Republican candidate charged with assault, roiling Trump’s Montana test


A Montana Republican running for the U.S. Congress has been charged with assaulting a reporter hours before polls were to open on Thursday for a special election that could test U.S. President Donald Trump’s political clout.

The incident on Wednesday threatened to roil a tightening race in the Republican-leaning state, where a Democratic political novice aimed to pull off a victory in a contest seen as a bellwether for next year’s U.S. congressional elections.

It was not clear what effect the assault charge against Republican technology executive Greg Gianforte would have on the Montana race, where 37 percent of the 699,207 registered voters had already submitted absentee ballots, according to state election officials.

Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault after a political correspondent for the U.S. edition of the Guardian newspaper said the candidate had “body-slammed” him during a campaign event in Bozeman.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/democrats-hope-send-trump-republicans-message-montana-vote-060736234.html

Skygazers prepare for rare Mercury sighting


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Earthlings will witness Mercury make a rare passage between our planet and the Sun on Monday, appearing as a black dot tracking the surface of the star we share with the solar system’s smallest planet.

Mercury completes an orbit every 88 days, and passes between the Earth and the Sun every 116 days, according to the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).

But its orbit is tilted in relation to Earth’s, which means it usually appears — from our perspective — to pass above or below the Sun.

Thirteen times each century, however, the two orbits align such that even amateur astronomers can see the tiny planet tens of millions of kilometres away.

“It is always exciting to see rare astronomical phenomena such as this transit of Mercury,” RAS president Martin Barstow said in a statement.

“They show that astronomy is a science that is accessible to everyone.”

But be warned: looking directly at the phenomenon can result in permanent eye damage, as only a very small part of the Sun will be blocked out.

One option is to use a telescope or binoculars to project the image onto a white surface.

An image of the Sun is captured by the main, front lens and projected backward, out through the eyepiece. The Sun will appear as a white disk on the card, and Mercury as a black dot crawling over it.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/skygazers-prepare-rare-mercury-sighting-102234415.html

Fears of Trump drive immigrants to become citizens


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On a recent Saturday morning in South Florida, 50-year-old Edgar Ospina stood in a long line of immigrants to take the first step to become an American.

Ospina has spent almost half his life in the U.S. after emigrating from his native Colombia, becoming eligible for citizenship in 1990. But with Donald Trump becoming a more likely presidential nominee by the day, Ospina decided to wait no more, rushing the paperwork required to become a citizen.

“Trump is dividing us as a country,” said Ospina, owner of a small flooring and kitchen remodeling company. “He’s so negative about immigrants. We’ve got to speak up.”

Nationwide, immigrants like Ospina are among tens of thousands applying for naturalization in a year when immigration has taken center stage in the presidential campaign, especially in the race for the Republican nomination.

Trump, the GOP front-runner, has pledged to deport the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally. He’s also vowed to bar Muslims from entering the country and threatened to cut off remittances that Mexican immigrants in the U.S. send back home. And he’s called for building a border wall — among other proposals to deal with unlawful immigration, saying the federal government has failed to protect the border from people and drugs illegally entering the country.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/fears-trump-drive-immigrants-become-citizens-071855115–election.html

New Libyan government takes over more ministries


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Libya’s new unity government on Monday took control of more ministries in Tripoli including foreign affairs as it seeks to assert its authority over the violence-plagued country.

Mohammad al-Amari, a minister of state in the Government of National Accord, signed documents passing control of the key foreign ministry complex in the north of the capital to the new government, an AFP journalist said.

The GNA also Monday took the ministries of planning and religious endowment.

Over the past week, the transport, social affairs, environment, and youth and sports ministries have likewise been transferred to the new government.

The international community sees the GNA as the best hope for oil-rich Libya, which has been roiled by turmoil since the 2011 ouster and killing of longtime ruler Moamer Kadhafi.

Libya’s State Council, the most senior consultative body created under a UN-brokered power-sharing deal in December, met for the first time on Friday.

Saudi land purchases fuel debate over US water rights


Juan Alexander

Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy company will soon be unable to farm alfalfa in its own parched country to feed its 170,000 cows. So it’s turning to an unlikely place to grow the water-chugging crop — the drought-stricken American Southwest.

Almarai Co. bought land in January that roughly doubled its holdings in California’s Palo Verde Valley, an area that enjoys first dibs on water from the Colorado River. The company also acquired a large tract near Vicksburg, Arizona, becoming a powerful economic force in a region that has fewer well-pumping restrictions than other parts of the state.

The purchases totaling about 14,000 acres enable the Saudis to take advantage of farm-friendly U.S. water laws. The acquisitions have also rekindled debate over whether a patchwork of regulations and court rulings in the West favors farmers too heavily, especially those who grow thirsty, low-profit crops such as alfalfa at a time when cities are urging people to take shorter showers, skip car washes and tear out grass lawns.

“It flies in the face of economic reason,” said John Szczepanski, director of the U.S. Forage Export Council. “You’ve taken on all of the risk a farmer has. The only way you can justify that is that they’re really not trying to make a profit. They’re trying to secure the food supply.”

For decades, Saudi Arabia attempted to grow its own water-intensive crops for food rather than rely on farms abroad. But it reversed that policy about eight years ago to protect scarce supplies.

To further conserve water, the country has adopted bans on selected crops. This year, the kingdom will no longer produce wheat. In December, the government announced the country will stop growing green fodder, livestock feed derived from crops like alfalfa, over the next three years.

http://news.yahoo.com/saudi-land-purchases-fuel-debate-over-us-water-061703957–finance.html

Islamic State video calls for jihad after Brussels blasts


In the footage, Islamic State noted that Belgium was part of a coalition fighting militants in the Middle East.

It featured the training of Belgian militants suspected in the Nov. 13 shooting and suicide bombing rampage by Islamic State that killed 130 people in Paris.

“The crusaders aircrafts, including Belgium’s, continue to bomb Muslims in Iraq and the Levant in the night and day,” said the video.

“Every Muslim who is well aware of the history of Islam, knows that the holy war against infidels is an integral part of Islam, and those who read history would know.”

http://news.yahoo.com/islamic-state-video-calls-jihad-brussels-blasts-142945523.html

The Fed caused 93% of the entire stock market’s move since 2008: Analysis


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The bull market just celebrated its seventh anniversary. But the gains in recent years – as well as its recent sputter – may be explained by just one thing: monetary policy.

The factors behind that and previous bubbles can be illuminated using simple visual analysis of a chart.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) doubled in value from November 2008 to October 2014, coinciding with the Federal Reserve Bank’s “quantitative easing” asset purchasing program. After three rounds of “QE,” where the Fed poured billions of dollars into the bond market monthly, the Fed’s balance sheet went from $2.1 trillion to $4.5 trillion.

This isn’t just a spurious correlation, according to economist Brian Barnier, principal at ValueBridge Advisors and founder of FedDashboard.com. What’s more, he says previous bull runs in the market lasting several years can also be explained by single factors each time.

Barnier first compiled data on the total value of publicly-traded U.S. stocks since 1950. He then divided it by another economic factor, graphing the ratio for each one. If the chart showed horizontal lines stretching over long periods of time, that meant both the numerator (stock values) and the denominator (the other factor) were moving at the same rate.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-fed-caused-93–of-the-entire-stock-market-s-move-since-2008–analysis-194426366.html