×
April 24, 2019

The Portland Trail Blazers won their Western Conference playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, but it's the way they won that has everyone talking. With the scored tied and the clock almost out, Damian Lillard sank a 37-foot 3-pointer to give the Blazers a 118-115 win, a lopsided 4-1 series victory, and a franchise playoff-record 50 points for Lillard himself.

After nailing the game-winning half-court stunner, Lillard waved a cool goodbye to the Thunder.

Portland, swept in the first round of last year's playoffs, will advance to play either the San Antonio Spurs or Denver Nuggets in this year's Western Conference semifinals. Peter Weber

9:55 a.m.

President Trump on Monday called for the removal of Japan's trade barriers, wanting to put U.S. companies "on a fair footing in Japan," Reuters reported.

"We have an unbelievably large imbalance, as you know, trade imbalance with Japan for many, many years, Japan having the big advantage," Trump said at a joint news conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Trump, who is making a four-day state visit to Japan, tweeted on Sunday that he expected that any major decisions on trade would be made after Japan's upper house election in July.

Abe also indicated a willingness to discuss trade, saying that both leaders had agreed to speed up their trade talks; but he didn't provide any information on the timing of a potential deal.

Trump and Abe have also discussed the current trade war with China and North Korea's recent missile tests, topics to which the two leaders seem to have different approaches. Read more at Reuters. Shivani Ishwar

8:49 a.m.

President Trump responded early Monday morning to a tweet made by foreign policy expert and NYU political science professor Ian Bremmer.

Bremmer on Sunday tweeted a fake quote attributed to the president, which he later deleted after backlash from journalists, political analysts, and Twitter users everywhere. Bremmer attempted to justify his fake tweet before deleting it, saying that the quote was "kinda plausible" and that that was "the point."

(Screenshot/Courtesy Mediaite)

Trump fired back early Monday morning, panning the "age of Fake News" and the news media. "People think they can say anything and get away with it," Trump tweeted.

Trump, who has 233 statements rated as false on PolitiFact, called for libel laws to be modified to hold journalists accountable. But it's unclear whether he has the power to do so, Fox News reported. In response to Trump's earlier calls to change libel laws, Brian Hauss, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said that "the president does not have the authority" to change libel laws, since they fall under state, rather than federal, jurisdiction.

Read more at Fox News. Shivani Ishwar

7:53 a.m.

Preliminary results of the European Union parliamentary elections show that nationalist parties gained significant ground in the U.K., France, Italy, and Poland. Parties like Britain's Brexit party, led by Nigel Farage, and France's National Rally party, led by far-right figurehead Marine Le Pen, took the most votes in their home countries.

However, Reuters reported, these victories in individual countries still didn't "dramatically alter the balance of pro-European power in EU assembly." Pro-Europe groups, including the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and the Greens/European Free Alliance party, held strong with 504 out of the 751 available seats in Parliament. The EU's new priority will be "the search for a majority," as no single party took enough seats to hold a simple majority.

Europeans managed to sharply buck the norm of low voter turnout at EU Parliament elections. This time, 51 percent of eligible voters cast their vote, the highest turnout in 20 years. Back in 2014, that figure was only 43 percent. But renewed nationalist sentiment, along with its opposition, seems to have invigorated European voters enough to reverse the trend of "falling participation since the first direct EU vote in 1979."

Read more at Reuters. Shivani Ishwar

May 26, 2019

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, gave a lengthy interview for ABC's This Week which aired on Sunday. While Buttigieg is usually known for his measured opinions, the 37-year-old mayor was a little more fiery during his conversation with Martha Raddatz. Here are three standout moments.

On the military — Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan, was highly critical of President Trump's ideas about the military. First, he doubled down on his comments that Trump faked his bone spurs to avoid serving in Vietnam, calling it "an assault on the honor of this country." He later added that Trump's potential pardoning of soldiers accused of war crimes "undermines the foundations of this country."

North Korea negotiations aren't working — While Buttigieg is a fan of diplomacy, he doesn't fully agree with Trump's tactics regarding North Korea. In fact, he thinks the main thing Trump accomplished was legitimizing a rogue state.

His experience comes from his office, not his age — Buttigieg often gets questioned about his youth and lack of experience in Washington. But he argues that his job as mayor might prepare him even more for the presidency than serving in Congress would. "You can be a very senior member of Congress and have never in your life managed more than 100 people," he said. Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

Bart Starr, a Hall of Fame quarterback known for guiding the Green Bay Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls ever in 1967 and 1968, died on Sunday in Birmingham, Alabama. Starr had battled numerous health issues in recent years, including two strokes, a heart attack, and several seizures. He was 85.

Starr and the Packers won three other NFL championships before the Super Bowl began, giving him five titles in a decade — a feat not even Tom Brady can claim. Starr also won the league's Most Valuable Player award in 1966.

In a team press release, the Packers described Starr as "maybe the most popular player" in franchise history. He is also known for his game-winning quarterback sneak to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the 1967 NFL championship, a memorable game dubbed the "Ice Bowl" due to the frigid winter temperatures in Green Bay.

"While he may always be best known for his success as the Packers quarterback for 16 years, his true legacy will always be the respectful manner in which he treated every person he met, his humble demeanor, and his generous spirit," his family said in a statement. Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

Sumo wrestling and trade negotiations make for an unlikely combination. But Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping the two mesh well.

During his visit to Japan on Sunday, President Trump presented a special "President's Cup" trophy to the winner of a sumo wrestling tournament, one of Japan's most significant cultural institutions. The winner, Asanoyama, became the first recipient of a winner's trophy awarded by a United States president.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump sat in ringside armchairs during the bouts, The Guardian reports, as opposed to the traditional form of viewership — sitting cross-legged on thin cushions.

The gesture, orchestrated by Abe, is widely viewed as a diplomatic attempt to flatter Trump as the two countries gear up for trade negotiations, which Trump tweeted would likely develop more fully after Japan's elections in July.

In the short term, at least, it appears Abe made the right call — Trump seems to have enjoyed the moment. Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

Felix Klein, Germany's anti-Semitism commissioner, on Saturday warned the country's Jewish population about the potential dangers of donning the kippa, a traditional Jewish skullcap, in public.

Klein said his position on the matter has changed over time, citing a rise in anti-Semitic activity in Germany, mostly on the far right of the political spectrum, including from leaders of the Alternative for Germany Party who have openly questioned Germany's policy of atonement for the Holocaust and other World War II atrocities, France 24 reports. "The internet and social media have largely contributed to this," he said in an interview published by the Funke regional press group. "But so have constant attacks against our culture of remembrance."

Official figures show there were 1,646 hate crimes committed against Jews in Germany in 2018, a sharp increase from the year prior. Klein also suggested police, teachers, and lawyers should receive better training to recognize anti-Semitic behavior.

Recently, Berlin's top legal expert on anti-Semitism, Claudia Vanoni, told Agence France-Presse that while the issue has always been "deeply rooted" in German society, "it has become louder, more aggressive, and flagrant." Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads