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Trump Canceled the North Korea Summit But Stephen Colbert Isn’t Done Talking About Those Commemorative Coins

25 May, by Melissa Locker[ —]

President Donald Trump pulled out of a much-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this week, likely to the surprise of the White House Communications Agency, which had already made keepsake coins commemorating a meeting that may no longer take place at all.

When the news of Trump’s withdrawal broke, Twitter users quickly poked fun at the premature coins, and later so did the late night comedy circuit. On Thursday night’s episode of The Late Show, Stephen Colbert conceded that while the summit is unlikely to happen, it may have to take place eventually because, as Colbert put it, “they already made the commemorative coin marking the occasion of the summit.” The coins are special, Colbert said, as the artists “were truly committed to jowl accuracy” and the back of the coin features “Air Force One escaping the Mueller probe.”

President Trump And North Korean Leader Kim Challenge Coin As Trump Cancels Summit
Bloomberg via Getty Images A commemorative coin released by the White House for a potential “peace summit,” featuring the names and silhouettes of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un.

If you did purchase a coin, keep them safe. Trump now says the summit with North Korea could happen. Although as Colbert points out, Trump said, “someday a date will happen,” a comment so vague that Colbert would “call to complain if that was written inside a fortune cookie.”


The Boss: How Dr. Barbara Sturm Launched a Beauty Empire That Celebs Swear By

25 May, by Dr. Barbara Sturm[ —]

In The Boss, women share how they became successful and the lessons they learned along the way.

My first interest in skincare came from trying to heal my own skin from dryness and blackheads. I would get facials every three weeks and try every product on the market, but nothing worked. As an orthopedist, whose initial medical specialization was joint inflammation diseases such as arthritis, I had seen great success in patients through a procedure that injects protein derived from a person’s own blood into inflamed joints to reduce inflammation and stimulate healing. I thought: Why not apply this practice to the skin? What I didn’t think about, however, was how to launch and run a successful business.
As a scientist, my first step in creating a skincare line that would actually deliver results was research. Beginning in 2002, I began reaching out to academic institutions and worked with them for a few years on scouring studies on ingredients frequently found in moisturizers, cleansers and serums. I knew what I didn’t want: fragrances, mineral oils, phthalates or any other aggressive components that could further inflame the skin. When I felt armed with enough information on how to create an effective line of products, I went to the lab and added proteins from my blood to a base that I had developed and tested it out on myself. My skin woes were virtually resolved overnight, and the cult-favorite MC1 cream was born.
I then worked with chemists in North Germany to formulate six fundamental products. At the same time, I opened a small clinic in Düsseldorf to provide skincare services and cosmetic injectables. I wanted a great location, but didn’t have money, so I found a dark space in the same building where my orthopaedic clinic was located and negotiated the rent down to half the normal price. My dad, who is an architect, helped me make the space beautiful. I also brought on my close friend Uli as my first and only employee to handle everything besides medical treatments. Some days we didn’t have one patient, but we were determined and believed so much in what we were doing. Later, I also hired a personal assistant, Claudia, who’s still with the company today and has grown into her role as operations manager. At the time, I was funding the business with the salary from my medical work. I was also a single mother raising a young daughter.
Dr. Barbara Sturm's Glow Drops product
Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Glow Drops.

In order to fund the skincare line, I needed to get a loan from the bank. I didn’t want any investors involved because I wanted to be fast and independent on my decisions. I didn’t have a business plan, but I had a clear vision for what I wanted to create and when I went to my bank they gave me the money to start my business. I created brochures for the six core products— cleanser, three moisturizers, scrub and a hyaluronic serum — and a website. I also did some more research and discovered the herb Purslane, which became the star ingredient in many of my products. The line was initially called Dr. Barbara Sturm Purslane / For Living Skin. Eventually we changed the name to Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics, and today it’s sold all over the world online and in stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Harrods. I never officially “launched” the line – we didn’t have a public relations or marketing strategy, we just focused on getting our products out there and recommendations soon followed. Two years ago we did embrace marketing, and we’ve grown over 400% in the last year.

