House Benghazi Report Finds No New Evidence of Wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton – New York Times

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
June 28, 2016

WASHINGTON — Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.

The 800-page report, however, included some new details about the night of the attacks, and the context in which it occurred, and it delivered a broad rebuke of government agencies like the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department — and the officials who led them — for failing to grasp the acute security risks in the Libyan city, and especially for maintaining outposts in Benghazi that they could not protect.

The committee, led by Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, also harshly criticized an internal State Department investigation that it said had allowed officials like Mrs. Clinton, then the secretary of state, to effectively choose who would investigate their actions. In addition, it reiterated Republicans’ complaints that the Obama administration had sought to thwart the investigation by withholding witnesses and evidence.

The report, however, did not dispute that United States military forces stationed in Europe could not have reached Benghazi in time to rescue the personnel who died — a central finding of previous inquiries.

Still, it issued stinging criticism of the overall delay in response and the lack of preparedness on the part of the government.

“The assets ultimately deployed by the Defense Department in response to the Benghazi attacks were not positioned to arrive before the final lethal attack,” the committee wrote. “The fact that this is true does not mitigate the question of why the world’s most powerful military was not positioned to respond.”

“What was disturbing from the evidence the Committee found was that at the time of the final lethal attack,” the panel added, “no asset ordered deployed by the Secretary had even left the ground.

But the lack of any crisp, hard-hitting allegation of professional misconduct or dereliction of duty, was certain to fuel further criticism of the length the investigation — more than two years — and the expense, estimated at more than $7 million, in addition to Democrats’ allegations that the inquiry was specifically intended to damage Mrs. Clinton’s presidential prospects.

And in a sign that Mr. Gowdy was also facing pressure from the right, two of the committee’s conservative members, Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mike Pompeo of Kansas, wrote a 48-page addendum including somewhat harsher criticism of the Obama administration, its response to the attacks and its subsequent public explanations.

“Officials at the State Department, including Secretary Clinton, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” Mr. Jordan and Mr. Pompeo wrote. “With the presidential election just 56 days away, rather than tell the American people the truth and increase the risk of losing an election, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.”

Technically, the report is not final until the full committee formally votes to accept it, but with the Republican majority firmly in support there is little doubt it will do so at a hearing scheduled for July 8. Still, some changes are possible, if they are accepted and approved by a majority vote.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign has been shadowed by the inquiry into the deaths of the four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

“After more than two years and more than $7 million in taxpayer funds, the Committee report has not found anything to contradict the conclusions of the multiple, earlier investigations,” a spokesman for the Clinton campaign said in a statement. “This report just confirms what Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and even one of Trey Gowdy’s own former staffers admitted months ago: this Committee’s chief goal is to politicize the deaths of four brave Americans in order to try to attack the Obama administration and hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

By far, the committee’s most significant disclosure, even by Republicans’ own account, was unintentional and not directly related to Benghazi: that Mrs. Clinton had exclusively used a private email server during her four years as secretary of state. That revelation has spurred separate investigations into whether classified material was mishandled.

While that discovery has reverberated throughout the campaign, Democrats have long denounced the select committee’s investigation as a politically motivated crusade against Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and a colossal waste of taxpayer money.

The Democrats on the committee — summarizing their complaints most recently in a report they issued on Monday, seeking to pre-empt the Republicans’ findings — said that the Benghazi effort had dragged on longer than far more important congressional inquiries like the ones into the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the response to Hurricane Katrina.

In their report, the Democrats also complained that they had been excluded from the development of the panel’s conclusions. They said they had not been given a draft of the final report or allowed to contribute to it.

House Republicans added, inadvertently at times, to the general sense that the committee was focusing too intently on Mrs. Clinton, even though she was never suspected of directly mishandling the Benghazi situation. Democrats seized on comments by the House majority leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, who boasted on Fox News in September that the committee’s work had put a dent in Mrs. Clinton’s poll numbers.

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” Mr. McCarthy said. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”

Those comments helped derail Mr. McCarthy’s bid to succeed Speaker John A. Boehner. Mr. Gowdy has long disavowed the remarks, saying the discovery of the private email server was highly unexpected and not a focus of his continuing work.

The discovery that Mrs. Clinton had used the private email server, including during the time of the Benghazi attack, led to at least a temporary shift in focus of the investigation, which had already shown signs of drifting and dragging amid the acrimony between congressional Republicans and the Obama administration.

There was also internal discord, which led to a former investigator for the committee, Bradley F. Podliska, a major in the Air Force Reserve, filing a lawsuit alleging that he was fired for trying to conduct a thorough investigation into attacks while superiors wanted to focus on the private email server.

The committee said Mr. Podliska was fired for cause, including mishandling of classified information.

In the most dramatic confrontation over the two years of the investigation, Mrs. Clinton testified before the committee for more than eight hours in October.

The hearing, which took place not long after Mr. McCarthy made his remarks, was widely perceived to have backfired on Republicans, as Mrs. Clinton answered their questions and coolly deflected their attacks. The hearing produced no major revelations about Mrs. Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi assaults.

By the time of her testimony, Mrs. Clinton had already taken responsibility for the State Department’s handling of the attacks.

The previous investigations had concluded that State Department officials had erred in not better securing the diplomatic compound amid reports of a deteriorating security situation. But the inquiries also determined that the attacks had come with little warning and that it would have been difficult to intervene once they had begun.

The investigations generally concluded that after the attack, the Obama administration’s talking points — a matter of much dispute — were flawed but not deliberately misleading.

On Sept. 11, 2012, Mr. Stevens and Sean Smith, a State Department information officer, were killed in an attack on the main American diplomatic compound in Benghazi by a mob of militia fighters who had been incited by an American-made video deriding the Prophet Muhammad. The fighters were apparently further inflamed by news of an assault on the American Embassy in Cairo.

Two other Americans, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, who were contractors for the C.I.A., died later when a separate annex run by the agency came under mortar attack.

Previous investigations, including the internal inquiry by the State Department, found serious security gaps but also concluded that American forces could not have reached Benghazi in time to save the Americans, despite claims by some Republicans that Mrs. Clinton had ordered troops to “stand down.”

The Republican-controlled House adopted a resolution establishing the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya, on May 8, 2014. The vote was 232 to 186 with seven Democrats joining Republicans in favor. Not a single Republican opposed the resolution.

At that point, in addition to the State Department’s review, there had been at least seven other congressional inquiries into the Benghazi attacks. A House Intelligence Committee investigation, perhaps the most comprehensive until now, found that Obama administration officials had not intentionally misled the public with their talking points in the days after the attacks.

By its own count, the select committee interviewed at least 107 witnesses, including 81 who committee staff members said had not previously been interviewed by Congress. The committee also said it had reviewed 75,000 pages of documents.

In a statement accompanying the release of the report, Mr. Gowdy praised the Americans who died as “heroes” and he defended his own handling of the investigation.

“When the Select Committee was formed, I promised to conduct this investigation in a manner worthy of the American people’s respect, and worthy of the memory of those who died,” Mr. Gowdy said. “That is exactly what my colleagues and I have done.”

But in a flash of the combative posture that has drawn criticism, he also urged citizens to form their own conclusions, saying: “You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi.”

On Monday, Mr. Gowdy issued yet another statement accusing the administration of obstructing the investigation.

