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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 233)

Queen Elizabeth orders private meeting with Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince Charles: reports

Westlake Legal Group queen-crop Queen Elizabeth orders private meeting with Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince Charles: reports Nick Givas fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/personalities/will fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/prince-harry fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news/meghan-markle fox news fnc/entertainment fnc cda055fc-2b81-572d-93a2-361b29398fd0 article

Queen Elizabeth II has reportedly called a private meeting with Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry to discuss the recent royal drama that has unfolded in the press.

Buckingham Palace made headlines this week when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced they would be stepping down as “senior members” of the British royal family and splitting their time between the U.K and U.S. to become financially independent of the crown.

Sky News tweeted Saturday about news of the reported family meeting, saying it was meant to help find “solutions” to help ease the tension of their departure.

MEGHAN MARKLE ALREADY SIGNED A DEAL WITH DISNEY AMID ROYAL EXIT: REPORT

“The Queen has called a family meeting to thrash out solutions to Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to step back as senior royals,” the outlet said.

Sources told People magazine that the high-level meeting was to “talk things through” after the Sussexes’ announcement. Meghan, who is currently in Canada, might call in for the meeting, per the publication.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said this week that their decision to step back came “after many months of reflection and internal discussions.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the couple said in an Instagram post on Wednesday. “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”

“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages,” they said. “This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”

Fox News’ Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group queen-crop Queen Elizabeth orders private meeting with Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince Charles: reports Nick Givas fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/personalities/will fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/prince-harry fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news/meghan-markle fox news fnc/entertainment fnc cda055fc-2b81-572d-93a2-361b29398fd0 article   Westlake Legal Group queen-crop Queen Elizabeth orders private meeting with Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince Charles: reports Nick Givas fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/personalities/will fox-news/world/personalities/queen fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/prince-harry fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news/meghan-markle fox news fnc/entertainment fnc cda055fc-2b81-572d-93a2-361b29398fd0 article

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Pompeo’s decision not to run in Kansas Senate race boosts immigration hawk Kris Kobach

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to rule out a run for the open Senate seat in Kansas gives a major boost to fellow Republican and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — a favorite among immigration hawks who is promising to bring a tough line on both legal and illegal immigration to Washington if elected.

“My approach to immigration is one that puts the American national interest first, both with respect to legal immigration and with respect to ending illegal immigration,” Kobach told Fox News in a phone interview.

POMPEO TELLS MCCONNELL HE WON’T RUN FOR SENATE, DESPITE OVERTURES FROM GOP: SOURCE

Pompeo had been urged to consider running to replace outgoing Sen. Pat Roberts, having represented Kansas in the House between 2011 and 2017 before becoming CIA director. But despite fueling speculation of a bid with numerous visits to Kansas, a source told Fox News this week that Pompeo told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that he would not be running.

Kobach is seen as the favorite for the party’s primary, but Pompeo could have shifted him out of that spot if he had elected to run. With the latest development, Kobach is optimistic about his chances in the primary and subsequent election in November.

“It transformed what would have been a very long slog and a tough fight into a different type of race,” he said. “The current position I’m in now, if you believe the polls, is a good one.”

The boost for Kobach is also good news for immigration hawks in the party, some of whom have been frustrated at what they see as a failure by the Trump administration to be as forceful as they’d like both in cracking down on illegal immigration and in restricting some forms of legal immigration.

Kobach has long argued for more hawkish policies on immigration. He spearheaded voter I.D. laws as secretary of state and is on the board of “We Build the Wall” — a private group building its own sections of wall along the southern border. When asked what he’d fight for if elected to the upper chamber, he rattled off policies including ending the diversity lottery visa — which provides visas to countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. —  and implementing mandatory E-Verify nationwide — which would force employers to confirm the legal immigration status of their employees.

He’d also urge a tougher line on so-called sanctuary cities —  jurisdictions that refuse to comply with detainers from immigration enforcement authorities. He says that while there has been some efforts to go after sanctuary cities by the administration and some in Congress, it hasn’t been enough.

“There’s already a federal prohibition in federal statute against sanctuary cities but it doesn’t have any teeth so I’d seek to put teeth in that and I have an idea of how that can be done through threat of civil lawsuits, through loss of federal funds and the like,” he said.

AOC GOES OFF ON CENSUS QUESTION, BLASTS KRIS KOBACH: ‘HAS A RESUME OF VOTER SUPPRESSION’

Kobach also wants to re-examine the legal immigration system more broadly, re-orientating it to what he describes as an “America First” outlook. He’s a supporter of Sen. Tom Cotton’s, R-Ark., RAISE Act that would establish a skills-based points system and reduce extended forms of family-based immigration. Kobach also wants to focus on restricting companies who are using the legal immigration system to bring in cheap labor to replace American workers.

“You can also do a number of things to ensure certain industries aren’t bringing in hundreds of thousands of foreign workers when American graduates in those exact same fields are unable to find jobs,” he said. “And in some parts of the tech sector you see that happening, and these are areas where the American national interest is not being served and you have to have a deep understanding of immigration policy and immigration law that so many don’t have.”

Kobach, who cites his past experience teaching constitutional law and as a clerk on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, also wants to help the president in picking originalist judges to courts.

“President Trump has done a tremendous job transforming the courts to a more originalist outlook, but he does need help in the Senate to continue on that path,” he said.

“President [George W.] Bush nominated a number of judges who ended up being activists indistinguishable from [President Barack] Obama nominees, and usually it helps for presidents to have a backstop in the Senate — several senators who perform very significant and deep vetting, so if someone in the White House Counsel’s office slips up and nominates someone who is not a judicial originalist, hopefully a senator can catch that person,” he said.

