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16 февраля, 21:08

An Emerging-Market Evolution

The way investors think about emerging markets has been evolving—along with the markets themselves. One thing we at Templeton Emerging Markets Group emphasize is that one can’t consider emerging markets as one asset class; the opportunities are very differentiated between regions, countries and markets, with different fundamentals shaping them. Here, I’ve invited Stephen Dover, managing director and chief investment officer of Templeton Emerging Markets Group and Franklin Local Asset Management, to share his view of how emerging markets have changed over time, how he thinks investors should think about them, and where he sees potential opportunities ahead. Stephen H. Dover, CFA Managing Director Chief Investment Officer Templeton Emerging Markets Group and Franklin Local Asset Management I think emerging markets are appropriately named—they are indeed emerging and have changed over time. With these changes, I believe the way people both think about and invest in the asset class also should evolve. One example of the evolution we have seen is in regard to market capitalization (market cap). In 1988, when the MSCI Emerging Markets Index was first launched, just two of the 10 countries in the index—Malaysia and Brazil—represented more than half of the index’s market cap.1 At that time, the entire market cap of the index was about US$35 billion, representing less than 1% of the world’s equity-market capitalization. 2 If we fast-forward to 2016, there were 23 countries in the index, and the market cap had grown to US$4 trillion, representing about 10% of world market capitalization.3 The mix of countries in the index has also evolved over time. In terms of country weights, today, India represents 8% of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index and China—which wasn’t represented at all in 1998—is nearly 27% of the index today. Meanwhile, Brazil’s representation is much less today, at only 8%.4 What constitutes an emerging market has also changed significantly over time, but the waters in emerging markets have not always been very clear. South Korea has been the subject of some debate in this regard. MSCI includes South Korea in the emerging-markets category, while another index provider, the FTSE Russell, considers it a developed market. This issue is quite important, as which countries are in which category and at what percentage in the indexes help determine how many investors position their portfolios. We have seen countries shift in and out of emerging-market status over time. For example, in 2013, MSCI reclassified Greece from developed to emerging-market status, and in 2016, MSCI announced Pakistan will be reclassified this year as an emerging market from frontier status.5 It really boils down to how one defines “emerging market,” and there is some disagreement about exactly what the criteria should be. MSCI and FTSE have their own criteria for inclusion in a particular index, including explicit requirements for market size and liquidity, a country’s openness to foreign ownership, foreign exchange and other aspects. If you were to follow the World Bank’s standards as to which countries are classified as “high-income” to determine developed-market status, you’d wind up with a very different set of constituents than the index providers—for example, Qatar’s per-capita income ranks above that of Australia, Denmark and the United States.6 That said, we at Templeton Emerging Markets Group are active managers and not confined to a particular benchmark classification or index weighting when we make our investment decisions. We employ a bottom-up approach and focus on the fundamentals we see in individual companies. We may even invest in a company that is located in a country considered to be developed—if the bulk of its profits come from emerging markets. Emerging Markets—Taking a Bigger Piece of the World’s Pie While emerging markets currently represent at least 10% of the world’s stock-market capitalization (based on MSCI indexes), in our various discussions with investors, we have found most have a smaller percentage of their portfolios invested in emerging markets. And worth noting, the 10% figure represents the traditional MSCI indexes—other measures of emerging-market capitalization show emerging markets more broadly represent an even higher percentage. We also have found that even though the world has become much more globalized, many investors still exhibit a “home-country bias,” investing solely within their own borders even if markets elsewhere look more promising. We see room for growth in the emerging-markets realm—and a great potential opportunity for diversification that many investors aren’t even considering. We also see many potential opportunities within frontier-market countries, many of which aren’t even included in global indexes. These markets represent a smaller subset of emerging markets that are even less developed, and include most countries on the African continent. Looking at other measures, we can see just how important emerging markets are to the global economy. Today, emerging markets represent nearly 50% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) measured in nominal terms (nearly 60% when using purchasing-power parity) and account for nearly 80% of global GDP growth.7 Changing Economies Emerging markets have also undergone structural changes. Over the past three decades, emerging markets largely achieved their phenomenal growth through exports—and many people have associated these markets with commodities. While many emerging-market countries still rely on exports, these economies are radically changing. As recently as 2008, commodities and materials stocks constituted 50% of the components of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. Today, that category represents about 15% of the stocks in the index. To us, what’s really exciting about this shift is that it opens up many more investment opportunities that are focused on consumption and services. Many investors may not realize that some very sophisticated information technology companies are based in emerging markets. In 2008, information technology (IT) companies represented about 7% of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, and today, the sector represents 24% of the index—in fact, the top four constituents by weight are IT companies. Consumer/consumption-oriented stocks represented 7% of the index in 2008; today their weighting is 17%. So it is really not accurate to say emerging markets are pure commodity plays anymore, even though many people still consider them to be... Investment Adventures in Emerging Markets - Notes from Mark Mobius Mark Mobius, Ph.D., executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, joined Templeton in 1987. Currently, he directs the Templeton research team based in 15 global emerging markets offices and manages emerging markets portfolios. As he spans the globe in search of investment opportunities, his “Investment Adventures in Emerging Markets” blog gives readers a taste for what he does, when, where, why and how. Dr. Mobius has written several books, including “Trading with China,” “The Investor’s Guide to Emerging Markets,” “Mobius on Emerging Markets,” “Passport to Profits,” “Equities—An Introduction to the Core Concepts,” “Mutual Funds—An Introduction to the Core Concepts,” ”The Little Book of Emerging Markets,” and “Mark Mobius: An Illustrated Biography."

