2016

The family of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a rabid nemesis of President Trump, has announced their intention to support former Vice President Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential race.

The McCain family is preparing to break from the Republican Party in an extraordinary snub to the president, and will formally back Biden’s candidacy at some point in the election race in hopes of removing Trump, a source close to both the Bidens and McCains reportedly said.

“They talk regularly and have been supportive of his run,” the source told Washington Examiner. “The question is going to be timing and coordinating with the Biden campaign. There are a lot of moving parts there and [Biden’s campaign is] not necessarily organized. I wouldn’t expect a formal family endorsement because some of McCain’s family is still in the military, but I do expect Cindy to speak out at some point.”

But one senior McCain aide worried if the family’s endorsement would even help Biden as the Democrat field lurches far-left.

“I’m just not sure how much that helps in a primary where the party is constantly moving towards the left. If you’re a two-term former vice president and basically tied with Bernie Sanders, that’s not a good sign,” the aide said.

The animus between the Trump and McCain family stretches back decades, which became even more bitter during the 2016 presidential race and culminated with McCain barring Trump from his funeral.

Additionally, Biden’s affection for McCain is well known, and he referred to the late senator as his “brother” during the eulogy.

“My name’s Joe Biden. I’m a Democrat. And I loved John McCain,” he had said. “The way I look at it, the way I thought about it, was that I always thought of John as a brother. We had a hell of a lot of family fights. We go a long way.”

Biden is expected to launch his 2020 campaign on Thursday, according to reports.


Twitter: Follow @WhiteIsTheFury

“Creepy Uncle Joe” has slipped in the polls after videos of him being “handsy” with girls and women even smelling their hair have gone viral. Paul Joseph Watson exposes the left’s double standard as they rush to defend Biden.

Source: InfoWars

FILE PHOTO: Bayer's Roundup weed killer atomizers are displayed for sale at a garden shop near Brussels
FILE PHOTO: Bayer’s Roundup weed killer atomizers are displayed for sale at a garden shop near Brussels, Belgium November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

April 24, 2019

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) – Bayer AG on Wednesday asked a California appellate court to throw out a $78 million judgment it was ordered to pay to a school groundskeeper who claimed the company’s weed killers gave him cancer.

In a filing in California’s Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, the company said that there was “no evidence” that glyphosate, a chemical found in the company’s Roundup and Ranger Pro products, could cause cancer.

“Bayer stands behind these products and will continue to vigorously defend them,” the company said in a news release.

The widely-used weed killers are made by Monsanto, which Bayer acquired last year for $63 billion.

The company said that if the court did not rule in its favor, it should at least order a new trial, arguing that a lower court judge had improperly prevented jurors from hearing evidence that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and foreign regulators had deemed glyphosate not likely carcinogenic to humans.

A lawyer for the groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Johnson sued Monsanto in 2016. In August 2018, following a trial in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco, a jury awarded him $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages, a total of $289 million.

The verdict, which marked the first such decision against Monsanto, wiped 10 percent off Bayer’s value, and shares have since dropped nearly 30 percent from their pre-verdict value.

Judge Suzanne Bolanos, who oversaw the trial, then issued a tentative opinion saying she planned to strike the entire punitive damages award because there was no evidence Monsanto acted with malice. Following a hearing last October, she instead cut the award to $39 million, for a total judgment of $78 million.

In another brief filed with the appeals court on Wednesday, Bayer said that decision came after newspaper articles and emails from five jurors in the case meant to “pressure” Bolanos to uphold the punitive damages award.

Bayer, which faces more than 11,000 U.S. lawsuits over glyphosate, says decades of scientific studies and real-world use have shown glyphosate to be safe for human use.

While the EPA and regulators from several other countries have said glyphosate was not likely to cause cancer, the cancer unit of the World Health Organization in 2015 classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney leaves after a news conference at the Bank of England in London
FILE PHOTO: The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney leaves after a news conference at the Bank of England in London, Britain February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool/File Photo

April 24, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is searching for a new governor of the Bank of England to succeed Mark Carney in early 2020.

Finance minister Philip Hammond is hoping that concerns about Brexit will not deter potential applicants.

Below are possible contenders to run the BoE which oversees the world’s fifth-biggest economy and its huge finance industry.

ANDREW BAILEY

The former deputy BoE governor was tipped by analysts as Carney’s most likely successor. But delays to the search, after Carney extended his time in London, have raised questions about whether Hammond sees him as the best candidate.

Bailey, 60, was deputy governor with a focus on banks before becoming chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, a markets regulator.

While at the BoE, Bailey helped to steer Britain’s banks through the global financial crisis.

