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Huffington Post India

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    Two years after an American trophy hunter infamously killed Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, another huntsman shot one of Cecil’s sons dead.

    Xanda, a 6-year-old lion, was fatally shot by a big game hunter outside Hwange National Park, The Telegraph reports. Oxford University researchers who monitor the lion population in the park identified Xanda due to a tracking collar that they had fitted him with. 

    Oxford zoologist Andrew Loveridge, who is part of the monitoring team, confirmed to HuffPost that the reports were accurate.

    “As researchers we are saddened at the death of a well-known study animal we have monitored since birth,” he said in a statement. Xanda left behind a pride of three females and seven cubs.

    The hunter was acting legally when he killed Xanda. Richard Cooke, the Zimbabwean professional hunter who accompanied the man who shot Xanda, returned the collar to researchers. Cooke’s client, the shooter, has not been identified.

    “[Cooke] is ethical and he returned the collar and communicated what had happened,” Loveridge told the Telegraph. “His hunt was legal and Xanda was over 6 years old so it is all within the stipulated regulations.” 

    Hunting is prohibited inside Hwange National Park, which is a protected area, but animals like Xanda and Cecil are at risk if they wander outside the boundaries.

    Lions of Hwange National Park, a Facebook group that reports on the lions at the park, posted about the death on Thursday, noting that Xanda was killed “a few days ago.”

    Dr. Luke Hunter, president and chief conservation officer of global big cat conservation group Panthera, told HuffPost that Xanda’s death leaves his cubs vulnerable. 

    “The role of the male lion in lion society is really to provide security,” Hunter said. Male lions protect the females and cubs in their pride from threats like other aggressive males who may try to take over the group. If an outsider male does take over, the first thing they do is kill the cubs to make way for their own progeny. 

    While this process happens naturally, hunting “accelerates” the process and leads to young, strong males in their prime being killed ― rather than the older, weak males who would be ousted by natural mechanisms, Hunter said.

    He added that Xanda’s loss would have significant consequences for the Oxford conservation program. 

    “He’s a collared lion, [which provides] high resolution data which is just gold to these scientists,” he said. “You need this information to be able to make informed recommendations to the authorities and the decision makers.”

    Hunter said it’s “problematic” to allow hunting right next to the border of protected areas like national parks. He’d like to see a “buffer zone” outside the park boundaries, to make sure that areas like parks ― which contain ideal habitats for animals like lions ― are as protected as possible.

    The killing of Xanda’s father Cecil, a 13-year-old lion who was well known at Hwange National Park and part of the Oxford study, sparked public outrage around the world and brought increased scrutiny on trophy hunting. 

    Walter Palmer, the American dentist who killed Cecil, was initially accused of participating in an illegal hunt. A Zimbabwean court ultimately threw out charges against Palmer, as well as charges against the professional hunter who led Palmer’s hunt.

    Trophy hunting, which typically involves tourists paying money for permits to hunt big game like lions, is a lucrative industry in Zimbabwe. Hunting lions — with some stipulations — is legal in the country if a person has the proper paperwork. Palmer reportedly paid $54,000 for his hunting trip that led to killing Cecil.

    Since Cecil’s 2015 death and the resulting backlash, multiple major airlines have begun refusing to ship carcasses of big game animals like lions and elephants, and the U.S. has tightened its regulations around issuing lion hunting permits and importing “lion products.”

    This story has been updated with comments from Luke Hunter and Andrew Loveridge.

    Also on HuffPost
    Regal Lions

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    President Donald Trump’s “Made in America” week kicked off Monday, and quickly received heavy ― and negative ― media attention. And it’s only natural that the president and his family have been called to task for the production of their own merchandise, most of which is made overseas.

    Trump has spoken openly about the fact that many of his goods are imported, but has offered no real plan to rectify that practice to fall in line with his “buy American, hire American” rhetoric.

    And then of course, there’s Ivanka Trump’s merchandise. Hardly a day goes by when one of the overseas factories that make her products aren’t making headlines.

    It’s difficult to navigate which, if any, products the family sells are actually made in America. But thanks to resources on the internet, we have some answers.

    Here’s the Trump merch that IS made in America. 

    Those “Make America Great Again Hats” (Well, sort of.)

    The Hillary Clinton campaign took aim at Trump’s trademark campaign slogan hats in August 2016, but it turns out the hats themselves were at least partially produced here in the states. The hats are hand-stitched in California, reports AP. But a fabric analysis and a conversation with two of the manufacturer’s employees and a top sales agent determined that “the hats’ fabric, bills and stiffeners were imported.”

    Trump Water 

    Trump water, “one of the purest natural spring waters bottled in the world,” according to Trump’s website, is sourced in Vermont and New York

    Trump Bedding

    *The Washington Post reported Trump’s bedding comforters are made in the U.S., but the link cited is no longer active. The bedding used in Trump’s hotels is, according to the Downlite website, “filled and finished in the USA of imported materials,” while the shell is made in China. So these get half a point, we guess. 

    Here’s all the Trump merch that is NOT made in America.

    The Washington Post released a complete list recently, including the following

    Ivanka Trump Apparel 

    Ivanka Trump deals so much with foreign factories to source her clothing, it was even reported that her brand imported 53 metric tons of Chinese goods during her father’s “Buy American Hire American” speech. 

    Ivanka Trump Shoes  

    Trump’s brand made headlines in June for acknowledging its work with a shoe factory in which two men were arrested while investigating her supply chain, but simply stated the brand had since distanced itself from said factory. 

    Donald Trump Ties 

    You do remember that David Letterman segment, in which Letterman not only asks Trump where his ties are made but then informs him they are made in China, don’t you?

    Donald Trump Suits 

    Facebook user Mary Cummins shared an image of a Donald Trump suit back in 2015 with a label that reads “Made in Mexico.” Other suits are reportedly made in Indonesia, according to Buzzfeed.  

    Donald Trump Dress Shirts  

    See the David Letterman segment above ― the shirts in question were made in Bangladesh. 

    Donald Trump Chandeliers 

    The fact that Trump makes chandeliers in the first place, let alone chandeliers that cost more than $1,000, is not surprising. Neither is the fact that they are, at least in part, made in China, according to Amazon.

    Trump Throw blanket 

    According to Amazon purchasers, the blanket, which is listed as “imported,” is made in China.

    And then there’s this:trademark application in India, reported by The Washington Post, which speaks volumes, is all-encompassing and daunting.

    The trademark appears to show that the following (partially misspelled) Trump merch items were licensed to be manufactured in India in 2007:

    Armcahirs,Beds Bookcases,Plastic Boxes,Woo Boxes, Breakfronts,Bufflets,Bunk Beds,Benches,Work Bendhes Wood Barels Bed Frames Bedroom, Furniture, Domstic, Fireplace, Bellows,Non Metal Bins,Ventaian Blinds,Window Blinds Plastic Casters,Wood Carvings Bone Carving,Furniture Chairs, Chairpads,Beach Chairs Deck Chairs,Directors Chairs,Toy Chairs Chests Of Drawers Furniture Chests Toy Chests Furniture Tool Chests Hangers For Clother,Coat Hangers Coat Stands Corners Storages Racks,Corners Table Non Metal Clothes Hooks,Corner Platee Racks,Corner Desks Credenzas Couches,Cocktail Tables Seat Cushion Clothesracks,Filing Cabinets,Medicine,Furniture Cabinets,Cabinetwork,Kitchen Cabinets Cost Fitted Fabricfurniture Covers Infant Cradles Plastic Cradles Wood Crates Cupboards Curtain Rai Non Metal Curtain Rings Curtain Rods,Decorative Bead Curtains Desks Desk Chests,Diploma Frames Fresse,Drop Leaf Table Fixed Towel Dispensers Not Of Metal, Sales,Display Counters,Display Racks, Point Of Purchase Display Plastic Doorknobs,Wood Dooknobs,Plstic Drawer Lining Material,Drawers,End Tables,Fabric Figurines,Hand Fans Footstools Plastic Falgs ,Picure Frames,Foam Support For Flora Arrangements,Picture Frame Moldings Embrodery Frames,Furnityure Frames Bedroom Furniture,Bumper Guards For Furniture,Doors For Furniture, Lawn Furniture,Living Room Furniture,Office Furniture, Hampers,Headboard For Beds,Non Mertal Hooks,Home Furniture And Furnishings,Plastic Key Chain Tags,Plastic Knobs,Wood Letter Boxes Love Seats,Lamp Table Lawn Furniture, Furniture Mirrors Non Metal Mail Boxes,Hand Framed Mirrors,Non Metal Money Clips,Mattress.Magazines Racks,Medicine Cabinets,Night Table,Non Metal Storagetanks,Office And Desk Accessories, Occasional Table Attomans,Pillows Stadium Pillows, Playhouses For Pets,Playpens Portable Beds For Pets,Furniture Recliners Plate Racks,Wall Mounted Gun Racks,Non Metal Hat Racks,Furniture Screens Storage Racks,Shelving Soft Sculpture Wall Decoration Bone Scuptures,Wood Scupltures Plastar, Sculptures Wax Sculptures Booster Seats,Shower Curtain Clip And Holder,Settees Window,Shades Shelves, Table, Tea,Carts ,Furniture Toy Boxes,Umbrella Stands Vanity Tables Wood And Upholstered Furniture Wall Racks Wardrobes, Furniture,Namely Units For Use In Either Living Rooms Or Bedrooms Furniture.”

    So if you’re in the market to buy some Trump products made in the good old U S of A, we’d say your best bet is to visit one of his hotels or golf courses and only order bottled water. 

    Also on HuffPost

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    The Morning Wrap is HuffPost India's selection of interesting news and opinion from the day's newspapers. Subscribe here to receive it in your inbox each weekday morning.

    Essential HuffPost

    In Ram Nath Kovind, India has got its second Dalit President but the first one linked to the RSS. Read more about his journey to the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

    At long last, Indian companies are hiring transgender people into their workforce, but there's a long way to go before the employees can overcome the social discrimination that trickles into their professional lives.

    India's parliamentarians in the Rajya Sabha engaged in a vibrant debate over the recent lynching of people by the cow vigilantes. Here's why such robust debates should never stop.

