Hong Kong (CNN)Chinese President Xi Jinping has emphasized the Communist Party’s control over the military as he prepares for a key leadership reshuffle later this year.

Speaking Tuesday at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Xi said the military should “carry forward and implement the Party’s absolute leadership.”
“As comrade Mao Zedong once pointed out, our principle is to have the Party command the military, not the military command the Party,” Xi said.
    His words came after a major display of military force Sunday in a grand parade at a base in Inner Mongolia, on China’s northern border, in which 12,000 troops, and more than 100 planes took part.

      China steps up censorship on the internet

    Power play

    Analysts say Xi has taken advantage of the PLA anniversary to firmly establish his personal authority ahead of a Party Congress around November, during which the next Politburo Standing Committee — the most powerful governing body in China, headed by Xi — will be revealed. An exact date for the congress has not been announced.
    Speaking after the parade Sunday, Yvonne Chiu, an assistant politics professor at the University of Hong Kong, said Xi wanted to “remind the military that they pledge loyalty to the Party, not the country” and to send a message to the country “that the military is firmly onside with him, especially as they’re still pursuing the anti-corruption campaign, which continues to shake things up and cause uneasiness among the elite.”
    While the congress will almost certainly give the 64-year-old Xi another five years as China’s top leader, it has been rumored he will seek to buck an established norm that leaders retire after two terms.
    Xi was designated the Party’s “core leader” in October last year, a powerfully symbolic title that was not granted to his predecessor Hu Jintao, who relied on a more consensus-building governance style compared to the all-powerful Xi.
    “The importance of the Party’s control over the military is an oft-repeated phrase, but Xi has emphasized it heavily during his tenure,” said Tom Rafferty, China manager at the Economist Intelligence Unit.
    He added Xi has sought the backing of “a younger generation of military officers” for his reforms, even as former top generals have fallen foul of corruption investigations.
    At the same time, a wide-reaching and highly popular anti-corruption campaign has brought down many of Xi’s rivals or potential successors. Typically the next Chinese leader would be obvious by the time of the Party Congress, as Xi was in 2007.
    Last month however, Sun Zhengcai, widely seen as a rising star in the Party, was abruptly sacked as boss of Chongqing and placed under investigation for corruption. At 53, Sun was one of only a handful of senior Chinese officials capable of succeeding Xi under the current informal retirement age of 68.
    While some have predicted Xi will break with the age cap norm — upheld during the last three leadership turnovers — as to allow himself and his allies to stay on, Chinese leadership analyst Bo Zhiyue told CNN in April that attempting to serve a third term might be more difficult.
    “(Even if) he wants to be like Putin in Russia, to stay beyond his second term, we don’t know if this can be realized,” Bo said.

      US-China tensions rising

    Border business

    While Tuesday’s speech was primarily focused on political matters — encouraging the PLA to root out corruption and follow Marxist military principles — Xi also referenced the army’s increasing role overseas.

      China shows off new J-20 stealth fighter

    “The People’s Army is an army with strong war capabilities,” he said, one that will “never allow any parties to separate any piece of land from China.”
    Beijing is currently embroiled in a territorial dispute with India along the countries’ border in the Himalayas, which has seen increased militarization on both sides and angry rhetorical salvos.
    Last week, a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman said the country will carry out further military drills in the border region and warned “it is easier to move a mountain than to shake the PLA.”
    On its southern border, China is also engaged in multiple arguments over territories in the 3.5 million square kilometer South China Sea — almost all of which is claimed by Beijing.
    Xi emphasized the importance of the PLA’s combat readiness, saying that ongoing reforms of the army are key to ensuring its “readiness to defend state sovereignty and maritime interests.”
    “(The PLA) has won wars on the borders many times and showed the might of the nation and the military, it must continue to safeguard the borders over the land and the sea,” he said.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/01/asia/xi-jinping-military/index.html

    (CNN)Democrats would like voters to believe the party’s slogan for its new economic agenda rolled out Monday, “A Better Deal,” describes a program aimed at fighting for regular people — even though it mostly rings like a sales pitch for a discounted item at a shopping mall. Worse, the specifics of the strategy are a path to more electoral failure, because “A Better Deal” embraces falsehoods about economic power while leaving a bankrupt system unchallenged.

