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Shinzo Abe 'will offer to mediate with Iran' as Donald Trump sends 1,500 troops to Middle East Memorial Day standings check: Teams to watch, worry about and more

Shinzo Abe 'will offer to mediate with Iran' as Donald Trump sends 1,500 troops to Middle EastShinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, is set to offer himself as a mediator amid the escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran. Mr Trump landed in Tokyo on Saturday for a four-day visit during which Mr Abe will discuss the proposal with him, and seek his consent. The Japanese leader is considering a visit to Tehran net month to mediate with President Hassan Rouhani, according to media reports in Japan, and a final decision may depend on the results of his talks with Mr Trump. Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, visited Japan earlier this month. Shortly before his Japan trip Mr Trump ordered 1,500 extra US troops, along with fighter jets, reconnaissance aircraft, and missile defence batteries to the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon called it a “defensive” deployment intended to protect US troops in the region from Iran. Mr Zarif said the new US deployment “threatens international peace”. The US has been building up its forces in the region Credit: AFP PHOTO /US NAVY   For the first time the US also publicly accused Iran of carrying out a sabotage attack against oil tankers off the coast of the UAE, and said it had evidence Iran planned to load cruise missiles onto small ships, and use Shia militias to attack US forces in Iraq. As tensions escalated Mr Trump also used national emergency powers to sweep aside objections in Congress and push through £6.3 billion in arms sales to US allies Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Jordan. Both Democrats and Republicans had been holding up the arms sales because of concerns over the civilian death toll caused by Saudi and UAE airstrikes in Yemen, as well as the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives.  Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said the threat from Iran justified the use of emergency powers and sidelining Congress.  He said: "These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran." Chris Murphy, a Democrat senator, said: "President Trump is only using this loophole because he knows Congress would disapprove. "There is no new 'emergency' reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen, and doing so only perpetuates the humanitarian crisis there." Japan has longstanding ties with Iran and opposed Mr Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Before US sanctions on Iran, Japan was a major importer of Iranian oil. Mr Abe first visited Iran in a personal capacity in 1983 and has continued links with the country's leadership.  Reacting to the idea of him mediating Akihisa Nagashima, a former Japanese defence minister, said: "This is what we call quiet diplomacy." Iran's foreign minister called the US deployment a threat to international peace Credit: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images It was unclear how Mr Trump would react to the offer, and Mr Abe would have to overcome the hurdle that no Japanese prime minister has visited Tehran officially since before the Islamic Revolution. An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said Mr Rouhani had invited Mr Abe “a while ago" but suggested such a visit was unlikely in the near future. On Monday Mr Trump will become the first head of state to meet Emperor Naruhito since he ascended to the Japanese throne this month. During his largely ceremonial visit to Japan he will also attend a sumo competition, play golf with Mr Abe, and discuss trade issues. Hours after arriving Mr Trump warned Japan over its "substantial edge" in trade and joked: "Maybe that's why you like me so much." How Iran has stoked tensions in Gulf The two countries are locked in trade talks and the visit is part of Mr Abe's ongoing charm offensive aimed at fending off US tariffs. Mr Trump has been threatening potentially devastating tariffs on Japanese cars unless he wins concessions, including for US farmers. Speaking to Japanese business leaders, including executives from Toyota, Nissan and Honda, Mr Trump warned it was time to "address the trade imbalance". He also called on Japan to buy more US military equipment because "the world is changing".


An Astros-Dodgers World Series? Will the hobbled Yanks hold up? Who's for real, and who's rotten? Buster Olney, Jeff Passan and Sam Miller make sense of the season so far.
Police hunt suspect after explosion in French city of Lyon Pagenaud holds off Rossi to win 103rd Indy 500

Police hunt suspect after explosion in French city of LyonLYON, France (AP) — French police on Saturday hunted a suspect believed to have deposited a paper bag containing a device that exploded Friday, wounding 13 people on a busy pedestrian street in the city of Lyon.