12 февраля, 05:56

Big Guns Named ‘Winnie’ and ‘Pooh’ Dueled Nazi Cannons Across the English Channel

Sebastien Roblin Security, Massive coastal artillery slugged it out at Hellfire Corner — and civilians mostly paid the price. When German Panzers rolled into the French coastal region around Calais in late May 1940, their crews could stare across the English Channel at the White Cliffs of Dover, just 20 miles away. The United Kingdom had not faced a hostile enemy across the Channel since the Napoleonic Wars. In that interval, the maximum range of heavy artillery had increased dramatically. Hitler was alert to the opportunity this afforded him for his planned invasion of Britain, dubbed Operation Sea Lion. “Strong forces of coastal artillery must command and protect the forward coastal area,” Hitler wrote in a July 16 invasion plan. He wanted the batteries not only to protect his invasion force from the Royal Navy, but to bombard the British defenders on the opposite shore. The big guns began to arrive a week later, accompanied by work crews to build giant concrete casements to protect them from counter-bombardment. The best were turreted naval guns originally designed for use on battleships that could track and fire rapidly to hit moving ships. At Cape Gris Nez, the Germans mounted four intimidating 380-millimeter SK34 naval guns of Battery Todt in enormous concrete casemates. Nearby were the four 280-millimeter guns of the Grosser Kurfurst battery. On Cape Blanc Nez, the beach immediately west of Calais, three 406-millimeter “Adolf Cannons” were installed in casemates shielded by 13 feet of concrete. These could lob one-ton shells up to a distance of 34 miles. Four more turreted coastal guns were installed around Calais, and three 305-millimeter naval guns with a 32 mile range were deployed near the city of Boulogne to the south. The Wehrmacht also brought eight railway guns and 40 army siege guns into the Calais region. These ranged from 21 to 28 centimeters in caliber. However, they lacked the ability to rapidly adjust fire to strike moving maritime targets. At 11 a.m. on Aug. 12, 1940, a shell exploded in Dover, damaging four houses. It was the first of thousands of enormous siege shells that would land in the coastal town over the next four years. After giving his “We shall fight on the beaches” speech in June, Churchill had to reckon with the fact the British military initially had no heavy coastal guns defending the beach at Dover. Read full article

09 февраля, 17:19

Kellyanne Conway under fire for promoting Ivanka's brand

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Conway had 'been counseled on that subject, and that's it.'

09 февраля, 13:13

Obama's party-building legacy splits Democrats

Party officials are having a painful discussion about the state and local losses that occurred on his watch.