    Main News

    In the ICC Women's World Cup, the Indian cricket team beat Australia by 36 runs to enter the finals, with Harmanpreet Kaur playing one of the finest innings in One-Day Internationals.

    In the debate over the mandatory imposition of Aadhaar by the government, the Supreme Court bench hearing the arguments has said privacy is a difficult concept to grapple with at a time when people are putting out personal information on social media.

    The Prime Minister's Office has advised the HRD Ministry to include elements of military schools, known as Sainik Schools, aimed at promoting discipline, physical fitness and a patriotic outlook in regular schools.

    Off The Front Page

    The US State Department is closely observing the ongoing standoff between India and China over territory in Sikkim border. The Donald Trump administration has said it will ask the neighbours to engage in dialogue with an aim to reducing tension between themselves.

    Chester Bennington, the 41-year-old frontman of the American band Linkin Park, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his private residence in Los Angeles County in the US.

    A Sunni Muslim organisation that follows the stricter Salafi branch of Islam has surprised many by refusing a teenager's demand to wear the abaya on all days in lieu of the more secular dress code at a college it runs.

    Opinion

    In The Indian Express Janaki Nair writes a scathing piece about the march of cow nationalism into Indian life. There was never disrespect for the nation's current favourite animal, she says, but neither such all-consuming obsession with it.

    From being nurtured in the RSS ideology to occupying the high office of the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind has come a long way—which also means he has now a duty to the country's Constitution, not to a narrow set of beliefs, says Vinod Sharma in the Hindustan Times.

    At a time of communal flare-up in Bengal, Kallol Bhattacharjee reminds us in The Hindu of the syncretic tradition of Lalan Fakir, who once united the two parts of the divided state.

    Also on HuffPost


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    A five-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a 14-year-old boy studying in Class 9 in Noida's Sadarpur area on Tuesday evening.

    According to a report in the Hindustan Times, both the accused and the victim are neighbours and know each other well. The incident reportedly occurred on Tuesday evening when the girl had gone to play at the boy's house.

    The medical examination has confirmed rape.

    "When the girl returned to home she had bloodstains on her clothes and was bleeding," investigating officer Ajay Kumar Singh told Hindustan Times. "She narrated the ordeal to her mother, after which the parents approached police."

    A case under Section 376 (rape) of IPC and Section 3/4 of the POCSO (Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences) Act has been registered against the boy.

    The accused, whose family was not home at the time of the incident, has confessed to his crime. "The boy will be produced before the court after which he will be sent to a juvenile correction home," the police said.

    Also on HuffPost India:


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    India's Harmanpreet Kaur walks off after scoring 171 not out.

    This is Harmanpreet Kaur at the exact moment she scored 150 runs against Australia in the second semi-final of the ICC Women's World Cup at Derby yesterday. Her superb knock helped India score a berth in Sunday's final at The Lord's in London against England.

    CRICKET-WWC-AUS-IND/SEMI-FINAL

    Harmanpreet went on to score a staggering 171 off 115 balls to help India beat Australia by 36 runs in the second semi-final. This is her third One Day International hundred, and she scored it off 20 fours and seven sixes. She had a 66-run, third wicket partnership with skipper Mithali Raj and a 137-run fourth wicket one with Deepti Sharma, to firmly steer India back on course for a win.

    So understandably, Twitter can't stop gushing about 28-year-old Kaur and about our women in blue.

    From cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar to star cricketers Yuvraj Singh, Ravi Shastri, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, and cricket fans such as Shah Rukh Khan, practically every celebrity joined voices to cheer Harmanpreet and our women's cricket team.

    And the memes followed.

    And pictures that are testimony to what the Women's Cricket Team has actually achieved.

    And finally this very valid message for brands.

    If corporate sponsors are listening, Kaur and the rest of our cricketers have sent a message that's clear enough. Help them get the best facilities to better their game. They are icons that every little girl wanting a career in sports will emulate in the future. Women's cricket and every other women's sport in India need support.


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    Image used for representational purpose only.

    The story of Delhi-based Dr Srikanth Goud's kidnapping seems to be getting stranger by the day, as more details of his 13-day ordeal emerge.

    A day after his dramatic rescue due to the combined efforts of 25 Delhi Police teams that worked tirelessly on his case, the 29-year-old traumatised doctor made some startling revelations about his time in captivity. The most eyebrow-raising among them being how his abductors insisted on celebrating his birthday, four days after they kidnapped him, and even gifted him a pair of sunglasses.

    According to a report in Millenium Post, on the day of his birthday, four of the nine kidnappers barged into the room Dr Goud was being held and offered to celebrate his birthday with alcohol and dancing. When the surprised doctor refused, they gifted him a pair of black sunglasses — a 'souvenir' the doctor is still holding on to, and has shown to his relieved relatives, the report said.

    The doctor has no recollection of what transpired between July 10 and 19, since he rarely spoke and spent most of his time sleeping or lying down, blindfolded.

    This strangely generous gesture seems odd, given the treatment otherwise meted out to the doctor. According to a Times of India report, the victim travelled with the kidnappers for over 500km and was kept constantly blindfolded and tied up in rooms in six different locations. So much so, that the doctor has no recollection of what transpired between July 10 and 19, since he rarely spoke to the kidnappers and spent most of his time either sleeping or lying down, blindfolded.

    While on the one hand, the kidnappers allegedly drugged and beat Dr Goud, instilled fear in him by claiming to be Al Qaeda operatives and making superficial cuts on his wrists to warn his family and the police that they could kill him at any time; on the other hand, in their last call to Dr Goud's family on July 16, they reassured them that the doctor was safe, asked them not to worry, and said they would set him free.

    Dr Goud said that he couldn't thank the Delhi Police enough for saving his life and that he wanted to forget the incident as a bad phase of his life.

    In a brief statement to the press before breaking down in distress and being taken away by the police, Dr Goud said that he couldn't thank the Delhi Police enough for saving his life and that he wanted to forget the incident as a bad phase of his life, TOI reported. "Mistakes may happen in life, but there is no point thinking about them. Ola did, after all, inform the police about my abduction," he said, according to the Millenium Post report.

    On the night of July 6, Dr Goud was kidnapped by an Ola driver and his cronies, after he booked a cab to go home from a party. Out of the 9 accused in the case, the two prime conspirators are former Ola drivers who wanted to teach the company a lesson for non-payment of incentives. As ransom, the kidnappers had demanded Rs 5 crores for the doctor's release, not from his family, but from Ola Cabs. He was rescued by the Delhi Police on July 19 from near Meerut after a shootout in which one of the accused was injured. Four are in police custody, while five, including the two main conspirators, are still absconding.

    Also on HuffPost


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    The anti-human-trafficking unit of Ghaziabad police has rescued a 19-year-old girl from what appears to be a living nightmare that has lasted for the past five years.

    The girl, who is speech-impaired, had moved to Saharanpur with her family from Bengal, in search of work when she was 14. Soon, both her parents, who had found jobs in a factory, died of poor health. Her ordeals began thereafter.

    Employed as help in the house of one Furkan, she was raped by him repeatedly, before being sold into the human trafficking circuit, where she was passed around between three other men, who sexually abused her as well. One of them allegedly even "married" the girl, although the only evidence of it is her signature on a piece of paper, witnessed by her other rapists.

    After the police intervened on a tip-off, the girl, who is a Class VIII drop out, managed to convey her story by writing it down. The authorities have now booked the accused under the Goonda Act and Gangster Act, while waiting to add relevant sections of the Anti-Human-Trafficking Act and the POSCO Act, as the victim was a minor when she was first abused and traded.

    Last month in an unforgettable judgment, a Delhi trial court sentenced a man to five years' imprisonment for raping his niece, who is now 10, for the last two years.

    Akhter Ahmed had argued all along that the child was not a 'competent witness' as she had been tutored to make the allegations against him. But the tide suddenly turned when the judge inspected a crayon drawing made by the victim, showing a girl in a desolate house, with her dress removed. By the gloomy colours and the theme of the sketch, the court decided the child had a valid case and proceeded to award the penalty to the accused.

    Also on HuffPost


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    Catering services at the Indian Railways reportedly serves food unfit for the consumption of travellers, a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audit report has observed.

    According to The Times of India, the report, which is supposed to be tabled in the Parliament on Friday, accused frequent changes in catering policies as the main reason behind mismanagement in the services.

    "Unpurified water straight from tap was used in preparation of beverages, waste bins were not found covered, not emptied regularly and not washed, food stuff were not covered to protect them from flies, insects and dust, rats and cockroaches were found in trains etc," the audit reportedly observed.

    Apart from improper hygiene, the report also stated that "shelf-life expired packaged and bottled items" were offered for sale at a maximum retail price higher than the open market.

    It seems the catering policies, which have been changed at least thrice since 2005, the latest instance of it being in February 2017, also have a role to play in precipitating such a situation.

    "The policy of progressive switch-over from gas burners to electric power equipment in pantry cars to avoid the occurrence of fire accidents in trains was not followed while manufacturing the pantry cars in Integral Coach Factory, Perambur," the CAG noted.

    The report also called out the responsible officers at the railways for not taking effective measures to improve the condition of the food served, as also that of the infrastructure in terms of base kitchens, static catering units, automatic vending machines and so on.

    Also on HuffPost:


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    MUMBAI -- India's wealthiest man Mukesh Ambani on Friday announced the launch of Jio "intelligent" phone, offering life-long free voice calls bundled with 4G data streaming at an "effective price of zero".

    Ambani, who had taken the telecom sector by surprise with free voice calls and data last year, announced the next leap at the company's 40th shareholder meeting on Friday.

    The phone, targeted at 50 crore feature phone users in the country, will be available for pre-booking from August 24 on payment of a refundable security deposit of ₹1,500.

    This deposit will be refunded after 36 months on the return of the phone, he said, adding that the price of the phone will be "effective zero".

    He used the occasion to introduce his twin children, Akash and Isha, who presented the phone features that include calls and text messaging on voice command, Internet surfing and cable to connect the device to TV to view content, including videos.

    "JioPhone will make the 2G feature phone obsolete," Ambani claimed, adding that the company is looking to bring 5 million phones to the market a week.

    The JioPhone will be available for user testing in beta mode from August 15 and for pre-booking from August 24.

    "Reliance democratized the equity culture in the past.