The internet had taken a lot of power away from big beauty, which had traditionally focused on effective marketing campaigns over effective, science-backed products. But now, people from all over the world are able to connect on social media and the web to openly discuss what actually works. I also felt as if the old models of retail were disintegrating, and the way to reach the most people possible was the web.
That’s why one of the first places where people could buy my products, aside from my own website, was Net-a-Porter. All of my patients from all over the world would be able to get my products immediately, and I wouldn’t have to go to stores and ask if they would carry my products. It was efficient for me and my customers. People would tell me you can’t sell beauty online – well, they were all wrong. It was hard to get an appointment at the luxury site, but I worked my network of contacts and was able to land a meeting with David Olsen, who handled beauty for Net-a-Porter at the time.
I showed up at Net-a-Porter’s office in New York City to meet their new beauty team and pitch my brand with my new husband, Adam, very pregnant and wearing shorts. David gave me one look and appeared to regret agreeing to the meeting. Ten minutes into our conversation, however, he realized what we had and agreed to launch our products worldwide on the site. His belief in me is something I will never forget. I went back to our hotel and sobbed with joy in the shower.
Adam has been such an important part of my business. He’s an attorney and we were introduced through our mutual friend, Cher, and got married in 2013. When everyone told me that a new beauty line would never sell online, Adam helped me hold fast to my conviction that it would. Today, Net-a-Porter and my own site remain our two strongest sales channels. And, I still don’t have a business plan. Our dogma has been make the best products, get them into the hands of the toughest critics and let them tell our story authentically. After our success online, traditional retailers came knocking, and we’ve been very selective in picking partners that only employ knowledgeable and motivated staff. In 2017, we brought on Daniel Guttmann, the former beauty buyer for Net-a-Porter, and he’s helped fuel our growth even more by carefully expanding our global distribution footprint.
Successfully selling anything is both harder and easier today than ever before. It’s harder because you can’t hide behind huge, empty promises and marketing budgets anymore. It’s easier because if you truly have something great, the public will spread the message for you for free.
Dr. Barbara Sturm's baby and kids line product
Dr. Barbara Sturm’s new baby and kids skincare line.

Adam adoringly says I’m like Willy Wonka creating candy. It’s true I have an obsessive passion for creating and rolling out innovative products. I don’t have a “product roll out schedule,” whatever that is. It happens whenever I think of something new. I have two new creations: The first is a baby and children’s line, which I invented for my daughter Pepper. The second is a line I created for darker skin tones. I noticed a gap in the market to directly address the skincare needs of African-American women from prestige brands and I wanted to fix that. I’m also testing out an entirely new ingredient right now on my own skin, and I’m obsessed.

Generally, I give very little thought to the financial aspects of my business. Money doesn’t get me out of bed in the morning. As a doctor, my primary concern has always been people’s wellbeing, and I would rather study facial lines than bottom lines. What lights me up is hearing: “You changed my skin!”

‘We Got You.’ Rose McGowan Speaks Out After Harvey Weinstein’s Arrest

25 May, by Mahita Gajanan[ —]

Rose McGowan, one the first women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape, said she was “shocked” after the disgraced movie producer was arrested in New York City on multiple criminal charges Friday.

“I have to admit, I didn’t think I would see the day that he would have handcuffs on him,” she told ABC News. “I have a visceral need for him to have handcuffs on.”

Weinstein turned himself into police on charges of rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct related to interactions him with two women, according to the New York Police Department. His attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said Weinstein plans to plead not guilty to all the charges. Weinstein has denied all allegations nonconsensual sex through his lawyers.

Reporting on sexual assault and harassment complaints against Weinstein by The New York Times and The New Yorker last fall prompted a deluge of sexual abuse allegations from more than 75 women, including McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd.

McGowan, who reached a settlement with Weinstein in 1997 after an encounter with him in a hotel room, said publicly last October that he had raped her. On Friday, she tweeted: “We got you, Harvey Weinstein, we got you.”

Speaking on ABC, McGowan said she wanted Weinstein in jail.

“Justice would be, for him, to just simply go poof, preferably behind bars,” McGowan said. “Because we were sentenced to a prison. We were sentenced to years of it before anybody believed us. We had our lives stolen, we had our careers stolen.”

McGowan also stopped by Megyn Kelly Today about 90 minutes after Weinstein’s arrest to speak on how it felt to see him in handcuffs.

“To see him in cuffs on the way out, whether he smiled or not, is a very good feeling,” she said. “I actually didn’t believe this day would come.”


‘I’m Getting Darn Good at Uphill Battles.’ Lupe Valdez Could Be Texas’ First Openly Gay, Latina Governor

25 May, by Abigail Abrams[ —]

When Lupe Valdez won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Texas on Tuesday night, she became the first Latina and first openly gay person nominated by a major party for governor in the state. After a strong showing in the primary back in March, the former Dallas County sheriff narrowly beat Andrew White, son of former Texas Gov. Mark White, in the runoff election. Now the 70-year-old running on a progressive platform faces a tough fight against the well-funded Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in November — one many say she can’t win.