08 февраля, 22:58

McCain rebuffs White House's call for apology over Yemen raid

The White House and Sen. John McCain are feuding over the Trump administration’s characterization of a recent raid that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL.White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday described the intelligence-gathering raid targeting al Qaeda militants in Yemen as “a huge success.” The White House initially cast the military effort as a “successful raid” in a Jan. 29 statement, but Spicer toned down that description last week, telling reporters it would be difficult to proclaim success after the raid resulted in the death of American service member.At his White House briefings this week, though, Spicer returned to the administration’s position that the raid was, indeed, successful and signaled Wednesday that McCain should apologize for calling it a “failure” on Tuesday. “I think anybody who undermines the success of that [raid] owes an apology and [does] a disservice to the life of Chief Owens,” Spicer told reporters.Asked Wednesday whether his sharp words were a direct message to McCain, Spicer retorted: “That’s my [message] to anybody who says that. Anybody.” His message was received. McCain, a former prisoner of war, didn’t apologize, though. Rather, he offered a rejoinder to NBC News, disputing the notion that an unsuccessful mission devalues the valiant effort of the troops who carried it out.“Many years ago when I was imprisoned in North Vietnam there was an attempt to rescue the POWs. Unfortunately, the prison had been evacuated but the brave men who took—risked their lives in an effort to rescue us prisoners of war were genuine American heroes,” McCain said. “Because the mission failed did not in any way diminish their courage and willingness to help their fellow Americans who were held captive. Mr. Spicer should know that story.”After telling reporters the raid was a “failure,” the Armed Services Committee chairman had softened his rhetoric in a statement released by his office later Tuesday — but even then he maintained that the military effort wasn’t “a success.”“Every military operation has objectives. And while many of the objectives of the recent raid in Yemen were met, I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success,” he said. “We must continue to take the fight to our enemies wherever they are while recognizing that risk is inherent in war. Going forward, I am confident that our military will act on lessons learned from this operation to strengthen our fight against our terrorist enemies.”The intelligence raid resulted in the death of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, the first American life lost during military action under President Donald Trump’s command. The president flew to Dover Air Force Base last Wednesday to receive Owens’ remains.“I think it’s hard to ever say something was successful when you lose a life,” Spicer had told reporters then. This Wednesday, however, he framed the raid as an unequivocal success, arguing that any sentiment to the contrary does a disservice to Owens.“The action that was taken in Yemen was a huge success,” he told reporters. “American lives will be saved because of it. Future attacks will be prevented. The life of Chief Ryan Owens was done in service to this country and we owe him and his family a great debt for the information that we received during that raid. I think any suggestion otherwise is a disservice to his courageous life and the actions that he just took. Full stop.” Owens, Spicer added, “fought knowing what was at stake in that mission, and anybody who would suggest otherwise doesn’t fully appreciate how successful that mission was, what the information that they were able to retrieve was, and how that will help prevent future terrorist attacks.”“It’s absolutely a success,” Spicer said. Matthew Nussbaum and Austin Wright contributed to this report.

07 февраля, 14:15

Hillsborough: a day that began with hope and ended in avoidable tragedy

Author Kevin Sampson was among the Liverpool fans who attended their FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in 1989. In an extract from his latest book, Hillsborough Voices, he recounts the unfolding horror of that fateful afternoonJust like thousands of other Liverpool supporters, I set off for Sheffield on the morning of 15 April 1989 with that giddy mixture of excitement, anticipation and anxiety that accompanies an FA Cup semi-final. I’d been to four FA Cup finals by then, sampling two wins and two defeats. And I’d been there, too, when Liverpool were knocked out of the Cup at the semi-final stage in 1979, 1980 and 1985. If the Cup final defeats were hard to bear, it was tougher still falling at the penultimate hurdle. There’s no pain quite like a semi-final knockout blow – or so I thought.There were four of us in the car. Hobo – Ian Hodrien – was driving, with myself and my brother Neil in the back. Our special guest was a Juventus supporter, Mauro Garino, a mate we’d first met in Dover when he was hitching back from Celtic in 1981. Mauro had been coming to Liverpool every year since then, usually staying at ours over Christmas. Our friendship had survived the Heysel Stadium tragedy in 1985, and Mauro’s one big ambition was to watch Liverpool in an FA Cup final at Wembley. It was his birthday on 8 April and I got him a ticket for the next best thing – a semi-final between Liverpool and one of the best teams of the country, Nottingham Forest. Continue reading...

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05 февраля, 00:00

The Democrats Face Up to Their Trump Problem

Edward-Isaac Dovere, PoliticoThe base is eager to protest the president, but elected leaders worry about outrage fatigue.

03 февраля, 02:18

Melania’s office is the loneliest place in the White House

The first lady has hired a chief of staff but will be staying in New York at least until the summer.