    Right after the presidential election, I argued that the crisis facing Democrats, which was at least a decade of electoral losses in the making, boiled down to a failure to show voters any clear differences between the parties when it comes to propping up a failed economic system. As it now stands, it’s a system in which lobbyists shower both parties with money, tax cuts for business and keeping taxes too low on the wealthy are a bipartisan goal, health care is still something to leave in the hands of insurance companies and, above all, the glory of the “free market” is extolled by Democrats and Republicans.
    Until Democrats display the strength to reject the system, they’ll continue to lose, and “A Better Deal” is just more of the same.
      The stupefying foolishness of the plan is evident in three main points from Monday’s s outline offered in op-eds by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and three Democratic House members in which they purport to give the broad strokes of the party’s economic strategy.
      Schumer specifically says the party will fight to increase “workers’ incomes by lifting the minimum wage to $15.” He and the House Democrats also talk a lot about retraining workers to give them skills to get higher-paying jobs. Most of the rest of the mumbo-jumbo is the typical warmed-over “innovation” and “don’t we all love small business” standard fare that excites elite policy wonks but is largely irrelevant to voters.
      Perhaps the most glaring omission here is that none of these party leaders use the word “union” even once. That isn’t entirely surprising: The typical party ethos going back to Bill Clinton has been to minimize the embrace of labor unions, beyond the occasional rhetorical gesture, except when it’s election season (read: when the party needs donations and campaign troops).
      But the “Fight for 15” has been primarily funded by unions, some of whom frankly were dragged into the battle by other affiliated organizations who were less than inspired by the Obama administration’s and congressional Democrats’ support for a paltry minimum wage hike to $10.10. To the consternation of the Wall Street wing of the party, the Bernie Sanders movement made $15-an-hour a central part of its economic message, and forced $15-an-hour as a goal, into the party’s 2016 platform.
      And if raising wages and preserving pensions is what Democrats want, they’re not going to get it without growing the power of unions. Unions built the middle class. Wages are low because, over the past several decades, employers have effectively stolen the productivity gains made by workers and only by revitalizing unions, publicly, aggressively and explicitly, will that change.
      Schumer and the House Democrats compounded this problem Monday by perpetuating the myth that workers need more skills to get “high-paying” jobs and that politicians can ensure they get those skills by, you guessed it, that sure-fire election winner: giving a tax credit to companies. This has been an untenable proposition going back to the 1990s, when then-Labor Secretary Robert Reich flogged his elitist “symbolic analysts” solution, in which workers can all find a place in the creative and knowledge economies, which supposedly fix everything.
      Reality is more difficult. Skills have nothing to do with the class warfare underway in the country. Workers are not dumb. It’s simple: There is no reason a retail worker, janitor or any worker who isn’t “highly skilled” can’t be paid a high wage, other than the lack of power to demand it through collective bargaining.
      Even so, today’s Democrats, with the “A Better Deal” slogan, have the temerity to channel Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” by explicitly stating, as Schumer does in his op-ed, “Our better deal is not about expanding the government.” Shame on them. That position betrays a continued acceptance by Democrats of a decadeslong Republican talking point that demonizes government, adopts the idea that taxes are too high and puts blind faith in the “free market.”
      Our problem has not been a growing government or a spending problem. It’s the priorities political leaders have set and how we raise money. And it’s a continued belief in “free market” neo-liberalism: a system that relies on market mechanisms, argues against expanding the role of the state and social services, and empowers corporations and wealthy individuals at the expense of citizens.
      To take the current policy debate around health care as the perfect example, a large majority of people support universal, single-payer health care, which would entail expanding government’s role. Yet, Schumer is trying to short-circuit universal health care as a party priority, even though it would end up saving businesses and average people hundreds of billions of dollars.

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      The ideological straitjacket “A Better Deal” creates goes deeper than a neglect of history or a refusal to empower citizens. It’s a failure of political philosophy and imagination. Its advocates say they want to protect the promise of Social Security and Medicare. But embracing a growing government would expand Social Security and Medicare, and, then, also fund free college education, and guaranteed annual incomes and a livable pension. We could fund some of that if, for example, we just cast off (a quarter-century after the Cold War ended) the government’s bipartisan priority to underwrite a bloated military and maintain the country’s prominence as the largest weapons merchant in the world, arming repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia.
      Of course, to do any of these things requires a political spine, and leaders who finally admit that the “free market” system cannot be fixed. Until the Democrats get this message, they might as well have a slogan closer to “Better Hygiene, Better Grammar, Better Front Lawns.” At least it won’t mislead.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/24/opinions/democrats-economic-plan-opinion-tasini/index.html

      I always imagine what those popular characters can do with their abilities if they are living in our real life.

