Browsing articles from "January, 2018"

Live Blog: 2018 Grammy Awards

Jan 29, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Live Blog: 2018 Grammy Awards

Kendrick Lamar, who is nominated for seven awards at the 2018 Grammy Awards, during his performance, which opened the show.

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Kendrick Lamar, who is nominated for seven awards at the 2018 Grammy Awards, during his performance, which opened the show.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS

This is NPR Music’s live blog of the 2018 Grammy Awards. The telecast of the awards show is scheduled to run from 7:30 until 11:00 p.m. ET. We’ll be here the whole time, updating this post with every award or performance.

8:25 p.m. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee are beaming on that Grammys stage during their performance of “Despacito” — and not just because Daddy Yankee’s chains are blinding. The Puerto Rican singer and rapper take over the Garden with a gang of multicultural dancers, proving that the Spanish-language smash hit truly has global appeal. Mid-performance, the duo are joined onstage by Puerto Rican beauty queen Zuleyka Rivera, who adds an extra shot of sexiness to the set.

“Despacito” is up for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. If the track wins in either category it will make history as the first Spanish-language track that win in the coveted “general field” categories. Dedos cruzados. —Sidney Madden

8:22 p.m. After performing, Batiste and Clark present Best Pop Solo Performance, which goes to Ed Sheeran for “Shape of You.” Ed’s not there to accept the award, which is probably just as well — if he’d had to give a speech, we’d probably have spent the whole time wondering what any of the four women he beat (Kesha, Kelly Clarkson, P!nk or Lady Gaga) would have said. —Jacob Ganz

8:18 p.m. In 2018, the Grammys are a long way from rock and roll’s foundations, but two major losses this year led producer Ken Ehrlich to shine a spotlight on those early days. Uniting New Orleans jazzman (and Stephen Colbert Show bandleader) Jon Batiste with Texas blues wizard Gary Clark, Jr., a brief medley paid respect to Fats Domino, who died in October, and Chuck Berry, who passed in March. Quick and a little dirty — Batiste slightly flubbed the lyrics to Domino’s “Ain’t That A Shame” — the moment reminded us that rock and roll and its immediate source, rhythm and blues, can be just as fun when the spectacle’s dialed down and its players have just plain fun. —Ann Powers

8:12 p.m. Following Alessia Cara’s Best New Artist win, Terrence “Punch” Henderson, Top Dawg Entertainment’s president and SZA’s manager, threw a measured amount of Twitter shade.

“Hmmm. I seen this before. A few years ago. Then I also seen what happened after,” Punch tweeted, alluding to the fact that SZA’s labelmate Kendrick Lamar, lost in the same category back in 2014 to Macklemore Ryan Lewis. —Sidney Madden

8:08 p.m. Momentarily, it seemed like country superstar quartet Little Big Town was actually on top of the Empire State Building — Karen Fairchild’s stilettos seemed like a particularly brave choice. It was just a set, though, apparently lifted from one of the recent Spiderman movies. That distraction didn’t detract from a typically passionate performance from Fairchild, with her bandmates holding down the harmonies in typically classy fashion. Maybe now people beyond Nashville will recognize that “Better Man” — which won a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group performance — is one of Swift’s best recent songs, a tender but uncompromising call-out to a male wrongdoer that, in some subtle way, helped set the stage for this year’s #metoo movement. —Ann Powers

8:05 p.m. Among an eclectic group of new faces, Alessia Cara, who dropped her debut album Four Pink Walls in 2015, is awarded best new artists, beating out Julia Michels, SZA, Lil Uzi Vert and Khalid. The 21-year-old Def Jam darling is known for her safe, self-accepting radio hits (think “Scars to Your Beautiful” and “Here”) and will be performing “1-800-273-8255” with Logic and Khalid later in the evening.

