Posted on Leave a comment

Prince George’s birthday photos were taken by his mom

London (CNN)Kensington Palace has released a new series of photos to mark Prince George’s sixth birthday on Monday.

In the first snap, the young prince can be seen donning an England football shirt as he lies playfully in the garden of his London home in Kensington Palace. A second photograph shows George wearing the same shirt, smiling gleefully at the camera.

In the third photo, the future king is seen outdoors in front of a leafy backdrop, wearing blue and white striped shorts and a green polo shirt.

    Kensington Palace confirmed that all the photos were taken by his mother in the gardens of Kensington Palace and while on holiday with family.

    Prince George Alexander Louis, who was born July 22, 2013 at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, is the oldest child of Britain’s Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

    He made his first appearance in front of the world’s media only hours after Catherine gave birth, when she posed for photographs on the steps of the hospital’s private Lindo Wing.

    George is currently third in line to the British throne, behind his father and grandfather, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

    If he, as expected, one day becomes king, following the reigns of Charles and William, he will be the 43rd monarch since William the Conqueror.

    Prince George was a page boy at the wedding of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle in October 2018.

    George was most recently seen playing alongside his siblings, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, at the Billingbear Polo Club in Berkshire.

    It was the first time that the young royals were seen interacting with their newborn cousin, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

    George was also seen on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, for the Trooping the Colour ceremony in June. The military parade is performed by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies to mark the monarch’s official birthday.

    The young royal was equally given a leading role at the wedding of Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, to Jack Brooksbank in October 2018. He served as a page boy at their nuptials, which took place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

    Prince George met President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at Kensington Palace in 2016.

    Yet the most memorable image of the future king to date was arguably his encounter with President Barack Obama at Kensington Palace in 2016, where he was seen shaking hands with the former American leader while dressed in pajamas and a robe.

      George currently attends Thomas’s Battersea school in south London, where he has just completed year one. In September he will move into year two, the final year of the Lower School before he moves into the Middle School. He will also be joined at the school by his younger sister, Princess Charlotte, in September.

      Yearly fees at the school amount to 19,287 pounds ($24,113) for a single child, and 18,915 pounds ($23,648) for a second.

      Posted on Leave a comment

      Hong Kong protests: Armed mob storms Yuen Long station

      Crowd of men in white T-shirts at Yuen Long MTR station in Hong KongImage copyright
      Reuters

      Image caption

      A large group of men in white T-shirts stormed Yuen Long station

      A mob of masked men armed with batons stormed a train station in the Hong Kong district of Yuen Long on Sunday.

      Footage posted on social media showed the men, all in white T-shirts, violently attacking people on platforms and inside train carriages.

      At least 36 people were injured in the violence, local media report.

      The mob attack followed the latest pro-democracy rally in the centre of Hong Kong, where riot police had fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.

      It is unclear who the mob were or what the motives for the attack were.

      In a statement, the government said that in Yuen Long “some people congregated at the platforms of the MTR station and train compartments, attacking commuters”.

      “This is absolutely unacceptable to Hong Kong as a society that observes the rule of law. The SAR [Special Administrative Region] Government strongly condemns any violence and will seriously take enforcement actions.”

      Hong Kong Police also said: “Some people attacked commuters at the platforms of the Yuen Long MTR station and train compartments, resulting in multiple injuries.”

      The mob stormed Yuen Long MTR station at about 22:30 local time (14:30 GMT), hours after clashes betrween protestors and police in the Sheung Wan area earlier in the day.

      Yuen Long is a more remote district of Hong Kong, and is far away from the site of the main pro-democracy protests.

      What happened at the rally earlier on Sunday?

      Riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in Hong Kong at a large pro-democracy rally, and charged demonstrators who threw objects at police lines.

      The protest route was altered with protesters told to stop at Wan Chai rather than Central, where the key government offices are located.

      Some 4,000 police officers were deployed.

      Bonnie Leung from the Civil Human Rights Front urged Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to “stop turning a deaf ear to the Hong Kong people’s demands”.

      Organisers of Sunday’s protest say more than 430,000 people took part but police put the figure at 138,000.

