AP Exclusive: Aid from top donors drops even as need soars

AP Exclusive: Aid from top donors drops even as need soars

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FILE – In this March 30, 2020, file photo, Venezuelan workers wearing protective face masks and suits as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus unload boxes of humanitarian aid as medical supplies and specialists from China arrive … more >

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By CARA ANNA

Associated Press

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

JOHANNESBURG (AP) – A new snapshot of the frantic global response to the coronavirus pandemic shows some of the world’s largest government donors of humanitarian aid are buckling under the strain: Funding commitments, for the virus and otherwise, have dropped by a third from the same period last year.

The analysis by the U.K.-based Development Initiatives, obtained in advance by The Associated Press, offers a rare real-time look at the notoriously difficult to track world of aid.

At a time when billions of people are struggling with the pandemic and the ensuing economic collapse – on top of long-running disasters like famine, drought or unrest – more, not less, money is urgently needed. New virus protection equipment must be bought for almost everything, from maternity wards in African villages to women’s shelters in Syrian refugee camps.

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“We have not seen substantial funding for COVID, yet the situation is going to get worse,” Rosalind Crowther, South Sudan country director for the aid group CARE, told the AP in May, saying “some donors have backtracked on earlier commitments.” The group runs two dozen health centers, more than 40 feeding centers and a safe house in one of the world’s most fragile countries following civil war.

In Somalia, a mother of twin baby boys told Amnesty International she had to give birth in her makeshift home in a camp for displaced people because no local health clinic was open. Aid workers told Amnesty researcher Abdullahi Hassan the newly reduced services were due to lack of funding.

“You can imagine how risky this is,” he told the AP.

During the first five months of this year, overall aid commitments from the largest government donors were $16.9 billion, down from $23.9 billion in the same period last year, according to the new analysis, which drew on data from the United States, the United Kingdom, European Union institutions, Germany, France, Canada and others.

Many of these donors – notably the U.K., whose aid commitments have dropped by nearly 50% from last year, according to the analysis – are struggling as their economies contract. The sheer magnitude of the crisis is another challenge as every part of the world needs help – and now.

The U.K. on Wednesday signaled more trouble, announcing it had identified $3.6 billion in cuts to planned overseas aid spending “so that we can react to the potential shrinkage in our economy.”

The reality on the ground could be even worse than the new analysis indicates: Crucially, it only shows promises of aid. Just how much of the billions of dollars pledged have reached those in need is not yet clear.

In some cases, the response to the pandemic has been alarmingly slow. In June, more than two dozen international aid groups wrote to the U.S. about its pledged coronavirus aid, saying that “little to no U.S. humanitarian assistance has reached those on the front lines” and calling the uncharacteristic delays “devastating.”

Their letter came as the U.S. promoted global leadership on the COVID-19 response with more than $1 billion committed. Aid groups are now waiting to see whether the U.S. will deliver millions of dollars this month as indicated.

This new analysis, like any measure of aid, is imperfect – it looks at data published to the International Aid Transparency Initiative, which is voluntary but widely used. It is also more current than other measures: The data was downloaded on July 10.

The drop in funding is keenly felt by aid groups on the ground.

A survey in May of 92 members of Bond, the U.K. network for nongovernmental organizations working in international development, found just 16% had received any new funding from the U.K.’s Department for International Development while fighting the pandemic in developing countries, and 41% were responding without any extra funding at all.

Some aid groups are warning the window to prevent the pandemic’s worst effects is narrowing while the global humanitarian response “remains woefully underfunded,” as Refugees International said last week.

Meanwhile, “we are concerned that we are seeing a repurposing of existing funds … rather than a release of new funding,” Selena Victor, Mercy Corps’ senior director for policy and advocacy, has said of the EU’s response.

An U.N.-run emergency delivery service that has kept tons of humanitarian aid flowing to scores of countries hurt by travel restrictions could shut down in the coming weeks because “there has been no significant funding” from donor countries, the World Food Program said. Just 19% of the $965 million request has come in.

While individual governments struggle, the largest so-called multilateral organizations including the World Bank and the Global Fund have stepped up, perhaps not yet affected by budget constraints.

Their commitments this year are $48.8 billion, or 70% greater than the same period last year, according to the analysis. That’s a positive sign but “must be sustainable to tackle the whole crisis,” according to the analysis.

The challenges remain vast as various streams of assistance, including remittances, falter. “All resources … are set to fall,” according to a separate new Development Initiatives report.

That drop could continue for months. Official development assistance – government aid for developing countries’ economic development and welfare – could shrink by almost $20 billion worldwide between last year and 2021 under a worst-case scenario that envisages an extended pandemic. The cuts could continue “as government assess domestic priorities,” that report says.

COVID-19 arrived in a world already facing a growing number of humanitarian crises, from Yemen to Myanmar to West Africa’s Sahel. Now the pandemic “threatens to create a funding vacuum,” the report says.

As of the end of June, it says, U.N.-coordinated calls for aid for this year were up 25% from last year because of additional needs created by the pandemic, reaching more than $37 billion.

Last week, the United Nations again increased its request for the pandemic response alone to $10.3 billion – the largest appeal in its history.

Only $1.7 billion has been received. Up to $40 billion might be needed.

“The response of wealthy nations so far has been grossly inadequate and dangerously short-sighted,” U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said. “Failure to act now will leave the virus free to circle ‘round the globe.”

___

Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

EU leaders extend summit as they haggle over budget, virus

EU leaders extend summit as they haggle over budget, virus

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Saturday, July 18, 2020. Leaders from 27 European Union nations meet face-to-face for a second day of an EU summit to assess an overall … more >

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By RAF CASERT and MIKE CORDER

Associated Press

Saturday, July 18, 2020

BRUSSELS (AP) – European Union leaders on Saturday extended their summit by an extra day in the hope they were finally closing in on a deal for an unprecedented 1.85 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion) EU budget and coronavirus recovery fund.

A deal was still far off, but several key nations said negotiations were at least heading in the right direction despite anxieties that were running high after months of battling the pandemic.

Heading into a balmy summer night, those tensions were showing when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron got up and walked out of a meeting with the so-called Frugal Four group of wealthy northern nations that want to limit grants and impose strict conditions on mostly southern nations that have suffered most from the pandemic.

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“A few people ran off,” acknowledged Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who is considered the leader of the Frugals. When asked if it was Merkel and Macron, he said: “Yes, precisely. So we didn’t get a breakthrough tonight.”

The Franco-German alliance is seen as key to any major deal within the 27-nation EU.

When asked what he thought, Rutte said: “They run off in a bad mood. We will continue tomorrow.”

It was typical of two full days and almost two full nights of discussions by EU leaders, oscillating between raw irritation over how the huge sums should be spent and what strings should be attached and a glimmer of hope that somehow a deal could materialize – if not this weekend, then at least within a few weeks.

“Things are moving in the right direction,” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. “It it is of course, as you would expect, a tough struggle, a tough negotiation, but we’re moving in the right direction, and that is the most important thing.”

Rutte showed some hope, too. “The fact that we continue talking shows we all have optimism. But if we will succeed, we have to wait and see.”

The leaders are dealing with their toughest crisis in years, one that has burdened the bloc with its worst recession ever. The pandemic has sent the EU into a tailspin and around 135,000 of its citizens have died from COVID-19.

The EU executive has proposed a 750 billion-euro fund, partly based on common borrowing, to be sent as loans and grants to the most needy countries. That comes on top of the seven-year 1 trillion-euro EU budget that leaders were fighting over even before the virus slammed their continent.

Despite the urgency and seriousness of the crisis, there were deep rifts between some richer nations in the north, led by the Netherlands, which want strict controls on spending, and struggling southern nations like Spain and Italy, which have been especially hit hard by the pandemic and are looking for as much help as they can get.

Michel’s latest proposals reduced the proportion of grants in the rescue package and raise the proportion of loans that would have to be paid back, in an apparent enticement for the Frugals.

But the issue of how to track the rescue money remained the key sticking point, Rutte said. Michel proposed a measure that would stop short of allowing any country a veto on how governments spend the money and Rutte said that was still up for discussions Sunday.

Kurz said major issues still under discussion include linking rule of law guarantees in EU nations to the allocation of funds to member states. Hungary has threatened to veto any such move.

____

Associated Press writer Raf Casert reported this story in Brussels and AP writer Michael Corder reported from The Hague, Netherlands. AP writer Angelas Charlton in Paris and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.

___

Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

White House aware of Russian bounties in 2019: AP sources

White House aware of Russian bounties in 2019: AP sources

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In this Nov. 30, 2017, file photo, American soldiers wait on the tarmac in Logar province, Afghanistan. Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban … more >

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By James LaPorta

Associated Press

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.

The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-National Security Adviser John Bolton also told colleagues at the time that he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.

The White House didn’t respond to questions about Trump or other officials’ awareness of Russia’s provocations in 2019. The White House has said Trump wasn’t — and still hasn’t been — briefed on the intelligence assessments because they haven’t been fully verified. However, it’s rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of a doubt before it is presented to top officials.

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Bolton declined to comment Monday when asked by the AP if he’d briefed Trump about the matter in 2019. On Sunday, he suggested to NBC that Trump was claiming ignorance of Russia’s provocations to justify his administration’s lack of response.

“He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it,” Bolton said.

The revelations cast new doubt on the White House’s efforts to distance Trump from the Russian intelligence assessments. The AP reported Sunday that concerns about Russian bounties also were in a second written presidential daily briefing this year and that current national security adviser Robert O’Brien had discussed the matter with Trump. O’Brien denies doing that.

On Monday, O’Brien said that while the intelligence assessments regarding Russian bounties “have not been verified,” the administration has “been preparing should the situation warrant action.”

The administration’s earlier awareness of the Russian efforts raises additional questions about why Trump didn’t take punitive action against Moscow for efforts that put the lives of American service members at risk. Trump has sought throughout his time in office to improve relations with Russia and President Vladimir Putin, moving this year to try to reinstate Russia as part of a group of world leaders it had been kicked out of.

Officials said they didn’t consider the intelligence assessments in 2019 to be particularly urgent, given Russian meddling in Afghanistan isn’t a new occurrence. The officials with knowledge of Bolton’s apparent briefing for Trump said it contained no “actionable intelligence,” meaning the intelligence community didn’t have enough information to form a strategic plan or response. However, the classified assessment of Russian bounties was the sole purpose of the meeting.

The officials insisted on anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the highly sensitive information.

The intelligence that surfaced in early 2019 indicated Russian operatives had become more aggressive in their desire to contract with the Taliban and members of the Haqqani Network, a militant group aligned with the Taliban in Afghanistan and designated a foreign terrorist organization in 2012 during the Obama administration.

The National Security Council and the undersecretary of defense for intelligence held meetings regarding the intelligence. The NSC didn’t respond to questions about the meetings.

Late Monday, the Pentagon issued a statement saying it was evaluating the intelligence but so far had “no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations.”

“Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan — and around the world — most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

Concerns about Russian bounties flared anew this year after members of the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group, known to the public as SEAL Team Six, raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $500,000 in U.S. currency. The funds bolstered the suspicions of the American intelligence community that Russians had offered money to Taliban militants and linked associations.

The White House contends the president was unaware of this development, too.
The officials told the AP that career government officials developed potential options for the White House to respond to the Russian aggression in Afghanistan, which was first reported by The New York Times. However, the Trump administration has yet to authorize any action.

The intelligence in 2019 and 2020 surrounding Russian bounties was derived in part from debriefings of captured Taliban militants. Officials with knowledge of the matter told the AP that Taliban operatives from opposite ends of the country and from separate tribes offered similar accounts.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied Russian intelligence officers had offered payments to the Taliban in exchange for targeting U.S. and coalition forces.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the Taliban’s chief negotiator, a spokesman for the insurgents said Tuesday, but it was unknown whether there was any mention during their conversation of allegations about Russian bounties. Pompeo pressed the insurgents to reduce violence in Afghanistan and discussed ways of advancing a U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed in February, the Taliban spokesman tweeted.

The U.S. is investigating whether Americans died because of the Russian bounties. Officials are focused on an April 2019 attack on an American convoy. Three U.S. Marines were killed after a car rigged with explosives detonated near their armored vehicles as they returned to Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan.

The Defense Department identified them as Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, of Newark, Delaware; Sgt. Benjamin Hines, 31, of York, Pennsylvania; and Cpl. Robert Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, New York. They were infantrymen assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, a reserve infantry unit headquartered out of Garden City, New York.

Hendriks’ father told the AP that even a rumor of Russian bounties should have been immediately addressed.

“If this was kind of swept under the carpet as to not make it a bigger issue with Russia, and one ounce of blood was spilled when they knew this, I lost all respect for this administration and everything,” Erik Hendriks said.

Three other service members and an Afghan contractor were wounded in the attack. As of April 2019, the attack was under a separate investigation, unrelated to the Russian bounties.

The officials who spoke to the AP also said they were looking closely at insider attacks from 2019 to determine if they were linked to Russian bounties.

___

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Deb Riechmann in Washington, Deepti Hajela in New York and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

Yemen asks for help as seawater seeps into abandoned tanker

Yemen asks for help as seawater seeps into abandoned tanker

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This satellite image provided by Manar Technologies taken June 17, 2020, shows the FSO Safer tanker moored off Ras Issa port, in Yemen. Houthi rebels are blocking the United Nations from inspecting the abandoned oil tanker loaded with more than … more >

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By MAGGIE MICHAEL

Associated Press

Friday, June 26, 2020

CAIRO (AP) – The United Nations said an abandoned oil tanker moored off the coast of Yemen loaded with more than 1 million barrels of crude oil is at risk of rupture or exploding, causing massive environmental damage to Red Sea marine life, desalination factories and international shipping routes.

Internal documents obtained by The Associated Press show that seawater has entered the engine compartment of the tanker, which hasn’t been maintained for over five years, causing damage to the pipelines and increasing the risk of sinking. Rust has covered parts of the tanker and the inert gas that prevents the tanks from gathering inflammable gases, has leaked out. Experts say repairs are no longer possible because the damage to the ship is irreversible.

For years, the U.N. has been trying to send inspectors to assess the damage aboard the vessel known as the FSO Safer and look for ways to secure the tanker by unloading the oil and pulling the ship to safety.

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But a European diplomat, a Yemeni government official and the tanker’s company owner said that Houthi rebels have resisted. The diplomat said the rebels are treating the vessel as a “deterrent like having a nuclear weapon.” All three individuals spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the subject with a reporter.

“They do say that openly to the U.N., ‘We like to have this as something to hold against the international community if attacked,’” the diplomat said. “Houthis are definitely responsible for failure of the U.N. to look at the ship.”

Money is also an issue, the diplomat said, adding that the Houthis initially were demanding millions of dollars in return for the oil stored in the tanker. The U.N. is trying to reach an arrangement where money could be used to pay workers and employees at the Red Sea ports where the ship is moored, the diplomat added.

Some experts, however, criticize both the Houthis and the U.N. for failing to fully understand the magnitude of the crisis with the abandoned ship.

Ian Ralby, founder of I.R. Consilium, who specializes in maritime and resource security, told the AP that the U.N.’s efforts to send a team to assess the ship are “futile.” What the vessel needs is a salvage team, he said

“It’s a real shame that they wasted so much money and time in this futile operation,” said Ralby. “If you are taking these years to get a simple team to assess, we will not have a second chance to salvage,” he added.

Ralby, who has written extensively about the tanker, told the AP that amid declining oil prices the cost spent on cleaning up the environmental damage from an explosion or leakage will be much more than the millions worth of oil on the ship.

But the Houthis have refused to back down from their demands.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the rebel leader, blamed the U.S. and Saudis for not letting the rebels sell the oil, saying in a June 18 Twitter post that any “disastrous consequences … God forbid,” that could result from the collapse of the vessel, will be the responsibility of these two countries.

Houthi rebels are in control of the western Red Sea ports, including Ras Issa, 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from where the FSO Safer tanker has been moored since 1980s. They are at war with the internationally recognized government in exile, which is backed by a Saudi-led coalition and the United States.

The floating tanker is a Japanese-made vessel built in the 1970s and sold to the Yemeni government in 1980s to store for export up to 3 million barrels pumped from oil fields in Marib, a province in eastern Yemen. The ship is 360 meters (1,181 feet) long, with 34 storage tanks.

A senior official at the state-owned company in charge of the tanker, said because of a shrinking operational budget, which used to be around 20 million dollars a year before the war, the company could no longer afford to purchase a special fuel needed to run the boilers on the ship. The boilers are needed to power generators that, among other things, keep an inert gas that prevents explosions flowing. The tanker needs 11,000 tons of the fuel, which cost about 8 million dollars each year.

“After the stoppage of the boilers the strong majority of the equipment and the machines of the tanker stopped because they all depend on steam power,” the company official said. That includes the machines that power the ventilation system which reduces humidity and prevents corrosion, he said.

Since 2015, annual maintenance on the ship has come to a complete halt and most crew members, except for 10 people, were pulled off the vessel after the Saudi-led coalition imposed a land, sea, and air embargo before waging an extensive air campaign to dislodge the Houthi rebels from areas they seized including the capital Sanaa.

The U.N. has repeatedly warned that delays in taking action to fix the FSO Safer could lead to a man-made environmental disaster in the Red Sea four times greater than the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The senior official at the state-owned company in charge of the tanker said that a similar oil spill off the coast of Yemen could accelerate the country’s worsening humanitarian disaster.

“The disaster could happen at any second,” he said, “Rescue Yemen from a terrible, imminent disaster that will add to Yemen’s burdens for tens of years and deprive thousands from their source of living and kill marine life in the Red Sea.”

Seawater seeping into decaying oil tanker off Yemen coast

Seawater seeping into decaying oil tanker off Yemen coast

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This satellite image provided by Manar Technologies taken June 17, 2020, shows the FSO Safer tanker moored off Ras Issa port, in Yemen. Houthi rebels are blocking the United Nations from inspecting the abandoned oil tanker loaded with more than … more >

Print

By Maggie Michael

Associated Press

Friday, June 26, 2020

CAIRO (AP) — The United Nations said an abandoned oil tanker moored off the coast of Yemen loaded with more than 1 million barrels of crude oil is at risk of rupture or exploding, causing massive environmental damage to Red Sea marine life, desalination factories and international shipping routes.

Meanwhile, Houthi rebels who control the area where the ship is moored have denied U.N. inspectors access to the vessel. Internal documents obtained by The Associated Press shows that seawater has entered the engine compartment of the tanker, which hasn’t been maintained for over five years, causing damage to the pipelines and increasing the risk of sinking.

Rust has covered parts of the tanker and the inert gas that prevents the tanks from gathering inflammable gases, has leaked out. Experts say maintenance is no longer possible because the damage to the ship is irreversible.

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For years, the U.N. has been trying to send inspectors to assess the damage aboard the vessel known as the FSO Safer and look for ways to secure the tanker by unloading the oil and pulling the ship to safety.

But one European diplomat, a Yemeni government official and the tanker’s company owner said that Houthi rebels have resisted. The diplomat said the rebels are treating the vessel as a “deterrent like having a nuclear weapon.” All three individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

“They do say that openly to the U.N., ‘We like to have this as something to hold against the international community if attacked,’” the diplomat said. “Houthis are definitely responsible for failure of the U.N. to look at the ship.”

Money is also an issue, the diplomat said, adding that the Houthis initially were demanding millions of dollars in return for the oil stored in the tanker. The U.N. is trying to reach an arrangement where money could be used to pay workers and employees at Yemen’s Red Sea ports, the diplomat added.

Some experts, however, criticize both the Houthis and the U.N. for failing to fully understand the magnitude of the crisis with the abandoned ship.

Ian Ralby, founder of I.R. Consilium, who specializes in maritime and resource security, told the AP that U.N.’s efforts to send a team to assess the ship is “futile.” What the vessel needs is a salvage team, he said.

“It’s real shame that they wasted so much money and time in this futile operation,” said Ralby. “If you are taking these years to get a simple team to assess, we will not have a second chance to salvage,” he added.

Ralby, who has written extensively about the tanker, told the AP that amid declining oil prices the cost spent on cleaning up the environmental damage from an explosion or leakage will be much more than the millions worth of oil on the ship.

But the Houthis have refused to back down from their demands.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the rebel group’s leader, blamed the U.S. and Saudis for not letting the rebels sell the oil, saying in a June 18 Twitter post that any “disastrous consequences … God forbid,” that could result from the collapse of the vessel will be the responsibility of these two countries.

The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are in control of the western Red Sea ports, including Ras Issa, 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from where the FSO Safer tanker has been moored since the 1980s. They are at war with the internationally recognized government, which is backed by a Saudi-led coalition and the United States. President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi is in exile in Saudi Arabia and his government in disarray.

The floating tanker is a Japanese-made vessel built in the 1970s and sold to the Yemeni government in 1980s to store for export up to 3 million barrels pumped from oil fields in Marib, a province in eastern Yemen. The ship is 36 meters (118 feet) long with 34 storage tanks.

A senior official at the state-owned oil company in charge of the tanker, said because of a shrinking operational budget, which used to be around 20 million dollars a year before the war, the company could no longer afford to purchase fuel needed to run the boilers on the ship. The boilers are needed to power generators that, among other things, keep an inert gas that prevents explosions flowing. The tanker needs 11,000 tons of the fuel, which cost about 8 million dollars each year.

“After the stoppage of the boilers the strong majority of the equipment and the machines of the tanker stopped because they all depend on steam power,” the company official said. That includes the machines that power the ventilation system, which reduces humidity and prevents corrosion, he said.

Since 2015, annual maintenance on the ship has come to a complete halt and most crew members, except for 10 people, were pulled off the vessel after the Saudi-led coalition imposed a land, sea, and air embargo before waging an extensive air campaign to dislodge the Houthi rebels from areas they seized including the capital Sanaa.

The civil war in Yemen has caused massive destruction in most of the areas under Houthis control. Because of the proximity of the tanker to the contested Hodeida port, fears have grown that a stray shell or bullet could hit the tanker causing massive explosion or oil leak into the Red Sea.

Hodeida was at the center of Yemen’s civil war in 2018 when coalition forces made major advances to take over the vital port, which is considered the life-line of most of northern Yemen, where most of Yemenis live and where the Houthis enjoy full control. A U.N.-brokered peace deal put an end to the offensive but failed to achieve peace or loosen Houthis’ grip over the ports.

Over the past two years, the Yemeni government in exile, the U.N., and western diplomats have been sounding the alarm and putting pressure on Houthis to secure the tanker. The rebels initially agreed to let inspectors examine the tanker but later backtracked.

Top Houthi leaders often expressed cynicism toward the international community warnings.

“The life of the shrimps is more precious than the life of Yemeni citizen to the U.S. and its allies. Is this because they care about their naval ships or the Israeli presence in the Red Sea?” wrote Mohammed Ali al-Houthi in a May 25 Twitter post. “Why is Safer more dangerous than the siege and the assault of the American, British, Saudi, Emirati and their allies on the people?” he added in reference to the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition targeting the rebels in Yemen.

Yahia Sharaf Eddin, the deputy head of Yemen Red Sea Ports Corporation, defended the Houthis rebels and told the AP that the group had instructed port authorities to assist U.N. inspectors. He said it was the Saudi-led coalition that refused to give the U.N. a green light to board the decaying tanker.

The more delays in reaching a solution to the vessel, the more dangers it poses, Sharaf Eddin said.

A recent internal government memo obtained by the AP shows that earlier this month a diving team was dispatched by the state-run oil company that owns the tanker to seal holes in the ship that have allowed seawater to leak into the engine room.

The divers were able to make repairs, but it remain unclear if the work will hold, according to the July 13 report.

“We believe that the plugs/seals that were installed to prevent the entry of seawater into the engine room space will not withstand/hold long,” the report read.

An earlier letter dated Oct. 2019 sent by the Yemeni minister of oil – who is affiliated with the Saudi-backed government – to the prime minister, and seen by the AP, found other problems with the tanker.

“Rust has covered some parts of the tanker along with equipment, fire distinguishing system stopped working, and what is more dangerous is that the gas which was covering the oil inside the tanks has leaked out. It was used to protect the tankers from exploding,” the letter read.

The oil minister’s letter recommended three different approaches to deal with the tanker: make repairs, pump the oil to another ship, or to pull the tanker away and safely unload it in another port.

The minister wrote that because of the “collapsing condition” of the vessel, the best solution is to pull it away to another port.

“We are notifying you about this dangerous situation to do your best and to get Yemen and the region out from such environmental dangers,” he wrote.

The letter came months after the U.N.’s projects arm, known as UNOPS, put out a tender to hire an international agency to inspect the vessel after an initial agreement with Houthis.

The U.N. hired a team of experts and had them standing by in Djibouti. The AP obtained a copy of the tender letter and documents showing the experts’ proposed inspection program and a list of equipment needed, including gas detector and oil sampling kits.

But the Houthis backed out of the agreement before the repair crew could be sent to Yemen.

Mark Lowcock, the U.N. humanitarian chief, told the U.N. Security Council last year that the U.N. assessment team was ready to be deployed but “the necessary permits remain pending with the Ansar Allah authorities” in reference to Houthis.

“I would just like to note that this is additionally frustrating when one recalls that the same authorities wrote to the United Nations early last year requesting assistance with the tanker and promising to facilitate our work,” he added.

Sharaf Eddin, the Yemeni ports official, accused the U.N of siding with the Saudi-coalition and misleading the public by blaming Houthis for the delays.

“This is the same U.N. which is exploiting Yemen tragedy to collect donations then spend it on its own employees,” he said, echoing Houthis’ widely held anti-U.N. sentiment. He added that the coalition in 2017 refused to give access to a fuel vessel to head to the Safer tanker to run the power generators. “What is Houthis’ interest in preventing a disaster? Any spark could cause massive explosion,” he acknowledged.

He provided letters sent by Houthi-appointed government officials last summer, including one from the foreign minister, approving the visit by the U.N. But the European diplomat said the Houthis revoked their initial approval and put new conditions on U.N. activities.

The U.N. has repeatedly warned that delays in taking action to fix the FSO Safer could lead to a man-made environmental disaster in the Red Sea four times greater than the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989 was one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history. The tanker spewed nearly 300,000 barrels of thick, toxic crude oil into Alaska’s pristine Prince William Sound. Scores of herring, sea otters and birds were soaked in oil, and hundreds of miles of shoreline polluted. The spill destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of commercial fishermen in the area.

The senior official at the state-owned company in charge of the tanker issued an appeal for help to the international community saying that a similar oil spill off the coast of Yemen could accelerate Yemen’s worsening humanitarian disaster.

“The disaster could happen at any second,” he said, “Rescue Yemen from a terrible, imminent disaster that will add to Yemen’s burdens for tens of years and deprive thousands from their source of living, and kill marine life in the Red Sea.”

Sources: Venezuela wooed Texas Republican to ease sanctions

Sources: Venezuela wooed Texas Republican to ease sanctions

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FILE – In this Feb. 24, 2011 file photo then Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., talks during a freedom for Cuba march in Miami. Venezuela’s socialist government tried to recruit former Congressman Pete Sessions to broker a meeting with the CEO … more >

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By JOSHUA GOODMAN

Associated Press

Monday, June 22, 2020

MIAMI (AP) – Venezuela’s socialist government tried to recruit then-Congressman Pete Sessions to broker a meeting with the CEO of Exxon Mobil at the same time it was secretly paying a close former House colleague $50 million to keep U.S. sanctions at bay, The Associated Press has learned.

An official at state-run oil giant PDVSA sent an email to the Texas Republican on June 8, 2017 seeking his help arranging a meeting between Venezuela’s oil minister and Darren Woods, then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s successor at the helm of the Irving, Texas-based Exxon. The purpose: to lure Exxon back to Venezuela after a decade’s absence and inject much-needed dynamism into the OPEC nation’s collapsing oil industry.

The email, which was seen by the AP, has been shared with U.S. federal law enforcement looking into the person who allegedly instructed the PDVSA official to send the email to Sessions: former Miami Congressman David Rivera, according to two people familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the politically sensitive matter.

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Rivera at the time was collecting part of a whopping $50 million contract for three months of consulting work for an American unit of PDVSA – a business deal now being investigated by federal prosecutors in Miami because he never registered as an agent of a foreign government.

It’s not clear how Sessions, who is running again for Congress this fall, acted on the request, though he did not reply directly to the email. In any case, Exxon rebuffed the sought-after meeting in Dallas, according to the two people.

But Sessions did engage in other mediation efforts in Venezuela over the next 15 months.

At the urging of a Venezuelan media mogul who would go on to become a top U.S. fugitive, he secretly traveled to Caracas in April 2018 for a meeting with President Nicolás Maduro. The businessman, Raul Gorrin, was present at the meeting and Rivera served as a translator, a third person familiar with the visit said, also on condition of anonymity.

A few months later Sessions phoned the socialist leader with Rudy Giuliani, the U.S. president’s personal lawyer, around the same time both men were involved in another shadow diplomatic effort to fire the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Both men’s interest in Venezuela and Sessions’ advocacy of a Trump-Maduro meeting came as a surprise to John Bolton, according to the former National Security Adviser’s new book on his time at the White House.

