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What a fucking nightmare!  Dante's 7th Circle of Hell.  Of course, it serves them all right for working for the imbecile in the first place.


Trump Staff Dreads Traveling Overseas With Toddler President
By Jonathan Chait

Nobody wants to fly the unfriendly skies with President Trump. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Traditionally, White House staffers cherish the opportunity to travel with the president overseas on Air Force One as a perk of their service. But traditionally, the president they are traveling with is not Donald Trump. CNN reports on the dread and horror that has overtaken the White House staff when duty calls upon them to accompany the 45th president. “It’s like being held captive,” one source reports.

The experience of overseas travel with Trump is almost exactly like traveling overseas with a poorly behaved toddler:

Trump won’t stop watching television. The screen-addicted president just keeps doing what he does at home, which is binge-watch TV for hours and get angry. The difference is that, on the plane, they can’t get away:

    Trump will spend hours reviewing cable news coverage recorded on a TiVo-like device or sifting through cardboard boxes of newspapers and magazines that have been lugged aboard. He’ll summon sleeping staffers to his office at moments the rest of the plane is dark, impatient to discuss his upcoming meetings or devise a response to something he saw in the media.

Like at home, Trump’s method of governing is to see things on television that anger him and order his staffers to make them go away: “Trump has long insisted that he is treated unfairly by the news media, and if he sees something on television that bothers him — ‘which he invariably will,’ one official quipped — he instructs his staff to fix it, no matter if they are at the White House or flying over the Atlantic Ocean,” according to CNN.

On Trump’s Air Force One, the overnight is dark and full of terrors.

Trump won’t go to sleep. The president and First Lady are the only passengers equipped with lie-flat beds. Despite this, Trump resists his staff’s attempts to get him to go to sleep. Trump “will hold court for hours on end, despite staffers encouraging him to join first lady Melania Trump in the private cabin and get some rest,” the story notes. “He will not go to sleep,” reports a source. Unfortunately, Trump is well past the age at which pediatricians recommend sleep-training.
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Trump does not like the TV in other countries. When he lands, rather than meet with foreign leaders, Trump heads straight to his hotel. He often complains about the lack of familiar television channels. “After he discovered to his displeasure on an early foreign trip that his beloved Fox News was not available in his foreign hotel, the White House Communications Agency arranged for a streaming service that would allow him to keep up with his favorite programs,” reports CNN. “He typically asks for multiple televisions in his room, depending on the size of the space, one source said.”

Trump also does not like the food in foreign countries. “Host governments worked to avoid presenting the President with food that might seem challenging, such as fish with the head still attached.” It probably seems unfair to Trump that he has to travel to all these different countries when none of them can make a hamburger as good as the ones he gets at home.

Trump does not like it when people are talking about non-Trump subjects. He is known to love meetings set up by foreign dictators that make him the subject of elaborate displays of flattery. (Trump “prefers trips where he is the guest of honor instead of the large summit meetings that comprise chunks of any US president’s calendar.”) He hates meeting with other democratically elected leaders, where he will have to listen to what other people want and possibly negotiate boring policy questions. (“At the yearly G7 and G20 gatherings, Trump has felt ganged up on by other leaders, according to administration officials.”)

The good news is that, if you can arrange to let Trump have his favorite food, his favorite television stations, and surround him with people who will talk incessantly about how much they love Trump, then the visit will be fine, until you get back to the plane and Trump starts to get upset at cable news again.
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Economics / 🏦 India general election 2019: What happened?
« on: Today at 02:11:30 AM »
More graphics at the link.


India general election 2019: What happened?
By Becky Dale and Christine Jeavans Data Journalists, BBC News

    24 May 2019

Results for India's general election released on 23 May saw a landslide victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which increased its huge parliamentary majority.
The margins of victory

Narendra Modi and his ruling BJP have swept back to power. The party won 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India's parliament, bettering the 282 seats they won in 2014 - a performance that not many thought was possible.

A party needs to win 272 seats for a majority in parliament. The BJP's victory in 2014 was the first time in three decades that a party had been able to win that number of seats on its own.

Rahul Gandhi's opposition Indian National Congress (INC) and its allies, who only won 54 seats the last time, put up a stronger fight this time but were unable to make any meaningful gains.
Women voters made their voices heard

Nearly half of India's 900 million registered voters are women.

Since independence, female voters have increasingly turned out to vote in greater numbers.

But 2019 marked the first time that female voter turnout equalled male voter turnout.
This was the best year for female candidates

This election saw not only the largest number of female candidates stand for election, the number of women who actually won was also the highest ever.
But men still dominate national politics

Women have historically comprised a mere fraction of the candidates in India's general election, and 2019 was no different.

Only 723 of the 8,000 candidates were female. That's less than one in 10.

The seven national parties actually fielded about the same number of candidates in 2019 as they did in 2014, which was not offset by a concerted BJP effort to improve gender parity.

Time for Houseboats!


Flooding in the Midwest: 4 Rivers Surge, Along With Residents’ Worries

Water from the Arkansas River flooded streets in Sand Springs, Okla., on Friday.CreditCreditNick Oxford for The New York Times

Flooding in the Midwest: 4 Rivers Surge, Along With Residents’ Worries

The threat of flooding has been relentless along four Midwestern rivers. With more crests coming, residents pile sandbags, watch levees and wait.

Water from the Arkansas River flooded streets in Sand Springs, Okla., on Friday.CreditCreditNick Oxford for The New York Times

  • May 24, 2019

ALTON, Ill. — To say that there is a powerful river in the Midwest that is threatening to flood communities nearby hardly narrows it down.

