Sean Spicer refuses to deny if his White House role is changing

Sean Spicer refuses to deny if his White House role is changing

Spicer, who has been White House press secretary for the entire five months of the Trump presidency, has fielded dozens of questions about Russian interference without speaking to his boss about the central issue in the matter.

The White House even told journalists on Monday that that day’s off-camera briefing could not be filmed or broadcasted with audio.

“I have not sat down and asked him about his specific reaction to them, so I’d be glad to touch base and get back to you”, he said.

“If you don’t catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it’s very hard to say who did the hacking”, Trump said on CBS’s “Face the Nation”.

When the Atlantic asked Bannon on why were Spicer’s briefings downgraded and why was he mostly off camera, “Sean got fatter“, he responded in a text message.

Speculation is swirling over the fate of White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

A former strategist on the Republican National Committee, Spicer is reportedly considering taking on a more strategic role in the Trump administration that would keep him off camera, according to the Associated Press. “I don’t think a lot of people turn the president down on anything he asks them to do”. As per Politico and Bloomberg, the White House is reevaluating Spicer’s role. “The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director said that without a doubt, the Russians -” the reporter said. He added that the White House press team is very available and that the briefing is just one avenue to be available to the press.

Spicer has frequently made headlines for his fiery responses and sometimes inaccurate statements at briefings.

“The White House using fat shaming to justify increased opacity”.

That Spicer has become an object of ridicule for “Saturday Night Live” and the late-night shows has not been lost on the right.

The president has long seen himself as his most effective spokesman, and has faulted his communications team for much of the early turbulence at the White House as well as the backlash from the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Sixty high-rise buildings fail safety tests after London fire-UK government

Sixty high-rise buildings fail safety tests after London fire-UK government

“By remaining in the blocks, these residents risk delaying the work that is required and that we are undertaking to make these homes safe”, the statement said.

LONDON (AP) – The list of high-rise apartment towers in Britain that have failed fire safety tests grew to 60, officials said Sunday, revealing the mounting challenge the government faces in the aftermath of London’s Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

Camden Councillor Georgia Gould announced last week that about 800 households would be evacuated from five apartment towers, as the residents’ safety could not be guaranteed.

The number of deadly tower blocks with combustible cladding is rising as at least 600 are covered in material similar to that which clad Grenfell Tower.

The samples that failed safety tests came from buildings all over England, from London to cities that included Norwich, Doncaster, Manchester and Plymouth.

In response, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said May needed to “get a grip” and lead a stronger response to what is now a “national threat”.

Almost 200 offers of accommodation have been made to the displaced residents, most of which have been accepted, she added. Not all residents agreed to go, as they felt the evacuation was an over-reaction.

Renee Williams, 90, who has lived in Taplow Tower since 1968, told Britain’s Press Association: “No official came and told us what’s going on”.

“It’s unbelievable. I understand that it’s for our safety but they can’t just ask us to evacuate with such short notice. There’s no organization and it’s chaos”, she added. Many were directed to inflatable beds laid out on the floor of the local sports hall. Other residents were distraught that they were ordered to evacuate but were told to leave their pets behind in the now-dangerous buildings.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said all 34 samples tested didn’t meet fire safety standards.

Bob Doris, the convener of the committee, said: “There are thousands of families and individuals living in high-rise accommodation across Scotland and they are understandably looking for reassurances at this deeply worrying time”.

The Metropolitan Police said cladding attached to the 24-story Grenfell public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators.

Refurbishment of the Chalcots Estate was overseen by Rydon, the company involved in the refit of Grenfell Tower, according to the Rydon website.

A spokeswoman for the department for communities and local government was not immediately able to comment on the ABI’s feedback, which has not yet been published.

Hotpoint said it was working with authorities to examine the appliance, adding “words can not express our sorrow at this bad tragedy”.

Urgent tests are ongoing in eight areas to check privately owned blocks, but most councils report these have also not used the aluminium composite material. To encourage cooperation with authorities, May said the government won’t penalize any fire survivors who were in the country illegally.

Notice to Centre on order banning cattle trade for slaughter

Notice to Centre on order banning cattle trade for slaughter

Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy today urged the Centre to withdraw the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, saying the “rules and regulations are unconstitutional and seek to deprive cattle owners of their rights”. The court issued notice to the Centre asking it to file its response on two separate pleas challenging the notification.

The matter will be heard on July 11.

Since Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power three years ago, laws on the slaughter of cows, which Hindus consider sacred, were tightened and their slaughter was outlawed in most states.

“We have already said that whosoever has any concern related to this issue, we will seriously and honestly address those”, the Minister said.