The support from fellow hawks is rock solid. Conservative author Ann Coulter was reported to have lobbied Trump to pick Kobach as his running mate in 2016. In April she scolded Trump for not having appointed Kobach to the Department of Homeland Security.

“Trump’s immigration agenda is a full-blown catastrophe because putting anyone other than Kris Kobach at DHS is like having the [American Civil Liberties Union] advise him on judges, instead of the Federalist Society,” she tweeted.

NumbersUSA, a group that seeks to reduce levels of immigration said in April that there was “no one more qualified” to head DHS than Kobach. RJ Hauman, head of government relations at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Fox News that Kobach has “fought for years for American workers and secure borders.”

Westlake Legal Group AP20007639539294 Pompeo's decision not to run in Kansas Senate race boosts immigration hawk Kris Kobach fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/kansas fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 3c5aa115-7f33-5caf-8a38-2428b69b95ad

FILE- In this July 8, 2019 file photo, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach addresses the crowd as he announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Leavenworth, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Kobach, who backed Trump in 2016 and who served on his transition team, praises the administration’s work on a number of immigration-related issues, including its successful fight for the travel ban for residents of certain countries deemed high-risk, as well as building what it has of the wall in the face of congressional hurdles. He also backs the implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) which sees migrants sent to Mexico to await their immigration hearings.

KRIS KOBACH ANNOUNCES US SENATE RUN IN KANSAS

But he argues that some officials in the executive branch over the last three years have “dragged their feet” on implementing policies he says he knows Trump favors — including ending birthright citizenship. He also places a lot of blame on Congress for why some policies have not been implemented.

“There are many things President Trump wants to get done that requires congressional action and Congress has completely failed in those areas — in things like changing priorities toward skill-based immigration, ending the diversity lottery visa, implementing E-Verify, stopping sanctuary cities,” he said. “There are a host of areas like that where he can’t do it with the executive branch alone, he needs congressional help and that help has not been there.”

Kobach is a controversial figure among not only Democrats, but also with some Republicans both in Kansas and in Washington D.C. He faces a primary field that includes Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas — who, according to Roll Call, has racked up $250,000 for his campaign in the days since Pompeo said he wouldn’t run.

Kobach is likely to face significant opposition from GOP leaders in the capital, who fear that his hardline stances could make the seat vulnerable to be flipped by a Democrat. Kobach lost the Kansas governor’s race in 2018 to Democrat Laura Kelly after he beat sitting Gov. Jeff Colyer in a primary.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Just last year Kris Kobach ran and lost to a Democrat. Now, he wants to do the same and simultaneously put President Trump’s presidency and Senate Majority at risk,” Joanna Rodriguez, press secretary for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in July. Bloomberg News reported that McConnell this week met with Marshall. Others are calling for other candidates to rally behind an anti-Kobach candidate.

“Everybody but Kobach probably should get together and say, ‘Now why are we doing this and what are we trying to gain?’ And pick somebody and go head-to-head,” Tim Shallenburger, a former Kansas Republican Party chairman and state treasurer, told The Associated Press.

But Kobach said there was a significant difference in that the gubernatorial race is often focused on issues such as education funding, and therefore the governor’s seat regularly goes back-and-forth between parties. The Senate seat, meanwhile, has stayed firmly red for years.

“On federal issues Kansans lean more strongly to the right, so I think the outcome is likely to be different and our models indicate it is going to be different,” he said.

Fox News’ Gregg Re, Rich Edson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP20007639539294 Pompeo's decision not to run in Kansas Senate race boosts immigration hawk Kris Kobach fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/kansas fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 3c5aa115-7f33-5caf-8a38-2428b69b95ad   Westlake Legal Group AP20007639539294 Pompeo's decision not to run in Kansas Senate race boosts immigration hawk Kris Kobach fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/kansas fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 3c5aa115-7f33-5caf-8a38-2428b69b95ad

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pompeo’s decision not to run in Kansas Senate race boosts immigration hawk Kris Kobach

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to rule out a run for the open Senate seat in Kansas gives a major boost to fellow Republican and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — a favorite among immigration hawks who is promising to bring a tough line on both legal and illegal immigration to Washington if elected.

“My approach to immigration is one that puts the American national interest first, both with respect to legal immigration and with respect to ending illegal immigration,” Kobach told Fox News in a phone interview.

POMPEO TELLS MCCONNELL HE WON’T RUN FOR SENATE, DESPITE OVERTURES FROM GOP: SOURCE

Pompeo had been urged to consider running to replace outgoing Sen. Pat Roberts, having represented Kansas in the House between 2011 and 2017 before becoming CIA director. But despite fueling speculation of a bid with numerous visits to Kansas, a source told Fox News this week that Pompeo told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that he would not be running.

Kobach is seen as the favorite for the party’s primary, but Pompeo could have shifted him out of that spot if he had elected to run. With the latest development, Kobach is optimistic about his chances in the primary and subsequent election in November.

“It transformed what would have been a very long slog and a tough fight into a different type of race,” he said. “The current position I’m in now, if you believe the polls, is a good one.”

The boost for Kobach is also good news for immigration hawks in the party, some of whom have been frustrated at what they see as a failure by the Trump administration to be as forceful as they’d like both in cracking down on illegal immigration and in restricting some forms of legal immigration.

Kobach has long argued for more hawkish policies on immigration. He spearheaded voter I.D. laws as secretary of state and is on the board of “We Build the Wall” — a private group building its own sections of wall along the southern border. When asked what he’d fight for if elected to the upper chamber, he rattled off policies including ending the diversity lottery visa — which provides visas to countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. —  and implementing mandatory E-Verify nationwide — which would force employers to confirm the legal immigration status of their employees.