In her acceptance speech, the cute and flustered Cara thanked the Recording Academy for not being about “popularity contests and number games,” saying “everyone deserves the same shot.” SZA was robbed. —Sidney Madden

7:58 p.m. I guess Sam Smith went for a white lab coat rather than a white rose? Also, he gets the Sings With Gospel Choir “Grammy Moment” tonight, to telegraph Soul. But let’s not forget that Sam Smith is a Recording Academy — and commercial — favorite. His first album won four Grammys. But there is a serious lack of engagement with the cameras, and I’m guessing with the live audience at MSG, too. Who exactly was that performance for? —Anastasia Tsioulcas

7:54 p.m. Biggest Jay-Z highlight of the night? Unless he wins a big award as expected, we may have just seen it. Host James Corden recognized him from the stage for winning the pre-show Industry Icon Award. Jay notably turned down the offer to perform from his deeply personal 4:44 tonight, despite being heavily courted by the Recording Academy, according to the L.A. Times. Apparently, there were even plans to trace rap’s legacy with a tribute starting with”Rapper’s Delight” and ending with Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” Instead, we got him chilling and smiling from the rows. —Rodney Carmichael

7:50 p.m. Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna claim the first (televised) award of the evening in the category best rap/sung performance for “Loyalty,” off the rapper’s DAMN. album. “She gassed me on my own song,” Kendrick joked, giving a nod to RiRi. “This award is really for her.” As of now, this puts Lamar’s 2018 Grammy talley at four: He’s already won for Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song and Best Music Video. —Sidney Madden

7:44 p.m. Take a shot if you made the “Bjork wants her swan dress back” joke the minute the lights went up on Lady Gaga’s avian piano. What Gaga wants is your attention back: Having just released a new, subdued, stunning version of the title track to Joanne, she reminded people of the power of that song’s message of compassion — sharing a few somber bars — before medley-izing into “A Million Reasons.” Classy, not quite a total tearjerker but a classy moment from a pop star who deserves all the accolades for her musicianship. —Ann Powers

7:37 p.m. Surrounded by marching paratroopers, Kendrick Lamar opens the 60th Grammy Awards with an electrifying performance. Partway through, “This is a satire By Kendrick Lamar” flashes on a screen behind him, as Bono enters singing the hook to “XXX.” from DAMN. Then Dave Chappelle interrupts the performance with some pointed commentary: “The only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America, is being a black man in America.” Then Kung-Fu Kenny does what he does best by killing, literally, the rest of his set. —Rodney Carmichael

7:30 p.m. As usual, the vast majority of the awards (75 out of 84) at this year’s Grammys were handed out during an afternoon ceremony. NPR Music’s team — that’s me, Sidney Madden, Ann Powers, Rodney Carmichael and Anastasia Tsioulcas — will share updates on the nine awards, and all the performances, that are telecast on the prime time awards. —Jacob Ganz

Mort Walker, The Man Behind ‘Beetle Bailey’ Comic Strip, Dies At 94

Jan 29, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Mort Walker, The Man Behind ‘Beetle Bailey’ Comic Strip, Dies At 94

In this August 2010 file photo, Mort Walker, the artist and author of the Beetle Bailey comic strip, stands in his studio in Stamford, Conn.

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In this August 2010 file photo, Mort Walker, the artist and author of the Beetle Bailey comic strip, stands in his studio in Stamford, Conn.

Craig Ruttle/AP

Mort Walker, the renowned comic strip artist best known for his cartoon depicting the high jinks of the loafing Army private “Beetle Bailey,” died Saturday at the age of 94 at his home in Stamford, Conn.

Walker drew Beetle Bailey as a daily comic strip for 68 years, making him the longest running comic strip artist in the medium’s history, according to a statement from King Features, which performed the original syndication for the strip.

Beetle Bailey eventually ran in 1,800 newspapers across more than 50 countries, accumulating a daily readership of 200 million.

Beetle Bailey was not Walker’s lone creation. He also crafted Hi and Lois with Dik Browne in 1954, Sam’s Strip in 1961, Boner’s Ark in 1968, among others.

His most beloved character’s first incarnation was behind another name. The languorous, young man with a hat perennially drooping over his forehead began as “Spider” the college student.