    Now, Jio will democratize the digital culture in India," he asserted. "Digital Life will no longer be the privilege of the affluent few."

    Out of the 78 crore phones in India, Ambani said, 50 crore are feature phones that cannot be used for Internet or data usage. The new phone would give "affordable" device to these 50 crore users and "end the digital exclusion in India".

    Reliance Jio, the fourth-generation telecom arm of Reliance Industries, will provide unlimited data on the phone for ₹153 per month.

    Jio, he said, already has 125 million users since its launch in September last year.

    Also on HuffPost India:


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    Indian artist Jatin Das poses at an art exhibition in Ahmedabad.

    A fortnight ago, a missing Jatin Das painting uncovered what turned out to be an unfortunate and embarrassing art scandal for Air India. Artwork to the tune of Rs 750 crores was found missing from its collection of over 60 years.

    The missing Jatin Das painting has finally been recovered, but not without setting the ball rolling on another dramatic, potentially embarrassing, scandal. As it turns out, the missing was with a retired Air India Executive Director who 'took' the painting home from her office on her retirement over 10 years ago and 'forgot' to return it, reported Times of India. Which has led to a bigger, more awkward question: how many more such high-value artworks that belong to Air India's collection are with retired Air India's head honchos who have, in a similar manner, 'forgotten' to return company property, post retirement?

    The matter of the missing paintings became national news on July 6, when Jatin Das claimed that a painting he'd made for Air India in 1991 had been stolen and reached the open market, when an art curator contacted him to authenticate his work.

    The director was called in for questioning on July 13 and she confessed to having had the painting, although she claimed it had been gifted to her.

    On July 10, Air India's Delhi headquarters received a courier addressed to the CMD from a fictitious Gurgaon address. The courier held the painting, folded like ordinary paper, but still valuable, despite the damage it has sustained.

    Around the same time, the internal committee set up by Air India to look into the matter of the missing paintings discovered that it was last seen in an executive director's office at the Delhi airport. Since her retirement over a decade ago, no one had seen the painting.

    An airline official told TOI that the director was called in for questioning on July 13 and she confessed to having had the painting, although she claimed it had been gifted to her.

    Air India now faces the unpleasant task of writing letters to its former leadership to return the artworks.

    The director's revelations enlightened the committee to a unspoken, unrecorded tradition of AI in the past: Chairmen, directors and executive directors have, in the past, routinely 'borrowed' from the company's art treasure to decorate their homes. While it was generally understood that the borrowed art had to be returned to the national carrier's collection on retirement, many past top bosses seem not to have done so. Air India now faces the unpleasant task of writing letters to its former leadership to return the artworks. "There will be no action against those who voluntarily return the works," an official told TOI.

    About the recovered painting, TOI quoted Das as saying, "It belongs to Air India, I'm only concerned with the painting as it's like a child."

    The carrier's extensive collection, at one time, was 7,000 pieces strong, and boasted of renowned artists such as Jatin Das, MF Husain, Arpana Caur, Anjolie Ela Menon, VS Gaitonde and KA Ara. Unfortunately, at present, only 3,500 of the paintings can be vouched for, between Air India's Mumbai headquarters and offices in other cities.


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    Spare a thought for the US media -  not only are they fake news and the enemy of the people but they also have to transcribe Donald Trump interviews.

    The latest bearers of this bothersome burden are Peter Baker,Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times who sat down with the President for a chat earlier this week.

    It was filled with such gems as this...

    Here are some of the other highlights...

     

      

    And if you can bear it, here’s the full transcript...

    TRUMP: Hi fellas, how you doing?

    BAKER: Good. Good. How was your lunch [with Republican senators]?

    TRUMP: It was good. We are very close. It’s a tough — you know, health care. Look, Hillary Clinton worked eight years in the White House with her husband as president and having majorities and couldn’t get it done. Smart people, tough people — couldn’t get it done. Obama worked so hard. They had 60 in the Senate. They had big majorities and had the White House. I mean, ended up giving away the state of Nebraska. They owned the state of Nebraska. Right. Gave it away. Their best senator did one of the greatest deals in the history of politics. What happened to him?

    But I think we are going to do O.K. I think we are going to see. I mean, one of my ideas was repeal. But I certainly rather would get repeal and replace, because the next last thing I want to do is start working tomorrow morning on replace. And it is time. It is tough. It’s a very narrow path, winding this way. You think you have it, and then you lose four on the other side because you gave. It is a brutal process. And it was for Democrats, in all fairness.

     
    I mean, you think of Hillary Clinton, and you look, she went eight years — very capable — went eight years as the first lady, and could not get health care. So this is not an easy crack. The one thing I’ll say about myself, so, Obama was in there for eight years and got Obamacare. Hillary Clinton was in there eight years and they never got Hillarycare, whatever they called it at the time. I am not in here six months, and they’ll say, “Trump hasn’t fulfilled his agenda.” I say to myself, wait a minute, I’m only here a very short period of time compared to Obama. How long did it take to get Obamacare?

    BAKER: March, March 2010.

    TRUMP: So he was there for more than a year.

    HABERMAN: Fourteen months.

    TRUMP: And I’m here less than six months, so, ah, you know. Something to think about.

    BAKER: We wrote the same stories, though, in August of 2009. “Obama can’t get it.”

    SCHMIDT: It died several times.

    HABERMAN: Several times.

    TRUMP: Well, it was a tough one. That was a very tough one.

    BAKER: He lost that election [the 2010 midterms].

    TRUMP: Nothing changes. Nothing changes. Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. Once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away.

    HABERMAN: That’s been the thing for four years. When you win an entitlement, you can’t take it back.

    TRUMP: But what it does, Maggie, it means it gets tougher and tougher. As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, “I want my insurance.” It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.

    HABERMAN: Am I wrong in thinking — I’ve talked to you a bunch of times about this over the last couple years, but you are generally of the view that people should have health care, right? I mean, I think that you come at it from the view of …

    TRUMP: Yes, yes. [garbled]

    _________

    TRUMP: So I told them today, I don’t want to do that. I want to either get it done or not get it done. If we don’t get it done, we are going to watch Obamacare go down the tubes, and we’ll blame the Democrats. And at some point, they are going to come and say, “You’ve got to help us.”

    BAKER: Did the senators want to try again?

    TRUMP: I think so. We had a great meeting. Was I late?

    [crosstalk]

    TRUMP: It was a great meeting. We had 51 show up, other than John.

    BAKER: Senator McCain.

    TRUMP: That’s a lot. Normally when they call for a meeting, you have like 20.

    HABERMAN: How about the last one in June? Do you guys remember how many came?

    TRUMP: Ah, 49. It was actually 48, but John McCain was there. But I guess we had 51 today, so that counts. That shows the spirit.

    BAKER: Who is the key guy?

    TRUMP: Well, they are all key. The problem is we have 52 votes. Don’t forget, you look at Obama, he had 60. That’s a big difference. So, we have 52 votes. Now, I guess we lose Susan Collins. I guess we lose Rand Paul. Then we can’t lose any votes. That is a very tough standard. Statistically, you want to bet on that all day long. With that being said, I think we had a great meeting. I think we had a great meeting.

    HABERMAN: Where does it go from here, do you think?

    TRUMP: Well, I say, let’s not vote on repeal. Let’s just vote on this. So first, they vote on the vote. And that happens sometime Friday?

    HABERMAN: Next week.

    TRUMP: Or Monday? Monday. And then they’ll vote on this, and we’ll see. We have some meetings scheduled today. I think we have six people who are really sort of O.K. They are all good people. We don’t have bad people. I know the bad people. Believe me, do I know bad people.

    And we have a very good group of people, and I think they want to get there. So we’ll see what happens. But it’s tough.

    SCHMIDT: How’s [Mitch] McConnell to work with?

    TRUMP: I like him. I mean, he’s good. He’s good. It’s been a tough process for him.

    HABERMAN: He’s taken on some water.

    TRUMP: Yeah. It’s been a tough process for him. This health care is a tough deal. I said it from the beginning. No. 1, you know, a lot of the papers were saying — actually, these guys couldn’t believe it, how much I know about it. I know a lot about health care. [garbled] This is a very tough time for him, in a sense, because of the importance. And I believe we get there.

    This is a very tough time for them, in a sense, because of the importance. And I believe that it’s [garbled], that makes it a lot easier. It’s a mess. One of the things you get out of this, you get major tax cuts, and reform. And if you add what the people are going to save in the middle income brackets, if you add that to what they’re saving with health care, this is like a windfall for the country, for the people. So, I don’t know, I thought it was a great meeting. I bet the number’s — I bet the real number’s four. But let’s say six or eight. And everyone’s [garbled], so statistically, that’s a little dangerous, right?

    BAKER: Pretty tight.

    TRUMP: I hope we don’t have any grandstanders. I don’t think we do.

    [garbled]

    TRUMP: I think it will be pretty bad for them if they did. I don’t think we have any — I think it would be very bad for — I think this is something the people want. They’ve been promised it.

    _________

    HABERMAN: [In Paris], I don’t think I’ve seen you look like you were enjoying yourself that much since the convention, really.

    TRUMP: I have had the best reviews on foreign land. So I go to Poland and make a speech. Enemies of mine in the media, enemies of mine are saying it was the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president. I’m saying, man, they cover [garbled]. You saw the reviews I got on that speech. Poland was beautiful and wonderful, and the reception was incredible.

    And then, went to France the following week, because it was the 100th year. [inaudible] The Paris Accord — I wasn’t going to get along with France for a little while, because people forget, because it is a very unfair agreement to us. China doesn’t get [garbled] until 2030. Russia goes back to 1994 as a standard — a much, much lower standard. India has things that are [garbled]. I want to do the same thing as everyone else. We can’t do that? We can’t do that? That’s O.K. Let me get out. Frankly, the people that like me, love that I got out.

    After that, it was fairly surprising. He [President Emmanuel Macron of France] called me and said, “I’d love to have you there and honor you in France,” having to do with Bastille Day. Plus, it’s the 100th year of the First World War. That’s big. And I said yes. I mean, I have a great relationship with him. He’s a great guy.

    HABERMAN: He was very deferential to you. Very.

    TRUMP: He’s a great guy. Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand.

    HABERMAN: I’ve noticed.

    TRUMP: People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes.

