Rudolph Giuliani: “Nothing Wrong” With Taking Info From Russian Sources Bruce Haring•Presidential advisor Rudolph Giuliani said on CNN today that there’s nothing wrong with a US presidential candidate getting information from Russian sources.Speaking to Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union program, Giuliani said he would likely advise against accepting Russian help “out of an excess of caution.”Related stories Fox News Channel Beats Broadcast And Cable News Networks Covering AG Bill Barr Spin And Mueller Report Release In Early StatsBut he noted taking the information depends on “where it came from.” He added that any political candidate would take potentially damaging information on an opponent.The former New York City mayor said President Donald Trump has been falsely accused, echoing long-standing Trump insistence on his own innocence.The Mueller report was the result of an investigation by “a staff of Hillary-loving, Trump hating people,” Giuliani said, calling prosecutor Andrew Weissmann “a hit man.”Giuliani has been at the forefront of President Trump’s defenders throughout the long Mueller probe, making frequent Sunday morning news appearances to rebut various allegations.Sign up for Deadline’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is poised to tell five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, that they will no longer be exempt from U.S. sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran, officials said Sunday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to announce on Monday that the administration will not renew sanctions waivers for the five countries when they expire on May 2, three U.S. officials said. The others are China and India.
It was not immediately clear if any of the five would be given additional time to wind down their purchases or if they would be subject to U.S. sanctions on May 3 if they do not immediately halt imports of Iranian oil.
The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Pompeo’s announcement.
The decision not to extend the waivers, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was finalized on Friday by President Donald Trump, according to the officials. They said it is intended to further ramp up pressure on Iran by strangling the revenue it gets from oil exports.
The administration granted eight oil sanctions waivers when it re-imposed sanctions on Iran after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. They were granted in part to give those countries more time to find alternate energy sources but also to prevent a shock to global oil markets from the sudden removal of Iranian crude.
U.S. officials now say they do not expect any significant reduction in the supply of oil given production increases by other countries, including the U.S. itself and Saudi Arabia.
Since November, three of the eight — Italy, Greece and Taiwan — have stopped importing oil from Iran. The other five, however, have not, and have lobbied for their waivers to be extended.
NATO ally Turkey has made perhaps the most public case for an extension, with senior officials telling their U.S. counterparts that Iranian oil is critical to meeting their country’s energy needs. They have also made the case that as a neighbor of Iran, Turkey cannot be expected to completely close its economy to Iranian goods.
Trump mistakenly tweets millions dead in Sri Lanka explosions on Easter Sunday
In expressing his condolences to those impacted by the Sri Lanka blasts, President Donald Trump initially claimed incorrectly that millions had died in the South Asia country on Easter Sunday.At least 138 people were killed in what appears to be coordinated attacks as the death toll is expected to increase, according to multiple media reports. Hundreds were wounded in a series of explosions that targeted churches and hotels frequented by tourists around the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, the Associated Press and CNN report.Trump offered support for Sri Lanka in the early morning tweet. „Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels that have killed at least 138 million people and badly injured 600 more. We stand ready to help,” the president said.The president deleted the original tweet and added a corrected version with the nearly 140 people dead figure in the blasts.Trump’s tweets come hours after Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe issued his own statement on Twitter cautioning against spreading unverified reports.”I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation,” Wickremesinghe said. „The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump 138 people have been killed in Sri Lanka, with more that 600 badly injured, in a terrorist attack on churches and hotels. The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump mistakenly tweets millions dead in Sri Lanka explosions on Easter Sunday
Related: Sri Lanka death toll expected to rise as leaders condemn killingsThirty-six foreigners were reported to be among those killed in attacks which targeted churches and hotels and were thought to have been caused by suicide bombers. No group immediately claimed responsibility. Sri Lankan authorities reportedly arrested 13 people.In a statement around noon US eastern time, Pompeo said: “While many details of the attacks are still emerging, we can confirm that several US citizens were among those killed. The US embassy is working tirelessly to provide all possible assistance to the American citizens affected by the attacks and their families.”The Sri Lankan foreign ministry said two US-UK dual nationals, three Britons, one Dutch national, three Indians, one Portuguese, three Danes and two Turks were among the dead.A spokesperson for the Sri Lankan national hospital said citizens of the US, Denmark, China, Japan, Pakistan, Morocco, India and Bangladesh were among casualties.Pompeo added: “The United States condemns in the strongest terms the terror attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter morning. Attacks on innocent people gathering in a place of worship or enjoying a holiday meal are affronts to the universal values and freedoms that we hold dear, and demonstrate yet again the brutal nature of radical terrorists whose sole aim is to threaten peace and security.“The United States offers our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed and wishes a quick recovery to all who were injured.”On Sunday morning, Donald Trump tweeted the message that “the United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!”Related: Social media shut down in Sri Lanka in bid to stem misinformationThe president’s first tweet on the subject was deleted after it misstated the reported death toll at the time, 138, as 138 millionVice-president Mike Pence tweeted he and Trump were “monitoring the horrific attacks on those celebrating Easter in Sri Lanka”.“This atrocity is an attack on Christianity [and] religious freedom everywhere,” he wrote. “No one should ever be in fear in a house of worship.”White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement: “We stand with the Sri Lankan government and people as they bring to justice the perpetrators of these despicable and senseless acts.”
