the economic outlook in the United States, however cloudy, is still better than in most other regions.

loss of purchasing power over time, meaning your dollar will not go as far tomorrow as it did today. It is typically expressed as the annual change in prices for everyday goods and services such as food, furniture, apparel, transportation and toys.

A fragile currency can sometimes work as “a buffering mechanism,” causing nations to import less and export more, Mr. Prasad said. But today, many “are not seeing the benefits of stronger growth.”

Still, they must pay more for essential imports like oil, wheat or pharmaceuticals as well as for loan bills due from billion-dollar debts.

debt crisis in Latin America in the 1980s.

The situation is particularly fraught because so many countries ran up above-average debts to deal with the fallout from the pandemic. And now they are facing renewed pressure to offer public support as food and energy prices soar.

Indonesia this month, thousands of protesters, angry over a 30 percent price increase on subsidized fuel, clashed with the police. In Tunisia, a shortage of subsidized food items like sugar, coffee, flour and eggs has shuttered cafes and emptied market shelves.

New research on the impact of a strong dollar on emerging nations found that it drags down economic progress across the board.

“You can see these very pronounced negative effects of a stronger dollar,” said Maurice Obstfeld, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and an author of the study.

central banks feel pressure to raise interest rates to bolster their currencies and prevent import prices from skyrocketing. Last week, Argentina, the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Britain and Norway raised interest rates.

World Bank warned this month that simultaneous interest rate increases are pushing the world toward a recession and developing nations toward a string of financial crises that would inflict “lasting harm.”

Clearly, the Fed’s mandate is to look after the American economy, but some economists and foreign policymakers argue it should pay more attention to the fallout its decisions have on the rest of the world.

In 1998, Alan Greenspan, a five-term Fed chair, argued that “it is just not credible that the United States can remain an oasis of prosperity unaffected by a world that is experiencing greatly increased stress.”

The United States is now facing a slowing economy, but the essential dilemma is the same.

“Central banks have purely domestic mandates,” said Mr. Obstfeld, the U.C. Berkeley economist, but financial and trade globalization have made economies more interdependent than they have ever been and so closer cooperation is needed. “I don’t think central banks can have the luxury of not thinking about what’s happening abroad.”

Flávia Milhorance contributed reporting from Rio de Janeiro.

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McCarthy Unveils House GOP’s Midterm Agenda In Pennsylvania

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday directly confronted President Joe Biden and the party in power, choosing battleground Pennsylvania to unveil a midterm election agenda with sweeping Trump-like promises despite the House GOP’s sometimes spotty record of delivering and governing in Congress.

McCarthy, who is poised to seize the speaker’s gavel if Republicans win control of the House in the fall, hopes to replicate the strategy former Speaker Newt Gingrich used to spark voter enthusiasm and sweep House control in a 1994 landslide.

The House GOP’s “Commitment to America” gives a nod to that earlier era but updates it for Trump, with economic, border security and social policies to rouse the former president’s deep well of supporters in often-forgotten regions like this rusty landscape outside Pittsburgh.

“What we’re going to roll out today is a ‘Commitment to America’ in Washington — not Washington, D.C., but Washington County, Pennsylvania,” McCarthy said at a manufacturing facility. “Because it’s about you, it’s not about us.”

On Friday, the House Republican leader stood with a cross-section of other lawmakers to roll out the GOP agenda, offering a portrait of party unity despite the uneasy coalition that makes up the House minority — and the Republican Party itself. 

The GOP has shifted from its focus on small government, low taxes and individual freedoms to a more populist, nationalist and, at times, far-right party, essentially still led by Trump, who remains popular despite the deepening state and federal investigations against him.

Propelled by Trump’s “Make America Great Again” voters, the Republicans need to pick up just a few seats to win back control of the narrowly-split House, and replace Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But even so, McCarthy’s ability to lead the House is far from guaranteed.

While Republicans and Trump did pass tax cuts into law, the GOP’s last big campaign promise, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, collapsed in failure. A long line of Republican speakers, including Gingrich, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, have been forced from office or chose early retirement, often ground down by party infighting.

“House Republicans are really good at running people out of town,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Coalition, or CPAC.

McCarthy, first elected to office in 2006, is among the remaining political survivors of those House Republican battles, and he’s a new style of leader who has shown more ability to communicate than to legislate.

A key architect of the Republican “tea party” takeover in 2010, the California Republican personally recruited the newcomers to Congress — many who had never served in public office and are long gone. McCarthy was an early Trump endorser, and has remained close to the former president, relying on his high-profile endorsements to propel GOP candidates for Congress. He abandoned an earlier bid to become speaker when support from his colleagues drifted.

