Don’t forget Roos on Good Friday: Scott

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has urged the AFL not to forget his club as the annual debate over the introduction of a Good Friday game heats up.


League boss Gillon McLachlan said on Tuesday that the AFL would have a good look at fixturing a blockbuster match-up on the public holiday from next year.

Competition between clubs to be a part of what would be a highly lucrative game will be fierce but Scott said they should all get in line behind the Kangaroos.

“I think the whole football community are well aware that North Melbourne were not only the originators of Friday night footy but 20 years ago we were the first to talk about possibly playing on Good Friday,” Scott said.

“Twenty years is a long time to wait.

“Obviously if it’s on the table a lot of clubs will put their hands up but we certainly hope that the AFL have long memories and they remember who came up with the idea.”

The Kangaroos open their 2016 campaign against Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

The Roos will hit the season in good shape from an injury perspective, with Shaun Higgins (knee) and Robbie Tarrant (back soreness) expected to be available to take on the Crows.

That’s good news for Scott, who is yet to guide North to a season-opening win in six years in charge.

He’s not sure exactly why that is but he’s left no stone unturned as he attempts to rid himself of the unwanted record.

“It could be (a coincidence) but we’re not leaving anything to chance,” he said.

“We’re not stupid enough to say that we’re just going to keep rolling out the same round-one preparation that we have in previous years.

“We’ve played a lot more (pre-season) games than we have previously and we’ve tweaked our training structure pretty significantly to be more ready to go at the start of the year.

“We’re not sticking our heads in the sand and saying that it’s just a coincidence.”

Brazil sports minister pushed out five months before Olympics

Hilton will likely be replaced by Ricardo Leyser, a senior official in the sports ministry who has been managing Olympic preparations, Wagner said in a wide-ranging news briefing with foreign media in Rio.


Hilton could not immediately be reached for comment. But Ugo Braga, an aide of his, said President Dilma Rousseff told Hilton her decision in a meeting on Tuesday evening.

His departure came after Hilton quit his Brazilian Republican Party (PRB), which was part of Dilma Rousseff’s ruling coalition, on Friday. The PRB broke with Rousseff’s governing coalition last week and the minister quit the party to keep his post.

Rousseff, who is trying to keep her coalition together as she battles impeachment proceedings, pushed out Hilton in a bid to woo back the PRB, several party members said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Hilton’s departure is a sign of how the fallout from Brazil’s spiraling political crisis could affect the country’s preparations for South America’s first Olympics in August.

Appointed in January 2015, Hilton had been criticized for an apparent lack of sporting experience. In his acceptance speech he said, “I may not profoundly understand sport, but I understand people, I know how to listen.”

Hilton’s likely successor, Leyser, has been responsible for coordinating the organization of Rio 2016 Olympic Games within the ministry. Except for a brief six-month hiatus, he has been the ministry’s secretary for professional sport since 2009.

(Reporting by Maria Pia Palermo and Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; Editing by Richard Chang)

Man nested in Seattle’s landmark tree, draws coos, boos

Seattle police negotiated with the bearded man from the window of a Macy’s department store building some 30 feet (9 meters) from where he had been perched in the tree branches since Tuesday, said Officer Patrick Michaud.


Michaud said the man “created himself a little seat, maybe even a nest up there at the top.”

Police closed off a small, triangular city block at the base of the tree to protect the public from falling objects, including the man himself, who became a top trending topic.

“Has anyone tried sending a cat up to rescue him? I think they owe us one. #ManInTree,” tweeted @TheChrisAsbury on Wednesday.

“I know #ManInTree is (still) causing a logistical nightmare for the City of Seattle but God love this man!” tweeted @carrielamarr.

The man was first noticed atop the tree on Tuesday morning, and he spent the day throwing objects, including branches and sequoia seed cones, at police officers on the street below, Michaud said. He also claimed to be armed with a knife.

Police used a fire department cherry picker to negotiate with him, but late in the day it was needed elsewhere and left.