    _________

    TRUMP: I mean, really. He’s a very good person. And a tough guy, but look, he has to be. I think he is going to be a terrific president of France. But he does love holding my hand.

    [crosstalk]

    TRUMP: At that note, the cameras are gone. I was standing there with him, with probably hundreds of thousands of people.

    HABERMAN: It was a very crowded [garbled].

    TRUMP: And it was one of the most beautiful parades I have ever seen. And in fact, we should do one one day down Pennsylvania Ave.

    HABERMAN: I wondered if you were going to say that.

    TRUMP: I’ve always thought of that.

    HABERMAN: Really?

    TRUMP: I’ve always thought of that. I’ve thought of it long before.

    TRUMP: But the Bastille Day parade was — now that was a super-duper — O.K. I mean, that was very much more than normal. They must have had 200 planes over our heads. Normally you have the planes and that’s it, like the Super Bowl parade. And everyone goes crazy, and that’s it. That happened for — and you know what else that was nice? It was limited. You know, it was two hours, and the parade ended. It didn’t go a whole day. They didn’t go crazy. You don’t want to leave, but you have to. Or you want to leave, really.

    These things are going on all day. It was a two-hour parade. They had so many different zones. Maybe 100,000 different uniforms, different divisions, different bands. Then we had the retired, the older, the ones who were badly injured. The whole thing, it was an incredible thing.

    HABERMAN: It was beautiful.

    TRUMP: And you are looking at the Arc [de Triomphe]. So we are standing in the most beautiful buildings, and we are looking down the road, and like three miles in, and then you had the Arc. And then you have these soldiers. Everyone was so proud. Honestly, it was a beautiful thing. I was glad I did it.

    People were surprised because I’d just come back from Hamburg. So I was back for three days, and then I had to go out again. But when he [Mr. Macron] invited me, he and I have a very good relationship. I have a very good relationship with Merkel [Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany]. Do you know what happened with Merkel? So I am sitting in the chair. We’d been sitting there for two hours. So it’s not like, “Nice to see ya.” So the press comes in. So I guess someone screamed out, “Shake her hand, shake her hand!” I didn’t even hear. So I didn’t shake her hand, because I’d been with her for so long. I’d been with her for a long period of time. So I didn’t shake her — the next day, “Trump refused to shake…” [garbled]

    _________

    TRUMP: She actually called me, and she said, um, “You know, I think we get along very well.” I said we do, we really do. I said, “You gotta put more money into NATO,” No. 1. And No. 2 is like, our trade imbalance is ridiculous. You know, it’s a money machine.

    _________

    TRUMP: It’s been a long time. Nothing changes. Wait till you see what we’re going to do on trade.

    HABERMAN: Sounds like it’s going to be very interesting.

    TRUMP: Much more interesting than anybody would understand.

    HABERMAN: O.K.

    _________

    BAKER: Will you go to Britain? Are you going to make a state visit to Britain? Are you going to be able to do that?

    TRUMP: As to Britain?

    BAKER: Yeah.

    HABERMAN: Will you go there?

    [crosstalk]

    TRUMP: Ah, they’ve asked me. What was interesting — so, when Macron asked, I said: “Do you think it’s a good thing for me to go to Paris? I just ended the Paris Accord last week. Is this a good thing?” He said, “They love you in France.” I said, “O.K., I just don’t want to hurt you.”

    _________

    TRUMP: We had dinner at the Eiffel Tower, and the bottom of the Eiffel Tower looked like they could have never had a bigger celebration ever in the history of the Eiffel Tower. I mean, there were thousands and thousands of people, ’cause they heard we were having dinner.

    [crosstalk/garbled]

    HABERMAN: You must have been so tired at, by that point.

    TRUMP: Yeah. It was beautiful. We toured the museum, we went to Napoleon’s tomb …

    [crosstalk]

    TRUMP: Well, Napoleon finished a little bit bad. But I asked that. So I asked the president, so what about Napoleon? He said: “No, no, no. What he did was incredible. He designed Paris.” [garbled] The street grid, the way they work, you know, the spokes. He did so many things even beyond. And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death. How many times has Russia been saved by the weather? [garbled]

    [crosstalk/unintelligible]

    TRUMP: Same thing happened to Hitler. Not for that reason, though. Hitler wanted to consolidate. He was all set to walk in. But he wanted to consolidate, and it went and dropped to 35 degrees below zero, and that was the end of that army.

    [crosstalk]

    But the Russians have great fighters in the cold. They use the cold to their advantage. I mean, they’ve won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. [crosstalk] It’s pretty amazing.

    So, we’re having a good time. The economy is doing great.

    SCHMIDT: The markets are doing great.

    TRUMP: They’re going to really go up if we do what we’re doing. I mean, cut regulations tremendously. Sometimes — you know, one thing they hadn’t thought about at The Times, where they said I didn’t really cut regulations as much. I heard that because I said — it could have been a little slip-up in terms of what I said — I meant, for the time in office, five months and couple of weeks, I think I’ve done more than anyone else. They may have taken it as more than anyone else, period.

    [crosstalk]

    But I’m talking about for my time. I heard that Harry Truman was first, and then we beat him. These are approved by Congress. These are not just executive orders. On the executive orders, we cut regulations tremendously. By the way, I want regulations, but, you know, some of the — you have to get nine different regulations, and you could never do anything. I’ve given the farmers back their farms. I’ve given the builders back their land to build houses and to build other things.

    The energy stuff is going really well. We’re going to be an exporter — we already are an exporter of energy. We’re doing well. I mean, the banks, you look at rules and regulations, you look at Dodd-Frank, Dodd-Frank is going to be, you know, modified, and again, I want rules and regulations. But you don’t want to choke, right? People can’t get loans to buy a pizza parlor, to buy a — you know, I saw out on the trail — people say, Mr. Trump, we’ve dealt with banks, my own bank, and they can’t loan me anymore. I’ve never had a bad day with a bank. You know? So we’ll put — yeah, because of statutory [garbled], they can’t loan to that kind of a business. And they’re good businesses to loan to. So I think we’ve — I think we’re set to really go [garbled].

    _________

    BAKER: As long as we’re on the record, a lot of people are curious about your conversation with President [Vladimir V.] Putin at dinner. Not surprising. But what did you all talk about, and——

    TRUMP: So, that dinner was a very long time planned dinner. And what it was was an evening at the opera. It was a final night goodbye from Germany and from Chancellor Merkel. It was her dinner. It was, you know, everybody knew about it. It was well-known.

    _________

    TRUMP: So when we got there, it was with spouses, and when we got there, there were a thousand media. You guys know, were you guys there?

    BAKER: No, it was Julie [Hirschfeld Davis] and Glenn Thrush.

    TRUMP: So, it was tremendous media. And we took a picture of everybody, the wives and the leaders, and then the leaders, and, you know, numerous pictures outside on the river. Then everybody walked in to see the opera. Then the opera ended. Then we walked into a big room where they had dinner for not only the leaders — Lagarde [Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund] was there, who I think is terrific, and various others. You had the E.U. people there, people other than just the leaders, but quite a few people. I would say you have 20 times two, so you had 40, and then you probably had another 10 or 15 people, you had Christine Lagarde, you had some others also.

    So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe [Shinzo Abe of Japan], who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.

    HABERMAN: Like, nothing, right? Like zero?

    TRUMP: Like, not “hello.”

    HABERMAN: That must make for an awkward seating.

    TRUMP: Well, it’s hard, because you know, you’re sitting there for——

    HABERMAN: Hours.

    TRUMP: So the dinner was probably an hour and 45 minutes.

    _________

    TRUMP: You had an opera, and then you had a cocktail party for the people at the opera, and then you had the leaders with the spouses, and other leaders in Europe and maybe other places, go in. We sat at this really long table, which held, has to be at least 60, 65 people with room. O.K., it’s a very big table, big room. But there was nothing secretive about it.

    It was like, that’s where we’re going. And I think it even said on the list, at the request of the German chancellor and Germany, it’s going to be the opera, it’s going to be cocktails, it’s going to be dinner. I think the crowd thinned out for the dinner — you know, it was the leaders, primarily. But the leaders and Lagarde. And [inaudible].

    O.K., so we’re sitting at this massive table. And the wives are separated from their husbands, which sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But they did. It’s always easier when they don’t do it, because you always have somebody to talk to, right? And I was sitting next to the president of Argentina — his wife — [Mauricio] Macri — nice woman, who speaks English. And the prime minister of Japan’s wife, Prime Minister Abe. Great relationships. So I’m sitting there. There was one interpreter for Japanese, ’cause otherwise it would have been even tougher. But I enjoyed the evening with her, and she’s really a lovely woman, and I enjoyed — the whole thing was good.

    And now Melania was sitting on the other side of the table, way down on the other end, very far away. She was sitting next to Putin and somebody else, I don’t know. She was sitting next to Putin.

    HABERMAN: She had been the whole time?

    TRUMP: Yes. She was sitting next to Putin.

    BAKER: Does she speak Russian at all?

    TRUMP: No. She speaks other languages.

    TRUMP: She was sitting next to Putin and somebody else, and that’s the way it is. So the meal was going, and toward dessert I went down just to say hello to Melania, and while I was there I said hello to Putin. Really, pleasantries more than anything else. It was not a long conversation, but it was, you know, could be 15 minutes. Just talked about — things. Actually, it was very interesting, we talked about adoption.

    HABERMAN: You did?

    TRUMP: We talked about Russian adoption. Yeah. I always found that interesting. Because, you know, he ended that years ago. And I actually talked about Russian adoption with him, which is interesting because it was a part of the conversation that Don [Jr., Mr. Trump’s son] had in that meeting. As I’ve said — most other people, you know, when they call up and say, “By the way, we have information on your opponent,” I think most politicians — I was just with a lot of people, they said [inaudible], “Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?” They just said——

    HABERMAN: The senators downstairs?

    TRUMP: A lot of them. They said, “Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?”

    BAKER: You asked them about it at lunch?

    TRUMP: Nah, a couple of them. They — now, that was before Russia was hot, don’t forget. You know, Russia wasn’t hot then. That was almost a year and a half ago. It wasn’t like it is, like it is radioactive, then. Russia was Russia.