The “Commitment to America” reflects the strength of McCarthy’s abilities, but also his weaknesses. He spent more than a year pulling together the House GOP’s often warring factions — from the far-right MAGA to what’s left of the more centrist ranks — to produce a mostly agreed upon agenda.

But the one-page “commitment” preamble is succinct, essentially a pocket card, though it is expected to be filled in with the kind of detail that is needed to make laws.

“They talk about a lot of problems,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “They don’t have a lot of solutions.”

In traveling to battleground Pennsylvania, a state where President Biden holds emotional ties from his early childhood, McCarthy intends to counter the president’s fiery Labor Day weekend speech, in which he warned of rising GOP extremism after the Jan 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, with a more upbeat message.

The event is billed as more of a conversation with the GOP leader and lawmakers rather than a stirring address in a uniquely contested state.

Along with as many as five House seats Republicans believe they can pick up in Pennsylvania in November, the state has one of the most watched Senate races, between Democrat John Fetterman and Trump-backed Mehmet Oz, that will help determine control of Congress. Top of the ticket is the seismic governor’s matchup between the GOP’s Doug Mastriano, who was seen outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, and Democrat Josh Shapiro.

“If you are a hardline, populist, and you really want anger, Kevin’s a little frustrating because he’s not going to be angry enough for you,” Gingrich said. “On the other hand, if what you want is to have your values implemented and passed in the legislation, he is a really good leader and organizer.”

Gingrich has been working with McCarthy and his team to craft the style and substance of the proposal. The former speaker, who has been asked by the Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol attack for an interview, was on hand Thursday in Washington, joining McCarthy as he unveiled the plans privately to House Republicans, who have been mixed on the approach.

Mostly, the GOP pocket card hits broad strokes — energy independence, security and an end to liberal social policies, particularly in schooling.

Conservative Republicans complain privately that McCarthy isn’t leaning hard enough into their priorities, as he tries to appeal to a broader swath of voters and hold the party together.

Many are eager to launch investigations into the Biden administration and the president’s family, with some calling for impeachment. Legislatively, some House Republicans want to fulfill the party’s commitment to banning abortion, supporting Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bill prohibiting the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

In a sign of the pressures ahead for McCarthy, dozens of House GOP lawmakers signed on to plans from Trump-aligned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to prevent many gender reassignment procedures for minors, celebrating the Georgian as courageous for taking such a hardline approach.

She and others were invited to join Friday’s event, as McCarthy seeks their backing.

Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, has advocated for withholding federal funds as leverage for policy priorities, the tactic that engineered past government shutdowns.

“Putting out like, you know, principles about, ‘Well, we’ll secure the border.’ I mean, okay, but what are we gonna do about it?” Roy said. “The end of the day, I want specific actionable items that’s going to show that we’re going to fight for the American people.”

It’s notable that McCarthy alone has proposed a plan if Republicans win control of the House chamber. In the Senate, Republican leader Mitch McConnell has declined to put forward an agenda, preferring to simply run against President Biden and Democrats in the midterm election.

“Kevin’s done a very good job of being in position to become the speaker. And then the question is, what do you do with that? Schlapp said. “This helps as a road map.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Mental Health America: Texas Ranks Last In Mental Health Care Access

Canutillo Independent School District and Kingsville Independent School District try to get a handle on mental health care for students in need.

The old saying is “everything is bigger in Texas” — including its problems. 

Mental health ranks atop.  

In the wake of the Uvalde massacre, conservative politicians are waving away talk of gun control and stressing that mental health is the real culprit. And in boastful Texas, mental health is a big problem.  

Mental Health America ranks Texas dead last in access to mental health care. The Kaiser Family Health Foundation found that Texans suffer depression at higher-than-average rates. 

In data released by the Texas Education Agency, more than half of Lone Star schools don’t have a psychologist or access to telehealth.

Texas has also opted out of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. In various studies, that amounts to tens of billions of dollars in federal funding, which could insure more than a million Texans and provide reimbursements for mental health professionals.  

Canutillo Independent School District is north of El Paso, Texas. It’s like Uvalde, with a supermajority Hispanic population and a mental health desert. It’s chief concern is access for those services for its 6,200 students 

“So, one of the things that is most important is social workers, counselors and prevention specialists working together,” social worker Rosario Olivera said.

The school district is Title I funded, meaning more than 40% of its students fall below the poverty line.

Administrators grappled with various problems across 10 schools, like how to get students access to medical care and in a pandemic, access to mental health and more counselors.

“We do the best we can do to service children of highest need,” Olivera continued. “However, it’s the same thing as with counselors. The ratio is very high.”

In Canutillo, it meant a pilot program of bringing in social workers and social work interns from the University of Texas El Paso.