A police statement said the man appeared to be going through a personal crisis. He was largely peaceful, Michaud added.

By then, T-shirts emblazoned with “Remember the Tree” with the date that the tree-sitting began were being snapped up online.

A live feed streamed by local broadcaster KOMO News showed spectators videotaping the man as he lounged in his nest, sporting an outfit of khaki pants, a checked hoodie and a red beanie hat.

Some shouted at the man and accused him of vandalising the tree that was planted in 1973 and, according to the Seattle Government Department of Transportation’s SDOT Blog, was once 100 feet (30 meters) tall before being damaged by a storm several years ago.

“I was okay with #ManInTree yesterday, but just look at the damage he has done to that thing. Not acceptable,” tweeted Cameron Bielstein @CBielstein.

Aust draw on World Cup win at World T20

Glenn Maxwell believes holding the World Cup will hold Australia in good stead as the pressure rises at the World Twenty20.


Australia’s tournament-opening loss to New Zealand has made their path to the World T20 semi-finals a lot tricker.

They most likely need to win both remaining pool games, against India and Pakistan in Chandigarh.

Maxwell concedes it has been an inconsistent start to the event from him side but points to their impressive record at last year’s World Cup as cause for confidence.

“When our backs are against the wall we generally find a way out of it,” Maxwell told AAP.

“We’ve got two big games coming up but these are the sort of games that we’ve played really well in over the last few years.

“We did it last year in the World Cup.

“We lost to New Zealand in that low-scoring game then found a way to get past the rest of the sides and go undefeated for the rest of the tournament.

“That’s exactly what we’re hoping to do now.”

It isn’t the only parallel.

Australia defeated Pakistan in the their 2015 World Cup quarter-final then ousted defending champions India in their semi.

Now they are attempting to end the World T20 hopes of the same two sides.

“We definitely can draw confidence from it,” Maxwell said, having played a key role in last year’s World Cup.

“And I don’t think people can just say ‘India is a different country’.

“If we play with that same freedom that we played with during last year’s World Cup then I don’t see why we can’t knock over these two teams and get ourselves into a semi-final.”

There is a possibility Australia could sneak through to the knock-out phase on net run-rate by losing to Pakistan then beating India.

But it’s not a scenario that anyone in the 15-man squad is contemplating ahead of their clash with Shahid Afridi’s side, which starts at 8.30pm (AEDT).

Australia have suffered an eight-run loss to NZ then beaten Bangladesh by three wickets, with Maxwell describing it as a “bits and pieces” start to the event.

Skipper Steve Smith was more cutting when he addressed the side after they suffered a collapse of 6-57 while hauling in a target of 157 to defeat Bangladesh.

“He was probably just disappointed that we played sloppy. We weren’t at what we expect to be our clinical best,” Maxwell said.

The side’s batting order hasn’t clicked in India but Maxwell, who has logged scores of 22 and 26 in the tournament, is upbeat it will soon.

“I look down at our Australian list and we’ve got more match-winners than any other side in the world. We have a team full of them,” the allrounder said.

“That’s why we’ve just got to have confidence … but first we’ve got to worry about Pakistan and how we’re going to overcome them.”

The west’s Islamophobia is only helping the Islamic State

That formula has clearly failed.


Tuesday’s bombings in Brussels come on the heels of similar incidents in Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast; Maiduguri, Nigeria; Istanbul; Beirut; Paris; and Bamako, Mali, all in the last six months. Rather than containing violence, the war on terror turned the whole world into a battlefield.

We should not be surprised. Violence inflicted abroad always comes home in some form. Last year, the U.S. military dropped 22,110 bombs on Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon says these bombs “likely” killed only six civilians, along with “at least” 25,000 Islamic State fighters. The true number of civilian deaths, though, is likely to be in the thousands as well.