Though it’s been nearly 30 years since Texas voters have sent a Democrat to lead their state, Valdez is confident. She talked with TIME this week about her historic candidacy, using discrimination as a stepping stone, and how she plans to swing the state.

TIME: What made you decide to run for governor?

Lupe Valdez: It was very clear that the everyday Texan was struggling quite a bit, and our governor was just more interested in the things for him and his friends than paying attention to the everyday Texan. So I wanted to make a change. The leadership should be about taking care of everybody.

What was your win on Tuesday night like?

I came from the poorest zip code in San Antonio. There were no paved streets, there were no sidewalks. Often you felt uncomfortable going to general things like school or football games because we were so poor. To come from that to being the candidate of a major party for the governor of one of the largest states in the nation, it’s just humbling. It’s extremely humbling.

Right as we were winning, I got a call from my niece in San Antonio. My mom and dad never got to see me as a sheriff or as anything else. In tears, she says, “Mom would be so proud of you.”

Even though this is a history-making moment for you, voter turnout for the runoff election was the lowest since 1920. What does that say about your mandate among Democratic voters in Texas?

Runoffs are always a smaller amount. If you notice the numbers for the primary — the numbers for the primary were bigger than they have ever been. It was one of the biggest numbers. That doesn’t worry me.

We’ve seen a wave of Democratic women winning races this year—especially in red states like yours. How do you think the political environment has changed for women candidates?

When things start happening in a household, who takes over? It’s usually the mom, it’s usually the women who start organizing. Any disaster, anything that happens in the house, who takes over and makes sure that everything gets back into the way it can operate smoothly?

That’s what we’re doing. We’re just tired of seeing everything so messed up and tired of having things going in the wrong direction. We’re going, “Hey, we need to grab hold of this and make sure it starts getting back to normal and to the way that it’s supposed to work out better for everybody.”

In the primary, immigration activists raised some concerns about your record on immigration and did not like that your sheriff’s office complied with federal detention orders. How will you address those concerns?

We have been addressing it. As a proven executive, I had to make some very hard decisions. And the decisions were always based on what is best for the whole. That decision that you’re talking about, I would lose funding if I had not made the decision I did. I would lose funding for several of the county agencies including the juvenile court, drug court, health and human services. It was an imperfect choice and no perfect decision could be made.

But if we go back to the values, I have always, always, always fought for the undocumented. As a matter of fact, I have been fighting against the Texas law SB 4, and I fought against that way before I started running for governor. All along, we pushed for a path to citizenship for the Dreamers. This is the only country they’ve known. They’re productive, they’re part of our community, so of course I would use the bully pulpit for a path to citizenship for our Dreamers. So as far as the value is concerned, I was always there. The decision that one group was upset about was a decision that I had to make because there was no perfect choices there.

You’ve talked about facing discrimination for being a lesbian woman of color while working in law enforcement in Texas. Is there a specific moment that stands out in your memory?

I was in a situation where women were about to take [over as] management and a gentleman said, “I’ll be blankity blank blank if I’m going to take orders from someone who has to sit down to pee.” I remember feeling real humiliated, real embarrassed, because it was a room full of men. I remember thinking no one should be put in this situation.

All of your incidents, all of your experiences can be used as a stumbling block or a stepping stone. I think it’s important that in all of my experiences, that I use it as a stepping stone. For instance, SB 4, we’ve put all of law enforcement in an extremely uncomfortable situation involving the trust of the immigrant communities. The immigrant communities will not talk to an officer now because they’re afraid of them. What we need to do is learn from our experiences and make sure that we don’t allow that to happen anymore.

Candidates who are minorities are often forced to strike a balance between reaching for wide appeal and leaning into causes that their minority group is passionate about. How have you balanced this?

Somebody said to me the other day, “You fit all the categories.” I was a federal agent, I was in the military, I was poor, I am Hispanic, I am LGBT, as a team we’ve fought against organized crime and on and on. We have more in common than we have differences. In my current position, it’s very easy for a lot of people to find something in common with me. The only people that I really couldn’t identify with is the upper 1 percent. And you know something, in the upper 1 percent, I would probably find something. I’m sure some of them have served in the military, I’m sure some of them have worked to get through college. So I shouldn’t even say that. I think that with everybody you can find something in common.

In a state as Republican as Texas, many would say you’re still a long shot to win the governorship. How do you respond to that? Is it realistic for Texas to be competitive for Democrats this year?

Everybody tells me it’s an uphill battle. But my response to them has always been: when hasn’t it been? When I was a child I went clear across town on a public bus so I could get a decent education. That wasn’t a cake walk. Was it easy when I was working two or three jobs to get through college? Was it a cake walk when I was in the military in a tank battalion? Was it easy when I took over a male dominated organization that did not want female leadership? I’m getting darn good at uphill battles. And I’m not done yet. I’ve got another one coming.