The Illinois, the Missouri, the Arkansas and the Mississippi Rivers were all at risk of spilling over in the coming days. The prospect put a patchwork of local and state officials on high alert on Friday, as they prepared sandbags, assembled barriers and nervously eyed the rising waters.

This spring has been a season of record-breaking floods across the Midwest, submerging farms, businesses and houses. Scientists have predicted that the flooding this year could be worse than the historic floods of 1993, which devastated the region.

And once again, the people who live along the four rivers were reminded of the delicate compact they have made, enjoying the beauty, recreation and commerce that the rivers provide, but also accepting their regular capability for destruction.


In truth, these rivers are interconnected, each part making its contribution to the whole, said John Barry, whose 1997 book “Rising Tide” tells of the great flood of 1927 and the history of trying to tame the Mississippi River and its tributaries, which include the Illinois, the Missouri and the Arkansas.

At times, an overwhelming flood on one tributary can be devastating locally, but soon be subsumed into the larger system and forgotten. But when so many parts of what feeds the Mississippi River are experiencing record flooding, the effects are felt all the way down.

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The punishing rains are consistent with the effects of climate change, since warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture — and release it.

Add to that the complication of how flood crests along the Mississippi move at different speeds depending on conditions. The first flood crest of the season moves relatively quickly. The crests that follow are pushing against higher water, slowing everything down. The high floodwaters stay and stay, saturating the levees and building up pressure.


“It is one system,” Mr. Barry said.

Skyler Kates, 6, stood on a temporary flood wall as the Mississippi River pushed flood water into downtown Alton, Ill., on Friday.CreditWhitney Curtis for The New York Times
Skyler Kates, 6, stood on a temporary flood wall as the Mississippi River pushed flood water into downtown Alton, Ill., on Friday.CreditWhitney Curtis for The New York Times

“Welcome to Alton,” reads the message painted on tall grain silos of downtown Alton, Ill., as the steadily rising Mississippi River pools menacingly at their base.

The thick horizontal lines near the bottom of the silos mark major floods of Alton’s past. The black line is for 1973. The red line, several feet higher, is for 1993. A short walk away is a memorial commemorating 10 major floods in Alton, beginning in 1844.

For the third time this spring, workers in Alton, a city of 26,000 people not far from St. Louis, have assembled a concrete wall to help stop the latest round of expected flooding. The Mississippi, which stretches from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, could crest in Alton on Sunday or Monday.

Marilyn Carroll, the owner of a business downtown, a small area lined with antique shops, pubs and a secondhand bookshop, said she has had enough. She tries not to look at the river, only steps from the back door of Chez Marilyn, her dark cocktail lounge with vintage movie posters in the front and a hair salon in the back.

“It’s nauseating, to be honest,” she said. “When you grow up in a river town, you take the river for granted. But now I hate seeing it.”

Customers keep coming in, chattering about all the rain that’s expected upriver, in Iowa and Northern Illinois.

“It’s just a detriment to your well-being to hear it,” she said. “I’m working all the time, trying to keep my mind off of it.”


She busied herself with her customer, Darrell Voorhees, 61, carefully snipping away at his hair. Mr. Voorhees, a retired welder, recalled being summoned down to the river to fill sandbags back when he was in high school.

All spring, people in Alton have been dealing with flooding. The water rises, then recedes.

So does their relationship with the river, Mr. Voorhees said. “It’s a love-hate thing,” he said.

A flooded home in Sand Springs. This spring has been a season of record-breaking floods across the middle of the country.CreditNick Oxford for The New York Times
A flooded home in Sand Springs. This spring has been a season of record-breaking floods across the middle of the country.CreditNick Oxford for The New York Times

In Sand Springs, Okla., local officials called what was happening on the Arkansas River dangerous. Homes were flooded nearly to their rooflines. Power was shut off in hundreds of other evacuated homes in anticipation of a deluge.

And yet, on Friday afternoon, some people were going toward the Arkansas, not away from it.

They came to see the water rushing out of the river’s Keystone Dam. The Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing water from the dam into the Arkansas River at a rate of 250,000 cubic feet per second, a flow it will continue through Sunday, after a week of heavy rainfall in the Tulsa region.

Beneath the persistent whoosh of the water, people stood on the banks beneath the dam, watching and sightseeing and taking pictures.

“It’s the No. 1 tourist attraction right now,” said Ernest Johnson, who lives in Tulsa.

“The public likes the river. We’ve been doing a lot of things in Tulsa to improve the use of the river, sightsee and riverwalks and bike-riding. This is just one of the risks you take living next to a river like this.”


In Oklahoma, the Arkansas has the power to pull people in or push them away. In calmer weather, they sometimes forget it’s even there. The river — the nation’s sixth-longest, flowing through Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas — also connects the distinct cultures of those four distinct states.

“If it rains in Wichita, Kansas, that water is going to go right past my office in about a week,” said Grant Gerondale, the community development director in Sand Springs, a riverfront Tulsa suburb of 20,000 that was hard hit by flooding this week.

Officials are bracing for some of the worst flooding in decades in the Tulsa area this weekend, after the Army Corps of Engineers increased its release flow.

Several communities were recommending voluntary evacuations.

“We are not doing a mandatory evacuation,” the mayor of Tulsa, G.T. Bynum, told reporters Thursday evening. “We’re not going to drag somebody out of their house over this. But they need to know that if emergency personnel from our team comes to your house and tells you to leave, you have a couple hours before the floodwaters are expected to be in your neighborhood and you need to leave.”