(Bloomberg) — Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport has reopened to flights after being shut down for several hours.
Flights were suspended because of airstrikes aimed at forces loyal to the internationally recognized government, which is based in Tripoli in northwest Libya. The airport closed earlier this month following an air strike, the first in an offensive by warlord Khalifa Haftar to take the capital.
The latest attacks were aimed at the internationally recognized government’s military positions in the capital’s southern Al-Sabaa district, said Mohamed Younes, a spokesman for the Tripoli-based government. There were several explosions overnight, followed by anti-aircraft fire.
What Libya’s Renewed Fighting Means for Oil Markets: QuickTake
Forces loyal to Haftar are making a push on Tripoli, where Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s administration is based. The offensive has stalled on the outskirts of the city. The capital has another airport, Tripoli International, which is currently closed.
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To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tarek El-Tablawy at email@example.com, Rachel Graham, Paul Abelsky
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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to Poland wished Jews a happy Passover in Polish, and the reaction was a wave of angry comments on Twitter.
Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher also wished Poles a happy Easter on Sunday. By then, Mosbacher had been accused of offending Poland with her Passover tweet and reminded she is serving in a predominantly Roman Catholic country.
Krystyna Pawlowicz, a lawmaker with Poland’s right-wing ruling party, called the ambassador’s tweet, which was posted Friday along with a colorful illustration of items for a Passover Seder, a „provocation.”
Some came to Mosbacher’s defense, recalling that Poland also has a small Jewish population. Poland was home to Europe’s largest Jewish population before the Holocaust.
Michal Szczerba, an opposition lawmaker, put some blame on the ruling Law and Justice party, accusing it of encouraging Polish nationalists by failing to react to past cases of racism and anti-Semitism.
Mosbacher’s critics included far-right activist Robert Bakiewicz, who organizes a yearly Independence Day march that Polish government officials joined last year.
„Christ died and was resurrected also for you, pagans and traitorous Jews,” Bakiewicz said.
Also Sunday, Polish media reported that residents of a town in southeast Poland, Pruchnik, carried out a Good Friday tradition of beating and burning an effigy that was styled to look like an Orthodox Jew. The effigy represented Judas, the betraying disciple of Christ in the New Testament.
Kiev (AFP) – Ukrainians go to the polls on Sunday, with a politically inexperienced 41-year-old comedian set to win the leadership of a country locked in a war with Moscow-backed separatists.
The latest opinion polls show his incumbent rival Petro Poroshenko heading for a brutal defeat in the second-round runoff. A survey by the Rating pollster shows Zelensky winning 73 percent of the vote against 27 percent for Poroshenko.
– Zelensky: rising star –
Zelensky’s rise to political prominence has been extraordinary.
When he announced on New Year’s Eve he would run for president many dismissed him as a joke.
Three months later he won the first round of the election, receiving nearly twice as many votes as Poroshenko.
And two weeks later the political neophyte held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, his first foray into big-league European politics.
After the meeting the comedian — whose political experience is limited to playing a president on TV — said the French leader was one of the rare politicians with a sense of humour.