      Media playback is unsupported on your device

      Media captionTear gas fired at Hong Kong pro-democracy protest

      Mass protests have been held for weeks, initially over an extradition deal with mainland China but now covering other issues on democracy in Hong Kong.

      Late on Sunday, riot police equipped with masks and shields were seen swarming towards protesters close to a ferry terminal on the main island.

      Images outside of the liaison office, China’s central government building, show signs covered in graffiti. One of the slogans reads: “You taught us peaceful marches are useless.”

      Image copyright
      AFP

      Image caption

      Protesters threw eggs at the Liaison office’s sign on Sunday

      Some protesters also covered the CCTV cameras outside a police station with spray paint.

      The latest rally was put on edge after a huge haul of explosives was found along with protest leaflets.

      On Saturday, a counter-rally in support of the police and against protest violence drew tens of thousands.

      Tear-gas, rubber bullets, the trashing of parliament by protesters and sporadic clashes have created the worst crisis in the territory’s recent history.

      The Hong Kong government has since suspended trying to pursue the extradition bill.

      Media playback is unsupported on your device

      Media captionThe BBC’s Stephen McDonell was amid the pro-democracy protesters as tear gas began to be fired

      The former British colony is part of China but run under a “one country, two systems” arrangement that guarantees it a level of autonomy. It has its own judiciary, and a legal system that is independent from mainland China.

      What was Saturday’s counter-protest about?

      It took place in the central Hong Kong district of Admiralty on Saturday, attracting 103,000 people according to police, but more than 300,000 according to organisers.

      Media playback is unsupported on your device

      Media caption“You are fake news” – BBC correspondent heckled live on air during Saturday’s rally

      It was themed “Safeguard Hong Kong”. The South China Morning Post said attendees included locals, mainland immigrants, members of ethnic minorities and visitors from across the border.

      The rally, which won coverage in Chinese state media, focused on support for the police and condemnation of the violence that has marred pro-democracy rallies.

      Views differed, however, on how the Hong Kong government had tackled the crisis.

      How did this wave of protests start?

      They were sparked by the proposed extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to China for trial.

      Critics said it would undermine Hong Kong’s judicial independence and could be used to target those who spoke out against the Chinese government.

      The Hong Kong government suspended the bill, but this has not halted the demonstrations, which now reflect broader demands for democratic reform and concerns that freedoms are being eroded.

      Media playback is unsupported on your device

      Media captionHong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said there is “no plan” to continue with the bill but this has not convinced critics
      Posted on Leave a comment

      Father of 6 killed after wave breaks his neck

      (CNN)A father of six has died after a wave struck him on a North Carolina beach and slammed him to the sand, breaking his neck, his wife said on Twitter.

      Lee Dingle, 37, was playing on Oak Island’s beach with three of his kids Thursday when the wave hit him, Shannon Dingle said. The force of the impact broke his neck and made his throat swell so much that his brain was deprived of oxygen for too long to recover, she said.

      He died a day later despite the efforts of some heroes, including their kids, to try to save him, she said.

      “My partner, my love, and my home died today after a freak accident,”

      Shannon Hope Dingle said Friday

      .

        “We met when I was 18 and he was 19, and we’ve been together ever since. I wasn’t supposed to be saying goodbye at 37. I don’t know how to be a grown up without him, but I’ll learn. I just wish I didn’t have to,” she said.

        Oak Island Water Rescue

        said on Facebook

        that it and other agencies provided emergency care to Dingle within minutes of the accident but he did not survive.

        Dingle was the president of Atlas Engineering in Raleigh, North Carolina, a company that specializes in solving structural problems and repairing other damage at buildings, its

        website says

        . Atlas Engineering senior partner Tom Caldwell said Dingle had been promoted to president just two weeks before his death.

        Caldwell praised Dingle’s “big heart” and said he and his wife were raising six children, including four who were adopted.

        “Lee was calm, friendly, humble, and very, very capable. He always put others ahead of himself,” Caldwell said. “His kind do not come along often. We will miss him terribly.”