Heading the FCA is fraught with risks. Lawmakers criticised Bailey for not publishing all of a report into alleged misconduct by bank RBS. Bailey cited privacy restrictions.

As FCA boss, Bailey sits on important panels at the BoE that oversee banks. Although he has never been interest-rate setter, he once ran the BoE international economic analysis team.

RAGHURAM RAJAN

Rajan, 56, headed the Reserve Bank of India from 2013 to 2016, and was chief economist at the International Monetary Fund between 2003 and 2006 when he warned of the risk of a financial crisis.

Now a professor at Chicago Booth business school, Rajan has published a book on dissatisfaction with markets and the state – touching on some of the underlying issues behind Brexit.

Rajan unexpectedly did not seek a renewal of his three-year term at the RBI, having faced hostility from some sections of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP party who disliked his less nationalist stance and brief forays into political territory.

Rajan declined to comment when asked by Reuters last week whether he would consider a return to active policymaking.

MINOUCHE SHAFIK

Egyptian-born Shafik, 57, was a BoE deputy governor between 2014 and 2017, in charge of markets and banking, including the central bank’s asset purchase programme. She quit the job early to become director of the London School of Economics.

Between 2008 and 2011 she was the top civil servant at Britain’s ministry for overseas aid and was then deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund, where she represented the fund in the Greek debt crisis.

Shafik would become the first woman to head the BoE, and was only its second female deputy governor.

BEN BROADBENT AND DAVE RAMSDEN

Broadbent, 54, and Ramsden, 55, are deputy governors for monetary policy and for markets and banking respectively.

Broadbent, a former Goldman Sachs economist who trained as a classical pianist, is respected for his economic analysis but has less experience on banking oversight.

Ramsden was the Treasury’s chief economic advisor.

The two other BoE deputy governors, Jon Cunliffe and Sam Woods, are less likely contenders. Woods focuses mostly on financial regulation while Cunliffe – a former British ambassador to the European Union – would be aged 66 at the start of the term which usually runs for eight years.

SHRITI VADERA

Vadera, 56, has no central banking experience but is seen as a contender due to her current role as non-executive chairwoman of Santander UK, one of Britain’s biggest banks, and her time as a junior business minister during the financial crisis.

Vadera served as a minister from 2007 to 2009 after a career in investment banking and a period at the finance ministry.

In 2008, she was part of a small group of ministers and officials who devised a plan worth hundreds of billions of pounds in loan guarantees to keep high-street banks in business.

ANDY HALDANE

The BoE’s chief economist, Haldane has developed a reputation for floating unconventional ideas, including the possibility that music apps such as Spotify and multiplayer online games might give central bankers just as a good a sense of what is going on in the economy as traditional surveys.

In 2012, he praised the anti-capitalist Occupy movement for suggesting new ways to fix the shortcomings of global finance. Haldane has experience of both sides of the BoE, having served as executive director for financial stability, overseeing the risks to the economy from the banking system. But he might be seen as too much of a maverick to take the job of governor.

A LABOUR PARTY GOVERNOR?

The prospect of the left-wing Labour Party taking power has grown as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to break the Brexit impasse.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his would-be finance minister John McDonnell are socialists and have in the past proposed that the BoE should fund investment in infrastructure, a big change from its current focus on inflation.

Former members of Labour’s economic advisory committee included U.S. academic and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz and Ann Pettifor, a British economist who is an austerity critic, and former BoE rate-setter David Blanchflower.

(Writing by William Schomberg and David Milliken, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Source: OANN

Logo of PrivatBank, the Ukraine's biggest lender, is seen on a bank's branch in Kiev
FILE PHOTO: Logo of PrivatBank, the Ukraine’s biggest lender, is seen on a bank’s branch in Kiev, Ukraine April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

April 24, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Ukraine’s credit profile would be badly damaged, Moody’s warned on Wednesday, if the country’s new president interfered in an acrimonious legal battle over the 2016 nationalization of the country’s biggest lender Privatbank.

Moody’s said the banking sector changes, including the Privatbank move, had been one of the biggest economic reform successes of the last five years.

“Any threat to that progress – such as the potential that the new president would interfere in favor of (former owner) Igor Kolomoysky’s appeal of the Privatbank nationalization in local courts – would constitute a serious setback to the reform agenda,” Moody’s said.

“While not our base case as we attach a low probability to such a scenario, it would have a material adverse impact on Ukraine’s credit profile if it were to materialize.”

(Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by Tom Wilson)

Source: OANN

The headquarters of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payment transactions is seen in Aschheim
FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payment transactions is seen in Aschheim near Munich, Germany September 6, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

April 24, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German digital payments company Wirecard on Wednesday said all its subsidiaries were subject to regular audits, denying a Financial Times report.

