans that began in 2014.

More than 100 asylum seekers gathered Wednesday near the entrance to San Diego, the largest crossing on the U.S.-Mexico border. Some Mexicans in the crowd said they were fleeing criminal groups.

Holding her 7-month-old daughter and trailed closely by her 5-year-old son, who was on crutches because of a gunshot wound, Maria Rafaela Plancarte said she abandoned their town near the western Mexican city of Zamora after her husband was shot and killed behind the wheel of the family car as they fled a party stormed by gunmen. Her son was wounded in the attack.

Plancarte, 34, said she has not considered moving elsewhere in Mexico and hopes to live with an aunt in California.

“I will feel more comfortable with a family that I know,” she said.

Alejandro Arroyo said he fled Apatzingan in western Mexico with his wife and their 14-year-old son, hoping asylum would bring them to his wife’s family in Gilroy, California. The 48-year-old said criminal gangs killed his nephew and brother-in-law, and he feared he and his son would be next.

They initially sought refuge in Tijuana, but requested U.S. asylum after being robbed by local police.

“I do not feel safe” in Apatzingan, Arroyo said, “and I do not feel safe here.”

Aparicio, from El Salvador, is caught in the middle of the change in asylum policies. His wife requested asylum about a month ago with three of their children – ages 2, 10 and 12 – and they were released to a family in Maryland while their cases wind through immigration court. Aparicio stayed in Tijuana to seek asylum with his 17-year-old son, hoping to reunite with the family later.

Sessions subsequently made his ruling on gang violence, but Aparicio is still pursuing asylum and hoping to get into the U.S.


Snow reported from Phoenix. Associated Press Writer Peter Orsi in Mexico City also contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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Donald Trump: I beat Clinton, Bush and ‘very dishonest intelligence’

President Trump declared victory Friday regarding the revelations in the Department of Justice inspector general report.

“I beat Clinton dynasty. I beat Bush dynasty. And now, I guess, I’m hopefully in the process of beating very dishonest intelligence,” he said during an impromptu interview with Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”

The president later tweeted:

Mr. Trump slammed former FBI Director James B. Comey Friday after revelations from the report. The president said actions disclosed in the report were “a real insult” to voters in the 2016 election.

The IG report revealed that Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, an investigator on both the Clinton email and Russia investigations, texted FBI lawyer Lisa Page that they would “stop” then-candidate Trump from becoming president.

Mr. Comey was criticized in the report for his handling of the Clinton email investigation, though it ultimately concluded that he was not politically motivated in his actions.

Mr. Trump said Mr. Comey was aware of “everything that was going on” within the FBI, and said that the former director was a “ringleader” in “this den of thieves.”

When asked if Mr. Comey should get jail time, Mr. Trump said someone else should make that decision.

“I would never want to get involved in that. They just seem like very criminal acts to me,” he said.

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U.S. prosecutors pull encrypted messages from phones seized in Cohen raids

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors investigating U.S. President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen have extracted more than 700 pages of messages sent using encrypted programs like WhatsApp and Signal on phones seized from Cohen, according to a court filing on Friday.

The prosecutors also said they had reconstructed 16 pages from the contents of a shredding machine taken during raids on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room in April. The prosecutors said in their filing in Manhattan federal court that they had turned the materials over to Cohen’s lawyers.

Prosecutors are investigating Cohen for possible crimes related to his business dealings, a source familiar with the investigation told Reuters in April. He has not been charged.

The probe stems in part from a referral by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether there was any coordination between associates of Trump’s 2016 election campaign and Russia. Trump has repeatedly said there was no collusion, and Russia has denied election meddling.

Roughly 3.7 million files were seized in the April raids and are being reviewed to determine which ones may be subject to attorney-client privilege. The review is overseen by former federal judge Barbara Jones.

At a May 30 court hearing, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood had given Cohen’s and Trump’s lawyers until Friday to finish reviewing the documents they had received from prosecutors, which at the time did not include the encrypted messages or shredded papers.

Jones recommended in a filing on Friday that the deadline for the entire review be changed to no later than June 25.

Lawyers for Cohen and Trump could not immediately be reached for comment.

Michael Avenatti, who represents Daniels in separate civil litigation against Cohen and Trump, on Friday tweeted that the encrypted messages and reconstructed documents “could pose a huge problem for Mr. Cohen and ultimately Mr. Trump.”

