Melania Trump calls for the ouster of John Bolton’s top aide

Melania Trump

Melania Trump’s office said in a statement that Mira Ricardel “no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.” | Benoit Tessier/AFP/Getty Images

First lady Melania Trump is openly calling for the ouster of one of the top officials on the National Security Council — a rare public rebuke that comes as the president weighs a broader shake-up of the West Wing after last week’s midterm elections.

Melania Trump’s office said in a blunt statement on Tuesday that Mira Ricardel, the deputy to national security adviser John Bolton, does not belong in the White House anymore.

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“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s spokesperson, said of Ricardel in a statement.

While the statement didn’t elaborate, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that President Donald Trump has decided to fire Ricardel at Melania’s urging after clashes regarding the first lady’s recent solo trip to Africa.

Staff in the East Wing tussled with Ricadel “over seating on the plane and requests to use National Security Council resources” on the Africa trip, and some on the first lady’s staff have suspected Ricardel is to blame for some negative stories about Melania Trump, according to the Journal report.

The Journal also reported that Bolton has resisted entreaties from White House chief of staff John Kelly to fire Ricardel.

Ricardel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kelly’s own influence in the White House could be waning as reports emerge that he himself is on the chopping block for his own disagreements with Bolton and tension with other members of the Trump family, including daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

But officials in the Pentagon have also reportedly clashed with Ricardel — including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — over personnel and policy differences, leading to a deterioration of relations between the Pentagon and the NSC.

Ricardel’s tension with Mattis existed for some time, and Mattis sees Trump less than he used to since Bolton and Ricardel have been at the NSC. Ricardel, along with Bolton, also has “a very closed style. It’s literally closed-door as opposed to open-door” under former national security advisor H.R. McMaster, said a person familiar with the matter.

The NSC’s atmosphere currently is “much more close-hold, much more skeptical of the staff who works for them in some ways,” the person said.

Asked whether NSC staffers liked working for Bolton and Ricardel, the source said: “I don’t think there’s a lot of warm and fuzzy stuff going on. … There’s no ice-cream socials and there’s not hanging around the big table in the national security adviser’s office at the end of the day shooting the breeze. … It’s not as enjoyable day to day.”

Eliana Johnson contributed to this report.

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Women’s World Twenty20: Pakistan condemn Ireland to second defeat of tournament

Javeria Khan’s 74 not out was the highest individual score for Pakistan in a World T20
ICC Women’s World Twenty20, Guyana
Pakistan 139-6 (20 overs): Javeria 74*; O’Reilly 3-19
Ireland 101-9 (20 overs): I Joyce 30; Nashra 2-8
Pakistan won by 38 runs

Ireland suffered their second defeat from two games in the Women’s World T20 with a 38-run loss to Pakistan.

Pakistan captain Javeria Khan hit a brilliant 52-ball 74 not out as her side made 139-6 from their 20 overs.

Clare Shillington got Ireland’s chase off to a quick start with 27 from 25 balls but they struggled to score off Pakistan’s spinners and ended on 101-9.

Ireland remain bottom of Group B after the defeat while Pakistan’s first win of the tournament keeps them third.

The match in Guyana presented Ireland with their most realistic chance of a win in the tournament, which would be their first in a World T20.

Ireland are the lowest-ranked team in the tournament at 10th in the world with Pakistan the next lowest in Group B at seventh.

After winning the toss, Pakistan posted their highest total in a World T20 largely thanks to the brilliance of Javeria. Their next highest scorer was opener Ayesha Zafar with 21.

Ireland were 32-1 after five overs but after Shillington was bowled by Nashra playing across the line Ireland were always behind the required run-rate despite 30 from Isobel Joyce.

Ireland fall well short

Ireland had made a good start with the ball as they restricted Pakistan to 20-1 at the end of the six-over powerplay with seamer Lucy O’Reilly in particular impressing.

But in the ninth over Ireland missed an opportunity to dismiss Javeria which proved crucial.

The Pakistan captain hit a shot in the air to long-on where Shillington should have taken a catch but she misjudged the ball’s flight and ran in, and, despite an attempt to backpedal, the ball bounced once just inside the boundary before going for four.

At that point Javeria had nine from 16 deliveries but she went on to hit the highest score by a Pakistan player in a Women’s World T20 with 11 boundaries.

