US: Iran military could misidentify airliners amid tension
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Commercial airliners flying over the Persian Gulf risk being targeted by “miscalculation or misidentification” from the Iranian military amid heightened tensions between the Islamic Republic and the U.S., American diplomats warned Saturday, even as both Washington and Tehran say they don’t seek war.
The warning relayed by U.S. diplomatic posts from the Federal Aviation Administration, though dismissed by Iran, underscored the risks the current tensions pose to a region critical to both global air travel and trade. Oil tankers allegedly have faced sabotage and Yemen rebel drones attacked a crucial Saudi oil pipeline over the last week.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Iraqi officials said ExxonMobil Corp. began evacuating staff from Basra, and the island nation of Bahrain ordered its citizens out of Iraq and Iran over “the recent escalations and threats.”
However, U.S. officials have yet to publicly explain the threats they perceive coming from Iran, some two weeks after the White House ordered an aircraft carrier and B-52s bombers into the region. The U.S. also has ordered nonessential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq.
President Donald Trump since has sought to soften his tone on Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also stressed Saturday that Iran is “not seeking war,” comments seemingly contradicted by the head of the Revolutionary Guard, who declared an ongoing “intelligence war” between the nations.
Female lawmakers speak about rapes as abortion bills advance
COLUMBUS, Ohio — For more than two decades, Nancy Mace did not speak publicly about her rape. In April, when she finally broke her silence, she chose the most public of forums — before her colleagues in South Carolina’s legislature.
A bill was being debated that would ban all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected; Mace, a Republican lawmaker, wanted to add an exception for rape and incest. When some of her colleagues in the House dismissed her amendment — some women invent rapes to justify seeking an abortion, they claimed — she could not restrain herself.
“For some of us who have been raped, it can take 25 years to get up the courage and talk about being a victim of rape,” Mace said, gripping the lectern so hard she thought she might pull it up from the floor. “My mother and my best friend in high school were the only two people who knew.”
As one Republican legislature after another has pressed ahead with restrictive abortion bills in recent months, they have been confronted with raw and emotional testimony about the consequences of such laws. Female lawmakers and other women have stepped forward to tell searing, personal stories — in some cases speaking about attacks for the first time to anyone but a loved one or their closest friend.
Mace is against abortion in most cases and supported the fetal heartbeat bill as long as it contained the exception for rape and incest. She said her decision to reveal an attack that has haunted her for so long was intended to help male lawmakers understand the experience of those victims.
From wire sources
Australia’s conservative coalition wins surprise 3rd term
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s ruling conservative coalition won a surprise victory in the country’s general election on Saturday, defying opinion polls that had tipped the center-left opposition party to oust it from power and promising an end to the revolving door of national leaders.
“I have always believed in miracles,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a jubilant Sydney crowd.
He compared his Liberal Party’s victory for a third three-year term to the births of his daughters, Abbey, 11, and Lily, 9, who were conceived naturally after 14 years of in vitro fertilization had failed. His wife, Jenny Morrison, suffered endometriosis.
“I’m standing with the three biggest miracles in my life here tonight, and tonight we’ve been delivered another one,” he said, embraced by his wife and daughters.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten had earlier conceded defeat as the coalition came close to a majority in the 151-seat House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form a government. Vote counting was to continue on Sunday.
The Netherlands wins Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv
TEL AVIV, Israel — The Netherlands won the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv Saturday, with Duncan Laurence’s doleful piano ballad “Arcade” crowned champion of Europe’s annual music extravaganza.
The 25-year-old was tapped as an early front-runner before the Grand Final but was only ranked third after the vote of professional juries from the 41 participating countries, trailing Sweden and North Macedonia. He surged ahead thanks to the fan vote, securing The Netherlands its fifth win ever in the competition. Italy finished second, followed by Russia, Switzerland and Norway.
“This is to dreaming big. This is to music first, always,” Laurence said, as he was handed the trophy from last year’s winner, Israel’s Netta Barzilai.
Some 200 million people around the world were believed to have watched the annual campy contest with 26 nations battling in the Grand Final of the 64th Eurovision.
Madonna was the star attraction, performing her hit staple, “Like a Prayer,” marking 30 years since its release, and a new song “Future” from her forthcoming album “Madame X.” She took the stage after participants wrapped up their performances shortly after midnight when the elaborate voting process got underway across Europe.
Tornadoes rake Southern Plains; more severe weather expected
DALLAS — A spate of tornadoes raked across the Southern Plains, leaving damage and causing few injuries, and parts of the region were bracing for more severe thunderstorms and possible flooding.
The National Weather Service confirmed an EF2 twister Saturday morning with winds up to 130 mph (209 kph) that destroyed at least two homes and left one person with minor injuries in southwestern Oklahoma.
A suspected tornado caused roof damage to “numerous” homes in northwestern Arkansas, a state official said, and severe winds downed trees and power lines across a highway, blocking all lanes.
Energy companies in Oklahoma and Arkansas reported tens of thousands of customers were without power Saturday afternoon.
Tornadoes touched down Friday in Kansas and rural parts of Nebraska, tearing up trees and powerlines, and damaging some homes and farm buildings, according to the National Weather Service.
Sikhs say Nordstrom apologized for turban, waiting for Gucci
PHOENIX — Nordstrom has apologized to Sikhs for selling a turban they found offensive, but a representative with the U.S. community’s top civil rights organization said Saturday they are still waiting to hear from the Gucci brand that designed it.
“We feel that companies are commodifying and capitalizing on something that is dear and sacred to people around the world,” said Simran Jeet Singh, a senior fellow with the New York-based Sikh Coalition, who said the turban has a deep religious significance for the men of his faith.
“And there is tension over the fact that the very article of our faith has been the focus of so much hate and violence and bullying,” he said, recalling that Sikhs wearing turbans have been attacked in hate crimes, including a man killed near Phoenix a few days after 9/11.
The current complaint springs from a Gucci head wrap that until Wednesday was advertised on Nordstrom’s website for $790 as the “Indy Full Turban.” The description said the “gorgeously crafted turban is ready to turn heads while keeping you in comfort as well as trademark style.”
The Nordstrom website on Saturday still had a reference to a Gucci “head wrap,” but it was listed as sold out and it was no longer pictured.
Michigan GOP congressman says Trump conduct is ‘impeachable’
WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman from Michigan on Saturday became the first member of President Donald Trump’s party on Capitol Hill to accuse him of engaging in “impeachable conduct” stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s lengthy investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
But Rep. Justin Amash stopped short of calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, which many Democrats have been agitating for.
Often a lone GOP voice in Congress, Amash sent a series of tweets Saturday faulting both Trump and Attorney General William Barr over Mueller’s report. Mueller wrapped the investigation and submitted his report to Barr in late March. Barr then released a summary of Mueller’s “principal conclusions” and released a redacted version of the report in April.
Mueller found no criminal conspiracy between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, but left open the question of whether Trump acted in ways that were meant to obstruct the investigation. Barr later said there was insufficient evidence to bring obstruction charges against Trump.
Trump, who has compared the investigation to a “witch hunt,” claimed complete exoneration from Mueller’s report.