The AP first reported Sessions’ peacemaking trip to Caracas in 2018. The earlier email regarding Exxon and his connection to Rivera was not known at the time.

Sessions’ role in the ultimately futile back channeling, more extensive than previously believed, is now part of prosecutors’ examination of Rivera’s paid consulting and how the money he received from Venezuela – at least $15 million of the promised $50 million – was spent, the two people said.

While there is no indication Sessions benefited from Rivera’s consulting contract, the two men’s efforts overlapped, with the same interlocutors, and at times seemed aligned.

A far cry from today’s “maximum pressure” campaign by the U.S. to remove Maduro, there was a brief window following Trump’s 2016 election when the socialist leader was desperately looking to court American investment and repair relations with Washington.

Trump’s perceived softness on Russia – Venezuela’s top ally – spurred Caracas to quickly mount an influence campaign that included funneling through Citgo, PDVSA’s Houston-based subsidiary, $500,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee – topping contributions by corporate giants Verizon, Pepsi and Wal-Mart.

Sessions was considered a key target of Venezuela’s charm offensive because of his close ties to Tillerson – both men have held leadership positions in the Boy Scouts of America – and ties to the U.S. oil industry. Exxon is among the firms headquartered in his former Dallas district.

The five-sentence message sent to Sessions’ personal email address, which starts with the word “eagle,” is short on specifics. But it makes reference to earlier correspondence, also seen by the AP, in which Exxon General Counsel and Vice President Randall Ebner mentioned a willingness to discuss new business after the settlement around the same time of a long-running arbitration stemming from Venezuela’s takeover of an Exxon-run oil field in 2007.

To woo the company back at a time when oil production was collapsing, Maduro was ready to offer Exxon a concession in the Hugo Chavez Oil Belt, which sits atop the world’s largest crude reserves, the two people said.

“We thank you for your commitment to making this meeting happen,” concludes the email to Sessions.

Exxon declined to comment.

But by the time the ink dried on a $259 million payment schedule signed between Exxon and PDVSA on July 31, 2017, relations between the two countries had become more hostile.

The Trump administration started rolling out the first round of sanctions in response to Maduro’s plans to rewrite the constitution and undermine the opposition-controlled congress.

Sessions is looking to return to Congress if he can win a mid-July runoff in a heavily Republican district near his native Waco different from the seat he held for 11 terms until he was ousted in 2018.

He declined to comment in response to detailed questions. “The U.S. Department of State would be your best resource for any information regarding contacts made with Venezuela,” a spokesman said.

The State Department declined to comment.

But U.S. officials all along have been suspicious of Sessions’ activities in Venezuela. Sessions had no obvious links to the country besides writing a letter in 2004 to the country’s banking regulators in support of financier Allen Stanford, a former Sessions donor who in 2012 was convicted in Texas and sentenced to 110 years in prison for running a $7 billion-plus Ponzi scheme.

The State Department played no role in organizing the two-day private trip to Caracas, two U.S. officials said on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. Sessions had asked U.S. diplomats not to accompany him to the presidential palace, the officials said, although U.S. Embassy staff did see the congressman afterward at a small reception held for him at the Caracas mansion of government-connected businessman Raul Gorrín.

In 2018, Sessions’ then-spokeswoman Caroline Booth told the AP that her boss had spent the past year working to “resolve issues” in Venezuela at the request of a friend she didn’t identify. She said Sessions paid for all of his travel.

Gorrín at the time was trying to broker a soft exit for Maduro while paying Ballard Partners – Trump’s former Florida lobbyist – to explore expansion opportunities in the U.S. for his TV network Globovision. Along the way, he traveled to Washington to discuss Venezuela’s future with U.S. lawmakers and managed to get his photo taken shaking hands with Vice President Mike Pence in Florida.

Gorrín together with now-Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, a PDVSA board member, organized Sessions’ visit to Caracas and steered the lobbying contract toward Rivera’s Interamerican Consulting firm, according to the two people familiar with the Maduro outreach. The goal of the contract was to improve PDVSA’s “long-term reputation” and “standing” among “targeted stakeholders” in the U.S., according to a copy seen by the AP.

Rivera wasn’t an obvious choice to lead the effort, having made a name for himself among anti-Maduro exiles in Florida mimicking the anti-communist politics of his friend and one-time roommate Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The three-month, $50 million contract far exceeded the $70,000 per month Citgo had long paid two established lobbyists, Cornerstone Government Affairs and Vantage Knight, for regulatory work.

Rivera’s ties to the Maduro government and Gorrín have been the target of a criminal investigation for over a year, according to a U.S. law enforcement official on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing probe.

He was also sued recently in New York federal court by Citgo’s new board appointed by Juan Guaidó, the head of Congress recognized by the U.S. as Venezuela’s rightful leader. The lawsuit alleges he failed to describe any work performed while under contract, preparing just two of seven promised progress reports. Rivera has said that some of the money he received was destined for Venezuela’s opposition, but so far has offered no evidence or explanation to back that claim.

Meanwhile, Gorrín’s efforts came to nothing: a few months after introducing Sessions to Maduro, he was indicted in Miami on federal money-laundering charges, including allegations that he helped embezzle $200 million from PDVSA on behalf of the president’s stepsons.

Gorrín and Rivera did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Sessions and Rivera have a history of working together.

As chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Sessions helped elect Rivera to Congress in 2010 despite domestic abuse allegations that almost derailed his campaign. In 2012, he hosted a Washington fundraising reception for the freshman congressman.

Later, Rivera’s political career unraveled amid several election-related controversies, including orchestrating the stealth funding of an unknown Democratic candidate to take on his main rival in a South Florida congressional race and a state investigation into whether he hid a $1 million contract with a gambling company. He has never been charged with a crime.

Sessions, the son of recently deceased former FBI Director William Sessions, has had his brushes with scandal as well. Last year, he was entangled in the impeachment investigation centered on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine for writing a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seeking Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s dismissal after meeting with two associates of Giuliani with ties to the former Soviet republic.

___

Follow AP reporter Joshua Goodman on Twitter: @APjoshgoodman

__

Contact AP’s global investigative team at [email protected]

___

Trump policy change frightens Cubans, shows Washington chaos

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People stand outside a Western Union in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana, Cuba, Friday, June 12, 2020. Fincimex is a Cuban state corporation that works with foreign credit-card and money-transfer businesses and handles remittances sent to Cuba through Western Union … more >

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By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN and MATTHEW LEE

Associated Press

Friday, June 12, 2020

HAVANA (AP) – A week and a half ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a strongly worded announcement that the Trump administration was prohibiting business with Fincimex, a Cuban state corporation that works with foreign credit card and money transfer businesses, among others.

Many ordinary Cubans panicked.

Fincimex handles hundreds of millions of dollars in remittances sent to Cuba through Western Union by families in Cuban-American communities in South Florida and around the nation. Would a ban on business with the military-run company mean an end to the remittances that so many Cuban families need to put food on the table?

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The State and Treasury departments wouldn’t say. Meanwhile, thousands of families rushed to send money before the ban went into effect on Friday.

What happened next offers a small window into the chaos behind the administration’s execution of one of its top foreign policy priorities – weakening the communist-run Cuban government and its longstanding alliance with President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela.

As expected, the administration published a regulation Friday in the Federal Register – the official gazette of the U.S. government. The new rule sanctions anyone doing business with military-run businesses in Cuba, including three hotels, two scuba-diving centers and a swimming-with-dolphins center at a beach resort in eastern Cuba.

But it doesn’t mention Fincimex. That led Cuba-watchers to speculate Friday morning that the Trump administration had simply backed off its threat to potentially cut remittances to Cuba. A few hours later, the State Department said omitting Fincimex had simply been a clerical error and the Cuban company would indeed be sanctioned.

“The correction will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days,’’ the State Department said.

The new regulation will not, however, actually affect Americans’ ability to send remittances to family in Cuba, according to a person familiar with the process.

Western Union is expected to be able to continue sending money to Cuba through Fincimex even after the new ban goes into effect, the person said on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. company declined to comment on any future regulations, saying Friday simply that “we can confirm that our business and services from the U.S. to Cuba are operating as usual and in compliance with U.S. law and regulations.”

A U.S. bank that works with MasterCard to operate a small number of cards allowing cash withdrawals at ATMs in Cuba cut off those cards on Thursday evening, but otherwise the Fincimex ban was expected to have a minimal impact on the island, said Collin Laverty, who runs head of Cuba Educational Travel, one of the largest companies bringing U.S. travelers to Cuba. Laverty also consults for U.S. companies who want to do business in Cuba.

“It kind of is symbolic of the Trump approach to Cuba, which is to make a lot of noise, cause a lot of confusion,’’ he said. “Sometimes they follow though with regulations, sometimes they don’t … the policy’s been extremely inconsistent and incoherent.”

Despite Western Union’s reassurances, many Cubans and their families in the U.S. have spent the last week assuming that remittances were about to be cut off in the middle of one of Cuba’s deepest economic crises in decades, fueled in large part by the near-total closure of flights in and out of the island due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Yadamis Roque is a 47-year-old homemaker with a disabled 20-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son. She lives on remittances sent by her mother in Florida.

As she waited on line outside a Western Union in Havana on a recent weekday, she said she was still assuming that her lifeline was about to be cut off.

“I will be affected,’’ she said. “This has been a really heavy blow … why do we have to suffer as a result of this, and in the middle of a pandemic!’’

____

Associated Press writer Michael Weissenstein reported this story in Havana and AP writer Matthew Lee reported from Washington. AP writer Andrea Rodríguez in Havana contributed to this report.

Heat, rain, long lines: Georgia election plagued by problems

Heat, rain, long lines: Georgia election plagued by problems

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People vote at voting booths in the Georgia’s primary election at Park Tavern on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) more >

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By STEVE PEOPLES and BEN NADLER and SUDHIN THANAWALA

Associated Press

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

ATLANTA (AP) – Voters endured heat, pouring rain and waits as long as five hours on Tuesday to cast ballots in Georgia, demonstrating a fierce desire to participate in the democratic process while raising questions about the emerging battleground state’s ability to manage elections in November when the White House is at stake.

“It’s really disheartening to see a line like this in an area with predominantly black residents,” said Benaiah Shaw, a 25-year-old African American, as he cast a ballot in Atlanta.

A confluence of events disrupted primary elections for president, U.S. Senate and dozens of other contests. There were problems with Georgia’s new voting machines, which combine touchscreens with scanned paper ballots. The polls were staffed by fewer workers because of coronavirus concerns. A reduced workforce contributed to officials consolidating polling places, which disproportionately affected neighborhoods with high concentrations of people of color. Long lines were also reported in whiter suburban areas.

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Some voters said they requested mail-in ballots that never arrived, forcing them to go to polling places and adding to the lines. Turnout, meanwhile, may be higher than expected as voters said they were determined to exercise their constitutional right after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the ensuing demonstrations that swept cities including Atlanta.

“Too many people died for me to have this opportunity,” said Stephanie Bush, a 49-year-old black independent voter in Atlanta. “So for me not to stick it out would be a dishonor to them.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden easily won the state’s Democratic presidential primary. He was facing no real opposition but hoped to post a strong showing among Georgia’s diverse electorate to show his strength heading into the general election.

But the developments were troubling heading into the fall presidential campaign, which will attract even more voters. Biden and President Donald Trump are expected to fiercely compete in this rapidly changing state. That leaves officials, who have already been criticized for attempting to suppress the vote, with less than five months to turn things around.

Republican leaders blamed the meltdowns on officials in Fulton and DeKalb counties, which are Democratic strongholds with significant black populations.

“When these things arise, and it’s really specifically in one or two counties … it leads us back to the failure of the management of the county election directors in those counties,” Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told The Associated Press. “It has nothing to do with what we’re doing in the rest of Georgia.”

Republican House Speaker David Ralston directed leaders of the House Governmental Affairs Committee to investigate the “unacceptable deficiencies” across the state, particularly in Fulton County.

Voters leaving one Fulton County polling place offered words of encouragement to the many people waiting in line well past the already-extended poll closing time of 9 p.m. “Let’s vote this guy out of office,” one said, a reference to Trump.

Volunteers handed out bags of popcorn, chips and candy. People in line smoked cigarettes and cursed the wait. Some said they’d tried to vote earlier in the day but left because the line wrapped around the block.

Democrats insisted the issues were more widespread. About 250 miles (400 kilometers) from Atlanta, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said he was “inundated” with phone calls from voters reporting “extensive delays.”

The Trump campaign seized on the problems to amplify the president’s broader opposition to expanded mail voting this fall.

“The chaos in Georgia is a direct result of the reduction in the number of in-person polling places and over reliance on mail-in voting,” said Trump campaign senior counsel Justin Clark. “We have a duty to protect the constitutional rights of all of our citizens to vote in person and to have their votes counted.”

The Biden campaign called the voting problems in Georgia “completely unacceptable” and a threat to free and fair elections.

“We only have a few months left until voters around the nation head to the polls again, and efforts should begin immediately to ensure that every Georgian — and every American — is able to safely exercise their right to vote,” said Rachana Desai Martin, the campaign’s national director for voter protection and senior counsel.

Americans also voted in primaries in West Virginia, South Carolina and Nevada. Long lines also plagued voting in Las Vegas, where voters told the AP that they been waiting four and five hours in some cases even as state election officials suggested wait times reached three hours only in one location.

But the tumult in Georgia garnered much of the attention, reinforcing concerns about managing elections amid the coronavirus.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said voters in line at one of Atlanta’s largest precincts reported all the machines were down. She encouraged voters not to give up.

“If you are in line, PLEASE do not allow your vote to be suppressed,” the Democratic mayor tweeted.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said he wasn’t surprised that Georgia had voting problems given that the state’s elections chief is a Republican. He noted that GOP Gov. Brian Kemp faced allegations of suppressing votes when he oversaw the 2018 elections as secretary of state.

“Republicans want to ensure that it is as hard as possible for people to vote,” Perez said.

Kemp was largely silent about the voting problems on Tuesday, aside from retweeting a message from his wife urging people to vote.

Georgia hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992, but the state is being closely watched by Trump and Biden. The former vice president, in particular, hopes to emerge as the prime beneficiary of energy from the African American community and its white allies, who have held massive protests for more than a week.

His path to the presidency was already focused on maximizing black turnout and expanding his alliance with white suburbanites and city dwellers, young voters, Asian Americans and Latinos. Trump, meanwhile, hoped to demonstrate strength among his base of white voters in small towns while holding his own in metro areas.