The FT cited whistleblowers as saying that the accounts of Wirecard’s largest business, Card Systems Middle East in Dubai, were not audited in 2016 and 2017.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks in the Scottish Parliament during continued Brexit uncertainty in Edinburgh
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks in the Scottish Parliament during continued Brexit uncertainty in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain, April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

April 24, 2019

By Elisabeth O’Leary

EDINBURGH (Reuters) – Scotland should hold an independence referendum before the current Scottish parliamentary term ends in May 2021 and will prepare legislation for this to happen, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Wednesday.

“A choice between Brexit and a future for Scotland as an independent European nation should be offered in the lifetime of this parliament,” Sturgeon told Holyrood, Scotland’s devolved parliament.

She said a devolved parliament bill would be drawn up before the end of 2019.

The permission of Britain’s sovereign parliament at this stage was not needed, she said, but would be eventually be necessary “to put beyond doubt or challenge our ability to apply the bill to an independence referendum.”

Sturgeon is under pressure from her nationalist movement to provide a clear way forward in the quest for an independent Scotland.

But Britain is mired in political chaos due to Brexit and it is still unclear whether, when or even if Britain will leave the European Union.

Scotland, part of the United Kingdom for more than 300 years, rejected independence by 10 percentage points in a 2014 referendum.

Differences over Brexit have strained the United Kingdom. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU in a 2016 referendum, while Wales and England vote to leave.

Those who want to maintain the United Kingdom argue that Brexit has made no difference to how Scots feel, and the secession vote should not be repeated.

But Sturgeon argued that leaving the world’s largest trading bloc endangers Britain and Scotland’s economic well-being.

“We face being forced to the margins, sidelined within a UK that is itself increasingly sidelined on the international stage. Independence by contrast would allow us to protect our place in Europe,” she said.

“We need a more solid foundation on which to build our future as a country.”

(Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

Source: OANN

London Marathon Preview Press Conference
Athletics – London Marathon Preview Press Conference – The Tower Hotel, London, Britain – April 24, 2019 Great Britain’s Mo Farah during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

April 24, 2019

By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) – Briton Mo Farah was given an unwelcome birthday surprise when he was robbed at his hotel in Addis Ababa last month, putting a damper on what he said had been an otherwise perfect preparation for Sunday’s London Marathon.

Farah, third last year and facing a monumental challenge to overcome Kenya’s world record holder and defending champion Eliud Kipchoge, said he had completed a really good block of training in Ethiopia.

“I couldn’t have asked for better,” he said. “There were just a couple of things.”

Asked to expand, the multiple Olympic and world champion over 10,000 meters and 5,000m on the track, said: “There was a problem at the hotel. Someone went into my bag and took some money and took a present my wife had got me (a watch), so that was disappointing when I’d been staying there so long.

“It was on my birthday,” added Farah, who turned 36 on March 23 and won the Chicago Marathon last year.

He will be center of attention for the home crowd and the BBC broadcasting the race. Yet, he is only the eighth-fastest man in the field and his best of 2:05.11 is almost four minutes adrift of Kipchoge’s – which would leave him almost a mile behind the Kenyan if they were to reproduce those times on Sunday.

Kipchoge set his astonishing world record of 2:01.39 when winning Berlin last year and is seeking an unprecedented fourth London triumph.

He told a news conference on Thursday that he had not raced since Berlin and had followed his usual preparation – a system that has served him well in a career that has seen him win 10 of his 11 marathons, including the 2016 Olympic Games.

“I like London, I’m fit and ready to compete,” he said, adding that he was still in discussions regarding what pace he will ask the pacemakers to set.

Farah said he fully respected Kipchoge’s talent and extraordinary record but added that he was learning all the time having switched to the roads in 2017 and was not turning up “expecting to finish third or fourth.”

“You look up to these guys, you have to learn from the best and I have learned from each race I’ve done,” Farah said.

“I think I could have gone 2.04-something in Chicago (where he set a European record of 2:05:11) but it was about winning the race.

“Last year in London when Eliud increased the pace at around 20 miles I went with it a bit but just felt tired and in my mind I felt ‘I cant keep that going’ and you end up taking it back a notch. But I am here to race and will give 100 percent as I always do.”

EXTRA ENDURANCE

Farah said he had underestimated the volume of training required to convert his track speed into the extra endurance needed for 26.2 miles on the road, but that he was enjoying the challenge.

“The most important thing is that I’m happy and enjoying it,” he said. “I’m still hungry, I feel like I’ve got my mojo back.”