“For nearly a year and a half, the State Department has withheld documents and information about Benghazi and Libya from the American people’s elected representatives in Congress,” Mr. Gowdy said. “Whatever the administration is hiding, its justifications for doing so are imaginary and appear to be invented for the sake of convenience. That’s not how complying with a congressional subpoena works, and it’s well past time the department stops stonewalling.”

Mr. Gowdy said some of the documents were first requested in November 2014.

Among the committee’s most substantive recommendations were a change in the security standards for temporary diplomatic outposts.

“The State Department should comply with the requirements of the Overseas Security Protection Board and the standards provided for in the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act for all premises/facilities occupied for more than 30 days, whether official or unofficial,” the committee wrote, adding: “The State Department should identify a specific funding source for immediate security upgrades for posts in high threat areas.”

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Benghazi report: Clinton should have realized risks – CNN

The report, parts of which have already been reviewed by CNN, paints a picture of a perfect storm of bureaucratic inertia, rapidly worsening security in Libya and inadequate resources in the months that led up to the killings of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three colleagues on September 11, 2012.
Clinton told the House Benghazi Committee last year that she was aware of the dangers in Libya but “there was no actionable intelligence” indicating a planned attack.
The portion of the report obtained by CNN doesn’t offer a scathing indictment of Clinton. But it does argue that intelligence was available suggesting an attack was possible and Clinton and a top aide, Patrick Kennedy, should have realized the risks posed to the Benghazi mission by extremist groups.
“It is not clear what additional intelligence would have satisfied either Kennedy or the Secretary in understanding the Benghazi mission compound was at risk — short of an attack,” the report says.
Conservative members of the panel are expected to release a more political analysis of the attack Tuesday that’s far more critical of Clinton.
The report caps a much-politicized two-year probe into the attack on a U.S. outpost and CIA annex that killed Stevens along with IT expert Sean Smith and two security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. The attack was initially thought to be perpetrated by an angry mob responding to a video made in the U.S. mocking Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, but the assault was later determined to be a terrorist attack — a finding Republicans accused the White House of covering up to protect President Barack Obama’s re-election prospects.
The committee report is sure to fuel charges by Republicans — including presumptive nominee Donald Trump — that Clinton is untrustworthy and that her tenure as the top U.S. diplomat was disastrous.
Democrats pre-emptively rebutted the findings Monday by releasing their own dissenting report. They accused Gowdy and the committee of flagrant political bias while arguing the investigation wasted taxpayer money to try to damage Clinton ahead of the November election.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz also ripped the Benghazi panel Monday, saying it amounted to a “Republican conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy.”
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon blasted the committee in an overnight tweet.
“Far from honoring the four brave Americans who died, the Benghazi Committee has been a partisan sham since its start,” he wrote.
Clinton herself appeared to anticipate the report — and the potential political firestorm that could ensue — Monday when she spoke frankly about public perceptions that she’s not trustworthy.
“I personally know I have work to do on this front,” she said Monday at a Rainbow Push Coalition lunch in Chicago.
The report being released Tuesday includes testimony from senior State Department and intelligence officials along with lower-ranking diplomats and diplomatic security agents. It adds color and texture to the public record of the attacks already unveiled by multiple congressional and independent investigations.
It shows that the State Department assessment of the situation in Benghazi in 2011 and 2012 noted rising crime levels, rampant firearm ownership, and a high risk of militia violence in the security vacuum left by the toppling of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi. The precarious security situation, according to the report, was exacerbated by inadequate security at the Benghazi outpost, which was plagued by equipment failures, a lack of manpower and relied on an often-disorganized local militia for protection.
The report says requests for more security in Benghazi repeatedly met no response or were refused by senior officials in Washington, though the parts of the report seen by CNN do not directly lay the fault directly at Clinton’s door.
The report also reveals that Stevens and senior department officials were apparently keen to set up a permanent consulate in Benghazi ahead of a planned visit to the city by Clinton in October 2012.
But the difficulty finding a suitable secure facility prompted officials to exclude the Benghazi compound from official department rules and standards that would have otherwise been more stringent.
“If you are in a non-diplomatic facility, there are no security standards. They don’t exist,” one unnamed diplomatic security agent told the committee.
Other findings include :

The tenacity of Chris Stevens.

The report reveals the determination of Stevens to keep the post open in Benghazi — “Chris had, I think a different tolerance of risk than I did,” said Joan Polaschik, former U.S. deputy chief of mission in Libya.
— After the fall of the Gadhaffi regime in 2011, one of Clinton’s top State Department aides, Jake Sullivan, asked a colleague what it would take to get a team back to the Libyan capital of Tripoli to re-open the U.S. embassy.
— “An ambassador to Libya who actually wants to go. Locking Pat Kennedy (then Under Secretary for Management) in a closet for long enough to actually take some real risks,” the colleage emailed back.
— In testimony to the committee, Charlene Lamb, formerly a senior State Department official, said that Stevens was ultimately responsible for security at his post. “It is very unfortunate and sad at this point that Ambassador Stevens was a victim, but that is where ultimate responsibility lies.”

Inadequate security in Benghazi

Throughout late 2011 and through 2012, security became perilous in Benghazi and there were at least two attacks on the compound and on diplomats and other international facilities.
— A diplomatic security agent in the city in November 2011 told the committee that security was “woefully inadequate” with no perimeter security, low walls and no lighting.
— The report said the Benghazi mission made repeated requests for new agents in late 2011 and early 2012. After a series of attacks on international targets in the city, more requests were made. But “no additional resources were provided by Washington D.C. to fortify the compound after the first two attacks. No additional personnel were sent to secure the facility, despite repeated requests for security experts on the ground.”
— At one point, then-State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland emailed Stevens to ask how to publicly describe the security incidents in 2012 : “Washington D.C. dismissed Stevens’ multiple requests for additional security personnel while also asking for help in messaging the very violence he was seeking security from,” the report said.
— The report, citing a cable from the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, suggests there simply were not sufficient resources in the unstable nation to send to properly protect Benghazi. In early August 2012, there were only 34 security staff at the embassy. By the end of the month there were only six.
— Such shortages might explain the overreliance on the February 17 local militia in Benghazi to help secure the outpost — but a diplomatic security agent quoted in the report said the group was “undisciplined and unskilled.”
— In 2011 and early 2012, security sometimes became so difficult in Benghazi that staff were unable to do their jobs reaching out Libyans to report back to Washington on the restive political situation in the city. But the report says that in February 2012, the lead diplomatic security agent at the Tripoli Embassy told the post that “substantive reporting” was not its job anyway.
“[U]nfortunately, nobody has advised the (principal diplomatic officer) that Benghazi is there to support [redacted] operations, not conduct substantive reporting,” the agent wrote, in a possible sign that the primary purpose of the mission was in fact to support the CIA.

CNN’s Laura Koran and Ryan Browne contributed to this story

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World stocks, sterling try to shake off Brexit blues – Reuters

A man is reflected in a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, June 27, 2016.  REUTERS/Toru Hanai
A man is reflected in a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, June 27, 2016.

Reuters/Toru Hanai


Asian stocks rose for the first time in three days on Tuesday while sterling and other currencies advanced as investors scooped up beaten down assets after Britain’s vote to exit the European Union stunned financial markets.

