Sen. Flake says GOP is ‘toast’ if it follows Trump, Moore

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a news conference, on Nov. 16, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala. (AP)
Updated 19 November 2017
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Sen. Flake says GOP is ‘toast’ if it follows Trump, Moore

PHOENIX: Republican US Sen. Jeff Flake was caught on an open microphone saying the GOP is “toast” if it follows President Donald Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
The Arizona senator was talking to the mayor of the Phoenix suburb of Mesa offstage Friday after speaking at a town hall session for aerospace company workers. He apparently didn’t know the microphone attached to his lapel was still on when he said , “(If we) become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast.”
TV stations at the event picked up his comment. Flake’s office told KNXV-TV that the senator said “if we” before the Phoenix station’s cameras started. Flake made a surprised expression when someone pointed out the microphone afterward.
He later tweeted a link to a story about the remark and said, “No news here. I’ve been saying this to anyone who will listen.”
Flake has been an outspoken critic of Trump and announced in a forceful speech on the Senate floor last month that he would not seek re-election next year. He acknowledged that he could not win a GOP primary in the current political climate.
Flake also has criticized Moore, who is facing allegations of sexual misconduct against teenage girls decades ago and calls to drop his bid for the US Senate. Flake said he would “vote for the Democrat” if he were in Alabama and had to choose between Moore and Democratic challenger Doug Jones.
In the exchange with Flake, Mesa Mayor John Giles appeared to tell the senator to run for higher office.
“I am not throwing smoke at you, but you’re the guy,” Giles said. “Just for fun, think about how much fun it would be, just to be the foil, you know, and point out what an idiot this guy is.”
Giles didn’t mention those comments in a statement to the TV station.
“As a lifelong conservative Republican, I am troubled when candidates like Roy Moore send the wrong message about my party’s ethics and policies,” he said.


Death toll from anti-Vedanta protests in south India rises to 13

Updated 24 May 2018
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Death toll from anti-Vedanta protests in south India rises to 13

TUTICORIN, India: A protester shot during demonstrations against a copper plant in southern India died of his injuries Thursday, officials said, the 13th victim killed by police fire.
A curfew remained in pockets of Tuticorin city in Tamil Nadu state where police used live ammunition to disperse protesters this week, provoking international outrage and demands for an immediate investigation.
Calls for the copper smelting plant owned by British mining giant Vedanta Resources to be closed had been building in recent months, with residents complaining it was polluting their city.
The resistance came to a head Tuesday when police stopped a crowd of thousands from protesting outside the factory.
Cars and buildings were set ablaze and rocks hurled at police, who responded with live fire. Eleven demonstrators were shot dead and many people injured in the melee, including 20 police.
Another protester died Wednesday when he was struck by rubber bullets in a second day of protests.
The latest victim died in hospital Thursday, two days after being injured, doctors said.
“He was brought in a critical condition with bullet injuries and died today,” a doctor at the local hospital said.
The chief minister of Tamil Nadu has ordered an inquiry but defended the actions of police, which the state’s opposition leader called “mass murder.”
“The police have a duty during protests to maintain law and order, but lethal force can only be used if there is an imminent threat to life,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said.
“Tamil Nadu authorities need to carry out a prompt and credible investigation to determine if police used excessive force.”
Internet services have been blocked across the city for five days. Police justified the blackout to stop the spread of information that could incite further violence as they search for those behind Tuesday’s arson attacks.
Environmentalists and locals say the factory contaminates water and air, claims its owners deny.
The company has sought to renew the license of the temporarily non-operational plant and hopes to double its production capacity.
But a state court Wednesday ordered that it cease any further construction at the new site.
The ruling came just hours after Tamil Nadu’s pollution board ordered the existing plant be shut and its power supply cut until a verdict is made on its licensing application.