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A man casts his vote during European Parliament election in Riga
A man casts his vote during European Parliament election in Riga, Latvia, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

May 25, 2019

By Alastair Macdonald

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europeans vote on Sunday in an election expected to further dent traditional pro-EU parties and bolster the nationalist fringe in the European Parliament, putting a potential brake on collective action in economic and foreign policy.

Right-wing populists top opinion polls in two of the big four member states – Italy and supposedly exiting Britain – and could also win in a third, France, rattling a pro-Union campaign championed by centrist President Emmanuel Macron.

However, exit polls in some countries that have already voted have given pro-EU parties some comfort. The Dutch Labour party, all but written off, looks to have finished first, helped by the visibility of having the EU socialists’ lead candidate, current EU deputy chief executive Frans Timmermans.

In the Netherlands, pro-Union parties scored 70%, up three points on the last European Parliament vote in 2014, and left the upstart anti-immigration party of Thierry Baudet fourth on 11%.

The Dutch also turned out in bigger numbers, albeit at just 41%, reinforcing hopes in Brussels of reversing a 40-year trend of declining turnout that critics cite as a “democratic deficit” that undermines the legitimacy of European Union lawmaking.

An exit poll after Friday’s vote in deeply pro-EU Ireland pointed to an expected “Green Wave”. Across the bloc, concerns about climate change and the environment may bolster the pro-EU Greens group and could mean tighter regulations for industry and for the terms the EU may set for partners seeking trade accords.

Britain also voted on Thursday and a new party focused on getting out of the EU was forecast by pre-vote opinion polls to come top, but there has been no exit poll data. Attention there has focused on the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May. Results will be out late on Sunday, when all countries have voted.

WAY AHEAD UNCLEAR

The challenges facing the European project include unprecedented transatlantic slights from a U.S. president who fetes Europe’s populists, border rows among its own members over migrants and an economy hobbled by public debt and challenged by the rise of China.

But parties seeking collective action on shared issues such as trade, security, migration or climate change should still dominate, albeit with a smaller overall majority.

Europeans are preparing to remember events that shaped the Union. It is 75 years since Americans landed in France to defeat Nazi Germany and since Russian forces let the Germans crush a Polish bid for freedom, and 30 since Germans smashed the Berlin Wall to reunite east and west Europe. But memories of wars, hot and cold, have not sufficed to build faith in a united future.

Mainstream parties pushing closer integration of the euro currency zone’s economy are struggling to capture the imagination of a public jaded by political elites.

Matteo Salvini’s League in Italy may pip the Christian Democrats of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the bloc’s power broker, to become the biggest single party in the 751-seat chamber.

Right-wing ruling parties in Poland and Hungary, defying Brussels over curbs to judicial and media independence, will also return eurosceptic lawmakers on Sunday.

The results should be clear by late on Sunday, with exit polls in Germany at 1600 GMT and France at 1800 GMT setting the tone before the final end of voting, in Italy at 2100 GMT, sees the Parliament publish its own seat forecast.

The result will usher in weeks of bargaining among parties to form a stable majority in the Parliament, and among national leaders to choose successors to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other top EU officials.

Many expect a clash as early as Tuesday, when leaders meeting in Brussels are likely to snub Parliament’s demands that one of the newly elected lawmakers should run the EU executive.

(EU election graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2HvZs1M)

(Reporting by Alastair MacDonald; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

IndyCar: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Carb Day
May 24, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves during Carb Day practice for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

May 25, 2019

By Steve Keating

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – If Tiger Woods can get back in the winners’ circle Helio Castroneves says he sees no reason he cannot return to Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday and finally claim a place in the Brickyard’s most exclusive club.

In more than a century of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) only three men — A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears — have won the 500 four times and with a win on Sunday Castroneves would become the first non-American to join that group.

Now on the downside of his career, the 44-year-old no longer drives full-time on the IndyCar Series but Roger Penske continues to give his long-time employee a competitive car and a chance to get his name on the Borg-Warner trophy again.