European markets looked set to follow Asian stocks higher, according to financial bookmakers, and U.S. stock futures ESc1 rose 0.8 percent, suggesting a stronger opening on Wall Street after a brutal two-day slide. [.N]

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was up 0.1 percent but the tiny gain belied an impressive turnaround which saw the Japanese stocks .N225 rally more than 3 percent from the day’s lows, pulling other Asian markets higher. The Nikkei was up 0.6 percent by early afternoon.

But in a sign that investors remained extremely nervous, trading volumes were light and price action was choppy across markets.

“Short-covering in the currency market and U.S. futures market is limiting selling,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities. “But overall sentiment remains fragile.”

“Friday’s Brexit jump scare has faded, but markets are still worried” about its possible effect on global demand, SLW brokerage trader João Paulo de Gracia Corrêa said.

Policymakers from Japan to China vowed to protect their economies and markets from the destabilizing impact of Brexit.

“It’s hard to avoid short-term volatility in China’s capital markets, but we won’t allow roller-coaster rides and drastic changes in the capital markets,” Premier Li Keqiang said at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the city of Tianjin.

In currency markets, sterling GBP=D4 was changing hands at $1.3291, after falling to a three-decade low of $1.3122 on Monday, its weakest since 1985.

Against the yen, sterling rose 1 percent to 135.54 GBPJPY=R, not far from Friday’s 3-1/2 year low of 133.18. The euro stood at 82.93 pence EURGBP=R after scaling a two-year peak of 83.79 pence on Monday.

The euro edged down slightly to $1.1060 EUR=, not far above Friday’s three-month low of $1.0912 after the British vote.

“In the near term, risk aversion and market uncertainty makes the euro less attractive to investors,” Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, wrote in a note to clients.

“In the long run, Brexit also raises questions about the Eurozone’s viability because if major countries like Britain start dropping out the EU, nationalism could drive smaller Eurozone nations to exit out of the euro,” she said, adding that she expects the euro to “make another run” for the $1.0900 level.

Early signs of a cautious return in demand for riskier assets were evident in the high-yielding Aussie AUD=D3 and the New Zealand dollar NZD=, which helped put a floor under other emerging market currencies in Asia.

Anticipating yet another round of global policy easing by major central banks, government bond yields pushed deeper into negative territory. Yields on ten-year and 20-year Japanese debt plunged to fresh record lows.

Gold XAU=, one of the rare outliers in global financial markets in the last few days, came in for a bit of profit taking with the precious metal down 0.7 percent. Silver XAG= fell 0.3 percent.

Crude oil prices regained some of their overnight losses after tumbling nearly 3 percent on Monday. [O/R]

U.S. crude CLc1 added 1.7 percent to $47.11 a barrel after shedding 2.8 percent on Monday, while Brent LCOc1 rose 1.6 percent to $47.89 after skidding 2.6 percent and touching seven-week lows overnight.

(Additional reporting by Lisa Twaronite in TOKYO; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kim Coghill)

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Brexit: EU leaders to meet over UK withdrawal – CNN International

Story highlights

  • EU parliament to convene extraordinary conference Tuesday
  • British PM Cameron wants talks before starting separation process
  • 19 senior Labour MPs resign in opposition party upheaval
The EU parliament will open an extraordinary plenary session of its Conference of Presidents in what will be the first official steps to extricate the UK from its 42-year association with the bloc.
The vote last week to pull out of the union has left Britain with a nasty hangover, sending the pound spiraling, dampening markets, creating a leadership vacuum and triggering talks of Scottish secession from Britain.
Cameron, who announced his resignation after leading a failed campaign to remain in Europe, has said he won’t start the official leaving process — leaving the decision to his successor who is expected to be in place by the start of September.
In order to begin the process, Britain’s government needs to trigger ‘Article 50,’ the clause in the EU constitution which begins the exit procedure for a member country.
“Before we do that, we need to determine the kind of relationship we want with the EU,” he said. “Any new negotiation to leave the EU will begin under a new prime minister.”

First call for referendum do-over

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is the first member of government to suggest that Article 50 should not be triggered until the public has had a chance to vote on a new deal with the EU, by either calling a general election or having another referendum.
Writing in the Telegraph, Hunt suggests the ideal scenario would be what he called a “Norway plus” arrangement, echoing the non-EU member’s relationship with the bloc. He says in the piece that the ideal scenario would still allow access to the single market but with a “sensible” compromise on free movement of people.
“As their biggest non-EU trading partner, it is in the European interest to do this deal with them as much as it is in our interests to secure it,” he writes.
He also suggested that any MP nominated to replace David Cameron as Prime Minister should ensure EU migrants already living in the UK have their rights protected, and pledge that “full permanent residence will be granted to all European citizens living and working in Britain on the day of the referendum.”
This already puts Cameron at odds with his European counterparts. There is some pressure from EU leaders to start the official process sooner, which involves invoking a clause in the treaty that binds the union.
“We cannot start some sort of informal talks without having received the notice from Great Britain. This is very clear to me,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told journalists in Berlin Monday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will also be in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting. Earlier, he said that the vote would not change Washington’s “unbreakable bond” with Britain.

No-confidence vote

In the UK, opposition Labour MPs have seized the Brexit turmoil to try to oust leftist party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has taken the party in a new direction after two consecutive election losses to the Conservatives.
The embattled leader faces a no-confidence vote by his party’s MPs Tuesday, the British press is reporting. As many as 150 of Labour’s 229 MPs could vote to dethrone him, the right-leaning Daily Telegraph reports.
Total results
/ 382 districts reporting
Breakdown by region
/ districts reporting
The no-confidence vote comes after a slew of resignations from senior Labour Party members in the days following the referendum results, including key members of his shadow cabinet — the group of senior politicians who mirror government portfolios.
The exodus began when Corbyn booted Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn over the weekend, accused of plotting a coup against the embattled leader.
And the jockeying for power has already begun in Cameron’s Conservative Party — prominent leave campaigner Boris Johnson and Cameron ally Theresa May are seen as the front-runners, while Finance Minister George Osborne has ruled himself out of the running.

Broken promises

Like the markets, Brits are jittery, not knowing who will lead their country come October or whether any of the promises made by the leave camp will even come into fruition.
Leave campaigners are already backpedaling on their promises, and many who voted to leave say they feel cheated, and regret their vote.
The Brexit battle bus claiming Britain sends £50 million a day to the EU that could be spent on healthcare.

The Brexit battle bus claiming Britain sends £50 million a day to the EU that could be spent on healthcare.

Leaders are now trying to allay fears that Britain may be heading for recession and are trying to boost confidence in its markets and currency to avoid an economic meltdown.
Cameron reminded parliament that Britain has “one of the strongest major advanced economies in the world.”
But the country just lost its top AAA credit rating with agency Standard & Poor’s, which measures a country’s ability to meet its financial commitments.

Who’s in charge?

Cameron announced in parliament that a new unit would be established to deal specifically with the EU divorce in what he described as one of the “most complex” tasks assigned to the civil service in decades.
It would bring together members of various bodies and services, including the cabinet office, the foreign office and the Treasury, among others.

