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Hasbro confirmed in an email that its products were produced at two of the facilities referred to in the report.

“The allegations in the report are not substantiated by Hasbro’s extensive monitoring and audits conducted throughout 2018, and both suppliers are in good standing with Hasbro’s robust ethical sourcing requirements,” a spokesperson told CNBC.

In an emailed statement to CNBC, a Target spokesperson said it took the allegations seriously, adding: “We expect all vendors supplying products to Target to uphold our standards and treat everyone with respect, dignity and equality.”

Costco declined to comment on the report.

Spokespersons for Disney, Mattel, and Walmart were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

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Kremlin waiting for U.S. decision on Putin-Trump meeting: Interfax



Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, including the State Duma parliamentarians, members of the Federation Council, regional governors and other high-ranking officials, in Moscow, Russia February 20, 2019.

Alexei Nikolsky | Reuters

The Kremlin said on Sunday it hopes a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump takes place, but that it has not received a definitive decision from Washington on the matter, Interfax news agency reported.

“We know that Trump has spoken of his desire for a meeting, but unfortunately we also know that (U.S. Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo did not bring any concrete proposals about organising such a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Osaka,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was cited as saying.

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Indians vote in final phase of grueling national election



An Indian commuter and yellow taxi crossed behind the wall graffiti displaying in a alley in support of Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) candidate for the upcoming general election, in Kolkata, India on Thursday, 9th May , 2019.

Sonali Pal | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Indians voted Sunday in the seventh and final phase of a grueling national election that lasted more than five weeks, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party seeks to govern for another five years.

The election is seen as a referendum on Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP’s main opposition is the Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has produced three prime ministers.

Vote counting begins on Thursday, and the election result will likely be known the same day.

The voting Sunday covered Modi’s constituency of Varanasi, a holy Hindu city where he was elected in 2014 with an impressive margin of over 200,000 votes. Modi spent Saturday night at Kedarnath, a temple of the Hindu god Shiva nestled in the Himalayas in northern India.

The final election round included 59 constituencies in eight states. Up for grabs were 13 seats in Punjab and an equal number in Uttar Pradesh, eight each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, four in Himachal Pradesh and three in Jharkhand and Chandigarh.

In Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, voters lined up outside polling stations early Sunday morning to avoid the scorching heat, with temperatures reaching up to 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit). Armed security officials stood guard in and outside the centers amid fear of violence.

While the election, which began April 11, was largely peaceful, West Bengal, located in eastern India, was an exception. Modi is challenged there by the state’s chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, who heads the more inclusive Trinamool Congress party and is eyeing a chance to go to New Delhi as the opposition’s candidate for prime minister.

Modi visited West Bengal 17 times in an effort to make inroads with his Hindu nationalist agenda, provoking sporadic violence and prompting the Election Commission to cut off campaigning there.

On Sunday, Nirmala Sitharaman, a BJP leader and the country’s defense minister, accused Banerjee’s supporters of attacking her party members and preventing them from voting at several places in six of the nine constituencies in West Bengal. She did not provide details.

Prodeep Chakrabarty, a retired teacher in Kolkata, said Modi’s BJP was desperate to win some seats against Banerjee’s influential regional party.

“People are divided for many reasons. We have to wait for a final outcome to see who people are voting for. Things are not predictable like before,” he said.

Minorities in India, especially Muslims, who comprise about 14 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion people, criticize Modi for his Hindu nationalist agenda. Modi’s party backed a bill that would make it easier to deport millions of Bangladeshis who have migrated to India since Bangladesh’s independence in 1971. The bill, however, eases a path to citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Parsees and Jains — non-Muslims — who came from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan over decades.

Voters were also up early Sunday in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh state, where election workers arranged for drinking water, shade and fans to cool them down.

“I straightaway came from my morning walk to cast my vote and was surprised to see enthusiasm among the voters,” said Ramesh Kumar Singh, who was among the first to vote. “There were long queues of people waiting patiently to cast their votes, which is a good sign for democracy.”

During the election campaign, Modi played up the threat of Pakistan, India’s Muslim-majority neighbor and archrival, especially after the suicide bombing of a paramilitary convoy in Kashmir on Feb. 14 that killed 40 Indian soldiers.

Congress and other opposition parties have challenged Modi over a high unemployment rate of 6.1% and farmers’ distress aggravated by low crop prices.

Some of Modi’s boldest policy steps, such as the demonetization of high currency notes to curb black-market money, proved to be economically damaging. A haphazard implementation of “one nation, one tax” — a goods and services tax — also hit small and medium businesses.

Voter turnout in the first six rounds was approximately 66%, the Election Commission said, up from 58% in the last national vote in 2014.

Pre-election media polls indicate that no party is likely to win anything close to a majority in Parliament, which has 543 seats. The BJP, which won a majority of 282 seats in 2014, may need some regional parties as allies to stay in power.

A Congress-led government would require a major electoral upset.

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Iran is not pursuing war, Revolutionary Guards leader says



Brigadier General Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

ATTA KENARE | AFP | Getty Images

DUBAI — Iran is not seeking war, the leader of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards said Sunday.

“The difference between us and them is that they are afraid of war and don’t have the will for it,” Major General Hossein Salami said, as quoted by local news agency Fars.

On Saturday the Revolutionary Guard general, known for his inflammatory rhetoric, mocked the U.S. political system and made a jab related to the 9/11 attacks.

“The U.S. political system is full of cracks,” Salami said. “Though impressive-looking, it has osteoporosis. In fact, America’s story is like the World Trade Center towers that collapse with a sudden blow.”

The Donald Trump administration labeled Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization in April, making it the first military institution of a foreign government to receive that designation.

The comments come amid escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington and just days after drone attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure carried out by Iranian-supported Houthi rebels from Yemen. The U.S. later withdrew much of its diplomatic staff from Iraq, citing intelligence reports alleging threats and evidence of heightened activity from Iranian-backed proxies in the country.

But Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has been meeting with foreign leaders and dismissing the potential for war. “There will be no war because neither do we want a war, nor has anyone the idea or illusion it can confront Iran in the region,” Zarif told local media Sunday.

Weeks of escalation

A ramp-up in military posturing from both sides has regional watchers and America’s Western allies worried that a miscalculation could spark a full-blown conflict.

The weeks prior saw the White House broadcast news of U.S. bombers and warships deployed to the Persian Gulf, citing “troubling and escalatory” threats coming from Iran.

Earlier this month, Iran announced it would end some of its key obligations to the 2015 nuclear deal — returning to higher levels of uranium enrichment and stockpiling — if the deal’s European signatories didn’t rescue the country’s ailing oil and banking sectors hit hard by sanctions.

The Trump administration has tightened its chokehold on Iranian oil exports and its metals industry as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign, leading the Islamic Republic’s leaders to describe the country’s economic hardships as harder than those during its brutal Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.

While some say this pressure may force Iran to the negotiating table, most analysts agree the country will not capitulate anytime soon, despite President Donald Trump’s open invitation to its leaders to “call me.”

Reports have emerged of internal division in the White House, describing national security advisor John Bolton as gunning for war while Trump remains reluctant. The leaders have outwardly said they do not want war and prefer a diplomatic solution, but some experts worry that the maximalist demands from the administration provide no off-ramp for either party to back down.

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