    HABERMAN: Then can I ask you——

    BAKER: Sorry to interrupt. The email, though, said something I thought was really interesting, and I wonder what you thought of it. It said this “is part of Russia and its government’s support of Mr. Trump.” So whatever actually happened at the meeting——

    TRUMP: Well, I never saw the email. I never saw the email until, you know——

    BAKER: Right, but now you have. So, what do you interpret that to mean, now that you have seen it?

    _________

    TRUMP: Well, Hillary did the reset. Somebody was saying today, and then I read, where Hillary Clinton was dying to get back with Russia. Her husband made a speech, got half a million bucks while she was secretary of state. She did the uranium deal, which is a horrible thing, while she was secretary of state, and got a lot of money.

    _________

    TRUMP: She was opposing sanctions. She was totally opposed to any sanctions for Russia.

    BAKER: When was that?

    HABERMAN: Do you remember when that was? I don’t remember that.

    _________

    TRUMP: I just saw it. I just saw it. She was opposed to sanctions, strongly opposed to sanctions on Russia.

     

     

    HABERMAN: This is post-Crimea, I’m assuming? Is that what we would be talking about?

    TRUMP: I don’t really know. … But in that time. And don’t forget, Crimea was given away during Obama. Not during Trump. In fact, I was on one of the shows, I said they’re exactly right, they didn’t have it as it exactly. But he was — this — Crimea was gone during the Obama administration, and he gave, he allowed it to get away. You know, he can talk tough all he wants, in the meantime he talked tough to North Korea. And he didn’t actually. He didn’t talk tough to North Korea. You know, we have a big problem with North Korea. Big. Big, big. You look at all of the things, you look at the line in the sand. The red line in the sand in Syria. He didn’t do the shot. I did the shot. Had he done that shot, he wouldn’t have had — had he done something dramatic, because if you remember, they had a tremendous gas attack after he made that statement. Much bigger than the one they had with me.

    HABERMAN: It was sarin as well?

    TRUMP: Sarin. And, and tremendous numbers of people were killed, young people, children. And he didn’t do anything. That was a famous weekend where they were all asking him to do it, do it, do it. They thought they had it, and then he — not easy to do, I will say this, ’cause when I had to make that decision, I was with the president of China, and General Mattis [Defense Secretary Jim Mattis] said, “We’re locked and loaded, sir,” and I’m saying [mumbles], you know. [mumbles] Look, you’re killing people.

    HABERMAN: Yes.

    TRUMP: You hate it, it’s tough. Obama — you know, I can understand it in a way, but some things you have to do. But it’s, it’s a tough, it’s a tough decision to make.

    BAKER: I do want to come out, on the email, now that you have seen that email that said Russia’s government — I mean, how did you — did you interpret it that way?

    TRUMP: Well, I thought originally it might have had to do something with the payment by Russia of the D.N.C. Somewhere I heard that. Like, it was an illegal act done by the D.N.C., or the Democrats. That’s what I had heard. Now, I don’t know where I heard it, but I had heard that it had to do something with illegal acts with respect to the D.N.C. Now, you know, when you look at the kind of stuff that came out, that was, that was some pretty horrific things came out of that. But that’s what I had heard. But I don’t know what it means. All I know is this: When somebody calls up and they say, “We have infor—” Look what they did to me with Russia, and it was totally phony stuff.

    HABERMAN: Which, which one?

    SCHMIDT: The dossier.

    TRUMP: The dossier.

    HABERMAN: The dossier. Oh, yes.

    _________

    TRUMP: Now, that was totally made-up stuff, and in fact, that guy’s being sued by somebody. … And he’s dying with the lawsuit. I know a lot about those guys, they’re phony guys. They make up whatever they want. Just not my thing — plus, I have witnesses, because I went there with a group of people. You know, I went there with Phil Ruffin——

    HABERMAN: Oh, I didn’t know that.

    _________

    TRUMP: I had a group of bodyguards, including Keith [Schiller] —

    HABERMAN: Keith was there, right?

    TRUMP: Keith was there. He said, “What kind of crap is this?” I went there for one day for the Miss Universe contest, I turned around, I went back. It was so disgraceful. It was so disgraceful.

    _________

    TRUMP: When he [James B. Comey] brought it [the dossier] to me, I said this is really made-up junk. I didn’t think about anything. I just thought about, man, this is such a phony deal.

    HABERMAN: You said that to him?

    TRUMP: Yeah, don’t forget——

    _________

    TRUMP: I said, this is — honestly, it was so wrong, and they didn’t know I was just there for a very short period of time. It was so wrong, and I was with groups of people. It was so wrong that I really didn’t, I didn’t think about motive. I didn’t know what to think other than, this is really phony stuff.

    SCHMIDT: Why do you think — why do you think he shared it?

    TRUMP: I think he shared it so that I would — because the other three people left, and he showed it to me.

    _________

    TRUMP: So anyway, in my opinion, he shared it so that I would think he had it out there.

    SCHMIDT: As leverage?

    TRUMP: Yeah, I think so. In retrospect. In retrospect. You know, when he wrote me the letter, he said, “You have every right to fire me,” blah blah blah. Right? He said, “You have every right to fire me.” I said, that’s a very strange — you know, over the years, I’ve hired a lot of people, I’ve fired a lot of people. Nobody has ever written me a letter back that you have every right to fire me.

    [crosstalk]

    BAKER: Do you think in hindsight, because of what’s happened since then——

    TRUMP: Comey wrote a letter.

    HABERMAN: Which letter?

    SCHMIDT: To you? To the F.B.I. staff or to you?

    TRUMP: I thought it was to me, right?

    BAKER: I think he wrote it to the staff, saying——

    TRUMP: It might have been——

    BAKER: That “the president has every right to fire me.”

    TRUMP: It might have been. It was just a very strange letter to say that.

    BAKER: But do you think in hindsight, given that——

    TRUMP: What was the purpose in repeating that?

    BAKER: Do you think what’s given that——

    TRUMP: Do you understand what I mean? Why would somebody say, “He has every right to fire me,” bah bah bah. Why wouldn’t you just say, “Hey, I’ve retired …”

    [crosstalk]

    TRUMP: It was very — a lot of people have commented that.

    BAKER: Given what’s happened since then, though, was it a political mistake to have fired him, given what’s happened?

    TRUMP: I think I did a great thing for the American people.

    _________

    SCHMIDT: But look at the headache it’s caused, you know?

    TRUMP: It’s okay. I have headaches, that’s what I have, I have headaches. … But you know what, I think I did a great thing for the American people.

    HABERMAN: Do you wish you had done it on Day 1? When you got in? Because I honestly had assumed that you, if you were going to do it, that’s when you would do it.

    TRUMP: Well, it could’ve been. It could’ve been. I feel like it was very dishonest when he wouldn’t say what he knew he said to the public. I thought that was very honest. And I thought that he did that for the reason I just said.

    _________

    SCHMIDT: What do you understand to be the four corners of what Mueller [Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russia investigation] can look at, if he steps—— [crosstalk]

    TRUMP: I don’t know. Nobody has contacted me about anything.

    _________

    TRUMP: Because I have done nothing wrong. A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case.

    BAKER: Can we put that on the record?

    TRUMP: Because so far, the only — yeah, you can put it down.

    SCHMIDT: Was that [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions’s mistake or [Deputy Attorney General Rod J.] Rosenstein’s mistake?

    ________

    TRUMP: Look, Sessions gets the job. Right after he gets the job, he recuses himself.

    BAKER: Was that a mistake?

    TRUMP: Well, Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.

    HABERMAN: He gave you no heads up at all, in any sense?

    TRUMP: Zero. So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have — which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, “Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.” It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president. So he recuses himself. I then end up with a second man, who’s a deputy.

    HABERMAN: Rosenstein.

    TRUMP: Who is he? And Jeff hardly knew. He’s from Baltimore.

    ________

    TRUMP: Yeah, what Jeff Sessions did was he recused himself right after, right after he became attorney general. And I said, “Why didn’t you tell me this before?” I would have — then I said, “Who’s your deputy?” So his deputy he hardly knew, and that’s Rosenstein, Rod Rosenstein, who is from Baltimore. There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any. So, he’s from Baltimore. Now, he, we went through a lot of things. We were interviewing replacements at the F.B.I. Did you know Mueller was one of the people that was being interviewed?

    HABERMAN: I did, actually.

    TRUMP: He was sitting in that chair. We had a wonderful meeting.

    HABERMAN: Day before, right?

    SCHMIDT: Did he want the job?

    TRUMP: The day before! Of course, he was up here, and he wanted the job.

    HABERMAN: And he made that clear to you? He would have——

    ________

    TRUMP: So, now what happens is, he leaves the office. Rosenstein leaves the office. The next day, he is appointed special counsel. I said, what the hell is this all about? Talk about conflicts? But he was interviewing for the job. There were many other conflicts that I haven’t said, but I will at some point. So Jeff Sessions, Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers.

    HABERMAN: You mean at the hearing?

    TRUMP: Yeah, he gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t. He then becomes attorney general, and he then announces he’s going to recuse himself. Why wouldn’t he have told me that before?

    HABERMAN: Why do you think it was? What do you think it was?

    TRUMP: I don’t know.

    BAKER: What would cause you — what would be the line beyond which if Mueller went, you would say, “That’s too far, we would need to dismiss him”?

    TRUMP: Look, there are so many conflicts that everybody has. Then Rosenstein becomes extremely angry because of Comey’s Wednesday press conference, where he said that he would do the same thing he did a year ago with Hillary Clinton, and Rosenstein became extremely angry at that because, as a prosecutor, he knows that Comey did the wrong thing. Totally wrong thing. And he gives me a letter, O.K., he gives me a letter about Comey. And by the way, that was a tough letter, O.K. Now, perhaps I would have fired Comey anyway, and it certainly didn’t hurt to have the letter, O.K. But he gives me a very strong letter, and now he’s involved in the case. Well, that’s a conflict of interest. Do you know how many conflicts of interests there are? But then, then Comey also says that he did something in order to get the special prose— special counsel. He leaked. The reason he leaked. So, he illegally leaked.

    ________

    TRUMP: So think of this. Mike. He illegally leaks, and everyone thinks it is illegal, and by the way, it looks like it’s classified and all that stuff. So he got — not a smart guy — he got tricked into that, because they didn’t even ask him that question. They asked him another question, O.K.?
    ________

    TRUMP: He said I said “hope” — “I hope you can treat Flynn good” or something like that. I didn’t say anything.