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had sex with Trump in 2006 and that Cohen paid her $130,000 to keep the encounter secret shortly before his election. Cohen has admitted making the payment, but Trump has denied the encounter with Daniels.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen leaves his hotel in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; editing by David Gregorio and Grant McCool

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Rich Alaskan donor gave $250K to Trump after EPA reversed decision on Pebble Mine

A wealthy activist who has funded efforts to block a proposed mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay donated $250,000 to President Donald Trump‘s re-election effort six weeks after the administration abruptly decided to prevent the mine from moving forward.

The move to block the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay from moving forward seems to diverge from a trend in policy under the leadership of Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt — seen as one of President Donald Trump’s most productive cabinet members in moving to undo environmental regulations put in place under the Obama administration. During the Trump presidency, the EPA in 2017 had previously allowed the mine to move forward.

The EPA said the change in course was because the environmental risk was too great and announced on January 26 that the mine would not immediately move forward.

Robert Gillam made his second and largest donation to Trump Victory Fund just weeks later, donating $250,000 on March 9, according to FEC filings.

Gillam has previously spent as much as $2.5 million to block the Pebble Mine from moving forward in Alaska’s fertile fishing ground called the Bristol Bay. He has been advocating against the mine since 2005, according to an Alaska state report. He declined to comment for this story.

PHOTO: Robert B. Gillam, CEO of McKinley Capital. McKinley Capital.
Robert B. Gillam, CEO of McKinley Capital.

Gillam has previously donated to the Republican National Committee, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Republican campaigns in Alaska.

He went to Wharton with Trump and met with him at Mar-a-Lago the weekend before he made a $250,000 donation to the president’s Victory Fund, according to a report in E&E News. Gillam owns a fishing lodge in the area, according to public meeting records, and has said that the mine would hurt the local salmon population.

Last November he wrote in an editorial that the mine project was “doomed.”

“For more than a decade, I have taken on the battle against the Pebble Mine, because, more than any other development proposal in our state’s history, it threatens to forfeit to foreign mining companies an invaluable part of our heritage, something Alaskans cannot afford to lose -— and will never stop defending —- Bristol Bay; the last great salmon fishery on the planet,” Gillam wrote in the opinion piece in a local newspaper.

The Pebble Mine project was blocked by the Obama administration in 2014, citing harm to the environment that the EPA said would be caused by mining in the area. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed that decision in May 2017 and allowed the permitting process to move forward as well as accept public comments on the process.

In late January, the EPA abruptly slowed the project again, saying the agency has “serious concerns” about the risk mining could pose to fishing operations and local residents around Bristol Bay. The agency didn’t go so far as to block the mine completely but said the permit application “must clear a high bar” and provide information on how the mine will impact the surrounding area.

The company behind the Pebble Mine project announced in May that a major partner ended their agreement to support the mine, adding more uncertainty to the future of the project.

ABC News’ Soorin Kim contributed to this report.

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Hundreds of Colorado’s unaffiliated voters are turning in primary ballots for both parties, nullifying their votes

Hundreds of unaffiliated voters’ ballots for this year’s primary elections in Colorado won’t be counted.

That’s because those voters failed to follow rules for the first-ever Colorado primaries opened to the unaffiliated bloc, specifically one mandating unaffiliated voters can only send back a Republican or Democratic primary ballot — not both.

The Denver Elections Division says of the 6,185 unaffiliated voters’ ballots they’ve received thus far, 3.4 percent — or 214 — have been rejected because of voters trying to cast ballots in both primaries.

In Larimer County, the percent of rejected ballots for the same reason is 3.15 percent, while it’s 4.3 percent in Arapahoe County.

In El Paso County, 7 percent of unaffiliated voters ballots have been rejected.

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Woman wants folks’ permission to be a mom – The Denver Post

Dear Amy: I’m a 45-year-old single woman. I am financially secure and self-sufficient.

Years ago, I moved miles away from my parents. Their positive qualities far outweigh their negative ones, but lately I am feeling increasingly upset about a situation.

I am happy being single. I have a decent job, own a home and have created a good life for myself.

I badly want to adopt or foster a child on my own. I have thought of doing this for years.

Every time I bring this up to my parents, I am bombarded by all of the negative aspects of being a single parent.

My father is admittedly prejudiced and has made remarks about the possibility that I may adopt a non-white child.

I would not expect my parents to support my child in any way, financially or emotionally. They are amazing people in many ways but for the life of me I cannot understand why they are so against my goal to adopt on my own.

I have tried talking to them about how they make me feel. This has only led to arguments. I fear that if I listen to my mother’s litany of reasons why I shouldn’t be a parent, I will never fulfill my dream.

I don’t wish to alienate my family. How can I handle this situation?

— Wannabe Mom

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