        Another coworker, chief engineer and executive vice president Chris Coutu, lamented the tragic death.

        “He was a dream employee and coworker, a good friend, a loving, dedicated father, and a wonderfully kind person,” Coutu said in an email.

        “He was brave, calm, and reassuring; he was somebody one would want around when conditions were dangerous or chaotic. He will be greatly missed,” he added.

        In addition, Dingle worked as a collapse rescue engineer with the the North Carolina Emergency Managment. He also was on the Urban Search and Rescue squad that goes into collapsed or burning buildings to rescue trapped people and recover those who had died, including at the

        recent gas explosions in Durham

        , Caldwell said.

        Dingle had

        15 years of experience

        and graduated from North Carolina State University in 2004 with a degree in civil engineering.

          In 2016 the Dingle family was featured in a

          story by CNN affiliate WTVD

          that explored their efforts to modify a van to accommodate their daughter Zoe, who has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair. Although they qualified for state funding for vehicle modifications, they struggled to get the state to approve money to cover the bill, WTVD reported.

          After their story was published, a local resident stepped up to provide the needed equipment,

          WTVD wrote

          .

          CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.

          Posted on Leave a comment

          Architect Cesar Pelli dies after a storied career designing iconic buildings

          From the United States to Malaysia, Cesar Pelli’s legacy looms large in skylines around the world.

          The famed architect, known for his innovative skyscrapers and use of colored glass, died at the age of 92.

          “It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of our founder, mentor, and great friend, César,” his business partner

          Fred W. Clarke

          tweeted Sunday.

          “He was a gifted architect and teacher, two callings he effortlessly combined as one. I am profoundly grateful to my great friend and partner.”

          Cesar Pelli won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for designing the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

          Cesar Pelli won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for designing the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Credit: Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Getty Images

          The Argentine-born architect amassed more than 300 awards and 13 honorary degrees during his illustrious career,

          his firm’s website

          says.

          Among his most famous works: the

          colorful Pacific Design Center

          in West Hollywood, California, and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which won him the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

          The Pacific Design Center in California opened in 1975, but is still viewed as an example of cutting-edge architecture.

          The Pacific Design Center in California opened in 1975, but is still viewed as an example of cutting-edge architecture. Credit: RobynBeck/AFP/Getty Images

          Pelli also designed New York’s World Financial Center, now called Brookfield Place.

          The glass-enclosed Winter Garden greenhouse is a highlight of Pelli's World Financial Center in Manhattan, now called Brookfield Place.

          The glass-enclosed Winter Garden greenhouse is a highlight of Pelli’s World Financial Center in Manhattan, now called Brookfield Place. Credit: VW Pics/Universal Images Group Editorial/Universal Images Group via Getty

          But much of Pelli’s legacy endures not in his buildings, but in his teachings.

          He served as dean of Yale University’s School of Architecture in 1977 to 1984 and wrote several books on his approach to architecture.

          “Mr. Pelli has avoided formalistic preconceptions in his designs,” his firm’s website says.

          ‘”He believes that buildings should be responsible citizens, and the aesthetic qualities of a building should grow from the specific characteristics of each project, such as its location, construction technology, and purpose.”

          Pelli designed the Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan, Italy.

          Pelli designed the Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan, Italy. Credit: Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

          Architecture critics like Paul Goldberger credited Pelli with advancing the designs of modern skyscrapers.

          “Very sad to hear of the death of Cesar Pelli, at 92,”

          Goldberger

          tweeted.

          “He was a warm and gracious man, a civilizing presence in his life and his work, an architect of great dignity and lively creativity who did as much as anyone in the last generation to evolve the form of the skyscraper.”

          Posted on Leave a comment

          Samantha Vinograd: Trump and the Ayatollah — the odd couple

          Samantha Vinograd is a CNN national security analyst. She served on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council from 2009 to 2013 and at the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush. Follow her @sam_vinograd. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion articles on CNN.

          (CNN)When it comes to Iran, it’s important to look at who’s talking.