Trump, meanwhile, has virtually no path to reelection without victory in Georgia.

A nearly four-hour wait outside an Atlanta polling site shook Ross Wakefield’s faith in the upcoming elections and people’s ability to participate.

“It doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in the future,” said Wakefield, a 28-year-old white software engineer. “Personally, I feel like we’re struggling as a country right now to hear people who really need to be heard, and this does not give me a lot of confidence that we’re doing that.”

___

Peoples reported from Montclair, N.J. Associated Press writers Bill Barrow, Janelle Cogan and Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta and Michelle Price in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

___

Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

Anger, activism grow over police abuse amid French lockdown

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Hundreds of demonstrators gather on the Champs de Mars during a demonstration in Paris, France, Saturday, June 6, 2020, to protest against the recent killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, U.S.A., after … more >

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By ARNO PEDRAM

Associated Press

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

PARIS (AP) – With France confined to fight the virus, a video circulated online in April showing a young man lying on the bloody ground next to two police officers – and quickly set off protests in struggling neighborhoods around the Paris region.

Sometime before, the man had been on a motorcycle. Then, he crashed into a suddenly opened police car door. Whether the door was opened on purpose or not is unclear, but what was clear was the anger the video sparked. A protest that night in the town of Villeneuve-la-Garenne led to others in a dozen Paris suburbs and similar neighborhoods around France in the ensuing days.

The relationship between police and marginalized residents of France’s low-income neighborhoods, many of whom are Arab or black and trace their roots to former French colonies, has long been tense. Safety measures intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 further empowered police – but also empowered community activists using apps or online sleuthing to track and challenge what they see as an abuse of police power.

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George Floyd’s death in the U.S. has resonated especially loudly in places like Villeneuve, one of many banlieues, or suburbs, where poverty and minority populations are concentrated in France. Floyd-related protests against police violence and racial injustice have been held around France.

Thousands of people gathered in Paris once again to pay tribute to Floyd as his funeral took place in Houston, Texas on Tuesday. Waving banners and signs with “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe” written on them, participants knelt and observed silence in his memory.

“To see so many people here fuels hope, but we have to fight because it’s never a victory,” a 42-year-old artist living in Paris who goes by the professional name Fhemann said.

Denouncing police violence in the United States and in France, he said, “It’s unacceptable that young people, when they’re in contact with the police, see their life expectancy melt like snow in the sun.”

In a pivotal moment for modern France, rioting engulfed the country for three weeks in 2005 after two boys who were running from police, Zyed and Bouna, were electrocuted while hiding in a generator in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. A state of emergency was declared and almost 3,000 people were arrested.

Despite billions of euros in government improvement programs for the banlieues since 2005, tensions with police persist, and the deaths of other young men periodically rekindles anger. Protesters marching in solidarity with Floyd notably called for justice for Adama Traore, whose death in police custody in 2016 is still under investigation.

“The anger (in those neighborhoods) is so present and police impunity so frustrating that we don’t need much for it to blow up,” said Ilyes Ramdani, editor-in-chief of the Bondy Blog, which was founded in 2005 to tell the stories of young black and Arab French people in the banlieues.

Under France’s strictest virus lockdown measures, from March 17 to May 11, the government restricted people’s movements to a kilometer (half-mile) around their homes and required anyone going out to carry a signed paper stating why. Punishments included fines starting at 135 euros (about $150), or even prison.

On the first day punishments were doled out, 10% of the fines handed out across the country were given in the region of Seine-Saint-Denis on Paris’ northern edge, where unemployment is twice the national average, almost one person out of three is an immigrant, and many others are the descendants of immigrants.

Government officials defended the fines as necessary to fight the virus in a region with especially high infection rates.

But police union leader Yves Lefebvre lamented that the lockdown measures “again made the police a repressive tool.”

“Public services have deserted these neighborhoods,” and police are the only presence left, which “necessarily leads to confrontation,” he said.

Lefebvre, general secretary for Unité SGP Police-Force Ouvrière union, said trust has been broken because “police only enter those neighborhoods to restore order.”

The Villeneuve incident is being investigated by prosecutors and by the French state police watchdog agency, which said it received 166 citizen reports of problematic police behavior and seven formal complaints of police abuse during the 54-day lockdown.

Under pressure to act, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner pledged Monday to ban police chokeholds and said more officers will be equipped with cameras to help ensure that identity checks don’t lead to discrimination against minorities.

Frustrated activists are taking matters into their own hands.

At the start of the lockdown, Sihame Assbague, an anti-racial profiling activist and journalist, started to collect reports of police harassment, citing “a multiplication of police violence videos on social media.”

She’s cross-referencing and verifying about 40 cases, most of them from videos she’s received.

“I don’t expect much from the state or public authorities, but what I know is they respect strength. That’s why it’s important to organize,” she said.

Amal Bentounsi, whose brother Amine was shot in the back and killed by the police in 2012, founded a group to support families of victims and to provide legal help to bring abusive police to court. The officer who killed her brother was sentenced to a 5-year suspended prison sentence, regarded as a rare legal victory for families like hers.

In March, Bentounsi and three other families launched an app called Emergency-Police Violence designed to record abuses.

“The idea is for people to develop the habit of filming, not to make buzz, but to create a tool for citizens to contradict the police’s version of events and dissuade police who will be filmed” from abusing their authority, Bentounsi said.

Users can record arrests live, and the videos are directly uploaded onto the app’s server so they can be salvaged if the phone is seized or broken.

Since March, the app has been downloaded more than 30,000 times.

___

AP journalist Alexander Turnbull in Paris contributed to the story.

___

Follow all developments and AP stories on global protests against racial injustice and police brutality at https://apnews.com/GeorgeFloyd

___

Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Yemen’s rebels crack down as COVID-19 and rumors spread

Yemen’s rebels crack down as COVID-19 and rumors spread

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In this May 2020 frame grab from video provided by a Yemeni activist, men in protective gear bury a victim of COVID-19, in the Houthi-controlled city of Ibb, Yemen. An investigation by The Associated Press found that the coronavirus is … more >

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By Maggie Michael

Associated Press

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

CAIRO (AP) — In the darkness, the bodies of suspected victims of coronavirus are carried in silence, one after the other, to be buried in several cemeteries across northern Yemen. Flashlights flicker as mourners make their way through the shadows.

The corpses are washed with disinfectants, wrapped in layers of plastic sheets and white linen before being laid to rest in 6-feet deep pits. There is no one around except for a handful of relatives in masks, gloves, and white gowns. Large gatherings are not permitted. Phones are not allowed.

Grave diggers and guards at the cemeteries are warned not to speak about the causes of the deaths. If asked, they are told to say that the dead are “unidentified bodies from the war,” according to several residents and one gravedigger. Families are never really told if their relatives died from the coronavirus, which is believed to be the culprit. Test results are never released. These daily funeral rituals come as social media are flooded with condolences and photographs of the dead.

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The coronavirus is spreading throughout Yemen, a county that has been devastated by five years of civil war. The fighting is between the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who control the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north, and a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition fighting on behalf of the internationally recognized government.

The fighting has already killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions. Years of aerial bombings and intense ground fighting has destroyed thousands of buildings, leaving half of Yemen’s health facilities dysfunctional. About 18% of the country’s 333 districts have no doctors. Water and sanitation systems have collapsed. Many families, especially among the millions displaced by fighting, can barely afford one meal a day.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the deadly toll of the war in Yemen, crippling a health system already in shambles with little capacity to test those suspected of having the virus. The country has no more than 500 ventilators and 700 ICU beds nationwide. There is one oxygen cylinder per month for every 2.5 million people.

The situation is exacerbated in the Houthi-controlled north, where the rebels have suppressed information about the virus, severely punished those who speak out, enforced little mitigation measures, and promoted conspiracies and claims by the Houthi minister of health that their scientists are working on developing a cure for COVID-19 to present to the world.

Officially, the rebels say that only four cases of coronavirus have been detected in the regions they control, but have resisted making the number of positive cases and deaths public.

“We don’t publish the numbers to the society because such publicity has a heavy and terrifying toll on people’s psychological health,” said Youssef al-Hadhari, spokesman for the Houthi health ministry, in response to questions by The Associated Press.

His comments come two months after Houthi Minister of Health Taha al-Motawakel painted a bleak picture of the country’s readiness to deal with the virus, saying that at some point Houthi officials will have to deal with 1 million people in need of hospital admissions in a two-month period. He told a parliament session that at one point, doctors will have to choose between whom to rescue and whom to let die.

This is “battlefield medicine,” he said.

The World Health Organization believes that there is a significant undercount of total number of people affected by the coronavirus outbreak, which officials say could further hinder efforts to get the medical supplies needed to contain the virus.

Richard Brennan, the WHO’s regional emergency director, told the AP that he believes the COVID-19 deaths are in the hundreds and cases are in the thousands, based on what he has heard from numerous health providers in Yemen.

Local health officials, aid workers, residents, and community activists who all spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the pandemic, say the situation in the war-torn country is worsening fast. Local unions, who have kept their own death tallies from the coronavirus, report that 46 medical staffers, 28 judges, and 13 lawyers died in a three-week period between mid-May and early June, well above the Houthis’ official count.

The lack of information about the true number of people infected by the coronavirus in Houthi-controlled areas has led to wild speculation about the nature of the disease and the rebel’s response to dealing with the infections and deaths has only added to the confusion.

One widely circulated rumor suggested Houthi rebels have instructed doctors to kill suspected COVID-19 patients with a “mercy injection.”

The rumor, which was given credibility because of a supposedly confidential document allegedly signed by the health minister, gained so much traction that Houthi leaders took the unusual step of issuing an official denial, calling the rumor “lies aimed at spreading fear.” The Houthis themselves have also spread rumors that the virus was spread by outsiders.

Some hospitals, like the Jibla hospital in the northern province of Ibb, one of the worst hit areas, have been called “injection hospitals” because of the high number of deaths happening there, residents and local activists said.

These rumors have caused widespread panic, and residents say they are less likely to notify health officials about suspected cases of COVID-19 .

“People don’t go to hospitals for fear of the mercy injection,” said a local activist, referring to the Jibla hospital. “We can’t tell the truth from the fallacy but I know many people who died in mysterious ways inside this hospital.”

A lawmaker in Sanaa told the AP that people are afraid to report coronavirus cases, fearing retaliation from Houthi officials.

“The suspected cases are treated like war criminals,” he said.

The lawmaker and a local activist from Ibb province said that the Houthis have gone through great lengths to contain information about the spread of COVID-19 in the rebel-controlled region.

At the Jibla hospital, which has has been turned into a COVID-19 isolation facility, the rebels have appointed a security supervisor to control the flow of information in and out of the hospital.

“He is the one in charge, meaning the head of the hospital himself is powerless in the face of this official. All staffers in the hospital fear him,” the activist said.

In a phone call with the AP, Abdullah al-Matari, the head of the hospital, declined to comment. He referred questions to the ministry’s top officials.

Residents said militiamen working as security personnel in the hospital also search visitors for phones and prevent them from carrying the devices inside the quarantine wards.

The Houthi information blackout extends beyond the hospitals. When a local activist posted a picture of an ambulance on social media of two medical workers in protective gear washing the vehicle in a pond, one of the men said they said they just finished transferring eight bodies to the cemetery named Jarraf.

When the picture went viral on social media, the man who spoke was interrogated and suspended from his job, the activist said. The AP could not independently verify his account.

In several cemeteries in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, burials occur almost daily, according to local residents and doctors.

Deaths from suspected coronavirus cases have surged to the point that, at the end of May, the Houthi religious endowment ministry, which is in charge of cemeteries, hung a sign on one of Sanaa’s largest cemeteries that read: “Khazima cemetery is full.”

Residents say it’s hard to find a burial plot for less than a quarter million rials, or 500 dollars – five times the salary of a government employee. Burials are spread out all over Sanaa cemeteries so as not to attract any attention to the numbers, residents said.

Secretly filming the burials on smartphones in defiance of the Houthi orders has become an act of heroism, local resident said in interviews, adding that the amateur videos give Yemenis the only true glimpse of the true impact of COVID-19 in the region.

The outbreak in the Houthi-held territory is taking place amid simmering tension between the rebels and the U.N. agencies, which are running short of funding for aid programs.

Last week, the United Nations announced that it was about a billion dollars short of what aid agencies say is needed to address Yemen’s humanitarian needs and a deteriorating health care system made worse by the coronavirus.

“The situation is catastrophic,” said one aid worker of an international agency working in Yemen. “Now the COVID-19 outbreak, the suspension of funding, the tension between donors and the authorities, we have less money, and more needs. It’s terrible.”

Afghan government releases hundreds of Taliban prisoners

Afghan government releases hundreds of Taliban prisoners

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Men pray after the Eid al-Fitr prayers outside a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 24, 2020. The Taliban and Afghanistan’s president announced late Saturday a three-day cease-fire ahead of a major Islamic holiday that begins Sunday to mark the … more >

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By KATHY GANNON and TAMEEM AKHGAR

Associated Press

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The Afghan government released hundreds of Taliban prisoners Tuesday, its single largest prisoner release since the U.S. and the Taliban signed a peace deal earlier this year that spells out an exchange of detainees between the warring sides.

The government announced it would release 900 Taliban prisoners as a three-day cease-fire with the insurgents draws to an end. The Taliban had called for the truce during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr that marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

There were expectations that the prisoner release could lead to new reductions in violence, and Taliban officials were considering an extension of the cease-fire, a senior Taliban figure confirmed to The Associated Press.

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“If these developments, like the announcement of prisoner releases, continues, it is possible to move forward with decisions like extending the brief cease-fire and to move in a positive direction with some minor issues,” the Taliban official said.

The prisoners were being released from Bagram prison, where the U.S. still maintains a major military base north of Kabul, and from Pul-e-Charkhi prison on the eastern edge of the Afghan capital.

By late afternoon, the AP witnessed scores of men pouring out of the Bagram compound, presumably released prisoners. It wasn’t immediately possible to verify their numbers or whether they were all Taliban members. They were transported on six buses parked outside the prison.

An official at Bagram said 525 men were to be released but he spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

No number was given for how many prisoners would be released from Pul-e-Charkhi.

In a tweet late Tuesday, Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen in Doha said the insurgent group planned to release “a remarkable number” of government prisoners. He called the Afghan government’s release of 900 “good progress.”

The prisoner release is part of the U.S. deal with the Taliban, signed on Feb. 29, to allow for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan, bringing to an end the country’s protracted war and America’s longest military involvement.