One positive in the bowling performance from Ireland was the display of O’Reilly who took three wickets in the final over to finish with 3-19.

When Shillington was at the crease in the run chase it looked like Ireland had a chance but the opener fell Ireland lost wickets at regular intervals and failed to find the boundary often enough.

Nashra finished with outstanding figures of 2-8 from four overs while leg-spinner Sana Mir, plus seamers Aiman Anwer and Aliya Riaz all took two wickets each.

‘Good cricket, but only good in patches’ – what they said

Ireland captain Laura Delany: “We are really disappointed. We came here with a lot of belief that we could win this game but we didn’t put up enough to get us over the line. 120-130 was par on this wicket. We just didn’t have a big enough partnership. We need to look at dot balls because we didn’t have enough scoring areas.”

Pakistan captain and player of the match Javeria Khan: “A good win, but still we need some improvement. We can be better in the first six overs. it was a good fielding effort as we can’t afford mistakes in this match.”

Ex-England batter Lydia Greenway on Test Match Special: “Ireland have played good cricket, but only good in patches – such as Lucy O’Reilly’s bowling and Isobel Joyce’s run-out. The batting is a concern as in T20 cricket you want to play all around the wicket – these girls just need to be playing more games.”

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Uighurs marking ‘independence day’ call for international help

Washington, DC – Uighur activists in the US marked their community’s “independence day” with a protest and march in the US capital on Tuesday.

November 12 is the 74th and 85th anniversary of two short-lived Uighur republics, known as East Turkestan, which were established in territory that is now part of China.

Those present at the event organised by the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement included Rebiya Kadeer, one of the world’s most prominent Uighur exiles and the former president of the World Uyghur Congress. 

Is China persecuting its Uighur Muslim minority?

Carrying both the US and the East Turkestan independence flags, activists outside the White House called on the US to pressure China into stopping its persecution of the Muslim minority.

Though reports of abuse against the Uighurs date back more than a decade, the past year has seen an intensification in the persecution of the Turkic-speaking minority.

The UN has criticised China for holding around one million Muslims in internment camps where they are subject to political and cultural indoctrination. In a report it said around two million people had passed through the camps at some point.

China is also accused of forcing the Uighurs to renounce their Islamic beliefs and drop cultural markers that make them distinct from the country’s ethnic Han majority.

Chinese authorities have banned Ramadan fasting, as well as Quran classes for young children.

American-Uighur Aydin Anwar told Al Jazeera that China was attempting to “wipe out” the Uighur identity.

“China has put at least three million people in concentration camps,” she said, adding, “In these camps they’re forced to renounce Islam, adopt atheism, and pledge allegiance to the Chinese state.”

Turning to the crowd chanting behind her, Anwar said all of those present had at least one relative being held in the camps. 

“My aunt’s husband has more than 70 relatives in camps and prisons, and one of them actually got killed through lethal injection in the camps.

“Even outside these camps life is no better. Practicing Islam is completely forbidden; praying, fasting, wearing a beard, wearing a hijab … even naming your baby with an Islamic name.” 

More than a million Uighurs are believed to be held in Chinese internment camps [Shafik Mandhai/Al Jazeera]

When asked for comment, a spokesperson at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC directed Al Jazeera to a state media interview with Shohrat Zakir, the chairman of the Xinjiang government.

In the article, Zakir seeks to place China’s treatment of the Uighurs in line with the wider international “War on Terrorism”.

He further described the camps as “vocational training institutions” aimed at, “learning the country’s common language, legal knowledge, vocational skills, along with de-extremisation education, as the main content, with achieving employment as the key direction. “

Relatives imprisoned

Bilal Ibrahim Turkistani claimed asylum in the US in 2011 after securing a visa to enter for a conference organised by Uighur exiles. He told Al Jazeera that the US was one of the few supporters of the Uighur cause and that he hoped legislators would increase support for the Uighur people.

“We’re asking politicians to take action in Congress, to not abandon us,” he said.

The Uighur cause has drawn backing from senior US officials.

Vice President Mike Pence condemned China for its abuses against Muslims and other minorities, as did Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio has also lobbied the US State Department to take action against China for its abuses the Uighurs and described Beijing’s behaviour as “sick”.  