           Sam Vinograd

          As tensions with Iran ratchet up, the need to identify lines of direct communication is increasing. While officials in Iran contend with their own internal politics, they are also probably trying to determine whether President Donald Trump is a man of his word when he says that the United States is

          prepared to talk

          to the regime. His history of capriciousness when it comes to deal-making and deal-breaking — coupled with a perception that no one is really empowered to speak on his behalf — is probably giving the Iranians even more pause as they publicly and perhaps disingenuously lay out avenues for de-escalation.

          Of course, Trump isn’t the only potential obstacle. Just like in the United States, there is one true

          commander in chief

          in Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, and he’s thus far refused Trump’s offers to talk. If Trump is intent on a near-term tensions truce and a longer-term nuclear negotiation, he must convince the Supreme Leader that taking a chance on the US, again, isn’t a fool’s errand.

            Break bad habits

            Revisiting and restarting nuclear negotiations would require credibility and patience, two things Trump isn’t exactly known for. Because he’s tarnished American credibility by backing out of the Iran deal, the Iranians are probably wary that the US signing on the dotted line will last beyond Trump’s latest mood swing. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as JCPOA, took years of careful negotiations, first behind the scenes and then publicly, to hammer out. New nuclear negotiations would take time, even when experts have been empowered to hammer out difficult details.

            How Donald Trump created one hell of a mess with Iran

            But the Iranians know their audience, and it’s an audience of one. Kim Jong Un just had to send Trump a letter to get him to jump from threatening fire and fury to falling in love, and everyone knows that Trump responds to public displays of affection. It is probably no accident that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif floated a potential deal with the US in front of reporters. His offer to

            ratify

            the JCPOA Additional Protocol in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions isn’t much, substantively, because Iran is

            already observing

            the additional protocol. But the public nature of his offer is probably geared toward grabbing the President’s penchant for negotiating and posturing in front of the media — and may be an opening salvo in trying to give Trump something that he can say he got from Iran.

            Message in a bottle

            Though the United States may be eager to curb Iran’s accelerating nuclear activities, the President needs to do something out of character and speak with his intelligence community about the source of Iran’s latest offer for a deal. Zarif floated this offer, but it’s unclear whether he speaks on behalf of the Supreme Leader or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

            How Donald Trump pushed Iran to the bomb

            The Supreme Leader holds all the

            reins of power

            in Iran — including control of the military — and he, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Zarif have been on different pages in the past. Zarif even tendered his

            resignation

            — which was rejected — after months of pressure with hardliners in the Iranian government and after he was excluded from meetings with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As Iran’s primary negotiator with during the Iran deal negotiations, he probably took a lot of flak for the US withdrawal and re-imposition of sanctions.

            Just like Trump doesn’t mind throwing his own team under the bus, the Supreme Leader has

            publicly chastised

            Rouhani and his team (including Zarif) for crossing red lines during negotiations and more recently for the implementation of the

            nuclear deal

            . Any message from Zarif and Rouhani to negotiate must be assessed against Khamenei’s disdain and distrust of the United States.

            Paul’s peace offering

            Although Trump has said that former US Secretary of State

            John Kerry

            acted illegally by speaking with Zarif, the President initially said he knew nothing about Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s engagement with Zarif. However, a day later, Trump confirmed that Paul is involved in

            diplomatic talks

            with Iran.

            Paul is not known for his diplomacy within the US government, let alone with hostile foreign powers, and he has no known history with or special knowledge of Iran. The State Department has taken the lead in past negotiations with Iran, and it’s unclear with whom Paul is coordinating within the executive branch, other than perhaps Trump. Zarif may view Paul as a tempering influence over Trump — Paul’s been on record

            opposing intervention

            in Iran — and a useful interlocutor in that regard.

            But the confusing cacophony of other US government voices on Iran may leave the Iranians wary of engaging with anyone but Trump, if they really do want to de-escalate. Other Trump allies in Congress, like

            South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham

            , have warned about an overwhelming US military response against Iran. Within the executive branch, it’s hard to keep track of who has the latest instructions from the President. National Security Adviser John Bolton has made policy statements on Iran that have

            differed

            from the President’s, including when he said the US would stay in Syria and fight Iran.