“For every campus that has 350 students, you need one counselor. The majority of our campuses have 500 and above,” Canutillo Independent School District Director of Student Support Services Monica Reyes said.

Another glaring indicator in mental health access is poverty.

“This is typically what you’ll see: A mobile home with six or seven family members in it,” said Francisco Mendez with Familia Triunfadores.

In the colonias of San Elizario, access to mental health is a question of whether there are any therapists close by. But oftentimes, the answer is no. 

“It’s really difficult for them,” Mendez said. “They’ll have to drive at least 35 miles to El Paso.”  

In Kingsville, Texas, the schools have one mental health professional for more than 2,800  students.

Tracy Warren is a licensed school specialist psychologist, or LSSP. She’s an intern completing her doctorate. The challenge for Kingsville Independent School District is holding on to her and getting more people like her.

“We are trying to let everybody know how important mental health is and that if we don’t have the mental health foundation, the education is not going to take place,” Warren said. 

She is the front line. The school district leans on nonprofits to help kids outside of class. 

“There are a lot more anxious students this year than I’ve ever seen,” Warren continued. “We actually had a student that was at one of our campuses — he’s 4, going into Pre-K. First day of school, he stopped outside to count the police cars that he can see to ensure that he was safe before he came into school.”

The small school district’s leader, Superintendent Cissy Reynolds-Perez, says more mental health professionals and counselors need to be trained to work in rural schools.

“It’s very difficult because not everybody wants to come out to this area,” she said. “You know, you have your metropolitan areas, which I’m not saying it’s easier, but there are more resources there.”

At nearby Texas A&M Kingsville, the school has opened an institute for rural mental health.

Steve Bain is the director of the Rural Mental Health Institute. His goal is to create a mental health graduate student counselor pipeline direct to public schools.

“We have an opportunity now to reverse this trend of being last, or toward the last, in terms of accessibility of mental health services,” he said. “Only about 25% of students in K-12 who suffer from depression are getting mental health services. And depression has increased among our student population in the last five to eight years, significantly so.”

In Texas, licensed school specialty psychologists and social workers can be mental health caregivers to emotionally fraught kids, but there is a catch.

“Texas Education Agency has not recognized social workers as TEA employees yet, per se. We don’t have a specific job description, like teachers or counselors do,” Olivera said. 

That means school districts miss out on funding and insurance reimbursements when social workers provide mental health care for kids.

Newsy’s mental health initiative “America’s Breakdown: Confronting Our Mental Health Crisis” brings you deeply personal and thoughtfully told stories on the state of mental health care in the U.S. Click here to learn more.

Source: newsy.com

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President Joe Biden And First Lady Jill Biden Remember The Queen

The president is among scores of world leaders who are attending her state funeral service on Monday at Westminster Abbey in London.

For U.S. President Joe Biden, it was the crumpets. For his wife, first lady Jill Biden, it was the tea.

Joe and Jill Biden on Sunday helped honor Queen Elizabeth II by sharing memories of their tea time last year when she invited them to join her at Windsor Castle, near London.

The president, who said after that 2021 visit that Elizabeth reminded him of his late mother, recalled Sunday that she kept offering him crumpets. He did not refuse.

“I kept eating everything she put in front of me,” he said. “But she was the same in person as … her image: decent, honorable, and all about service.”

The queen, who was Britain’s longest-serving monarch, died earlier this month after a 70-year reign. President Biden is among hundreds of heads of state and other dignitaries who are in London to attend her state funeral service Monday at Westminster Abbey.

The first lady told The Associated Press in a telephone interview after she and the president attended a reception at Buckingham Palace that “what really impressed me” about the queen was “just how warm and gracious she was.”

“I loved her sense of curiosity. She wanted to know all about American politics and so she asked Joe question after question,” Jill Biden said. She said sitting in Elizabeth’s living room was “almost like being, you know, with your grandmother.”

“And she said, ‘Let me pour the tea,’ and we said, ‘No, no, let us help,’ and she said ‘Oh, no, no, no, I’ll get this. You sit down,'” Jill Biden said. “And it was just a very special moment with a very special woman.”

The Bidens paid their respects to the queen on Sunday by traveling to Westminster Hall, where she has been lying in state, to stand before the monarch’s coffin in the presence of thousands of mourners who had spent hours upon hours waiting to file past.

They then signed condolence books at Lancaster House before going to Buckingham Palace for a reception hosted by King Charles III and other royal family members for the world leaders who flew in for the funeral.

After signing the book, President Biden said his his heart goes out to the royal family because the queen’s death has left it with a “giant hole.”