    But even if he did — like I said at the news conference on the, you know, Rose Garden — even if I did, that’s not — other people go a step further. I could have ended that whole thing just by saying — they say it can’t be obstruction because you can say: “It’s ended. It’s over. Period.”

    ________

    TRUMP: And nothing was changed other than Richard Nixon came along. And when Nixon came along [inaudible] was pretty brutal, and out of courtesy, the F.B.I. started reporting to the Department of Justice. But there was nothing official, there was nothing from Congress. There was nothing — anything. But the F.B.I. person really reports directly to the president of the United States, which is interesting. You know, which is interesting. And I think we’re going to have a great new F.B.I. director.

    HABERMAN: Chris Wray.

    TRUMP: He’s highly thought of by everybody. I think I did the country a great service with respect to Comey.

    BAKER: Did you shoo other people out of the room when you talked to Comey?

    TRUMP: No, no.

    BAKER: That time [inaudible] [Michael T.] Flynn —

    TRUMP: No. That was the other thing. I told people to get out of the room. Why would I do that?

    SCHMIDT: Did you actually have a one-on-one with Comey then?

    TRUMP: Not much. Not even that I remember. He was sitting, and I don’t remember even talking to him about any of this stuff. He said I asked people to go. Look, you look at his testimony. His testimony is loaded up with lies, O.K.? But people didn’t — we had a couple people that said — Hi baby, how are you?

    ARABELLA KUSHNER: [enters room] Hi, Grandpa.

    TRUMP: My granddaughter Arabella, who speaks — say hello to them in Chinese.

    KUSHNER: Ni hao.

    [laughter]

    TRUMP: This is Ivanka. You know Ivanka.

    IVANKA TRUMP: [from doorway] Hi, how are you? See you later, just wanted to come say hi.

    TRUMP: She’s great. She speaks fluent Chinese. She’s amazing.

    BAKER: That’s very impressive.

    TRUMP: She spoke with President Xi [Jinping of China]. Honey? Can you say a few words in Chinese? Say, like, “I love you, Grandpa” —

    KUSHNER: Wo ai ni, Grandpa.

    BAKER: That’s great.

    TRUMP: She’s unbelievable, huh?

    [crosstalk]

    TRUMP: Good, smart genes.

    [laughter]

    TRUMP: So the bottom line is this. The country’s doing well. We are, we are moving forward with a lot of great things. The unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 16 years. The stock market is the highest it’s ever been. It’s up almost 20 percent since I took office. And we’re working hard on health care. Um, the Russian investigation — it’s not an investigation, it’s not on me — you know, they’re looking at a lot of things.

    HABERMAN: It’s a broad —

    TRUMP: They’re looking at a big picture.

    BAKER: This is why I want to come back to that email, because, like — does it concern you? Let’s say that the election didn’t change because of anything Russia did, which has been your point, right? You point —

    TRUMP: By the way, it’s everybody.

    BAKER: Right, your point is that Democrats are trying to use this as an excuse, fine. But did that email concern you, that the Russian government was trying something to compromise——

    TRUMP: You know, Peter, I didn’t look into it very closely, to be honest with you.

    BAKER: O.K.

    TRUMP: I just heard there was an email requesting a meeting or something — yeah, requesting a meeting. That they have information on Hillary Clinton, and I said — I mean, this was standard political stuff.

    SCHMIDT: Did you know at the time that they had the meeting?

    TRUMP: No, I didn’t know anything about the meeting.

    SCHMIDT: But you didn’t——

    TRUMP: It must have been a very important — must have been a very unimportant meeting, because I never even heard about it.

    HABERMAN: No one told you a word, nothing? I know we talked about this on the plane a little bit.

    TRUMP: No, nobody told me. I didn’t know noth—— It’s a very unimportant — sounded like a very unimportant meeting.

    BAKER: But on the date you clinched the nominations with New Jersey and California and the primaries, when you give the speech that night, saying you’re going to give a speech about Hillary Clinton’s corrupt dealings with Russia and other countries, and that comes just three hours after Don Jr. —

    TRUMP: Number one, remember, I made many of those speeches.

    BAKER: People wondered about the timing.

    TRUMP: Many of those speeches. I’d go after her all the time.

    BAKER: Yeah, I know, but——

    TRUMP: But there was something about the book, “Clinton Cash,” came out.

    BAKER: Yeah, a year earlier, though. But you were talking about——

    TRUMP: But we were developing a whole thing. There was something about “Clinton Cash.”

    ________

    TRUMP: Peter, that’s all I did, was make those speeches about her. … I don’t think I added anything much different than I had been doing. … I’ve made some very strong speeches about the corrupt emails. The 33,000 emails being deleted and bleached, and all of the things she was doing. I would make those speeches routinely. … There wasn’t much I could say about Hillary Clinton that was worse than what I was already saying.

    HABERMAN: [laughs] I’m sorry.

    TRUMP: I mean, I was talking about, she deleted and bleached, which nobody does because of the cost. How she got away with that one, I have no idea. 33,000 emails. I talked about the back of the plane, I talked about the uranium deal, I talked about the speech that Russia gave Clinton — $500,000 while she was secretary of state — the husband. I talked about the back of the plane — honestly, Peter, I mean, unless somebody said that she shot somebody in the back, there wasn’t much I could add to my repertoire.

    HABERMAN: On Fifth Avenue——

    TRUMP: I mean, look at what we have now. We have a director of the F.B.I., acting, who received $700,000, whose wife received $700,000 from, essentially, Hillary Clinton. ’Cause it was through Terry. Which is Hillary Clinton.

    HABERMAN: This is [Andrew] McCabe’s wife, you mean?

    TRUMP: McCabe’s wife. She got $700,000, and he’s at the F.B.I. I mean, how do you think that? But when you say that — and think about this for a second. I don’t think — you could give me a whole string of new information. I don’t think I could really have — there’s only so much. You know, you can only say many things. After that it gets boring, O.K.? How can it be better than deleting emails after you get a subpoena from the United States Congress? Guys go to jail for that, when they delete an email from a civil case. Here, she gets an email from the United States Congress —

    ________

    BAKER: Should she be prosecuted now?

    TRUMP: What?

    BAKER: Should she be prosecuted now? Why, then, should she not be prosecuted now——

    TRUMP: I don’t want to say that. I mean, I don’t want to say.

    SCHMIDT: Last thing.

    TRUMP: You understand what I mean, Peter.

    BAKER: I know.

    TRUMP: I mean, supposing they were able to give me additional — it wouldn’t have helped me. I had so much stuff——

    SCHMIDT: Last thing, if Mueller——

    TRUMP: And I couldn’t have been better than the stuff I had. Obviously, because I won.

    SCHMIDT: Last thing, if Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line?

    HABERMAN: Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?

    TRUMP: I would say yeah. I would say yes. By the way, I would say, I don’t — I don’t — I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don’t make money from Russia. In fact, I put out a letter saying that I don’t make — from one of the most highly respected law firms, accounting firms. I don’t have buildings in Russia. They said I own buildings in Russia. I don’t. They said I made money from Russia. I don’t. It’s not my thing. I don’t, I don’t do that. Over the years, I’ve looked at maybe doing a deal in Russia, but I never did one. Other than I held the Miss Universe pageant there eight, nine years [crosstalk].

    SCHMIDT: But if he was outside that lane, would that mean he’d have to go?

    [crosstalk]

    HABERMAN: Would you consider——

    TRUMP: No, I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia. So I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company. And actually, when I do my filings, peoples say, “Man.” People have no idea how successful this is. It’s a great company. But I don’t even think about the company anymore. I think about this. ’Cause one thing, when you do this, companies seem very trivial. O.K.? I really mean that. They seem very trivial. But I have no income from Russia. I don’t do business with Russia. The gentleman that you mentioned, with his son, two nice people. But basically, they brought the Miss Universe pageant to Russia to open up, you know, one of their jobs. Perhaps the convention center where it was held. It was a nice evening, and I left. I left, you know, I left Moscow. It wasn’t Moscow, it was outside of Moscow.

    HABERMAN: Would you fire Mueller if he went outside of certain parameters of what his charge is? [crosstalk]

    SCHMIDT: What would you do?

    [crosstalk]

    TRUMP: I can’t, I can’t answer that question because I don’t think it’s going to happen.


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    Police detaining local leaders after communal tension at Manuwa village after late Alimuddin was lynched by mob allegedly for carrying beef on his van on yesterday at Manuwa village on June 30, 2017 in Ramgarh.

    The Supreme Court today asked the Centre and the states not to protect any kind of vigilantism and sought their response on violent incidents of cow vigilantism. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra was informed by the Centre that law and order is a state subject but it does not support any kind of vigilantism in the country.

    "You say that law and order is a state subject and states are taking actions as per law. You don't protect any kind of vigilantism," the bench, also comprising AM Khanwilkar and MM Shantanagoudar, said.

    It also sought the assistance of the Centre and states for removing violent content related to cow vigilantism uploaded on social media.

    "Law and order is a state subject and Central government does not have any role into it. However, Union of India is of the view that no vigilante group has any space in the country as per procedures of law. It does not support any kind of vigilantism by private persons," Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar said.

    Counsel appearing for the BJP-ruled Gujarat and Jharkhand informed the court that appropriate action has been taken against those involved in violent activities related to cow vigilantism.

    "However, Union of India is of the view that no vigilante group has any space in the country as per procedures of law. It does not support any kind of vigilantism by private persons."

    The bench recorded their submission and asked the Centre and other states to file their reports regarding the violent incidents in four weeks time and posted the matter for further hearing on September 6.

    The apex court had on April 7 sought the response of six states on the plea, filed on October 21 last year, seeking action against cow vigilantes who were allegedly indulging in violence and committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities.

    Activist Tehseen S Poonawalla, in his plea, said violence committed by these 'Gau Raksha' groups have reached such proportions that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared them as people who were "destroying the society".

    The plea also alleged that these groups were committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities in the name of protecting cows and other bovines and they needed to be "regulated and banned in the interest of social harmony, public morality and law and order in the country".