Global economic shockwaves

Asian markets got off to a gloomy start early Tuesday as Brexit concerns continued to weigh on investors.
The declines followed a brutal day of trading in Europe and the U.S. on Monday.
The Dow slumped 261 points to the lowest level in over three months. That’s on top of Friday’s plunge that wiped 610 points from the index. The combined loss of nearly 900 points makes the post-Brexit turmoil the worst two-day period for U.S. stocks since the August 2015 freak out.
European stock markets came under heavier pressure and the pound dropped to a fresh low Monday following the U.K.’s historic vote to leave the European Union.

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Supreme Court ruling is likely to change the landscape of 'abortion desert' – Los Angeles Times

Texas abortion clinics at risk of being closed by a restrictive state law will remain open and some of those shuttered will probably be able to reopen in the wake of a landmark Supreme Court ruling Monday that could block similar laws in other states across the so-called abortion desert of the South and Midwest.

Opponents of abortion said they plan to defend those laws in the interest of women’s health, while shifting to pursue new laws to protect fetal health.

Of 41 abortion clinics in Texas before the law passed, 19 remain. Of those, 10 would have been forced to close had the high court allowed the law to stand.

Advocates expect some clinics to reopen, especially those in rural areas far from other providers. Still, the reopening process could be slowed by licensing, rebuilding and hiring.

“We really have a daunting task ahead of us to determine when and how we can reopen some of our clinics,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, which closed two of its half-dozen clinics in Texas after the state law passed. “We have the go-ahead to open clinics, but the process to undertake it is going to take time.”

About half the women in the South live in counties without abortion clinics, as do 53% of women in the Midwest, compared with 38% nationwide, according to the most recent study by the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for reproductive rights. 

Since the Texas law passed, many women without clinics nearby or whose clinics had long waits have paid to travel to have abortions in neighboring states. Advocates said there’s a pressing need to reopen clinics that serve women in remote western cities such as Lubbock, Midland and San Angelo.

“It’s vital in West Texas and the Panhandle where people are hundreds of miles from care,” said Nan Little Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Dallas-based Texas Equal Access Fund, which helps those who cannot afford abortions. “We are really hoping this decision will reopen providers.”

Abortion rights advocates were also hopeful the ruling would help permanently block similar laws temporarily suspended by the courts in other states.

In addition to Texas, five other states have enacted laws that require abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center requirements. They are Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee, where the law was temporarily blocked by a judge, according to the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented Whole Woman’s Health. 


Besides Texas, the group found nine other states passed laws that require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals: Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin. 
Those laws were blocked by the courts in all but Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee.

“Both here in Kansas and in Oklahoma, this case really opens up the door for a relaxation of these laws that are punitive towards physicians who provide abortion care and the clinics where the physicians practice,” said Julie Burkhart, founder and chief executive of Trust Women, which runs an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas, and is opening one in Oklahoma City next month.

“The next few days and weeks, I think we’ll be better able to determine what will be taking place in these states,” she said.

In Louisiana, a state admitting-privileges law was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court this year, allowing two of the state’s four clinics to go back to work.

“Our next step will be to decide what we need to do to have it permanently enjoined,” said Kathaleen Pittman, administrator at Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport.

Mississippi also passed an admitting-privileges law that was stayed by the courts and is expected to be permanently blocked in coming days because of the high court’s ruling, the first in decades to clarify the standard set by another Texas case, Roe vs. Wade.

“It’s a definitive ruling. It doesn’t leave any wiggle room for people who have sought to abuse regulatory authority and gut the provisions of Roe,” said Dr. Willie Parker, who staffs the state’s sole abortion clinic, in Jackson.

Parker said the high court’s ruling will not only lead lower courts to block these laws. “It also can serve as a deterrent to people who are trying to draft this kind of legislation,” he said.

Abortion opponents said they were searching for ways to defend laws similar to the Texas measure. They also plan to shift their focus to laws that restrict access to abortion based on fetal health, they said, such as 20-week abortion bans based on fetal pain, or bans on second-trimester abortions they call “fetal dismemberment.”

“The direction the pro-life movement needs to go is using that state interest in fetal life,” said John Seago, legislative director for Houston-based Texas Right to Life, adding that it will also “have to be more defensive, since the window has been opened for challenges to health and safety laws.”

Already, 14 states have passed fetal pain bans on abortion at 20 weeks, said Carol Tobias, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Right to Life Committee. Texas is among states that have passed the laws, and the 20-week ban was not at issue in the case before the Supreme Court, Tobias noted.

“The abortion industry didn’t challenge that part of the law. So we are going to be encouraging more states to pass that law,” she said.

Her group also plans to lobby for the “fetal dismemberment” laws that have passed in half a dozen states – Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Although legislators in some states have pursued outright bans on abortion, including one passed in Oklahoma last month and vetoed by the governor, Tobias said Monday’s ruling shows that’s the wrong approach.

“With the current court, it would be futile. The court is more likely to take baby steps,” she said. “Little steps are more likely to chip away at Roe.”

Abortion opponents in Texas agreed.

“The reason we don’t recommend that state legislatures pass complete bans on abortion at this time is the Supreme Court will very quickly strike them down and the states end up paying attorneys’ fees to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life. “We have to wait until the time is right.”

He called the Supreme Court ruling “a very serious setback” but said it probably will galvanize those who oppose abortion.

“Long term, this is going to help our movement continue to grow,” Pojman said.

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Supreme Court ruling is likely to change the landscape of 'abortion desert' – Los Angeles Times

Texas abortion clinics at risk of being closed by a restrictive state law will remain open and some of those shuttered will probably be able to reopen in the wake of a landmark Supreme Court ruling Monday that could block similar laws in other states across the so-called abortion desert of the South and Midwest.

Opponents of abortion said they plan to defend those laws in the interest of women’s health, while shifting to pursue new laws to protect fetal health.

Of 41 abortion clinics in Texas before the law passed, 19 remain. Of those, 10 would have been forced to close had the high court allowed the law to stand.

Advocates expect some clinics to reopen, especially those in rural areas far from other providers. Still, the reopening process could be slowed by licensing, rebuilding and hiring.

“We really have a daunting task ahead of us to determine when and how we can reopen some of our clinics,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, which closed two of its half-dozen clinics in Texas after the state law passed. “We have the go-ahead to open clinics, but the process to undertake it is going to take time.”

About half the women in the South live in counties without abortion clinics, as do 53% of women in the Midwest, compared with 38% nationwide, according to the most recent study by the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for reproductive rights. 

Since the Texas law passed, many women without clinics nearby or whose clinics had long waits have paid to travel to have abortions in neighboring states. Advocates said there’s a pressing need to reopen clinics that serve women in remote western cities such as Lubbock, Midland and San Angelo.

“It’s vital in West Texas and the Panhandle where people are hundreds of miles from care,” said Nan Little Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Dallas-based Texas Equal Access Fund, which helps those who cannot afford abortions. “We are really hoping this decision will reopen providers.”

Abortion rights advocates were also hopeful the ruling would help permanently block similar laws temporarily suspended by the courts in other states.

In addition to Texas, five other states have enacted laws that require abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center requirements. They are Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee, where the law was temporarily blocked by a judge, according to the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented Whole Woman’s Health. 


Besides Texas, the group found nine other states passed laws that require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals: Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin. 
Those laws were blocked by the courts in all but Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee.