“Sometimes you think you’ll never, you’ll never overcome it,” said President Biden, who often speaks in very personal terms about loss following the death of his first wife and infant daughter, and later an adult son. “But as I’ve told the king, she’s going to be with him every step of the way — every minute, every moment. And that’s a reassuring notion.”

While standing alongside the coffin on Sunday, the first lady said, she watched a little boy dressed in a Boy Scout uniform come in and give the queen a three-finger salute.

“I mean, it just gave me a lump in my throat,” she said, and showed “how much the people really loved their queen, no matter their ages.”

President Biden wrote in the condolence book that the queen “was admired around the world for her unwavering commitment to service.”

The first lady signed a separate condolence book for spouses and ambassadors, writing “Queen Elizabeth lived her life for the people. She served with wisdom and grace. We will never forget her warmth, kindness and the conversations we shared.”

In the interview, Jill Biden cautioned that there’s a “human piece” to the queen’s death.

Speaking of Charles, she said: “He is the king, but no one should forget, he lost his mother and, you know, Prince William lost a grandmother. Sometimes we tend to forget the really human piece of this and the sorrow that they … have to bear and how they have to grieve in public. But they seem to be doing OK,” she said.

More than 2,000 people were expected at Westminster Abbey for Monday’s funeral.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Queen’s 8 Grandchildren Hold Silent Vigil Beside Her Coffin

All of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren stood in silence by her coffin, as thousands of mourners continued to file past and pay their respects.

All eight of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren stood in silent vigil beside her coffin Saturday, capping another huge day in which thousands came to pay their respects. Mourners huddled in a line that snaked across London, enduring the city’s coldest night in months and waits that stretched up to 16 hours.

Authorities warned that more chilly weather was expected Saturday night. “Tonight’s forecast is cold. Warm clothing is recommended,” the ministry in charge of the line tweeted.

As U.S. President Joe Biden and other world leaders and dignitaries flew into London ahead of the queen’s state funeral on Monday, a tide of people wanting to say goodbye streamed into Parliament’s Westminster Hall for another day Saturday. That’s where the queen’s coffin is lying in state, draped in her Royal Standard and capped with a diamond-studded crown.

The numbers of mourners have grown steadily since the public was first admitted on Wednesday, with a queue that snakes around Southwark Park and stretches for at least 5 miles.

Honoring their patience, King Charles III and his eldest son Prince William made an unannounced visit Saturday to greet people waiting to file past Elizabeth’s coffin, shaking hands and thanking mourners in the queue near Lambeth Bridge.

Later, all the queen’s grandchildren stood by her coffin. William and Prince Harry, Charles’ sons, were joined by Princess Anne’s children, Zara Tindall and Peter Philips; Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie; and the two children of Prince Edward – Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

William, now the heir to the throne, stood, his head bowed, at the head of the coffin and Harry at the foot. Both princes, who are military veterans, were in uniform. Mourners continued to file past in silence.

Harry, who served in Afghanistan as a British army officer, wore civilian clothes earlier in the week as the queen’s coffin left Buckingham Palace because he is no longer a working member of the royal family. He and his wife Meghan quit royal duties and moved to the United States in 2020. The king, however, requested that both William and Harry wear their military uniforms at the Westminster Hall vigil.

Before the vigil, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie issued a statement praising their “beloved grannie.”

“We, like many, thought you’d be here forever. And we all miss you terribly. You were our matriarch, our guide, our loving hand on our backs leading us through this world. You taught us so much and we will cherish those lessons and memories forever,” the sisters wrote.

People queuing to see the queen have been of all ages and come from all walks of life. Many bowed before the coffin or made a sign of the cross. Several veterans, their medals shining, offered sharp salutes. Some people wept. Others blew kisses. Many hugged one another as they stepped away, proud to have spent hours in line to offer a tribute, even if it lasted only a few moments.

Overnight, volunteers distributed blankets and cups of tea to people in line as temperatures fell to 43 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the weather, mourners described the warmth of a shared experience.

“It was cold overnight, but we had wonderful companions, met new friends. The camaraderie was wonderful,” Chris Harman of London said. “It was worth it. I would do it again and again and again. I would walk to the end of the earth for my queen.”

Saturday’s vigil followed one on Friday in which the queen’s four children — Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward — stood vigil at the coffin.

Edward said the royal family was “overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us and the sheer number of people who have gone out of their way to express their own love, admiration and respect (for) our dear mama.”

On Saturday, the new king was holding audiences with incoming prime ministers, governor generals of the realms and military leaders.

The lying-in-state continues until early Monday morning, when the queen’s coffin will be borne to nearby Westminster Abbey for a state funeral, the finale of 10 days of national mourning for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Elizabeth, 96, died at her Balmoral Estate in Scotland on Sept. 8 after 70 years on the throne.