China depends on its trade and countries, including the US, need to impose the economic pressure necessary to stop it from furthering this oppression

Omar Suleiman, Muslim Scholar

Those present at the gathering said countries were reluctant to speak out due to China’s expansive economic impact.

There was a particular anger targeted at Muslim states for their seemingly timid response to reports of China’s oppression of the Uighurs.

American Muslim scholar, Omar Suleiman, described the Muslim world’s response to the Uighur’s plight as “complete abandonment”.

“They’re ironically being tortured for being too Muslim by China while the Muslim world seems to not see them as Muslim enough to fight for,” he told Al Jazeera. 

“China depends on its trade and countries, including the US, need to impose the economic pressure necessary to stop it from furthering this oppression.” 

Uighur protesters in Washington, DC [Shafik Mandhai/Al Jazeera]

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Lewis Hamilton would prefer more F1 races at venues with ‘real racing history’

Hamilton celebrated his fifth world title with his Mercedes team in Brazil

Lewis Hamilton has questioned taking Formula 1 to new countries and would like to see more races in places with “real racing history” such as Britain.

The newest addition to the F1 calendar is Vietnam, which is due to host its first race in 2020.

“On the racing side, I don’t know how important it is to go to new countries as such,” the five-time champion said.

“If you had the Silverstone Grand Prix and a London Grand Prix, it would be pretty cool.”

In an interview with BBC Sport, Hamilton also spoke about his future in F1, his quest for self-improvement, and his dream of space travel.

Hamilton on the F1 calendar

F1 bosses have agreed a “multi-year” deal to stage a race on the streets of Vietnam’s capital Hanoi from April 2020.

It is the first new addition to the calendar under the ownership of Liberty Media, which took over the management of F1 in 2017 and has promised to take the sport to “new destination cities”.

Liberty Media’s plans are an evolution of the general trend seen in F1 over the past two decades, with races in Bahrain, China, Turkey, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, South Korea, India, Russia and Azerbaijan added to the calendar since 2004.

The rise of new venues has come at the same time as historic grands prix in Great Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Belgium have struggled to retain their places on the calendar amid mounting hosting costs.

“We’ve got a lot of real racing history in England, Germany, Italy and now in the States it is starting to grow,” said Hamilton. “But you only have one event per year in those places.

“If it was my business, I’d be trying to do more events in those countries.

“I’ve been to Vietnam before and it is beautiful. I’ve been to India before to a race which was strange because India was such a poor place yet we had this massive, beautiful grand prix track made in the middle of nowhere. I felt very conflicted when I went to that grand prix.

“We had a grand prix in Turkey and hardly anyone came. Cool track, cool weekend but poor audience.”

He added: “If you have the German Grand Prix and you’ve got a Grand Prix in Berlin, I think connecting to cities where a lot of people are is probably a good thing, not necessarily going to countries where they don’t know so much about Formula 1.”

A computer-generated image of the proposed 5.565km track layout in Hanoi, Vietnam

So what about the space travel?

Hamilton has achieved a lot of his ambitions in life but says he still has dreams – space travel among them.

The 33-year-old Briton brilliantly won his fifth world title this season and says a sixth will be top of his ambition list for 2019, along with a few others besides.

“Top of the list every year has been winning the world title. There’s never been anything above that,” the Mercedes driver said.

“Other dreams… I always wanted to meet Ayrton Senna but never got to do that. Try to learn a language, read more books, find some time to go away with the family and do something spontaneous. Just random things.

“I love space. I would love to go to space. That’s a dream that is kind of crazy. I’d love to go in a fighter jet.

“I went to Nasa last year which was awesome so that was one of my dreams. I’m massively into space.

“I don’t have the list on the top of my mind right now but, the one I was aiming on at the beginning of the year, I reached.”

Is Hamilton thinking of retirement?

‘F1 Breakdown: Has Lewis Hamilton had it easy?’

Hamilton sealed the drivers’ title at the Mexican Grand Prix to become the joint second most successful driver of all time.

He is level with Juan Manuel Fangio’s tally of titles and only Michael Schumacher has more with seven.

“I feel I have still got more years, more days ahead if I am lucky and there are still many mountains to climb,” Hamilton said.

“There will still be difficult times ahead. I don’t know when they will come but I feel better prepared now than I ever have been.

“I have got to look at this season, which has been the best of my career, and think, ‘How can I improve next year?’