When the deal was signed, it was touted as Afghanistan’s best chance for peace after decades of war. But political feuding in Kabul and delays in prisoner exchanges have slowed the deal’s progress toward intra-Afghan negotiations, considered the second and most critical phase of the accord.

Under the deal, Kabul is to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners while the insurgents are to free 1,000 captives, mostly government officials and Afghan forces, before intra-Afghan negotiations can begin.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had welcomed the Taliban cease-fire announcement during the Muslim holiday.

Javid Faisal, a national security spokesman in Kabul, urged the Taliban to extend the cease-fire and said the government would release 900 prisoners Tuesday. That would bring to 2,000 the number of Taliban prisoners released so far under the U.S.-Taliban deal. The Taliban say they have released 240 captives.

However, the Taliban have yet to confirm whether those released so far by the government were among the 5,000 names the insurgents had given U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, the architect of the Feb. 29 deal.

A second Taliban official told the AP that those released so far were on the Taliban list, including the uncle of Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada. Key in deciding which names would appear on the list was Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, a senior figure who had recently recovered from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Turabi was the much feared vice and virtue minister during the Taliban rule, known for beating men who were found listening to music or not attending mosque. He once slapped a Taliban commander who spoke with a woman journalist.

Both Taliban officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

Many Afghans have expressed frustration at the slow and often stalled peace process. Many have known only conflict in their homeland for the past several decades.

“If both sides stop this war and sit at the negotiating table … maybe my youngest children will experience a good life, which we never experienced,” said Sayed Agha, a truck driver from eastern Logar province.

Agha, 45, was wounded in April, caught in cross-fire during a battle between the Taliban and Afghan soldiers.

“I have spent my whole life in war,” he said.

___

Gannon reported from Islamabad.

Doctors and nurses died as Iran ignored coronavirus concerns

Doctors and nurses died as Iran ignored coronavirus concerns

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In this March 26, 2020, file photo, Iranian army soldiers work in a temporary 2,000-bed hospital for coronavirus patients set up by the army at the International Exhibition Center in northern Tehran, Iran. Dozens of medical staffers have died of … more >

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By Maggie Michael

Associated Press

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

CAIRO (AP) — They are regarded as heroes, their fallen colleagues as martyrs. But for doctors and nurses still dealing with Iran’s growing number of coronavirus infections, such praise rings hollow.

While crippling sanctions imposed by the U.S. left Iran ill-equipped to deal with the fast-moving virus, some medical professionals say government and religious leaders bear the brunt of the blame for allowing the virus to spread – and for hiding how much it had spread.

Those medical workers say they were defenseless to handle the contagion. And as a result, doctors and nurses in Iran have been hard hit by the virus. During the first 90 days of the outbreak alone, about one medical staffer died each day and dozens became infected.

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“We are heading fast toward a disaster,” said a young Isfahan doctor who has been working tirelessly, checking dozens of suspected coronavirus patients before referring them to hospitals.

It is no secret that Iran has been hit hard by the coronavirus. Official government figures show that around 100,000 people were infected by the virus and around 6,500 have died. But a report by the research arm of Iran’s parliament said the number of cases could be eight to 10 times higher, making it among the most hardest hit countries in the world. The report said the number of deaths could be 80% higher than officials numbers from the health ministry, about 11,700.

The Iranian government is currently reporting a decline in the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, even though local authorities are expanding cemeteries in places like Tehran where the municipal council said it had to add 10,000 new graves to its largest cemetery, Behshet Zahra.

Interviews with more than 30 medical professionals and a review of communications by doctors on messaging apps and other documents by an Associated Press reporter in Cairo revealed many previously unreported details. The reporting paints a fuller picture of the roots and extent of the country’s disjointed response as the deadly virus spread throughout the population.

In the beginning, medical staffers faced the outbreak with very limited equipment. Some washed their own gowns and masks or sterilized them in regular ovens. Others wrapped their bodies in plastic bags they bought at supermarkets.

The makeshift equipment didn’t help as dozens of medical professionals without adequate protection died along with their patients.

Iran’s leaders, several medical professionals said, delayed telling the public about the virus for weeks, even as hospitals were filling up with people suffering from symptoms linked to the virus. And even as doctors and other experts were warning the Iranian president to take radical action, the government resisted, fearing the impact on elections, national anniversaries, and economy.

One doctor interviewed by The Associated Press — who, like all medical workers interviewed for this story, spoke only on the condition that they not be named for fear of persecution — said he and his colleagues were even discouraged from using protective equipment. He said government officials claimed wearing masks would cause panic.

The country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, proclaimed on March 10 that the doctors, nurses, and medical staffers who died in the fight against coronavirus in Iran were “martyrs.” Pictures of deceased doctors have been placed alongside those of soldiers who were killed in the bloody Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, which claimed the lives of a million Iranian and Iraqis.

“They are normalizing death,” a Tehran-based health consultant said.

A list compiled by a group of Iranian doctors found that a total of 126 medical staffers have died since the virus was first reported, mostly in the provinces of Gilan and Tehran, while over 2,070 contracted the virus.

Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour, acknowledged the deadly toll of COVID-19 on the medical profession, telling the AP the total number of deaths is 107. Jahanpour said 470 had tested positive for the virus. But he places the blame on the U.S. “Remember this is a country under sanctions,” he said. Even so, Iran has maintained throughout the crisis its own industries made enough protective material to fight the virus.

Iran reported its first two cases on Feb. 19 in the city of Qom – 140 kilometers (88 miles) south of Tehran and home of highly revered Shiite shrines. It would become the epicenter of the outbreak.

But doctors interviewed by the AP said that before the official announcement, they started to see cases with the same symptoms as the novel coronavirus and warned the national health ministry that it needed to take action.

Some doctors shared with the AP letters sent to the ministry. The doctors at first said they attributed the respiratory problems among patients and deaths to the H1N1 flu. Days later, they started to call for testing for H1N1 and other diseases to rule them out; the rate of infections and deaths seemed unusually high.

Through channels on the Telegram messaging service, they exchanged data. They reached out to the health ministry and proposed a set of recommendations and actions. At the top of the list: quarantine, and restricting travel and flights with China. But it would be another two weeks before the government took action.

“We gave a lot of information to the government through letters and communication channels,” said a Mazandaran-based doctor and activist. He said he and others medical professionals were ignored by government officials.

Two days after announcing first cases, Iran held its parliamentary elections where thousands lined up to vote. That same day, doctors in Gilan – one of the worst hit areas in Iran– appealed to the governor for help, saying their hospitals were flooded with patients amid a shortage of masks and other protection equipment.

“The health personnel of the province are exposed to a huge threat,” a letter sent by the doctors read.

But government officials played down the danger of the virus, calling the physicians’ plea for a quarantine “medieval” and floating unfounded conspiracy theories that the U.S. created the coronavirus to promote a fear mongering campaign.

The feared paramilitary Revolutionary Guard kept health facilities under tight control and medical statistics were treated as top secret, the medical staffers said.

Death certificates were not recording the coronavirus as the cause of deaths — either because not all severe cases were tested or just for the sake of keeping the numbers down. Thousands of unaccounted deaths were attributed to secondary causes like “heart attack” or “respiratory distress.”

A doctor in Tehran said the health ministry gave orders not to refer critical cases to hospitals to be tested for the virus — to keep the numbers low, she said.

“We suppose they (want to) say they’re doing good,” she said.

Iran ready for Michael White-Sirous Asgari prisoner swap with U.S.

Iran ready for prisoner swap with U.S.

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This photo provided courtesy of the White family, shows U.S. Navy veteran Michael White, Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Mashhad, Iran. Two Americans imprisoned in the Middle East have been released. Iran has granted a medical furlough to U.S. Navy … more >

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By Mike Glenn

The Washington Times

Sunday, May 10, 2020

U.S. officials are denying reports of a coronavirus-initiated prisoner swap with Iran that could mean the return of a Navy veteran to the United States and a 60-year-old university professor to Tehran.

A spokesman for Iran’s rulers told the website Khabaroline.ir that their government is prepared to discuss a mutual prisoner release without conditions.

“But, the U.S. has refused to answer so far,” cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei said, according to the Associated Press.

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A senior U.S. government official told the AP there is no prisoner trade offer on the table or even an offer to begin discussions between Washington and Tehran.

The two men being held in custody in Iran and the U.S. are California resident Michael White and Sirous Asgari. Mr. White was detained in July 2018 while he was visiting a girlfriend in Iran. He was later convicted of insulting Iran’s supreme leader and releasing sensitive information online.

Iran has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic with more than 100,000 confirmed cases. Mr. White was released from prison in March on a medical furlough that required him to remain in Iran.

Mr. Asgari was arrested by the FBI in 2013 but was later acquitted for stealing trade secrets. He has been held in indefinite custody by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy Homeland Secretary secretary, told the AP the two cases have never been linked. He said Iran had been “slow to accept Asgari’s return,” according to them.

Mr. Rabiei said it seems as if the U.S. is more willing to “bring the situation to an end” than it has been in the past, according to the AP.

“We hope that as the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease threatens the lives of Iranian citizens in the U.S. prisons, the U.S. government actually will prefer lives to politics,” Mr. Rabiei said, according to the AP.

It wouldn’t be the prisoner swap between the two countries. Iran released a Princeton University researcher in December who had been held for three years on espionage charges in exchange for the release of a detained Iranian scientist.

Ensuring the release of American detainees and hostages is a high priority for the Trump administration, White House officials told the AP.

Afghanistan envoy calls for American contractor’s release

Afghanistan envoy calls for American contractor’s release

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FILE – In this March 9, 2020, file photo, Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad attends the inauguration ceremony for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. Khalilzad said May 7 that he called for the release … more >

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By JAMES LAPORTA

Associated Press

Thursday, May 7, 2020

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) – The U.S. envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation says he has called for the release of an American captured by Taliban-linked militants in discussions with Taliban leaders as continued violence threatens to scuttle a peace deal to end America’s longest war.

In a series of tweets from his official account on Thursday, Zalmay Khalilzad said he pressed Taliban leaders during an overnight meeting in Doha, Qatar, to secure the release of Mark R. Frerichs, a Navy veteran turned contractor, who was abducted by militants in late January.

The tweets by Khalilzad mark the first public statement about the capture from a Trump administration official. They come on the heels of an investigation by The Associated Press last week that noted there had been no public indications that Frerichs has been part of the peace negotiations between the United States and the Taliban. Khalilzad could not be reached by the AP for comment. The State Department also did not respond to a request for comment.

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American officials believe Frerichs, of Lombard, Illinois, was captured by members of the Haqqani network, a militant group aligned with the Taliban in Afghanistan and designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the Obama administration in 2012.

While little is known about the circumstances of how the 57-year-old Frerichs was abducted, U.S. officials believe he was held for a time in Khost, an eastern province along the border with Pakistan and its so-called tribal regions. The mountainous area has historically been a haven for Taliban and al-Qaida militants. The AP investigation revealed how Navy SEALs and the U.S. intelligence community tried to gather information that would lead them to Frerichs’ recovery but the trail went cold.

“The Taliban kidnapped my brother in January. In February, the U.S. signed a peace deal with the Taliban. My brother wasn’t part of the deal,” Charlene Cakora, one of Frerichs’ sisters, said in a statement provided to the AP last week. “Now we are arranging for the Taliban and Afghan government to exchange thousands of prisoners, why can’t we make an American hostage be one of them?”

On Friday, the FBI released a kidnapping poster for Frerichs in multiple languages. The poster said he was last seen wearing “black boots, green tactical pants, a green jacket with a hood, and a silver scarf.”

While the Taliban-linked Haqqanis are known to carry out assassinations and kidnappings for ransom, there’s uncertainty within the rank-and-file over who exactly has abducted Frerichs and where he is located. Since his capture, no formal demands are known to have been made, and no group is known to have claimed responsibility for his abduction.

“I have not received any information about him,” a Taliban official who wasn’t authorized to speak about the case publicly told the AP on the condition of anonymity. “There has been no clue despite my contacts with every side to get information.”

In Doha, Khalilzad, the main architect of the February accord designed to offer the United States an exit from its longest war, said he had a long meeting with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar – the co-founder of the Taliban and the head of its political office – and his Taliban delegation on a host of issues that threaten to scuttle further peace negotiations.

“We sought progress on a range of topics: a reduction in violence, humanitarian ceasefire as demanded by the international community to allow for better cooperation on managing COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan,” Khalilzad wrote on Twitter.

He added, “Acceleration of prisoner releases by both sides, actions necessary to secure the freedom of U.S. citizen Mark Frerichs, regional & international support for the peace process, and movement to intra-Afghan negotiations.”

This is the second trip Khalilzad has made during the coronavirus outbreak to salvage deadlocked negotiations over provisions in the accord signed between the United States and Taliban leadership on Feb. 29. Khalilzad said he will be meeting again with Taliban negotiators after a trip to India and Pakistan.

President Donald Trump, like his predecessor Barack Obama, has sought to end the long war in Afghanistan, which has left permanently shattered thousands of American families and cost trillions of dollars. More than 2,400 service members have died in Afghanistan since the U.S. first invaded in October 2001.

But despite heavy losses on both the American and Afghan sides, Taliban insurgents have ignored appeals for a ceasefire, even amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Taliban has accused the United States of not upholding its end of the peace deal.

“It is the responsibility of all military sides to reduce the violence,” Army Gen. Scott S. Miller, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in late April. “You reduce the violence so you can give the political process a chance to take hold. We need the Taliban to reduce the violence. If the Taliban continue to attack, then what they should expect is a response.”

But as calls by American officials for a reduction in violence on Afghan security forces go largely ignored by the Taliban, a political power struggle has also stalled intra-Afghan negotiations. The rivalry between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah – Ghani’s former chief executive, who has declared himself de facto president – continues to complicate matters. Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced frustrations after he failed to mediate the political infighting between the two.

“This is going to be resolved through a political process, and it is time for that political process to begin with all the Afghans coming together around the table,” Pompeo told reporters last month.

___

Associated Press writers Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, and Eric Tucker in Washington, contributed to this report.

___

Contact AP’s global investigative team at [email protected]

‘No remedy, no rights’: China blocks foreigners from leaving

‘No remedy, no rights’: China blocks foreigners from leaving

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Daniel Hsu, a Chinese American, poses for a portrait near the apartment he has been renting in Shanghai, China on Monday, April 13, 2020. He has been kept from leaving China by an exit ban issued by the Chinese authorities … more >

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By ERIKA KINETZ

Associated Press

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

SHANGHAI (AP) – Mandy Luo was supposed to get on a plane back to Seattle with her mother and finish high school like everyone else.