    "The menace caused by the so-called cow protection groups is spreading fast to every nook and corner of the country and is creating disharmony among various communities and castes," the petition submitted.

    The plea sought to declare as "unconstitutional" Section 12 of the Gujarat Animal Prevention Act, 1954, Section 13 of the Maharashtra Animal Prevention Act, 1976, and Section 15 of the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964, which provide for protection of persons acting in good faith under the Act or rules.

    Seeking action against the vigilantes, the petition said the atrocities committed by them were punishable under various provisions of IPC and under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989.


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    Forget “Earth” ― “Planet Plastic” may soon be a more appropriate moniker for our world.

    That’s what a group of U.S. scientists concluded after tallying for the first time the total amount of plastic that’s been produced since the 1950s when the material was first manufactured at a large scale.

    The number they came to is mind-boggling: 8.3 billion metric tons of virgin plastics produced worldwide since 1950. That’s as heavy as 25,000 Empire State Buildings or a billion elephants, according to the BBC.

    That’s just really a staggering amount,” lead author Roland Geyer, an industrial ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told NPR. If you spread all that plastic out ankle-deep, “it [could] cover an area the size of Argentina, which is the eighth-largest country in the world,” he said.

    Geyer and his colleagues published their findings Wednesday in the journal ScienceAdvances.

    In the study, the researchers describe how plastic production has been accelerating rapidly in recent years. About half of all the plastic that’s ever been produced has been made in the past 13 years alone.

    Plastic is a cheap, hardy and versatile material, and it’s used in everything from medical equipment to parts of airplanes to the fibers in our clothing. Researchers concede it’s incredibly useful, which explains its burgeoning popularity. 

    But the problem is where all this plastic is ending up. Of all the plastic produced to date, only about 9 percent has been recycled, the study found. Twelve percent has been incinerated. The rest has ended up in landfills or polluted our oceans and other natural environments. 

    Billions of pounds of plastic waste ends up in the world's waterways like this dam in Bulgaria every year, scientists say.

    In 2015, environmental engineer Jenna Jambeck found that about 19 billion pounds of plastic waste ends up in our oceans each year. If nothing is done to limit the plastic flood, this figure is set to double by 2025.

    “We’re being overwhelmed by our waste,” Jambeck, who also co-authored the recent plastic tally paper, told HuffPost in May. 

    Since almost all plastic is non-biodegradable, these materials could “be with us for hundreds of years,” languishing in landfills or floating in our seas, Geyer told NPR.

    And we still don’t really know how all this plastic waste is impacting the health of humans, ecosystems and other living organisms. Plastic consumption has far outpaced scientific study into the material and its impacts, scientists say.

    Preliminary research into this topic, however, paints a grim picture. Ocean Conservancy said plastics threaten at least 600 different wildlife speciesAnd some studies have suggested that humans are consuming plastics through the seafood we eat.

    Geyer and his team said they hope their new research will offer some perspective on the scope of the plastics problem and prompt people to act.

    “Our mantra is you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” he told BBC. “So, our idea was to put the numbers out there without us telling the world what the world should be doing, but really just to start a real, concerted discussion.”

     Click through this slideshow to find out what you can do to limit your plastic footprint:

    Also on HuffPost

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    After Sen. John McCain’s office confirmed Wednesday that the former presidential candidate has been diagnosed with brain cancer, many of his political colleagues, opponents and friends shared their condolences on social media and expressed a similar sentiment: the Arizona Republican is a fighter ― and he will continue to be in the face of this disease.

    The words of encouragement were warm and inspiring, especially considering the bitter partisanship that divides Washington. There’s also a comfort in giving and receiving support for a health issue.

    But the well wishes leave out an important factor: Cancer doesn’t choose who lives or dies based on how hard someone fights.

    The potential problem with the word “fight” is that it puts the onus on the patient to get better, sending the message that the outcome of their treatment is their responsibility. If they fight hard enough, their tumor will evaporate. If they fight hard enough, they will be cured. 

    Some people took issue with the platitudes for McCain, airing their frustration on Twitter:

    Support is critical for patients with cancer ― but the words you choose to convey that support matter, Len Lichtenfeld, the deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, told HuffPost.

    “Cancer is a serious disease with potentially serious outcomes. Our natural instinct is to obviously want every person diagnosed to do whatever they can to overcome it,” Lichtenfeld said. “For some people that ‘fight’ concept is important. However, for many others, it’s not really the motivational driver that they need to hear at that particular moment.”

    For some people that ‘fight’ concept is important. However, for many others, it’s not really the motivational driver that they need to hear at that particular moment.

    Lichtenfeld said that, for some people, this particular phrasing may make patients feel like failures should the outcome not be the best possible one.

    “What happens if you’re not successful or the disease doesn’t respond to treatment? What do you say to that person? That you didn’t fight hard enough, that you didn’t commit hard enough or have the willpower to overcome the disease? Of course, the answer is no,” he said. “They could have done everything, they could have gotten the best treatment possible.”

    In a 2015 article in JAMA Oncology, researchers said the problem with urging patients to “fight” the disease is that it doesn’t account for other options. Some patients choose to live out the rest of their lives either not receiving treatment or doing minimal therapies in order to have a higher quality of life. They wrote:

    Patients do, of course, frequently die of cancer, but they are not losers in a battle. Once someone receives a cancer diagnosis, especially advanced-stage disease, a journey begins; sometimes the journey requires patience, tolerance, and courage, but at some point, most patients with advanced disease end that journey with loss of life. Although this difficult and tumultuous journey may have come to an end, dying should not be viewed as being defeated in some kind of skirmish.

    Research does show that a positive outlook in the face of cancer treatment may have an effect on outcomes. And it’s true that it’s vital: Attitude is helpful for a patient’s mental health and it helps guide a person’s treatment plan, said Robert Fenstermaker, chair of neurosurgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.

    Fenstermaker also recommends that loved ones offer to go to treatment appointments with patients and help facilitate conversations with doctors. 

    “It’s important to be supported by family in whichever way is helpful and to not be hesitant about exploring options with doctors and nurses ― and that includes psychologists,” Fenstermaker told HuffPost. “There needs to be support at many different levels.”

    There needs to be support at many different levels.

    For some, that’s a “give it hell” attitude, but for others it isn’t. If you’re unclear about how to offer encouragement, Lichtenfeld said support can be communicated in ways that don’t imply there’s a battle to be won.

    “Just sending someone a personal note or telling them you’re saddened by the news can make a difference,” he said. “Sometimes the simplest message is the best message.”

    Also on HuffPost
    Bipartisan Tributes To John McCain Following His Brain Cancer Diagnosis

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    O.J. Simpson looking at a new pair of Aris extra-large gloves that prosecutors had him put on during his double-murder trial in Los Angeles. 1995.

    The story of O.J. Simpson is one of strength and celebrity. This is so to both his staunchest critics and his most dedicated disciples.

    Those inclined to believe O.J. slithered from the law’s grasp in his 1995 murder trial through a host of sinister, deceptive means imagine the former star running back as one gilded by stardom. In him, they see a man of great stature who mutilated those in his path and employed a craven campaign of racial victimization to elude justice.

    Those invested in his innocence contrarily imagine Simpson as a crafty executor of American privilege; one who used tools typically not afforded affluent black men to best an oppressive legal system and emerge the chivalrous Adonis they came to love.

    There are, too, those who set up camp somewhere in the middle: those who believe neither in the innocence of O.J. nor the innocence of the system that tried him. Even these people, however, will concede that Simpson’s power ― both his physical power and his social power — added layers to a trial complexly intersected by race and gender politics.

    Simpson’s charted mistreatment of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, converged with the notorious history of the Los Angeles Police Department to provide an environment for the most sensationalized news event in American history. 

    But there are reasons to believe that America has, in significant ways, mutated beyond the narratives that drove the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995 and colored the person Simpson was between then and his ultimate imprisonment for armed robbery in 2008. This is not at all to suggest we’ve matured as a nation, but simply that the sources of our activism and our national appetite for absurdity have transformed since Simpson disappeared behind bars nearly a decade ago. 

    Simpson, who faces possible parole on Thursday, seems primed for re-entry into society. If and when he is released, it will be to a world that has seemingly evolved in ways that make his tale less unique than we once believed it to be.

    The racial overtones of Simpson’s 1995 murder trial, centered on the deaths of his wife and her associate Ron Goldman, were not to be mistaken — they were explicit strategy, employed first by Simpson’s legal team and infamously bungled thereafter by lawyers representing the state of California.

    Attorneys for Simpson successfully instilled doubt in the minds of jurors concerning the efficacy of the LAPD, which for years found itself embroiled in controversy over its racist practices.

    These controversies allowed for Simpson to become a seeming stand-in for black Americans and the plight enforced upon them by departments across the country. This, ironically, for a man whose entire collegiate and professional careers were spent placating white fear, ingratiating himself with affluent whites and downplaying the existence of racism.

    When, for example, activist and athlete Harry Edwards attempted in 1968 to draft Simpson into an Olympic boycott urging fairer treatment for blacks throughout the nation, Simpson’s response betrayed little foresight for how he’d fare in his later years.

    Edwards spoke to this in Ezra Edelman’s Oscar-winning documentary, “O.J.: Made in America.”

    “O.J. was approached because he was the biggest name in collegiate athletics at that time. He was also a world record-holding track star, so here, we’ve got two-for-one. When I asked him, I said, ‘We’re trying to get black athletes to understand they have a role in the current civil rights movement,’ his response was, ‘I’m not black, I’m O.J..’”

    O.J. Simpson and his first wife, Marguerite, smile happily at a press conference after he was named winner of the 1968 Heisman Trophy.

    Our social environment has evolved in such a way that we currently want not for black martyrs — they are ubiquitous, many memorialized in hashtags for eternity. What this means for Simpson is that he no longer serves as a singular, galvanizing figure, particularly among social justice movements largely helmed by youths who lack reverence for Simpson’s persona and have had the privilege of assessing his trials and actions in retrospect.

    While there is much to be gleaned from Simpson’s first criminal trial concerning the ways our nation grapples with race, Simpson the individual will factor minimally — if at all — in movements toward racial justice.

    His story, while a fascinating psychological case, will hereby be reduced to one merely of squandered, disgraced celebrity.