02 февраля, 19:48

Remarks by President Trump at National Prayer Breakfast

Washington Hilton 9:11 A.M. EST THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Mark.  So nice.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  It’s a great honor to be here this morning.  And so many faith leaders -- very, very important people to me -- from across our magnificent nation, and so many leaders from all across the globe. Today we continue a tradition begun by President Eisenhower some 64 years ago.  This gathering is a testament to the power of faith, and is one of the great customs of our nation, and I hope to be here seven more times with you.  (Laughter and applause.) I want very much to thank our co-chairs, Senator Bowzman and Senator Coons, and all of the congressional leadership -- they’re all over the place.  We have a lot of very distinguished guests.   And we have one guest who was just sworn in last night -- Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State.  (Applause.)  Going to do a great job.  Some people didn’t like Rex because he actually got along with leaders of the world.  I said, no, you have to understand, that’s a good thing.  (Laughter.)  That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.  He’s respected all over the world, and I think he’s going to go down as one of our great, great secretaries.  We appreciate it.  Thank you, thank you, Rex.  (Applause.)  Thank you as well to Senate Chaplain Barry Black for his moving words.  And I don't know, Chaplain, whether or not that’s an appointed position.  Is that an appointed position?  I don’t even know if you’re a Democrat or if you’re a Republican, but I’m appointing you for another year -- the hell with it.  (Laughter and applause.)  And I think it’s not even my appointment, it’s the Senate’s appointment, but we’ll talk to them.  Your son is here.  Your job is very, very secure, okay?  (Laughter.)  Thank you, Barry.  Appreciate it very much. I also want to thank my great friends, though, Roma.  Where’s Roma?  Beautiful Roma Downey.  The voice of an angel.  She’s got the voice -- every time I hear it, that voice is so beautiful.  Everything is so beautiful about Roma, including her husband because he’s a special, special friend, Mark Burnett -- for the wonderful introduction.  So true.  So true.  I said to the agent, I’m sorry.  The only thing more -- I actually got on the phone and fired him myself because he said, you don’t want to do it, it’ll never work, it’ll never, ever work.  You don’t want to do it.  I said, listen -- but I really fired him after it became the number-one show.  It became so successful, and he wanted a commission, and he didn’t want to do it.  That’s what I really said.  (Laughter.)  But we had tremendous success on "The Apprentice."  And when I ran for President, I had to leave the show.  That’s when I knew for sure I was doing it.  And they hired a big, big movie star -- Arnold Schwarzenegger -– to take my place.  And we know how that turned out.  (Laughter.)  The ratings went right down the tubes.  It’s been a total disaster.  And Mark will never, ever bet against Trump again.  And I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings, okay?  (Laughter.)  But we’ve had an amazing life together, the last 14, 15 years.  And an outstanding man, and thank you very much for introducing me.  Appreciate it.  It’s a great honor.  (Applause.)  I also want to thank my dear friend, Vice President Mike Pence, who has been incredible.  (Applause.)  And incredible wife, Karen.  And every time I was in a little trouble with something, where they were questioning me, they’d say, but he picked Mike Pence -- (laughter) -- so he has to know what he’s doing.  And it’s true, he’s been -- you know, on the scale of 0 to 10, I rate him a 12, okay?  So I want to thank you.  Thank you very much.  Apprentice it.  (Applause.)  But most importantly today, I want to thank the American people.  Your faith and prayers have sustained me and inspired me through some very, very tough times.  All around America, I have met amazing people whose words of worship and encouragement have been a constant source of strength.  What I hear most often as I travel the country are five words that never, ever fail to touch my heart.  That’s:  “I am praying for you.”  I hear it so often -- “I am praying for you, Mr. President.”  (Applause.)   No one has inspired me more in my travels than the families of the United States military, men and women who have put their lives on the line every day for their country and their countrymen.  I just came back yesterday from Dover Air Force Base to join the family of Chief William “Ryan” Owens, as America’s fallen hero was returned home.  Very, very sad, but very, very beautiful.  Very, very beautiful.  His family was there.  Incredible family, loved him so much.  So devastated -- he was so devastated.  But the ceremony was amazing.  He died in defense of our nation.  He gave his life in defense of our people.  Our debt to him and our debt to his family is eternal and everlasting. “Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  We will never forget the men and women who wear the uniform, believe me.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  From generation to generation, their vigilance has kept our liberty alive.  Our freedom is won by their sacrifice, and our security has been earned with their sweat and blood and tears.  God has blessed this land to give us such incredible heroes and patriots.  They are very, very special, and we are going to take care of them.  (Applause.)   Our soldiers understand that what matters is not party or ideology or creed, but the bonds of loyalty that link us all together as one.  America is a nation of believers.  In towns all across our land, it’s plain to see what we easily forget -- so easily we forget this -- that the quality of our lives is not defined by our material success, but by our spiritual success.  I will tell you that.  And I tell you that from somebody that has had material success and knows tremendous numbers of people with great material success -- the most material success.  Many of those people are very, very miserable, unhappy people.  And I know a lot of people without that, but they have great families, they have great faith.  They don’t have money -- at least not nearly to the extent -- and they’re happy.  Those to me are the successful people, I have to tell you.  (Applause.) I was blessed to be raised in a churched home.  My mother and father taught me that to whom much is given much is expected.  I was sworn in on the very bible from which my mother would teach us as young children.  