He’d also urge a tougher line on so-called sanctuary cities —  jurisdictions that refuse to comply with detainers from immigration enforcement authorities. He says that while there has been some efforts to go after sanctuary cities by the administration and some in Congress, it hasn’t been enough.

“There’s already a federal prohibition in federal statute against sanctuary cities but it doesn’t have any teeth so I’d seek to put teeth in that and I have an idea of how that can be done through threat of civil lawsuits, through loss of federal funds and the like,” he said.

AOC GOES OFF ON CENSUS QUESTION, BLASTS KRIS KOBACH: ‘HAS A RESUME OF VOTER SUPPRESSION’

Kobach also wants to re-examine the legal immigration system more broadly, re-orientating it to what he describes as an “America First” outlook. He’s a supporter of Sen. Tom Cotton’s, R-Ark., RAISE Act that would establish a skills-based points system and reduce extended forms of family-based immigration. Kobach also wants to focus on restricting companies who are using the legal immigration system to bring in cheap labor to replace American workers.

“You can also do a number of things to ensure certain industries aren’t bringing in hundreds of thousands of foreign workers when American graduates in those exact same fields are unable to find jobs,” he said. “And in some parts of the tech sector you see that happening, and these are areas where the American national interest is not being served and you have to have a deep understanding of immigration policy and immigration law that so many don’t have.”

Kobach, who cites his past experience teaching constitutional law and as a clerk on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, also wants to help the president in picking originalist judges to courts.

“President Trump has done a tremendous job transforming the courts to a more originalist outlook, but he does need help in the Senate to continue on that path,” he said.

“President [George W.] Bush nominated a number of judges who ended up being activists indistinguishable from [President Barack] Obama nominees, and usually it helps for presidents to have a backstop in the Senate — several senators who perform very significant and deep vetting, so if someone in the White House Counsel’s office slips up and nominates someone who is not a judicial originalist, hopefully a senator can catch that person,” he said.

The support from fellow hawks is rock solid. Conservative author Ann Coulter was reported to have lobbied Trump to pick Kobach as his running mate in 2016. In April she scolded Trump for not having appointed Kobach to the Department of Homeland Security.

“Trump’s immigration agenda is a full-blown catastrophe because putting anyone other than Kris Kobach at DHS is like having the [American Civil Liberties Union] advise him on judges, instead of the Federalist Society,” she tweeted.

NumbersUSA, a group that seeks to reduce levels of immigration said in April that there was “no one more qualified” to head DHS than Kobach. RJ Hauman, head of government relations at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Fox News that Kobach has “fought for years for American workers and secure borders.”

Westlake Legal Group AP20007639539294 Pompeo's decision not to run in Kansas Senate race boosts immigration hawk Kris Kobach fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/kansas fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 3c5aa115-7f33-5caf-8a38-2428b69b95ad

FILE- In this July 8, 2019 file photo, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach addresses the crowd as he announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Leavenworth, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Kobach, who backed Trump in 2016 and who served on his transition team, praises the administration’s work on a number of immigration-related issues, including its successful fight for the travel ban for residents of certain countries deemed high-risk, as well as building what it has of the wall in the face of congressional hurdles. He also backs the implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) which sees migrants sent to Mexico to await their immigration hearings.

KRIS KOBACH ANNOUNCES US SENATE RUN IN KANSAS

But he argues that some officials in the executive branch over the last three years have “dragged their feet” on implementing policies he says he knows Trump favors — including ending birthright citizenship. He also places a lot of blame on Congress for why some policies have not been implemented.

“There are many things President Trump wants to get done that requires congressional action and Congress has completely failed in those areas — in things like changing priorities toward skill-based immigration, ending the diversity lottery visa, implementing E-Verify, stopping sanctuary cities,” he said. “There are a host of areas like that where he can’t do it with the executive branch alone, he needs congressional help and that help has not been there.”

Kobach is a controversial figure among not only Democrats, but also with some Republicans both in Kansas and in Washington D.C. He faces a primary field that includes Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas — who, according to Roll Call, has racked up $250,000 for his campaign in the days since Pompeo said he wouldn’t run.

Kobach is likely to face significant opposition from GOP leaders in the capital, who fear that his hardline stances could make the seat vulnerable to be flipped by a Democrat. Kobach lost the Kansas governor’s race in 2018 to Democrat Laura Kelly after he beat sitting Gov. Jeff Colyer in a primary.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Just last year Kris Kobach ran and lost to a Democrat. Now, he wants to do the same and simultaneously put President Trump’s presidency and Senate Majority at risk,” Joanna Rodriguez, press secretary for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in July. Bloomberg News reported that McConnell this week met with Marshall. Others are calling for other candidates to rally behind an anti-Kobach candidate.

“Everybody but Kobach probably should get together and say, ‘Now why are we doing this and what are we trying to gain?’ And pick somebody and go head-to-head,” Tim Shallenburger, a former Kansas Republican Party chairman and state treasurer, told The Associated Press.

But Kobach said there was a significant difference in that the gubernatorial race is often focused on issues such as education funding, and therefore the governor’s seat regularly goes back-and-forth between parties. The Senate seat, meanwhile, has stayed firmly red for years.

“On federal issues Kansans lean more strongly to the right, so I think the outcome is likely to be different and our models indicate it is going to be different,” he said.