According to the PTI, an additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha was assigned by the Centre who appeared in the court on its behalf and told the court about the intentions of presenting the notification.

Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government notification was not meant to change peoples’ eating habits but there was a need to strike a balance since a very large number of people in India revere cows.

The Centre has said it will allow meat markets under its recent rules that made it virtually impossible to buy cattle for slaughter. He said: “It is a misconception that there is a beef ban”. The farmers now have the option of taking cattle to the livestock market or a slaughter market. Asked about possible amendments to the rules notified on May 23, ASG Narasimha told TOI that the Centre intends to hold a wider discussion with all stakeholders before bringing in changes in the notified rules.

“It is relevant to note that, the fields of legislation, concerning “Markets and fairs” and “Preservation or protection and improvement of stocks”, falls, within entry 28 and 15 of the State list and thus it is only the State legislature, which is empowered to make laws on the said fields of legislation“.

Petitioner Mohammed Abdul Faheem Qureshi moved SC on June 7 has also challenged the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017 which provides for the seizures, recovery of the cost of transportation, maintenance and treatment of seized animals.

Qureshi has also objected to the provision of the notification requiring the owner to submit a bond to pay for the transportation, maintenance and treatment of the cattle.

North Korea releases a puzzling statement on the death of Otto Warmbier

North Korea releases a puzzling statement on the death of Otto Warmbier

The news comes as North Korea claims its officials did not torture the 22-year-old American student – and said the hostile dictatorship was the “biggest victim” in Warmbier’s release and tragic death days later.

“I’m asking him right now”, he added. And I said to them, ‘we would need his, you know, a release, some type of good faith, if we’re ever going to do some type of future sports relations. “After checking his pulse, his temperature, his breathing, and the results of his heart and lung examinations, [the American doctors] agreed that his vital signs were normal, and they acknowledged that we had saved him and treated him when his heart almost stopped”, the spokesperson said in the statement.

According to Rodman and his agent, Chris Volo, the duo personally lobbied the Pyongyang government to send Warmbier home. Warmbier had been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for removing a propaganda banner from a hotel while on a church trip.

GMA co-host Michael Strahan asked Rodman how he could be friends with the North Korean leader after what happened to Warmbier.

“I think people don’t see him as … a friendly guy”, Rodman. I don’t look at the political side about him.

China, North Korea’s main trading partner, has been accused of not fully enforcing existing United Nations sanctions on its neighbor, and has resisted some tougher measures. “It’s all fun. Ride horses, everything”.

Rodman told ABC News he didn’t know Warmbier was in a coma when he heard the news of his release.

“This college kid never should have been detained in the first place”, said Portman, who met secretly with North Korean officials in NY last December to press for Warmbier’s release. “Later that day, that’s when we found he was ill, no one knew that”. We jumped up and down. “Some good things came out of this trip”. “Warmbier was a victim of the policy of strategic patience maintained by Obama, who rejected dialogue because of his extreme hostility and antipathy for us”, the spokesperson said. China’s imports from North Korea dropped nearly 32 per cent in May to US$123.75 million (RM530.6 million) from a year earlier, after the world’s second-largest economy stopped buying coal from the regime in February in response to Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.

Russian warships fire Kalibr missiles, destroy ISIS arms depots in Syria

Russian warships fire Kalibr missiles, destroy ISIS arms depots in Syria

Two Russian Navy frigates and a submarine have fired six Kalibr cruise missiles on Islamic State targets in Syria, the Defense Ministry said.

Russian Federation launched a flurry of cruise missiles into Syria Friday, targeting Islamic State fighters with a strike that also demonstrates Moscow’s ability to use its muscle to advance the interests of a Syrian government hostile to USA -backed militias. Russian Federation said it notified Turkey and Israel of the imminent attacks.

The ministry released video footage of missiles being fired from underwater by the submarine and from the ships as well as aerial footage of the missiles striking two-storey buildings in what appeared to be semi-desert areas.

Coalition airstrikes have killed at least four high-ranking ISIS leaders in that area in recent months, including al-Rawi.

There are tensions long running between the United States and Russian Federation that erupted on Monday publicly as Moscow condemned the downing of American military’s of a Syrian warplane and threatened to aim aircraft flown by the United States and its allies.

A USA military official said Washington would welcome a concerted effort by the Syrian government or its Iranian-backed partner forces to defeat the Islamic State group in its remaining strongholds in Syria.

According to the Pentagon, the regime soldiers, equipped with tanks, artillery and technical vehicles, were advancing on the SDF position, forcing the coalition to use the de-confliction hotline with the Russians in an attempt to turn the regime troops back.