A levee held back floodwaters from the Illinois River in Hardin, Ill., earlier this month. The river is forecast to crest on Monday.CreditWhitney Curtis for The New York Times
A levee held back floodwaters from the Illinois River in Hardin, Ill., earlier this month. The river is forecast to crest on Monday.CreditWhitney Curtis for The New York Times

Hardin, Ill., a village of about 900 people, sits in a particularly unenviable spot this time of year, perched on the Illinois River near where it flows into the Mississippi River.

“When a flood happens, we’re trapped,” said Danielle Hurley, the city clerk, who on Friday afternoon was updating river forecasts every 20 minutes from the town office.


Ms. Hurley, 53, said that there was little to do but wait, because of an immutable fact: “On the right side is the Illinois River, on the left is the Mississippi River.”

Ms. Hurley, who said she loved being out on the river, has studied its patterns during nearly three decades in Hardin.

The river, which runs fewer than 300 miles through Illinois, is forecast to crest on Monday at about 10 a.m.

Hardin has seen catastrophic floods before. There was 1993, when a 500-year flood swelled the river to more than 42 feet above flood level. And 1973, when the water climbed more than 38 feet above flood level.

And then there was earlier this month, May 7, when the river reached just under the 1973 mark, hitting its third-highest level in recent memory.

All those numbers matter because the Nutwood levee, just south of town, tops out at 38 feet. If the levee breaches, Illinois Route 16 would flood and the town would be cut off.

“If it goes, there’s no way out,” she said. “That’s our lifeline.”

Flooding this month led officials to close the Illinois River to traffic, and hundreds of volunteers, including school children and prison inmates, came to help fill sandbags. Those sandbags are still in place in front of Hardin’s homes and businesses — including Ms. Hurley’s house.


Even if the Nutwood levee holds back the waters this weekend, Ms. Hardin said she was still concerned about its long-term stability, given all the water it has had to contain in recent months.

“The levee has taken a beating,” she said.

The Hawthorne Park apartments in Jefferson City, Mo., were hit hard by a tornado. On Friday, the complex was still strewn with debris and downed trees.CreditWhitney Curtis for The New York Times
The Hawthorne Park apartments in Jefferson City, Mo., were hit hard by a tornado. On Friday, the complex was still strewn with debris and downed trees.CreditWhitney Curtis for The New York Times

Jefferson City, Mo., has been the site of dual crises this week.

As local officials prepared for flooding on the Missouri River, they were stunned by a tornado that ripped through town on Wednesday night, cutting a path through houses, restaurants and a car dealership.

On Friday, near downtown and the Missouri State Capitol, was the river, swollen, fierce and hours away from cresting.

Nearby, a few parking lots were filling with brownish water. Streets had been blocked off with orange traffic cones. Homes had been evacuated. Some curious passers-by milled around at the edges of the river, gazing across.

Because of the tornado, most state employees in Jefferson City had been told to stay home the rest of the week. The downtown had a deserted, empty feel, with businesses shuttered and few people milling around.

“I remember the 1993 flood,” said Laura Stratman, who works downtown, as she walked a few blocks from the river on Friday. “Everything around here was just literally surrounded by water.”


Working near the river requires negotiations. When it floods, the street closures snarl downtown, making parking a puzzle and disrupting traffic.

“We just work around it — you have to,” said Brandon Owens, a body piercer who was on his way to his tattoo shop. “It looks really high now. It’s overwhelming.”

Even as emergency personnel blocked off more streets along the Missouri on Friday, pedestrians continued to set off on foot across it, taking a walkway on a bridge.

You can be drawn to the Missouri but also in awe of its power, said Carrie Tergin, the mayor of Jefferson City, as she coordinated cleanup efforts from the tornado while simultaneously tracking developments on the Missouri.

“It’s why we’re here, it’s why the capital was built here,” she said. “All the commerce came down the river. The river is who we are, but we also respect the river. We are reminded that we’re not in control of nature. And we wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Julie Bosman reported from Alton, Ill., and Jefferson City, Mo., and Manny Fernandez from Houston. Contributing reporting were Timothy Williams and John Schwartz in New York and Nick Oxford in Sand Springs, Okla.

Geopolitics / 💩 Race to be new UK prime minister begins
« on: Today at 01:45:23 AM »
I'm rooting for BoJo.  That would be a hilarious shit show.  :icon_mrgreen:


Race to be new UK prime minister begins

    Conservative Party leadership contest

Image caption Jeremy Hunt, Boris Johnson, Rory Stewart and Esther McVey have already said they will run for the leadership

The race to become the next Conservative Party leader has begun, following Theresa May's announcement that she will step down next month.

The contest will not only result in a new party leader, but also in the next prime minister of the UK.

Party bosses expect a new leader to be chosen by the end of July.

Mrs May confirmed on Friday that she will resign as party leader on 7 June, but will continue as PM while the leadership contest takes place.

She agreed with chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, that the process to choose a new leader should begin the week after she stands down.

Four candidates have confirmed their intention to stand:

    Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
    International Development Secretary Rory Stewart
    Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
    Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey

However, more than a dozen more are believed to be seriously considering running - including Sir Graham, who has resigned as chair of the 1922 Committee.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has ruled herself out, telling the Daily Telegraph: "I don't think it is my time at the moment."

She also hinted that she could work with Mr Johnson in the future, saying: "I have worked with him before... we were able to work together."

On Friday, Environment Secretary Michael Gove - another possible candidate - declined to say whether he would stand, saying it was "the prime minister's day".

Most bookmakers have Mr Johnson as favourite, in front of former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Mr Gove.

    Who's standing?
    Kuenssberg: May was overwhelmed

Tory MPs have until the week commencing 10 June to put their name forward, and any of them can stand - as long as they have the backing of two parliamentary colleagues.

The candidates will be whittled down until two remain, and in July all party members will vote to decide on the winner.

The Conservative Party had 124,000 members, as of March last year. The last leader elected by the membership was David Cameron in 2005, as Theresa May was unopposed in 2016.

It will be the first time Conservative members have directly elected a prime minister, as opposed to a leader of the opposition.

Announcing her departure in Downing Street, Mrs May urged her successor to "seek a way forward that honours the result of the referendum".

She added: "To succeed, he or she will have to find consensus in Parliament where I have not.

"Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise."

Mr Johnson told an economic conference in Switzerland on Friday that a new leader would have "the opportunity to do things differently".

Outlining his Brexit position, he told the conference: "We will leave the EU on 31 October, deal or no deal. The way to get a good deal is to prepare for a no deal."
Who are the Conservative members?

Most members of most parties in the UK are pretty middle-class. But Conservative Party members are the most middle-class of all: 86% fall into the ABC1 category.

Around a quarter of them are, or were, self-employed and nearly half of them work, or used to, in the private sector.

Nearly four out of 10 put their annual income at over £30,000, and one in 20 put it at over £100,000. As such, Tory members are considerably better-off than most voters.

Read more from Prof Tim Bale here

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have also begun their search for a new leader after Sir Vince Cable confirmed he would hand over the reins on 23 July.

Sir Vince announced in March that he would stand down after the local elections in May, but after a strong performance from the party some questioned whether he would stay on.

However, in a statement on Friday, he said: "We have rebuilt the Liberal Democrats. I will be proud to hand over a bigger, stronger party."


Weapons worth $8B headed to Middle East over Congress' objections


05/24/2019 06:19 PM EDT

Updated 05/24/2019 07:01 PM EDT

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trump administration on Friday notified Congress it plans to sell $8.1 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates without congressional approval — a move that has incensed members from both parties who have sought to cut off military aid for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen.

The decision covers 22 pending transfers of munitions, aircraft parts, and other supplies "to deter Iranian aggression and build partner self-defense capacity," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. "These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Normally such sales are subject to congressional approval. But Trump is using a loophole in the Arms Export Control Act that allows him to bypass the process in case of emergency. The move is similar to Trump's declaration of a border emergency this year, which allowed him to divert military funds to pay for border barriers.

Pompeo, who cited previous instances in which the arms sales authority was used by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, said the step was critical to help allies maintain their armed forces in a period of "increasing regional volatility." And he lashed out at Congress for delaying the shipments.

"These national security concerns have been exacerbated by many months of Congressional delay in addressing these critical requirements, and have called into doubt our reliability as a provider of defense capabilities, opening opportunities for U.S. adversaries to exploit," Pompeo said.
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But he insisted that the decision would be "a one-time event."

"This specific measure does not alter our long-standing arms transfer review process with Congress," he insisted.

Nonetheless, the move was deeply unpopular on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have sought to halt arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen. The coalition has been blamed for rising civilian deaths in that country.

Trump recently vetoed legislation that would restrict American support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

In a statement Friday, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) confirmed that the relevant committees had been notified of the pending sales.

"There is no new ‘emergency’ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen, and doing so only perpetuates the humanitarian crisis there," Murphy said. "This sets an incredibly dangerous precedent that future presidents can use to sell weapons without a check from Congress."

Murphy said he's looking into new legislation to restrict the sales. "We have the constitutional duty to declare war and the responsibility to oversee arm sales that contravene our national security interests," he said. "If we don’t stand up to this abuse of authority, we will permanently box ourselves out of deciding who we should sell weapons to."
Donald Trump and Patrick Shanahan

Hundreds more U.S. troops headed to the Middle East


Several other members of Congress have announced their intention to block any further weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“Every bomb sold to Saudi Arabia is another bomb for Saudi bomber jets to drop on Yemeni hospitals, weddings, markets, and school buses," Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), an outspoken opponent of America's involvement in Yemen, said in a statement. "Any claim from President Trump that selling weapons to Saudi Arabia constitutes an ‘emergency’ is a farcical attempt to obscure the shameful reality that ‘made in the U.S.A’ bombs are killing innocent civilians and fueling the world’s worst humanitarian emergency in Yemen."

Pompeo insisted, however, that the administration sees little choice but to bypass Congress. "The United States is, and must remain, a reliable security partner to our allies and partners around the world," he said. "These partnerships are a cornerstone of our National Security Strategy, which this decision reaffirms."


Oil Rig Count Falls Amid Oil Price Correction
By Julianne Geiger - May 24, 2019, 12:20 PM CDT

The the number of active oil and gas rigs fell again in the United States this week according to Baker Hughes, after a string of losses in the weeks prior, keeping the overall rig count well below year-ago levels for a seventh week in a row.

The total number of active oil and gas drilling rigs in the United States fell by 4 according to the report, with the number of active oil rigs falling 5 to reach 797 and the number of gas rigs increasing by 1 to reach 186.   

The combined oil and gas rig count is 983, with oil seeing a 62-rig decrease year on year and gas rigs down 12 since this time last year. The combined oil and gas rig count is down 76 year on year.

Year-to-date, the oil rig count has fallen from 877 active rigs on January 4 to 797, while gas rigs have fallen from 198 to 186 during that same time. Oil rigs are now at their lowest since March 2018, according to Baker Hughes.