But with the onset of the Korean War, Walker — who later described his four years of conscription during World War II as “free research” — altered the setting of his comic. Beetle Bailey was now an ineffectual Army private who was invariably content to shirk responsibility and resist the authority figures at Camp Swampy.

The rest of the cast included the flailing Gen. Halftrack, his shapely secretary Miss Buxley, Cookie the chef and buck-toothed Private Zero.

Beetle Bailey had earned modest circulation until the early 1950s when the Tokyo edition of Stars Stripes banned it out of fear it would encourage service members to model Bailey’s lackadaisical behavior. The ban backfired, leading to a massive wave of publicity and a surge in distribution for the comic strip.

In the 1970’s, against the advice of his publisher, Walker added a black character to the team: Lt. Flap, who sported an Afro and a goatee and first appeared with the line: “How come there’s no blacks in this honkie outfit?!” The new character again sent circulation soaring.

In 1997, facing criticism over the way in which Gen. Halftrack continually leered at his secretary, Miss Buxley, Walker introduced a new story line: the general was now forced to undergo sensitivity training.

In 2000 the Army invited Walker to the Pentagon to be awarded The Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service.

Although Walker never quit his work, he did bring in collaborators, including his two sons Brian and Greg, who say they intend to help the comic live on.

In 1974 he founded the Museum of Cartoon Art in Greenwich, Conn., the first of its kind. Although the collection grew, funding problems ensued and after shifting the location a number of times, the museum was closed in 2002. However, in 2008 the collection was transferred to a gallery in Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.

Addison Morton Walker was born in El Dorado, Kan. in 1923 — his father an architect and his mother a newspaper illustrator. He recognized his passion for cartoons at a young age. He had already sold 300 cartoons by the age of 15.

Much later in his life he was quoted as saying: “I’m thankful for the good life cartooning has given me.”

Carnage And Chaos In Kabul: Taliban Car Bombing Kills At Least 95

Jan 28, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Carnage And Chaos In Kabul: Taliban Car Bombing Kills At Least 95

A car bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, has killed nearly 100 people and wounded at least 150 more, in a heavily guarded area of the city. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

African Refugees In Israel Face Deportation

Jan 28, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on African Refugees In Israel Face Deportation

Tens of thousands of Africans have migrated to Israel in the last decade. Now many of them are facing deportation, which has sparked an outcry from some corners in Israel.

Nassar’s Exploitation Of The Climate Of Fear At A USA Gymnastics Training Site

Jan 28, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Nassar’s Exploitation Of The Climate Of Fear At A USA Gymnastics Training Site

Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu, an early critic of abusive behavior in the USA gymnastics program, talks to NPR’s Michel Martin about recent reporting on the sport’s widespread sexual abuse.

‘We Shall Overcome’ Ruled Public Domain In Copyright Settlement

Jan 28, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on ‘We Shall Overcome’ Ruled Public Domain In Copyright Settlement

The civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” is now in the public domain. The music publishers that copyrighted the song in the 1960s settled the lawsuit on Friday.

Why This East Village Bar Has A Ban On The Word ‘Literally’

Jan 27, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Why This East Village Bar Has A Ban On The Word ‘Literally’

The Continental, a bar in New York’s East Village has a ban against customers using the word “literally,” or what it says is “the most overused, annoying word in the English language and we will not tolerate it.”

The 10 Events You Need To Know To Understand The Almost-Firing Of Robert Mueller

Jan 27, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on The 10 Events You Need To Know To Understand The Almost-Firing Of Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller is sworn in on Capitol Hill, prior to testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in 2013.

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Robert Mueller is sworn in on Capitol Hill, prior to testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in 2013.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

President Trump’s reported order last summer to fire Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller is all about obstruction of justice — whether it happened, and whether it could be proved.

Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller in June, as The New York Times reported on Thursday. McGahn refused, and threatened to quit. Trump backed off.