We have been going out and listening to everyday Texans. You know the concerns of the everyday Texan is not where you go to the bathroom or show me your papers. The concern of the everyday Texan has to do with how are they going to get their child educated. The children of Texas have to compete in a global economy. How are we going to make sure that they get a decent public education? How are we going to send them to higher education? How are we going to get health care? These are the things that we should be concerned about.

This is not a red state, it’s a non-voting state. And we need to get out there and get out the vote, talk to people, let them know that somebody is here fighting for them. I’m going to be their champion, I’m going to be their voice and I’m going to fight for them as hard as I can and that’s what is going to make the difference. I’m not going to be the governor of my rich donors, I’m going to be the governor of the people who are seeking for genuine, everyday life answers.


A School Shooting in Indiana Has Left at Least 2 People Injured

25 May, by Associated Press[ —]

(NOBLESVILLE, Ind.) — An official says an adult and a child were injured in a shooting at an Indiana middle school and were taken to hospitals in Indianapolis.

Indiana University Health spokeswoman Danielle Sirilla said the adult victim in Friday morning’s attack at Noblesville West Middle School northeast of Indianapolis was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital and the child was taken to Riley Hospital for Children. She had no information on their ages or the seriousness of their injuries.

Authorities say the suspect is believed to have acted alone and was taken into custody. No further details were provided about the suspect, victim or possible motive for the attack.

Afterward, students were bused to the Noblesville High School gym, where their families could retrieve them.

Noblesville, which is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Indianapolis, is home to about 50,000 people. The middle school has about 1,300 students from grades 6-8.

The attack comes a week after an attack at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, that killed eight students and two teachers.


Europe’s New Privacy Law Takes Effect Today. Here’s How the World Is Handling Digital Rights

25 May, by Ian Bremmer[ —]

The European Union’s much-vaunted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force this week. But Europe isn’t the only entity trying to balance digital freedoms with citizens’ privacy rights.

These five facts look at the state of data privacy laws around the world.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is the updated replacement to Europe’s 1995 Data Protection Directive, one that’s taken almost a decade to get across the finish line.

At its heart, GDPR provides European citizens with the tools they need to better control the data collected about them. Under the law, from May 25 onwards, firms anywhere in the world that collect data on E.U. citizens need to offer users the option to see the information collected about them, and to move or delete that information. Firms will also be required to report any data breaches within 72 hours.

There are numerous other GDPR regulations that companies will need to comply with as well. But the basic idea behind the law is to orient companies toward “privacy by default” and put people in charge of their personal data.

The penalty for violating GPDR are significant — the maximum fine can be up to $23.5 million or 4 percent of the firm’s revenue, whichever is larger. Even if you’re Amazon, a $7 billion fine is going to smart.

Europe’s approach to privacy

Europeans were well ahead of the data privacy curve long before Cambridge Analytica came onto the scene. The European Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that European citizens have a “right to be forgotten” and can have material stricken from search engines if it is determined to be “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive for the purpose of the data processing,” a ruling enshrined in GDPR as well. In the eyes of Brussels, data privacy is an intrinsic human right, and therefore should be under the control of the individual user. GDPR is a critical step in that direction.

And because GDPR applies to companies doing business in Europe rather than just those based there, plenty of folks around the world will also be at least partially covered by GDPR as companies shift to comply with it. Firms like Facebook have already vowed to operate in accordance with GDPR across their global user base—both because it’s easier for Facebook and because it generates good press on the privacy front.

The American approach to privacy

That’s especially good news for the 61 percent of Americans who would like to do more to protect their privacy, and the 68 percent who say current data privacy laws aren’t stringent enough. To be fair, Congress is now mulling the Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act of 2018, a bipartisan proposal that in many ways resembles GDPR. If voted into law, it would require websites to give users a readout of all the data that a firm has on them, in addition to a list of who has had access to that data and how it’s being used. It’s not as far-reaching as GDPR, but it’s better than nothing.

The most interesting element of this idea is its timing; the bill was proposed in the wake of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Capitol Hill amid the Cambridge Analytica fallout. Whereas Europe has spent seven years shepherding GDPR along, it took a massive privacy scandal to force Congress to even consider acting. This is in line with the U.S.’s general (and riskier) approach to data privacy: relying on tech companies to police themselves and only considering regulatory remedies once data breaches have already occurred. Some say this freedom afforded to tech companies is the triumph of the free market; others argue it’s the failure of that same free market. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

China’s approach to digital privacy

While Europe believes the responsibility of data privacy belongs to individual users and the U.S. believes it’s the responsibility of tech companies, China starts from a different framework altogether: it’s the government’s responsibility to protect users from having their personal data used to commit fraud or for other illegal purposes. To that end, Beijing has been building a “personal information and important data protection system” as a standard to govern user data privacy.

