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ELECTION 2020-TRUMP THE PUNDIT Trump the pundit handicaps 2020 Democratic contenders WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Kamala Harris had the best campaign roll-out. Amy Klobuchar’s snowy debut showed grit. Elizabeth Warren’s opening campaign video…


Trump the pundit handicaps 2020 Democratic contenders

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Kamala Harris had the best campaign roll-out. Amy Klobuchar’s snowy debut showed grit. Elizabeth Warren’s opening campaign video was a bit odd. Take it from an unlikely armchair pundit sizing up the 2020 Democratic field: President Donald Trump.

Presidents traditionally ignore their potential opponents, but not Trump. He’s eager to shape the debate, sow discord and help position himself for the general election.

In tweets, public remarks and private conversations, Trump is making clear he is closely following the campaign to challenge him on the ballot in 2020. Facing no serious primary opponent of his own, he is establishing himself as an in-their-face observer of the Democratic Party’s nominating process — and he’s not being coy about weighing in.


The Latest: Aid group says 62 die fleeing IS in Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — The International Rescue Committee says more than 60 people have died in recent weeks after making their way out of the last area controlled by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria.

Spokesman Paul Donohoe says exhaustion and malnutrition are the principle causes of the deaths. He said Monday that at least 62 people died, two thirds of them children under the age of one. He says they either died along the way or soon after arriving at the camp.

Over 30,000 people who left the last IS-held areas have arrived at the al-Hol camp in Syria’s northern Hassakeh province in the last few weeks, raising the overall population of the camp to almost 42,000.

Kurdish-led forces continue to fight IS militants clinging to a tiny stretch of land.


China accuses Washington of trying to block development

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government has accused Washington of trying to block its industrial development after Vice President Mike Pence said Chinese tech giant Huawei and other telecom equipment suppliers are a security threat.

A foreign ministry spokesman said Monday that Beijing would not use its companies to gather information about foreign companies.

The spokesman, Geng Shuang, said Washington was trying to “fabricate an excuse for suppressing the legitimate development” of Chinese companies.

Pence, speaking Saturday in Germany, urged European governments to take seriously “the threat” posed by Huawei as they look for partners to build next-generation wireless infrastructure.

Huawei has denied accusations that it facilitates Chinese spying.


Sailor in iconic V-J Day Times Square kiss photo dies at 95

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The ecstatic sailor shown kissing a woman in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II has died. George Mendonsa was 95.

Mendonsa’s daughter, Sharon Molleur, told The Providence Journal Mendonsa fell and had a seizure Sunday at the assisted living facility in Middletown, Rhode Island, where he lived with his wife of 70 years.

Mendonsa was shown kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945. Known as V-J Day, it was the day Japan surrendered to the United States.

The photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century.

It was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Friedman died in 2016 at the age of 92.

Mendonsa died two days before his 96th birthday.


Ex-FBI official: Rosenstein “absolutely” backed Trump probes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe says Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was “absolutely” supportive of the decision to launch investigations into whether President Donald Trump was inappropriately aligned with the Russians or whether he had obstructed justice.

McCabe also said in an interview aired Sunday on “60 Minutes” that the FBI had good reason to investigate whether Trump was in league with Russia following the May 2017 firing of FBI Director James Comey.

McCabe cited what he said were Trump’s efforts to publicly undermine the investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment Sunday night.

In excerpts released last week by CBS News, McCabe also described a conversation about invoking the Constitution to remove Trump from office.


Haitians seek water, food as businesses reopen after protest

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Businesses and government offices are slowly reopening in Haiti after more than a week of violent demonstrations.

People began lining up to buy food, water and gas and public transportation resumed on Monday in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Crews were clearing barricaded streets where tens of thousands of Haitians had protested to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise amid anger over rising prices and and allegations of government corruption.

Moise has refused to step down, though his Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant said over the weekend some government budgets would be cut by 30 percent, and he vowed to investigate alleged misspending tied to a Venezuelan program that provided Haiti with subsidized oil.

However, schools remained closed on Monday amid concerns of more violence.


French judge refuses to block Catholic sex scandal movie

PARIS (AP) — A French judge has refused to block the release this week in French cinemas of a movie based on a Catholic sex scandal.

French director Francois Ozon’s film “Grace a Dieu” (“By the Grace of God”) won the Berlin Film Festival’s jury grand prize on Saturday. The movie portrays French priest Bernard Preynat, who has been accused of molesting dozens of boys during the 1980s and ’90s.

Preynat’s lawyers say the picture depicted allegations against their client as facts and should be blocked because it does not respect the presumption of innocence. Preynat is now facing charges.

Lawyer Emmanuel Mercinier told The Associated Press the judge ruled Monday that messages in the film noting that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty were enough.


7 lawmakers quit UK Labour Party over Brexit, anti-Semitism

LONDON (AP) — Seven British lawmakers say they are quitting the main opposition Labour Party over its approach to issues including Brexit and anti-Semitism.

Many Labour lawmakers are unhappy with the party’s direction under leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran socialist who took charge in 2015 with strong grass-roots backing.

They accuse him of mounting a weak opposition to the Conservative government’s plans for leaving the European Union, and of failing to stamp out a vein of anti-Jewish prejudice in the party.

Luciana Berger, one of those who announced Monday she is leaving, said Labour has become “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

The quitters are only a fraction of Labour’s 256 lawmakers. But this is the biggest split in the party since four senior members quit in 1981 to form the Social Democratic Party.


Abe mum on reports he nominated Trump for Nobel Peace Prize

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his chief spokesman have declined to say if Abe nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Abe noted while speaking in Parliament on Monday that the Nobel committee does not disclose the parties behind nominations for a half-century. He said, “I thus decline comment.”

The government’s top spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, told reporters that Japan highly valued Trump’s efforts on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, but he echoed Abe in refusing other comment.

Trump said Friday that Abe had nominated him, sending him a “beautiful copy” of a letter sent to the committee. That claim could not be immediately verified.

The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported on Sunday, citing unnamed government sources, that Abe nominated Trump’s at the president’s request.


UK lawmakers recommend stiffer social media regulation

NEW YORK (AP) — A parliamentary committee report is recommending that the United Kingdom government increase oversight of social media platforms like Facebook to better control harmful or illegal content.

A report published Sunday says social media sites should have to follow a mandatory code of ethics overseen by an independent regulator. The report called out Facebook in particular, saying that the site’s structure seems to be designed to “conceal knowledge of and responsibility for specific decisions.” The report expands on an earlier report by the committee issued in July .

Facebook did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

Facebook and other internet companies have been facing increased scrutiny over how they handle user data and have come under fire for not doing enough to stop misuse of their platforms by groups trying to sway elections.

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