Indeed, we know that the war on terror kills more civilians than terrorism does. But we tolerate this because it is “their” civilians being killed in places we imagine to be too far away to matter. There is no social media hashtag to commemorate these deaths; no news channel tells their stories.

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Because we pay little attention to the effects of our violence in the places we bomb, it appears that terrorism comes out of the blue. When it does happen, then, the only way we can make sense of it is by laying the blame on Islamic culture.

When opinion polls find that most Muslims think Westerners are selfish, immoral and violent, we have no idea of the real causes. And so we assume such opinions must be an expression of their culture rather than our politics.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have exploited these reactions with their appeals to Islamophobia. But most liberals also assume that religious extremism is the root cause of terrorism. President Obama, for example, has spoken of “a violent, radical, fanatical, nihilistic interpretation of Islam by a faction — a tiny faction — within the Muslim community that is our enemy, and that has to be defeated.”

Based on this assumption, think-tanks, intelligence agencies and academic departments linked to the national security apparatus have spent millions of dollars since 9/11 conducting research on radicalization. They hoped to find a correlation between having extremist religious ideas, however defined, and involvement in terrorism.

“Indeed, we know that the war on terror kills more civilians than terrorism does. But we tolerate this because it is ‘their’ civilians being killed in places we imagine to be too far away to matter.”

In fact, no such correlation exists, as empirical evidence demonstrates – witness the European Islamic State volunteers who arrive in Syria with copies of “Islam for Dummies” or the alleged leader of the November 2015 Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was reported to have drunk whisky and smoked cannabis. But this has not stopped national security agencies, such as the FBI, from using radicalization models that assume devout religious beliefs are an indicator of potential terrorism.

The process of radicalization is easily understood if we imagine how we would respond to a foreign government dropping 22,000 bombs on us. Large numbers of patriots would be volunteering to fight the perpetrators. And nationalist and religious ideologies would compete with each other to lead that movement and give its adherents a sense of purpose.

Similarly, the Islamic State does not primarily recruit through theological arguments but through a militarized identity politics. It says there is a global war between the West and Islam, a heroic struggle, with truth and justice on one side and lies, depravity and corruption on the other. It shows images of innocents victimized and battles gloriously waged. In other words, it recruits in the same way that any other armed group recruits, including the U.S. military.

That means that when we also deploy our own militarized identity politics to narrate our response to terrorism, we inadvertently reinforce the Islamic State’s message to its potential recruits. When British Prime Minister David Cameron talks about a “generational struggle” between Western values and Islamic extremism, he is assisting the militants’ own propaganda. When French President François Hollande talks of “a war which will be pitiless,” he is doing the same.

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What is distinctive about the Islamic State’s message is that it also offers a utopian and apocalyptic vision of an alternative society in the making. The reality of that alternative is, of course, oppression of women, enslavement of minorities and hatred of freedom.

But the message works, to some extent, because it claims to be an answer to real problems of poverty, authoritarian regimes and Western aggression. Significantly, it thrives in environments where other radical alternatives to a discredited status quo have been suppressed by government repression. What’s corrupting the Islamic State’s volunteers is not ideology but by the end of ideology: They have grown up in an era with no alternatives to capitalist globalization. The organization has gained support, in part, because the Arab revolutions of 2011 were defeated, in many cases by regimes allied with and funded by the U.S.

After 14 years of the “war on terror,” we are no closer to achieving peace. The fault does not lie with any one administration but with the assumption that war can defeat terrorism. The lesson of the Islamic State is that war creates terrorism.

After all, the organization was born in the chaos and carnage that followed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Russia and Iran have also played their role, propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime — responsible for far more civilian deaths than the Islamic State — and prolonging the war in Syria that enables the militant group to thrive.

Meanwhile, the alliances that we consider crucial to the war on terror have worked in the Islamic State’s favor. The group’s sectarianism and funding have come from the Saudi and Gulf ruling elites, the West’s closest regional allies after Israel. And the groups that have been most effective in fighting the Islamic State — the Kurdish militia — are designated as terrorists by Western governments because they are considered threats to our ally Turkey.

