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Ex-martial arts star wins election as Mongolia's president

Former martial arts star Khaltmaa Battulga won Mongolia’s presidential run-off election on Saturday, Reuters reported.

>> Read more trending news

Battulga, 54, a member of the Democratic Party, won with 50.6 percent of the vote as 60.9 of Mongolia’s voters went to the poll, according to data from the General Election Commission. Battulga was running against parliament speaker Miyeegombo Enkhbold of the ruling Mongolian People’s Party, who drew 41.2 percent of the vote.

Election officials are waiting on a final count of votes from abroad, Reuters reported.

The run-off was scheduled after a June 26 vote failed to produce an outright winner, Reuters reported.

Battulga was a member of the Mongolian national wrestling team from 1979 to 1990. He won the World Cup championship in his weight class in 1989. He served as chairman of the Mongolian Judo Federation in 2006.

Battulga’s businesses include a hotel, a Genghis Khan-themed amusement park, and food companies, Reuters reported.

WATCH: Irish reporter posts video of 'bizarre moment' with Trump in Oval Office

Irish reporter Caitriona Perry shared video Tuesday of what she called “the bizarre moment” when President Donald Trump waved her over to his desk in the Oval Office during a call with Ireland’s new prime minister, Leo Varadkar.

>> Read more trending news

 As Trump chatted with Varadkar, he made Perry a topic of small talk by asking her a few questions about her Irish roots and and finished the encounter by complimenting her smile as she walked away.

>> Watch the video here

Trump may have spotted Perry as he waited for Varadkar to pick up the phone; a CBS reporter in attendance said it took at least 90 seconds for him to answer. 

U.S. suspends Brazilian beef imports over safety concerns

All imports of fresh beef from Brazil have been halted because of recurring concerns about the safety of the products intended for the American market, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said Thursday.

The suspension of shipments will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action which the USDA finds satisfactory.

The action comes three months after a major scandal erupted in Brazil over allegedly corrupt inspectors at slaughter and processing facilities. Brazilian officials said then that meat companies paid inspectors to overlook violations and certify tainted or rotten meat or not make inspections at all.

>> Read more trending news

However, before the crackdown, rotten meat was distributed in Brazil and exported to Europe.

Since March, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has been inspecting 100 percent of all meat products arriving in the United States from Brazil. FSIS has refused entry to 11 percent of Brazilian fresh beef products.

That figure is substantially higher than the rejection rate of one percent of shipments from the rest of the world. Since the implementation of the increased inspection, FSIS has refused entry to 106 lots (approximately 1.9 million pounds) of Brazilian beef products due to public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues. It is important to note that none of the rejected lots made it into the U.S. market.

The Brazilian government had pledged to address those concerns, including by self-suspending five facilities from shipping beef to the United States. Today’s action to suspend all fresh beef shipments from Brazil supersedes the self-suspension.

Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is one of our critical missions, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness. Although international trade is an important part of what we do at USDA, and Brazil has long been one of our partners, my first priority is to protect American consumers. That’s what we’ve done by halting the import of Brazilian fresh beef. I commend the work of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for painstakingly safeguarding the food we serve our families.”

>> Read the full news release here

The U.S. is not a major importer of beef from Brazil because the U.S. produces more beef and veal than Brazil does. This year, U.S. beef and veal production are expected to grow 5 percent to more than 12 million tons, reaching a nine-year high, according to USDA reports.

In 2016, the U.S. exported $6.3 billion in beef and beef products globally. The major importers of beef to the U.S. are Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, with Brazil ranking fifth.

In May, Brazil re-opened its doors to U.S. fresh beef exports after a 13-year hiatus, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service reported.

In 2003, Brazil closed its market fresh beef imports from the U.S. over concerns about bone spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Farmers Union applauded the decision to suspend the importation of Brazilian beef and said it has long had concerns about the importation of fresh beef from Brazil.

“Since the 2015 repeal of Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), food safety scandals can undermine consumer confidence in the entire beef industry, harming American producers’ bottom line. This incident underscores the importance of COOL to protect American beef producers and consumers alike,” NFU officials said in a statement.

Monday, several cattle-ranching groups sued the USDA in Spokane, asking that it overturn its decision to not require country-of-origin labeling on meat imports. Without the labeling, imported meat can be sold as a U.S. product.

Tour company used by Otto Warmbier no longer taking Americans to North Korea

The company that organized the trip that took U.S. student Otto Warmbier to North Korea announced Monday that they would no longer take Americans to the Hermit Kingdom after the 22-year-old died, days after he was released back to his home country.