After the service Monday at the abbey, the late queen’s coffin will be transported through the historic heart of London on a horse-drawn gun carriage. It will then be taken in a hearse to Windsor, where the queen will be interred alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Thousands Wait In Shivering Temps To Pay Respect To The Queen

Overnight, volunteers distributed blankets and warm cups of tea to people waiting in line as temperatures fell to 43 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thousands of people spent London’s coldest night in months huddled in line to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, and authorities warned Saturday that arriving mourners face a 16-hour wait.

A tide of people wanting to say goodbye streamed into Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where the queen’s coffin is lying in state, draped in her Royal Standard and capped with a diamond-studded crown. The numbers have grown steadily since the public was first admitted on Wednesday, with a queue that snakes around Southwark Park and stretches out at least 5 miles.

Honoring their patience, King Charles III and his eldest son Prince William made an unannounced visit Saturday to greet people waiting to file past Elizabeth’s coffin. The two senior royals shook hands and thanked the mourners in the queue near Lambeth Bridge.

Charles has made several impromptu walkabouts since he became king on Sept. 8, in an attempt to meet as many of his subjects as possible. People in the crowds offered their condolences.

Overnight, volunteers distributed blankets and cups of tea to people in line as temperatures fell to 43 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the weather, mourners described the warmth of a shared experience.

“It was cold overnight, but we had wonderful companions, met new friends. The camaraderie was wonderful,” Chris Harman of London said. “It was worth it. I would do it again and again and again. I would walk to the end of the earth for my queen.”

People had many reasons for coming, from affection for the queen to a desire to be part of a historic moment. Simon Hopkins, who traveled from his home in central England, likened it to “a pilgrimage.”

“(It) is a bit strange, because that kind of goes against my grain,” he said. “I’ve been kind of drawn into it.”

The public kept silently streaming into Westminster Hall even as the queen’s four children — Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — stood vigil Friday night around the flag-draped coffin for 15 minutes. A baby’s cry was the only sound.

Before the vigil, Edward said the royal family was “overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us and the sheer number of people who have gone out of their way to express their own love, admiration and respect (for) our dear mama.”

Later Saturday, all eight of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren will stand vigil beside her coffin. Charles’ sons, William and Prince Harry, will attend along with Princess Anne’s children, Zara Tindall and Peter Philips; Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie; and the two children of Prince Edward – Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

William, now the heir to the throne, will stand at the head of the coffin and Harry at the foot. Both princes, who are military veterans, will be in uniform.

Harry, who served in Afghanistan as a British army officer, wore civilian clothes during the procession of the queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace because he is no longer a working member of the royal family. He and his wife Meghan quit royal duties and moved to the United States in 2020.

The king, however, has requested that both William and Harry wear their military uniforms at the Westminster Hall vigil.

People queuing to see the queen have been of all ages and come from all walks of life. Many bowed before the coffin or made a sign of the cross. Several veterans, their medals shining in the spotlights, offered sharp salutes. Some people wept. Others blew kisses. Many hugged one another as they stepped away, proud to have spent hours in line to offer a tribute, even if it lasted only a few moments.

Authorities on Saturday closed a separate line for people with disabilities or conditions that mean they can’t queue for hours on end, saying all spaces available have been allocated.

The lying-in-state continues until early Monday morning, when the queen’s coffin will be borne to nearby Westminster Abbey for a state funeral, the finale of 10 days of national mourning for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Elizabeth, 96, died at her Balmoral Estate in Scotland on Sept. 8 after 70 years on the throne.

U.S. President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden flew to the U.K. on Sunday, one of hundreds of heads of state, royals and political leaders from around the world coming to London to attend the funeral. Charles was holding audiences Saturday with incoming prime ministers, governor generals of the realms and military leaders.

After the service Monday at the abbey, the late queen’s coffin will be transported through the historic heart of London on a horse-drawn gun carriage. It will then be taken in a hearse to Windsor, where the queen will be interred alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.

Hundreds of troops from the British army, air force and navy held an early-morning rehearsal Saturday for the final procession. As troops lined the picturesque path leading to Windsor Castle, the thumping of drums echoed as marching bands walked ahead of a hearse.

London police say the funeral will be the largest single policing event the force has ever handled, surpassing even the 2012 Summer Olympics and the Platinum Jubilee in June celebrating the queen’s 70-year reign.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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How a Spreader of Voter Fraud Conspiracy Theories Became a Star

In 2011, Catherine Engelbrecht appeared at a Tea Party Patriots convention in Phoenix to deliver a dire warning.

While volunteering at her local polls in the Houston area two years earlier, she claimed, she witnessed voter fraud so rampant that it made her heart stop. People cast ballots without proof of registration or eligibility, she said. Corrupt election judges marked votes for their preferred candidates on the ballots of unwitting citizens, she added.