Fox News’ Gregg Re, Rich Edson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP20007639539294 Pompeo's decision not to run in Kansas Senate race boosts immigration hawk Kris Kobach fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/kansas fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 3c5aa115-7f33-5caf-8a38-2428b69b95ad   Westlake Legal Group AP20007639539294 Pompeo's decision not to run in Kansas Senate race boosts immigration hawk Kris Kobach fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/kansas fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 3c5aa115-7f33-5caf-8a38-2428b69b95ad

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Reports: Anti-Government Protests Break Out In Iran Over Downing Of Passenger Plane

Westlake Legal Group 5e1a3ef52400003200527ba8 Reports: Anti-Government Protests Break Out In Iran Over Downing Of Passenger Plane

DUBAI, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Iran’s clerical rulers risk a legitimacy crisis as popular anger has boiled up at the way the state handled a passenger plane crash, which the military took three days to admit was caused by an Iranian missile fired in error.

Amid mounting public fury and international criticism, the belated admission of blame by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards has squandered the national unity seen after the killing of the country’s most influential commander in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3.

Huge crowds had turned out on the streets of Iranian cities to mourn Qassem Soleimani’s death, chanting “Death to America.”

But since the Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed on Wednesday – an incident Canada and the United States said early on was due to an Iranian missile albeit fired by mistake – social media has been ablaze with criticism of the establishment. All 176 people on board the plane, en route from Tehran to Kiev, were killed.

That mood bodes ill for a parliamentary election in February, when Iran’s rulers typically seek a high turnout to show their legitimacy even if the outcome will not change any major policy.

But instead they are now hearing more rumblings of discontent, after anti-government protests in November in which hundreds of people died.

“It is a very sensitive time for the establishment. They face a serious credibility problem. Not only did they conceal the truth, they also mismanaged the situation,” said a senior former official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran’s clerics have swept aside challenges to their grip on power. But the kind of distrust between the rulers and the ruled that erupted in protests last year may now have deepened.

“There will be a short-term blow to the regime’s credibility and this will aid the pressure on the regime from the economic and political problems it had before the latest standoff with the U.S.,” said Daniel Byman, senior fellow for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy.

‘DEATH TO THE DICTATOR’

Video clips on Twitter showed protesters in Tehran on Saturday chanting “Death to the dictator,” a reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Reuters could not independently verify the footage. It followed a welter of criticism in Iran.

Iran’s state news agency confirmed protests had erupted.

The Guards issued an apology for shooting down the plane, saying air defenses were fired in error during a state of high alert. Iran had expected U.S reprisals after it retaliated for Soleimani’s killing by firing missiles at Iraqi bases where U.S. troops were stationed.

One hardline official said the mistake should not be turned into a political weapon against the establishment and the Guards, a parallel force to the conventional army that answers directly to Khamenei and is a guardian of the theocratic system.

“Let’s avoid being so harsh. It was a sensitive time and everyone was nervous. You cannot ignore what the Guards have done to protect the nation and this country since the revolution,” the security official told Reuters.

But Khamenei, who has always cited turnout at elections as a sign of the legitimacy of the system of clerical rule, may now find Iranians are not so keen to show their support.

“Why should I vote for this regime. I don’t trust them at all. They lied to us about the plane crash. Why should I trust them when they don’t trust people enough to tell the truth?,” said Hesham Ghanbari, 27, a university student in Tehran.

The government is already struggling to keep the economy afloat under increasingly tough U.S. sanctions, imposed by Washington after it withdrew in 2018 from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Vital oil exports have been slashed.

BEDROCK SUPPORT

“This tragedy will not be forgotten nor is it easy to overcome for the population under sanctions and pressure not just from abroad but also from the state,” said Sanam Vakil, Senior Research Fellow at Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House.

“This incident is a stark reminder of the gaping lack of governance,” said Vakil.

The clerical system has survived more severe challenges in the past, including a crippling eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s.

But its bedrock of support, the poor and lower middle classes who have most benefited from state largesse in the past, were among the first on the street in November in protests sparked by a hike in gasoline prices – a particularly sensitive issue where many rely on cheap fuel.

Protesters’ demands swiftly turned more political, including calls for their rulers to go, before authorities cracked down.

SHOCK TO IRANIANS

Learning that Iranian forces shot down a plane, whether by accident or not, is a further blow. Many of the passengers were dual national Iranians.

Social media was flooded with angry comments from Iranians, many complaining that the authorities had spent more time denying they were to blame for the plane crash than sympathizing with victims’ families.

“It has shocked the public. Once more, the regime carelessly kills its own people,” said Ray Takeyh, senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“It punctures the already spurious narrative that the killing of Soleimani has united the Iranian people behind their government,” he said.

Alongside the parliamentary vote, the elections on Feb. 21 will also choose members of the Assembly of Experts, a clerical body that in future will be responsible for selecting a successor to 80-year-old Khamenei.

Khamenei, who has no term limit, has been in office since the death in 1989 of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi Editing by Edmund Blair and Frances Kerry)

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Rebecca Grant: Iranian shoot-down of Ukrainian plane – Here is what went wrong

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6121727127001_6121726728001-vs Rebecca Grant: Iranian shoot-down of Ukrainian plane – Here is what went wrong Rebecca Grant fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc c47df530-f50b-509e-9437-b78cf441a879 article

Caught red-handed with solid evidence showing it shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane – tragically killing all 176 people aboard – the government of Iran had to admit Saturday that it was guilty of the horrific attack.

Iran bears full responsibility for this unprovoked mass killing and should be required to pay compensation to the families of the dead passengers and the airline – although no amount of money can make up for the lost lives.

And airlines from around the world would be wise now to consider whether flying into Iran is worth the risk. If some international airlines stop service to Iran it would strike yet another economic blow to the rogue regime, further isolating it from the rest of the world.