At 12:33pm EST, moments before data release, WTI was trading up slightly by $0.04 (+0.07%) at $57.95, after taking a beating the day before. WTI is trading down more than $4 per barrel week on week as the China-US trade war dampens the mood in the market on top of increasing crude oil inventories in the United States.
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The Brent benchmark was trading up as well, by $0.30 (+0.45%) at $66.80—also more than a $4 per barrel drop week on week. 

US oil production ticked up slightly for week ending May 17, coming in at 12.2 million bpd—just 100,000 bpd off the April 26 high of 12.3 million bpd.

Canada’s rig count increased by 15. Canada’s oil rigs are now up 3 year on year, with gas rigs down 6 year on year.

WTI was trading up 0.41% on the day at 1:09pm EST, with Brent up 0.66%.

By Julianne Geiger for


The world’s largest shipping firm warns of ‘considerable uncertainties’ as trade tensions rise
Published Fri, May 24 2019 3:21 AM EDTUpdated Fri, May 24 2019 5:38 AM EDT
Matt Clinch
Key Points

    Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) totaled $1.24 billion for the quarter, compared with $1.25 billion forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.
    Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, said it still expects 2019 EBITDA of about $5 billion.

watch now
Maersk CEO: Don’t see trade tensions going away anytime soon

Danish shipping firm Moller-Maersk posted first-quarter profit close to expectations on Friday, warning that trade tensions and slowing economic growth constitute “considerable uncertainties.”

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) totaled $1.24 billion for the quarter, compared with $1.25 billion forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, said it still expects 2019 EBITDA of about $5 billion.

“We are still facing considerable uncertainties,” CEO Søren Skou said in a press release, mentioning “the risk from trade tensions.”

In the first quarter, “volumes on trans-Pacific trade between Asia and North America have shown signs of decline and new tariffs can potentially reduce expected growth in global container volumes by up to 1 percentage point.” he added.
watch now
Maersk CEO: We had a good start to the year

President Donald Trump unexpectedly accused China of reneging on a deal earlier this month and announced that tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods would increase to 25% from 10% on May 10.

Beijing retaliated, raising levies on $60 billion worth of U.S. products. In the last two weeks, the Trump administration also put Chinese telecom giant Huawei on a blacklist that prevents it from buying from American companies without U.S. government permission.

Speaking to CNBC Friday, Skou highlighted that the U.S. also has an outstanding discussion with the European Union.

“If the Chinese-U.S. conflict is resolved then our expectations would be that it would immediately lead to a discussion between the EU and the U.S. So I don’t believe that we will be done with tensions anytime soon, ” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs” Friday.

—Reuters and CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this article.


Donald Trump falls for Nancy Pelosi's trap

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
Updated 2:18 PM ET, Fri May 24, 2019

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump keeps taking Nancy Pelosi's bait.

The House speaker has spent the last two days provoking Trump, questioning his self-confidence, condescendingly confiding that she prays for him and suggesting a "family intervention."
The President's wild, improvised response Thursday suggests that so far, the speaker is winning the hugely consequential clash between Washington's top two political forces.
It's not often that Trump, the man who dismembered the most talented Republican primary field in years in 2016, seems to be struggling for traction in a face-to-face political fight.

But Pelosi is turning Trump's own arsenal against him, using the politics of mockery and provocation to leave him for once, off balance and forced to respond to a more nimble rival.
And Trump's increasingly livid reactions are helping Pelosi out of a delicate political spot.
This week opened with the Beltway narrative that she was under growing pressure from a Democratic caucus impatient with her reluctance to open an impeachment inquiry against Trump.
Trump denies 'temper tantrum' in angry public episode
Trump denies 'temper tantrum' in angry public episode
Now, his attacks and several helpful court wins as Democrats seek Trump's financial records are unifying her coalition and even validating her warning Trump wants impeachment to brand her party as extreme and overreaching.
The President justified his increasingly personal shots at the speaker and her mental acuity on Friday before heading off on a state visit to Japan.
"When you say a personal attack, did you hear what she said long before I went after her? Did you hear her? She made horrible statements. She knows they're not true. She said terrible things. So, I just responded in kind," Trump told reporters at the White House.
"Look, you think Nancy's the same as she was? She's not. Maybe we can all say that, but ... I'm only speaking for myself."
The Trump versus Pelosi show is turning into an intriguing daily political game. But the consequences are hardly trivial: After the 2020 election it's likely that only one of the rivals will be left standing.
In his second eruption against Pelosi in as many days on Thursday, Trump showed just how much she's got under his skin.
He called the highest-ranking woman in the history of American politics "a mess" and "crazy." In another wild rant, he questioned whether she was smart enough to read a bill -- even though the speaker has proven herself a fully cogent and keen legislator.
"I have been watching her for a long period of time. She's not the same person. She's lost it," Trump claimed to reporters, in an off-script diversion from a White House event to highlight new measures to help US farmers suffering from his China trade war.
Also on Thursday, a manipulated video of Pelosi was shared on social media to spread a false claim that she was slurring her words after a meeting with Trump. Later that night, a Fox Business Network show featured another edited clip of Pelosi and panelists went on to speculate about her health. Trump later tweeted the segment from the show.
Pelosi is operating off a playbook specifically designed for Trump as she hits him where it hurts most, targeting his ego, his courage, his manliness and his sensitivity over his fortune.
She wondered whether his rejection of an infrastructure deal could be chalked up to "a lack of confidence on his part."
Pelosi went after Trump's tough guy image, speculating that his obsession with an extremely long border wall was "like a manhood thing for him, as if manhood could ever be associated with him." And she has mocked Trump's inherited wealth: Federal employees can't "just ask their father for more money," she said, during the government shutdown earlier this year.
The walkout
Trump walkout marks point of no return
Trump walkout marks point of no return
The President's counter-attack came a day after he walked out of a meeting with Pelosi and other congressional Democrats, after she accused him or orchestrating a "cover up."
Trump has now suspended all cooperation with House Democrats until they fold their multiple investigations of his campaign, presidency and financial affairs.
Aides told CNN that Trump was especially angry at the speaker's comment that he had a "tantrum" and media perceptions that his temper ran out of control in their meeting on Wednesday.
His anger prompted him to stage a deeply bizarre and unpresidential spectacle in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, demanding testimony from aides on his own temperance.
"You were very calm," senior Trump aide Kellyanne Conway said.
The President, again seeming infuriated that he was not being understood, argued that he had been consistent on many political questions all his life: "I'm an extremely stable genius."
It didn't take long for Pelosi to jab back.
"When the 'extremely stable genius' starts acting more presidential, I'll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues," Pelosi wrote on Twitter.