      They can find a very good Part Time Job with their abilities, I think they can be very good in sports too.

      Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/popular-characters-in-sport-flyingmouse365/

      (CNN)US President Donald Trump will make back-to-back phone calls to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday, the White House announced Saturday night.

      Trump and Abe will speak at 8 p.m. ET. Trump’s call with Xi will come 45 minutes later, according to a White House statement.
      No information was provided as to what subjects the calls would cover, but they come after an eventful week in East Asia politics.
        On Friday, Trump met in Washington with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and speaking alongside Moon at the White House declared that US patience with the North Korean regime “is over.”

          Trump warns North Korea: US patience is over

        The remarks were the latest sign that Trumpis growing increasingly frustratedwith the lack of progress in curbing North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
        The programs are considered a grave threat to South Korea, Japan and the United States, which has thousands of troops stationed at bases in its two Asian allies. US officials are also worried that the US Pacific territory of Guam may also face a North Korean missile threat.
        Trump has been seeking more pressure from China to curb the threats from North Korea, which has its biggest trading relationship with Beijing.
        But the Trump administration last week sent signals that the US patience on Beijing’s efforts was shrinking.
        The Treasury Department onThursday imposed new sanctions on a Chinese bank and several Chinese nationalswhile theState Department approved a $1 billion arms deal with Taiwan. Both moves appeared aimed at unsettling China.
        The Taiwan arms sale, in particular, drew a strong response from Beijing.
        China’s ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, furiously denounced the sale in Chinese state media People’s Daily, saying it violated the agreed upon “one China” policy.
        “China has made strong protests to the US and will reserve the right to take further measures,” state media quoted him as saying.
        The announcement of the Taiwan arms deal came while Xi was in Hong Kong commemorating the 20th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinafrom the United Kingdom.

          China’s President issues ‘red line’ warning

        In a statement marking that anniversary, the US State Department issued a statement saying the US was “concerned about any infringements on civil liberties” in Hong Kong.
        In a speech in Hong Kong on Saturday, Xi warned against any challenges to Beijing’s authority in the territory, a special administrative region of China.
        “Any attempt to endanger China’s sovereignty and security … or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses a red line,” Xi said.
        On Sunday, in a move that could further strain US-China relations, a US Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 miles of a Chinese-claimed island in the South China Sea in a “freedom of navigation” exercise, US defense officials said.
        It was the second such operation reported under the Trump administration. China strongly denounced a previous one in May, saying it boosted “regional militarization.”

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/02/politics/trump-abe-xi-phone-calls/index.html

        So many sweet, magical memories.
        Image: warner bros.

        If you’ve so much as tapped the Twitter icon on your phone this morning, you’ll probably have seen at least 100 posts about Harry Potter.

        Basically, today is the books’ 20-year anniversary. On 26 June 1997, The Philosopher’s Stone was published and the Harry Potter universe was magicked into existence.

        And although there have been a huge number of fan tributes shared on social media, the following illustration posted by Instagram’s official account and drawn by illustrator Taryn Knight is particularly spell-binding.

        This isn’t the first time Knight’s drawn the Harry Potter world, either; her Instagram is packed full of other magical gems:

        Her-my-own-knee #hermionegranger #harrypotter

        A post shared by Taryn Knight (@taryndraws) on

        You can see more of Knight’s work on her Instagram account.

        Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/26/instagram-harry-potter-anniversary-illustration/

        Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

        Listen up all techies, artists, and techie artists: The MP Select 3D Printing Pen is on sale today for $24.99, a $10-drop from its original price of $34.99.

        Create or touch up any 3D model with the pen, which releases a flexible filament (aka plastic) that becomes sturdy once it cools.

        This bad boy can operate at eight different printing speeds, has low and high-temp settings, and comes with samples of two different types of filament so you can practice.