„And now he is not alone,” Zelensky added.
Opinion polls suggest Zelensky is set to win the election hands down, becoming post-Soviet Ukraine’s sixth leader.
The star of the „Servant of the People” television series has capitalised on Ukrainians’ despair over mainstream politics, war with Kremlin-backed rebels, poverty and corruption.
Supporters say Zelensky can clean up Ukrainian politics, comparing his rise to a peaceful anti-establishment revolution, the country’s third after the 2004 and 2014 uprisings.
His brand of outsider politics and unorthodox style earned him comparisons to Italy’s comedian turned politician Beppe Grillo and US President Donald Trump.
But many say Zelensky’s charm offensive is more style than substance and his incumbent rival calls him a „cat in the bag”.
Critics say his political programme is vague at best and that a country at war should not be taking a chance on a political novice.
Many point to Zelensky’s ties to controversial oligarch Igor Kolomoysky, one of the richest people in Ukraine.
Zelensky has shunned campaign rallies in favour of comedy gigs.
He prefers to get his message across through slick videos on social media including Instagram where he has 3.7 million followers.
Zelensky wants Washington and London to join the Minsk peace talks to end the war with the separatists and to continue cooperation with the IMF.
The father-of-two from the industrial city of Krivy Rig in central Ukraine is a dollar millionaire. He has a law degree but made his career in entertainment.
Zelensky is of Jewish descent but has said that religion is a personal matter and plays no part in his campaign.
– Poroshenko: half-hearted reformer –
Poroshenko won a decisive victory in a presidential election in 2014 after a pro-Western uprising ousted his Kremlin-backed predecessor Viktor Yanukovych.
The businessman, who amassed a vast fortune in chocolate, made closer ties with the West and cutting ties with the country’s Soviet past the central mission of his term.
Poroshenko’s backers credit him with rebuilding the nation’s army, securing an Orthodox Church independent of Russia and winning visa-free travel to Europe.
He has positioned himself as the only politician able to take on Russian President Vladimir Putin amid a five-year conflict with Kremlin-backed insurgents that has claimed around 13,000 lives.
But critics say the 53-year-old has done too little to tackle graft, improve living standards or uphold the rule of law.
After the first round of the election, Poroshenko struck a contrite note, saying he needed more time to turn the country around.
He has also sought to reboot his campaign, appealing to younger voters.
The father-of-four was born in the southwestern town of Bolgrad and studied economics.
He entered politics as a lawmaker in 1998 and was one of the founders of Yanukovych’s Regions Party in 2000.
He then changed sides after the 2004 election widely seen as rigged by Yanukovych.
An investigative report last year said Poroshenko and his family enjoyed a $500,000 holiday on a private island in the Maldives, a revelation that prompted public indignation.
He has said he dreams of running for the European Parliament one day.
Ukrainian comedian and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky, at a voting booth, is expected to win, according to polls
Kiev (AFP) – Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has been elected president of Ukraine twice — first as a character in the popular TV show „Servant of the People”, now for real.
The 41-year-old performer’s bid started out as a long shot but, on the back of popular discontent with the political class, he sent establishment candidates tumbling.
Supporters see the political novice as a breath of fresh air but critics say he is a puppet of powerful rivals to Ukraine’s outgoing leader Petro Poroshenko.
The story of his rise mirrored that of his character in the hit sitcom, which returned for its third season days before the first round of real-life voting last month.
In the show, a school history teacher is elected leader after a video rant against corruption goes viral.
As a candidate, Zelensky has blurred the line between politics and entertainment.
He eschewed media interviews and traditional rallies, preferring to address voters via social networks and perform in gigs with his sketch troupe right up to the first stage of the vote.
Ukrainian media outlets signed an open letter in the final days of the campaign demanding that Zelensky respond to their questions and flesh out his vague manifesto.
But the father-of-two has embraced the fact his campaign has been light on solid pledges. One of the posters for his candidacy read: „No promises — no apologies!”
The entertainer has been compared with US actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan, Italian populist Beppe Grillo and current US leader Donald Trump.
– Questions over Russia, oligarch –
Zelensky has been accused of being a front for the interests of controversial Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoysky, who owns the channel on which the actor’s shows are broadcast.