“It is easy to point out the areas but it is not that easy to improve on them.”

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U.K. cabinet to meet after Britain, EU reach draft Brexit deal | CBC News

Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.

After a year and a half of stalled talks, false starts and setbacks, negotiators agreed on proposals to resolve the main outstanding issue: the Irish border.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said the cabinet would hold a special meeting Wednesday to consider the proposal. Ministers were invited to 10 Downing Street Tuesday evening to look at the document ahead of tomorrow’s meeting.

Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade Liam Fox arrives at Downing Street to read the draft Brexit documents. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Its support isn’t guaranteed: May is under pressure from pro-Brexit ministers not to make further concessions to the EU.

“The trick will be for Theresa May, can she satisfy everyone?” said Nigel Dodds, the deputy leader of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up May’s minority government.

“It is going to be a very, very hard sell, I would have thought, but let’s wait and see the actual detail,” Dodds said.

Ambassadors from the 27 other EU countries are also due to hold a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.

An anti-Brexit demonstrator hold placards opposite the Houses of Parliament, in London today. (Simon Dawson/Reuters)

May told the cabinet earlier Tuesday that “a small number” of issues remain to be resolved in divorce negotiations with the European Union, while her deputy, David Lidington, said the two sides are “almost within touching distance” of a Brexit deal.

Britain wants to seal a deal this fall, so that Parliament has time to vote on it before the U.K. leaves the bloc on March 29. The European Parliament also has to approve any agreement.

Negotiators had been meeting late into the night in Brussels in a bid to close the remaining gaps.

Irish border at issue

The main obstacle has long been how to ensure there are no customs posts or other checks along the border between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit.

Irish national broadcaster RTE said the draft agreement involves a common customs arrangement for the U.K. and the EU, to eliminate the need for border checks.

But May faces pressure from pro-Brexit cabinet members not to agree to an arrangement that binds Britain to EU trade rules indefinitely.

May also faces growing opposition from pro-EU lawmakers, who say her proposed Brexit deal is worse than the status quo and the British public should get a new vote on whether to leave or to stay.

Lawmakers react

The leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, expressed pessimism about the deal. “We will look at the details of what has been agreed when they are available,” he said. “But from what we know of the shambolic handling of these negotiations, this is unlikely to be a good deal for the country.”

British Labour party opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn talks to reporters after a meeting with European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in September. (Yves Herman/Reuters)

Former foreign minister Boris Johnson, a Brexit hardliner who resigned in July over what he called May’s semi-Brexit plans, called it “vassal state stuff.” 

“For the first time in a thousand years this place, this parliament will not have a say over the laws that govern this country,” he said. “It is a quite incredible state of affairs. It means having to accept rules and regulations over which we have no say ourselves. It is utterly unacceptable to anyone who believes in democracy.”

Another strong Brexiteer, Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg said May had sold out the United Kingdom and that he would oppose it.

“It is a failure of the government’s negotiating position, it is a failure to deliver on Brexit, and it is potentially dividing up the United Kingdom,” Rees-Mogg said.

Pro-EU protesters demonstrate against Brexit with flags outside the House of Parliament Tuesday. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

If there is no agreement soon, U.K. businesses will have to start implementing contingency plans for a “no-deal” Brexit — steps that could include cutting jobs, stockpiling goods and relocating production and services outside Britain.

Even with such measures in place, the British government says leaving the EU without a deal could cause major economic disruption, with gridlock at ports and disruption to supplies of foods, goods and medicines.

Disruptions feared

On Tuesday, the European Commission published a sheaf of notices outlining changes in a host of areas in the event of a no-deal Brexit. They point to major disruption for people and businesses:

  • U.K. truckers’ licences won’t be valid in the EU.
  • British airlines will no longer enjoy traffic rights.
  • Even British mineral water will cease to be recognized as such by the EU.

The EU said Tuesday it was proposing visa-free travel for U.K. citizens on short trips, even if there is no deal — but only if Britain reciprocates.

“We need to prepare for all options,” EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said. On a deal, he said: “We are not there yet.”

Meanwhile, official figures suggest Brexit is already having an impact on the British workforce.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of EU citizens working in the country — 2.25 million— was down 132,000 in the three months to September from the year before. That’s the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997.

Most of the fall is due to fewer workers from eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004.