And that faith lives on in my heart every single day. The people in this room come from many, many backgrounds.  You represent so many religions and so many views.  But we are all united by our faith in our Creator and our firm knowledge that we are all equal in His eyes.  We are not just flesh and bone and blood.  We are human beings, with souls.  Our Republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government, but that freedom is a gift from God.  (Applause.)    It was the great Thomas Jefferson who said, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty.”  Jefferson asked, “Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?” Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs.  That is why I will get rid of, and totally destroy, the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.  I will do that -- remember.  (Applause.)   Freedom of religion is a sacred right, but it is also a right under threat all around us, and the world is under serious, serious threat in so many different ways.  And I've never seen it so much and so openly as since I took the position of President.  The world is in trouble, but we're going to straighten it out.  Okay?  That's what I do.  I fix things.  We're going to straighten it out.  (Applause.)  Believe me.  When you hear about the tough phone calls I'm having, don’t worry about it.  Just don’t worry about it.  (Laughter.)  They're tough.  We have to be tough.  It's time we're going to be a little tough, folks.  We're taken advantage of by every nation in the world, virtually.  It's not going to happen anymore.  It's not going to happen anymore. We have seen unimaginable violence carried out in the name of religion.  Acts of wanton slaughter against religious minorities.  Horrors on a scale that defy description.  Terrorism is a fundamental threat to religious freedom.  It must be stopped, and it will be stopped.  It may not be pretty for a little while.  It will be stopped.  (Applause.)   We have seen -- and, by the way, General, as you know, James "Mad Dog" -- I shouldn’t say it in this room -- Mattis.  Now, there's a reason they call him "Mad Dog Mattis" -- he never lost a battle.  Always wins them and always wins them fast.  He's our new Secretary of Defense who will be working with Rex.  He's right now in South Korea, going to Japan, going to some other spots.  And I'll tell you what, I've gotten to know him really well.  He's the real deal.  We have somebody who's the real deal working for us, and that's what we need.  So, you watch.  You just watch.  (Applause.)  Things will be different.  We have seen peace-loving Muslims brutalized, victimized, murdered and oppressed by ISIS killers.  We have seen threats of extermination against the Jewish people.  We have seen a campaign of ISIS and genocide against Christians, where they cut off heads.  Not since the Middle Ages have we seen that.  We haven’t seen that, the cutting off of heads.  Now they cut off their heads, they drown people in steel cages.  Haven’t seen this -- I haven’t seen this.  Nobody has seen this for many, many years.  All nations have a moral obligation to speak out against such violence.  All nations have a duty to work together to confront it and to confront it viciously, if we have to.  So I want to express clearly today to the American people that my administration will do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty in our land.  America must forever remain a tolerant society where all faiths are respected, and where all of our citizens can feel safe and secure.  We have to feel safe and secure. In recent days, we have begun to take necessary action to achieve that goal.  Our nation has the most generous immigration system in the world.  But these are those and there are those that would exploit that generosity to undermine the values that we hold so dear.  We need security.  There are those who would seek to enter our country for the purpose of spreading violence or oppressing other people based upon their faith or their lifestyle.  Not right.  We will not allow a beachhead of intolerance to spread in our nation.  You look all over the world and you see what's happening. So in the coming days, we will develop a system to help ensure that those admitted into our country fully embrace our values of religious and personal liberty, and that they reject any form of oppression and discrimination.  We want people to come into our nation, but we want people to love us and to love our values -- not to hate us and to hate our values.  We will be a safe country.  We will be a free country.  And we will be a country where all citizens can practice their beliefs without fear of hostility or fear of violence.  America will flourish as long as our liberty and, in particular, our religious liberty is allowed to flourish.  (Applause.) America will succeed as long as our most vulnerable citizens -- and we have some that are so vulnerable -- have a path to success.  And America will thrive as long as we continue to have faith in each other and faith in God.  (Applause.) That faith in God has inspired men and women to sacrifice for the needy, to deploy to wars overseas, and to lock arms at home, to ensure equal rights for every man, woman and child in our land.  It's that faith that sent the pilgrims across the oceans, the pioneers across the plains, and the young people all across America to chase their dreams.  They are chasing their dreams.  We are going to bring those dreams back.  As long as we have God, we are never, ever alone.  Whether it's the soldier on the night watch or the single parent on the night shift, God will always give us solace and strength and comfort. We need to carry on and to keep carrying on.  For us here in Washington, we must never, ever stop asking God for the wisdom to serve the public according to his will.  That's why -- (applause) -- thank you.  That's why President Eisenhower and Senator Carlson had the wisdom to gather together 64 years ago to begin this truly great tradition.  But that's not all they did together.  Let me tell you the rest of the story.  Just one year later, Senator Carlson was among the members of Congress to send to the President's desk a joint resolution that added "under God" to our Pledge of Allegiance.  That's a great thing.  (Applause.)  Because that's what we are and that is what we will always be, and that is what our people want:  one beautiful nation, under God.   Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless America.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.) END  9:30 A.M. EST

