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  1. As U.S. Boosts Pressure, Iran Tests Trump's Appetite for a Fight(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump’s campaign vow to get the U.S. out of costly foreign entanglements is colliding with the messy reality of America’s commitments in the Middle East, where tensions are rising between Washington and Tehran after attacks on two tankers last week.The dilemma emerged again as the administration ordered another 1,000 troops to the region on Monday in response to what Trump officials say was Iran’s role in the latest strikes. The Tehran government has rejected those accusations.So far the international response to the U.S. charges has been muted. With the rhetoric on both the American and Iranian sides rising, the relatively small deployment announced Monday appears calibrated to show the U.S. will push back on what it sees as Iran’s bad behavior without changing the balance of American power in the region.“Trump is very determined to avoid getting dragged into a military conflict if he can avoid it,” said Gary Samore, a former White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction in the Obama administration.The president seemed to reinforce that impression in a Time magazine interview published late Monday. “So far, it’s been very minor,” he said of the attacks. Asked if he was considering a military confrontation, he told Time, “I wouldn’t say that. I can’t say that at all.”A Navy explosives expert who briefed reporters on the attacks at the Pentagon on Monday said the mines attached to a Japanese tanker were above the water line, which may indicate the attackers meant to damage the ship but not destroy it. A Pentagon spokesman later said the expert wasn’t part of the U.S.’s official investigation into the attacks.Analysts say that the broader Trump approach to foreign policy — exerting maximum pressure on adversaries to force concessions — raises the risk of an unintended conflict and has yet to pay off. From Tehran to Caracas to Pyongyang, U.S. efforts to force hostile regimes to back down have met stubborn resistance, despite threats or demands from officials including National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.Read More: Pentagon Shares New Photos, Timeline of Gulf Oil Tanker AttacksBefore Bolton joined the Trump administration last year, he publicly advocated war with Iran to eliminate its nuclear program. And it was Pompeo who last year announced a lengthy list of demands Iran had to meet to enter talks with the U.S., only to have the president say he just wished officials in Tehran would call him to work things out.“If it was up to others like Bolton and Pompeo, they would advocate more aggressive action but I don’t see any sign Trump is spoiling for a fight,” Samore said.The mixed messages and a general distrust of American motives have fueled doubts about U.S. intentions toward Iran, even among allies. The situation has been exacerbated, analysts say, by Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord and his administration’s general skepticism of alliances and multilateral institutions.“Unfortunately, our great comparative advantage as a nation — building and working with alliances — has eroded, particularly with respect to Iran,” Brett McGurk, Trump’s former envoy to the global coalition to combat the Islamic State, wrote in a tweet June 14. “Key western allies warned of this very circumstance and sequence of events when the US began its maximum pressure campaign a year ago.”Trump may be even less willing to consider military force this week given he will symbolically kick off his re-election campaign on Tuesday in Florida. Though he campaigned in 2016 on promises to get out of overseas conflicts, Trump has struggled to draw down troops in Syria and Afghanistan, and now is in the position of sending more forces to the Middle East as he tries to convince voters he deserves another four years in office.Sensing inconsistencies in Trump’s strategy, leaders in Tehran may even be trying to call the president’s bluff.Limited OptionsIranian officials have indicated the country may stop abiding by some elements of the 2015 nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in days, a move experts argue is a carefully calibrated bid to exert new pressure for sanctions relief on European nations that have urged Iran to remain in the deal.Short of war, options for additional U.S. pressure include stepping up military escorts for tankers in the Gulf region or striking boats or facilities belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the U.S. has said was involved in the latest attacks.Air Force General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs, said Tuesday in Washington that the U.S. has communicated a message to Iran of “hands off — don’t come after our forces” in public statements as well as through Iraqi and Swiss intermediaries.If Iran “comes after U.S. citizens, U.S. assets or the U.S. military we reserve the right to respond with military action — and they need to know that,” Silva, the No. 2 U.S. military official, said at a breakfast with defense reporters.Selva, who’s retiring next month, said tanker escorts like those the U.S. organized in the 1980s, would be “ill-advised” unless the “international community” fully participates.‘Lot of Hysteria’“There’s a lot of hysteria that holding Iran accountable has to be justified as a prelude to war,” said Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “We’re already in the midst of a low-intensity conflict that has managed to regulate itself.”Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump supporter, told reporters on Tuesday that “nobody’s talking about an Iraq War, but we are talking about a military response on the the table that would cripple their ability” to disrupt oil flow and about “destroying their ability to refine oil.”Yet others among Trump’s allies, such as Republican Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, caution that the U.S. and Iran must not edge closer to conflict.McCaul said that American forces in the region are in a “defensive posture” to protect transit through the Straits of Hormuz and he warned that military action against Iran would be “very, very complicated.”“I don’t think anyone has the appetite for war, although we do have military plans, obviously, contingency plans, in the event that is to happen,” McCaul said on Bloomberg Television. “I would caution that Iran is about the size of Iraq and Afghanistan combined and it would be very, very complicated.”(Updates with Senator Graham in second paragraph after ‘Lot of Hystery’ subheadline.)\–With assistance from Margaret Talev, Daniel Flatley and Tony Capaccio.To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Wadhams in Washington at nwadhams@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at wfaries@bloomberg.net, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  2. Man catfished an Alaska teen and convinced her to kill for $9M, police sayPolice said an Indiana man posed as a millionaire online, established a relationship with a teen in Alaska and convinced the girl to kill her friend.