    When the "extremely stable genius" starts acting more presidential, I'll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues.
    — Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 23, 2019

This war of insults between a speaker and a President is hardly dignified. It's possible voters who are already disgusted with Washington will just become even more disillusioned.
One Republican senator, John Kennedy of Louisiana, on Thursday pleaded with both sides to talk it out rather than acting like "8-year-olds in the back of a mini-van fighting."
Trump supporters, who embrace his unorthodoxy, plain speaking and combative style won't be fazed by his antics. And Beltway confrontations are often scored differently outside DC. Trump also has a history of confounding the wisdom of political pundits.
Can there be a winner?
Trump on defense now that Democrats score court win
Trump on defense now that Democrats score court win
One source told CNN's Gloria Borger on Thursday that the President is happy with how the latest political skirmishes are playing out, believing that he's got "the Democrats in a box." Trump believes the bloated Democratic presidential field and public fatigue with the Russia investigation help him -- though he is frustrated about Democratic investigations into his family finances.
"His frame of mind is bold. He thinks he's putting them right on the ropes," the source said.
But Trump may have more at risk than Pelosi. Not every American wants to see their President ranting from behind a podium. And -- as much as the GOP seeks to make her the face of the Democratic Party -- Pelosi won't be on the presidential ticket.
Trump has already come off second best in one showdown with Pelosi -- in the government shutdown at the turn of the year -- that showed how presidents are most exposed in such situations and often stand to take more of the blame.
A prolonged chill between the White House and the House could be bad news for both sides. Each party wants action on infrastructure, prescription drugs prices and other priorities.
But Pelosi has passed more than 250 pieces of legislation since January including some major bills, many of which are stuck in the GOP Senate. Action on climate change, health care, gun reform and ethics is not a bad payoff for liberal voters.
Trump, meanwhile, is eager to get his replacement for the NAFTA trade deal with Mexico and Canada ratified to bolster his own case that he's a fix-it President. But he needs Pelosi's help.
And history suggests any major economic crises sparked by the failure of talks on the budget and raising the debt ceiling, would hold more peril for the President than Democrats.
'Reckless gangster'
GOP throws up impeachment shield around Trump
GOP throws up impeachment shield around Trump
The events of the last two days saw Pelosi get off a hot seat and force Trump into the more difficult position.
With House Democrats infuriated by the administration's policy of blanket non-cooperation with their oversight efforts, a growing minority of lawmakers has been calling for impeachment.
"The fact is, when you have a Constitution and you have a rule of law, and it's being destroyed in a reckless gangster manner, you need to act," Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee, told CNN's Poppy Harlow on Thursday.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders zeroed in on such sentiment Thursday.
"Nancy Pelosi's problem is that she's totally lost control of her party," Sanders told CNN's "New Day."
"She's got the far left wing telling her what to do, maybe some of the moderates that actually want to get something done and she's lost control, and at some point she has to make a decision of which direction she's going to take."
Sanders' efforts were soon undercut by the President's fireworks. His attitude has allowed Pelosi to ease the pressure -- arguing that despite what may be impeachable offenses, Democrats should not play into the President's hands.
"There's no question, the White House is just crying out for impeachment. That's why he flipped yesterday. ... You all have a story that isn't real. I mean, you want to believe that there's all this unease in our caucus. That simply isn't the truth," Pelosi said on Thursday.
Trump was later asked directly whether he wanted to be impeached.
"I don't think anybody wants to be impeached," he replied, but then cited polling -- that Pelosi can also read -- that shows a majority of Americans oppose such a divisive step.
"I don't think the American people are going to stand for it," Trump said, in a hint of the broader case he would make to the public if House Democrats did open an impeachment investigation.

The fight between Pelosi and Trump remains fluid. There's no guarantee that she will maintain her current edge. And one thing is for sure, Trump will never back down.
But it's clear the White House needs a more effective strategy to deal with a speaker who has already exploited her power to return the White House to Democrats once before in 2008.

CNN's Gloria Borger and Dana Bash contributed to this report.

Flyover country will need Pontoon Boats for the Memorial Day Weekend BBQ!


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Dead Climbers by the truckload!  Check out the line of Darwin Award Winners!


At least four more die on Everest amid overcrowding concerns

Latest deaths, including an Irish climber, come as others report ‘insane’ delays at the peak

Peter Beaumont

Fri 24 May 2019 12.54 EDT
First published on Fri 24 May 2019 12.39 EDT

The scene at the summit of Mount Everest on Tuesday. Photograph: Nirmal Purja/AFP/Getty Images

Four more deaths have been reported on Everest as concerns grow about the risks posed by the severe overcrowding on the world’s highest mountain this year.