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02 февраля, 10:42

U.S. military probing more possible civilian deaths in Yemen raid

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (Reuters) - The U.S. military said on Wednesday it was looking into whether more civilians were killed in a raid on al Qaeda in Yemen on the weekend, in the first operation authorized by President Donald Trump as commander in chief.

02 февраля, 08:16

U.S. Military Probing More Possible Civilian Deaths In Yemen Raid

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); The U.S. military said on Wednesday it was looking into whether more civilians were killed in a raid on al Qaeda in Yemen on the weekend, in the first operation authorized by President Donald Trump as commander in chief. U.S. Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens was killed in the raid on a branch of al Qaeda, also known as AQAP, in al Bayda province, which the Pentagon said also killed 14 militants. However, medics at the scene said about 30 people, including 10 women and children, were killed. U.S. Central Command said in a statement that an investigating team had “concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed” during Sunday’s raid. It said children may have been among the casualties. Central Command said its assessment “seeks to determine if there were any still-undetected civilian casualties in the ferocious firefight.” U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.     As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists. The Pentagon directed queries about the officials’ characterization of the raid to U.S. Central Command, which pointed only to its statement on Wednesday. “CENTCOM asks for operations we believe have a good chance for success and when we ask for authorization we certainly believe there is a chance of successful operations based on our planning,” CENTCOM spokesman Colonel John Thomas said. “Any operation where you are going to put operators on the ground has inherent risks,” he said. The U.S. officials said the extremists’ base had been identified as a target before the Obama administration left office on Jan. 20, but then-President Barack Obama held off approving a raid ahead of his departure. A White House official said the operation was thoroughly vetted by the previous administration and that the previous defense secretary had signed off on it in January. The raid was delayed for operational reasons, the White House official said. The military officials who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said “a brutal firefight” killed Owens and at least 15 Yemeni women and children. One of the dead was the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, a militant killed by a 2011 U.S. drone strike. Some of the women were firing at the U.S. force, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters. INTELLIGENCE GATHERED The American elite forces did not seize any militants or take any prisoners offsite, but White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Wednesday the raid yielded benefits. “Knowing that we killed an estimated 14 AQAP members and that we gathered an unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent the potential deaths or attacks on American soil – is something that I think most service members understand, that that’s why they joined the service,” Spicer said. A senior leader in Yemen’s al Qaeda branch, Abdulraoof al-Dhahab, and other militants were killed in the gunbattle, al Qaeda said. One of the three U.S. officials said on-the-ground surveillance of the compound was “minimal, at best.” “The decision was made ... to leave it to the incoming administration, partly in the hope that more and better intelligence could be collected,” that official said.     As Sunday’s firefight intensified, the raiders called in Marine helicopter gunships and Harrier jump jets, and then two MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft to extract the SEALs. One of the two suffered engine failure, two of the officials said, and hit the ground so hard that two crew members were injured, and one of the Marine jets had to launch a precision-guided bomb to destroy it. Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Wednesday in an unexpected visit to meet the family of Owens, who had been a chief special warfare operator. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