  3. 9/11 responder who appeared with Jon Stewart on Capitol Hill is now in hospice careLou Alvarez, a 53-year-old former NYPD detective who testified alongside Jon Stewart at last week’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorizing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, says his cancer has worsened.


  4. Iran talking to Russia and China in case EU nuclear deal efforts fail: TASSIran is in talks with Russia and China on a possible settlement mechanism in case discussions with EU over a nuclear deal fail, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security council, Ali Shamkhani, said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency. Tehran said in May it would reduce compliance with the nuclear pact it agreed with China, Russia and other world powers in 2015, in protest at the United States’ decision to unilaterally pull out of the agreement and reimpose sanctions last year.


  5. Add These Expert-Approved Multivitamins to Your Diet ASAP


  6. Great white shark lured to fisherman's boat in Jaws-like incident off Jersey ShoreA man in New Jersey spotted a great white shark while out fishing on Monday — and caught the whole thing on camera.In what he called the “best day ever on the water,” boat captain Jeff Crilly lured the shark towards his boat, Big Nutz Required II, with a bag of food.The incident happened as Mr Crilly was sailing in the Manasquan inlet off the coast of New Jersey, known as the Jersey Shore, with his brother Scott.In a video later posted to Facebook, the shark leaps up to the boat, giving the two-man crew a shock.“We saw like v-waves, little ripples, in the back of the slick. We’re like – there’s something in there,” Jeff later told Pix 11. “The shark would be from tail, here at the end of the boat – it’s head would be inside the boat… easily.Despite the seemingly immediate danger, the brothers laughed and yelled “this thing is huge!” as the shark approaches them. The cheers veer into nerves, with a chorus of “Holy s***!” as the animal appears to get closer.Mr Crilly says he thinks the shark was about 16 to 18 feet long.“This is the coolest f****** thing I’ve ever seen!” the narrator of the video, presumed to be Mr Crilly, says as the shark leaps towards his boat. “Once in a lifetime.”Later, he told the Asbury Park Press “We’ve fished for sharks a lot and never seen anything like that.”“We were amazed by how big it was,” he added.Last month, a great white shark was spotted in the nearby Long Island Sound. Those who spotted it said it was their first sighting of the animal “ever.”


  7. The Latest: Indiana AG's office plans vigorous defenseThe Indiana attorney general’s office says it will vigorously defend him against a federal lawsuit by four women who say he drunkenly groped them during a party last year. The lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges sexual harassment by Republican state Attorney General Curtis Hill on a state lawmaker and three legislative staffers in March 2018 at an Indianapolis bar. Hill has denied wrongdoing and rebuffed calls from Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb to resign.


  8. Naval Expert: Why Russia Never Built Lots of Aircraft CarriersThe aviation capability of the Russian navy is dangling by a thread. Kuznetsov is old and in poor condition, and no carrier is even close to be laid down. Historically a land power, the Soviet Union grappled with the idea of a large naval aviation arm for most of its history, eventually settling on a series of hybrid aircraft carriers. Big plans for additional ships died with the Soviet collapse, but Russia inherited one large aircraft carrier at the end of the Cold War—that remains in service today. Although many of the problems that wracked the naval aviation projects of the Soviet Union remain today, the Russian navy nevertheless sports one of the more active aircraft carriers in the world.Recommended: Air War: Stealth F-22 Raptor vs. F-14 Tomcat (That Iran Still Flies)Recommended: A New Report Reveals Why There Won’t Be Any ‘New’ F-22 RaptorsRecommended: How an ‘Old’ F-15 Might Kill Russia’s New Stealth FighterHistory of Russian Naval Aviation


  9. Gloria Vanderbilt’s Instagram Remains an Archive of Her Interior Design StyleThe legendary designer, fashion icon, heiress, and socialite died on June 17 at the age of 95