        Grab it here and harness the power of 3D printing in your palm.

        Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/19/3d-printing-pen-on-sale-today/

        Thors hammer might seem like just another superhero accessory, like Batmans grappling gun or Wonder Womans Lasso of Truth. Unlike those heroic paraphernalia, there is a lot more to Mjlnir than you might think.

        For decades, Thor has become a popular mainstay of Marvel comics. He was a founding member of the Avengers, and starred in multiple comics titles before getting his own long-running series. His hammer, like any reliable friend, has been with him ever since. Mjlnir has proven to be an essential part of who Thor is over the decades in comics, cartoons, and live-action interpretations.

        7 fascinating facts about Thors hammer, Mjlnir

        1) Mjlnir wasnt created in a regular forge

        Mjlnir has an origin story that could earn its own spin-off movie. Over the decades, the hammer has had a few different origin stories. The most recent version, as well as the one utilized in the Thor movies, explains that Mjlnir was forged in the heart of a dying star.

        Illustration via Thor Vol. 2 #80/Marvel

        Theres actually a lot more to the story. The hammer was forged by dwarven blacksmiths named Eitri, Brok, and Buri. In the comics, Odin commanded the blacksmiths to construct a deadly and powerful weapon for Asgard. To do this, the blacksmiths summoned a magical forge located in the heart of a star. There, they painstakingly forged Mjlnir out of Asgardian metal. This metal is so indestructible, it would give Wolverines adamantium claws a run for their money.

        2) Mjlnirs creation came with some serious casualties

        The creation of Mjlnir wasnt just magicalit was also intense. So intense, actually, that Earth was nearly destroyed in the process. (Of course that wouldve made for a really short comic book.) The explosion caused by Mjlnirs creation was so deafening it wreaked havoc on Earth and ended up causing the mass extinction event that took out the dinosaurs in the Marvel universe.

        Fortunately for Marvels heroes, Earth survived the blast. With Jeff Goldblums upcoming appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, it sounds like life found a way after all.

        3) DC Comics introduced Mjlnir before Marvel

        You read that correctly. Thor and his hammer, Mjlnir, were initially introduced by artist Jack Kirby in the 1942 short Adventure Comics, a subsidiary of DC Comics. That was two decades before he was a Marvel superhero.

        Illustration via Adventure Comics #75

        In the comic, Thor and his trusty hammer Mjolnar fought against the villain Sandman. Kirby liked the concept of Thor so much that he officially inducted Thor into the Marvel universe in the 1962 comic Journey into Mystery, for which Kirby shared credit with Stan Lee. The rest is Marvel history.

        4) Thor is kind of a wimp without his trusty hammer

        If youve seen Marvels Thor, youll remember that Thor was relatively useless without his hammer. It took him learning humility to earn the right to wield Mjlnir, and that is when he became Thor. Thors armor, his ability to fly, his ability to command lightningyup, all because of the hammer.

        Screengrab via MarvelEntertainment/YouTube

        Chris Hemsworth as Thor without his hammer.

        Yes, Thor is very strong and exhibits great physical pose. However, Mjlnir is an essential part of what makes Thor well, Thor. This is what separates Mjlnir from the gadgets on Batmans utility belt. In the comics, Batman often fends for himself when his utility belt is taken away by criminals and villains. Wonder Woman still has superhuman strength when shes without her lasso.

        Thors demigod status makes him hard to hurt, but his offensive moves are rendered almost useless without Mjlnir, which is the best argument for why the hammer is such a quintessential part of who Thor is.

        READ MORE:

        5) Mjlnir can travel in disguise

        In early iterations of the Thor character, he had an alter ego, and hed sometimes come to Earth under the assumed identity of a doctor named Donald Blake. Thor could change his identity at will thanks to Mjlnir, while the hammer itself would transform into a walking stick for Blake.

        Illustration via Thor #337/Marvel

        In these early versions of the character, and in the more recent comic with Jane Foster, if the hammer is out of Thors grip for more than 60 seconds, Thor reverts back to the identity of a normal person. This part of Thors character, which has been an integral part of the comics for decades, was decidedly ignored for the films.

