President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani joined scores of Trump allies who connected the lack of new indictments following special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on the Russia investigation to clearing Trump from further suspicion of Russian collusion, a claim that hasn’t been specified by other investigators.
Giuliani tweeted Saturday morning that Rep. Adam Schiff, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, should apologize for saying in February there is a wealth of evidence that President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.
“[Adam Schiff] said ‘there is significant evidence of collusion involving Trump campaign,’” Giuliani wrote. “I trust he is relieved there is no collusion. And I hope he will apologize for his mistake. We all make them. The real virtue is to admit it. It would help us heal.”
Giuliani was referring to an ABC News interview in February where Schiff told host George Stephanopolous there was “ample evidence of collusion” between Trump’s campaign and Mueller’s findings from his two-year investigation.
The tweet about Schiff was Giuliani’s second call-out related to the report. Hours earlier, Giuliani took aim at former CIA Director John Brennan for a comment he made last year that Trump’s July 2018 press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin was “nothing short of treasonous.”
“John Brennan said that POTUS action re Russian collusion was nothing short of treasonous,” Giuliani wrote late Friday. “Well even very aggressive prosecutors brought no charges of collusion. As a patriot I trust Brennan is relieved. He should apologize for a charge that was damaging to our country. Treason??”
In 2018, Brennan called a press conference that Trump held with Vladimir Putin “nothing short of treasonous,” but later clarified that he didn’t actually believe that Trump had committed treason.
The special counsel’s office said there would be no more indictments following the report on the investigation that has so far charged eight Americans once affiliated with Trump’s campaign or administration, 13 Russian nationals, 12 Russian intelligence officers, three Russian companies, and two other people.
Relatives and supporters of Libya‘s Gaddafi-era intelligence chief, jailed for his alleged role in a bloody crackdown during the country’s 2011 uprising, protested in Tripoli on Saturday to demand his release.
Abdullah al-Senussi, a brother-in-law of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi, was sentenced to death in 2015 over the part he allegedly played in the government’s response to a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 that toppled and killed Gaddafi.
Eight others close to Gaddafi, including the late Libyan leader’s son, Saif al-Islam, also received death sentences following a trial condemned by the United Nations as “seriously” flawed.
Several dozen relatives and members of al-Senussi’s tribe, the Magerha, gathered in a central Tripoli square to demand he be freed over health concerns.
“The law and medical reports support our legitimate demand,” said protester Mohamad Amer.
Officials have not released specific details on his alleged health problems.
In a statement, the Magerha said his liberation would “contribute to and consolidate national reconciliation” in a country torn apart by intercommunal conflicts since Gaddafi’s fall.
The unusual protest comes just over a month after the release on health grounds of Abuzeid Dorda, Gaddafi’s head of foreign intelligence who was sentenced at the same time as al-Senussi.
The protesters held up photos of al-Senussi behind bars and placards reading “Freedom to prisoners. Yes to national reconciliation”.
Al-Senussi was extradited in September 2012 by Mauritania, where he had fled after Gaddafi’s fall.
Like Gaddafi’s son, he had also been the subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for suspected war crimes during the 2011 uprising.
But in an unusual move, in 2013, the court gave Libyan authorities the green light to put him on trial.
He has since been imprisoned in the capital, along with some 40 other senior Gaddafi-era officials, including Gaddafi’s last Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi.
Saif al-Islam was captured and imprisoned by an armed group in the northwestern city of Zintan and sentenced by a Tripoli court in absentia.
The group announced his release in 2017 but it was never confirmed and his fate remains unknown.
Before he left the Football Association in January, former technical director Dan Ashworth said no association had a better set of results across all its male and female teams over the past two years.
The big prizes for the senior teams eluded England, but reaching the last four of the World Cup and women’s European Championship were backed up by World Cup wins for the Under-17s and Under-20s in 2017.
That has given Ashworth, now at Brighton, the “belief” that England can end their major trophy drought at senior level.
But what gains need to be made to make that final step and what does a future England player look like?
You know that lad in school who never passed the ball? Turns out he was on to something.