Trump Intended To Fire Special Counsel Mueller In June, 'New York Times' Says

Speaking to reporters Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump dismissed the report. “Fake news. Fake news,” the president said in brief remarks as he entered the conference hall. “Typical New York Times. Fake stories.”

And prior to leaving for Davos, the president had told reporters he was willing to talk to Mueller’s investigators under oath. Trump said he was “looking forward to it.” At the time, the president also said, “There’s been no collusion whatsoever. There’s no obstruction whatsoever.”

Still, because of the events of the past year, “it now appears likely that Mueller will conclude that Trump obstructed justice,” wrote former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti on Friday. Here’s the chain of events that led to now:

1. Michael Flynn lies

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is at the center of the Russia imbroglio.

The 10 Events You Need To Know To Understand The Michael Flynn Story

In January 2017, Flynn separately tells soon-to-be Vice President Mike Pence and FBI investigators about conversations he had with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak earlier in the presidential transition, saying that the conversations were not related to U.S. sanctions on Russia.

Pence goes on TV and repeats those claims, but the FBI, which was monitoring the Russian ambassador’s communications, knows they aren’t true. Flynn has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with Mueller’s investigators.

2. Sally Yates sounds the alarm

On Jan. 26, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates meets with White House counsel McGahn to warn him the Justice Department has evidence, via the FBI surveillance, that what Pence was saying publicly was inaccurate.

She adds that because Russian diplomatic and intelligence officials also knew about the content of the conversations — and probably had their own proof of them — Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail.

WATCH: Sally Yates Testifies: 'We Believed Gen. Flynn Was Compromised'

“To state the obvious, you don’t want your national security adviser compromised by the Russians,” she later tells Congress.

Four days later, and after a second meeting between McGahn and Yates, Trump fires Yates. The reason given by the White House is her decision to instruct Justice Department attorneys not to defend his immigration restrictions. But subsequent events raise the question about whether Yates’ dismissal also was connected to the unwelcome visit she paid to McGahn.

Either way, McGahn told Trump that Flynn had probably provided an inaccurate portrayal of events to FBI investigators, according to Trump lawyer John Dowd.

3. Comey says Trump asks for loyalty; Trump fires Flynn

On Jan. 27, President Trump arranges a dinner with then-FBI Director James Comey, where, according to Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the president says: “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”

Comey said he felt like the dinner was an effort on the part of the president to have him ask for his job and “create some sort of patronage relationship.”

Trump has denied asking Comey for a loyalty pledge.

Meanwhile, the spin cycle continues to churn about Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak, accounts of which were leaked to the Washington Post. About two weeks later, on Feb. 13, Trump fires Flynn.

The very next day, according to Comey, he visited the Oval Office for a meeting with Trump and advisers. Afterward, the president cleared the room of everyone except him and the FBI director.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,” Comey says Trump said.

Comey says he would not agree to let it go.

Trump has continually denied that he ever asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn.

4. Trump pressures Sessions to “safeguard” him

Attorney General Jeff Sessions waits to make a statement at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Washington in March 2017, days after recusing himself from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions waits to make a statement at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Washington in March 2017, days after recusing himself from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

Susan Walsh/AP

In March 2017, Comey worked for Jeff Sessions, the attorney general and the head of the Justice Department.

But public pressure was building for Sessions, who worked much of 2016 as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, to recuse himself from the Justice Department investigation into whether the Trump campaign was connected in some way to Russia’s attack on the presidential election.

Behind the scenes, Trump gave “firm orders” to White House counsel McGahn to lobby Sessions not to recuse himself, because the president expected his top law enforcement official to “safeguard” him, according to The New York Times.

Meanwhile, Sessions was exploring ways to try to dirty up Comey in the press. He instructed aides to ask compatriots if they had anything that would make the FBI director look bad; Sessions reportedly wanted one negative story per day. The Justice Department denies that.

Trump’s efforts, at least, didn’t work, and Sessions indeed recused himself on March 2, handing over the reins of the Russia investigation to his deputy, Rod Rosenstein. Trump, furious, upbraided the attorney general — but did not accept his resignation when offered.

