Clinton’s horse tiring down the Kentucky stretch?

Voting is under way in the Democratic primary in Kentucky with Hillary Clinton fighting to “avoid another show  of weakness” as the focus increasingly turns to the general election with Clinton maintaining her delegate lead, according to the New York Times. To Clinton’s advantage, Kentucky is a closed primary. Her opponent Bernie Sanders generally performs better in open primaries and caucuses.

Both parties also vote in the state of Oregon today (it’s a mail-in primary and voting has already been open for 16 days).

Joseph Gerth wrote recently at the Louisville Courier-Journal:

There is no doubt that there is significant appetite for [Bernie] Sanders’ brand of democratic socialism, especially in the state’s liberal strongholds like Louisville and Lexington where some Democrats have grown weary of Democratic politicians moving to the right in order to not alienate more conservative independent voters.

But Clinton’s problems also lie elsewhere in the state, particularly the coalfields where Obama performed so poorly and where Republicans have blamed him for conducting a “war on coal,” while conveniently forgetting the market and geological forces that have made it so expensive to dig up carbon in Kentucky.

Meanwhile, a new national poll shows Mrs Clinton holding a slim national lead over presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Plus ca change..

Meanwhile,

Finally, in a year where campaign trail slip-ups seem to carry less weight than usual it will be interesting to see if this has any impact in Virginia’s 8th congressional district…

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MEDIA

One shake-up could be in the offing at the BBC…

while another already is..

Finally, well, er, yeah…

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SPORTS

Manchester United host Bournemouth tonight in the final game of the Premier League season, which was postponed on Saturday after the dummy bomb scare fiasco. United will finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League if they can win 19-0.

and to keep things in perspective a little…

 

 

 

Venezuela ‘sliding into chaos’

As President Nicolas Maduro declared a state of emergency and hinted at the state seizure of factories, Venezuela appears to be descending into chaos, with US intelligence officials warning that “you can hear the ice cracking”. And the dangerous situation is unfolding amid unrest on the streets and a worsening public health crisis.

Moses Naim and Francisco Toro, writing in The Atlantic last week, see a bleak immediate outlook:

When a state is in the process of collapse, dimensions of decay feed back on each other in an intractable cycle. Populist giveaways, for example, have fed the country’s ruinous flirtation with hyperinflation; the International Monetary Fund now projects that prices will rise by 720 percent this year and 2,200 percent in 2017. The government virtually gives away gasoline for free, even after having raised the price earlier this year. As a result of this and similar policies, the state is chronically short of funds, forced to print ever more money to finance its spending. Consumers, flush with cash and chasing a dwindling supply of goods, are caught in an inflationary spiral.

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WORLD

The Brexit referendum campaign continues to heat up on both sides.

In other global statesmanship news…

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MEDIA

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SPORTS

England manager Roy Hodgson announces his Euro 2016 squad this morning.

Isn’t that, er, a bit rich..?

As he hosts a global anti-corruption summit – which got plenty of advance publicity through his hot mic comments  – Prime Minister David Cameron is promising a “crackdown” on money laundering through Britain’s property market. But is more fundamental change needed?

Jeffrey Sachs writes in The Guardian:

The UK and the US are at center of the system of global abuse. Britain created the modern world of global finance in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and Wall Street became co-leader with the City of London after the second world war. In both countries, hundreds of thousands of lawyers, bankers, hedge fund operators, politicians, accountants and regulators have consciously built a system of global tax havens of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich that now hosts more than $20tn (yes, trillion) of funds hiding from taxes, law authorities, environmental regulation and accountability.

corrupt

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WORLD

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is preparing to be suspended from office today while impeachment proceedings against her run their course. Senators debated overnight and into early Thursday, but it appeared likely that she would leave office – having apparently already recorded a farewell message to the Brazilian people.

Scores of people were killed in twin bomb attacks in Iraq – the country’ worst this year.

 

Meanwhile, in WTAF news today…

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BUSINESS

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MEDIA

A big day in store for the BBC with the publication of Culture Secretary John Whittingdale’s White Paper on Corporation’s charter renewal and future structure.

Some considerable kerfuffle, including potential legal action, over the proposed TV “debates” ahead of the June 23rd Brexit referendum.

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SPORTS

Max Scherzer equalled a major league record last night, striking out 20 batters in the Washington Nationals’ win over the Detroit Tigers.

In the Premier League, Sunderland’s 3-0 win over Everton relegated their north-east rivals Newcastle United, along with Norwich City.

I guess he’s right. For next season at least…

 

 

Brazil teeters, again

Amid widespread confusion and uncertainty, Brazil’s Senate apparently remains set to vote  on Wednesday to open hearings on the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. But procedural chaos and street demonstrations still swirl around the highest office.

The Washington Post reports:

Rousseff’s recourse to the dark history of military rule might seem odd in today’s Brazil, a modern democracy where the armed forces keep their distance from politics. And while legal experts disagree on the technical grounds for impeachment, her narrative has fallen flat with the majority of Brazilians who, outraged by a wide-reaching corruption scandal and a deep economic recession, want her out.