That mosque, along with its famous leaning minaret, was destroyed on Wednesday night, blown up by ISIS militants as their control of Mosul increasingly is slipping away.

According to the officials and reporters, the United States’ government said that they shot down the Syrian aircraft while following the standard protocols of engagement and to protect the Coalition partnered fighters.

Why is United States fighting in Syria?

It also has exposed a wobbly U.S. Syria strategy.

The de-escalation zones, envisioned as places where displaced Syrian civilians could voluntarily return and settle, include the northern province of Idlib, the central province of Homs, the East Ghouta region outside Damascus, and southern Syria along the Jordanian border.

Last Sunday, a U.S. jet shot down a warplane of Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government.

GOP senators now oppose health bill; enough to sink it

GOP senators now oppose health bill; enough to sink it

Five Republican senators – including Ted Cruz – threatened “NO” votes.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said Friday he will not vote for the Senate’s Obamacare replacement bill as now written.

“No amount of eleventh hour reality-denying or buck-passing by Democrats is going to change the fact that more Americans are going to get hurt unless we do something”, he said. A cynic might say that the BCRA is less a Republican health care bill than a caricature of a Republican health care bill.

McConnell needs nearly every Republican to support the bill.

“I think there’s a misunderstanding about what the entire plan is”, Price said. One of the things, of course, they say is that by making it less expensive for young people – would also make it more expensive for older people – more young people might go ahead and purchase insurance.

McCain told a town hall on Thursday that he wants to hear from Arizona health-care providers, legislators and Gov. Doug Ducey before he makes up his mind on the proposed bill.

“I can not support a piece of legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans”, Heller said in a news conference held in his home state.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks on to the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2017, following a meeting with Senate Republicans on a health reform bill. The Washington Post reported Friday that a political action committee tied to President Donald Trump was preparing an advertising campaign to pressure Republican senators to get on board.

Former President Barack Obama has kept a relatively low profile since leaving office.

GOP Senate leaders can only lose two members of their 52-senator caucus in support of the bill in order for it to pass. Heller said he spoke with Senate Republican leaders and Vice President Mike Pence on Friday morning.

Unfortunately, like the House-passed bill (which is named the “American Health Care Act”, or AHCA), BCRA does not come close to adequately replacing the gains made by the ACA in terms of the number of Americans who enjoy the security and peace of mind which comes with quality, affordable health care coverage for them and their families. “That has caused a great deal of disruption in the health care system in Iowa, resulting in many people losing coverage, or not having access to coverage that they had before”.

“I want to see a bill with heart”, Trump said of the ObamaCare replacement legislation. Each state has expanded Medicaid and has a GOP senator.

The Senate measure would make major cuts in the Medicaid program for poor and disabled people.

Under Obamacare, the federal government had guaranteed that its funding for adults newly eligible for Medicaid because of the Affordable Care Act would fall to no lower than 90 percent of their costs.

Some lawmakers are raising concern that the Senate health care bill could aggravate the problem of healthy people going without insurance, driving up costs for everyone else.

Realizing they’re outnumbered, Democrats and their liberal allies were planning events around the US over the next few days aimed at building public opposition to the bill.

Did Lebron James deserve to be voted NBA Finals MVP?

Did Lebron James deserve to be voted NBA Finals MVP?

As confetti fell on the court, LeBron James gave Kevin Durant a long embrace and congratulatory words before walking off the court with his head held high despite a fifth career NBA Finals loss.

What numerous bandwagon fans might not know is that the Warriors used to be the league’s laughingstock for years and years. It’s validation, and in a lot of ways, the commercial is right on the money.

Durant and the Warriors were big winners on the night already, and his mom just made the night that much more special for one of the best players in the world.

Durant was incredible in the series.

In case you missed it, RiRi was courtside for Game 1 of the finals at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, cheering on the Cavaliers and literally bowing down to Lebron James’ greatness. He scored 41 points in game five and averaged a triple-double for the Finals. Everything he did looked easy.

Did James deserve to win the award – named for Celtics star Bill Russell by National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern in 2009 – this year? But in reality, this was pre-determined. Durant entered the year with the most pressure on him; anything less than a championship would be viewed, fair or unfair, as a failure. Each team’s general manager had to scramble to fill out rosters. But at the end of the day from when I played him in the 2012 Finals to now, like I said, experience is the best teacher in life, and he’s just experiencing and experiencing and experiencing. Each of LeBron’s three championship squads lost at least five games on the way to winning rings.

CLEVELAND- The Eastern Conference Champion Cavaliers returned to Cleveland on Tuesday.