“Both here in Kansas and in Oklahoma, this case really opens up the door for a relaxation of these laws that are punitive towards physicians who provide abortion care and the clinics where the physicians practice,” said Julie Burkhart, founder and chief executive of Trust Women, which runs an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas, and is opening one in Oklahoma City next month.

“The next few days and weeks, I think we’ll be better able to determine what will be taking place in these states,” she said.

In Louisiana, a state admitting-privileges law was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court this year, allowing two of the state’s four clinics to go back to work.

“Our next step will be to decide what we need to do to have it permanently enjoined,” said Kathaleen Pittman, administrator at Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport.

Mississippi also passed an admitting-privileges law that was stayed by the courts and is expected to be permanently blocked in coming days because of the high court’s ruling, the first in decades to clarify the standard set by another Texas case, Roe vs. Wade.

“It’s a definitive ruling. It doesn’t leave any wiggle room for people who have sought to abuse regulatory authority and gut the provisions of Roe,” said Dr. Willie Parker, who staffs the state’s sole abortion clinic, in Jackson.

Parker said the high court’s ruling will not only lead lower courts to block these laws. “It also can serve as a deterrent to people who are trying to draft this kind of legislation,” he said.

Abortion opponents said they were searching for ways to defend laws similar to the Texas measure. They also plan to shift their focus to laws that restrict access to abortion based on fetal health, they said, such as 20-week abortion bans based on fetal pain, or bans on second-trimester abortions they call “fetal dismemberment.”

“The direction the pro-life movement needs to go is using that state interest in fetal life,” said John Seago, legislative director for Houston-based Texas Right to Life, adding that it will also “have to be more defensive, since the window has been opened for challenges to health and safety laws.”

Already, 14 states have passed fetal pain bans on abortion at 20 weeks, said Carol Tobias, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Right to Life Committee. Texas is among states that have passed the laws, and the 20-week ban was not at issue in the case before the Supreme Court, Tobias noted.

“The abortion industry didn’t challenge that part of the law. So we are going to be encouraging more states to pass that law,” she said.

Her group also plans to lobby for the “fetal dismemberment” laws that have passed in half a dozen states – Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Although legislators in some states have pursued outright bans on abortion, including one passed in Oklahoma last month and vetoed by the governor, Tobias said Monday’s ruling shows that’s the wrong approach.

“With the current court, it would be futile. The court is more likely to take baby steps,” she said. “Little steps are more likely to chip away at Roe.”

Abortion opponents in Texas agreed.

“The reason we don’t recommend that state legislatures pass complete bans on abortion at this time is the Supreme Court will very quickly strike them down and the states end up paying attorneys’ fees to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life. “We have to wait until the time is right.”

He called the Supreme Court ruling “a very serious setback” but said it probably will galvanize those who oppose abortion.

“Long term, this is going to help our movement continue to grow,” Pojman said.

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Abortion Ruling Could Create Waves of Legal Challenges – New York Times

By ERIK ECKHOLM
June 27, 2016

From Texas to Alabama to Wisconsin, more than a dozen Republican-run states in recent years have passed laws requiring that abortion clinics have hospital-grade facilities or use doctors with admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Now, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling — that those provisions in a Texas law do not protect women’s health and place an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion — will quickly reverberate across the country.

It will prevent the threatened shutdown of clinics in some states, especially in the Deep South, that have been operating in a legal limbo, with Texas-style laws on temporary hold. But legal experts said the effect over time is likely to be wider, potentially giving momentum to dozens of legal challenges, including to laws that restrict abortions with medication or ban certain surgical methods.

“The ruling deals a crushing blow to this most recent wave of state efforts to shut off access to abortion through hyper-regulation,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, the director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School.

Adopting stringent regulations on abortion clinics and doctors that are said to be about protecting women’s health has been one of the anti-abortion movement’s most successful efforts, imposing large expenses on some clinics, forcing others to close and making it harder for women in some regions to obtain abortions. Republicans like Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who deplored Monday’s ruling, argued that they were requiring clinics to “be held to the same standards as other medical facilities.”

Now, the court has ruled that any such requirements must be based on convincing medical evidence that the rules are solving a real health issue to be weighed by a court, not by ideologically driven legislators — and that the benefits must outweigh the burdens imposed on women’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Anti-abortion groups expressed anger at Monday’s decision, insisting that abortion care is rife with unreported medical risks and malpractice, and vowed to press on. Americans United for Life, which has been a principal architect of the legislative strategy of putting requirements on clinics in the name of protecting women’s health, said it would continue to fight “to protect women from a dangerous and greedy abortion industry.”

“I’m confident that the states will move ahead to fill the public health vacuum that the Supreme Court has created,” said Clarke Forsythe, the acting president of Americans United for Life. “This decision does not foreclose more narrowly tailored regulations,” he said, promising that new ones will be developed state by state.

Since the Supreme Court has long held that women have a constitutional right to an abortion, anti-abortion groups over the past decade have turned to the states to pass hundreds of laws designed to discourage abortions, such as waiting periods, mandated fetal sonograms and parental consent requirements.

Most recently, promoting stringent regulations on abortion clinics and doctors has been one of the movement’s most successful efforts.

Since 2011, for example, nine states have passed physician admitting-privilege requirements, bringing the total, including Texas, to 11, though in several cases the laws have been temporarily blocked. Similar proposals are pending in five more states, according to Elizabeth Nash, a researcher with the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

The latest admitting-privilege law, though a weaker one than that in Texas, is due to take effect on July 1 in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott has said that he is studying the implications of Monday’s Supreme Court decision. The Florida law allows clinics, as an alternative, to have a general transfer agreement with a nearby hospital, but it is unclear whether all of the state’s clinics can comply.

The clearest and probably quickest effect of the Supreme Court decision will be in the other states with admitting-privilege laws — which mainstream medical groups say are medically unnecessary, and which clinics in some regions cannot meet because of hostility to abortion.

Such laws threatened to force the shutdown of four of five clinics in Alabama, three of four clinics in Louisiana and the sole abortion clinic operating in Mississippi. Given Monday’s decision, none of the laws in those states, or in others where similar requirements are temporarily blocked, including Kansas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, are likely to survive.

Robin Vos, the speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, said in a statement: “Today the court has put women’s health and safety on the back burner for the profits of Planned Parenthood and abortion providers.”

She added: “As a pro-life legislator, I will continue to support legislation that protects the life of an unborn child and the health of the mother.”

On the other side of the issue, Dr. Willie Parker, who as a roving doctor who performs abortions at two Alabama clinics in cities where he cannot obtain admitting privileges and at the one clinic in Mississippi, said with relief that the Texas decision was “a huge victory.”

After years in which ever more forceful anti-abortion laws spread in the South, he said, “Now the chain reaction can go in the other direction.”

Admitting-privilege requirements that are now in effect in Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee may also come under new challenge. Five other states, besides Texas, impose some form of surgery-center standards on clinics performing abortions in the first trimester. The effect of the new ruling may have to be considered state by state, legal experts said.

While surgery-center laws outside Texas have forced a few clinics to shut down, the laws in several states including Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Virginia allow for waivers to the strict requirements, allowing some existing clinics to be exempt from rules governing, for example, storage space or flooring materials; the Texas law struck down Monday was, by comparison, inflexible.