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The incoherence of our response to the Islamic State stems from our Islamophobia. Because we believe religious extremism is the underlying problem, we prop up Arab dictatorships that we think can help us contain this danger. Paradoxically, we support the very regimes that have enabled the Islamic State’s rise, such as the Saudis, the most reactionary influence in the region.

With our airstrikes, we continue the cycle of violence and reinforce the militants’ narrative of a war by the West against Islam. Then, to top it all off, we turn away the refugees, whom we should be empowering to help transform the region. If we want to avoid another 14 years of failure, we need to try something else — and first, we need to radically rethink what we’ve been doing.

Belgium ignored Turkey’s bomber warning

One of the attackers in the Brussels suicide bombings was deported last year from Turkey, and Belgium subsequently ignored a warning that the man was a militant, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says.


Erdogan’s office identified the man as Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the two brothers named by Belgium as responsible for the attacks that killed at least 31 people in Brussels on Tuesday and were claimed by the Islamic State group.

In previous cases, officials have said that without evidence of crime, such as having fought in Syria, they cannot jail people deported from Turkey. Among such cases was Brahim Abdeslam, one of the suicide bombers in Paris in November, who was also sent back to Belgium from Turkey early last year.

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Erdogan told a news conference that Bakraoui was detained in the southern Turkish province of Gaziantep near the Syrian border and was later deported to the Netherlands. Turkey also notified Dutch authorities, Erdogan said.

A Dutch government official said Erdogan’s comments were “being carefully looked into,” but that they could not yet say if El Bakraoui had been in the Netherlands.

“One of the attackers in Brussels is an individual we detained in Gaziantep in June 2015 and deported. We reported the deportation to the Belgian Embassy in Ankara on July 14, 2015, but he was later set free,” Erdogan said.

“Belgium ignored our warning that this person is a foreign fighter.”

Erdogan’s office confirmed that Bakraoui was deported to the Netherlands. It said he was later released by Belgian authorities as “no links with terrorism” were found. It was not clear when Bakraoui was handed over to Belgian authorities.

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Erdogan initially said Bakraoui was deported in June. His office later said he was detained in June and deported in July.

Belgian newspaper Le Soir quoted Justice Minister Koen Geens as confirming Bakraoui was deported to the Netherlands. Geens’ spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

The attacks in Brussels came just days after a suspected Islamic State suicide bomber blew himself up in Istanbul’s most popular shopping district, killing three Israelis and an Iranian and wounding dozens.

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Pro-gun mother shot by four-year-old son may face jail time

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has asked that Jamie Gilt be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor charge of allowing a minor access to a firearm, according to CNN.


Capt. Gator DeLoach told the network Tuesday that the charge carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail.

Sheriff’s officials did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment.

But, CNN added:

“DeLoach said the sheriff’s office supports the rights of citizens to own and possess firearms, but gun owners have the ‘additional responsibility of ensuring children do not gain unintended access to a firearm in hopes of preventing tragedies like this.'”

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It will be up to the state attorney’s office to decide whether to charge Gilt. An office spokesman told The Post that the case is under review but declined further comment on the matter.

According to Florida law, it is illegal for minors to possess a firearm unless they are under the supervision of an adult. There are exceptions, the law states – if the minor is at least 16 and engaged in lawful hunting, a recreational shooting activity or marksmanship competition, for instance; or if the weapon is unloaded and being transported to one of those events.

Officials told the Florida Times-Union that Gilt was not supervising her son when he fired a .45-caliber handgun, hitting his mother in the back while she was driving down a road in Putnam County earlier this month.

The Associated Press quoted DeLoach saying that Gilt had placed the loaded weapon underneath the front seat of her pickup before it slid to the back seat, where her son was able to pick it up off the floor after unbuckling himself from a child booster seat.