The bubbly Brazilian has always been a driver to take motivation from wherever he can find it and this week is drawing inspiration from Woods, who completed one of sport’s all-time great comebacks last month when he ended an 11-year major title drought with a stunning victory at the Masters.

“You know it took Tiger Woods 10 years to go back and win another big one so maybe it could be this year (for me),” said Castroneves. “You’re always looking for positive ways to look and I’m always a positive guy and realistic at the same time.

“I can only imagine how special it would be. At this point you can dream big but you still have to execute first.”

Castroneves was quick to put his mark on the Indy 500, winning on his Brickyard debut in 2001 and repeating in 2002.

It was seven years before he returned to Victory Lane in 2009 and he has not found his way back since, though he has twice come agonizingly close, finishing as runner-up in 2014 and 2017.

In 2014 Ryan Hunter-Reay denied Castroneves victory by 0.0600 seconds, the second-closest finish in race history.

Castroneves said it was the memory of 2017 that haunted him most, recalling how Japan’s Takuma Sato powered past him with five laps remaining then bravely fought off the Brazilian to take the checkered flag.

“It’s hard to forget the ones you’ve missed,” said Castroneves, who has looked right at home back in his Penzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, qualifying 12th fastest in the 33-car field.

“Obviously great memories of the ones that happened but the ones you’ve missed stay in your mind.

“I mean 2017 with Takuma was really tough; I did everything I could but he did a really great job.

“Hopefully I don’t have to think this year about being a close call and just make it happen.”

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump speaks at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride event in the East Room of the White House in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as he speaks at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride event after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Katanga Johnson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp will not have to immediately hand over the financial records of U.S. President Donald Trump, three of his children and the Trump Organization, according to a court filing on Saturday.

The filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York followed an appeal submitted on Friday by Trump and his affiliates against an existing order from a federal judge allowing the banks to hand over financial records to Democratic lawmakers.

Amid an ongoing legal battle between the Republican president and Democrats in Congress, the agreement to hold off for now on enforcing the subpoenas for Trump’s financial records was a rare accord between Trump’s attorneys, the banks and the House Intelligence and the Financial Services Committees.

“The parties have reached an agreement regarding compliance with and enforcement of the subpoenas” while the appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is pending, the filing said.

Parts of the subpoenas have been included in court filings. The subpoena on Deutsche Bank seeks records of accounts, transactions and investments linked to Trump, his three oldest children, their immediate family members and several Trump Organization entities, as well as records of ties they might have to foreign entities.

Deutsche Bank has long been a principal lender for Trump’s real estate business and a 2017 disclosure form showed that Trump had at least $130 million of liabilities to the bank.

The subpoena on Capital One seeks records related to multiple entities tied to the Trump Organization’s hotel business. It followed an informal request to the bank by Democratic lawmakers in March seeking records related to potential conflicts of interest tied to Trump’s Washington hotel and other businesses.

A lawyer for the Trumps argued earlier this week that the subpoenas exceeded the authority of Congress and were “the epitome of an inquiry into private or personal matters.”

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, however, found that they were allowed under the broad authority of Congress to conduct investigations to further legislation.

(Reporting by Katanga Johnson; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis
FILE PHOTO: Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Qatar Sports Investments, a state-backed body founded by the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is in discussions to buy a stake in English soccer club Leeds United, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the talks.

The state-backed group, which owns French club Paris St Germain, was seeking as much as a controlling stake in Leeds United in a deal that would mark Qatar’s entrance to English football, FT reported.

“Qatar Sports Investments will be entering English Football, and Leeds is the club of their choice,” the report quoted a source as having said, adding that Qatar has been looking at entering English football for the last two years.

Leeds United is holding talks with at least six investors, including the Qatar group, according to the report.

Qatar Sports Investments and Leeds United did not return calls for comment on the FT report.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis
FILE PHOTO: Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Qatar Sports Investments, a state-backed body founded by the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is in discussions to buy a stake in English soccer club Leeds United, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the talks.