Because the Supreme Court case was focused on provisions that were justified in terms of women’s health, the ruling is likely to have a less direct effect on some other contested abortion restrictions such as waiting periods or ultrasound requirements.

But the same standards would presumably apply to legal efforts to restrict nonsurgical, medication abortions in the name of protecting women. Battles are underway, for example, in some rural states over whether doctors can remotely prescribe abortion-inducing drugs. The greatest effect of the decision may come in the future, as the battle over abortion takes new forms.

Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, the New York-based legal group that represented Texas clinics before the Supreme Court, said, “This opinion makes it clear that the court is going to look at the stated justification for a law, and look at the burdens it imposes.”

“It’s about making sure that regulations are truly justified,” she said.

For now, the Supreme Court is expected to make sure that states like Louisiana and Mississippi where cases are pending follow the principles laid out on Monday.

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Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren Take Aim at Donald Trump – New York Times

By AMY CHOZICK
June 27, 2016

CINCINNATI — They stormed the stage together wearing similarly colored clothes — hues that almost perfectly matched the bold blue of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign logo. With a “Stronger Together” sign hanging in the background and a Katy Perry pop song blaring from the speakers, they cheered each other on like old pals, cracking jokes about Donald J. Trump and pointing with enthusiasm at a young supporter who waved a placard that read “Girl Power.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a towering political figure among today’s liberal Democrats, brought her energy, folksy appeal and populist roar to a candidate not known for energizing crowds.

For Ms. Warren, the joint event with Mrs. Clinton here on Monday, the first time the two Democrats campaigned onstage together, was a moment for her to elevate her profile as the liberal voice of the party and a favorite to be vice president.

For Mrs. Clinton, it was a chance to woo the party’s liberal wing and convince economically hard-hit voters that she, too, is a populist champion running for president to improve their lives.

“I got into this race because I wanted to even the odds for people who have the odds stacked against them,” Mrs. Clinton told the crowd. “To build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, we have got to go big and we have got to go bold.”

Mrs. Clinton stood onstage grinning and nodding, her hands clasped calmly at her waist, as Ms. Warren eviscerated Mr. Trump in remarks that lasted roughly half as long as Mrs. Clinton’s half-hour address.

Ms. Warren told an electrified crowd of roughly 2,600 gathered in the grand corridor of the Cincinnati Museum Center, under murals of factory and farmworkers, that the presumptive Republican nominee would “crush you into the dirt to get whatever he wants.”

And when Ms. Warren, a onetime critic of Mrs. Clinton, turned from the lectern to face the presumptive Democratic nominee, declaring that she “has never backed down” from fighting for the middle class, Mrs. Clinton flashed a wide, satisfied smile, appearing to let out a sigh of relief that she had the liberal senator from Massachusetts in her corner. She mouthed two simple words to her supercharged surrogate: “Thank you.”

The event was the culmination of warming relations between Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Warren, who has criticized the financial policies of the Bill Clinton era. Before she was a senator, Ms. Warren turned her ire on Mrs. Clinton, then a New York senator, for shifting her position to support bankruptcy legislation that would have made it more difficult for families to get debt relief.

Those differences seemed a distant memory on Monday as Mrs. Clinton struck an almost identical tone and praised Ms. Warren’s rabble-rousing in the Senate.

“Some of the best TV since Elizabeth came to the Senate is on C-Span,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Whenever you see her pressing a bank executive or a regulator for answers,” she continued. “Remember: She is speaking for every single American who is frustrated and fed up.”

Both women framed their remarks on Monday by portraying Mr. Trump as a selfish corporate titan whose business record has not benefited American workers.

Mrs. Clinton reeled off a list of little-known Trump enterprises. “Trump suits were made in Mexico,” she said. “Trump furniture is made in Turkey, instead of Cleveland. Trump barware is made in Slovenia, instead of Toledo.”

Living up to her newfound reputation as Trump slayer-in-chief, Ms. Warren roused the crowd with stinging criticism of the Manhattan businessman. But she also appeared cautious not to overshadow her party’s presumptive nominee, looking back at Mrs. Clinton occasionally as she spoke, as if in deference to an elder.

“Donald Trump says he’ll make America great again,” Ms. Warren said, calling his slogan “goofy,” a take on Mr. Trump’s favorite insult for the Massachusetts senator. “I ask, for who exactly? For families that don’t fly to Scotland to play golf?”

In response, Mr. Trump’s campaign called Ms. Warren a “sellout” for supporting Mrs. Clinton, pointing to the presumptive Democratic nominee’s Wall Street donors. In an interview with NBC News, Mr. Trump called Ms. Warren a “racist” and “a total fraud.”

Many in the crowd viewed the joint event as a practice run for what could transpire should Mrs. Clinton select Ms. Warren as her running mate.

While an all-female ticket is unlikely, James Hamilton, the Washington lawyer leading Mrs. Clinton’s vice-presidential search, has begun vetting Ms. Warren and other candidates. Ever since she endorsed Mrs. Clinton this month, Ms. Warren has been a powerful surrogate, attacking Mr. Trump in spades and visiting the Clinton campaign’s headquarters in Brooklyn to encourage young staff members with a simple message: “Don’t screw this up!”

If Ms. Warren’s liberal policy positions could make it difficult for her to get a place on a ticket, on Monday she and Mrs. Clinton seemed to have little daylight between them as they each vowed to restructure the American economy to help the middle class.

In an address that spoke to the “frustration, the fear, the anxiety and, yes, the anger” over an economy in which the wealthiest Americans have thrived as middle-class wages have remained virtually stagnant, Mrs. Clinton hit the same themes that elevated Ms. Warren in the Senate and fueled the candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the hard-fought Democratic nominating contest.

In a season defined by anger over globalization and economic inequality, Mrs. Clinton firmly declared that “this is not a time for half measures” as she laid out her wide-ranging plan to lift wages and create jobs.

In Ohio, a battleground state, Mrs. Clinton delivered a promise to strengthen labor unions, close loopholes that give tax breaks to corporations for moving jobs overseas, raise the minimum wage and make college affordable.

“Why do the richest Americans and biggest corporations get away with manipulating the tax code so they pay lower rates than you do?” Mrs. Clinton asked to boos from the crowd.

With Mr. Sanders not yet ready to campaign for his primary opponent (while acknowledging he would vote for her to defeat Mr. Trump), Mrs. Clinton’s rally with Ms. Warren could help her continue to win over the liberal voters who had flocked to Mr. Sanders’s message.

Some 45 percent of Mr. Sanders’s supporters now have a positive view of Mrs. Clinton, according to an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll.

Both Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Warren seemed to relish criticizing Mr. Trump’s response to Britain’s momentous decision on Thursday to leave the European Union, which has jolted global financial markets and caused the British pound to tumble to its lowest level since 1985.

On a trip to visit his Turnberry golf course in Scotland last week, Mr. Trump declared Thursday’s vote “a great thing” and drew parallels between the rise of populist anger in Britain and voters’ sentiments in the United States. “Basically, they took their country back,” Mr. Trump said, adding that a cheaper British pound would help his golf course business.

