Modi appears in 1st conference in 5 years, didn’t answer any question

On the last day of Indian LS election campaign, PM Narendra Modi appeared in the first press conference in 5 years of his Prime Ministership, which is being claimed by media as a ‘guest appearance’, because he did not answer any questions, passing them over to Amit Shah to answer.

In the press conference organised by BJP President, when asked a direct question, Modi passed it to BJP President Amit Shah saying, “President is everything for us”.

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Austrian leader calls an early election amid video scandal

VIENNA (AP) — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called Saturday for an early election after his vice chancellor resigned over a covertly shot video that showed him apparently promising government contracts to a prospective Russian investor.

Kurz said he would ask President Alexander Van der Bellen to set a date for a new election “as soon as possible.”

Bernie Sanders unveils plan to overhaul public education

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders wants to suspend taxpayer funding of new charter schools and ban those that are for-profit as part of his plan to overhaul public education that he released on Saturday.

Saying charter schools are “exacerbating educational segregation,” Sanders proposes more transparency and accountability for them, as well as limits on the pay of their chief executives. According to the campaign, the 10-point plan focuses on “reversing racial and economic segregation that is plaguing elementary and secondary schools.”

Tornadoes rake Southern Plains; more severe weather expected

DALLAS (AP) — A spate of tornadoes raked across the Southern Plains, leaving damage and causing few injuries, and parts of the region were bracing for more severe thunderstorms and possible flooding.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF2 twister Saturday morning with winds up to 130 mph (209 kph) that destroyed at least two homes and left one person with minor injuries in southwestern Oklahoma.

Arnold Schwarzenegger assaulted during event in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was assaulted during a public appearance in South Africa on Saturday, but the 71-year-old quickly recovered and said, “I’m just glad the idiot didn’t interrupt my Snapchat.”

Video shows the former California governor standing and filming children at a sporting event in Johannesburg when a man makes a flying kick into his back. Schwarzenegger stumbles forward. The man is quickly grabbed by security. Off camera a man shouts several times “Help me!”

Iran military could misidentify airliners amid tension, though it has been America in past

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Commercial airliners flying over the Persian Gulf risk being targeted by “miscalculation or misidentification” from the Iranian military amid heightened tensions between the Islamic Republic and the U.S., American diplomats warned Saturday, even as both Washington and Tehran say they don’t seek war.

Trump lifts tariffs on Mexico, Canada, delays auto tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bogged down in a sprawling trade dispute with U.S. rival China, President Donald Trump took steps Friday to ease tensions with America’s allies — lifting import taxes on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum and delaying auto tariffs that would have hurt Japan and Europe.

By removing the metals tariffs on Canada and Mexico, Trump cleared a key roadblock to a North American trade pact his team negotiated last year. As part of Friday’s arrangement, the Canadians and Mexicans agreed to scrap retaliatory tariffs they had imposed on U.S. goods.

Trump orders aides to avoid conflict with Iran: Report

NEW YORK, May 17 (APP): US President Donald Trump has ordered his administration to avoid a military confrontation with Iran, the New York Times reported Friday.

The Times said that Trump, during a Wednesday morning meeting in the White House Situation Room, sent a message to his hawkish aides that he does not want the US pressure campaign against Iran to explode into an open conflict.

Trump sows confusion on Iran as tensions appear to ease

WASHINGTON (AP) — It started with a surprise statement on a Sunday night that the U.S. was rushing military forces to counter alleged Iranian threats. What followed were two weeks of bombastic rhetoric and swells of fear and confusion over whether Washington and Tehran were lurching toward open conflict. And that’s how President Donald Trump says he likes it.

“With all of the Fake and Made Up News out there,” Trump wrote Friday on Twitter, “Iran can have no idea what is actually going on.”

N Korea demands UN action over ship seizure by 'gangster' US

Seoul, May 18; AFP/GANASHAKTI: North Korea has demanded the United Nations take "urgent measures" to help return a cargo ship taken by the United States, calling the seizure a "heinous" act.