Were those teams as super as this year’s Warriors? But they probably shouldn’t bother.

The Warriors tallied 35 bench points in game five, while Cleveland managed just seven points outside their starting five. James will try and lure more help to come to Cleveland.

The Warriors put the blown 3-1 lead jokes in the past and Kevin Durant got the championship that he desired.

NDA gets boost as Sena backs Kovind

NDA gets boost as Sena backs Kovind

AIADMK (Amma) backs NDA nominee for President: THE AIADMK (Amma), led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami, on Wednesday announced its support to NDA’s Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind. Following this a discussion was held with MLAs and MPs backing him and an unanimous decision was taken to support Ram Nath Kovind, who is a dalit candidate.

Responding to JD-U’s decision to support Kovind, Kharge was quoted as saying, “Nitish Kumar’s party JD-U’s announcement to support Kovind is his decision”.

Meira Kumar is from Bihar and Nitish Kumar’s partners, Lalu Yadav and the Congress, have urged him to reconsider his decision and support “the daughter of Bihar”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought support from Palaniswami with the Chief Minister having consultations yesterday with senior colleagues before deciding to support the NDA’s nominee, Raju said. Further while appealing to other parties for their support he said, “This was intent of wider consultations with opposition parties.Thank Nitish ji for his party’s support”. “The question is of a political battle – whether the basics of our Constitution would be protected or RSS would convert the country into a Hindu Rashtra (nation)”, Yechury said.

The term of current President Pranab Mukherjee will end on July 24.

Though Uttar Pradesh’s two main non- NDA political parties- Bahujan Samajwadi Party and Samajwadi Party- have not extended support to the NDA’s candidate but also didn’t show strong opposition as Kovind is a Dalit who hails from Kanpur Dehat area of the state. Samajwadi Party has also not “yet” committed to opposing Kovind. Ironically, Kovind is the same man who was denied entry to the Presidential home less than a month back. Votes in the presidential elections will be counted on July 20, three days after voting. Now, they announced their nominee first and informed us later.

The Left has asserted that 16 of the 17 parties that had earlier pledged to field a candidate will attend the meeting. Leaders of the non-NDA parties, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, NCP president Sharad Pawar and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, will meet on June 22 to discuss the matter, they added.

CPI leader D. Raja acknowledged that the JD-U move, if correct, was a setback to the opposition.

Petra Kvitova hails ‘amazing’ Birmingham title just six months after knife attack

Petra Kvitova hails ‘amazing’ Birmingham title just six months after knife attack

Petra Kvitova is the new Aegon Classic Birmingham champion after an emotional 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Ashleigh Barty at the Edgbaston Priory Club on Sunday.

The seventh-seeded Czech, who started her remarkable comeback at the French Open last month, defeated Barty of Australia 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Two-time Wimbledon victor Kvitova was stabbed in the Czech Republic in December which could have ended her career, escaping instead with hand injuries.

Kvitova had to battle back from a set down against Barty, who only returned to tennis a year ago following a stint playing professional cricket in the Big Bash.

But her progression to the decider, which included upset wins over top-25 players Garbine Muguruza and Barbora Strycova, improved her win-loss singles record this year to 24-10. “I was very happy with my performance”.

Kvitova hit seven double faults, but produced 13 aces and mitigated serving at 55 percent by winning over half of her second serve points.

The Australian was in no mood to surrender however, breaking back for 2-2, only for Kvitova to respond in kind and then run away with the match. Despite many wondering if Kvitova would ever play tennis again after the attack, Kvitova now finds herself once again on the short list of Wimbledon contenders.

The result saw Kvitova take her 20th Tour title and first at the grass-court tournament.

Kvitova served out for the title in emphatic fashion – to love and ending with an ace -before celebrating, in her typically understated style, with a broad smile.

“I think I couldn’t have imagined a better comeback, for sure”. “But to be honest I didn’t even realize she was going to retire”.

“And I’m happy that I’m still able to go there and play, and that’s the most important thing right now”.

But after losing her serve at the start of the second set, Safarova retired due to a thigh strain and exhaustion, having played two long matches in her previous three wins.

“But I’m feeling confident, we’ve had a lot of grasscourt tennis now coming into Wimbledon, so hopefully we can play well tomorrow and transfer that through Eastbourne, and of course, Wimbledon”. She’s won Wimbledon a couple of times and is incredible on grass court as well. I didn’t really have any expectation to have any goals or anything. Paris was a bit weird and unusual and I couldn’t play the best over there.

“It’s so awesome to have Petra back on the court”.