Kevin Hynes, 56, from Ireland, died in his tent at 7,000 metres early on Friday, having turned back before reaching the summit. The father of two was part of a group from the UK-based 360 Expeditions.

The climbing company said: “It is with the greatest sadness that we have to confirm that one of our Everest team has passed away. Kevin was one of the strongest and most experienced climbers on our team, and had previously summited Everest South and Lhotse.”
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Hynes had been accompanied by an experienced Sherpa, who had himself climbed to the summit of Everest South twice, Everest North and Makalu twice, according to 360 Expeditions.

His death came a week after the Trinity College professor Seamus Lawless, from County Wicklow, fell during the descent after achieving a lifetime ambition of reaching the summit. A recovery operation is under way.

The other three victims, who were on a different expedition to Hynes, were identified by local media as Kalpana Das, 49, and Nihal Ashpak Bagwan, 27, both Indian and Ernst Landgraf, an Austrian.

After the publication of a picture taken by the former British soldier Nirmal “Nims” Purja showing long queues on the summit slopes, it emerged that the US climber Don Cash died on Wednesday after being delayed in a bottleneck of climbers during his descent. Cash, 55, fell ill close to the summit and was being helped down by two Sherpas when he collapsed again while waiting in a queue for two hours to descend the Hillary step, a well-known chokepoint.

Like Cash, the Indian mountaineer Anjali Kulkarni appears to have died during her descent after being caught in the ascending queues.

“Anjali and her husband were forced to wait for hours to reach the summit as there was a long queue on the slopes of Everest,” said Thupden Sherpa, the head of her trekking company. “The Sherpa guides supported her while coming down, but she didn’t make it.”

Overcrowding and safety have been a growing cause for concern in recent years, not least since the emergence of cut-price Nepali trekking companies that offer Everest packages for half the price of trips organised by foreign companies.

The deaths occurred despite Nepal’s tourism authorities instituting, but not implementing, plans to timetable ascents to avoid congestion.

This season’s summit crowds – the worst since 2012 – had been exacerbated by unsettled weather which meant there had been only five possible summit days in May so far, compared with between seven and 12 in recent years. This had caused hundreds of climbers to converge on several notorious sections where they can only pass one at a time.

Alan Arnette, who chronicles each Everest season in his blog, described the conditions as insane. “In 2019, we are hearing horror stories of summit pushes from the South Col to the summit taking 10, 12, even 14 hours. And due to the jams, the return to the Col is taking up to another six hours, making for 20 hour pushes – that’s insane.”

Jase Wilson, a Leeds Beckett University researcher at base camp, confirmed bad weather had meant few ascents before this week’s brief window. “The winds have been relentless so far … This has left around 300 climbers, along with climbing guides making around 600, all heading for the summit during the short lull [this week].”

Issues on the popular South Col route, on the Nepalese side of the mountain, have been growing for years partly due to an unwillingness by Nepal’s tourism ministry to tackle a constellation of concerns, including regulating cut-price trekking companies, permit numbers and vetting potential climbers.

Kenton Cool, who climbed Everest on 16 May for the 14th time while guiding a client, told the Guardian there were two overlapping issues: the growing popularity of Everest, not least among Indian and Chinese climbers; and declining levels of experience among those tackling the mountain – once regarded as the preserve of elite mountaineers.

“I’m not sure what the answer is. But looking at Nims’s picture, no part of that screams fun. I pride myself working one-on-one and being agile, avoiding queues [to] get up and down safely.”

With the increasing number of inexperienced climbers, Cool said he saw some kind of capability assessment as a “step in the right direction”.

Simon Lowe, the managing director of UK-based Jagged Globe, said his firm got a team of 12 to the summit on 23 May after setting off as soon as large numbers appeared at the South Col.

“The queue this year isn’t the problem,” he said. “But it exacerbates an underlying issue, and that is incompetent climbers being led by incompetent teams. If you go up with a bare minimum bottles of supplementary oxygen and stand in a queue for ages that is going to cause problems.”

Without reforms, Lowe, like others, can see guiding on Everest for companies like his becoming questionable. “I think I do see a point where it becomes untenable; where it becomes a bit distasteful. And you would have to ask do we want to be part of it?”

The Diner Pantry / 🚚 Mobile Food Trucks - Here's the Truck
« on: May 24, 2019, 07:00:09 PM »
I put up the wrong vid first.  Here's the one with the Food Truck.

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The Diner Pantry / 🚚 Mobile Food Trucks
« on: May 24, 2019, 02:23:58 PM »
This is my goal, if I can stay healthy enough.


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I'm going to be reincarnated as Fungi.  I eat enough of them. 😋  I will sporulate asexually and repopulate the Earth with other Intelligent Mushrooms.  Our race will produce their own hallucinogenic supply.  The new species will be known as Fungus Dinerus.  :icon_sunny:

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Discovery of billion-year-old fungi changes our understanding of life on Earth
Mike Wehner @MikeWehner
May 23rd, 2019 at 5:13 PM

When scientists search for species that lived hundreds of millions of years ago they’re not always just looking for ancient animals. Life on Earth has changed a lot over time, but sometimes a new discovery reveals a few things that have stayed largely the same.

In a new paper published in Nature, researchers reveal the discovery of tiny microfossils dating back at least 900 million years — and perhaps even as far as one billion years — that prove that some forms of fungi were alive and well much farther back in Earth’s history than previously thought.