In many ways, China’s approach to data privacy is even stricter than Europe’s GDPR. It has a broader definition of “personal data” than the European variant, considering any type of personal information that could harm individuals, property, mental health or reputations as falling under its mandate. Under GDPR, it’s still possible for firms to share data with third-parties for “legitimate” reasons without a user’s explicit consent; not so in China.

But Beijing is less inclined to place restrictions on the use of personal data in other ways—for example, to improve medical diagnoses through training artificial intelligence algorithms. After all, for Beijing, technology is the future, and AI research is a critical component of that future and of its national security strategy. But if you take a step back, you see that over the last couple of years Chinese authorities responsible for cybersecurity have moved closer to the European model. It’s the U.S. that’s falling behind.

The Russian approach to privacy

Russia has taken a different tack when it comes to data privacy. History matters here; Russians are used to the idea of state surveillance. There was the entirety of the Soviet experience, and the SORM monitoring system has been attached to phone boxes and servers since the 1990s, an effective way for the Kremlin to supervise what Russians do online. But up until five years ago, Russians faced relatively little internet regulation; the Kremlin tries to assert its power in the cyber sphere without making Russians feel that they are being cut off from the world, an admittedly difficult feat.

Russia does data privacy rules its own way, but Kremlin policymakers look to global developments for cues. There’s a version of the “right to be forgotten” law in Russia, for instance. The first data localization law that came into effect in 2015 was described as a personal data protection measure, and it introduced rules requiring companies to take down personal data following a request process. The Kremlin frames data privacy and state surveillance as two sides of the same coin—the state asserts the right to protect citizens’ personal data from each other or from other actors, but retains its own oversight powers. Russia wants to promote this concept as a global norm—that the state, not the user, is the basic actor online. As politics grow more chaotic in both the physical and cyber spheres, it is an approach that could become more appealing elsewhere, particularly in struggling emerging markets.


How a Former Guerrilla Leader’s U.S. Extradition Threatens Colombia’s Fragile Peace

25 May, by Ciara Nugent[ —]

When former Colombian guerrilla leader Seuxis Hernandez was arrested in April for plotting to traffic 10 tons of cocaine to the U.S., his fate became tied to that of his country’s fragile peace deal.

Hernandez, widely known by his alias Jesus Santrich, is a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and helped negotiate the FARC’s peace deal with the government in November 2016, ending a 52-year civil war that killed 220,000 and displaced millions of Colombians. If Colombia extradites Santrich, as the U.S. is calling for, it may violate the headline point of that agreement, which says crimes committed by the FARC before the deal was signed must be investigated by a special transitional justice tribunal (SPJ)—without the possibility of extradition.

Santrich suspended a 41-day hunger strike on May 19, two days after the SPJ demanded the prosecutor’s office halt the extradition process until authorities can prove that his drug crimes took place after the signing of the deal. The Attorney General challenged the decision on May 22.

Colombia’s presidential elections on Sunday, the first since the end of the war, will be decisive for both Santrich and the peace process. The right-wing front runner, Ivan Duque, 41, is a fierce opponent of the agreement, which he says grants “impunity to FARC criminals” and has repeatedly pledged to extradite Santrich immediately on entering office.

Duque is currently polling at 41.5%. His main rival, leftist Gustavo Petro, 58, who supports the deal and is himself a former guerilla from the now defunct M-19, is on 24.6%. Petro says he would wait for the SPJ to determine when Santrich’s drug crimes took place before extraditing him; he has asked them to communicate better with the FARC about the issue.

Duque’s more hostile stance is not uncommon. President Juan Manuel Santos pursued the deal despite 50.2% of voters rejecting an initial version of it in a referendum in October 2016.

“People are very polarized on the issue. Some think it was too soft on the FARC,” says Miguel Silva, a political analyst at Pontifical Bolivarian University in Medellín.

The deal meant some 12,000 guerrillas downed their weapons in exchange for the transitional justice arrangement, lighter sentencing for rebel leaders, and the right to form a political party with 10 guaranteed seats in parliament until 2026. Amnesty International said the deal marked “the beginning of a new and hopeful chapter” in Colombian history, but was “flawed in terms of victims’ rights”. Former President Alvaro Uribe, Duque’s mentor and one of the most popular politicians in Colombia, threatened to leave parliament over the FARC’s guaranteed seats, saying, “My soul is not prepared to debate with criminals.”