IRAN ADMITS TO ‘UNINTENTIONALLY’ SHOOTING DOWN UKRAINIAN PLANE, SAYS IT MISTOOK AIRCRAFT FOR HOSTILE TARGET

Any attempt to blame the U.S. for provoking the downing of the Ukrainian plane would be absurd, although Iran is trying to do that.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the shoot-down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was human error “caused by U.S. adventurism” in part.

Zarif is correct about the “human error” part – but Iran’s military escalation caused it.

Make no mistake: Iran intended to shoot down the target it attacked with a surface-to-air missile.

Iran’s Brig. Gen. Amirali Hajizadeh, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ aerospace commander, claimed Saturday the battery mistook the Boeing 737 for a U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile.

More from Opinion

The explanation fits if the airliner leveled off and was near terrain. In that case, the profile may have looked like an inbound cruise missile, at least on a radar scope. That may be all Iran says, so we may never know the full truth.

The bigger problem is that military commanders of anti-aircraft batteries were authorized to fire at will whenever they detected what they believed to be a hostile aircraft over Iranian territory.

The airline route early Wednesday out of Tehran was for a standard departure, but the route takes planes over an area thick with air defense batteries protecting the city and major nuclear sites nearby.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has its own air defense batteries and mission alongside Iran’s regular military units. The Revolutionary Guards have tinkered with the Russian missile systems they buy and have even built some of their own systems – like the one they used to shoot down the U.S. Navy Global Hawk drone last June.

Iran is guilty of building up the Revolutionary Guards to carry out a regime policy of blood-thirsty hostility and fueling it with weapon

The airliners taking off out of Tehran all day Tuesday were in no danger because the air defense alert status was “weapons tight” – meaning, don’t shoot at anything. Business as usual.

Then Iran launched ballistic missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq at Al Assad and Irbil early Wednesday before dawn (Tuesday night in the U.S.). Fortunately, there were no American causalities.

Iranian air defenses went into combat mode, wrongly anticipating a U.S. strike in response, since they had intended to harm Americans.

Iran saw how U.S. and allied airstrikes caused devastating damage to President Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad in Iraq in 2003. The Iranians saw how American, British and French warplanes blew past Russian air defenses and hit chemical weapons sites in downtown Damascus in Syria in April 2018.

Because of their fear of a violent U.S. response to the Iranian attack on U.S. forces in Iraq, the Revolutionary Guards’ air defense headquarters changed the alert status to “weapons-free” – authorizing air defense batteries to shoot independently at any target in the air that they thought posed a threat.

At this point, the commander had permission to launch when his battery’s radars detected a target. This commander may have been inexperienced and poorly trained; however, as a Revolutionary Guards officer, he was primed to fight.

The Iranian equipment should be able to distinguish an airliner from a cruise missile or drone or combat plane, but Iran has been modifying systems and adding its own technology, which may impair performance.

The soldiers manning the Iranian air defense batteries near Tehran and the nuclear sites north of the city must have been tense. But no one ordered air traffic control at Tehran’s airport to halt takeoffs and landings – something that would have been a sensible safety precaution.

Iran does not have a good “single integrated air picture” to track aircraft coming into the country from hundreds of miles out, identify them, and transmit the information across the air defense network.

The Iranian system simply gathers information on flying objects, without necessarily knowing in advance or for sure what those objects are. When the battery radar picks up an aircraft brushing the radar lobe of the battery, the target is in range for just seconds.

At that point, the commander must decide quickly whether to fire and risk hitting the wrong target, or letting the aircraft pass and possibly being responsible for allowing an attack on an Iranian target.

This Iranian commander made the wrong decision.

U.S. systems detected the anti-aircraft missile launch. Next, Iranian communications probably when berserk. The air defense higher command was probably on open phone lines calling the battery. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is also the commander in chief of Iran’s military and was probably demanding answers as to what happened.

The missile launch, the tragic fiery plane crash, and the spike of Iran’s military and emergency communications lay out all the evidence of what Iran did. U.S. TV news programs were even airing video of the missile attack.

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At the Pentagon, the National Military Command Center would have received information about the attack on the Ukrainian plane quickly and informed the White House. The U.S. was then able to pass on the information to allies, including Canada, one of the “Five Eyes” in a treaty with the U.S. to share signals intelligence information. The downing of the plane took the lives of 63 Canadians.

Iran’s shoot-down was an accident, at least in part, but only in the misidentification of the target. Iran did not intend to shoot down an airliner. The air defense battery commander thought and hoped he was shooting at an American drone, cruise missile or combat plane like one of those B-52s deployed to Diego Garcia or the F-15Es that struck Iranian-backed militia targets in Iraq last month.

Iran is guilty of building up the Revolutionary Guards to carry out a regime policy of blood-thirsty hostility and fueling it with weapons.

It’s relatively easy to launch offensive ballistic missiles. Accurate air defense is much more difficult. The Iranian regime would be smart to pay fresh attention to Iran’s military weaknesses and the operational problems that resonate through other branches of the nation’s armed forces.

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Admitting that it shot down the Ukrainian plane offers Iran a chance to begin to cooperate and deescalate tensions with the U.S. and other nations. This is the time for Iran to behave like “a normal nation” as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

By respectfully apologizing (as it has done) and assisting with the recovery of remains of the passengers and the investigation of the shoot-down, Iran has the opportunity to accept this moment of appalling grief as a chance to change course. Let’s hope the regime takes it.

 CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY REBECCA GRANT

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6121727127001_6121726728001-vs Rebecca Grant: Iranian shoot-down of Ukrainian plane – Here is what went wrong Rebecca Grant fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc c47df530-f50b-509e-9437-b78cf441a879 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6121727127001_6121726728001-vs Rebecca Grant: Iranian shoot-down of Ukrainian plane – Here is what went wrong Rebecca Grant fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc c47df530-f50b-509e-9437-b78cf441a879 article

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Storms in South blamed for 7 deaths, including 3 in Alabama from tornado

Powerful storms in parts of the South were being blamed for seven deaths, according to reports Saturday.

Alabama officials reported that three people were killed in a tornado in Pickens County.

Earlier Saturday, firefighters in Bossier Parish, La., sifted through a trailer demolished by strong winds and found the bodies of an elderly couple.

The winds were so potent that the home moved 200 feet from its foundation, officials said.

Westlake Legal Group Alabama-Storm-AP-1 Storms in South blamed for 7 deaths, including 3 in Alabama from tornado Robert Gearty fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/oklahoma fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox news fnc/us fnc article 59b4a1af-5e4b-53c6-919c-9d591fb175ab

This photo provided by Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office shows damage from Friday nights severe weather, including the home of an elderly in Bossier Parish, La., on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. (Lt. Bill Davis/Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office via AP)

TORNADOES HIT MISSOURI, OKLAHOMA, AS SEVERE STORMS MOVE EAST

A third person was reported killed in Louisiana. In Caddo Parish, Raymond Holden, 75, was sleeping when a tree fell on his home, crushing him.

“Our prayers are with their families and everyone in harm’s way,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted after the deaths were reported.

“Please stay safe and monitor local media as this severe weather will continue to impact Louisiana for several hours,” he added.

In Mississippi, straight-line wind reportedly knocked at least 30 train cars off the tracks in Tallahatchie County.

Westlake Legal Group Alabama-Storm-AP-3 Storms in South blamed for 7 deaths, including 3 in Alabama from tornado Robert Gearty fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/oklahoma fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox news fnc/us fnc article 59b4a1af-5e4b-53c6-919c-9d591fb175ab

This photo provided by Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office shows damage from Friday nights severe weather, including the home of an elderly in Bossier Parish, La., on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. (Lt. Bill Davis/Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office via AP)

AUSTRALIAN OFFICIALS CHARGED NEARLY 200 WITH FIRE OFFENSES AS DEADLY WILDFIRES RAGE

Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington told The Associated Press that a truck driver and a Benton police officer had a close call after being shocked by a downed power line.

“A power line was hanging across the road and an eighteen-wheeler truck ran into it and got hung up in it and the Benton officer got there to help him,” Whittington said. Both were expected to survive.

Westlake Legal Group Alabama-Storm-AP-2 Storms in South blamed for 7 deaths, including 3 in Alabama from tornado Robert Gearty fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/oklahoma fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox news fnc/us fnc article 59b4a1af-5e4b-53c6-919c-9d591fb175ab

This photo provided by Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office shows damage from Friday nights severe weather, including the home of an elderly in Bossier Parish, La., on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. (Lt. Bill Davis/Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office via AP)

One person died in Texas Friday night when a car flipped into a creek in Dallas.

Two houses burst into flames in the North Texas cities of Burelson and Mansfield as storms passed through the area.

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Storm damage to homes was also reported Friday in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas, but no deaths or injuries were reported there.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Alabama-Storm-AP-1 Storms in South blamed for 7 deaths, including 3 in Alabama from tornado Robert Gearty fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/oklahoma fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox news fnc/us fnc article 59b4a1af-5e4b-53c6-919c-9d591fb175ab   Westlake Legal Group Alabama-Storm-AP-1 Storms in South blamed for 7 deaths, including 3 in Alabama from tornado Robert Gearty fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/oklahoma fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox news fnc/us fnc article 59b4a1af-5e4b-53c6-919c-9d591fb175ab

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Sharon Osbourne changes story about firing the assistant who retrieved art from her burning home

Westlake Legal Group sharon-osbourne Sharon Osbourne changes story about firing the assistant who retrieved art from her burning home Melissa Roberto fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e73e71f1-8382-58d6-a134-094d8c9d728b article

Sharon Osbourne stunned fans last month when she made a shocking confession on television that she fired an assistant after he risked his life to save artwork from her burning home.

Now, the 67-year-old co-host of “The Talk” is taking back what she said, claiming the story that she told on BBC’s “Would I Lie To You?” in December wasn’t exactly true.

SHARON OSBOURNE SAYS SHE SENT AN ASSISTANT INTO A BURNING BUILDING TO RETRIEVE ARTWORK, THEN FIRED HIM

During Friday’s episode of the CBS show, Ozzy Osbourne‘s wife admitted her dramatic story was “exaggerated.”

“I told a true story about a fire I had in my house,” she said, People reported, referencing the fire that previously broke out in her home. “He went in, he got the paintings out. And then, just to be precocious, I said at the end of this little thing I was doing, ‘Oh, and then I fired him.'”

Osbourne claimed the story was a “joke” and said she decided to tell the tale because she was “on a comedy show,” according to the outlet.

SHARON OSBOURNE OPENS UP ABOUT FOURTH FACE-LIFT: ‘BELIEVE ME IT HURTS’

However, Ozzy’s wife confessed that she actually did fire the same assistant — 15 years later.

Osbourne’s original story caused a ton of backlash, with fans calling her a “horrible person” and claiming she deserved to get sued for the inappropriate axing.

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In her original story, Osbourne claimed that the blaze began in her living room from festive candles. She claimed her rocker husband’s “arm and half his hair” caught on fire while the assistant was asleep in the guest room.

The talk show host then demanded the assistant should “find the dogs” and “get the paintings out.” After doing so, Osbourne originally claimed that the assistant was given an oxygen mask – only for her to take it from him, put it on her dog, and send him back into the blaze.