Local authorities found no evidence of the election tampering she described, but Ms. Engelbrecht was undeterred. “Once you see something like that, you can’t forget it,” the suburban Texas mom turned election-fraud warrior told the audience of 2,000. “You certainly can’t abide by it.”

planting seeds of doubt over the electoral process, becoming one of the earliest and most enthusiastic spreaders of ballot conspiracy theories.

fueled by Mr. Trump, has seized the moment. She has become a sought-after speaker at Republican organizations, regularly appears on right-wing media and was the star of the recent film “2,000 Mules,” which claimed mass voter fraud in the 2020 election and has been debunked.

She has also been active in the far-right’s battle for November’s midterm elections, rallying election officials, law enforcement and lawmakers to tighten voter restrictions and investigate the 2020 results.

said in an interview last month with a conservative show, GraceTimeTV, which was posted on the video-sharing site Rumble. “There have been no substantive improvements to change anything that happened in 2020 to prevent it from happening in 2022.”

set up stakeouts to prevent illegal stuffing of ballot boxes. Officials overseeing elections are ramping up security at polling places.

Voting rights groups said they were increasingly concerned by Ms. Engelbrecht.

She has “taken the power of rhetoric to a new place,” said Sean Morales-Doyle, the acting director of voting rights at the Brennan Center, a nonpartisan think tank. “It’s having a real impact on the way lawmakers and states are governing elections and on the concerns we have on what may happen in the upcoming elections.”

Some of Ms. Engelbrecht’s former allies have cut ties with her. Rick Wilson, a Republican operative and Trump critic, ran public relations for Ms. Engelbrecht in 2014 but quit after a few months. He said she had declined to turn over data to back her voting fraud claims.

“She never had the juice in terms of evidence,” Mr. Wilson said. “But now that doesn’t matter. She’s having her uplift moment.”

a video of the donor meeting obtained by The New York Times. They did not elaborate on why.

announce a partnership to scrutinize voting during the midterms.

“The most important right the American people have is to choose our own public officials,” said Mr. Mack, a former sheriff of Graham County, Ariz. “Anybody trying to steal that right needs to be prosecuted and arrested.”

Steve Bannon, then chief executive of the right-wing media outlet Breitbart News, and Andrew Breitbart, the publication’s founder, spoke at her conferences.

True the Vote’s volunteers scrutinized registration rolls, watched polling stations and wrote highly speculative reports. In 2010, a volunteer in San Diego reported seeing a bus offloading people at a polling station “who did not appear to be from this country.”

Civil rights groups described the activities as voter suppression. In 2010, Ms. Engelbrecht told supporters that Houston Votes, a nonprofit that registered voters in diverse communities of Harris County, Texas, was connected to the “New Black Panthers.” She showed a video of an unrelated New Black Panther member in Philadelphia who called for the extermination of white people. Houston Votes was subsequently investigated by state officials, and law enforcement raided its office.

“It was a lie and racist to the core,” said Fred Lewis, head of Houston Votes, who sued True the Vote for defamation. He said he had dropped the suit after reaching “an understanding” that True the Vote would stop making accusations. Ms. Engelbrecht said she didn’t recall such an agreement.

in April 2021, did not respond to requests for comment. Ms. Engelbrecht has denied his claims.

In mid-2021, “2,000 Mules” was hatched after Ms. Engelbrecht and Mr. Phillips met with Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative provocateur and filmmaker. They told him that they could detect cases of ballot box stuffing based on two terabytes of cellphone geolocation data that they had bought and matched with video surveillance footage of ballot drop boxes.

Salem Media Group, the conservative media conglomerate, and Mr. D’Souza agreed to create and fund a film. The “2,000 Mules” title was meant to evoke the image of cartels that pay people to carry illegal drugs into the United States.

said after seeing the film that it raised “significant questions” about the 2020 election results; 17 state legislators in Michigan also called for an investigation into election results there based on the film’s accusations.

In Arizona, the attorney general’s office asked True the Vote between April and June for data about some of the claims in “2,000 Mules.” The contentions related to Maricopa and Yuma Counties, where Ms. Engelbrecht said people had illegally submitted ballots and had used “stash houses” to store fraudulent ballots.

According to emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, a True the Vote official said Mr. Phillips had turned over a hard drive with the data. The attorney general’s office said early this month that it hadn’t received it.

Last month, Ms. Engelbrecht and Mr. Phillips hosted an invitation-only gathering of about 150 supporters in Queen Creek, Ariz., which was streamed online. For weeks beforehand, they promised to reveal the addresses of ballot “stash houses” and footage of voter fraud.