5. Trump asks spy bosses to get the feds off the case

About three weeks later, in mid-March, Trump has a private meeting with Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Trump asks Coats to intervene with Comey to get the FBI to “back off its focus” on Flynn in regard to the Russia investigation, according to The Washington Post.

Around the same time, Trump calls Coats as well as National Security Agency head Adm. Mike Rogers to see if either would put out a statement publicly denying that there is evidence of any coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. Neither will comply.

The spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, however, released a statement in response to the Post‘s reporting, saying Coats “never felt pressured by the president.”

And Rogers told the Senate Intelligence Committee in June of last year that in his three years as director of the NSA, “to the best of my recollection, I have never been directed to do anything illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate.”

6. Comey is fired, after much deliberation

On May 9, Trump fires Comey, saying in an interview two days later that the FBI director was a “showboat” and a “grandstander.”

Trump also mentions the FBI’s Russia investigation, which Comey was leading — “this Russia thing,” as Trump calls it.

Comey Opening Statement For Senate Intelligence Hearing, Annotated

A “meandering” letter was drafted at the time by the president and a top aide explaining the firing, according to the The New York Times, but was never sent.

It’s unclear what the letter said, but White House counsel McGahn successfully blocked Trump from sending it, giving an indication that it may have included “problematic” details about Trump’s motivations for the firing.

7. Rosenstein appoints Mueller as special counsel

After a public firestorm over the Comey firing, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein appoints Robert Mueller to handle the Justice Department’s Russia investigation as a special counsel on May 17.

Former FBI Director Mueller Appointed As Special Counsel To Oversee Russia Probe

Mueller, a registered Republican, led the FBI for 12 years prior to his appointment, from 2001 to 2013.

“The fact that some are playing politics does not mean that he’ll cease being law enforcement,” said former Attorney General John Ashcroft at the time Mueller was appointed. “Frankly, the barking dogs or the clamor of politics won’t affect what he does.”

8. Trump orders Mueller fired

Don McGahn leaves the Four Seasons hotel in New York in June 2016. McGahn reportedly threatened to quit his job as White House counsel last summer when President Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller.

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Don McGahn leaves the Four Seasons hotel in New York in June 2016. McGahn reportedly threatened to quit his job as White House counsel last summer when President Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mary Altaffer/AP

In mid-June, news is beginning to swirl for the first time that Mueller is looking at the president for obstruction of justice.

This is significant: A person can commit obstruction without there having been an underlying crime to conceal. So even if, as Trump maintains, he and his aides did nothing wrong and did not conspire with the Russians who attacked the election, they still could be in trouble over the actions that culminated in Comey’s dismissal.

So Trump tries again to remove the top leader of the Russia investigation — this time, Mueller. He lists three different reasons, and orders McGahn, the White House counsel, to fire Mueller. McGahn however, disagrees with the president’s case and threatens to quit if Trump goes through with it.

The president backs off the request; this week, he calls the reporting about the incident “fake news.” At the time, however, on June 12, Newsmax Chief Executive and Trump confidant Christopher Ruddy told PBS that he thought Trump was “considering perhaps terminating” Mueller.

9. Trump Jr. statement about June 2016 Trump Tower meeting

Mueller’s investigators could be looking into more potential obstruction beyond the president’s desire to be rid of Comey and Mueller.

Trump Jr. Wanted Info On Clinton's 'Fitness' In Meeting With Russians

For example, on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump dictated a statement about his son’s now-famous Trump Tower meeting. In this version, the meeting was not about the 2016 campaign. But it has become clear in the time since that Donald Trump Jr. took the meeting under the impression it would lead to compromising materials about Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

10. White House goes on the defensive

In the months since Mueller’s almost-firing, the Trump White House has taken a noticeably different tone about the Russia investigation.

While Republican allies have continued to work to undermine its credibility, the White House itself has also touted how cooperative it is being.