            The President has called his own intelligence community extremely

            passive and naive

            when it gave its public assessment of threats from Iran. He attributed his decision to call off strikes against Iran on

            last-minute input

            from the Department of Defense, rather than his own change of heart.

              Trump’s ever-changing policies toward Iran are also a cause for confusion. His initial diatribes that the Iran deal was a failure because it covered only nuclear weapons, not other activities like ballistic missile development, have now shifted to his saying that he wants to talk with Iran just about nuclear weapons.

              US officials will need to look at who’s talking when it comes to assessing Iranian offers to talk. Because the Iranians are probably distrustful of Trump and unclear whether anyone is authorized to actually speak on behalf of him, factions within the Iranian power structure may try to appeal to Trump’s preference for publicity and float superficially substantial offers that he can use to back down. But, if we’re really serious, the President will have to break some bad habits and clearly identify someone to speak on his behalf publicly and, more important, behind the scenes, where the real action happens.

              Posted on Leave a comment

              The Open 2019: Five key holes that gave Shane Lowry victory at Royal Portrush

              Watch the key moments in the battle between Ireland’s Shane Lowry and England’s Tommy Fleetwood in the final round of The Open at Royal Portrush, which led to Lowry winning his first major.

              WATCH MORE: Fleetwood, Fowler & Reed in best shots from day four

              WATCH MORE: ‘What a moment’ – Watch Shane Lowry seal his first major at The Open

              Available to UK users only

              Posted on Leave a comment

              Trump may not be done with Jeff Sessions quite yet. Here’s why

              Washington (CNN)Here are the stories our panel of top political reporters will be watching for in the week ahead, in today’s “Inside Politics” forecast.

              1. Trump blocking Sessions Senate bid?

              President Donald Trump may not be done with Jeff Sessions quite yet.

              Some Republicans want Sessions to run for his old Senate seat next year — the one he resigned from for an ill-fated stint as Trump’s attorney general. It’s currently held by Democrat Doug Jones, who won it only after three women alleged his Republican opponent had sexually abused them when they were teenagers decades ago.

                That opponent, Roy Moore, is running again. And national Republicans are desperate to stop him in the primary, CNN’s Manu Raju said, adding that Sessions would be a natural choice, if not for his contentious relationship with the President.

                “Top Republican officials tell me they don’t expect Sessions to run for his old Senate seat, and there’s one reason why,” Raju said. “President Trump does not want him to run again. He actually had a conversation with (Alabama’s other senator) Richard Shelby, who told me last week that the President told him he’s ‘not on board.’ The President is still angry about Sessions as attorney general and his recusal from overseeing the Russia investigation. And the President, as we know, harbors grudges.”

                2. Pelosi’s budget test

                The Trump administration says the US Treasury could bump up against the debt limit in a matter of weeks, but with Congress set to adjourn for its summer recess this week, they only have a few days to reach a new spending deal.

                Time’s Molly Ball said it’s a big test for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

                “The biggest challenge she’s facing is not how she handles ‘The Squad’ or impeachment or (former special counsel Robert) Mueller or anything else,” Ball said. “It’s can she get a budget deal that funds the government and raises the debt ceiling? This is a real high-wire act.”

                Ball said Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been talking every day, but there’s still no deal.

                “This coming week is the moment of truth. It’s a question of can Pelosi get her caucus onboard with something congressional Republicans are willing to agree to? And of course the biggest question mark always is, will the President go along with it, or will he blow it up at the last minute?”

                3. Another Iran deadline approaches

                With tensions escalating between Iran and the West, Trump has a big decision to make in the next week — whether to grant waivers that would allow Iran to continue work on its civil nuclear program.

                “I’m watching the August 1 deadline,” Politico’s Eliana Johnson said, which is when the administration must decide whether to extend those waivers.

                “There is a lot of pressure from Iran hawks inside the administration to stop issuing them. If it does, that will inflame tensions between the two nations even further.”

