Iranian state media is calling for the U.S. to be banned from competing in the 2022 World Cup over a now-deleted social media post in which the U.S. national soccer team altered an image of the Iranian flag.

In a now-deleted tweet, the U.S. Men’s national soccer team (USMNT) posted a graphic that included a doctored Iranian national flag without the Islamic Republic emblem, which represents the Islamic saying: “There is no god but God.”

“By posting a distorted image of the flag of the Islamic Republic of #Iran on its official account, the #US football team breached the @FIFAcom charter, for which a 10-game suspension is the appropriate penalty,” Iranian state news agency Tasim wrote in a statement on Sunday. “Team #USA should be kicked out of the #WorldCup2022.”

In a statement to an Iranian news agency, Iran’s soccer federation legal adviser Safia Allah Faghanpour said that the U.S. not using the Islamic logo on Iran’s national flag is “unethical,” according to the New York Times. 

“Respecting a nation’s flag is an accepted international practice that all other nations must emulate,” Faghanpour said in a statement. “The action conducted in relation to the Iranian flag is unethical and against international law.”

In a statement to CNN, the US Soccer Federation said posted the image for a 24-hour span to show support for “the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights.” Images on its social media accounts returned to using the proper Iranian flag by Sunday afternoon.

USMNT defenders Tim Ream and Walker Zimmerman told ESPN their coaches and teammates had no prior knowledge of the image.

“I think it’s such a focused group on the task at hand, but at the same time we empathize, and we are firm believers in women’s rights and support them,” Zimmerman said, per ESPN.

The U.S. team is set to play Iran in their third Group B match on Tuesday, needing a win to advance to the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Iran’s government has cracked down waves of protests in recent weeks sparked by the death of a 22-year-old Iranian national Mahsa Amini. Protesters are calling for an end to violence and discrimination toward women in the country, and in some cases the overthrow of the ruling regime.

Amini died in police custody last month after being arrested by authorities for improperly wearing her hijab, which violated Iran’s strict rules on female dress codes. 

Amini’s death has also garnered international attention, with countries including the U.S. condemning Iran for its treatment of women and the deadly tactics it has used to disperse demonstrators.

The BBC said Sunday that one of its reporters was arrested and beaten by Chinese authorities while covering protests in Shanghai over COVID-19 restrictions.

China is seeing rare outpourings of public frustration in recent days in response to strict COVID lockdowns meant to curb the spread of the virus.

In a statement on Sunday, the BBC said journalist Ed Lawrence was kicked and handcuffed for hours after being arrested while covering demonstrations in the country’s economic hub.

Video circulated online showing Lawrence being arrested and detained by a group of Chinese authorities. In another video, he appears to tell colleagues to “call the consulate” while being pulled away by police.

“It is very worrying that one of our journalists was attacked in this way whilst carrying out his duties,” an BBC spokesperson said in a statement. “We have had no official explanation or apology from the Chinese authorities, beyond a claim by the officials who later released him that they had arrested him for his own good in case he caught Covid from the crowd.”

The BBC said it is “extremely concerned” about Lawrence’s treatment in the country. 

China’s “zero COVID” strategy has led to a series of lockdowns all around the country, as cases soar to record levels in some places.

During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, White House coronavirus response coordinator Ashish Jha told anchor Martha Raddatz that China’s strategy toward COVID-19 is not realistic. 

“Obviously, that is not our strategy,” Jha said. “We don’t think that’s realistic, certainly not realistic for the American people. Our strategy has been build up immunity in the population by getting people vaccinated. That’s how you managed an incredibly contagious variant like omicron.”

Retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Sunday called Elon Musk a “purveyor of hate and division” after the new Twitter owner called him “both puppet & puppeteer” in an apparent spamming campaign critical of Musk.

Musk called out Vindman after a Twitter user noted he had shared the same message as dozens of other accounts.

The copy-pasted message shared by Vindman and others said: “Kinda weird that @elonmusk gets to decide how like a half-billion people communicate. Way too much power for one erratic individual to wield, don’t you think?”

Musk knocked Vindman in a reply to the post, calling those who shared it “bots in human form.”