But the actor denied any political connection and in the last days of campaigning said the oligarch would be jailed if he was found to have violated any laws.
Kolomoysky, one of Ukraine’s richest men, became a regional governor at the start of Poroshenko’s term but was forced to resign following a row over a state oil firm. He now lives in Israel.
An investigative TV report at the start of the year meanwhile accused Zelensky of having commercial relations with Russia.
This is a highly sensitive issue following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and its backing of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, in a conflict that has cost some 13,000 lives since 2014.
Following the broadcast, Zelensky confirmed he had shares in a Cypriot company that owns a Russian group and promised to sell them.
On the campaign trail, Poroshenko mocked the Ukrainian of his Russian-speaking rival and said he lacked the political chops to stand up to President Vladimir Putin.
Zelensky has insisted that as leader he would demand Putin end Moscow’s occupation of Ukrainian territory and pay compensation for the conflict.
And he has pledged to keep Kiev on the pro-Western course it charted under Poroshenko.
The diminutive performer, from the industrial city of Krivy Rig in central Ukraine, is a dollar millionaire.
He has a law degree but made his career in entertainment, turning his Kvartal 95 comedy troupe into big business. The group has toured in Russia and he has performed in Russian films.
Zelensky is of Jewish descent but has said that religion is a personal matter and it played no part in his campaign.
Cyclist with Afghanistan’s national cycling team, Kobra Samim, is concerned about the impact a Taliban return will have on her life
Kobra Samim, who rides for Afghanistan’s national cycling team, wrote on Facebook that women’s participation in sport is her „red line” as the US tries to forge a peace deal with the Taliban.
Former politician Farkhunda Zahra Naderi tweeted that the protection of female leadership roles should be non-negotiable. And activist Samira Hamidi is demanding that women be included in the peace talks.
Across Afghanistan, women have taken to social media to join a campaign dubbed #MyRedLine that aims to pressure the government, the Taliban and the United States into ensuring women’s hard-won advancements are not tossed aside in a rush for a peace accord.
„If the Taliban come back, we won’t have the right to education, sports, and we will even be banned from coming out of houses,” Samim, 23, told AFP as she adjusted the saddle on her mountain bike before setting off along a run-down Kabul street.
„We want peace, but also we want to continue our sports and cycling.”
Farahnaz Forotan, a journalist and activist who started the #MyRedLine campaign with support from UN Women Afghanistan, said her own red line was „my pen and my freedom of expression”.
„If peace doesn’t bring social justice to all victims of war in every corner of the country, then it won’t be a stable peace,” Forotan told AFP.
She said the #MyRedLine hashtag had been shared or retweeted thousands of times since the social media campaign was launched last month, with even President Ashraf Ghani tweeting that women’s rights were the government’s „red line” in the peace process.
The campaign is also being shared on Facebook, in English, Pashto and Dari.
– ‘More vulnerable than anyone’ –
Before being toppled by the US invasion of 2001, the Taliban governed Afghanistan for nearly five years with a strict interpretation of sharia law.
Women were confined to their homes, forced to wear burqas and forbidden from going to school. Some were publicly stoned to death on flimsy allegations of adultery.
„Women were more vulnerable than anyone during the Taliban regime,” Forotan said.
The United States is holding direct talks with Taliban leaders — all men — in a bid to forge a peace deal.
Two Afghan women were invited to informal talks in Moscow in February between the Taliban and Afghan representatives, but their presence was very peripheral.
A second, similar summit between Afghan delegates and the insurgents that was to take place in Doha this weekend and had been set to include more women has been postponed indefinitely.
International observers have blasted the talks, led on the US side by peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, for their lack of female inclusion.
Other social media hashtags such as #afghanwomenwillnotgoback have also gained traction, and Khalilzad appears to have taken note.
On a trip to Afghanistan this month, the Afghan-born American envoy met with locals from all walks of life and with women’s groups.
The Taliban, however, appear unmoved. Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid recently tweeted to deny reports that women were being included in the Taliban negotiating team and „neither do we believe it is necessary”.
– ‘Tough odds’ –
Heather Barr, the acting co-director of the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, said the online campaign was encouraging.