Santrich was directing the FARC’s party and had been due to take up a seat in parliament.

“Santrich’s case is the first test of the peace process and his extradition would set a really bad precedent,” says Silva. “The deal is so recent that everyone is very wary. There’s no trust. The FARC doesn’t trust the state and the state doesn’t trust the FARC.”

Many former guerilla leaders are scared they will be arrested next. Ivan Marquez, the FARC’s second in command, says Santrich’s arrest has left the peace process “in its worst moment and at risk of being a real failure.” He calls the case against Santrich, a “set-up” orchestrated by the U.S. and opponents of the peace process.

The country’s former chief peace negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, who is also running for president, warned in April that the country is “sleepwalking into war.” The United Nations has urged caution on the Santrich case, saying the government’s actions will have “profound consequences for the peace process in Colombia.”

While it’s unlikely that that the majority of former guerrillas would take up arms again, there are several hold-out factions that did not accept the peace process and could welcome more rebels if it fails now, says Silva. “And there is some suspicion in Colombia that they didn’t give up all their weapons or could easily get more on the black market. So it’s definitely possible,” he adds. “But it would be very difficult for them to be as powerful as they once were.”

The issue of how to deal with the FARC—and the violence and drug trade they stimulated—dominated Colombian politics for decades. Now, the war is over, homicide rates are down in most parts of the country, and for many voters the FARC and the peace process will take a backseat to more conventional electoral matters on Sunday.

While economic growth is relatively steady and tourism is booming, a 2014 drop in the price of oil—Colombia’s main export—led to a slowdown from which the economy is only just recovering, and the country suffers from one of the highest rates of inequality in the world. The specter of Venezuela, whose dramatic economic crisis has sent more than a million refugees pouring into Colombia in the last year, weighs heavily on the presidential campaigns. Petro’s critics cast him as a Hugo Chavez-in-waiting, saying he would recreate the late Venezuelan president’s socialist revolution and its disastrous reliance on oil exports, which many blame for the country’s woes. Investors would be far happier with the market-friendly Duque, who promises business tax cuts and has spent much of his working life in Washington. But Petro taps into many Colombians’ anger at corruption and inequality. He calls the latter the “main generator of problems in Colombia” and has pledged to destroy the country’s “feudal” structure by taxing and nationalizing unproductive land.

Colombia has never elected a left-wing candidate to the presidency—partly because the left’s ideology has been tainted by the violence of the Marxist FARC, and partly because of a strong conservative religious undercurrent in politics. Petro is a clear underdog. But, with the FARC issue partially diffused, many are now predicting a late upset. Duque appears unlikely to secure the 50% of the vote he needs to take the presidency in the first round, according to risk analysts IHS Jane’s, and a face-off between him and Petro could mean that a divided left unites with supporters of the peace process to keep Duque out.

“If there’s a second round, Duque may harden his opposition to the peace process in order to gain more votes,” says Silva. “Or on he might try to get moderate votes by dialling back his stance. It’ll all depend on the electoral math.”

And when it comes to Sunday’s vote, Santrich—watching from a secure compound in Bogota—won’t be the only one hoping for electoral math in his favor. So too will supporters of Colombia’s peace process around the world.


‘Everybody Plays Games.’ Now Trump Is Saying His Summit With North Korea Could Happen

25 May, by Catherine Lucey & Zeke Miller / AP[ —]

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump on Friday warmly welcomed North Korea’s promising response to his abrupt withdrawal from the potentially historic Singapore summit and said “we’re talking to them now” about putting it back on track.

“Everybody plays games,” said Trump, who often boasts about his own negotiating tactics and skill.

The president, commenting as he left the White House for a commencement speech, said it was even possible the summit could take place on the originally planned June 12 date.

“They very much want to do it, we’d like to do it,” he said.

Earlier Friday, in a tweet, he had called the North’s reaction to his letter canceling the summit “warm and productive.” That was far different from his letter Thursday to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, blaming “tremendous anger and open hostility” by Pyongyang for the U.S. withdrawal.

The tone from both sides was warmer on Friday. First, North Korea issued a statement saying it was still “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks “at any time, at any format.”

Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan called Trump’s withdrawal “unexpected” and “very regrettable,” and said the cancellation of the talks showed “how grave the status of historically deep-rooted hostile North Korea-U.S. relations is and how urgently a summit should be realized to improve ties.”

Then Trump, in his response to that response, said it was “very good news,” and “we will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!”