>> Read more trending news

“The devastating loss of Otto Warmbier's life has led us to reconsider our position on accepting American tourists,” the China-based Young Pioneer Tours company wrote on its Facebook page. “There had not been any previous detainment in North Korea that has ended with such tragic finality and we have been struggling to process the result.”

Warmbier died Monday in Ohio, where he had been hospitalized since his June 13 release.

He had been detained in North Korea since January 2016, when he was arrested in Pyongyang for attempting to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and hard labor, according to NPR News.

He was medically evacuated last week and returned to the U.S. in a coma. North Korean officials said he became comatose after he was given a sleeping pill following a botulism diagnosis. Doctors with the University of Cincinnati Health system said last week that they found no evidence that Warmbier had suffered from botulism, but that his condition appeared to stem from a cardiopulmonary arrest.

>> Related: Doctors say Otto Warmbier has 'extensive loss of brain tissue' on return from N. Korea

“The way his detention was handled was appalling, and a tragedy like this must never be repeated,” officials with Young Pioneer Tours said Monday. “The assessment of risk for Americans visiting North Korea has become too high.”

Other high-profile tour operators who take travelers to North Korea also said this week that they are “reviewing” their policies regarding traveling Americans in the wake of Warmbier’s death, The Associated Press reported. Tour operators told the wire service that Americans account for about a fifth of all non-Chinese tourism to North Korea.

Australian PM downplays mocking Trump in off-the-record speech

Malcolm Turnbull downplayed a leaked video that showed the Australian prime minister mocking President Donald Trump during an off-the-record speech at a charity ball, Fox News reported.

>> Read more trending news

Turnbull, speaking at Parliament House, made fun of Trump and the Australian government’s poor showing in opinion polls. He later characterized the impersonation as “lighthearted and affectionate channeling,” Fox News reported.

In an animated performance, Turnbull told the audience that “Donald and I, we are winning and winning in the polls. We are winning so much. We are winning like we have never won before.”

“We are winning in the polls,” Trumbull continued. “We are, we are -- not the fake polls, not the fake polls -- they’re the ones we’re not winning in. We’re winning in the real polls, you know, the online polls. They are so easy to win.

“I have this Russian guy, believe me, it’s true, it’s true.”

Politics editor Laurie Oakes of 9News reportedly decided to reveal the contents of the video. “The idea of the Press Gallery Committee ... declaring it off the record is just ludicrous,” he told 9News.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy said “We understand that last night’s event is equivalent to our White House Correspondents’ Dinner. We take this with the good humor that was intended.”

On Friday, Turnbull said the speech had to be seen in an Australian cultural context.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” he told Fox News. “I don’t think it demonstrates that I’m up for ‘Saturday Night Live’ yet.”

John McCain says American leadership was better under Obama than Trump

Longtime Arizona senator, former Republican presidential candidate and foreign policy hawk Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., whose line of questioning during former FBI director James Comey’s testimony last week raised some eyebrows, has said in an interview with the Guardian that the U.S. was better off with Barack Obama as president "as far as American leadership is concerned."

“What do you think the message is? The message is that America doesn’t want to lead,” McCain replied to the news outlet, which described the senator as “visibly irked.”

>> Read more trending news

“[Other nations] are not sure of American leadership, whether it be in Siberia or whether it be in Antarctica,” he added.

The response came to a question about President Donald Trump’s Twitter response to the London terror attacks, including his response to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and the world’s perception of it.

When asked if America’s status around the globe was better under Obama, McCain replied, “As far as American leadership is concerned, yes.”

The remark has caused a firestorm on social media.

McCain and Trump have been on-and-off feuding publicly for some time.

A few incidents that come to mind are Trump’s back and forth with the Khans — a Gold Star family — and McCain’s response; the president’s “I like people who weren’t captured” remark; McCain’s criticism of a deadly Yemen raid as a “failure.”

A hung Parliament — 5 things to know

A hung Parliament — where there is no overall winner — has happened six times in Great Britain, occurring in 1909, 1929, 1974, 2010 and 2017.

>> Read more trending news

Here are five things to know:

What is a hung Parliament?

When no political party wins more than half of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. Lack of a majority can inhibit the government from passing legislation, and the party with the most seats often has to cobble a coalition to enact laws.

What’s next?

Prime Minister Theresa May, the head of the Conservative Party, will get the first shot at putting together a government. She will present a formal program, also known as the Queen’s Speech. She can form a coalition with one or more parties, or try to govern through a “confidence and supply” arrangement, in which laws are passed in return for concessions.  May said Friday she would be meeting with Queen Elizabeth II to form a government.