The state-backed group, which owns French club Paris St Germain, was seeking as much as a controlling stake in Leeds United in a deal that would mark Qatar’s entrance to English football, FT reported.

“Qatar Sports Investments will be entering English Football, and Leeds is the club of their choice,” the report quoted a source as having said, adding that Qatar has been looking at entering English football for the last two years.

Leeds United is holding talks with at least six investors, including the Qatar group, according to the report.

Qatar Sports Investments and Leeds United did not return calls for comment on the FT report.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem May 19, 2019. Ariel Schalit/Pool via REUTERS

May 25, 2019

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday against legislative steps that could grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution and limit the power of the country’s Supreme Court.

The demonstration in Tel Aviv was attended by nearly all opposition parties, a rare show of unity for Israel’s splintered political system. Police did not say how many people attended. A Reuters photographer estimated about 20,000 were present, while organizers put the figure at 80,000.

In office for the past decade, Netanyahu won a fifth term in April despite an announcement by Israel’s attorney general in February that he intended to charge him with fraud and bribery. The prime minister is a suspect in three graft cases.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing, calling the allegations a political witch-hunt. The right-wing leader has said that with a renewed public mandate to govern he has no plans to resign, even if charged.

Although the prime minister is under no legal obligation to step down if charged, Netanyahu loyalists in his Likud party have pledged to seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution for him while he is in office.

Expecting legal challenges, they also have been advocating legislation that would annul any Supreme Court ruling rescinding immunity.

Since the election, Netanyahu has not said whether he would seek immunity.

On May 13, Netanyahu said on Twitter that his policy had always been to preserve a strong and independent Supreme Court, but that changes were needed in order to restore balance between Israel’s executive, legislative and judiciary branches.

The opposition has described any attempt to shield Netanyahu or put limitations on Israel’s highest court as threats to Israeli democracy.

Yair Lapid, one of the leaders of the main opposition party, the centrist Blue and White, said on Saturday at the demonstration that Netanyahu was trying to crush the Supreme Court in order to keep out of prison. “He’s destroying the country,” Lapid said. “We won’t let him.”

Netanyahu is trying to form a new coalition with right-wing, ultranationalist and religious parties that would give him control of 65 of the 120 seats in parliament, which has already been sworn in.

Most of the parties expected to join his coalition have expressed support for granting immunity to Netanyahu and limiting the powers of the Supreme Court, branded by some rightists as too liberal and interventionist.

However, Netanyahu has only until Wednesday to produce a government and he has not yet secured a deal with any party. Negotiations came to an impasse this week when the factions failed to agree on a new conscription law for Israel’s military.

According to Israeli law, if Netanyahu fails to form a government by May 29 the president can ask another member of the Knesset legislature to try.

No political party has ever won an outright majority in Israel’s Knesset, making coalition governments the norm. Coalition talks have often been protracted with deals signed at the very last minute.

Netanyahu is due to attend a pre-trial hearing over the graft charges with the attorney general, set for October.

(Additional reporting by Rahaf Ruby and Ammar Awad; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem May 19, 2019. Ariel Schalit/Pool via REUTERS

May 25, 2019

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday against legislative steps that could grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution and limit the power of the country’s Supreme Court.

The demonstration in Tel Aviv was attended by nearly all opposition parties, a rare show of unity for Israel’s splintered political system. Police did not say how many people attended. A Reuters photographer estimated about 20,000 were present, while organizers put the figure at 80,000.

In office for the past decade, Netanyahu won a fifth term in April despite an announcement by Israel’s attorney general in February that he intended to charge him with fraud and bribery. The prime minister is a suspect in three graft cases.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing, calling the allegations a political witch-hunt. The right-wing leader has said that with a renewed public mandate to govern he has no plans to resign, even if charged.

Although the prime minister is under no legal obligation to step down if charged, Netanyahu loyalists in his Likud party have pledged to seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution for him while he is in office.

Expecting legal challenges, they also have been advocating legislation that would annul any Supreme Court ruling rescinding immunity.