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WORLD

With his time in office counting down, President Obama will later this month become the first sitting US President to visit Hiroshima.

The President of Nigeria was apparently “shocked” after British Prime Minister David Cameron was caught on a hot mic telling the Queen that Nigeria and Afghanistan are “fantastically corrupt.” Cameron is set to host representatives of both governments this week for – yes, you guessed it – an anti-corruption summit.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, Her Maj herself got caught on a hot mic later…

 

New London Mayor Sadiq Khan won’t be anyone’s “exception”.

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SPORT

West Ham United’s final game at their Boleyn Ground stadium was delayed by 45 minutes after the bus carrying their opponents, Manchester United, was apparently attacked by some of the thousands of fans who had gathered on the streets surrounding the ground.

When it eventually kicked off, it was quite a match…

(looks like this video has now been removed)

 

EU debate heats up as Cameron turns to national security

Prime Minister David Cameron is set to ramp up the rhetoric – if such a thing were possible – in the debate over Britain’s impending ‘Brexit’ referendum, when he warns this morning that leaving the EU would adversely affect Britain’s security position. Shockingly, the speech comes after former heads of security services MI5 and MI6 publicly said something similar.

But hang on a minute…

Is it all working, though?

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WORLD

Representatives of the government and junior doctors are set to meet today to discuss the areas of dispute over contracts which have led to industrial action in recent months.

In Canada, the forest fire that has devastated the Alberta town of Fort McMurray may be finally close to being under control.

In Pyongyang..

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MEDIA

Meanwhile, one BBC old boy is back on the box…

Interesting – if hardly surprising – research on information flows…

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CULTURE

Finally..

 

Sadiq Khan elected London Mayor

Sadiq Khan, a human rights lawyer and the son of a Pakistani bus driver, has been elected Mayor of London, the first Muslim to hold the office and the first Muslim to become Mayor of a European capital city. The 45-year-old Labour candidate defeated Tory – and billionaire’s son – Zac Goldsmith by 57% to 43% in the race to succeed Boris Johnson.

Khan’s victory saw him secure the biggest personal mandate in British political history, outstripping Johnson’s 2008 record, with a landslide 1,310,143 votes.

 

 

 

Tories make early gains in Scotland

3am London: Counting is under way in local elections across Britain. There were early gains for the Conservatives in Scotland, while the London mayoral election was predicted to be Labour’s “lone bright spot” among the contests.

There was some confusion over voting in the London borough of Barnet, and the BBC reported that an investigation is being conducted.

Earlier: 

and elsewhere,

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WORLD

Ohio Gov. John Kasich withdrew from the GOP presidential race. His last – remote – possibility of a contested convention effectively ended yesterday when Sen Ted Cruz suspended his campaign after losing comprehensively to Donald Trump in the Indiana primary.

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MEDIA

Oh well, there’s a surprise.

 

 

Trump set for nomination after win in Indiana; Cruz quits

Donald Trump comfortably won the Republican primary in Indiana, marking the end of the challenge by Sen Ted Cruz and the #NeverTrump movement that had sought to deny the presidential nomination to the controversial billionaire.

NYDNGOPdead

With Cruz’s withdrawal, Trump’s path to becoming his party’s nominee and a non-contested convention is now clear. Polls show him set to perform well in upcoming primaries in New Jersey and California. Matt Yglesias writes at Vox:

All this means he will probably secure a majority of delegates by early June when the last states have voted — and so he’ll win on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention.

But even more to the point, there is simply no sign that even if he does fall slightly short of an outright delegate majority, the party will try to meaningfully contest the convention. There are a handful of Republican Party leaders who are fundamentally opposed to Trump, but they are genuinely few and far between. The vast majority of GOP elected officials don’t think nominating Trump is a good idea, but they have no intention at this point of doing anything to stop it from happening.

No.

Not so fast, though…

Puerto Rico’s debt crisis may worsen

Puerto Rico’s default today on a roughly $400 million bond payment could be “just the beginning,” its Governor warned, invoking a repayment moratorium and urging congress to act on legislation to restructure the debt of the US Commonwealth.

Here’s a good explainer of how things got to this point…

Meanwhile…

Obama out…

A very laid back President Obama appeared at his eighth and final White House Correspondents’ Dinner last night.

And he took the opportunity to roast the Republican front-runner to replace him.

“Well let me conclude tonight on a more serious note. I want to thank the Washington press corps,” Obama said. “The free press is central to our democracy and … nah! I’m just kidding! You know I’m gonna talk about Trump! Come on!,” he said.

“And it is surprising: You’ve got a room full of reporters, celebrities, cameras — and he says no,” Obama continued.

As did guest host Larry Wilmore…

There were barbs too for Hillary Clinton..

But the President made the assembled Press Corps cringe, or at least, they should have..

But Larry wasn’t to everyone’s liking.

In the annual White House video, John Boehner showed up to give Obama advice on life after office.