“Donald Trump cheered on Britain’s current crisis, which has sucked millions of dollars out of your retirement accounts, because, he said, it might bring more rich people to his new golf course,” Ms. Warren said.

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Brexit vote, UK political confusion rattles world markets for second day – Reuters

Britain’s vote last Thursday to leave the European Union continued to reverberate through financial markets on Monday, with the pound falling to its lowest level in 31 years, despite government attempts to relieve some of the confusion about the political and economic outlook.

UK finance minister George Osborne said early Monday that the British economy was strong enough to cope with the market volatility caused by last week’s “Brexit” referendum which has resulted in the biggest blow since World War Two to the European goal of forging greater unity.

“Our economy is about as strong as it could be to confront the challenge our country now faces,” Osborne told reporters.

“It is inevitable after Thursday’s vote that Britain’s economy is going to have to adjust to the new situation we find ourselves in,” he added.

Boris Johnson, a leading proponent of Brexit and the frontrunner to replace David Cameron as prime minister, praised Osborne for saying “some reassuring things to the markets”.

The former London mayor said it was now clear that “people’s pensions are safe, the pound is stable, markets are stable. I think that is all very good news.”

But neither Osborne’s nor Johnson’s words failed to stop the slide in stocks on world markets which began last Friday when Britons confounded investors’ expectations by voting to end 43 years of EU membership.

European bank shares had their worst two-day fall on record and world stocks as measured by MSCI index .MIWD00000PUS saw their worst two-day fall since the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers during the 2008 financial crisis. On Friday alone about $2.8 trillion was wiped off the value of world stocks, the biggest daily loss ever.

Sterling fell to a low around $1.3120 on Monday, its lowest level since mid-1985. The euro also remained weak, after falling to a three month low around $1.0910 on Friday.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s stripped Britain of its last remaining top-notch credit rating on Monday, warning that more downgrades could follow.

“In our opinion, this (referendum) outcome is a seminal event, and will lead to a less predictable, stable, and effective policy framework in the UK,” S&P said in a statement.

The yield on British 10-year government bonds fell below 1.0 percent for the first time as investors bet the Brexit vote would trigger a Bank of England interest rate cut aimed at steadying the economy.

Many economists have cut economic growth forecasts for Britain, with Goldman Sachs expecting a mild recession within a year and the uncertainty affecting economies far beyond Britain.

“Against the backdrop of globalization, it’s impossible for each country to talk about its own development discarding the world economic environment,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told the World Economic Forum in the city of Tianjin.

U.S. stocks ended lower for a second day also, following European markets, pulled down by banking stocks amid uncertainty over London’s future as the region’s financial capital. Safe-haven bond and gold prices rose.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Monday said he sees no signs of a financial crisis arising from Britain’s decision last week, although he admitted that the result does present additional “headwinds” for the U.S. economy.

Visiting Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it was important that “nobody loses their head” as the EU and Britain deal with the fallout from the referendum.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi expressed “sadness” on Monday at Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

Draghi, who was opening the ECB’s annual forum on central banking in Sintra, Portugal, will fly to Brussels on Tuesday, where he is expected to brief European leaders about the impact of the UK vote on the euro zone at a two-day European Council meeting. A panel discussion with the heads of the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve, scheduled for Wednesday in Sintra, has since been canceled.

POLITICAL CONFUSION IN BRITAIN

With the ruling U.K. Conservative party looking for a new leader after Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation on Friday and lawmakers from the opposition Labour party stepping up a rebellion against their leader, Britain sank deeper into political chaos.

“There’s no political leadership in the UK right when markets need the reassurance of direction,” said Luke Hickmore of Aberdeen Asset Management, expressing the view of many in the City of London financial center.

British broadcaster Sky News said work and pensions minister Stephen Crabb was also considering a bid for the Conservative party leadership, with business secretary Sajid Javid seeking to become finance minister. Both were in favor of staying in the EU. The editor of the Spectator magazine tweeted that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was also “highly likely” to launch a bid.

Cameron says he will stay on until October as a caretaker and that his successor should trigger the formal process of leaving the EU. His Conservative Party in parliament recommended choosing a successor by early September.

The prime minister sought to calm fears over the fallout of the referendum and said parliament should not try to block Britain’s departure. A majority of parliamentarians, like him, had argued that Britain should stay in the EU.

“I am clear, and the cabinet agreed this morning, that the decision must be accepted,” Cameron told parliament, which also faces a public petition for a new referendum.

While the question of whether to leave the EU has split the ruling Conservative party, divisions within the opposition are also deep. A wave of Labour lawmakers resigned from leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team on Monday, adding to the 11 senior figures who quit on Sunday, saying his campaign to keep Britain in the EU was half-hearted.

Corbyn, a left-winger who has strong support among ordinary party members, has said he is not stepping down.

Discontent with the political establishment in general and the Conservatives in particular was a factor behind the vote to leave, although many Brexit backers focused on immigration, complaining too many migrants had arrived from eastern Europe.

EUROPE WANTS QUICKER RESOLUTION

Cameron’s refusal to start formal moves to pull the country out of the EU has prompted many European leaders to demand quicker action by Britain, the EU’s second largest economy after Germany, to leave the 28-country bloc.

“It should be implemented quickly. We cannot remain in an uncertain and indefinite situation,” French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on France 2 television.

Guenther Oettinger, German member of the EU’s executive European Commission, said delay would hurt Europe as well as Britain. “Every day of uncertainty prevents investors from putting their funds into Britain, and also other European markets,” he told Deutschlandfunk radio.

Cameron heads to Brussels on Tuesday for a grim EU summit to brief the other 27 leaders over dinner on his failure to win a referendum that he promised them he could win after they cut him a deal to curb immigration.

Cameron will leave Brussels after dinner, while the other 27 will meet for the first time without him on Wednesday morning to plan their next moves. They are likely to stress a willingness to negotiate, but only after London binds itself to a tight two-year exit timetable.

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy met in Berlin on Monday and said Europe needed to respond to its people’s concerns by setting clear goals to improve security, the economy and prospects for young people.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has appeared to take a softer line on Britain’s decision than some European leaders, said she had “neither a brake nor an accelerator” to control events, adding: “We just don’t want an impasse.”

The political, economic and regulatory uncertainty is being felt across the globe at a time when economies are still slowly recovering from the 2008 economic crisis, interest rates are close to zero, and central banks have fewer tools than normal to revive demand if countries enter recession.

(Additional reporting by David Lawder, William James, Jamie McGeever, Nigel Stephenson, Kevin Yao, Costas Pitas, Bate Felix, Andrea Shalal, Michael Holden, Guy Faulconbridge, David Milliken, Patrick Graham, Michelle Martin, Elizabeth Piper, Paul Carrel, Conor Humphries, Minami Funakoshi and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Writing by David Stamp and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Peter Graff, Andrew Roche, Kevin Liffey and Clive McKeef)

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Brexit vote sends new shocks through markets; political chaos deepens – Reuters

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union sent new shockwaves through financial markets on Monday, with the pound falling despite government attempts to ease the political and economic turmoil that has been unleashed.

Finance minister George Osborne said the British economy was strong enough to cope with the volatility caused by Thursday’s referendum, the biggest blow since World War Two to the European goal of forging greater unity.