        6) Thor isnt the only one who has wielded Mjlnir

        In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers have a light-hearted scene where each of them try to pick up Thors hammer. No one is able to do italthough pure-hearted Steve Rogers comes close. Later in a pivotal scene, the newly born Vision picks up the hammer and hands it over to Thor. Its a small but important moment: Vision is able to show his worthiness to the Avengers, and most importantly to a stunned Thor.

        In the comics, Vision isnt the only one who has wielded Mjlnir. Captain America has proved his worthiness and wielded the hammer before, thus explaining why the film version of Rogers could almost do it in Age of Ultron. X-Mens Storm, Odin, and most recently Jane Foster have all proved they are worthy enough to wield the mighty Mjlnir. Which brings us to Mjlnirs current companion.

        7) Jane Foster is the current wielder of Mjlnir

        Thor has wielded Mjlnir in the comics for decades. However, after a recent comic book incident with Nick Fury, he was deemed unworthy to wield the hammer. The person who was deemed worthy instead?

        Illustration via Marvel

        Jane Foster, a popular human ally from Thors trusted inner circle. This event was so significant it even changed the inscription on Thors hammer. The original inscription described: He who holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” When Jane picked up the hammer, it read: Whosoever holds this hammer, if she be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor. It looks like even Mjlnirs words are capable of making a sizable and impressive impact.

        While the dethroned old Thor sulked off under the moniker Odinson, the new female Thor took up his title and heroic ways. Her identity was kept secret to comic-book readers for a while until it was recently revealed. With Jane Foster wielding Mjlnir in the comics, the implications could be enormous. Chris Hemsworth will eventually step down as the mighty Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and having a female Thor in the comics could be a pathway for Natalie Portman, who plays Jane Foster in the movies, to wield the hammeror even perhaps Tessa Thompson, who appears in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.When it comes to Mjlnir, the hammer gets to choose its master.

        Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/thor-hammer-mjolnir/

        Sorry to kill your buzz.
        Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

        One highlight stands head and shoulders above all the rest from the Golden State Warriors’ 132-113 drubbing of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night: Steph Curry, feinting and probing against the smothering defense of LeBron James before knifing to the rim for a layup against the much bigger man.

        The play instantly lit the internet on fire with emphatic reactions. It stood out for several reasons: the size difference between the two stars; as an illustration of Golden State’s dominance through two games in this year’s Finals; and finally, as a bit of revenge for a vicious block James had against Curry in last year’s Finals matchup.

        But upon further review, there is a problem: The play technically shouldn’t have counted at all because Curry double-dribbled. How do we know this? Thanks to a clip the NBA itself shared on social media.

        First, here’s the play in question, which came early in the third quarter Monday night. Watch Curry struggle to free himself from James before finally getting the separation he needs to sneak in two points.

        It’s remarkable and nearly impossible to spot his double-dribble when viewing at game speed. Curry gets the advantage he’s seeking around the seven-second mark of this clip, using a head and shoulders fake near the three-point line to get James off balance before he drives to the rim.

        Remember that moment.

        Now, the NBA has something called a “Phantom Cam,” which is basically a camera that shoots super-slow motion in super-high quality. They use the “Phantom Cam” to create cool clips that are sharable on social media and did just that with Curry’s drive on James.

        Let’s pay careful attention to the 22-second mark of this clip, though it corresponds to the seven-second mark of the first clip we showed you, the moment when Curry found his advantage on James.

        But slowed down and from an alternate angle, we see this:

        It turns out Curry didn’t just get James with a head-and-shoulder fake that made the Cavs star briefly expect an outside shot was coming. No, it turns out Curry was able to trick James because he actually put two hands on the ball as if he was going to shoot before double-dribbling to begin his drive to the rim.

        Now, a missed call on one drive to the hoop is not even close to being the worst of Cleveland’s problems losing games one and two by a combined 41 points proves that beyond a doubt.

        But perhaps Cavs fans can take solace in one small mercy: Sunday night’s viral highlight wasn’t quite what it seemed.

        Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/05/curry-lebron-drive-finals/

        In a long-awaited decision, the Supreme Court agreed on Monday with a lower court ruling that found that Republican lawmakers in North Carolina drew two congressional districts with improper racial considerations in mind.

        The ruling is the latest attempt by the justices to clarify the standard for what counts as unconstitutional racial gerrymandering the push by lawmakers, especially in the South, to draw district lines based on the racial demographics of a specific area.