Westlake Legal Group sharon-osbourne Sharon Osbourne changes story about firing the assistant who retrieved art from her burning home Melissa Roberto fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e73e71f1-8382-58d6-a134-094d8c9d728b article   Westlake Legal Group sharon-osbourne Sharon Osbourne changes story about firing the assistant who retrieved art from her burning home Melissa Roberto fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e73e71f1-8382-58d6-a134-094d8c9d728b article

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Dwayne Johnson lands new TV series inspired by childhood

Westlake Legal Group rock Dwayne Johnson lands new TV series inspired by childhood fox-news/person/dwayne-the-rock-johnson fox-news/entertainment/tv fnc/entertainment fnc Associated Press article 00eb938a-a4c0-5478-b5a1-183c228c273c

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson will revisit his younger years in a new NBC series, “Young Rock.”

The network said Saturday that it’s ordered 11 episodes of the comedy inspired by Johnson, who will appear in each episode and also serve as an executive producer. He was born in Northern California and spent his childhood growing up everywhere from Hawaii to Tennessee to Connecticut with stops in between.

DWAYNE ‘THE ROCK’ JOHNSON ON LEARNING OF KEVIN HART’S CAR CRASH: ‘MY HEART STOPPED’

“We’re going to find the Rock wreaking havoc in the streets of Hawaii getting arrested,” Johnson said via video. “We were forced to leave the island and move to all places, Nashville, Tennessee. Those were the years that were very formative and helped shape me. The confluence of wild personalities that came in and out of my life during these times are just fascinating.”

It’ll be the second NBC series tied to Johnson. He is returning for a second season as host and co-executive producer of “The Titan Games.”

DWAYNE ‘THE ROCK’ JOHNSON ADMITS HE WAS HESITANT TO REMARRY

On the big screen, Johnson currently stars in “Jumanji: The Next Level,” and he next appears in “Jungle Cruise.”

Westlake Legal Group rock Dwayne Johnson lands new TV series inspired by childhood fox-news/person/dwayne-the-rock-johnson fox-news/entertainment/tv fnc/entertainment fnc Associated Press article 00eb938a-a4c0-5478-b5a1-183c228c273c   Westlake Legal Group rock Dwayne Johnson lands new TV series inspired by childhood fox-news/person/dwayne-the-rock-johnson fox-news/entertainment/tv fnc/entertainment fnc Associated Press article 00eb938a-a4c0-5478-b5a1-183c228c273c

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Georgia grave marker leads to Jane Doe’s identification after murder 38 years ago

A Georgia man went to prison for her murder, but for more than 38 years investigators didn’t know who she was — until now.

Shirlene “Cheryl” Hammack was murdered on Halloween in 1981 in Quitman, Ga., and buried in a shallow grave in a cornfield. She remained an unidentified Jane Doe until a woman snapped a photo of her grave marker on the 37th anniversary of the murder and posted it on Facebook, according to reports.

Along with the words, “known only to God” the grave marker was inscribed with a composite sketch from the murder investigation, WTXL-TV reported.

Kayla Bishop saw the Facebook post and then told investigators she recognized the image as that of her childhood friend Hammack, who had disappeared after joining a traveling fair, the station reported.

Westlake Legal Group Jane-Doe-Georgia-Bureau-of-Investigations Georgia grave marker leads to Jane Doe's identification after murder 38 years ago Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime/cold-case fox news fnc/us fnc article 83116274-d093-5795-b5ae-82c5d0d0a9c9

Shirlene “Cheryl” Hammack has been identified more than 38 years after she was found dead in a Georgia cornfield. (Georgia Bureau of Investigation)

POLICE ID JANE DOE KILLED IN SAN FRANCISCO 43 YEARS AGO

The body was exhumed and DNA from Hammack’s mother confirmed the match.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) announced the identification Thursday.

“It was difficult growing up,” Hammack’s sister Johnnie Hammack-Hay told the station. “Not knowing if she was safe or if she was being taken care of. A lot of worrying. A lot of looking. We searched and searched and we just had no answers.”

GBI investigator Jamy Steinberg told the station the conviction of George Newsome for Hammack’s murder made this case different.

MURDERED 20-YEAR-OLD WOMAN FINALLY IDENTIFIED 31 YEARS LATER

Newsome was also part of the traveling fair and admitted to strangling and stabbing Hammock during an argument over another man.

He was arrested shortly after the murder but initially refused to admit anything. Investigators tied him to the murder after finding rope used to strangle Hammack in a motor home he had stolen, GBI said.

He was more forthcoming after his capture in Alabama, where he wound up after escaping from jail and spending two years on the lam. Sentenced to life in prison, he died of natural causes behind bars in 1988 when he was 58.

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Newsome went to his grave without ever revealing Hammack’s identity to investigators, either because he wouldn’t say or because he didn’t know, GBI said.

Westlake Legal Group Jane-Doe-Georgia-Bureau-of-Investigations Georgia grave marker leads to Jane Doe's identification after murder 38 years ago Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime/cold-case fox news fnc/us fnc article 83116274-d093-5795-b5ae-82c5d0d0a9c9   Westlake Legal Group Jane-Doe-Georgia-Bureau-of-Investigations Georgia grave marker leads to Jane Doe's identification after murder 38 years ago Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/alabama fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime/cold-case fox news fnc/us fnc article 83116274-d093-5795-b5ae-82c5d0d0a9c9

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Rebuking China, Taiwan Votes To Reelect President Tsai Ing-wen

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1193087929-e78361a435b86fcbf1563d0458d8205f21b9ccd1-s1100-c15 Rebuking China, Taiwan Votes To Reelect President Tsai Ing-wen

Tsai Ing-wen waves after addressing supporters following her re-election as President of Taiwan on Jan. 11, 2020 in Taipei. Carl Court/Getty Images hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  Rebuking China, Taiwan Votes To Reelect President Tsai Ing-wen

Tsai Ing-wen waves after addressing supporters following her re-election as President of Taiwan on Jan. 11, 2020 in Taipei.