“Vindman is both puppet & puppeteer. Question is who pulls his strings … ?” Musk asked Sunday.

“I’ll put my reputation up against yours any day,” Vindman wrote in response to Musk on Sunday.

“I’ve spent my entire adult life in service to my country. Upheld my oath to protect & defend this nation at great personal cost. You’ve demonstrated yourself to be a purveyor of hate and division. Let history be the judge,” Vindman wrote.

Vindman also attacked Musk’s business credentials in the Twitter thread. .

“Tesla stock is plummeting, Twitter is on the verge of insolvency, SpaceX succeeded in spite of you. You have a chance to salvage your legacy,” he wrote.

Vindman’s rebuke of Musk is the latest controversy about Musk’s management of Twitter since he acquired the platform late last month.

Racist and antisemitic messages reportedly surged on the social media app after Musk’s takeover, and his move to slash staff in mass layoffs stoked concerns that content moderation would be compromised.

Vindman has repeatedly drawn attention to hate, antisemitism and racism on the site since Musk made himself the platform’s chief moderator.

“We are experiencing a rise in hate, while many look the other way or seek to profit from it. I refuse to allow this to be the norm and a part of my child’s future. I will fight against hate and extremism and for decency and acceptance,” Vindman said in another Twitter post Sunday.

A Pro-Israel group that recently honored former President Trump said it “deplored” his recent meeting with rapper Ye and white nationalist Nick Fuentes. 

The right-wing Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) quoted Trump’s 2019 state-of-the-union address, in which he said: “We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed.”

And the group called on Trump “to live up to his own powerful words, to condemn in the strongest possible terms Jew-hater Kanye West and avowed holocaust denying, white supremacist, Jew-hater Nick Fuentes.”

“ZOA deplores the fact that President Trump had a friendly dinner with such vile antisemites. His dining with Jew-haters helps legitimize and mainstream antisemitism and must be condemned by everyone,” it added.

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ZOA also urged President Biden and former Democratic Presidents Clinton and Obama to publicly condemn individuals they deem “Jew haters,” such as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and progressive lawmakers who have spoken out in support of Palestine.

Trump accepted the Theodor Herzl Medallion at ZOA’s annual gala earlier this month, with the group calling the former president “the best friend Israel ever had in the White House.”

During his acceptance speech, Trump again complained that American Jews were ungrateful and continued to vote largely for Democrats.

Multiple news outlets reported last week that Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, brought Fuentes, an unabashed racist and Holocaust denier, to dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. 

Trump, who announced his reelection bid for president earlier this month, blamed Ye for bringing uninvited guests.

“He shows up with 3 people, two of which I didn’t know, the other a political person who I haven’t seen in years,” Trump said on Truth Social. “I told him don’t run for office, a total waste of time, can’t win. Fake News went CRAZY!”

Ye is reportedly planning a 2024 presidential run of his own, and said he asked Trump to be his ticket mate.

Several companies have cut their relationship ties with Ye in the past month after he made antisemitic remarks on various social media platforms. 

Trump called Ye a “seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black” in his recent post.

Camilla Parker Bowles, Queen Consort to King Charles III, is breaking the longstanding royal tradition of having “ladies-in-waiting” and will instead appoint assistants under the modernized title “Queen’s Companions,” multiple outlets are reporting.

The BBC reports that Camilla is also scaling back the duties of her six assistants, making the symbolic position less of an administrative or secretarial commitment than in the past, when ladies-in-waiting also worked on logistics for the Queen.

The move is part of an effort to push the British monarchy into modernity and remodel parts of the institution after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, whose passing ended a record seven-decade reign and left the monarchy to her son.

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Still, the assistants will likely play a similarly supportive, personal-assistant role to Camilla as they have done to Queens and Queen Consorts since the Middle Ages, attending her at public events and supporting her official duties, according to the Washington Post.

Camilla has reportedly handpicked for the position six of her close friends, and they’re set to make their first appearance with her at a Violence Against Women and Girls event at Buckingham Palace later this week.

Former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), who previously worked as an adviser to the House select committee investigating Jan. 6, said Sunday that committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) had “outsized” influence over its work.