        The Constitution entrusts States with the job of designing congressional districts, wrote Justice Elena Kagan in the 5-to-3 decision. But it also imposes an important constraint: A State may not use race as the predominant factor in drawing district lines unless it has a compelling reason.

        The court concluded that the two districts which, following the 2010 census, were drawn to pack a higher percentage of voting-age black voters into them violated this principle.

        Kagan was joined in her majority opinion by Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

        The contested districts have quite the history at this Court, Kagan wrote, noting the long line of court challenges that have sought to find fault with how North Carolina draws its congressional districts.

        Perhaps to illustrate the unusual shapes of Districts 1 and 12, Kagans opinion included an appendix with images of both, as well as one depicting all the districts in the state. She described District 12, in particular, as snakelike.

        Supreme Court of the United States
        An illustration of North Carolina’s congressional District 12, which the Supreme Court concluded was drawn to disadvantage black voters.

        The evidence offered at trial, including live witness testimony subject to credibility determinations, adequately supports the conclusion that race, not politics, accounted for the districts reconfiguration, Kagan said of District 12.

        The race-versus-politics distinction in redistricting decisions matters, because lawmakers often insist that they redraw district lines for political reasons that is, to keep winning elections and to retain their power by creating friendly districts. If its pure politics driving their decisions, they argue, then a map may not be unconstitutional by itself.

        (In the law, thats an unsettled question: The Supreme Court could soon agree to hear a separate Wisconsin case that addresses squarely the validity of partisan gerrymandering.)

        But whenever a legislature relies on race to redraw district boundaries, the Supreme Court has said that judges should really take a hard look at how the legislature went about the map-drawing. And here, three federal judges concluded that race was the predominant factor driving North Carolinas 2011 congressional maps,which put more black voters in Districts 1 and 12 while making neighboring districts whiter.

        The Equal Protection Clause prohibits the unjustified drawing of district lines based on race, cautioned Kagan.

        Thomas, a conservative who disfavors race-based considerations in any context, took the highly unusual step of joining the Supreme Courts four more liberal members in ruling against North Carolina.He wrote a short concurring opinion to note that the majority correctly applies our precedents under the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

        Joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Samuel Alito wrote a partial dissent that took issue with how the majority was interpreting the Supreme Courts own case law dealing with District 12, which the court had vindicated in a prior ruling.

        A precedent of this Court should not be treated like a disposable household item say, a paper plate or napkin to be used once and then tossed in the trash, Alito wrote. In his view, the districts borders and racial composition are readily explained by political considerations and the effects of the legislatures political strategy on the demographics.

        The Equal Protection Clause prohibits the unjustified drawing of district lines based on race. Justice Elena Kagan

        Justice Neil Gorsuch didnt participate in the ruling, as his colleagues hadheard arguments in the dispute before he joined the court.

        Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who is part of a Democratic initiative to challenge Republican-drawn districting in the courts, hailed Mondays ruling as a watershed moment in the fight to end racial gerrymandering.

        Todays ruling sends a stark message to legislatures and governors around the country: Racial gerrymandering is illegal and will be struck down in a court of law, Holder said in a statement.

        North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D), who succeeded Republican Gov. Pat McCrory as the named party in the case, also praised the decision in a statement.

        North Carolina voters deserve a level playing field and fair elections, and Im glad the Supreme Court agrees, he said. The North Carolina Republican legislature tried to rig Congressional elections by drawing unconstitutional districts that discriminated against African Americans, and thats wrong.

        As if responding to Holder, the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party said in a statement that the invalidated maps were pre-approved by his Department of Justice during the Obama years back when the state had to submit districting plans to the federal government.

        The courts have put legislatures in an impossible situation, with their constantly changing standards, said the state Republican Party chairman, Robin Hayes.

        The Supreme Courts ruling represents North Carolinas second election-related setback in as many weeks. Last week, the justices declined to hear an appeal that sought to salvage a broad swath of voting restrictions.

        But the state is also enveloped in a separate challenge to how the GOP-controlled General Assembly drew 28 state House and Senate districts, which a lower court also found were racially gerrymandered and may soon need to be redrawn. The high court is presently weighing the fate of those districts.

        Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gop-scotus-racial-gerrymanders_us_5922f3b5e4b034684b0e18db