White House Touts 'Unprecedented' Cooperation Amid Mueller Interview Talks

“The cooperation and transparency are unprecedented,” attorneys for the president wrote, in releasing a list of information they have turned over.

Trump said on Wednesday that “there’s no obstruction whatsoever” and that allegations being misinterpreted as obstruction were just him defending himself.

Trump Says He Is Willing To Talk To Mueller Under Oath

As Mueller looks over this timeline of events, however, attorneys say it may not matter how many reams of documents the White House provides happily or whether Mueller was actually fired.

“Attempted obstruction is obstruction,” constitutional lawyer and Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe told Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, “even when the perpetrator backs down after failing to get his consigliere to do the deed for him.”

Episode 820: P Is For Phosphorus

Jan 27, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Episode 820: P Is For Phosphorus

Untreated phosphate being dropped off on a mountain at the end of a conveyor belt at the Marca factory of the National Moroccan phosphates company.

Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images/AFP/Getty Images


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Untreated phosphate being dropped off on a mountain at the end of a conveyor belt at the Marca factory of the National Moroccan phosphates company.

Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images/AFP/Getty Images

Phosphorus is in pretty much everything: bombs, toothpaste, cheese. It’s irreplaceable. Nothing can live without it and it’s only economically recoverable in a few places. Like Morocco, and China.

Most of our phosphorus—or phosphate, which is its usable form—goes into fertilizer. The farmers pile it on, and then the bulk of it just washes right off into the rivers and then ocean. It’s really hard to get phosphorus out of the ocean, which means, as far as we’re concerned, that phosphorus is pretty much gone once it’s in the water.

Today on the show, we scour the earth for one of the building blocks of the modern world, and life itself. We’ll find about the world’s biggest mine, a place almost no outsiders have been. (The 60-mile-long conveyor belt we mention in this episode is on this google map in satellite view. It’s marked ‘bande transporteuse.’)

Then we’ll head to a little town in Vermont, where we’ll meet a group of resourceful citizens who have other ideas about where we might find this essential element.

Music: “Low Slung” “Drunken Hawaiian,” “Slide by Slide

Find us: Twitter/ Facebook / Instagram

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and NPR One.

Venezuelan Supreme Court Bans Opposition Leaders From Upcoming Presidential Election

Jan 27, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Venezuelan Supreme Court Bans Opposition Leaders From Upcoming Presidential Election

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro shows his ballot after casting a vote in 2017 for a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela.

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Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro shows his ballot after casting a vote in 2017 for a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela.

AP

Venezuela’s pro-government Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the main opposition coalition won’t be allowed to register for the presidential election, a decision that is fueling accusations of election rigging even before people head to the polls.

The ruling follows the government’s decision, under President Nicolás Maduro and the United Socialist Party, to hold early elections, before April 30.

The nation’s most popular anti-Maduro leaders, such as Leopoldo López, leader of the Popular Will party, and Henrique Capriles, head of the Justice First party, who were both previously excluded from the election are now scrambling to figure out their response, according to Reuters.

The wire service says the coalition had planned to hold primaries to settle on a joint candidate.

As NPR reported, many leaders of Venezuela’s fractured and weak opposition have been imprisoned by the government, barred from politics or remain in self-imposed exile. They claim the electoral system has been rigged to favor Maduro and guarantee him a second term.

Moving the election ahead by several months has drawn international condemnation. The U.S. has declared it will not recognize the elections, saying they will only undermine Venezuela’s constitutional order and deepen tensions within government.

Critics blame Maduro for the country’s current economic collapse, which has sparked a widespread humanitarian crisis, including food shortages. For several months in 2017 he faced almost daily protests from an opposition party that says he is trying to maximize power through brute force. Meanwhile, Maduro says his opponents are trying to illegally overthrow his government.

Maduro has been in power since the 2013 death of Hugo Chávez, the founder of Venezuela’s ruling United Socialist Party.

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  • NPT: 2019-05-24 11:44 AM
  • EDT: 2019-05-24 01:59 AM
  • PDT: 2019-05-23 10:59 PM