Ms. Engelbrecht did not divulge the data at the event. Instead, she implored the audience to look to the midterm elections, which she warned were the next great threat to voter integrity.

“The past is prologue,” she said.

Alexandra Berzon contributed reporting.

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Energy Standoff With Russia Leaves Millions Unable To Afford Heating

By Luke Hanrahan
September 7, 2022

In Britain, businesses are on the brink, and parents are already skipping meals to pay their electricity bills due to high energy costs.

Fish and chips — a delicious British staple — was relatively cheap to produce until now.  

A reduction in Russian gas supplied to Europe has caused energy bills for restaurant owner Harri Niaza, who owns Olley’s Fish Experience, to be twice as expensive. Inflation has caused the cost of potatoes and fish to double.   

“Gas and electricity is affecting every single person and that’s our issue. I need to re-think how we operate. Cut hours down to make it leaner? Just open two hours in the evening, you know ‘queue up get your food – bye bye’. But how are my staff going to survive?” said Niaza. 

Russia is to blame for the increase in energy costs because of soaring prices of wholesale natural gas after Russia sharply cut its supplies to Europe.  

The UK relies heavily on gas to generate electricity, and bills have already increased by 50%.  

Millions of people are already struggling to cope as energy and food prices skyrocket during the country’s worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation. The energy increases, together with rapidly rising food costs, are expected to trigger a recession later this year. 

People are desperate for answers as to how they’re going to go about paying their bills this winter. 

“Prices have increased two fold and I wonder how people are going to cope. I’m finding it difficult. I hope not many people are finding it as difficult as I am,” said Victor Yobo, a UK resident.   

“This is the hardest that I’ve ever known it, it’s really difficult. Particularly post COVID. It’s a real struggle just staying afloat really,” said Michael Dombey, a UK resident. 

“I’m worried for my son and the younger people, I don’t know? We’re in trouble — we’re in trouble,” said Carol Edwards, another UK resident.   

For Michael O’Keeffe and his wife Eileen, the cost of making a cup of tea has tripled.

There’s only one harder time they can remember.

“We got through the war and the rationing, and we will get through it. But I think for the next six, eight, nine months it’s going to be very, very difficult,” said Eileen.  

Britain is not alone in its battle to control rocketing costs, with millions being forced into poverty across the continent as Europeans suffer the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine; and the knock effect of gas supplies from east to west being switched off. 

Source: newsy.com

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Iraqis Heed Cleric’s Plea To Leave Streets After Clashes

At least 30 people have died in violent clashes with police following the resignation of an influential Shiite cleric, according to Iraqi officials.

Armed supporters of a powerful Iraqi cleric who clashed with security forces in the capital began to withdraw from the streets Tuesday, restoring a measure of calm after a serious escalation of the nation’s political crisis.

Following two days of deadly unrest that sparked fears instability might spread throughout the country and even the region, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, 48, told his supporters to leave the government quarter where they had rallied. Within minutes, some could be seen heeding the call, dismantling their tents and walking out of the area known as the Green Zone.

The cleric’s supporters packed up their belongings and trucks ferried away bundled up mattresses. Mounds of trash littered thoroughfares and the steps leading up to Iraq’s parliament building. A portrait of al-Sadr waving was placed against a tree as his followers rolled up carpets, tea glasses and the remnants of their four-week sit-in.

Iraq’s military also announced the lifting of a nationwide curfew, further raising hopes that the immediate crisis was ebbing, though the larger political crisis remained unresolved. Al-Sadr’s move to de-escalate tensions raised questions of how issues such as the dissolution of parliament and the holding of early elections will be handled between rival groups.

Protesters supporting al-Sadr’s rivals also withdrew from their demonstration outside the government zone.

Iraq’s government has been deadlocked since al-Sadr’s party won the largest share of seats in October parliamentary elections but not enough to secure a majority government. That led to months of political infighting between al-Sadr’s Shiite followers and his Iran-backed Shiite rivals before it became violent Monday.

The chaos began when al-Sadr announced he would resign from politics. Many dismissed the move as a ploy to gain greater leverage, and his supporters stormed the Green Zone, once the stronghold of the U.S. military and now home to Iraqi government offices and foreign embassies. They eventually breached the gates of the government palace, rushing into its lavish salons and marbled halls.

On Tuesday, his followers could be seen on live television firing both machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades into the heavily-fortified Green Zone, while security forces sporadically returned fire and armored tanks lined up. Some bystanders filmed the gunfight with their mobile phones, though most hid behind walls, wincing when rounds cracked nearby.

At least 30 people were killed, officials said, before al-Sadr urged those loyal to him to go home, following pleas for restraint from several Iraqi officials and the United Nations.