His words failed to stop sterling sinking to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar for 31 years, continuing the slide that began last week when Britons confounded investors’ expectations by voting to end 43 years of EU membership.

European bank shares had their worst two-day fall on record and world stocks as measured by MSCI .MIWD00000PUS were on track for their worst two-day fall since the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in late 2008.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s stripped Britain of its last remaining top-notch credit rating on Monday, warning that more downgrades could follow. With the ruling Conservatives looking for a new leader after Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation on Friday and lawmakers from the opposition Labour party stepping up a rebellion against their leader, Britain sank deeper into political and economic chaos.

“There’s no political leadership in the UK right when markets need the reassurance of direction,” said Luke Hickmore of Aberdeen Asset Management, expressing the view of many in the City of London financial center.

Cameron says he will stay on until October as a caretaker and that his successor should trigger the formal process of leaving the EU. His Conservative Party in parliament recommended choosing a successor by early September.

“DECISION MUST BE ACCEPTED”

The prime minister sought to calm fears over the fallout of the referendum and said parliament should not try to block Britain’s departure. A majority of parliamentarians, like him, had argued that Britain should stay in the EU.

“I am clear, and the cabinet agreed this morning, that the decision must be accepted,” Cameron told parliament, which also faces a public petition for a new referendum.

But his refusal to start formal moves to pull the country out of the EU has prompted many European leaders to demand quicker action by Britain, the EU’s second largest economy after Germany, to leave the 28-country bloc.

“It should be implemented quickly. We cannot remain in an uncertain and indefinite situation,” French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on France 2 television.

Guenther Oettinger, German member of the EU’s executive European Commission, said delay would hurt Europe as well as Britain. “Every day of uncertainty prevents investors from putting their funds into Britain, and also other European markets,” he told Deutschlandfunk radio.

Cameron heads to Brussels on Tuesday for a grim EU summit to brief the other 27 leaders over dinner on his failure to win a referendum that he promised them he could win after they cut him a deal to curb immigration.

Diplomats say the 27 are resigned to waiting perhaps three months to start the exit process.

They rule out negotiations, even informal exploratory talks, on what kind of future relationship the bloc will have a country that is now its second biggest economy and one of its main global and military powers. But diplomats expect Cameron to set some kind of tone for what he thinks his successor may seek, and British officials will be probing for a sense of what others may offer.

Cameron will leave Brussels after dinner, while the other 27 will meet for the first time without him on Wednesday morning to plan their next moves. They are likely to stress a willingness to negotiate, but only after London binds itself to a tight two-year exit timetable.

MERKEL HAS “NO BRAKE, NO ACCELERATOR”

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy met in Berlin on Monday and said Europe needed to respond to its people’s concerns by setting clear goals to improve security, the economy and prospects for young people.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has appeared to take a softer line on Britain’s decision than some European leaders, said she had “neither a brake nor an accelerator” to control events, adding: “We just don’t want an impasse.”

Volker Kauder, who leads Merkel’s conservatives in parliament, told ARD television: “There will be no special treatment, there will be no gifts.”

The shockwaves are being felt across the globe at a time when economies are still fragile from the 2008 economic crisis, interest rates are close to zero and central banks have fewer tools than normal to revive demand if countries enter recession.

Financial markets misjudged the referendum, betting on the status quo despite abundant signs that the vote would be close.

When reality dawned, the reaction was brutal. Sterling fell as much as 11 percent against the dollar on Friday for its worst day in modern history, while $2.8 trillion was wiped off the value of world stocks – the biggest daily loss ever.

Sterling hit $1.3122 on Monday, its lowest level since mid-1985. The euro also remained weak, hitting a session low of $1.0971.

U.S. stocks were sharply lower, following European markets, pulled down by banking stocks amid uncertainty over London’s future as the region’s financial capital. Safe-haven bond and gold prices rose.

“Our economy is about as strong as it could be to confront the challenge our country now faces,” Osborne told reporters earlier.

“It is inevitable after Thursday’s vote that Britain’s economy is going to have to adjust to the new situation we find ourselves in.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew also tried to restore calm, telling CNBC television it had been “an orderly impact so far” though he later added: “We have resilience built into our economy, but we’re not cut off from the world.”

Visiting Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it was important that “nobody loses their head” as the EU and Britain deal with the fallout from the referendum.

Later, in London, he urged both sides to be driven by common sense rather than a desire to get even, saying the impact on the U.S. economy would depend on how the negotiations go.

“PENSIONS ARE SAFE”

The vote to leave the EU has increased the likelihood of Scotland holding a second referendum on independence, after voters there strongly backed remaining in the EU.

Boris Johnson, a leading proponent of Brexit and the frontrunner to replace Cameron, praised Osborne for saying “some reassuring things to the markets”.

The former London mayor said it was now clear that “people’s pensions are safe, the pound is stable, markets are stable. I think that is all very good news.”

Sky News said work and pensions minister Stephen Crabb was also considering a bid for the leadership, with business secretary Sajid Javid seeking to become finance minister. Both were in favor of staying in the EU.

The editor of the Spectator magazine tweeted that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was also “highly likely” to launch a bid.

The yield on British 10-year government bonds fell below 1 percent for the first time as investors bet the Brexit vote would trigger a Bank of England interest rate cut aimed at steadying the economy.

Many economists have cut economic growth forecasts for Britain, with Goldman Sachs expecting a mild recession within a year. The risks affect economies far beyond Britain.

“Against the backdrop of globalization, it’s impossible for each country to talk about its own development discarding the world economic environment,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told the World Economic Forum in the city of Tianjin.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed his finance minister to watch currency markets “ever more closely” and take steps if necessary.

DIVIDED PARTIES

Johnson tried to calm fears over Britain’s future trade ties with the EU by writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that there would be continued free trade and access to the single market, although EU leaders say that is not a given.

He also suggested Britain would not have to accept free movement of workers, aware that many voters chose “leave” due to concerns over immigration. However, single market rules say countries must accept free movement of people as well as goods.

While the question of whether to leave the EU has split the ruling Conservative party, divisions within the opposition are also deep. A wave of Labour lawmakers resigned from leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team on Monday, adding to the 11 senior figures who quit on Sunday, saying his campaign to keep Britain in the EU was half-hearted.

Corbyn, a left-winger who has strong support among ordinary party members, has said he is not stepping down.

Discontent with the political establishment in general and the Conservatives in particular was a factor behind the vote to leave, although many Brexit backers focused on immigration, complaining too many migrants had arrived from eastern Europe.

Police said offensive leaflets targeting Poles had been distributed in Huntingdon, central England, and graffiti had been daubed on a Polish cultural center in central London on Sunday, three days after the vote.

The Polish embassy in London said it was shocked by the “xenophobic abuse” aimed at the Polish community and others.

“Let’s remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country. And we will not stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks,” Cameron told parliament. “They must be stamped out.”

(Additional reporting by David Lawder, William James, Jamie McGeever, Nigel Stephenson, Kevin Yao, Costas Pitas, Bate Felix, Andrea Shalal, Michael Holden, Guy Faulconbridge, David Milliken, Patrick Graham, Michelle Martin, Elizabeth Piper, Paul Carrel, Conor Humphries, Minami Funakoshi and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Writing by David Stamp and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Peter Graff, Andrew Roche and Kevin Liffey)

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