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  • UK raises travel warning for dual British-Iranian nationals amid heightened tensions

    UK raises travel warning for dual British-Iranian nationals amid heightened tensionsBritain has upgraded its travel warning for dual UK-Iranian nationals after a British council worker was jailed on allegations of espionage.  The Foreign Office on Friday warned dual nationals against all travel to the Islamic Republic, saying they face an "unacceptably higher" risk of detention and mistreatment. Its previous advice had warned against all but essential travel. In a statement, Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, also urged Iranian nationals living in the UK to exercise "caution" when returning to Iran to visit family or friends. "Despite the UK providing repeated opportunities to resolve this issue, the Iranian regime's conduct has worsened," Mr Hunt said. "Having exhausted all other options, I must now advise all British-Iranian dual nationals against travelling to Iran." He said Iran does not recognise dual nationality, limiting the British government's ability to help dual nationals detained in Iran. The decision comes days after it was revealed a dual national who had been working for the British Council was sentenced to 10 years in prison on allegations of spying. Aras Amiri, an Iranian national, was detained in Iran in March 2018 Aras Amiri, from London, is being held in Evin prison alongside 40-year-old charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was offered official diplomatic protection by the British government in an unprecedented move to secure her release. Richard Ratcliffe, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, said the two women were both chess pieces on the same political board. Reacting to the Friday's news, Mr Ratcliffe told the Telegraph: "I am pleased the government has made such a strong statement. Hopefully the Iranian authorities will realise this practice has to stop.  "I asked the Foreign Secretary to make clear hostage diplomacy is not acceptable - through travel advice and other ways. The UK has an obligation to protect, and to make clear it is not acceptable for government disputes to be taken out on ordinary citizens." Hamid Baeidinejad‏, Iran's ambassador to the UK, said dual nationals were perfectly safe provided there were not working for foreign intelligence agencies.  The past week has seen an escalation in tensions between Iran and the US. Concerns about a possible conflict have flared since the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region to counter an alleged threat from Iran that has seen America order nonessential diplomatic staff out of Iraq. Persian gulf sabotage attacks Tensions have also ratcheted up in the region after authorities alleged that a sabotage operation targeted four oil tankers on Sunday off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, and Iran-aligned rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for a drone attack Tuesday on a crucial Saudi oil pipeline. Mr Hunt said this week that the United Kingdom shares the US assessment of increased threat, but that British diplomatic missions in Iraq continued to operate as normal.


    May 17, 2019 9:11 AM MDT
  • Exclusive - U.S. may scale back Huawei trade restrictions to help existing customers

    Exclusive - U.S. may scale back Huawei trade restrictions to help existing customersThe Commerce Department, which had effectively halted Huawei's ability to buy American-made parts and components, is considering issuing a temporary general license to "prevent the interruption of existing network operations and equipment," a spokeswoman said. Potential beneficiaries of the license could, for example, include internet access and mobile phone service providers in thinly populated places such as Wyoming and eastern Oregon that purchased network equipment from Huawei in recent years. In effect, the Commerce Department would allow Huawei to purchase U.S. goods so it can help existing customers maintain the reliability of networks and equipment, but the Chinese firm still would not be allowed to buy American parts and components to manufacture new products.


    May 17, 2019 11:20 PM MDT
  • Barr: Probe Into Russia Investigation’s Origins Has Yielded ‘Inadequate’ Explanations

    Barr: Probe Into Russia Investigation’s Origins Has Yielded ‘Inadequate’ ExplanationsWeeks into an investigation of the origins of the FBI's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Attorney General William Barr said Friday that the probe has provided more questions than answers due to the “inadequate” and in some cases inconsistent answers he's been given from the officials involved.Asked during an interview with Fox News whether he knew exactly when the FBI began its investigation into the Trump campaign, Barr said he had not yet identified a reliable timeline.“I’ve been trying to get answers to the questions, and I've found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate and some of the explanations I've gotten don't hang together. In a sense I have more questions today than when I first started,” he said during the interview.Pressed to explain what he was referring to, Barr would only say, “some of the explanations of what occurred.”Barr told Fox that the investigation, which he disclosed to lawmakers during a congressional hearing last month, will eventually reveal whether the FBI puts its “thumb on the scale” by investigating and in some cases surveilling Trump campaign officials.“People have to find out what the government was doing during that period. If we're worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason we should be worried about whether government officials abuse their power and put their thumb on the scale,” Barr said before stipulating that he was “not saying that happened.”Barr was maligned by congressional Democrats in the wake of his appearance on Capitol Hill last month for agreeing with Republicans' contention that the Trump campaign was “spied” on. He defended that characterization during the Fox interview and reiterated that his job is to determine whether that spying was properly predicated.“Government power was used to spy on American citizens,” he said in justifying his review. “I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly.”In addressing whether the investigation was properly predicated, Barr suggested that it was “very unusual” for the FBI to rely on the Steele dossier, an unverified piece of opposition research commissioned by the Clinton campaign, to secure a FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page.“It’s a very unusual situation to have opposition research like that, especially one that on its face had a number of clear mistakes and a somewhat jejune analysis,” Barr said. “And to use that to conduct counterintelligence against an American political campaign is a strange — would be a strange development.”


    May 17, 2019 9:50 AM MDT
  • ‘Fox & Friends’ Host Brian Kilmeade: Border Crisis Is ‘Almost Like’ 9/11

    ‘Fox & Friends’ Host Brian Kilmeade: Border Crisis Is ‘Almost Like’ 9/11Remember when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, killing 3,000 people and sending the U.S. down a path of never-ending war? Or when the financial markets melted down in 2008, causing the Great Recession with millions of jobs lost?According to Fox News host Brian Kilmeade the influx of asylum-seeking migrants arriving at America’s southern border is akin to both.During Friday’s broadcast of President Trump’s favorite morning show Fox & Friends, the curvy-couch crew discussed the president’s recently unveiled immigration plan. After co-hosts Ainsley Earhardt and Steve Doocy seemed to acknowledge the president’s proposal likely won’t go very far, Kilmeade pivoted to the situation at the border.“But you know what I want and I think we all want?” Kilmeade declared. “There is a five-alarm fire out on our southern border right now and the men and women every day need some help. And this plan—this plan is not going to help.”Doocy jumped in, claiming this was why Trump “essentially rolled this out,” adding that the president is saying he wants immigration reform and the only way to achieve it is “to elect more Republicans.”This prompted Kilmeade to take aim at Democrats, scolding the party’s leaders for calling the situation at the border a “manufactured crisis” before likening it to the worst terror attack in the nation’s history.“But there's an opportunity because there are times when Democrats and Republicans come together,” he exclaimed. “When the market fell apart in 2008 and after 9/11, this is almost like that at the border.”Kilmeade added: “We have never seen these numbers before and the men and women who have to round up these illegals who want to become part of our country are saying please help us.”This is far from the first time that the conservative cable news host has fear-mongered on immigration. He’s repeatedly warned about non-English speaking kids “flooding” American school systems and floated putting missiles on drones to stop “people storming the border.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


    May 17, 2019 9:15 AM MDT
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