The AP reported that the gun — which was legally owned — was not in a holster and didn’t have a trigger lock on.

“She was shot through the seat and the round went through her back,” sheriff’s Capt. Joseph Wells told the Times-Union. “There was a booster seat in the back of the vehicle, but, however, the boy was not strapped in when the deputy got to them.”

Social media

Hours before the March 8 shooting, Gilt had bragged on Facebook that her son “gets jacked up to target shoot.”

The 31-year-old Jacksonville woman’s social media presence is filled with pro-gun messages, Second Amendment memes and posts supporting the NRA, as well as photos of her posing with weapons.

She appears to maintain a Facebook page called “Jamie Gilt for Gun Sense,” which has since been inundated by people criticising her passion for weapons in light of being shot by her son.

The page includes numerous posts asserting that the government plans to confiscate weapons from U.S. citizens.

Gilt was towing a trailer when the shooting occurred and was on her way to a relative’s home to pick up a horse, police said.

Her vehicle was spotted by a sheriff’s deputy who was driving by and noticed Gilt in the driver’s seat “motioning to him as if she needed assistance,” according to police. After approaching the vehicle, the deputy realised that Gilt had been shot.

“The deputy provided first aid until the arrival of paramedics,” according to a statement released by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department. “The victim was transported to University of Florida Health in Gainesville and was last reported to be in stable condition. The only other occupant of the vehicle was the victim’s 4-year-old son, who was unharmed.”

Before she went into the emergency room, the statement added, Gilt told police that she’d been shot by her son.

Officials told the Gainsville Sun that they didn’t have information about Gilt’s condition or whether she’d been released from the hospital.

A Florida Department of Children and Families investigation remains open, and Gilt’s children remain in the care of family members, a DCF spokesman told The Post.

Last-over drama as India beat Bangladesh by one run

Bangladesh, chasing 147 for victory in the Group Two match, needed 11 runs off the last over bowled by seamer Hardik Pandya and made the perfect start as Mushfiqur Rahim (11) smashed two early fours.


However, they then lost three wickets off the final three deliveries as a jubilant India team scraped over the line to climb to second in the table while their opponents remained bottom following a third defeat.

“In a situation like this it’s literally chaos,” said home captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“What you’re trying to do is trying to manage chaos. You have to assess everything but it has to happen in a short span of time.”

India, under pressure after losing to New Zealand in their opening match, were put in to bat at the start of the day and lost both openers in quick succession.

Virat Kohli (24) and Suresh Raina (30) steadied the ship by adding 50 for the third wicket but a disciplined performance by Bangladesh’s bowlers held India in check as they posted a modest total of 146 for seven.

The home spinners then took control with Bangladesh unable to get to grips with Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.


Ashwin struck with his second ball, removing Mohammad Mithun for one.

Fellow opener Tamim Iqbal (35), back in the side after food poisoning, and Sabbir Rahman (26) shared a stand of 44 before both were stumped by Dhoni.

Ashwin then picked up the important wicket of Shakib Al Hasan (22) while Jadeja bowled Mashrafe Mortaza for six.

Mahmudullah hit back with a quickfire 18 and Soumya Sarkar struck a run-a-ball 21 to haul Bangladesh within sight of victory.

However, a thrilling final over saw Mushfiqur caught at deep mid-wicket by Shikhar Dhawan.

Mahmudullah was also snapped up by Jadeja in the deep off the next ball and, needing one run to take the game into a super over, Bangladesh number 11 Mustafizur Rahman was run out by keeper Dhoni after completely missing a wide delivery.

“We were on top till the last three balls, we could have taken singles,” said skipper Mashrafe Mortaza.

“We needed only two runs off three balls. It is disappointing.”

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

Nothing is off limits for Donald Trump, including spouses

“Wow Sen.


Ted Cruz, that is some low-level ad you did using a picture [of] Melania in a G.Q. shoot. Be careful or I will spill the beans on your wife,” Trump tweeted 17 minutes before the Utah caucuses were scheduled to start.