Simon Pagenaud has won his first Indianapolis 500, making an audacious pass of Alexander Rossi before taking the white flag and holding off the hard-charging driver from Andretti Autosport.
India's battered Congress party closes ranks after election setback Pats' Watson says he faces 4-game suspension

India's battered Congress party closes ranks after election setbackGandhi, 48 and the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, had been under intense pressure since results released on May 23 showed Congress won only 52 of the 542 seats up for grabs in the country's general election. While that marked a marginal improvement on the party's showing in the 2014 general election, it did not stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from winning a landslide mandate with 303 seats. A second successive drubbing from Modi prompted calls for Gandhi to quit.


Watson said he took a banned substance when he thought he was retiring.
Violence and disruption against abortion clinics at highest rates since 1999 Cavs' Gilbert hospitalized with stroke symptoms

Violence and disruption against abortion clinics at highest rates since 1999Violence and disruption against abortion clinics in the US increased to its highest levels since the 1990s last year, a report by the National Abortion Federation has found.The increase in violence was attributed, at least in part, to president Donald Trump and his administration’s rhetoric.The report noted a significant increase in obstruction, vandalism, and trespassing, with 1,135 incidents of trespassing recorded in 2018 - the most since the NAF began tracking the crime in 1999.There were also 3,038 instances of obstruction, a 78 per cent increase compared to the previous year, and nearly 100,000 instances of picketing.“Anti-choice individuals and groups have been emboldened by the rhetoric of president Trump, vice president Pence, and other elected officials and we are seeing this play out in more instances of activities meant to intimidate abortion providers and disrupt patient services,” said Dr Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, who serves as interim president and CEO of NAF.She added: “Demonising health care providers and women who rely on them for abortion care has become one of the go-to tactics for anti-choice politicians. Those lies have consequences and it is not the anti-choice politicians who are facing those consequences; it is those who are denied abortion care and the providers targeted by threats, harassment, and violence who are. It is time for the demonizing of abortion providers and their patients to end.“Given the political climate and the increase in hate incidents throughout the country, it is more important than ever that law enforcement and prosecutors appropriately respond to anti-abortion criminal activity.”The study did note a decrease in stalking, burglary, assault, and battery against abortion providers.It comes during a fresh wave of anti-abortion legislation such as the Alabama abortion ban, which is currently being contested in a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, and “heartbeat bills” which ban elective abortion after a foetal heartbeat is detectable.As a foetal heartbeat is first detectable at six weeks - a point where many pregnant people may not even know they are pregnant - these initiatives are seen as a back-door abortion ban and are also being contested in court. Politicians in support of banning abortion hope these cases will rise to the Supreme Court of the United States and lead to an overturning of Roe V Wade, which set the precedent for elective abortion until the end of the second trimester in the US.


Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was hospitalized Sunday after experiencing stroke-like symptoms, according to a statement released by Quicken Loans, the company Gilbert founded and chairs.
Hopes of Brexit Deal Changes Dashed by Pro-EU Wins in Elections Cambage expects to make Aces debut on Friday

Hopes of Brexit Deal Changes Dashed by Pro-EU Wins in ElectionsRunners to replace Theresa May, including Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, say they want the European Union to reopen negotiations on the U.K.’s withdrawal agreement and grant concessions on the contentious backstop arrangement for the Irish border. Although parties inspired by Brexit, such as Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France, scored well domestically, right-wing populist groups will still make up only about a quarter of the new European Parliament.


Center Liz Cambage, who has been dealing with a flare-up of Achilles tendinitis, expects to make her season debut for the Aces on Friday at Phoenix.


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Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One

Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nation’s military, the mind’s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagon’s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.

Living Wages Are A Global Problem

The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.

Ukraine: Not What It Seems

After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.

In a Five to Four Decision, Voting Just Got Harder

In a five to four decision along party lines, the Supreme Court ruled on the controversial Shelby County v. Holder case. The ruling, believed by many sets the nation back decades in Civil Rights, while others see it as the fault of Congress dropping the ball on updating the act when it should have years ago.

Coup Or Civil War In Egypt

The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.

 

 
 
 
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