But at the airport in Shanghai, a security officer told Luo’s mother, Jodie Chen, that she could not leave China. Neither could her stepfather, a U.S. citizen named Daniel Hsu.

The teenager froze, mind blank and legs numb.

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On the flight home alone, she spent 10 hours vomiting. “Mom,” she kept thinking, “why are you not here?”

Luo was effectively orphaned in suburban Seattle at the age of 16 because of Chinese laws that give authorities broad discretion to block both Chinese and foreign nationals from leaving the country.

Critics say the practice reeks of hostage-taking and collective punishment, in violation of international law. They also warn it lays bare China’s will to exert influence, not just over Chinese citizens in China, but also against permanent residents and citizens of other countries.

Within China, however, exit bans have been celebrated as a way to convince corrupt officials to return to the motherland for prosecution, part of President Xi Jinping’s sweeping campaign to purify the ruling Communist Party and shore up its moral authority.

The Associated Press examined 10 cases involving U.S., Canadian, Australian and Chinese citizens, speaking with people subjected to exit bans, their family members, lawyers and government officials lobbying on their behalf, as well as reviewing legal documents and government correspondence. Most spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of further imperiling people barred from leaving China.

The cases conformed to a general pattern: People didn’t realize they couldn’t leave China until they were blocked at the airport. They received no formal notification of why they were being held in China. There was no limit on the duration of exit bans and no clear mechanism for resolving, or disputing, them. People were held even if they themselves had not been accused of wrongdoing.

“This is shocking and unacceptable behavior by the Chinese government and a clear violation of international law,” said James P. McGovern, chair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Children, a pregnant woman, and a pastor – all with foreign passports – have been banned from leaving, according to people with direct knowledge of the cases.

“In the past they focused on dissidents within China,” said Feng Chongyi, an academic and Australian permanent resident who was blocked from leaving China in 2017 and interrogated. “They start to use this measure to silence overseas Chinese as well. It’s an expansion of Chinese political power.”

The United States, Canada and Australia have issued travel advisories, warning that foreign citizens can be blocked from leaving China over disputes they may not be directly involved in. The number of foreign citizens subject to exit bans is difficult to track because China does not report cases to consular authorities, but diplomats from three countries told AP that, anecdotally, the number of cases has been rising.

Mandy Luo’s parents have not been convicted of any crimes in China, but her stepfather, Hsu, was held for six months in solitary confinement under intense surveillance. He is still stuck in Shanghai. Her mother was exit banned for more than two and a half years, and finally allowed to return home to Seattle on April 10. It’s not clear why.

The family says Anhui provincial authorities effectively held them hostage to pressure Hsu’s father to return from the U.S. and face justice in China for allegedly embezzling 447,874 yuan (worth $63,000 today) over 20 years ago – a charge he says is false and was motivated by a political vendetta.

Authorities in Anhui and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

“U.S. diplomats frequently raise the issue of exit bans and the need for transparency with the PRC government,” a State Department spokesperson said. “The Department has raised Mr. Hsu’s case at the highest levels and will continue to do so until he is allowed to return home to the U.S.”

Within China, Xi’s anti-corruption campaign has placed enormous pressure on local officials to repatriate corruption suspects. Hindered by a lack of law enforcement cooperation with U.S., Canada and Australia, top destinations for China’s most wanted, Chinese authorities developed their own tools of persuasion.

One case involving a Canadian permanent resident named Chu Shilin, accused of stealing $6 million, was featured in a China Central Television documentary last year about China’s “Red Notice” fugitives. Prosecutors, in notes about Chu’s case published online, said they set up a special task force to “vigorously squeeze his survival” and placed exit bans on his son, daughter-in-law and ex-wife as part of a campaign to “control his relatives and shake his emotional support.”

Chu relented. On Jan. 30, 2016, his Air Canada flight touched down in Beijing and he was escorted, expressionless, from the plane by police in white gloves. “My son said if you are not going back, I will go back,” Chu told CCTV. “I said I am sorry for your mother. I can’t let others (bear) this for me.” His left eye twitched.

“The misuse of exit bans is troubling,” said a spokesman for Canada’s Foreign Minister. “Promoting and protecting human rights is an integral part of Canada’s foreign policy.”

Many countries can bar people accused of crimes or needed as witnesses to legal proceedings from leaving. But scholars say China’s use of travel bans exceeds these international norms.

China is taking advantage of its growing strength in the international community to violate the law and not pay a heavy price for it,” said Thomas Kellogg, executive director of the Center for Asian Law at Georgetown University.

Donald Trump pressed Xi about exit bans at the G-20 summit in Argentina in 2018. Australian consular cables obtained by the AP through a freedom of information request show diplomats repeatedly flagged concerns to Chinese counterparts about the growing number of exit bans on Australians.

In January, U.S. lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation that would block responsible Chinese officials from getting U.S. visas and urged President Trump to take up the issue with Xi.

There also have been calls for reform from within China. The laws that govern exit restrictions are “disordered and lack strong protection of citizens’ rights,” Chen Qingan wrote in a 2018 article for the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Law, a government-funded think tank, where he works as a researcher.

But little has changed for the people trapped in China under laws so vaguely worded they can be used to hold almost anyone indefinitely, with no clear path to resolution.

“It’s a political issue. It’s not a legal issue,” said Si Weijiang, a Shanghai lawyer. “Usually I will not accept that kind of case because there’s no legal remedy,” he added. “No remedy. No rights.”

Associated Press correspondents Kristen Gelineau in Sydney and Rob Gillies in Toronto and researcher Chen Si in Shanghai contributed to this story.

Follow Kinetz on Twitter at https:// twitter.com/ekinetz

Putin extends non-working period until May 11, plans to gradually ease restrictions

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In this photo taken on Friday, April 24, 2020, President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via teleconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow in Moscow, Russia. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) more >

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By Lauren Meier

The Washington Times

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday announced the non-working and self-isolation period will be extended until at least May 11 as the country sees a spike in new coronavirus cases and deaths.

The number of new coronavirus cases reported in the country jumped by more than 6,000 on Tuesday bringing the country’s total to 93,558 reported cases.

Russia has reported one of the lower European death tolls from the virus at 867 despite the increase in confirmed cases, but experts have warned the country has not yet seen its peak. Russia has a population of 144.5 million.

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“The daily increase in cases has relatively stabilized, but this mustn’t calm us down. The situation is still very serious,” Mr. Putin said in his address.

“The peak is not behind us. We are about to face a new and grueling phase of the pandemic. … The deadly threat of the virus remains.”

Moscow has been the hardest-hit Russian municipality by the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and has implemented strict lockdown precautions in an effort to slow the spread.

Speaking with senior government leaders in a televised briefing Tuesday, Mr. Putin announced the extension and instructed officials to establish new guidelines to support the economy and Russia’s citizens, Reuters reported.

Restrictions were set to begin easing at the end of the month, but Mr. Putin said he is now focused on establishing a plan by May 5 to gradually lift the measures — in line with guidance by the World Health Organization, which has cautioned countries to lift restrictions in two-week phases.

MADEINTYO – Flooded (feat. Rich The Kidd)

[Intro: MadeinTYO]
Rocks on that bitch
Rocks on that bitch, yeah it’s flooded

[Chorus: MadeinTYO]
Rocks on that bitch, yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah yeah
Diamonds on that bitch, yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah yeah
Pussy hella wet, yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah yeah
She gon’ make you cry, she got that onion, yeah yeah yeah
MC Hammer, naw they can’t touch it, yeah yeah yeah
Piece string with lean, she’ll bust it, yeah yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah, yeah
Diamonds on that bitch there, yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah yeah
Diamonds on that bitch you know it’s flooded, yeah yeah yeah

[Verse 1: MadeinTYO]
She gon’ suck me up, that mouth flooded, yeah yeah yeah
Hella bitches, she fucking want it, yeah yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Ooh, cool cups on the ice, yeah, turn the lights, yeah (hey)
Tokyo lil bright, yeah, not my type, yeah
Cool cups on the ice, yeah, turn the lights, yeah (hey)
Tokyo lil bright, yeah, not my type, yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Diamonds on that bitch you know it’s flooded, yeah yeah yeah
Tell a hater come and get it, want it, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah
Ooh it’s flooded, yeah
She gon’ make you cry, she got that onion, yeah yeah

[Verse 2: Rich The Kid]
New freezer on me, yeah it’s flooded
Racks on me like a hundred
AP bust it down
I was making real love in her mouth
I’ma fuck three hoes then I kick ’em all out
Back then I was broke, now my wrist iced out
Four rings, eight chains, like fuck it
Two models, redbones, and they fuckin’
Straight to the top
Old rappers, put ’em right in a box
Wrist cost a lot
Me and Tokyo race in a drop
New Patek run a cool two hundred
Thank god my whole wrist flooded
Gucci ’cause I’m hot
Fendi bought it out

[Chorus: MadeinTYO]
Rocks on that bitch, yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah yeah
Diamonds on that bitch, yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah yeah
Pussy hella wet, yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah yeah
She gon’ make you cry, she got that onion, yeah yeah yeah
MC Hammer, naw they can’t touch it, yeah yeah yeah
Piece string with lean, she’ll bust it, yeah yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah
Yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah, yeah
Diamonds on that bitch there, yeah it’s flooded, yeah yeah yeah
Diamonds on that bitch you know it’s flooded, yeah yeah yeah

Tinie Tempah – They Don’t Know Lyrics

[Chorus: Alastair]
Uh, when the cameras show up, we show up
And roll up and roll out
Let them think what they think, it’s funny how
They didn’t get it then, so they won’t now
Yeah ’cause they don’t know us
They can’t say what they say
Don’t give us thoughts
Don’t need them anyway

[Verse 1: Tinie Tempah]
Everywhere I go, I gotta pose
Sittin’ on the throne with a ‘fro
Chillin’ with a prince at the BAFTA’s
Gold all over the globe
Any time I stress, I can get it from a rasta
Headside, kill ’em when they know
Didn’t want to know
Baby said, “Shh, you can hit it on the low”
You can hit it on the low, you can hit it on the low
Come in on your own, leave your knickers at the door
Yeah, I’m the AP, got the wonder tug-a-war
I don’t holla anymore, tryna make a nigga poor
Tryna hit me with the drink, no no
They might think, they don’t know
Let ’em talk ish, promo
‘Cause we don’t really care ’bout nothin’

[Chorus: Alastair]
Uh, when the cameras show up, we show up
And roll up and roll out
Let them think what they think, it’s funny how
They didn’t get it then, so they won’t now
Yeah ’cause they don’t know us
They can’t say what they say
Don’t give us thoughts
Don’t need them anyway

[Verse 2: Kid Ink]
It’s Kind Ink, uh, canine
That kitty got me feelin’ like a canine
I’m just tryna live, baby, can I?
We at the KWest, startin’ KI’s
Woo, I just bought the whole LA out
Uh, live is a beach, bitch, lay out
Uh, hit the blunt, baby, what you gotta say now?
Woo, I know you want it, ow
Ha, get you higher than the Eiffel
Pour up, baby, put a lil’ ice too
Yeah, I remember back in high school
I used to have a girl that looked just like you
Yeah and with all of these flashbacks
Say ain’t no tellin’ what I might do

[Chorus: Alastair]
Uh, when the cameras show up, we show up
And roll up and roll out
Let them think what they think, it’s funny how
They didn’t get it then, so they won’t now
Yeah ’cause they don’t know us
They can’t say what they say
Don’t give us thoughts
Don’t need them anyway

[Verse 3: Stefflon Don]
Young man comin’ up from the corner
Nobody tryna set me if I wanna
Never have to worry ’bout if he give me the banana
Me haffi tell them na na na na na
Oh no no, slide in my DMs and my writs just froze
I’m too cold, don’t wanna play ’cause I’m gettin’ too old
What’s new? Bitch, I’m in the stu’
Hookin’ up with hurricane, mix with the flow
Tryna lock my wrists, mosquito, love the cold
If the track ain’t a track then the Don come through
My rule number 1 is don’t play a number 2
Talkin’ with my nigga, you will end up on the news
Messin’ with the paper that you racked up in views
Real, real ting, all I do is tell the truth

[Chorus: Alastair]
Uh, when the cameras show up, we show up
And roll up and roll out
Let them think what they think, it’s funny how
They didn’t get it then, so they won’t now
Yeah ’cause they don’t know us
They can’t say what they say
Don’t give us thoughts
Don’t need them anyway

[Outro: Tinie Tempah]
I know a girl from the ends
She likes to take it down low
She said she wanna let me inside
But her daddy said no
I know a girl with a woo
I call her Paris in my phone
I know a girl from the southside
That wanna take you all home

Soulja Boy – Trappin’ N Cappin’ (Big Soulja Album)

[Shout outs]

[Chorus]
Trappin’ n cappin’ I’m whippin’ the pot
I post up Zone 1 with the pans and the pots
I came up from trappin’ n cappin’, now I got that guap
Draco pull up, and I spray your block
I’m trappin’ n cappin’, watching for the cops
I walk around with the bands on the blocks
AP on my wrist, I’m sitting at the top
I fell in love with the Pyrex, I whip the pot
Trappin’ n cappin’ i’m whippin’ the pot
I post up Zone 1 with the pans and pots
I came up from trappin’ n cappin’, now I got that guap
Draco pull up, and I spray your block
I’m trappin’ n cappin’, watching for the cops
I walk around with the bands on the block
AP on my wrist, I’m sitting at the top
I fell in love with the Pyrex, I whip the pot

[Verse 1]
Sittin in the trap, money in my face
Trappin’ n cappin’ i’m switching from state to state
Mansion or condo I switch up the low case
100 thousand cash just for motivation
Jumped out the Wraith, then I hop in the i8
Derek Jeter, hit the pot like I beat the case
Pulled out a pistol, I shot with a K
Money get shooter and they poppin’ shit broad day
1 M, I just made it today
Came up from trappin’ n cappin’
I ate everything on the plate
Smokin’ on rocks, now I’m high in space
Call up my lawyer, you know he gon’ beat the case
Got the Draco, know we shoot with the 38
Grippin’ the rocket, I know that these niggas fake
Ferragamo on me, rockin the Gucci snake
Pull out the draco, he shot in the face

[Chorus]
Trappin’ n cappin’ I’m whippin’ the pot
I post up Zone 1 with the pans and the pots
I came up from trappin’ n cappin’, now I got the guap
Draco pull up, and I spray your block
I’m trappin’ n cappin’, watching for the cops
I walk around with the bands on the block
AP on my wrist, I’m sitting at the top
I fell in love with the Pyrex, I whip the pot
Trappin’ n cappin’ i’m whippin’ the pot
I post up Zone 1 with the pans and pots
I come from trappin’ n cappin’, now I got that guap
Draco pull up, and I spray your block
I’m trappin’ n cappin’, watching for the cops
I walk around with the bands on the block
AP on my wrist, I’m sitting at the top
I fell in love with the Pyrex, I whip the pot

[Verse 2]
Big Soulja, i’m the big homie
Mini Draco, gotta keep it on me
I came up from trappin’ n cappin’, they act like they know me
Put the bricks in a figure-four
I stand at your front door, ski mask with the Draco
Who wanna bih’ homie, shoot when I say so
Came up from trappin’ n cappin’ for pesos
150 bricks down Santiago
2018, Bentley truck Forgiato
Trappin’ n cappin’ M’s in Wells Fargo
Bricks coming in, swipe em by barcode
Trappin’ n cappin’ i’m smokin’ Gelato
100 pounds, nigga hit the lotto
Givenchy on me, I’m fly Aeropostale
Flip it like Future, this shit get colossal
Hop in the Lamborghini, full throttle!