Who might support the Conservatives?

The Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland is the most likely candidate. The DUP is projected to win 10 seats, while Conservatives have been tabbed to win 319 once all the votes are counted. That would give May and the Conservatives a working majority.

If the Conservatives cannot form a government, what happens?

If May is unable to put together a coalition, Queen Elizabeth II could ask the Labour Party, which is the main opposition political party, to try and form a government.

Neither party is able to form a government. Now what?

New elections will be called.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

 

Japan passes law that would allow emperor to abdicate

Japan’s parliament passed a historic bill Friday that would allow Emperor Akihito to abdicate and pave the way for the accession of his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, Reuters reported.

>> Read more trending news

The legislation permits the first abdication by a Japanese monarch since Emperor Kokaku in 1817 during the latter part of the Edo Period, CNN reported. The royal male line in Japan is unbroken, records show, for at least 14 centuries.

Akihito, 83, who has had heart surgery and treatment for prostate cancer, said last year he feared age might make it difficult for him to continue to fulfill his duties, Reuters reported.

Akihito is the first Japanese emperor who was never considered divine. He has worked for decades to soothe the wounds of World War II, fought in the name of his father, Hirohito. Akihito will be succeeded by Naruhito, 57, the eldest of his three children, probably next year, Reuters reported.

"Abdication will take place for the first time in 200 years, reminding me once again of how important an issue this is for the foundation of our nation, its long history, and its future," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.

"In essence, the emperor is resigning, which I feel was an issue of personal thought," said Masayoshi Matsumoto, a 47-year-old animator.

The law applies only to Akihito and not to future emperors, Reuters reported.

May forms government after UK election ends in hung Parliament

Great Britain’s general election ended in a hung Parliament on Friday, but Prime Minister Theresa May said she plans to stay on as prime minister and will receive support from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to form a government, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news 

After meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, May said Friday the new government will guide Britain’s exit talks from the European Union, which will begin in 10 days.

May’s Conservative Party failed to achieve a majority in Thursday’s election, the BBC reported.

British voters dealt May a devastating blow, denying her the stronger mandate she had sought to conduct Brexit talks, Reuters reported. A Labour victory in Southampton made a Conservative majority now mathematically impossible, CNN reported. After the results of 633 seats were declared, Conservatives had won 308 of them and therefore were no longer able to surpass 326 — the number needed to claim a majority in the Great Britain’s 650-seat Parliament.

May said after the results were posted that she would not resign, although her Labour rival, Jeremy Corbyn, said she should step down, Reuters reported. 

"At this time, more than anything else this country needs a period of stability," May said after winning her own parliamentary seat of Maidenhead, near London.

"If ... the Conservative Party has won the most seats and probably the most votes then it will be incumbent on us to ensure that we have that period of stability and that is exactly what we will do,” May said.

The victory was a technical one for May and her party, but also was a major personal setback for the prime minister. At least one Conservative member of Parliament will lose a seat in an election campaign that did not have to happen for three years, CNN reported.

Sen. Mark Warner: Russian hacking 'much broader' than previously reported, ongoing

Hacking efforts aimed at influencing the November presidential election by Russian military intelligence officials were more widespread than previously reported and are ongoing, according to the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

>> Read more trending news

In an interview with USA Today, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said he has been pushing for intelligence agencies to declassify the names of states recently targeted by Russian hackers before 2018, when voters will go to the polls for midterm elections.

“I don’t believe they got into changing actual voting outcomes,” Warner told USA Today. “But the extent of the attacks is much broader than has been reported so far. … None of these actions from the Russians stopped on Election Day.”

>> Related: FBI arrests NSA contractor for leaking top secret report to press

Warner’s comments came in the wake of a report from The Intercept that detailed a top-secret National Security Agency analysis of Russian attempts to meddle in the election. The Justice Department on Monday announced that federal contractor Reality Winner, 25, had been arrested and charged in connection with the leak.

>> Related: What is The Intercept, the website that published leaked NSA report?

In the analysis, the NSA said Russian military intelligence “executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials” in the run-up to the election, The Intercept reported.

>> Related: What is spear-phishing, Russia’s alleged voter hacking technique?

Warner told USA Today that despite the attempted hacks, Russia was unable to change voting outcomes.

The Kremlin on Tuesday denied involvement in the reported cyberattacks.

U.S. intelligence officials said in January with “high confidence” that Russia meddled in the November election in favor of President Donald Trump. The report sparked worries of collusion between Trump and his advisers and Russian officials. Authorities have not provided any evidence that they worked together.

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