  10. Biden clashes with 2020 rivals over his work with segregationist senatorsFormer vice-president defies calls for apology after highlighting his relationships with lawmakers known for racist viewsJoe Biden speaks in Davenport, Iowa, on 11 June. Photograph: Jordan Gale/ReutersThe Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden responded with defiance after a day of sharp criticism from fellow Democrats, after he named two southern segregationist senators as people he had managed to work with during his career. In comments at a Wall Street fundraising event on Monday, Biden said that, despite major disagreements, he had worked with the senators with “some civility”. When reporters asked Biden late on Wednesday if he would apologize for his comments, the former vice-president responded, dismissively: “Apologize for what?”“Cory [Booker] should apologize,” Biden told reporters on Wednesday, referring to the senator from New Jersey, who was among those attacking Biden for his comments. “He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period.”Biden’s initial comments about “civility”, designed to illustrate his claim that one of his greatest strengths was to “bring people together”, had sparked immediate condemnation from Democrats, including Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Booker, who are among his rivals for the party’s presidential nomination. “Biden’s relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone,” Booker said in a statement. He called for the former vice-president to issue “an immediate apology”.Instead, Biden asked Booker, who is black, to apologize, and touted his record on civil rights.In a run for president in 1988, Biden claimed in political speeches that he had marched in the civil rights movement, though in fact the New York Times reported earlier this month that he had not.The condemnation of Biden’s comments about his record of “civility” in politics, and Biden’s fierce pushback, came as House Democrats held a historic congressional hearing on whether the federal government should pay reparations for slavery, and for the more than a century of state-sponsored discrimination against black Americans since emancipation.The debate over reparations puts a spotlight on the reluctance of many white Americans to take responsibility for their country’s racist history, and on the tensions within the Democratic party over how to address racial inequality without alienating white voters.Biden, 76, is currently a frontrunner in the primary race. But he is also facing renewed scrutiny for his record on racism and civil rights, including his role as the architect of the punitive criminal justice policies of the early 1990s, which disproportionately harmed black and brown Americans.The 76-year-old Biden, who was first elected to the US Senate in 1972, led a fight early in his career against bussing students across school districts to desegregate American schools, a policy designed to ensure that black children would get the benefit of integrated school system, and one that many white parents fiercely opposed. During this fight, Biden sought and obtained the support of James Eastland, a racist Southern Democrat who opposed desegregation, CNN reported earlier this year.“I do not buy the concept, popular in the 60s, which said: ‘We have suppressed the black man for 300 years and the white man is now far ahead,’” Biden told a local newspaper in his home state of Delaware in 1975. “In order to even the score, we must now give the black man a head start, or even hold the white man back. I don’t buy that.”In his initial comments at the Wall Street fundraiser at New York’s Carlyle Hotel on Monday, Biden had cited that same late senator, James Eastland of Mississippi, as well as Herman E Talmadge of Georgia, as two senators with whom he disagreed, but still worked with and “got things done”.“I was in a caucus with James O Eastland,” Biden told guests of the event, briefly imitating the senator’s southern drawl, according to the press pool report. “He never called me ‘boy’, he always called me ‘son’,” he said.He went on to describe Talmadge as “one of the meanest guys” he ever knew but said, “At least there was some civility. We got things done.”Both senators are remembered for their racist views.Eastland, who died in 1986, was an avowed white supremacist known as the “voice of the white south” who came to symbolize white resistance to racial integration during the civil rights era and spoke of black people as “an inferior race”.Talmadge, who served as a senator for Georgia from 1957 to 1981, was known as a staunch segregationist who ordered state schools to be closed rather than desegregated.“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys’. Men like James O Eastland used words like that, and the racist policies that accompanied them, to perpetuate white supremacy and strip black Americans of our very humanity,” Booker said in his statement.New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, another 2020 Democratic candidate, noted on Twitter that Eastland had sought to outlaw mixed race families and believed that “whites were entitled to ‘the pursuit of dead n*ggers’”.“It’s past time for apologies or evolution from @JoeBiden,” De Blasio wrote. “He repeatedly demonstrates that he is out of step with the values of the modern Democratic Party.”> It’s 2019 & @JoeBiden is longing for the good old days of “civility” typified by James Eastland. Eastland thought my multiracial family should be illegal & that whites were entitled to “the pursuit of dead n*ggers.” (1/2) pic.twitter.com/yoOOkpaTX2> > — Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) June 19, 2019Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff for Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wrote on Twitter: “.@JoeBiden, what DID you get done with segregationists? I know about how you worked with them to block school bussing to integrate schools. What other horrible stuff did you manage to build consensus on?”But some sought to temper their remarks. Booker said that while Biden shouldn’t use the southern segregationists as examples of people who brought unity to the country, the former vice-president is someone he “respects”.Biden’s efforts to promote his willingness to seek agreement with Republicans has become a flashpoint for his campaign and leaves him vulnerable to accusations of appeasement for more extreme elements of the party.Among those issues is criticism that his handling of the Clarence Thomas supreme court confirmation hearings in 1991 was tantamount to giving Republicans the opportunity to ignore sexual harassment allegations levelled by Thomas’ former assistant, Anita Hill.During the 2007 presidential campaign, Biden made headlines for calling Barack Obama, then one of his rivals in the Democratic primary, “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”.Biden later apologized and said the remark had been taken out of context. He later served as Obama’s vice-president.