Within seconds, Trump deleted the tweet. Ten minutes later, he posted a more polished version of his seemingly impromptu attack: “Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!”

“Be careful” is what Trump often utters or tweets when he feels threatened by a rival, a super PAC or a new line of attack. It’s his way of reminding those involved that he doesn’t abide by the traditional rules of political decorum, and he will not only go after opponents in shockingly belittling ways – he will do the same to their spouses, parents, relatives and loved ones.

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“BE CAREFUL,” Trump warned Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in late December when she accused him of having “a penchant for sexism” after he accused her of lacking the strength and stamina required for the presidency. Trump then accused former president Bill Clinton of having a “terrible record of women abuse,” prompting several days of rehashing Clinton’s history of womanizing and allegations of abuse. On the campaign trail since then, Trump has bragged that he gave the political power couple a very bad weekend, and has warned that his attacks in a general election would pale in comparison.

Ahead of the Iowa caucuses, former first lady Barbara Bush filmed a video message to the supporters of her son, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, that seemed to take a veiled shot at Trump in this line: “When push comes to shove, people are going to realize Jeb has real solutions, rather than talking about how popular they are, how great they are.” Trump then tweeted in late January that Bush “desperately needed mommy to help him” – an attack that he would repeat over and over again until Bush dropped out of the race. Bush fired back with a photo of his mother in football pads with this note: “I’d be careful Donald.”

But Trump continued to use Bush’s “mommy” to belittle his rival, while saying that he was sure she was a lovely woman. Ahead of the South Carolina primary, Trump also suggested at a GOP debate that Bush’s brother, former president George W. Bush, should have been impeached. That same week, Trump mocked Jeb Bush’s low poll standings and taunted: “Go home. Go home to Mom. Go home to Mommy.”

On Tuesday night, Trump threatened to tell all about Cruz’s wife because of an ad circulating on social media that showed a 15-year-old photo of Melania Trump posing seemingly nude on a blanket of fur for a magazine photo shoot with this message: “Meet Melania Trump. Your next first lady. Or, you could support Ted Cruz on Tuesday.” The ad is the work of an anti-Trump super PAC that calls itself “Make America Awesome” and this week targeted Mormon voters in Utah with a series of social media ads.

“‘Be careful'” is what Trump often utters or tweets when he feels threatened by a rival, a super PAC or a new line of attack.” 

Cruz quickly pointed out on Twitter Tuesday night that he is not tied to the ad: “Pic of your wife not from us. Donald, if you try to attack Heidi, you’re more of a coward than I thought. #classless.” Trump responded on Twitter on Wednesday morning: “Lyin’ Ted Cruz denied that he had anything to do with the G.Q. model photo post of Melania. That’s why we call him Lyin’ Ted!” Later in the morning, top Trump adviser Stephen Miller said in an interview on CNN that Cruz should “tell his super PACs to stand down.”

Trump defends these sorts of attacks by saying that he’s simply defending himself and implying that it’s the fault of his rivals for putting their loved ones in a position to be attacked: Clinton accused him of sexism, so he went after her husband for being sexist. Barbara Bush made a veiled attack at him in a video, so he used her to mock her son. Melania Trump’s modeling photo was used to encourage Utah voters to pick Cruz, so he threatened to share unflattering information about Cruz’s wife.

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Often these attacks are vague and open-ended, but they signal to Trump’s supporters that they should feel free to launch their own attacks. After Trump threatened to “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz on Tuesday night, Twitter filled with speculation about what those beans might be. There were links to a heavily redacted 2005 Austin Police Department report detailing an officer finding Heidi Cruz next to an expressway and deciding she was a “danger to herself,” along with links to articles about her Wall Street career and a slew of unflattering hashtags.