Riggleman was speaking to CNN’s Jim Acosta ahead of the release of the Jan. 6 panel’s much-anticipated final report, expected to tie a bow on the investigations at the end of this year.

“I do think that she should’ve had more members sort of taking the ball and running with it when it came with some of this reporting,” Riggleman said, noting that he stopped working with the panel months ago.

“It’s hard for me to criticize specifically, but I do think that Liz probably had outsized influence, or maybe too much influence on the committee,” he added.

The comments come after the Washington Post reported that anonymous committee staff are “angered and disillusioned” by Cheney’s focus on former President Trump in the draft report.

Riggleman suggested that Cheney’s own initiative may have overwhelmed “other opinions or fact-finding that’s going on at the time.”

The Hill has reached out to Cheney’s office for comment.

Trump lashed out at Cheney after the Washington Post story, using it as fodder to undercut Cheney’s work on the panel and criticize her for her reelection loss in this year’s midterms.

A spokesperson for Cheney defended the Trump focus to the Washington Post, saying the decision to home in on the former president was justified by his actions surrounding Jan. 6.

The Jan. 6 committee voted unanimously to subpoena Trump last month, issuing the formal summons with 19 areas of inquiry it hoped to touch on with the former president’s testimony. 

American minister and social activist Rev. William Barber said on Sunday the Democratic party should stop looking to win the “elusive suburban vote” and instead focus on winning over lower-income voters.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Velshi,” Barber, who co-chairs the non-profit Poor People’s Campaign, noted the share of Americans who make under $30,000 annually who voted for Democrats was twelve points higher than those making under $50,000 annually. 

And Barber said low-income voters had an outsized influence in the most competitive states.

“There’s not a state in this country where poor and low-wage voters do not have at least 30 percent of the electorate. And in every state where the margin of victories is within 3 percent, poor and low-wealth voters have over 40 percent of the electorate. So you can’t win by ignoring poor and low-wealth votes,” Barber told Velshi. 

Barber said activating these voters could make a huge difference, as millions of low-income voters didn’t vote in battleground states like Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Arizona.

“In Arizona, in 2020, for instance, the number of poor and low-wealth voters who didn’t vote was 756,000, and the margin of victory was only 10,000 votes,” Barber added. 

“So you cannot ignore — and that’s one of the things we’re saying to Democrats and progressives — stop chasing the elusive suburban vote, but focus clearly and intensely on poor and low-wealth voters who tend to, when they vote, vote progressive if they’re targeted.”

Barber’s remarks come after Democrats pulled off unexpected victories in key states in the 2022 midterm elections, but still narrowly lost control of the House.

Barber, along with civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson, was arrested last year during a demonstration to urge lawmakers such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to end the filibuster and pass the For The People Act, a sweeping voting rights bill. 

Early voting is underway in Georgia in what promises to be an intense week-and-a-half of campaigning between GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker and incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Walker and Warnock were forced to keep campaigning through to the Dec. 6 runoff after neither candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote in their closely watched midterm general election, and have since ramped up their campaign ads and fundraising efforts.

A Warnock win would mean Democrats increase their razor-thin majority in the Senate, while a Walker victory would keep their total to 50 seats, with the tiebreaker vote from Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris.  

Even though Senate control is not on the line, as many predicted it would be, Georgia is seeing high early voting turnout in the runoff.

Data from the Georgia Secretary of State’s website showed early Sunday that some 90,000 voters had already cast their ballots just a day after early voting opened in some Georgia counties — after the Georgia Supreme Court denied a Republican bid to block Saturday early voting.

More Georgians voted on Sunday than on any Sunday in the 2018, 2020 and 2022 general elections, or in the 2021 Senate runoff, according to Warnock’s campaign director Quentin Fulks. The Hill has reached out to the Georgia secretary of state for confirmation of that data.

Georgia boasted record voter turnout throughout the midterms, with more than 143,000 votes cast on the first day of early voting before the general election.

Warnock has urged Georgians to “show up again” to reaffirm the slim 1-point lead he saw in the general election.

As of Nov. 16, Warnock had nearly three times as much funds at the ready as his challenger, according to a report from CNBC.