„They’re up against tough odds at the moment, but their efforts are a sign that Afghan society is changing in fundamental ways, regardless of the outcome of these talks,” Barr told AFP.
In the United States, powerful women are lending their voices to the Afghan campaign.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who sits on the influential Senate Armed Services Committee that oversees the US military, said such a move is key.
„Women’s interests, as well as the interests of a broad segment of Afghan society need to be included as part of any negotiation,” Shaheen told a group of journalists on a visit to Kabul this week.
„It is vital for women to be included in talks with the Taliban.”
American actor and United Nations special envoy Angelina Jolie brought some celebrity power to the campaign last week, penning an opinion piece in TIME magazine calling for women to be included in „significant” numbers.
„Afghan women must be able to speak for themselves,” Jolie wrote.
DUBAI (Reuters) – The assailants who attacked a state security building northwest of Riyadh on Sunday are Saudi militants who belong to Islamic State, Saudi-owned Arabiya TV said in a tweet, citing its own correspondent.
Saudi state media said authorities thwarted the attack by four militants targeting the Mabaheth (domestic intelligence) station in Zulfi, a small city about 250 km (155 miles) northwest of the capital Riyadh.
There has been no Islamic State claim of responsibility for the attack so far, and the authorities did not officially identify the assailants.
(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli, Editing by William Maclean)
After a rough couple of years, the solar industry has been an extremely hot segment of the stock market in 2019. First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), SunPower(NASDAQ: SPWR), Sunrun (NASDAQ: RUN), and Vivint Solar (NYSE: VSLR)are all up over 40% as of this writing, and Chinese manufacturer JinkoSolar(NYSE: JKS) has nearly doubled.
Some of the optimism is based on improving performance, but some is based on projections for long-term growth. If that growth materializes, the industry’s stocks could continue climbing.
Image source: Getty Images.
2019 should be a big year
Measurements of solar installations are opaque because countries don’t track installations effectively, but most analysts are expecting a record year. Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects solar installations to grow from 109 gigawatts (GW) in 2018 to 125 GW to 141 GW in 2019, or enough to power 23.1 million U.S. homes.
China continues to be the biggest story in solar, but it’s supposed to fall from about 55% of the market in 2017 to 19% by 2023, according to Wood Mackenzie. It isn’t that China is giving up on solar, but rather that the technology is becoming more economical in other countries. Saudi Arabia, India, Chile, and parts of Africa are finding that solar energy is the cheapest form of new power generation, making it an easy choice.
Manufacturers finally see a ray of hope
For manufacturers like First Solar, SunPower, and JinkoSolar, there’s finally some hope that growing demand will result in rising profits. Price pressure tends to ease when the industry grows, and it helps that very few manufacturers have the scale to compete with these large rivals.
Differentiation is also starting to become more important because developers are trying to squeeze more power generation from each acre or rooftop. First Solar is upgrading to a Series 6 technology that lowers costs and squeezes slightly more power from each solar panel. SunPower is expanding A-Series production, which makes panels as efficient as 22.8% when turning the sun’s energy into electricity, and is also expanding commodity cell-based P-Series panels, which have achieved over 19% efficiency consistently.
In China, JinkoSolar will upgrade nearly all of its cell capacity to produce PERC technology panels, which creates a more efficient cell than older technology.
All of these technology improvements will help expand differentiation, increase margins, and if all goes well increase profits.
Residential solar becomes big business again
Residential solar continues to expand its market as more states find solar economical. Florida, Texas, and Nevada are growing, and establishing policies that should keep the industry growing for years to come.
Installations have grown each quarter, rising 520 megawatts (MW) installed in the third quarter of 2018 to 640 MW installed in the fourth quarter of 2018. And with SolarCity’s rapid decline under Tesla‘s (NASDAQ: TSLA) ownership, Sunrun, SunPower, and Vivint Solar are gaining market share. If industry growth continues and these installers gain share, they will be set up for a great 2019.
Bright skies ahead
If the solar industry does hit record installations in 2019 and companies can outline differentiation as highlighted above, it could keep solar stocks pushing higher. There’s always the risk of a large market cutting subsidies, but we’re seeing solid policy momentum globally in favor of solar, and that’s a big turnaround from the last few years. This all spells good news for solar stocks.
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