[Chorus]
Trappin’ n cappin’ I’m whippin’ the pot
I post up Zone 1 with the pans and the pots
I came up from trappin’ n cappin’, now I got the guap
Draco pull up, and I spray your block
I’m trappin’ n cappin’, watching for the cops
I walk around with the bands on the block
AP on my wrist, I’m sitting at the top
I fell in love with the Pyrex, I whip the pot
Trappin’ n cappin’ i’m whippin’ the pot
I post up Zone 1 with the pans and pots
I come from trappin’ n cappin’, now I got that guap
Draco pull up, and I spray your block
I’m trappin’ n cappin’, watching for the cops
I walk around with the bands on the block
AP on my wrist, I’m sitting at the top
I fell in love with the Pyrex, I whip the pot

Casanova – Decline (Be Safe Tho Mixtape)

[Chorus]
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Think I’m lyin’, come let me show ya’
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Think I’m lyin’, come let me show ya’
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D

[Verse 1]
I got a Rollie and a AP
I’m all the way up, Bleek hittin’ Jay-Z
I’m paid in full, like Azie
You know I’m cooler than the AC
My shorty went left, but I’m still right
When I get the deal Imma still swipe
I could tell you what the money feel like
I could tell you what the money feel like
I had a rental and a few runners
The four pieces did a few numbers
Been gettin’ money for a few summers
I got them old and them new hundreds

[Chorus]
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Think I’m lyin’, come let me show ya’
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Think I’m lyin’, come let me show ya’
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D

[Verse 2]
Did a couple shows made 80 pack
Spent it all then I made it back
I stopped scalin’ got a plate of that
I know they mad I know they hated that
Did the whole dub but no jail could hold me
Realize I’m the one but they never told me
So pay me now you could never owe me
I got the white got the yellow Rollie
Cut the money, love me
Cut the money, love me
I gotta laugh ’cause your money funny
She don’t know how to act when the money ’round her
So much money broke the money counter

[Chorus]
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Think I’m lyin’, come let me show ya’
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Been gettin’ money thought I told ya
Think I’m lyin’, come let me show ya’
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D
We gon’ keep swiping til’ that piece D

Yung Tory & Lil Durk – Run It Up

[Hook: Yung Tory]
These niggas my sons and I’m yo’ father
She get lit when I play that water
I’m in the VIP with yo’ baby momma
I take her to the crib, you took her to Benihana
I ain’t never bought a hoe McDonald’s
I was trappin’ out my momma’s Honda

[Verse 1: Yung Tory]
I don’t know why these niggas talkin’
Like I don’t be with niggas that want lot from ’em
Leave ’em in the creek like its Dawson
Bitch I’m saucin’ baby I’m saucin’
So you should let me hit it ya
I came through at the gym, you never hit it raw
She gave her number but I didn’t call
She want a nigga lit I got alcohol
Ay girl if you ain’t tryna turn up, please don’t get involved
Shawty she a freak she gon take it off
Yeah take it off, holding when I’m playin’ golf
These niggas mad hatin’ on me shake ’em off
I just play my part
Girl you know I’mma fuck it all
Young nigga I’mma run it up
I don’t got no friends so who can I trust

[Hook: Yung Tory]
These niggas my sons and I’m yo’ father
She get lit when I play that water
I’m in the VIP with yo’ baby momma
I take her to the crib, you took her to Benihana
I ain’t never bought a hoe McDonald’s
I was trappin’ out my momma’s Honda
You niggas my sons and I’m yo’ father
She get lit when I play that water

[Verse 2: Lil Durk]
Don’t take her to no crib, take her to hotels
I might buy her 1s, you buy that hoe Chanel
I might buy her food you gon’ do that hoe nails
Killas all around me, none of my niggas gon’ tell
Put that on my son
Ay, I’mma keep my gun
Ay, bitch I’m not the one
Ay, shootouts do not want one
Bitch yo’ dream on, bitch this is just a theme song
Bitch I am yo’ ringtone, 14 for these jeans hoe
I got my AP on, Loubs get my bleed on
Finessin’ til the weed gone
I got my dick eaten on
Yea, yeah yeah
Get some head inside the car
Hey, told that bitch that I’m a star
Shit, and that goes all on mars
She, fuck with percs, don’t fuck with bars yeah
Yeah yeah

[Hook: Yung Tory]
These niggas my sons and I’m yo’ father
She get lit when I play that water
I’m in the VIP with yo’ baby momma
I take her to the crib, you took her to Benihana
I ain’t never bought a hoe McDonald’s
I was trappin’ out my momma’s Honda
You niggas my sons and I’m yo’ father
She get lit when I play that water

[Outro: Yung Tory]
Yeah I’mma run it up
I don’t got no friends so who can I trust
I was trappin’ out my momma’s Honda
Young nigga I’mma run it up
I was trappin’ out my momma’s Honda
Yeah yeah
Yeah I’m yo’ father
I was trappin’ out my momma’s Honda
Run it up, run it up, run it up yeah

K Camp – Big Tyme (feat. Dae Dae)

[Hook: K Camp]
Bitch I’m big time and my bitch fine
I’m gon’ get mine, let my wrist shine
Bitch I’m big time and my bitch fine
I’m gon’ get mine, let my wrist shine
Let my wrist shine, let my wrist shine
Let my wrist shine, bitch I’m big time
Bitch I’m big time and my bitch fine
Let my wrist shine, let my wrist shine

[Verse 1: K Camp]
Bitch I’m big time and my bitch fine
Threw that back though
We don’t wait in line
That’s an Audemar
Watch that bitch shine
Coulda bought a car
But I bought some diamonds
Thought you’d see me shining
Feel like Frankie Lymon
I know he ain’t got it
I can tell he lying
I can tell he trying
Bitch you know I’m up
If you want a feature, hit my booking up

[Hook: K Camp]
Bitch I’m big time and my bitch fine
I’m gon’ get mine, let my wrist shine
Bitch I’m big time and my bitch fine
I’m gon’ get mine, let my wrist shine
Let my wrist shine, let my wrist shine
Let my wrist shine, bitch I’m big time
Bitch I’m big time and my bitch fine
Let my wrist shine, let my wrist shine

[Verse 2: Dae Dae]
Let the kid shine
Let my bitch shine
I ain’t got time to play
I got spots to lay
Hot Boy, Hot Boy
Young Weezy, AP, Young Juvie
TIP on that OG Kush
Yeah the King Louie, King Louie
This is an AP
This is a Rollie
This is a middle finger for the fuck niggas I hear (?)
This is set life, I got freak women presidential
Evidently they gon’ hate anyway, I got Camp with me

[Hook: K Camp]
Bitch I’m big time and my bitch fine
I’m gon’ get mine, let my wrist shine
Bitch I’m big time and my bitch fine
I’m gon’ get mine, let my wrist shine
Let my wrist shine, let my wrist shine
Let my wrist shine, bitch I’m big time
Bitch I’m big time and my bitch fine
Let my wrist shine, let my wrist shine

Gang up – Young Thug feat. Wiz Khalifa lyrics

Lyrics Young Thug – Gang up

I’m with the gang, gang, gang and we ’bout to go up
Switching lanes, it’s a thang, every time we show up
You a lame, lame, lame and you so below us
Bet your hoe, she know us
‘Cause you know we blowed up
We stay down
And crame up, and came up
We stay down
We came up, the gang up.

2 Chaiiiinz (Yeahhh)
I’m a villanious winner
With precision, I’m killing
We resent the religion
Ended up independent
Took my car to the clinic
Let ’em check all the vitals
Middle finger to rivals
Michael Jackson, my idol
Still ducked in a pie hole
Told to the plug, everyday except cinco de mayo
I still got me a Carlo
Still got money, Carlo
Your car running so bad, it stink up to your parlour
Call my rollie a Ralo
Call my AP a app
I ain’t talking seat-belts when I say that I’m strapped
I’m in love with my side hoe
I sneak up through the side door
I’ma show you what we ride for
I’ma show you what we die for.

I’m with the gang, gang, gang and we ’bout to go up
Switching lanes, it’s a thang, every time we show up
You a lame, lame, lame and you so below us
Bet your hoe, she know us
‘Cause you know we blowed up
We stay down
And came up, and came up
We stay down
We came up, the gang up.

I’m in my same lane, lane that ain’t gon’ ever change up
I blow the brain out the range like a tasandra
Here’s R.I.P. to Paul Walker homie, he gotta stand up
We had you main on us, no we got stains on us
And all we gotta do is stay down and come up while they flexin’ (What we gotta do)
Yeah, I got her Indian and she Western
Yeah, just say so, money your best friend
Then that fast and furious started nesting
Say I’m bout to go take off on you (Take off on you)
Is staying, is you rolling like a scroller? yes you are
Your ready to take off like a 1980 Coke
He know that Instagram shit, all you gon’ post that.

I’m with the gang, gang, gang and we ’bout to go up
Switching lanes, it’s a thang, every time we show up
You a lame, lame, lame and you so below us
Bet your hoe, she know us
‘Cause you know we blowed up
We stay down
And came up, and came up
We stay down
We came up, the gang up.

Yeah, I’m always with my gang
We always ready to ride for the squad, we’ll do anything
Stay down, we’ll never change
We always gon’ stay the same
Put you in check, when you outta place
I try to tell ’em not to mess with my gang, gang, gang
We do what we gotta do and don’t complain-plain-plain
I’m on the road, I’m probably fresh up off the plane, plane, plane
Know you heard about me, I do my thang, thang, thang
I got the world on my back versuri-lyrics.info
I put your girl on her back
I did it all on my own
Now there ain’t no turning back
And my whole squad got my back
And shawty so bad, I asked her if she repped the gang, she said “Facts”
Gang, gang, gang.

I’m with the gang, gang, gang and we ’bout to go up
Switching lanes, it’s a thang, every time we show up
You a lame, lame, lame and you so below us
Bet your hoe, she know us
‘Cause you know we blowed up
We stay down
And came up, and came up
We stay down
We came up, the gang uppp.
Young Thug lyrics
Video up

Trouble – Brick Lyrics

Ain’t nobody studyin these lil pissy ass lil hoes man
Dat bitch know what the fuck going on.. I swear
(Chorus)
Bitch I’m the shit Bitch looka dis Gotta brick on my wrist Bitch looka dis
Dis a brick yea yea yea yea yea yea yea
Dis a brick yea yea yea yea yea yea yea
Bitch talking shit, Big Boy get hit, come through shit gone get lit
Snow ball on your wrist
That’s a brick yea yea yea yea yea yea
God damnit That’s a brick yea yea yea yea yea yea yea

Thirty-Six Thirty-Six Thirty-Six this bitch thick
Brick on my wrist, I talk shit, suck my dick hoe
Bitch ain’t shit change in the bricks with the jits hoe
Licks, after Licks, after Licks, after Licks Go
I told the bitch I don’t know what to tell her
That shit you talking bout don’t add up to a bezel
I get this shit brackin I’m poppin cheddar
When nothing in flow put that bitch together
She went nothing in flow put that bitch together
If I don’t like the weather, I change the weather
Get a nigga knocked off if just cost a feather
Brick on my wrist nigga know I’m better Skoob

(Chorus)
Bitch I’m the shit Bitch looka dis Gotta brick on my wrist Bitch looka dis
Dis a brick yea yea yea yea yea yea yea
Dis a brick yea yea yea yea yea yea yea

Bitch talking shit Big Boy get hit Come through shit gone get lit
Snow ball on your wrist
That’s a brick yea yea yea yea yea yea

AP cost a brick, chain cost a brick, Skoob drink a fifth
Flip gone drop another six, a hunnid thousand for the ice
Reach for my jewelry you might lose your life
Diamonds hittin, I make movies like Spike
Bust down wedding ring, but I have no wife
Bricks on me, brick fair, blocks on me but no Telfair
Ice on me look like Kenmore
Stack, pray, stay away from squares
I to go harder to get some new water
Bro you look like a glacier from Antarctica
Bitch I’m the shit because my bag comes in larger
Box Chevy Flippa never ridin da MARTA

(Chorus)

Bitch I’m the shit Bitch looka dis Gotta brick on my wrist Bitch looka dis
Dis a brick yea yea yea yea yea yea yea
Dis a brick yea yea yea yea yea yea yea
Bitch talking shit, Big Boy get hit, come through shit gone get lit
Snow ball on your wrist
That’s a brick yea yea yea yea yea yea
Damnit That’s a brick yea yea yea yea yea yea yea

Famous Dex – Maybach (feat. Rich The Kid)

[Hook: Rich The Kid & Famous Dex]
I’m in the back of that Maybach
Me and your bitch, we go way back
Ain’t doing no flexing, this straight facts
Me and Young Dexter blow more racks (hold on Rich)
You run up on me, push your shit back
Count up the money, need more stacks
Wait, I do the drugs and I’m healing
Diamonds on me cost a building

[Verse 1: Rich The Kid & Famous Dex]
AP got her skating
Run to the money, we racing
She a freak, swallow children
New foreign cost a building
Don’t trap where you stay, man they come in your building
Bad bitch look a million
She wanna suck on my children
All of this money I’m feeling
Dug in the pussy and make her feel it
Fuck nigga thought I wouldn’t make a milly
Goyard come from K
Foreign bitches in the Wraith
Hold on, she wanna party with Dexter
Sucking dick, I just met her
You run up on me, you get way up
Diamonds my neck, you think I got hiccups, yeah

[Hook: Rich The Kid & Famous Dex]
I’m in the back of that Maybach
Me and your bitch, we go way back
Ain’t doing no flexing, this straight facts
Me and Young Dexter blow more racks (hold on Rich)
You run up on me, push your shit back
Count up the money, need more stacks
Wait, I do the drugs and I’m healing
Diamonds on me cost a building