On the first day of his runoff campaign, Walker reportedly raised $3.3 million for his runoff campaign. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pledged $7 million for Warnock’s runoff effort.

The campaign rhetoric has also ramped up again as the runoff approaches.

Warnock has said the former NFL star “majors in lying” and “ain’t serious,” while Walker has called the incumbent a “hypocrite” and accused him of bending to Democratic leadership, according to the Associated Press.

Warnock touted his character in a new television ad, after Walker has defended himself against abuse allegations from his ex-wife and claims from a former girlfriend that he paid for her abortion.

“Character is what you do when nobody is watching. It’s about doing the right thing simply because it’s the right thing, and doing it over and over again,” the Democrat says in a recent ad, without naming Walker.

But the Democrat has more directly knocked Walker for his apparent contradictions regarding abortion.

Walker’s supporters, on the other hand, have released an ad accusing Warnock of mismanagement of an Atlanta apartment building with a link to his church.

Polls show the two candidates are again neck-and-neck heading into the runoff, though Walker appears to be edging slightly ahead: The latest FiveThirtyEight polling averages put Walker up 1 percentage point over Warnock, 47.8 percent to 46.8 percent.

Another poll released last week by AARP put Walker ahead by 4 percentage points, though Warnock was leading among voters aged 18-49.

The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates five times this year, essentially doubling them. Its rationale is that higher rates will curb inflation by reducing demand, especially in interest-sensitive sectors like housing and car purchases. The newly elected Republican House majority will try to reduce demand further by pressing fiercely to “cut spending.” A recession brought on by these policies will serve the Republican’s political purposes, and they know it. 

The Fed and the economists and pundits favoring these policies, if we take their economic rationale at face value, are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. The causes of today’s inflation are not government and private spending. They are supply shocks in crucial sectors, principally energy. These post-Covid disruptions are being driven by the OPEC oil cartel, war in Ukraine and Russia’s efforts to use energy to force members of the European Union to stay on the sidelines in this war. 

Worldwide reductions in energy supplies and the world’s vulnerability to OPEC’s decisions will not be fixed by higher rates or spending cuts. They will not make energy products — gasoline for cars and trucks, natural gas for home heating, electric generation and industry, diesel for trucks and heavy equipment, fertilizer, heating oil, propane — more available at lower prices. Worse, high energy prices raise the cost of almost every good and service Americans buy.  

Inflation driven by energy prices is not new. The OPEC cartel curtailed oil production in the 1970s and was a primary cause of that decade’s very high inflation. Are the members of the Federal Reserve Board and the deficit hawks really serious when they argue that the way to deal with these energy supply problems is to raise interest rates and reduce demand for energy products?   

Supply issues are driving price increases in non-energy products as well. Higher interest rates and spending cuts will not bring down inflation in dairy products, milk, cheese, butter and ice-cream. Price increases in these products are the result of a reduction in dairy herds during the pandemic that will take time to resolve. Prices of wheat products and feed have been affected by drought and floods on several continents, and of course by the oil cartel and war in Ukraine. How will higher rates and spending cuts encourage farmers to rebuild egg, chicken and turkey production reduced by avian flu this year? 

Shortages of some types of computer chips and other high-tech parts for our fast-changing economy beg the same question. Will higher rates and spending cuts increase or decrease investment in high-tech areas? What about our antiquated transportation infrastructure, electric generating facilities and electric grid? President Biden is funneling government money into efforts to increase production and investment in these sectors. A recession engineered by the Fed and Republicans in Congress will reduce private sector investment in these sectors, especially by smaller credit-dependent players. It will not add to supply. 

There are other areas where domestic price-fixing is causing inflation. Solutions in these areas will require difficult political decisions, not higher interest rates and spending cuts. U.S. health care costs rise every year and cost at a minimum one-third more than in Europe and Canada. Health care is dominated by local vendor monopolies, costly and medically useless insurance and payment arrangements. Everyone knows that American health care is an expensive paperwork nightmare but the politics of attacking these cozy price-fixing arrangements is daunting.  

Executive compensation is another area where the fix is in. Again, everyone knows it. Executives stack their boards and boost their own pay and benefits in plain sight while complaining about the high cost of labor. The Fed’s broad brush monetarist approach serves to take the public’s eye off the outrageous abuses of these boardroom price fixers.  