02 февраля, 03:54

Remarks by President Trump and Vice President Pence at Swearing-In Ceremony for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Oval Office 7:12 P.M. EST  THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Welcome to the White House.  Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States. THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, Mike.  Just returned from an amazing visit with a great, great family at Dover, and it was something -- very sad, very beautiful.  Ryan, a great man. Secretary Tillerson, I first want to congratulate you, Renda, and your entire family on this incredible honor -- and it is that, an incredible honor.  You bring the unique skills and deep, deep insights -- and I’ve gotten to see it firsthand -- into foreign diplomacy our nation needs to foster stability and security in a world too often trapped -- and right now it’s trapped -- in violence and in war.   You understand that the job of our diplomats and the mission of the State Department is to serve the interests of the United States of America to make our nation safer, our country more prosperous, and our people much more secure.  In that mission, you also understand the importance of strengthening our alliances and forming new alliances to enhance our strategic interests and the safety of our people.   Your whole life has prepared you for this moment, and you really have had a tremendous life -- heading up one of the great companies of the world and doing it magnificently, absolutely magnificently.  And I can say this is a man that’s respected all over the world, before he even begins.   But as Renda said, now he’s beginning his big, big, and most important journey.  This is where you were meant to be, right here, today, at this crossroads in history.  It’s time to bring a clear-eyed focus to foreign affairs, to take a fresh look at the world around us, and to seek new solutions grounded in very ancient truths.  These truths include the fact that nations have a right to protect to their interests, that all people have a right to freely pursue their own destiny, and that all of us are better off when we act in concert and not in conflict.  And there’s rarely been conflict like we have in the world today -- very sad. I am excited for you.  I am excited for your family.  And perhaps most importantly, I am excited for our great country.  Though you inherit enormous challenges in the Middle East and around the world, I do believe we can achieve peace and stability in these very, very troubled times.   May God bless you in this journey.  And may God bless our very, very special and great country.  Thank you very much. Mike, you can do the honors.  Thank you. (The Secretary is sworn in.) SECRETARY TILLERSON:  Well, first, I want to express my profound thanks to President Trump for giving me this extraordinary opportunity to serve my country.  I also want to thank Vice President Pence for giving me the honor of swearing me into this office today.   I have a few folks in the room that are with me that have helped me over the last month to get to this point of confirmation.  They represent a much larger cadre of people who have worked enormously long hours, tirelessly, helping me and guiding me through the confirmation process.  And to them, I will always be eternally grateful for the sacrifice they’ve made of their time and effort these past weeks. I’ve also received over the last month so many messages, letters, phone calls of best wishes, encouragement, prayers from family, friends and colleagues who know me well.  But I’ve also received an enormous outpouring of wonderful messages from people all over the country whom I do not know -- words of encouragement and their prayers.  And it’s their messages that are going to really stand in steadfast reminder to me as I enter the responsibilities of Secretary of State, that as I serve this President, I serve their interest and will always represent the interest of all of the American people at all times. And again, Mr. President, thank you for this extraordinary opportunity.  (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT:  He left a very good job for this, I want to tell you.  (Laughter and applause.)   END 7:19 P.M. EST

02 февраля, 01:20

U.S. military probing more possible civilian deaths in Yemen raid

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (Reuters) - The U.S. military said on Wednesday it was looking into whether more civilians were killed in a raid on al Qaeda in Yemen on the weekend, in the first operation authorized by President Donald Trump as commander in chief.

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02 февраля, 01:06

Trump's helicopter arrives at Dover Air Force Base

President Trump's helicopter arrived at Dover Air Force Base on Feb. 1.

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02 февраля, 01:06

Trump travels to Dover Air Force Base to honor Navy SEAL killed in Yemen

Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens died during the first counterterrorism operation of Trump's presidency.