                4. Democrats aim to boost African American turnout

                One of the reasons Hillary Clinton fell short of an Electoral College victory in 2016 was falling African American turnout in key states. It’s a trend Democrats will try to reverse in 2020, and NPR’s Asma Khalid said they’ll have two big chances this week to try.

                “There is the NAACP convention in Detroit and the Urban League in Indianapolis,” Khalid said. “That really interests me because I think there’s been a lot of talk about how Democrats in 2020 could win back the heartland, win back some of those midwestern states. And one part of doing that is actually boosting African American turnout that wasn’t there in 2016.”

                Khalid said she’s particularly curious to see how two 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, do.

                “There’s some questions about how much they can reach out to African American voters, and that’ll be really important for any Democrat in 2020,” she said.

                5. CNN debate crossroads

                And from CNN Chief National Correspondent John King:

                Next week’s CNN debates are a crossroads for at least half the crowded Democratic field — perhaps a chance to make a new beginning, but perhaps the beginning of the end.

                The bar will be higher for an invitation to round three: 2% in four credible national or early primary state polls, and 130,000 unique individual campaign donors.

                Only six candidates have already met the criteria: Biden, Buttigieg, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke.

                Three have met one of the two tests: New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

                So the number of candidates on stage come September could be 10 or fewer; 20 candidates qualified for the first and second debates.

                The higher bar raises the CNN Debates stakes for those struggling at the bottom of the field. The line from most is they plan to soldier on regardless, but being excluded from the debates will only exacerbate the challenge of raising money and climbing in the polls.

                Among those hoping for a breakthrough is one of the earliest candidates in the race, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.

                “I’m on stage with Sen. Sanders and Sen. Warren,” Delaney told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Friday. “I think I can make the case very strongly that those folks are engaging in class warfare, promising everything for free. Running on things like ‘Medicare for All,’ which is not good policy. And if we do that, we’ll put Trump on a glidepath to reelection.”

                  Delaney denied this past week a report that senior campaign staffers had advised him to quit the race soon barring some dramatic breakthrough. To reinforce his point, Delaney released an aggressive Iowa schedule for the days following next week’s debates. He insists he is in the race at least until Iowa votes in February.

                  But if that breakthrough doesn’t come in the second debates, Delaney will be among a long list of candidates making an assessment of whether a continued campaign is viable without the visibility provided by the debate stage.

                  Posted on Leave a comment

                  Venezuela fighter jet made ‘unsafe’ approach to our aircraft, US says

                  Washington (CNN)A Venezuelan fighter aircraft recently made an “unsafe approach” to a US Navy aircraft flying in international airspace, “endangering the safety of the crew and jeopardizing” the aircraft’s mission, the US military said Sunday.

                  The incident, which occurred on Friday, involved a “Russian-made” SU-30 Flanker Venezuelan fighter aircraft and a US Navy EP-3 Aries II aircraft conducting a “detection and monitoring” mission, US Southern Command said in a statement. In a Sunday

                  tweet,

                  the Southern Command said the incident happened in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea.

                  “After reviewing video documentation, we have determined the Russian-made fighter aggressively shadowed the EP-3 at an unsafe distance in international airspace for a prolonged period of time, endangering the safety of the crew and jeopardizing the EP-3 mission,” the statement read.

                  Venezuela’s military weighed in Sunday, denouncing the US aircraft for violating “security of air operations and international treaties.”

                    The military reported that Venezuelan strategic high command “proceeded to intercept the aircraft through two airplanes of the Bolivarian Air Force with the intention of applying the international protocols established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). As the US aircraft did not comply with such protocols, it was forced to vacate (the Venezuelan airspace).”

                    The incident comes several months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro became engaged in a power struggle with opposition leader and self-declared interim president of

                    Venezuela Juan Guaido, who the US has thrown support behind.

                    Trump admin seeking to get money to Venezuela's Guaido

                    Southern Command said in its statement that the “Maduro regime continues to undermine internationally-recognized laws and demonstrate its contempt for international agreements authorizing the U.S. and other nations to safely conduct flights in international airspace.”