The solution would be reforms in corporate governance to root out inflationary self-dealing, but Republicans don’t want the government to make corporations play it straight. That’s why they focus on interest rates and government spending as the causes of inflation. It diverts the public from pointing fingers at well-heeled and well-lawyered culprits. Suffice it to say that early in our history corporations were given extraordinary powers by the government to achieve public purposes, not just to enrich their boards and shareholders.  

College tuition is another area where there is soaring inflation because of the gold-plating of facilities and huge paydays. College executives get million-dollar contracts. Higher interest rates and spending cuts will do little to bring these steadily rising costs down. That will take political action. 

President Gerald Ford held the Whip Inflation Now (WIN) conference in November 1974. The professors and business titans that Ford assembled all told him he should risk a recession by raising interest rates and cutting government spending, exactly what the conventional wisdom says today. A notable exception was professor Otto Eckstein of Harvard, who had served on President Lyndon Johnson’s Council of Economic Advisors (1964-1966) and founded Data Resource Inc., a famous early economic consulting firm. Eckstein said at the conference that the government should fight inflation by opening up industries where government-sanctioned price fixing arrangements were driving up prices. By the mid-1980s, President Ford, Carter and Reagan had opened many of these sectors to increased competition — domestic oil, natural gas and electricity, automobile and related manufacturing, trucking, railroads, airlines, telecommunications, finance, and even retailing. As a result, inflation was not a serious problem for the next 35 years, until the OPEC cartel regained power.  

The U.S. should shadow Eckstein’s approach for dealing with inflation today by attacking price fixing and investing in alternative energy that will gradually free us from OPEC’s domination. There needs to be more private and public investment in specific areas where inflation is a persistent problem and better public supervision of price fixing arrangements that have been driving prices up. This is essentially what President Biden’s infrastructure and anti-inflation policies are targeting, but the Fed’s monetarist policies undermine sensible thinking about ways to increase supply.  

We need to look through the right end of the telescope and focus on ways to increase supply, not pretend that inflation is a problem of over-consumption that can be solved by causing a recession.  

Paul A. London, Ph.D., was a senior policy adviser and deputy undersecretary of Commerce for Economics and Statistics in the 1990s, a deputy assistant administrator at the Federal Energy Administration and Energy Department, and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. A legislative assistant to Sen. Walter Mondale (D-Minn.) in the 1970s, he was a foreign service officer in Paris and Vietnam and is the author of two books, including “The Competition Solution: The Bipartisan Secret Behind American Prosperity” (2005).

Kyiv Mayor tali Klitschko appeared to criticize Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, accusing unnamed individuals of “political dances” after Zelensky called him out for lasting power outages in the city.

Klitschko said in a Telegram post that he was working quickly to restore power and heat to homes across Kyiv, but the fight over the restoration work “has already been given a political color.”

“Today, when everyone must work together, some political dances begin,” he wrote. “In Kyiv, we are doing everything we can for the life support of the capital, for the comfort of its residents. In difficult conditions.”

Zelensky on Friday criticized Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxer, for failing to set up emergency shelters fast enough. The Ukrainian leader also said 600,000 homes were without power and some residents were cut off for up to 30 hours.

“I expect quality work from the mayor’s office,” Zelensky said in his address. “Please be more serious.”

Russia bombarded Ukraine last week with a wave of missile strikes targeting critical infrastructure and power grids.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apparent attempt to weaponize winter — cutting off Ukrainians from electricity and water with brutal cold ahead — has been called a war crime and even “energy genocide.”

The missile attacks come after the Russian army’s heavy losses on the battlefield. The Washington Post reported Sunday that Moscow now controls 17 percent of Ukraine, less than at any point since April.

More than a hundred thousand people in 14 regions across Ukraine, including Kyiv, remain without power, according to Zelensky.

Klitschko said the city has provided more than 400 generators and another 100 were donated by volunteers and organizations, while hundreds of “heating points” are also open for residents to access heat and power.

“I do not want, especially in the current situation, to enter into political battles,” he wrote on Telegram. “It’s ridiculous. I have something to do.”

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