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02 февраля, 00:53

REPORTERS DEMANDED TO KNOW WHERE HE WAS GOING: President Trump Makes Unannounced Trip To Dover Air …

REPORTERS DEMANDED TO KNOW WHERE HE WAS GOING: President Trump Makes Unannounced Trip To Dover Air Force Base To Honor Fallen U.S. Navy SEAL. Let me know if it leads the evening news, since they were so interested.

01 февраля, 23:30

Trump travels to honor remains of slain Navy SEAL

President Donald Trump made an unannounced trip to Dover Air Force Base on Wednesday to attend the return of the remains of the first American service member killed in action under his command.Trump, joined by his daughter Ivanka and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), flew by helicopter to the base for the arrival of the remains of Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens, 36, who was killed during a special operations raid targeting al Qaeda militants in Yemen.Trump personally approved the raid, the White House said. Multiple other American service members were also wounded during the operation.Trump had previously spoken with Owens’ family members by phone. “I think it’s hard to ever say something was successful when you lose a life,” press secretary Sean Spicer said of the operation on Wednesday . “But you’ve got to understand that Chief Owens, he went back, deployed 12 times, because he loved this country and he believed in the mission. And knowing that we killed an estimated 14 AQAP members and that we gathered an unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent the potential deaths or attacks on American soil is something that I think most service members understand that that’s why they join the service.”“And I know that when the president spoke to Karen, his wife, and talked about, you know, the three children that he left behind, she continued to be impressed with — to impress upon the president, rather, that while it was an unbelievably sad and emotional time for her and her family, that he loved doing this,” Spicer added.

01 февраля, 23:04

Senate confirms Tillerson as secretary of state

The Senate on Wednesday made Rex Tillerson the next secretary of state, confirming the former ExxonMobil CEO on a 56-43 vote. Four Democrats crossed party lines to join every Republican in approving Tillerson as President Donald Trump's top diplomat: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, and Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. Tillerson arrives amid growing dissent within State against Trump’s severe immigration limits, signed by nearly 1,000 of the diplomats he will have to supervise. But the 64-year-old veteran oilman had lined up the GOP votes he needed for confirmation more than a week ago, assuaging concerns among conservative Russia hawks about his close business ties with Moscow’s state-controlled oil company. The former Exxon chief “possesses deep relationships around the world, and understands the critical role of U.S. leadership,” Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said in a statement. “He has expressed a commitment to defend American values and to restore U.S. credibility by strengthening old alliances and building new ones.” Liberal groups, particularly environmentalists aghast at Trump's decision to steer foreign policy through a veteran fossil-fuel titan, had pushed Democrats to vote against Tillerson. The nominee's confirmation hearing, marked by tense exchanges over Tillerson's stances on sanctions against Russia and the human rights record of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, helped fuel a historically high level of resistance to the nomination. Previous secretaries of State in both parties won Senate confirmation with far more support from the minority party: Hillary Clinton on a 94-2 vote, John Kerry on a 94-3 vote, Colin Powell unanimously, and Condoleeza Rice on an 85-13 vote. Heitkamp, one of the Democrats who backed Tillerson, said that when she met with the new State chief, “I was blunt about my concerns with his ability to assert that discipline given his ties to Russia and the new administration’s talk of loosening sanctions on the country." "While I’ll continue to closely monitor those ties and reinforce the need to stay vigilant on Russia," she added, "I look forward to working with Mr. Tillerson on our shared support for soft power investments that reinforce America’s ties with strategic partners and treaty allies and to bolstering America’s proactive approach to diplomatic relations.” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) did not vote on Wednesday, though he had previously opposed the Tillerson nomination in committee. He was accompanying Trump to Dover Air Force Base in his home state to receive the remains of Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens, who was killed early Sunday in the first anti-terrorism raid authorized by the new president.

01 февраля, 02:06

The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Will You Accept This Robe?

Donald Trump is expected to announce his Supreme Court nominee at 8 p.m.

01 февраля, 00:00

How Obama Will Take On Trump

Edward-Isaac Dovere, PoliticoNow they’re trying to find the right balance on issues that demand a response, and how to use Obama to deliver the selective pushback. Obama and his team are monitoring what’s happening at the White House, and not ruling out the possibility that Obama will challenge Trump more forcefully in the coming months, according to people who’ve been in contact with the former president.