The president’s surprise exit from the planned talks on Thursday had capped weeks of high-stakes brinkmanship between the two unpredictable leaders over nuclear negotiating terms for their unprecedented sit-down. The U.S. announcement came not long after Kim appeared to make good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site. But it also followed escalating frustration — and newly antagonistic rhetoric — from North Korea over comments from Trump aides about U.S. expectations for the North’s “denuclearization.”

The White House has repeatedly offered mixed messages. Hours after releasing his cancellation letter on Thursday, the president declared, “I really believe Kim Jong Un wants to do what’s right.”

After that, however, a senior White House official said the North had reneged on its promises ahead of the summit. Trump said from the White House that a “maximum pressure campaign” of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation would continue against North Korea — with which the U.S. is technically still at war — though he added that it was possible the summit could still take place at some point.

The senior U.S. official said the North violated a pledge to allow international inspectors to monitor the supposed implosion of the test site. International journalists were present, but the U.S. government can’t verify the site’s destruction. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid overshadowing Trump’s comments Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, a staunch ally of Kim Jong Un, said the North Korean leader had in fact done “everything that he had promised in advance, even blowing up the tunnels and shafts” of the site. Putin said of Trump’s cancellation announcement, “In Russia we took this news with regret.”

On Friday, North Korea’s vice foreign minister said his country’s “objective and resolve to do our best for the sake of peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and all humankind remain unchanged.”

Trump, in his letter to Kim, objected specifically to a statement from a top North Korean Foreign Ministry official. That statement referred to Vice President Mike Pence as a “political dummy” for his comments on the North and said it was up to the Americans whether they would “meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.”

Underscoring the high stakes, Trump said he had spoken with military leaders, as well as Japan and South Korea, and stressed that the United States was prepared for any threat.

Still, Trump’s cancellation announcement had appeared to surprise South Korea, which had pushed to keep the summit on track as recently as Tuesday, when President Moon Jae-in met with Trump in the Oval Office and said the “fate and the future” of the Korean Peninsula hinged on the talks. The Blue House said Thursday that it was trying to figure out Trump’s intentions in canceling the summit.

Trump, who considers himself a master dealmaker, has confounded aides and allies at every turn of the fateful flirtation with the North. He looked past the warnings of senior aides when he accepted Kim’s invitation to meet back in March. He unveiled the date and the time with characteristic showmanship. And after initially projecting calm in the face of North Korea’s escalating rhetoric, he made a sudden about face, though his letter also waxed poetic about the “wonderful dialogue” emerging between the two leaders.

Wrote Trump: “If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.”

Trump’s aides had warned that merely agreeing to the summit had provided Kim with long-sought international legitimacy and, if Trump ultimately backed out, risked fostering the perception that the president was insufficiently committed to diplomatic solutions to the nuclear question.

U.S. defense and intelligence officials have repeatedly assessed the North to be on the threshold of having the capability to strike anywhere in the continental U.S. with a nuclear-tipped missile — a capacity that Trump and other U.S. officials have said they would not tolerate.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, testifying Thursday on Capitol Hill, said North Korea had not responded to repeated requests from U.S. officials to discuss logistics for the summit. He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the lack of response was an additional reason for Trump’s decision.

“We got a lot of dial tones, Senator,” he told committee chairman Bob Corker.

A White House team was set to fly to Singapore this weekend to continue logistical planning for the meeting.

Trump suggested this week that China was to blame for “a little change” in Kim’s attitude. Kim paid a secret visit to his primary ally just before Pompeo’s visit, and China is wary of any shift in the balance of power on the Korean peninsula.

White House officials have privately predicted for weeks that the summit could be canceled once or twice before actually taking place. Trump has seemed to welcome chatter of a Nobel Peace Prize, but that had yielded in recent weeks to the sobering prospect of ensuring a successful outcome with the Kim.

 


A Cop Pulled Over James Corden and Adam Levine During Carpool Karaoke to Hear Them Sing

25 May, by Melissa Locker[ —]

Carpool Karaoke briefly turned into Cops on Thursday night’s episode of The Late Late Show.

In the latest installment of the popular segment, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine joined host James Corden to drive around in a car, singing some of his band’s greatest hits like “Moves Like Jagger” and “This Love.” The bit was proceeding as normal, with Corden pulling over to watch Levine balance random objects on his face and heading to a race track for a high-speed trivia session. While fans of Carpool Karaoke know that surprise guests are a standard feature, no one — not even Corden — was expecting the police to show up.

While Corden and Levine were chatting and singing, a police officer pulled up alongside them, saying, “I need you to pull you over so you can sing for me.”