While Farah and Kipchoge fight it out at the sharp end, around 40,000 others will be pounding the streets of London in the 39th running of what organizers say is the world’s most popular race.

“We had 415,000 applications in five days,” said race director Hugh Brasher. “This weekend we will reach one billion pounds raised for charity by runners, with more than half of that coming in the last nine years.”

In the first race in 1981, co-founded by his father and former Olympic gold medalist Chris Brasher, five percent of finishers were female, while this year that figure is expected to be around 45 percent.

The race is also testing a number of innovations to help reduce its environmental impact, such as fewer feeding stations and an experiment where 700 runners will use a recyclable plastic belt to carry refillable bottles.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Christian Radnedge)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih talks during the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul
FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih talks during the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

April 24, 2019

By Saeed Azhar and Stephen Kalin

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Wednesday he saw no need to raise oil output immediately after the United States ends waivers granted to buyers of Iranian crude, but added that the kingdom would respond to customers’ needs if asked for more oil.

Khalid al-Falih said he was guided by oil market fundamentals not prices, and that the world’s top oil exporter remained focused on balancing the global oil market.

“Inventories are actually continuing to rise despite what is happening in Venezuela and despite the tightening of sanctions on Iran. I don’t see the need to do anything immediately,” Falih said in Riyadh.

The United States has decided not to renew exemptions from sanctions against Iran granted last year to buyers of Iranian oil, taking a tougher line than expected.

“Our intent is to remain within our voluntary (OPEC) production limit,” Falih said, adding that Riyadh would “be responsive to our customers, especially those who have been under waivers and those whose waivers have been withdrawn.”

“We think there will be an uptick in real demand but certainly we are not going to be pre-emptive and increase production,” the minister said.

He said Saudi Arabia’s oil production in May was pretty much set with very little variation from the last couple of months. June crude allocations would be decided early next month, he said.

The kingdom’s exports in April will be below 7 million barrels per day (bpd), while production is around 9.8 million bpd, Saudi officials have said. Under the OPEC-led deal on supply cuts, Saudi Arabia can pump up to 10.3 million bpd.

Falih said there would most likely be “some level of production management beyond June” by OPEC and its allies, but it was too early to predict the output targets now.

Oil prices rallied to their highest level since November after Washington announced all waivers on imports of sanctions-hit Iranian oil would end next week, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran and further tightening global supply.

Eight countries, including China and India, were granted waivers for six months, and several had expected those exemptions to be renewed.

Brent crude futures fell on Wednesday, trading at $74.18 per barrel at 0848 GMT, after the International Energy Agency said oil markets were “adequately supplied” and “global spare production capacity remains at comfortable levels.”

A senior U.S. administration official said on Monday that Trump was confident Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would fulfill pledges to compensate for any shortfall in the oil market following Washington’s decision to end the Iran waivers.

OPEC and industry sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Gulf OPEC producers could meet any oil supply shortage but would first wait to see whether there was actual demand.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed to cut output by 1.2 million bpd. They meet on June 25-26 to decide whether to extend the pact.

A panel of energy ministers from major oil producers, known as the JMMC, meets on May 19 to discuss the oil market and make recommendations before the June meeting, OPEC sources said.

(Writing by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Dale Hudson and Edmund Blair)

Source: OANN

A flock of buffaloes is seen during the sunset at the Chebayesh marsh in Dhi Qar province
A flock of buffaloes is seen during the sunset at the Chebayesh marsh in Dhi Qar province, Iraq April 13, 2019. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani

April 24, 2019

By Raya Jalabi

CHIBAYISH MARSHES, Iraq (Reuters) – This time last year, most of Iraq’s historic marshlands were dry, desiccated by upstream damming and a chronic lack of rainfall.

Now, local farmers are counting their blessings after unexpected heavy rainfall at the end of 2018 caused the dams to overflow by early January and water came gushing back to the wetlands in southeastern Iraq.

For Yunus Khalil, a farmer raising water buffalo in the central marsh, the lack of water meant he had to sell most of his herd at a loss last year.

“We were terrified the water wouldn’t come back,” Khalil said. “It would’ve been the end for us.”

The marshes, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden and named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2016, are experiencing their highest water levels since they were reclaimed in 2003, said Jassim al-Asadi, southern director of local NGO Nature Iraq and a native of the marshlands, which stretch to the Iran border.

“God knows how much we suffered last year,” Khalil said. “He protected us.”

Saddam Hussein accused the area’s inhabitants, the Marsh Arabs, of treachery during the 1980-1988 war with Iran and later drained the marshes – which before then had stretched across more than 3,700 square miles (9,583 sq km) – to flush out rebels.