    There are, too, the matters of Simpson’s post-acquittal life and his ultimate armed robbery conviction that also seem relatively unremarkable given recent developments.

    O.J. Simpson’s life, in the wake of his acquittal, took an ominous turn. Having lost a reported $33 million wrongful death lawsuit to Goldman’s family, Simpson resorted to a host of calloused and bizarre quick-money ventures to stay afloat. These included a hidden camera show and, perhaps most infamously, a book titled “If I Did It,” which ponders the way Simpson’s alleged double-murder could have played out.

    (The Goldman family preemptively won rights to the book in a lawsuit and promptly changed the title to “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer” before publishing.)

    Public distaste toward Simpson drove him into obscurity. His eventual 2008 robbery charge resulted from the former Heisman Trophy winner attempting to reclaim items of his that he insisted were stolen from him by a memorabilia dealer.

    O.J. Simpson watches his former defense attorney testify during an evidentiary hearing in Clark County District Court on May 17, 2013.

    But interestingly enough, a newly freed O.J. Simpson will find that even grotesque capitalization on infamy is a practice far more inculcated into our society than it was when he departed.

    Where Simpson was once seemingly anomalous in his brazen and calloused capitalism, we now afford others of his ilk ample opportunity to reap rewards for their actions.

    In the near-decade since Simpson’s incarceration, we have been hyper-exposed to the levels of crassness that once thrust him to the periphery of our society. O.J. Simpson left a free world in which the perversion of power and celebrity was infrequently celebrated in public — he was, at the time, a most glaring example of this perversion.

    He will, however, return to freedom without this distinction. And today, America cannot feign our disgust as we did then.

    Not as we line the coffers of our most reviled killers.

    Not as we ingratiate our most collusive law enforcement officers.

    And not, the least, when we elevate the most outspoken of our culture’s deviants to incomparable positions of power.

    O.J. Simpson will rejoin a nation far less jarred by sensationalism than that of 2008 — far less genuinely shaken by absurdity, meaning a life of obscurity truly is his for the taking should he want it. And given the current normalcy of his once-audacious behavior, his value to us as a social figure will be very little.

    He no longer need serve as a lightning rod, because the storm is all around us.

    Also on HuffPost

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    The music industry was rocked on Thursday as news of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington’s untimely death hit headlines. 

    The singer and songwriter reportedly took his own life at a private residence in Palos Verdes Estates in LA County. According to TMZ, his body was discovered Thursday morning. He was 41. 

    Bennington leaves behind six children, daughters Lila and Lily, and sons Draven, Tyler, Isaiah and Jaime.

    Fellow musicians and friends of Bennington’s took to Twitter to share their condolences. 

    A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

    If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

    Also on HuffPost
    Notable Deaths In 2017

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    In the latest incident of the political witch hunt against Red FM's RJ Malishka home again today to check of she has done illegal constructions in her home.

    Tweeting about the incident Mirror Now said:

    This comes close on the heels of South East Asia's richest municipal corporation sending a notice to the RJ's mother for breeding mosquitoes in her home because of which the RJ may have to shell out Rs 10,000.

    All of the above steps is not the BMC suddenly becoming pro-active in its fight against mosquito breeding, but a reaction to a YouTube video that RJ Malishka made, mocking the BMC for its inaction on potholes in Mumbai.

    And while the BMC has made it a point to harass her and her family, RJ Malishka has found support in the people of the city.

    Every year the condition of Mumbai roads deteriorate during the monsoons, potholes appear in most arterial roads creating a massive problem for daily commuters. Not only that, in the song titled 'Sonu Tuza Mazyavar Bharosa Nai Kai - Pothole Mix' also talks about railway tracks getting water logged every year hampering train services. For millions of people in Mumbai, trains are their regular mode of transport.

    And as Malishkar gained support on social media, NDTV reports that there were roads in Mumbai there were seen being repaired after her video.

    NDTV reported that potholes at Mumbai's Tulsi Pipe Road that leads to Lower Parel that were causing traffic were seen being repaired on Friday.

    Meanwhile, News18 quoted the notice sent to Malishka's mother, 65-year-old Lilly Mendosa, as saying, "We have detected Aedes mosquitoes breeding (dengue transmitting mosquitoes) in the clay bowl kept under the plant pot kept in front of the door. Indoor breeding is also detected in plant pots kept in the window."

    While the song asked the Mumbaikars, "Mumbai, tula BMC var bharosa naay kaay? (Mumbai, don't you trust the BMC?)" a Saamana report asked Malishka "Malishka, tula dengue var bharosa navy kaay? (Malishka, do you not trust Dengue?)."

    However, despite the harassment, the RJ who is right now out of the country, tweeted that she has six more songs like this ready:

    Thanking Mumbai, she also tweeted:

    Also on HuffPost India


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    When Daenerys Targaryen finally touched the shores of Westeros in Sunday night’s premiere episode of “Game of Thrones,” it was hard to miss the stunning natural beauty of her home of Dragonstone. 

    The fictional Dragonstone is very much a real place, and it’s called Zumaia, located in the Basque Country of SpainZumaia is located in the north of Spain, and its Flysch Route is one of the region’s most famous sites, with its rugged cliffs along the sea and millions of years of history. 

    Plus, it’s seriously stunning. 

    The team over at HBO chose Zumaia because of its natural beauty and rich history. 

    Daenerys makes landfall at Dragonstone for the first time in the season premiere, so we needed to find a location that was suitably powerful for that,” “Game of Thrones” production designer Deborah Riley told Vanity Fair. “When we were scouting throughout Spain ... we found a place called Zumaia beach in the Basque Country, and it has that extraordinary strata that is also reflected in the Dragonstone throne itself.”

    “That strata is very unique actually ... there are only 8 kilometers of this particular geology in all the world,” she said. “To be honest, once we found that location, everything else felt like it fell in my lap. Because of those amazing stone strata, it seemed important that we incorporate them into the design.”

    Perfect for a Dragon Queen, or an awesome European holiday. 

    H/T Buzzfeed

    Also on HuffPost
    'Game of Thrones' Season 7

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    Kiran Bedi, the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, on Friday morning, tweeted some posters mocking her. The former IPS officer was shown as 'Adolf Hitler' and 'Goddess Kali' in a series of photos allegedly put out by state Congress members.

    Reportedly, the posters were put out by some Congress members as part of its 'Condemnation Agitation' against the Central government and the Lt. Governor over the process of nominating MLAs.'

    These were followed by another series of posters, one of which showed Bedi being chased away.

    Earlier, on Thursday, the ruling Congress party protested the Centre's decision to induct three nominated members of the BJP to the Puducherry Assembly without consulting the state's government.

    Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy accompanied by Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief and PWD Minister A Namassivayam, party MLAs and functionaries participated in the demonstration held at neighboring Thavalakuppam village, reported PTI.

    V Saminathan (president of Puducherry unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party), KG Shankar (its treasurer) and S Selvaganapathy (an educationist and member of the BJP in Puducherry) were sworn in by Bedi as members of the Legislative Assembly on July 4.

    A bandh was also observed on July 8 in Puducherry. The protesting parties urged the Centre to recall Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi for "functioning undemocratically and taking a negative stand in implementing various welfare schemes evolved by the territorial government".

    (With inputs from PTI)

    Also on HuffPost India:


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    Image used for representational purpose.

    In a welcome move, Maharashtra's medical students are going to be introduced to the new, more sensitive guidelines detailing how to deal with survivors of sexual assault.

    According to a Times of India report, the syllabus of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology for second-year MBBS and MD (forensic medicine) has been revised so they can be trained in the proper way of examination from a medical and legal viewpoint right from the start of their careers. The revised syllabus will be rolled out this academic year, making the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) among the first universities to adopt the guidelines prescribed by the Centre in 2014.

    One of the biggest changes in the syllabus is that doctors will now be taught that victims of sexual assault can go directly to the hospital for treatment instead of having to first lodge a complaint with the police. Doctors will be legally required to treat the patients, perform tests and collect samples that will help the police in their investigation. The new guidelines will also provide a comprehensive list of tests and samples for doctors, instead of the ad hoc process being followed until now, where doctors collected only those samples that were asked for by the police. Doctors will no longer need to await police sanction to undertake time-sensitive tests such as DNA, sperm, nail clippings, etc.

    Victims of sexual assault can go directly to the hospital for treatment instead of having to first lodge a complaint with the police.

    Another major change is that while private doctors can conduct a medical-legal examination of the victim only when asked by the police, they are legally required to provide basic treatment to the patient instead of directing them to government hospitals right away, as is often done today due to lack of knowledge about proper protocol and news.

    Other changes include extending psychological support to victims, greater sensitivity in dealing with them instead of treating them like a walking-talking crime scene, not using the commonly used phrase 'evidence of rape' while presenting medical findings , and, most importantly, taking the victims to a separate, private room for examination instead of the out-patient department (OPD). The new syllabus will also include guidelines such as strictly avoiding the use of derogatory language by supporting hospital staff.

    The awful and unscientific 'two-finger' rape test to ascertain whether a woman was habituated to sex was outlawed, thanks to the new guidelines.

    The switch to the new syllabus was possible, in part, due to the efforts of Dr Indrajit Khandekar, in-charge of the Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS) in Sevagram, Wardha. He has been persistent in his belief that it was in both the doctors' and the patients' best interest that the syllabus be revised in keeping with the new guidelines.

    "If we teach the old format and ask them to use the new procedure during examination, doctors will fail to handle the medico-legal aspects of cases effectively. If teaching and actual practice complement each other, the outcome will be definitely better," TOI quoted Dr Khandekar as saying.

    In addition to changing the medical syllabus to reflect the new guidelines for examination of sexual assault victims, Dr Khandekar was instrumental in drafting them in the first place for the Centre's approval, back in 2014. A PIL was filed in the Bombay High Court based on his study report called 'Pitiable & Horrendous Quality Of Forensic Medical Examination Of Sexual Assault Cases'. The awful and unscientific 'two-finger' rape test to ascertain whether a woman was habituated to sex was outlawed, thanks to the new guidelines. Other positive changes outlined by the manual was ensuring the victim's privacy, providing counselling and support, and providing comprehensive care which addressed issues like physical injuries, STDs, HIV, Hepatitis B, etc., among others.


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