Ashworth says English players are already more technical than he has ever seen thanks to a revamp of the academy system in clubs and a more consistent playing style with England.
But the FA wants to go further.
Peter Sturgess, the FA’s foundation phase coach for five- to 11-year-olds, has been telling coaches up and down the country that mastering the ball is his number one priority. Passing can come later.
“We are saying that passing is important but it’s not a priority for foundation-phase children,” he told BBC Sport. “The priority is building a massive connection with the ball so their individual ability on it, in tight and pressurised situations, becomes as good as it can be.
“You put 11 of those players together on a football pitch and they can play any system you want, because they have less chance of losing the ball.
“Passing can be developed as they move on, and their appreciation of team-mates grows with them. But what they take with them over a decade of this kind of approach is a massive individual capability on the ball and they are the ones who win you the top tournaments.”
Dual qualification becomes norm
Declan Rice’s decision to swap the Republic of Ireland for England might have been controversial but it could be a sign of things to come.
According to Ashworth, 60% of players in England’s youth teams qualify for another nation – but that doesn’t make them unusual.
“It’s a common trend across Europe,” he said, before leaving the FA. “Almost 75% of France’s World Cup-winning squad had dual nationality eligibility.
“For England, is that a disadvantage or an opportunity? There is an opportunity to look at players playing in other countries, but other associations might be looking at those already representing England.”
Former England Under-16 coach Dan Micciche says dual nationality could benefit England in terms of technical and mental make-up.
“If a player is initially brought up in another country [before playing for England], they might benefit from the playing culture in that country,” he told BBC Sport in November. “In some cases, that could add a technical layer they otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to in England.
“Also, mentality-wise, if some come from disadvantaged backgrounds, they might be very driven to do well.”
Open to criticism – but via new channels
“Where are the leaders?” seems to be a familiar refrain from pundits, who say that the current crop of youngsters lack the backbone of previous generations.
Ashworth, who says the technical improvement in English players will continue, believes there is more to work on regarding “psychological development”.
Yet for those who believe younger players are not hardened enough to deal with criticism or win major tournaments, there is hope.
Micciche, who previously worked with Tottenham’s Dele Alli while he was at MK Dons’ academy and now works with Arsenal’s under-15s, said: “In the past, I’ve asked teams how they would like to be supported and you get about a third of them saying ‘I want you to be hard on me, don’t let me get away with stuff’.
“Some want to see clips of themselves in action and some want you to explain things in better detail, so it’s a sweeping statement to say the millennial player cannot deal with criticism.”
Ashworth added: “Performing under pressure, players getting too much, too early, keeping that hunger and desire to be all that you can be, that’s the last part of the game that’s ready to explode.
“All other parts have had developments in staff and finances and this is probably the bit where we don’t invest as much time or staff as other sports do.”
Learning tough lessons on loan
Ashworth has no doubts about the talent in English football, but he calls it “whispering talent”.
The reason? “The majority of players that have produced our results over the past two years are those on the development pathway. They don’t shout and scream if they are not in the first team because it’s not happening on a regular basis. They need the opportunities.”
The lack of playing time for English players at Premier League clubs is getting worse, year by year. Less than 30% of starters each week are English qualified, which amounts to 58 players manager Gareth Southgate can choose from.
By comparison, Ashworth says France have about 200 starters per week across Europe’s top five leagues.
“English players are still getting to the top, but they are getting there in a different way,” he said.
Of the teams to make the last 16 at the Russia World Cup, England had the highest number of loan spells accumulated among their squad, at an average of two per player.
Striker Harry Kane had four loans before he made his breakthrough at Tottenham.
Ashworth, who worked as West Brom’s technical director before he began at the FA in 2013, added: “Some loan spells don’t go quite so well, but actually they can turn out to be the best loans. They can be the experiences that drive into how much resilience that player has.
“The number of times I’ve had calls from players where they’ve told me they want to come back because they are not getting in the team. Well, welcome to professional football. What are you going to do to change that?”
At a time when youth football can be accused of being too comfortable, maybe it is the ones who go to learn about winning in the lower leagues who will continue to excel at the highest level.
Perhaps the biggest gains will come from the example set by Sancho.