                    “Despite the Venezuelan people’s suffering, his nation’s vital infrastructure crumbling, and children starving, Maduro chooses to use his country’s precious resources to engage in unprovoked and unjustified acts,” the Southern Command said.

                      According to Venezuela, more than 76 US aircraft have attempted to enter Venezuelan airspace in 2019.

                      Last month,

                      a Russian aircraft intercepted a US aircraft

                      flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea three times in just under three hours. And in May, the

                      US intercepted two Russian bombers

                      and fighter jets off the coast of Alaska over the course of two days.

                      Stefano Pozzebon in Caracas, Venezuela, contributed to this report.

                      Posted on Leave a comment

                      Tainted alcohol has killed 19 in Costa Rica

                      (CNN)Nineteen people have died from consuming alcohol tainted with toxic levels of methanol in Costa Rica, where the Ministry of Health issued a national alert.

                      Fourteen men and five women ranging from 32 to 72 years old have died in several cities across the country since the beginning of June, the ministry said.

                      The government has confiscated about 30,000 bottles of alcohol suspected to be tainted, affecting several brands.

                      The

                      Ministry of Health advised

                      against consuming alcohol from a number of brands because samples had tested positive for methanol adulteration.

                        Adulterated liquor often contains methanol, which can make people feel inebriated. Adding methanol to distilled spirits enables sellers to increase the amount of liquid and its potential potency, according to

                        SafeProof

                        , a group that lobbies against counterfeit alcohol.

                        Toxic moonshine kills 154 people and leaves hundreds hospitalized in India

                        Methanol poisoning can cause confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and the inability to coordinate muscle movements. Even small amounts can be toxic.

                        According to

                        the World Health Organization

                        , outbreaks of methanol poisoning are usually linked to “adulterated counterfeit or informally-produced spirit drinks.”

                        Outbreaks have hit countries around the world in recent years, each ranging in size from 20 to over 800 victims, WHO reports.

                          This year, at least 154 people died and more than 200 others were hospitalized after

                          drinking tainted alcohol in India

                          . The victims consumed unregulated moonshine, known as “country-made liquor” in the northeast state of Assam.

                          Health authorities in Costa Rica have called on the public to exercise caution when consuming alcohol.

                          Posted on Leave a comment

                          ‘The Lion King’ rules the global box office

                          New York (CNN Business)Disney’s “The Lion King” blew past industry expectations with a huge box office opening this weekend.

                          The film, which is a reboot of

                          the studio’s

                          1994 animated classic, has made an estimated $531 million worldwide in 10 days of release. That includes an estimated $185 million opening this weekend in North America. Analysts had projected that the film would make around $150 million for its domestic opening.

                          The Lion King

                          ” also made $98 million in China — the world’s second largest movie market.

                          Directed by Jon Favreau, “The Lion King” has an all star cast that includes Beyoncé, Donald Glover, John Oliver and Seth Rogen all lending their voice work to the film.

                            The film is the 9th highest-grossing opening ever, the biggest opening for the month of July and for a PG-rated film. “The Lion King” was also the second highest-grossing opening of the year behind “

                            Avengers: Endgame

                            ,” which this weekend passed ‘Avatar’ as the

                            biggest box-office blockbuster ever

                            .

                            “The Lion King” is another huge hit for Disney. The company has dominated the 2019 box office and now owns five of the top ten highest-grossing films of the year.

                            “‘The Lion King’ had a perfect release date, great marketing and above all boasts iconic characters that have resonated with audiences around the world for over two decades,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at

                            Comscore (SCOR)

                            , told CNN Business.

                            The film brings to life the animals of Pride Rock using photo realistic visual effects. It won the weekend despite bad reviews — the film has a 55% score on review site Rotten Tomatoes.

                              Audiences were more favorable. “The Lion King” garnered an “A” CinemaScore from moviegoers.

                              “The Lion King” gave a much needed boost to the

                              domestic box office

                              , which has been struggling so far this year. The 2019 North American box office was down roughly 9% heading into Friday. Because of “The Lion King,” this weekend’s box office totals were up roughly 51% compared to the same weekend last year, according to Comscore.