“You want to pull over so he can sing a song for you?” Corden asked, incredulously, seeming thinking it might be a stunt.

“Yes, because you caused a traffic hazard,” the officer said, seemingly referring to the fact that people on the road will stop and stare when Corden and Adam Levine and a few cameras are driving around singing Maroon 5 songs. The officer told Corden to “just be careful” on the road next time and left.

While both Levine and Corden managed to keep smiles on their faces during the encounter, the second the officer pulled away, Corden lost his cool. “I don’t know what quite happened there, I completely panicked,” he told Levine. “I panicked in my absolute core.”

For those who think the traffic stop was faked, Corden tweeted Friday morning that it was “completely real.”

 


The World War II Auto Mechanic in This Photo Is Queen Elizabeth II. Here’s the Story Behind the Picture

25 May, by Lily Rothman[ —]

A young female auto mechanic in military uniform in England in 1945 would not have been a rare sight, nor would a photograph of one such woman giving a demonstration to a visiting dignitary. This particular photo, however, is unusual because of what her job was when she wasn’t serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), a women’s army auxiliary branch.

The visiting dignitary is Queen Elizabeth — now perhaps better known as the Queen Mother — and the young ATS subaltern is her daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II.

The photo is part of the collection displayed in Women in WWII: On the Home Fronts and the Battlefronts, a new exhibition opening Friday at the International Museum of World War II in Natick, Mass. The show takes a wide view of the many roles played by women from every nation involved in the conflict, and this photo is one of the documents in the exhibition that most underlines the active role women sought during the war.

“To me it’s a really interesting example of women’s roles in the war. Women wanted to be part of what was going on. They were a part of what was going on. It fits in with the statement made by Elizabeth’s mother, Queen Elizabeth, that when Buckingham Palace was bombed she felt she could look the East Enders in the eye,” says Kenneth Rendell, the museum’s director.

In 1939, as TIME reported in a cover story on British women at war, the impact of the war on the nation’s women was widespread and immediate. Career girls lost their work as unnecessary businesses shut down, housewives coped with austerity measures, mothers sent their children away to safety in the countryside and thousands signed up to fill auxiliary military roles as well as essential civil jobs, from driving buses to milking cows, that were left vacant as men went into combat. At Buckingham Palace, the older Queen Elizabeth officially became the commandant-in-chief of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. Their uniforms, the magazine declared, were “the first warlike garments to be worn by an English Queen since the days of Boadicea.” And her daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were, like so many young Britons, sent away from London for protection from the Blitz.

And, when Princess Elizabeth turned 18 in 1944, LIFE Magazine would report, she advocated for herself to serve the way other young Brits would have to.

“[The] King ruled after long deliberations with his councilors that her training as a princess outweighed the nation’s increasing manpower problems and that ‘Betts’ should not join any of the women’s auxiliaries, nor work in a factory,” the magazine related. “But Betts had other ideas. It was not surprising that not long afterward the Palace made a straight-face announcement that the King ‘had been pleased to grant an honorary commission as second subaltern in the ATS to Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth.'”

The Princess’ desire to serve was in keeping with the overall mood in the her homeland, Rendell says: “People have said to me that the lucky ones were the pilots, because they were doing something.”

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Princess Elizabeth, heiress presumptive to the throne, was commissioned as an honorary second subaltern in the ATS — basically the equivalent of a second lieutenant — and began training in March of 1945. Per royal decree from her father the King, she was given no special rank or privilege. (She did later earn a promotion to junior commander.) At the time, the Associated Press reported that she was the first woman in the royal family to be “a full-time active member in the women’s service.”

Though not a combat role, serving in the ATS was not without its risks. The service saw its first death in 1942, when a woman serving at an anti-aircraft station was killed by a bomb. Nor was it something those with privilege sought to avoid; Winston Churchill’s daughter also Mary served in the ATS.

Once she joined up, the Princess passed a military driving test, learned to read maps and worked repairing engines. (She did sleep at Windsor Castle, though, rather than in the camp with her fellow ATS members.)

According to the official War Office caption printed on the back of the photo, the King and Queen and Princess Margaret visited an ATS training center in the south of the country, and watched Princess Elizabeth learn about auto maintenance. In the photo, the Princess explains her work with the engine to the Queen. An Associated Press report on the April 9 visit dubbed the future sovereign “Princess Auto Mechanic.”

In addition to serving the country, she took her time with the ATS as a valuable lesson in what life was like for non-royals — including just what went into the scene shown seen in the photograph above. “I never knew there was quite so much advance preparation [for a royal visit],” LIFE quoted the Princess as saying. “I’ll know another time.”











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