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The idea that life on Earth began in the oceans is something that has been largely accepted by scientists, but when life moved from the sea to dry land — and what types of life first made that move — is still up for debate. This new information shakes up our understanding of what types of life first sprung up on land, and could offer a clue as to when ancient animals first roamed the shores.

The fossils, which were found in Canada, point to a much earlier date for land-based life than researchers thought. The idea being that if fungi were present on land one billion years ago, animal life would likely have been there alongside it.

The fossils were in the form of chitin, a component of the fungi cells, embedded in rock. By dating the surrounding rock, the scientists have landed on the estimated age of the fungi fossils.

“This means that if fungi are already present around 900-1000 million years ago, so should animals have been,” Corentin Loron of the University of Liege, lead author of the work, told AFP. “This is reshaping our vision of the world because those groups are still present today. Therefore, this distant past, although very different from today, may have been much more ‘modern’ than we thought.”

It’s an interesting discovery and, while it leaves much to the imagination in terms of the larger picture of land-based life on Earth a billion years ago, it’s still a tantalizing glimpse back in time.

Image Source: Erhard Nerger/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock
Tags: fossils, fungi, history, nature   

Didn't we all know this was coming?? What a surprise!! The USA seeks to silence all critics wherever they exist on the planet, such chutzpah! Are laws apply to everyone everywhere!!  :evil4: We are surely the masters of the universe (at the end of civilization). :icon_scratch:

It was a foregone conclusion of course.  Now we get to see the theater as they try to extradite him.


Geopolitics / 💩 Theresa in the Toilet
« on: May 24, 2019, 03:49:57 AM »
So who's next?  BoJo?


Theresa May to resign as prime minister

    24 May 2019

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Media captionIn a speech outside Downing Street, Theresa May said the failure to deliver Brexit was a matter of "deep regret"

Theresa May has said she will quit as Conservative leader on 7 June, paving the way for a contest to decide a new prime minister.

In an emotional statement, she said she had done her best to deliver Brexit and it was a matter of "deep regret" that she had been unable to do so.

Being prime minister had been the "honour of my life", she said.

Mrs May said she will continue to serve as prime minister while a Conservative leadership contest takes place.

It means she will still be prime minister when US President Donald Trump makes his state visit to the UK at the start of June.

Mrs May announced she would step down as Tory leader on 7 June and had agreed with the chairman of Tory backbenchers that a leadership contest should begin the following week.

    LIVE: Latest updates and reaction
    The Theresa May story
    Theresa May: Premiership in six charts

Boris Johnson, Esther McVey and Rory Stewart have said they intend to run for the party leadership, while more than a dozen others are believed to be seriously considering entering the contest.

The prime minister has faced a backlash from her MPs against her latest Brexit plan, which included concessions aimed at attracting cross-party support.

Andrea Leadsom quit as Commons leader on Wednesday saying she no longer believed the government would "deliver on the referendum result".

Mrs May met Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt at Downing Street on Thursday where they are understood to have expressed their concerns about her proposed withdrawal bill.

In her statement on Friday, she said she had done "everything I can" to convince MPs to support the withdrawal deal she had negotiated with the European Union but it was now in the "best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort".

She added that, in order to deliver Brexit, her successor would have to build agreement in Parliament.

"Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise," she said.
Theresa May at the top

    Nearly 3 years
    as prime minister, following David Cameron

    6 yearsbefore that, as home secretary

    Failed to win 2017 general election outright, but stayed PM

    Remainvoter in the 2016 EU referendum

    Brexit dominated her time at 10 Downing Street


Mrs May's voice shook as she ended her speech saying: "I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold.

"The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last.

"I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love."

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said she had been "right to resign" and that the Conservative Party was now "disintegrating".

A series of Conservative MPs praised Mrs May following her statement.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said she was a "true public servant":
Skip Twitter post by @Jeremy_Hunt

    I want to pay tribute to the PM today. Delivering Brexit was always going to be a huge task, but one she met every day with courage & resolve. NHS will have an extra £20bn thanks to her support, and she leaves the country safer and more secure. A true public servant.
    — Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) May 24, 2019


End of Twitter post by @Jeremy_Hunt

Chief whip Julian Smith praised her commitment to the country as "outstanding":
Skip Twitter post by @JulianSmithUK

    The values, integrity & commitment of @theresa_may to the United Kingdom have been outstanding
    — Julian Smith MP (@JulianSmithUK) May 24, 2019


End of Twitter post by @JulianSmithUK

And Chancellor Philip Hammond said it had been a "privilege" to serve alongside her:

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wished her well despite "profound disagreements", including on Brexit, but added: "The prospect of an even more hardline Brexiteer now becoming PM and threatening a no-deal exit is deeply concerning.

"Added to the experience of the past three years, this makes it all the more important that Scotland is given the choice of becoming an independent country."

Following her emotional coda to her statement on the steps of Downing Street, expect the tributes to Theresa May to flood in, even from those pushing her from office.

Her resilience. Her determination. Her sense of duty.

Ultimately, though, her premiership fell apart in an attempt to bring people together.

Her Brexit deal stymied by too many of her own MPs, she tried to reach out across the Commons.

But in proposing a vote on a referendum - even though she expected MPs to reject another public vote - she over-reached.

Some members of her cabinet who are manoeuvring to replace her withdrew their consent from her latest plan, effectively throwing out its compromises and her leadership.

She pointed today to some of her achievements in office but frankly she has had to announce the timetable for her departure before securing the legacy she desired - leaving the EU with a deal.

In a hung parliament, the question now is whether the next Conservative leader will be able to succeed where she failed.

Or whether something more radical will be required: no deal, a new referendum, or a general election.

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