Since the election, Netanyahu has not said whether he would seek immunity.

On May 13, Netanyahu said on Twitter that his policy had always been to preserve a strong and independent Supreme Court, but that changes were needed in order to restore balance between Israel’s executive, legislative and judiciary branches.

The opposition has described any attempt to shield Netanyahu or put limitations on Israel’s highest court as threats to Israeli democracy.

Yair Lapid, one of the leaders of the main opposition party, the centrist Blue and White, said on Saturday at the demonstration that Netanyahu was trying to crush the Supreme Court in order to keep out of prison. “He’s destroying the country,” Lapid said. “We won’t let him.”

Netanyahu is trying to form a new coalition with right-wing, ultranationalist and religious parties that would give him control of 65 of the 120 seats in parliament, which has already been sworn in.

Most of the parties expected to join his coalition have expressed support for granting immunity to Netanyahu and limiting the powers of the Supreme Court, branded by some rightists as too liberal and interventionist.

However, Netanyahu has only until Wednesday to produce a government and he has not yet secured a deal with any party. Negotiations came to an impasse this week when the factions failed to agree on a new conscription law for Israel’s military.

According to Israeli law, if Netanyahu fails to form a government by May 29 the president can ask another member of the Knesset legislature to try.

No political party has ever won an outright majority in Israel’s Knesset, making coalition governments the norm. Coalition talks have often been protracted with deals signed at the very last minute.

Netanyahu is due to attend a pre-trial hearing over the graft charges with the attorney general, set for October.

(Additional reporting by Rahaf Ruby and Ammar Awad; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Dominic Raab attends
FILE PHOTO: Dominic Raab, former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union attends “A Better Deal” event in London, Britain, January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

May 25, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Former Brexit Minister Dominic Raab became the sixth candidate to enter the contest to replace Theresa May as prime minister on Saturday, vowing to fight for a fairer deal on Brexit.

“To deliver Brexit successfully will require focus, discipline and resolve,” Raab wrote in an article for the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “As a former Foreign Office lawyer and Brexit Secretary I have the experience.”

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Dominic Raab attends
FILE PHOTO: Dominic Raab, former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union attends “A Better Deal” event in London, Britain, January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

May 25, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Former Brexit Minister Dominic Raab became the sixth candidate to enter the contest to replace Theresa May as prime minister on Saturday, vowing to fight for a fairer deal on Brexit.

“To deliver Brexit successfully will require focus, discipline and resolve,” Raab wrote in an article for the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “As a former Foreign Office lawyer and Brexit Secretary I have the experience.”

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido takes part in a meeting in Caracas
FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country’s rightful interim ruler, speaks at a meeting at the Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

May 25, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Norway said on Saturday that representatives of Venezuela’s government and opposition will return to Oslo next week following an initial round of preliminary talks about how to address the country’s political crisis.

“We announce that the representatives of the main political actors in Venezuela have decided to return to Oslo next week to continue a process facilitated by Norway,” the Scandinavian country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We reiterate our commitment to continue supporting the search for an agreed-upon solution between the parties in Venezuela,” it said.

Venezuela has been plunged into political turmoil this year as opposition leader Juan Guaido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, dismissing President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a fraud. More than 50 countries, including the United States and many members of the European Union, now see Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

Maduro, who maintains control over state institutions amid a hyperinflationary economic meltdown and humanitarian crisis, calls Guaido a puppet of Washington.

The Venezuelan information ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the announcement. Guaido’s press team said it would comment shortly.

The ruling Socialist Party has endorsed the talks, but opposition sympathizers remain skeptical, arguing that Maduro has previously used dialogue as a stalling tactic to maintain his grip on power while living standards steadily declined in the oil-rich nation.

Last week, opposition lawmaker Stalin Gonzalez and two advisors represented Guaido’s side, while Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez and Miranda state governor Hector Rodriguez went to Oslo on behalf of the government.

Each side met separately with Norwegian mediators, but there was no face-to-face meeting between government and opposition representatives, Gonzalez told local media.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth, editing by G Crosse)

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