Washington announced last week it had taken possession of the North Korean-registered bulk carrier M/V Wise Honest -- a year after it was detained in Indonesia -- citing sanctions-violating activities.

US warns airliners flying in Persian Gulf amid Iran tensions

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — U.S. diplomats warned Saturday that commercial airliners flying over the wider Persian Gulf faced a risk of being “misidentified” amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

The warning relayed by U.S. diplomatic posts from the Federal Aviation Administration underlined the risks the current tensions pose to a region crucial to global air travel. It also came as Lloyd’s of London warned of increasing risks to maritime shipping in the region.


Former CIA chief Brennan to brief Dems on Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats will hear from former CIA director John Brennan about the situation in Iran, inviting him to speak next week amid heightened concerns over the Trump administration’s sudden moves in the region.

Brennan, an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, is scheduled to talk to House Democrats at a private weekly caucus meeting Tuesday, according to a Democratic aide and another person familiar with the private meeting. Both were granted anonymity to discuss the meeting.

Sikhs say Nordstrom apologized for turban, waiting for Gucci

PHOENIX (AP) — Nordstrom has apologized to Sikhs for selling a turban they found offensive, but a representative with the U.S. community’s top civil rights organization said Saturday they are still waiting to hear from the Gucci brand that designed it.

“We feel that companies are commodifying and capitalizing on something that is dear and sacred to people around the world,” said Simran Jeet Singh, a senior fellow with the New York-based Sikh Coalition, who said the turban has a deep religious significance for the men of his faith.

Final round of voting underway in India’s marathon elections

KOLKATA, India (AP) — Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years.

The voting also covers Modi’s constituency of Varanasi, a holy Hindu city where he was elected in 2014 with an impressive margin of over 200,000 votes.

He spent Saturday night at Kedarnath, a temple of Hindu god Shiva nestled in the Himalayas in northern India.

Digital billboard catches fire in Times Square

NEW YORK (AP) — Firefighters have responded to the scene of digital billboard on fire in Times Square.

Flames stated to shoot out of the LED billboard just after 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Fire Department says no injuries have been reported and there was no damage to the building the sign is attached to.

A department spokesman says firefighters are working to turn the billboard’s power off.

China’s ban on scrap imports a boon to US recycling plants

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The halt on China’s imports of wastepaper and plastic that has disrupted U.S. recycling programs has also spurred investment in American plants that process recyclables.

U.S. paper mills are expanding capacity to take advantage of a glut of cheap scrap. Some facilities that previously exported plastic or metal to China have retooled so they can process it themselves.

And in a twist, the investors include Chinese companies that are still interested in having access to wastepaper or flattened bottles as raw material for manufacturing.

Morrison thanks Australians for surprise election victory

SYDNEY (AP) — A jubilant Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday vowed to get straight back to work after a shock general election victory, which delivered the country three more years of conservative government.

The opposition Labor Party, meanwhile, began another bout of post-election soul searching while starting the task of finding a new leader, after Bill Shorten stood down on Saturday night following an emphatic defeat in a poll many saw as unlosable for his party.

India: Voters boycott polling at six booths in MP

Bhopal, May 19 (PTI) Voters boycotted polling at six booths in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday over some local issues, a senior election official said.

Efforts were on to pursuade the voters to exercise their democratic right, MP's Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao told reporters here.

Polling was underway in the eight constituencies of Dewas, Ujjain, Mandsaur, Ratlam, Dhar, Indore, Khargone and Khandwa since 7 am, he said.

US teen finds prehistoric mastodon jaw in southern Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A teen searching for arrowheads in southern Iowa found something much bigger: the prehistoric jawbone of a mastodon.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that the 30-inch bone belonged to a juvenile mastodon, an elephant-like animal believed to have roamed Iowa some 34,000 years ago.