Carl Court/Getty Images

Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, has won a landslide victory in a hotly-contested election, dealing a stinging rebuke to Beijing’s efforts to control the island’s democratic government.

“Democratic Taiwan and our democratically-elected government will not concede to threats and intimidation,” Tsai declared to thousands of cheering supporters at an election rally outside her party’s campaign headquarters Saturday night. “The results of this election have made that answer crystal clear.”

A record 8.17 million voters cast their ballots for Tsai, according to Taiwan’s election commission, the most ever for a presidential candidate since the island began holding direct presidential elections in 1996.

Tsai’s vote total put her ahead of her opponent, the populist mayor Han Kuo-yu, by almost 20 percentage points in what has become one of the island’s most closely-watched presidential and legislative races in its short democratic history. Tsai’s party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also maintained its majority in Taiwan’s legislature, clearing a path for Tsai to push through a number of educational and health care reforms.

Tsai’s margin of victory — she garnered more than 57% of the popular vote — marked a stunning turnaround. More than half a year ago, she lagged behind the Kuomintang party’s Han in the polls. She staged a comeback in large part by taking an aggressive stance in support of Hong Kong residents protesting Beijing’s rule.

“Young people in Hong Kong have used their lives and shed their blood and tears to show us that ‘one country, two systems’ is not feasible,” Tsai said, referring to Beijing’s system of governance in Hong Kong, at a rally the night before the vote. “Tomorrow, it is the turn of young people of Taiwan to show Hong Kong that the values of democracy and freedom overcomes all difficulties.”

Han, by contrast, had welcomed closer economic ties with Beijing and promised repeatedly at political rallies to “make Taiwan safe,” an implicit criticism that Tsai’s policy towards China might provoke military action.

Han, who entered the race with deep pockets of support among Taiwan’s rural communities, was hurt by a series of rhetorical gaffes and a perceived unwillingness to confront Beijing over protests in Hong Kong in the months before the election.

Tsai’s victory is a sign that Beijing’s efforts to co-opt Taiwan’s political and commercial institutions through a mixture of sticks and carrots has had the opposite effect, mobilizing a younger, more pro-independence electorate to support Tsai.

“Demographics played in Tsai’s favor. Young people identify with Taiwan and the democratic values that Tsai’s platform promised to represent and protect to a greater degree than her competitor,” said Jonathan Sullivan, China program director at the University of Nottingham and a Taiwan studies specialist. “These same demographics ought to worry Beijing, because they only point in one direction, and it’s not unification.”

China has vowed to “reunify” Taiwan ever since the retreating Kuomintang party set up a government-in-exile on the island in 1949, and considers Taiwan a Chinese province. In the decades since, Beijing has sought to isolate Taiwan, whittling down Taipei’s diplomatic allies. It has also refused to rule out military force against Taiwan for the sake of reunification.

But while China looms in the background of every Taiwanese election, this presidential race turned into an especially heated proxy vote on how Taiwan should engage with China, whose role in suppressing protests in nearby Hong Kong has cast a shadow over Taiwan’s own future.

Beijing had sought to co-opt Taiwan’s in the months leading up to Saturday’s vote. In July, Beijing banned Chinese citizens from traveling to Taiwan on their own, decimating Taiwanese businesses dependent on mainland tourism. China has sailed its new aircraft carrier, the Shandong, weeks ahead of the presidential election and circled Taiwanese airspace with its fighter jets. Taiwanese authorities also suspect Chinese state-backed agents are behind a wave of political disinformation that have plagued both its 2016 legislative election and this year’s presidential race.

On Saturday, Chinese state media published muted reports of Tsai’s win, criticizing her for what they saw as Tsai’s deliberate antagonizing of Beijing.

“Taiwan’s DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen is expected to sweep a landslide victory in elections, and analysts from Chinese mainland forecast more obstacles in cross-Straits relations after her reelection, leading to some calling for a firm preparation for reunification,” Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times tweeted, just minutes after Tsai officially declared victory.

In her next four years in office, Sullivan said, Tsai will have to delicately balance growing calls for independence among her supporters with Beijing’s more pugnacious approach to cross-strait relations.

“She will face pressure [from her own party] on one side and Beijing on the other,” said Sullivan. “I expect Beijing to continue to squeeze Taiwan internationally, go after more allies, invest in Taiwanese media, keep up its [political influence] activities and indulge in shows of military might and bellicose rhetoric.”

The perceived urgency of this year’s election spurred some voters to undertake extreme measures. Taiwan does not allow absentee voting, so thousands of Taiwanese living abroad flew back to Taiwan to cast their ballot. Twice the number of Taiwanese living abroad registered to vote this year than the number who did so in the last election.

Among those flying to Taipei specifically for the election: Hong Kong residents.

“We want to thank Taiwan for their support of Hong Kong,” said Gary Chiu, a Hong Konger who took a flight to Taiwan ahead of the vote.

Hong Kongers peppered political rallies in support of Tsai throughout the week, eager to witness direct democracy.

“This is only the country with a Chinese community that enjoy real democracy and real freedom,” said Samantha Lu, another Hong Kong resident in Taipei for the vote. “Once you lose your freedom, it’s not easy to get it back.”

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