[Verse 2: Rich The Kid & Famous Dex]
Sipping that syrup, pull up her skirt
Put this money in her purse
This bitch she get on my nerves
Balmains so tight I’ma Jerk
Rich Forever goin’ rich way
They copy the wave, I’m sensei
I just might pull out that Bentley
You got your Rollie off eBay
Finessing your bitch, have a threeway
Hop in that Lamb, have a speed race
Yeah, Rich Forever on the map
Run up on me, blow your back
Molly water
Come to the trap, take your order
I was just broke and rode the MARTA
I pull up Rari but no Charger

[Hook: Rich The Kid & Famous Dex]
I’m in the back of that Maybach
Me and your bitch, we go way back
Ain’t doing no flexing, this straight facts
Me and Young Dexter blow more racks (hold on Rich)
You run up on me, push your shit back
Count up the money, need more stacks
Wait, I do the drugs and I’m healing
Diamonds on me cost a building

Icewear Vezzo – Angel Wings (feat. Gucci Mane)

[Hook: Icewear Vezzo]
Angel wings, angel wings
Angel wings, angel wings
I’m so high, bitch I got angel wings
I’m so fly, bitch I got angel wings
Angel wings, angel wings
Angel wings, angel wings
I’m so high, bitch I got angel wings
I’m so fly, bitch I got angel wings

[Verse 1: Icewear Vezzo]
Way up, way up
Nah, nah they wanna cut a deal I ain’t cuttin’ deals, they gon’ run the scrill’
Add us up it’s a 100 mill
Yeah, the first trip I had a 100 mill
Froze it all like water chill
Did it on my own I ain’t want a deal
Fuck the drama, put it on my mama if I wanna kill bitch I’m gonna kill
Catch me up, I won’t take the stand
I’m a real man I’m the son of Millz
Real man, I’m the son of Millz
Pour my sprite up, I like it ice cold
Tryna summer jam until the ice show
Used to have me a Breitlo
Now the daddy glowin’, I’m a lightshow
Louies on not the spikes though
Y’all be sippin’ [?] call it tight rope
Diamonds water, shit I might soak ya
Your bitch pussy deep I need a lifecoast
We gon’ buy it all if the price low
We gon’ ride the pussy if the shit too high
Baby mama said I get too high, light this bitch up once and [?] two times
[?] sip 8 lines
[?] chickens truck we gon’ get you fried
They love to cruise, say we get to live
Got a 100 on me, finna miss two pies

[Bridge: Icewear Vezzo]
Way up, way up
Way up, way up
I’m so fly, I’m so high

[Hook: Icewear Vezzo]
Angel wings, angel wings
Angel wings, angel wings
I’m so high, bitch I got angel wings
I’m so fly, bitch I got angel wings
Angel wings, angel wings
Angel wings, angel wings
I’m so high, bitch I got angel wings
I’m so fly, bitch I got angel wings

[Verse 2: Gucci Mane]
From Zone 6 to 6 Mile [?] crackhead walked six miles
Vezzo got six cars but Gucci got six styles
This a private club, you ain’t worth a milli you can’t get in
I got the molly [?] took half a gram it just kicked in
When I first start sellin’ dope I met this bitch named Angel
Put me on the lick, I kicked the door and said ‘thank ya’
See Guwop’s not a scratch of the [?]
Sold many pints of lean they think I’m Kurt Kobanga
You should pay attention to the ones boy be listenin’ to
AP’s on the both wristes boo
I stepped up my visual
They should make a holiday for the day that they let Gucci free
Fuck a turkey giveaway, Gucci givin’ out bricks way for free
Look at me and look at you, how the fuck could you write a hook for me
Slickest nigga ever lived, they should write a book ’bout me
Gucci just got out the FED’s but now he make a mill a week
Bring me out a currency and motherfuck your sympathy

[Hook: Icewear Vezzo]
Angel wings, angel wings
Angel wings, angel wings
I’m so high, bitch I got angel wings
I’m so fly, bitch I got angel wings
Angel wings, angel wings
Angel wings, angel wings
I’m so high, bitch I got angel wings
I’m so fly, bitch I got angel wings

Post Malone – Got diamonds Lyrics

[Intro: Post Malone]
Yeah, my AP going psycho
Little mama bad like Michael
Can’t really trust nobody
With all this jewelry on you
My roof look like a no show
Got diamonds by the boatload
Come with the Tony homo
For causing all the bozos

[Hook: Post Malone]
Yeah, my AP going psycho
Little mama bad like Michael
Can’t really trust nobody
With all this jewelry on you
My roof look like a no show
Got diamonds by the boatload
Don’t act like you’re my friend
When I’m rolling through my ends so

[Verse 2: Ty Dolla $ign]
Yeah, the AP going psycho
My rollie going brazy
We’re hittin’ like..

Mally Mall – Where You At (feat. French Montana, 2 Chainz & Iamsu!)

[Intro]
Mally Mall

[Hook: Mally Mall + (2 Chainz)]
We gettin’ bread by the stacks
Blow a mil, make it back (truuuu)
Pretty boy Floyd with the bag (money)
Where you from? Where you at?
We gettin’ bread by the stacks
Blow a mil, make it back (truuuu)
Pretty boy Floyd with the bag (money)
Where you from? Where you at?

[Verse 1: French Montana]
Rock star, Pink Floyd every night
Get the Floyd money, nigga every night
24k gold on me every night
Blow European toy money every night (skrt)
Blow a mil and I make it back
Catch me in the drop top, ceilin’ back
Niggas throw shots, know we hit ’em back
At the top where we sittin’ at
Me and Mall back to back Wraith
Tell your bitch we got no space
Wavy like a sail boat
Fight night right by the rope
You wanna freestyle? I’m tryna stay free
Shots of Rose for the AP
Watch rocked up, gon’ climb on it
Blew 100 then I blew another 5 on it

[Hook: Mally Mall + (2 Chainz)]
We gettin’ bread by the stacks
Blow a mil, make it back (truuuu)
Pretty boy Floyd with the bag (money)
Where you from? Where you at?
We gettin’ bread by the stacks
Blow a mil, make it back (truuuu)
Pretty boy Floyd with the bag (money)
Where you from? Where you at?

[Verse 2: IAmSu!]
A heartbreaking gangster
Paid for mobster
I promise to never take her for steak and lobster
Baby I’m a player, gotta take precaution
I take dates with options on a flight to Boston
And every flight first class
Hit JR, get a front pass
And at the top it’s just us now
Mally plugged me on the Rollie, it’s a bust down (clean)
In the Ritz like anywhere I touch down
Hoes used to diss us and they tryna fuck now
She in love with the high, not the come down
Party out in Vegas, let me take you to the compound
My life is a movie and I do my own stunts now
It’s flood Uzi and every bar is like (?)
And the smoke got my eyes on kung-pao
Did it for the Bay, got the world goin’ dumb now

[Hook: Mally Mall + (2 Chainz)]
We gettin’ bread by the stacks
Blow a mil, make it back (truuuu)
Pretty boy Floyd with the bag (money)
Where you from? Where you at?
We gettin’ bread by the stacks
Blow a mil, make it back (truuuu)
Pretty boy Floyd with the bag (money)
Where you from? Where you at?

Lil Durk – Too Late

[Intro: Lil Durk]
Gang!
Yeah
2 times, 2 times!

[Hook: Lil Durk]
Purple water, pour up that berry that’s blue ring
Diamond water Tity Boi 2 times, that’s like 4 chains
Boss shit, I fucked yo’ baby mama in Mulsanne
Fashion week, fashion week, you should peep my shoe game
Hoes wanna fuck ’cause the fame, Ay! Ay!
I think I wear more Yeezys than North West and Kim K
Private jet, fuck a key I tell the clip boys that I’m late
.40 on me, if you reading this message you too late

[Verse 1: Lil Durk]
The streets left me hangin’ with some niggas I can eat with
Ridin’ through with Chicago with some boys on some street shit
Fuck a lot niggas’ hoes ’cause I’m on some me shit
Do a hit, don’t go by for yo’ mans, he know he hit
Real lean, you a fool you thinkin’ I drink hit
Pull up on yo’ bitch i8 drop I might hit the swift
Dab on ’em, AP in the trap I might jab on ’em
AP, I know them well I spend a couple thou on them
3 pills, they don’t mean shit don’t put no time in it
I ain’t talkin’ college with these dudes, I put like 5 in it
5 for the glasses, pussy niggas I see 5 men
Slide with me, crippin’ with homie free the guys nigga
2 shots from this Smith & why they trippin’
2 shots from this henny I can feel it
We come for niggas yeah we know the business
Rob me pussy niggas what’s the endin’, like
I stunt, gotta open trunk to the edges
I bust, get up close to me and see that .50
Like I must, get a 100 M’s before I’m 50
Like pie crust, sip so much lean that I broke my kidneys

[Hook: Lil Durk]
Purple water, pour up that berry that’s blue ring
Diamond water Tity Boi 2 times, that’s like 4 chains
Boss shit, I fucked yo’ baby mama in Mulsanne
Fashion week, fashion week, you should peep my shoe game
Hoes wanna fuck ’cause the fame, Ay! Ay!
I think I wear more Yeezys than North West and Kim K
Private jet, fuck a key I tell the clip boys that I’m late
.40 on me, if you reading this message you too late

[Verse 2: Lil Durk]
MAC is on me, niggas so do the Macarena, ay!
Two seater, me and my main fuck I eat her, ay!
Cool nigga, a pair of yeezys some Adidas, ay!
15 thousand, go up to 20 for a feature, ay!
2 pints, I was overseas gettin’ it too high
Too fly, I can get a mansion up in Dubai
Drive by, only one I land up in the Chi
Feds on me, and these niggas prayin’ I get 10 lives
Opps cats, and I know for sure they ain’t got 10 lives
Catch ’em down (?) tell a pussy nigga bye bye
Street nigga, way before Pac I was thug life
Got up, it fell down twice I was drugged twice
K snitch, bitch I’m gang gang hoe I can’t switch
Grey hits, I ain’t talkin’ music bitch I’m Ape shit
Fake shit, only come around ’cause we stay lit
Take shit, call Fat Boy Chubbs we gon’ tape shit
Man down, bitch my city lit, we don’t play ’round
Beefin’ with my boys, tell them pussy niggas stand down
Choppas mad rugers good night heard that gun sound
Gonna shoot a nigga in his shit watch the gun show

[Hook: Lil Durk]
Purple water, pour up that berry that’s blue ring
Diamond water Tity Boi 2 times, that’s like 4 chains
Boss shit, I fucked yo’ baby mama in Mulsanne
Fashion week, fashion week, you should peep my shoe game
Hoes wanna fuck ’cause the fame, Ay! Ay!
I think I wear more Yeezys than North West and Kim K
Private jet, fuck a key I tell the clip boys that I’m late
.40 on me, if you reading this message you too late

Lil Durk – Too Late Lyrics

[Intro: Lil Durk]
Gang!
Yeah
2 times, 2 times!

[Hook: Lil Durk]
Purple water, pour up that berry that’s blue ring
Diamond water Tity Boi 2 times, that’s like 4 chains
Boss shit, I fucked yo’ baby mama in Mulsanne
Fashion (?) fashion week, you should peep my shoe game
Hoes wanna fuck ’cause the fame, Ay! Ay!
I think I wear more Yeezys than North West and Kim K
Private jet, fuck a key I tell the clip boys that I’m late
.40 on me, if you reading this message you too late

[Verse 1: Lil Durk]
The streets left me hangin’ with niggas I can eat with
Ridin’ through with Chicago with some boys on some street shit
Fuck a lot niggas’ hoes ’cause I’m on some me shit
Do a hit, don’t go by for yo’ mans, he know he hit
(?), you a fool you thinkin’ I drink hit
Pull up on yo’ bitch i8 drop I might hit the swift
Dab on ’em, AP in the trap I might jab on ’em
AP, I know them well I spend a couple thou on them
3 pills, they don’t mean shit don’t put no time in it
I ain’t talkin’ college with these dudes, I put like 5 in it
5 for glasses, pussy niggas I see 5 men
Slide with me, crippin’ with homie free the guys nigga
2 times for (?) that’s they trippin’
2 times from this henny I can feel it
We come for niggas yeah we know the business
Rob me pussy niggas was the endin’, like
I stunt, gotta open trunk to the edges
I bust, get up close to me and see that .50
Like I must, get a 100 M’s before I’m 50
Like pie crust, sip so much lean that I broke my kidneys

[Hook: Lil Durk]
Purple water, pour up that berry that’s blue ring
Diamond water Tity Boi 2 times, that’s like 4 chains
Boss shit, I fucked yo’ baby mama in Mulsanne
Fashion (?) fashion week, you should peep my shoe game
Hoes wanna fuck ’cause the fame, Ay! Ay!
I think I wear more Yeezys than North West and Kim K
Private jet, fuck a key I tell the clip boys that I’m late
.40 on me, if you reading this message you too late

[Verse 2: Lil Durk]
MAC is on me, niggas so doo-doo MAC go in the (?), ay!
Two seater, me and my main fuck I eat her, ay!
Cool nigga, a pair of yeezys some Adidas, ay!
15 thousand, go up to 20 for a feature, ay!
2 pints, I was underseas gettin’ it too high
Too fly, I can get a mansion up in Dubai
Drive by, only one I land up in the Chi
Feds on me, and these niggas prayin’ I get 10 lives
Opps cast, and I know for sure they ain’t got 10 lives
Catch ’em down (?) tell a pussy nigga bye bye
Street nigga, way before Pac I was thug life
Got up, it fell down twice I was drugged twice
K snitch, bitch I’m gang gang hoe I can’t switch
Grey hits, I ain’t talkin’ music bitch I’m Ape shit
Fake shit, only come around ’cause we stay lit
Take shit, call a (?) we gon’ tape shit
Man down, bitch my city lit, we don’t play ’round
Beefin’ with my boys, tell them pussy niggas stand down
Choppas mad rugers good night heard that gun sound
Gonna shoot a nigga and the shit watch the gun sound

[Hook: Lil Durk]
Purple water, pour up that berry that’s blue ring
Diamond water Tity Boi 2 times, that’s like 4 chains
Boss shit, I fucked yo’ baby mama in Mulsanne
Fashion (?) fashion week, you should peep my shoe game
Hoes wanna fuck ’cause the fame, Ay! Ay!
I think I wear more Yeezys than North West and Kim K
Private jet, fuck a key I tell the clip boys that I’m late
.40 on me, if you reading this message you too late