“This is not a revolution,” the cleric said in a televised address.

Al-Sadr, who spurred his followers to storm the parliament in July with calls for revolution and reform, apologized to the Iraqi people and said he could not support the violence.

The immediate shift on the streets underscored his enduring control over his loyalists, and by extension his influence over the Iraqi political class.

In addition to the dozens killed, over 400 were wounded, two Iraqi medical officials said Tuesday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the information to journalists.

In a sign of the fear that the unrest would spread, Iran closed its borders to Iraq earlier Tuesday, though even before al-Sadr’s order, streets beyond the capital’s government quarter largely remained calm. The country’s vital oil continued to flow, with global benchmark Brent crude trading slightly down.

Later on Tuesday, Iran resumed flights to Iraq, Iranian state TV reported.

Members of Iraq’s majority Shiite Muslim population were oppressed when Saddam Hussein ruled the country for decades. The 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam, a Sunni, reversed the political order. Just under two-thirds of Iraq is Shiite, with a third Sunni.

Now, the Shiites are fighting among themselves, with those backed by Iran and those who consider themselves Iraqi nationalists jockeying for power, influence and state resources.

It’s an explosive rivalry in a country where many are wary of the Iranian government’s influence even though trade and ties between people remain strong. Iraq and Iran fought a bloody war in the 1980s that saw a million people killed.

Al-Sadr’s nationalist rhetoric and reform agenda resonates powerfully with his supporters, who largely hail from Iraq’s poorest sectors of society and were historically shut out of the political system under Saddam.

Al-Sadr’s initial announcement that he would leave politics implicitly gave his supporters the freedom to act as they see fit. His speech on Tuesday, effectively reined them back in.

Before that, the unrest led neighboring countries to issue warnings to their citizens and one embassy closed.

In addition to closing its borders, Iran urged its citizens to avoid any travel to the neighboring country, citing the unrest. The decision came as millions prepared to visit Iraq for an annual pilgrimage to Shiite sites.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad issued a security alert for U.S. citizens urging them to avoid the Green Zone and other areas where demonstrations are occurring as well as a Do Not Travel advisory.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Gunmen Storm Hotel In Somali Capital, Leave 20 Dead

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
August 20, 2022

According to police and witnesses, at least 40 people were also wounded in the late Friday night attack.

Islamic militants have stormed a hotel in Somalia’s capital, engaging in an hours-long exchange of fire with the security forces that left at least 20 people dead, according to police and witnesses.

In addition, at least 40 people were wounded in the late Friday night attack and security forces rescued many others, including children, from the scene at Mogadishu’s popular Hayat Hotel, they said Saturday.

The attack started with explosions outside the hotel before the gunmen entered the building.

Somali forces were still trying to end the siege of the hotel almost 24 hours after the attack started. Gunfire could still be heard Saturday evening as security forces tried to contain the last gunmen thought to be holed up on the hotel’s top floor.

The Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, which has ties with al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest of its frequent attempts to strike places visited by government officials. The attack on the hotel is the first major terror incident in Mogadishu since Somalia’s new leader, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, took over in May.

In a Twitter post, the U.S. Embassy in Somalia said it “strongly condemns” the attack on the Hayat.

“We extend condolences to the families of loved ones killed, wish a full recovery to the injured, & pledge continued support for #Somalia to hold murderers accountable & build when others destroy,” it said.

There was no immediate word on the identities of the victims, but many are believed to be civilians.

Mohamed Abdirahman, director of Mogadishu’s Madina Hospital, told the AP that 40 people were admitted there with wounds or injuries from the attack. While nine were sent home after getting treatment, five are in critical condition in the ICU, he said.

“We were having tea near the hotel lobby when we heard the first blast, followed by gunfire. I immediately rushed toward hotel rooms on the ground floor and I locked the door,” witness Abdullahi Hussein said by phone. “The militants went straight upstairs and started shooting. I was inside the room until the security forces arrived and rescued me.”

He said on his way to safety he saw “several bodies lying on the ground outside hotel reception.”

Al-Shabab remains the most lethal Islamic extremist group in Africa.

The group has seized even more territory in recent years, taking advantage of rifts among Somali security personnel as well as disagreements between the government seat in Mogadishu and regional states. It remains the biggest threat to political stability in the volatile Horn of Africa nation.

Forced to retreat from Mogadishu in 2011, al-Shabab is slowly making a comeback from the rural areas to which it retreated, defying the presence of African Union peacekeepers as well as U.S. drone strikes targeting its fighters.

The militants in early May attacked a military base for AU peacekeepers outside Mogadishu, killing many Burundian troops. The attack came just days before the presidential vote that returned Mohamud to power five years after he had been voted out.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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