Many residents fled, but after Saddam’s overthrow in 2003, parts of the marshland were reflooded and around 250,000 Marsh Arabs have cautiously trickled back.

Many had moved to farmland in nearby provinces, or went to live in exile in Iran. Their years away brought a change to the vibrant local culture, residents say, and more conservative norms, particularly regarding the role of women who have long worked alongside men in the marshes.

“You used to hear women singing as they pushed their boats through the marshes at dawn,” said Taher Mehsin, a fishermen in his late 60s. “Now, some of the men won’t let their women out of the house.”

NEW PROBLEMS

The area has been home to the Marsh Arabs for millennia, and water is essential to maintaining their way of life.

Though many were eager to return home after two decades away, life in the marshes is tough and revolves around fishing and raising water buffalo. The few schools and government-run health clinics are miles away from the open water, where many people live without electricity.

Residents have to make daily trips on long wooden boats to buy bottled water for themselves and their families – as the surrounding waters are too salty to drink.

Years of low water levels have caused other problems, including less tall grass for the buffalo to graze on, and a drop in the variety of fish.

The local carp, previously local fishermen’s best seller, hasn’t been seen in the waters here all year. Instead, the fishermen and women now catch just one type of small fish which most don’t recall having seen until recently.

After casting their nets the previous night, they haul their take at dawn to local buyers, who are currently paying around $2.50 (3,000 dinars) a kilo after haggling – a 50 percent drop in price compared to 2017.

“What else can we do?” said Mehsin as he pushed his boat out from the shore, having netted $10 (12,000 Iraqi dinars) for his day’s take.

“Water is life here. Fish and animals can’t live without it, and neither can we.”

(Reporting by Raya Jalabi; Editing by Susan Fenton)

Source: OANN

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet holds a news conference in Mexico City
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet holds a news conference at Centro Cultural Espana in downtown Mexico City, Mexico April 9, 2019 REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

April 24, 2019

By Stephanie Nebehay and Sylvia Westall

GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) – The U.N. human rights chief on Wednesday condemned the beheadings of 37 Saudi nationals across the kingdom this week, saying most were minority Shi’ite Muslims who may not have had fair trials and at least three were minors when sentenced.

Saudi Arabia, which said on Tuesday it had carried out the executions over terrorism crimes, has come under increasing global scrutiny over its human rights record since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate and the detention of women’s rights activists.

“It is particularly abhorrent that at least three of those killed were minors at the time of their sentencing,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement issued in Geneva.

She said United Nations rapporteurs had expressed concern about a lack of due process and fair trial guarantees amid allegations that confessions were obtained through torture.

Amnesty International said late on Tuesday the majority of those executed in six cities belonged to the Shi’ite minority and were convicted after “sham trials”, included at least 14 people who had participated in anti-government protests in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province in 2011-2012.

It said in a statement that one of them, Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, was arrested when he was 16, making his execution a “flagrant violation of international law”.

London-based Amnesty said 11 of those executed had been convicted of spying for the kingdom’s arch-adversary, Shi’ite Muslim Iran, and sentenced to death in 2016.

The Shi’ite-majority Eastern Province became a focal point of unrest in early 2011 with demonstrations calling for an end to discrimination and for reforms in the Sunni Muslim monarchy. Saudi Arabia denies any discrimination against Shi’ites.

TERRORISM CHARGES

The Saudi government’s press office did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on Bachelet’s remarks or the Amnesty report. Authorities have said the men were executed for “extremist terrorist ideologies”, forming “terrorist cells to corrupt and disrupt security” and inciting sectarian strife.

Bachelet called on Riyadh to review counter-terrorism laws and halt pending executions, including of three men on death row – Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdulla al-Zaher – whose cases she said had been taken up by the U.N. rights system.

Amnesty said the kingdom has stepped up the rate of executions in 2019, with at least 104 people put to death since the start of the year compared to 149 for the whole of 2018.

Tuesday’s mass execution was “another gruesome indication of how the death penalty is being used as a political tool to crush dissent from within” the country’s Shi’ite minority, said Lynn Maalouf, the group’s research director for the Middle East.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the executions heightened doubts about respect for the right to a fair trial in Saudi Arabia and could fuel sectarian violence.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said at least 33 of the 37 men put to death were Shi’ites and it was the largest set of executions in the kingdom since January 2016.

It said one of the men convicted of protest-related offences, Mujtaba al-Sweikat, was arrested in 2012 as he was about to board a plane bound for the United States to attend university.

“Mass executions are not the mark of a ‘reformist’ government, but rather one marked by capricious, autocratic rule,” HRW’s Middle East director Michael Page said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels with additional reporting and writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN


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