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, said the prospect of Brexit “has clearly made the U.K. a much less attractive place for Europeans to live and work.”

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Ariana Grande Director Hannah Lux Davis Breaks Down The Emotion Behind ‘Breathin’

Back in 2016 — which might as well be 6,000 years ago at this point — Ariana Grande teamed up with Nicki Minaj for “Side to Side,” a wonderful trop-pop ode to knockin’ boots so vigorously that you wobble when you walk afterward. The song’s instantly iconic video took the playfulness of the title more literally though, placing the two leads on exercise bikes and letting them spin — a vision they also brought to the stage at that year’s VMAs.

The video’s director, Hannah Lux Davis, has a long history of partnership with Grande, helming the clips for several of her songs, including “Focus,” “Bang Bang,” and “Into You.” For “Side to Side,” she said the original idea came from a simple message from Grande herself. “I’m just thinking… spin bikes,” Ari told Davis, as she recently recalled to Billboard.

Earlier this month, Davis also helped bring Ari’s cathartic “Breathin” to life with a cloudy, mystical visual that helped illustrate the emotional opacity found in the song’s lyrics.

“She really let me take the reins for it,” Davis said later in the interview. “The song is obviously about anxiety, and feeling so out-of-touch and out-of-sync and out of alignment with everything in the world around you, and feeling like you’re just not connected. So I had this idea of doing motion control, which I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and I’m really glad that I ended up doing it on this project. It’s the effect that we did to shoot her in a different frame rate, in a different speed, and other people in the frame that are moving quickly around her. That was through the effect of motion control.”

Davis also shared some deep-in-the-trenches stories about the vid’s nearly impossible turnaround time, which she oversaw herself as, like she says, Davis edits “90 percent of my videos.” “Shot and delivered in two weeks, which is insane, considering that every single shot was an effects shot, and it’s Ariana Grande, so it has to be perfect,” she said. “I cut the video literally in a day, sent it to her on her phone, she loved it. The next day, she came over with all her friends to watch it, and we locked it down the cut then.”

Read the full interview over at Billboard. For more on Davis’s process and how her hard work comes together behind the scenes, watch MTV News’s 2018 doc Seen & Heard below.

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Scotland 0-1 USA: Shelley Kerr’s side slip to defeat in Paisley

Kirsty Smith fouled Mallory Pugh to concede a penalty, but the USA missed the spot kick

Scotland delivered a spirited display against world champions the United States in Paisley, but were unable to avoid a first defeat in six games.

Shelley Kerr’s side performed stoutly against the world’s best, who had won the previous four meetings.

However, slack marking allowed Alex Morgan to volley in a Mallory Pugh cross from the right after 39 minutes.

Pugh won a penalty just after the hour, but Carli Lloyd scudded the spot kick against the bar in front of 3790 fans.

Scotland’s best effort – as they chased an unlikely equaliser – was a Lana Clelland drive that was pushed past a post.

The Scots will now turn their attentions to the World Cup draw on 8 December as they wait to find out who they will face in their debut in the competition.

Composed Scots acquit themselves well

Scotland started boldly. Winger Claire Emslie surprising the visitors as she charged through the American defence to show the Scots were not just here for appearances.

But Morgan’s showed how dangerous the USA can be with a weaving run, only for Pugh to hesitate slightly to spurn an effort at goal.

While the Scots were outplayed at times, they kept their composure and created chances of their own, with a Cuthbert corner nearly finding its way into the net when the USA failed to clear.

Captain Rachel Corsie’s experience of playing in the American top-flight showed alongside Jennifer Beattie at centre back but they could not reach the break unscathed.

Pugh angled in a teasing cross from the right and Orlando Pride’s Morgan had far too much room to calmly side foot in her 98th international goal.

Kerr’s side started the second half in a similarly energetic fashion, but Vittsjo’s Shannon Lynn – and interval replacement for Lee Alexander in goal – had to leap into action to fend off a Julie Ertz low shot.

A slight clip of Pugh’s heels by substitute Kirsty Smith almost gifted the USA a second, but Lloyd struck the cross bar and let the Scots off the hook.

The world champions did not relent but found themselves fruitlessly battering off a stubborn and organised Scotland side, who looked increasingly optimistic in their attack.

Fiorentina’s Clelland came close to an equaliser, with the ball falling to her wrong foot as the Scots searched for an equaliser.

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