The power of this social media barrage is not to be underestimated and is well recognized by the Trump campaign. As Trump tried to get Megyn Kelly booted from a debate in late January, which he eventually skipped, Fox News put out a statement saying that Trump’s campaign manager said in a phone call with a Fox News executive “that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ “

Late Tuesday night, former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone tweeted: “Melania HOT, Heidi NOT.”

Stone, who remains a confidante to Trump, included a link in the tweet to a column he wrote for the Daily Caller last week that accused the Cruzes of having “a sometimes troubled relationship” and accused the presidential candidate’s parents of having a “troubled marriage … plagued by alcohol and infidelity.” The column detailed the incident in Austin and noted that Heidi Cruz is receiving help from her mother-in-law and a live-in nanny in caring for her children.

Cruz was on the “Today” show on Wednesday morning and defended his wife against the attack Trump had technically not yet launched, calling him “a bully.” Heidi Cruz then addressed the situation herself during a campaign stop in Wisconsin, saying that the photo of Melania Trump that sparked the Twitter war the night before was not circulated by her husband’s campaign.

“In no way, shape, or form were we related to it,” Heidi Cruz told a small group of reporters at the campaign’s office in Waukesha, Wisconsin. “And we are really excited today about the incredible results from yesterday.”

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As Cruz tried to nudge the conversation to the campaign’s strategy and win record, reporters kept asking about the tweet.

How did she feel when she saw it? “You know, as I said, you probably know by now that most of the things Donald Trump says have no basis in reality,” she said.

What message did she think the tweet sent to the women of Wisconsin? “What I think most women want is a better future for their children,” she responded.

Did she think that candidates’ spouses should be off limits? “Like I said, we have run our campaign on the principles that Ted and I believe in,” Cruz said. “And a lot of the things that are done from time to time are not from our campaign. So I want you to focus on what our campaign puts out, a positive, hopeful, optimistic agenda for this country.”

IS trains 400 fighters to attack Europe

Islamic State has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris, officials have told The Associated Press.


The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq.

The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, have told about camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to attack the West.

Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the November 13 Paris attacks claimed he had entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered “more or less everywhere.”

But the biggest break yet in the Paris attacks investigation – the arrest of fugitive Salah Abdeslam – did not thwart the multipronged attack just four days later on the Belgian capital’s airport and metro that left 31 people dead and at least 270 wounded. Three suicide bombers also died.

Just as in Paris, Belgian authorities were searching for at least one fugitive in Tuesday’s attacks – this time for a man wearing a white jacket who was seen on airport security footage with the two suicide attackers.

After fleeing Paris immediately after the November attacks, Abdeslam forged a new network back in his childhood neighbourhood of Molenbeek, long known as a haven for jihadis, and renewed plotting, according to Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.

“Not only did he drop out of sight, but he did so to organise another attack, with accomplices everywhere. With suicide belts. Two attacks organised just like in Paris. And his arrest, since they knew he was going to talk, it was a response: ‘So what if he was arrested? We’ll show you that it doesn’t change a thing,”‘ said French Senator Nathalie Goulet, co-head of a commission tracking jihadi networks.

Estimates range from 400 to 600 Islamic State fighters trained specifically for external attacks, according to the officials, including Goulet. Some 5,000 Europeans have gone to Syria.

“The reality is that if we knew exactly how many there were, it wouldn’t be happening,” she said.

Two of the suicide bombers in Tuesday’s attacks, brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, had no known extremist links until an apartment one of them rented was traced to Abdeslam last week, according to Belgian state broadcaster RTBF.

Similarly, an Algerian killed inside that apartment on March 15 had nothing but a petty theft record in Sweden – but he’d signed up as an Islamic State suicide bomber for the group in 2014 and returned to Europe as part of the November 13 plot.

In claiming responsibility, the Islamic State group described a “secret cell of soldiers” dispatched to Brussels for the purpose.

The shadowy cells were confirmed by Europol – the EU police agency which said in a late January report that intelligence officials believed the group had “developed an external action command trained for special forces-style attacks.”