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‘America’s got to up its game in the Arctic’: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis

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The United States needs to “up its game” in the Arctic and deal with an increasingly important and developing part of the world, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday, as a warming Arctic opens up new sea lanes and oil and minerals reserves.

“Certainly America’s got to up its game in the Arctic. There’s no doubt about that,” Mattis told reporters in Alaska before leaving on an Asia trip.

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Mattis said part of that would be an increased coast guard presence.

Warming in the Arctic has raised the prospect of a new rush for resources. The Arctic is estimated to hold more hydrocarbon reserves than Saudi Arabia and Russia.

“So the reality is that we’re going to have to deal with the developing Arctic … It is also going to open not just to transport but also to energy exploration,” Mattis said.

The United States and Russia have both expressed interest in boosting Arctic drilling, and Russia has bolstered its military presence in the north.

Russia, which is in the midst of a major rearmament program, has embarked upon its biggest military push in the Arctic since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, beefing up its military presence and capabilities.

Under President Vladimir Putin, Moscow is rushing to re-open abandoned Soviet military, air and radar bases on remote Arctic islands and build new ones as it pushes ahead with a claim to almost half a million square miles of the Arctic.

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Also, earlier this year China outlined ambitions to extend President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative to the Arctic by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming.

China’s increasing prominence in the region has prompted concerns from Arctic states over its long-term strategic objectives, including possible military deployment.

Republican Senator Dan Sullivan from Alaska, standing alongside Mattis, said there was bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress to see the Arctic in more strategic terms.

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“I agree with the secretary, I think we’re behind, but I think we’re finally starting to catch up,” Sullivan said.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Writing by Idrees Ali; Editing by James Dalgleish

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Dershowitz is running a ‘bizarro defense’ of Trump: Harvard Law colleague says ‘Alan is just completely wacko’

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Two of the most famous names associated with Harvard Law School had competing appearances on MSNBC on Friday.

It began when Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus, was interviewed MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber about his new role officially representing President Donald Trump during the Senate impeachment trial.

Dershowitz claimed that neither abuse of power nor obstruction of Congress count as "high crimes" under the constitution.

Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has also been associated with Harvard Law for five decades, was asked about Dershowitz's argument during an interview with Chris Hayes.

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Why was Lev Parnas wearing a ‘Presidential Service Badge’ awarded to troops who serve in the White House?

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Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman posted a fascinating update about a photo of impeachment figure Lev Parnas.

The photo shows Igor Fruman -- who, like Parnas, is under federal indictment -- sitting closely next to Rudy Giuliani and Parnas.

Haber said a source informed her that in the picture, Parnas can be seen wearing a "Presidential Service Badge," linking to the Wikipedia entry on the pin.

"The Presidential Service Badge (PSB) is an identification badge of the United States Armed Forces which is awarded to members of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard as well as other members of the Uniformed Services, such as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, who serve as full-time military staff to the President of the United States," Wikipedia explained.

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Trump’s big-money Florida fundraiser expected to bring in $10 million — from only 100 people

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President Donald Trump flew to Mar-a-Lago on Friday after receiving a formal summons from the U.S. Senate informing him of his impeachment trial.

The president will be attending a Friday evening campaign fundraiser.

The recipient of the money is Trump Victory, which is a joint fundraising committee set up by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee.

“Tonight’s Trump Victory fundraiser is expected to raise $10 million with approximately 100 people in attendance," the campaign told the White House pool reporter.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1218264289225728000

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