Officials with the University of Iowa Paleontology Repository, which now has possession of the bone found last week, say the mastodon might have stood around 7-feet tall.

Counting starts in Australian poll with opposition confident

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Votes were being counted in Australia’s general election on Saturday, with senior opposition lawmakers gaining confidence that they will form a center-left government with a focus on slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

A Galaxy exit poll found that the opposition Labor Party could win as many as 82 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form government.


Less fat, more fruit may cut risk of dying of breast cancer


16 May 2019 (AP) - For the first time, a large experiment suggests that trimming dietary fat and eating more fruits and vegetables may lower a woman’s risk of dying of breast cancer.

The results are notable because they come from a rigorous test involving 49,000 women over two decades rather than other studies that try to draw health conclusions from observations about how people eat.

Trump’s defense of tariffs based on dubious claims


WASHINGTON (AP) — He’s been contradicted by one of his top advisers, dinged in regular fact checks and called out by top economists. Still, President Donald Trump has held firm to dubious declarations about trade policy, raising questions among experts and even his allies about whether he either can’t — or won’t — grasp the fundamentals of the issue.

'I am the original': Modi lookalike is fighting against BJP

13 May 2019; AFP: His white beard neatly trimmed and a sleeveless jacket thrown over his traditional Indian shirt, Abhinandan Pathak turns heads thanks to an uncanny resemblance to the country's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

But Pathak -- almost the same height and build as the PM, and who even walks in a similar way -- is no ordinary doppelganger.

Trump’s Palestine ‘deal’ dead before launch

by Asa Winstanley

12 May 2019; MEMO: There is seemingly no stopping deluded prospectors digging for nuggets of gold in the empty mine of Palestinian leaders’ capitulation. True, that mine once contained rich seams. Small, but rich enough.

In 1993 Yasser Arafat terminated the First Intifada, the popular Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation. In exchange, he got some personal power for him and his entourage. Yet Palestinians remained occupied.


Iran’s regional proxies ensure it will never fight alone


BEIRUT (AP) — In the event of war with the United States, Iran “will not be alone.”

That message was delivered by the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group to a mass rally in Beirut in February marking the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. “If America launches war on Iran, it will not be alone in the confrontation, because the fate of our region is tied to the Islamic Republic,” Hassan Nasrallah said.

'Cyber warriors' sway Indian election

16 May 2019; AFP: India's election watchdog says it has forced Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to take down hundreds of posts during the country's election but experts say it is just a drop in an ocean of misinformation that has engulfed voters.

The ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition Congress party have thrown armies of "cyber warriors" into a bitter social media war for the six weeks of voting that ends Sunday.

Are Trump's tariffs really hurting China?

16 May 2019; DW: Chinese exports to the US have been subject to the Trump tariffs since last July. According to the US President, this is wrecking the Chinese economy but does the Asian power ultimately have more stomach for this fight?

Growth in the Chinese economy has been slowing steadily for much of the last decade. From a rate of 12% annual GDP growth in 2010, the figure is now little more than half that.

A war between the US and Iran is unlikely

by Mohammad Ayesh

14 May 2019; MEMO: Some Gulf States like to hide behind the US and Israel and claim that Washington and Tel Aviv can confront the threat to the region posed by Iran. They cite the fact that the US rescued them from Iraqi militarism in the 1990s. However, the truth of the matter is that the US will not fight Iran this time, and the government in Tehran does not actually pose a threat to the region at all. The whole “Iranian threat” theory is false.

Persian Gulf tensions, unclear threats raise risks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Murky claims of sabotage to oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. A drone attack on a pipeline in Saudi Arabia. A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group steaming toward an unspecified threat.

The events roiling the Persian Gulf in recent days have the potential to affect everything from the price of a gallon of gas to the fate of nations.

And for those feeling confused by it all, don’t worry: Everyone else seems to be puzzled too, only raising the possibility of a miscalculation.