The 18-year-old made his England debut despite never having played in the Premier League. Instead, he chose to leave Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund because he thought he would get more playing time, and he seems to have been vindicated in his decision.
Not only has it proved profitable from a game-time perspective, but he is also benefiting from a more rounded football education.
“If all your players are playing in their home country and have only ever played in that country, there is a big part of their personal and football development missing,” Ashworth said.
“Take learning about different languages, or nutrition; there is a huge football element to this as well.
“Players from other countries who play in different leagues get the benefits from different tactical and social experiences, they are more used to travelling, more used to being away from home at World Cups and more used to the tactical changes in world football.
“For clubs, it’s a danger, seeing more and more young English players moving abroad for playing opportunities rather than money. But from a governing body point of view, it’s not a massive problem.”
After years of fighting, it was finally time to dance.
As their commanders on Saturday declared final victory over the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), the soldiers of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) unfurled their yellow flag atop a bullet-ridden building in celebration.
They celebrated the victory with the Dabke, a folk dance, and embracing each other, though with tears in their eyes for the loss of 11,000 fellow fighters killed in the long war against ISIL.
Mazloum Kobani, general commander of the US-backed Kurdish-led forces, appeared on a stage erected at the Omar oilfields near Baghouz – ISIL’s last enclave in eastern Syria and the site of heavy battles in recent weeks – and told the world that it was the efforts of the SDF that led to the defeat of the armed group.
SDF had freed “five million people from terrorism” and “liberated 52,000 square kilometres of Syrian territory”, Kobani said.
“We’re so happy today, we raised the names of our martyrs and didn’t waste their sacrifices,” Smako Shekaki, a Kurdish field SDF commander, told Al Jazeera on the phone.
‘Won’t forget our revenge’
The SDF is led by the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units), but it also includes Arab and Christian brigades and tribal fighters, including members of the Shaitat tribe.
In 2014, hundreds of the tribe’s men were shot or beheaded after being captured by ISIL in eastern Syria.
Ayman Allawi, a Shaitat commander with the SDF, dedicated the victory to the mothers of his slain fellow tribesmen.
“We are so happy, and the fighters are enjoying the taste of victory, as now the atrocities and unfairness of Daesh are over,” he said, using ISIL’s Arabic acronym.
“We have lived bitter days because of them. The happiest are the mothers of the martyrs of 2014.”
Tamim al-Shaiti lost three of his cousins in the killings five years ago.
“We’re all happy for the defeat of Daesh but won’t forget our revenge even after 100 years,” he said from his village in Syria’s eastern Deir Az Zor province. “The blood of our brothers won’t be in vain. We will look for Daesh’s supporters and sleeper cells and bury them.”
Future autonomy within Syria
The SDF fighters, the main ground ally of Western powers in the fight against ISIL, are now hoping that their military victory will help win them future autonomy within Syria.
US President Donald Trump has reversed a previous decision to withdraw all troops, giving assurances he would maintain a limited mission in eastern Syria.
Nonetheless, following ISIL’s defeat, there seem to be fears within the SDF that he might again change his mind.
In his speech, Kobani said that while the SDF would continue to ensure stability in the area by targeting ISIL’s sleeper cells in the post-war phase, a dialogue with Damascus leading to a political solution was necessary.
Last week, the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad threatened to retake SDF-held areas by force if necessary.
“We call on the central government in Damascus to prefer the process of dialogue and start practical steps to reach a political solution based on the recognition of elected self-administrations in northeast of Syria and acceptance of the special nature of the Syrian Democratic Forces,” Kobani said.
General Kobani also appealed to Turkey to talk and resolve its differences with Syrian Kurds instead of “interfering in Syrian internal affairs”.
Aron Lund, a fellow with The Century Foundation, said the Kurds were in a difficult position.
“The moment the US leaves, if not before, they’re going to be sandwiched between a hostile Turkey and a hostile Syrian government, with ISIL remnants doing what they can to exploit the chaos,” Lund told Al Jazeera.
“So SDF leaders are trying to preemptively put a new security architecture in place, by asking for some form of autonomy under Syrian government auspices.”
Possible ISIL resurgence
Following the SDF’s declaration of the elimination of ISIL’s self-styled caliphate, which at its peak covered an area across Iraq and Syria roughly equivalent to the size of Britain, a number of international leaders hailed the development but cautioned against remaining dangers.
Analysts and locals – whether Kurd or Arab – echoed the warning, sounding the alarm against losing sight of the threat the group still posed and its potential re-emergence under the right conditions, including taking advantage of regional ethnic rivalries.
Lund, of the Century Foundation, noted that ISIL would look for “power vacuums and exploit every opportunity to stage a comeback”.
Meanwhile, Shekaki, the field commander in Baghouz, struck a chord of unity and said ISIL’s defeat was a victory for all the people in Syria.
“It’s the day when Daesh was defeated by the Kurdish, Arab, and Assyrian brothers. It is a day to bring happiness to all of us,” he said.
“The issues affecting Boeing’s 737 MAX could begin impacting the economic data flow,” Michael Feroli, the bank’s chief US economist said in a note to clients Friday.
“For now, we believe it should have no short-run impact on GDP, as production of this airplane is continuing, but will affect the composition of GDP, implying more growth in inventories and less growth of business investment and gross exports.”
The 737 Max is likely to go down in history as one of the best selling planes of all time. But that same success could be a nightmare for Boeing if the crisis drones on much longer or gets any more severe. The nearly 400 planes already in service around the world have been grounded, and new purchases of Max jets make up 80% of Boeing’s order book.
“If the issues are not resolved in a timely manner and production of the 737 MAX needs to be halted for a spell,” JPMorgan said. “It would take about 0.15% off the level of GDP, or about 0.6%-point off the quarterly annualized growth rate of GDP in the quarter in which production is stopped.”
Total GDP output won’t be the only thing affected by a slowdown in Boeing’s orders. According to JPMorgan, it could affect the Census Bureau’s factory goods report on aircraft shipments and orders as well as related inventories. The agency’s monthly trade report also includes civilian aircraft exports
Boeing’s stock price, meanwhile, has fallen more than 13% since the Ethiopian Airlines crash in early March.
Luckily, there is some good news. Any drawdowns from Boeing, should be made up in other areas.
“GDP should be largely unaffected for now,” JPMorgan said. “As weaker exports and business investment would be offset by more stock building.”
Ferguson handled young players at Manchester United with care, limiting their game time and public exposure.
“I always think of Sir Alex with Ryan Giggs,” said Southgate.
“He did that so well and they had sustained success because of that.
“I think that comes into everything: how much we expose them to the public, how much we put them into commercial situations.
“We’ve got to be thinking about all of that all of the time because it’s very easy for them to enjoy these moments, and they’ve got to enjoy them, but equally there’s a good balance.
“So, although they’re not our player on a day-to-day basis, I think we’ve got a responsibility to do that as much as we can, because also we’re putting them on to another level and we’ve got to make sure we get the balance right for the club, but most importantly for the player.”
England’s matchday squad at Wembley for their first European Championship qualifier contained six players aged 24 or under, while a host of others – Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez – would almost certainly have featured if they had been fit.
England’s young talent
Top-flight club games
Hudson-Odoi was elevated from the Under-21 squad because of withdrawals and his saved shot led to Tomas Kalas’s own goal on Friday, while Sancho teed up Raheem Sterling for the first of his three strikes.
Like Ferguson, who famously promoted the likes of Giggs, David Beckham, Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt as the ‘Class of 92’ helped transform Manchester United’s fortunes, Southgate has no concern about using young players as he builds towards Euro 2020.
“We’ve got competition for places and I think attacking players mature very young, and they can go in very young,” added Southgate, who takes his side to Montenegro for their second Group A qualifier on Monday.
“So it’s not an issue to play them, and really we’ve found another player that we really liked [in Hudson-Odoi].
“We weren’t certain that he’d be able to adapt to this level, and we’re a bit fortunate in finding him, in that we probably wouldn’t have done that in this camp. We’d have given him a bit longer in the Under-21s.
“But already he’s proved in this environment that he can more than cope.”