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  • 2020 Vision Monday: Polls show a 17-point swing toward impeaching Trump, which could drag down his reelection bid news

    A rapid 17-point shift means a majority of Americans may soon support impeachment, or, taking margin of error into account, might already. And that’s terrible news for Trump.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 11:57:23 -0400
  • 'It's got to stop': Superintendent condemns teacher's racist rant in school parking lot news

    A teacher at Drexel Hill Middle School in Pennsylvania has been placed on administrative leave after she used racial slurs in a viral Facebook video.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 10:19:40 -0400
  • British paedophile who operated in Malaysia, Cambodia found dead in prison news

    One of Britain's most prolific child sex offenders, Richard Huckle, has died three years into a life sentence for abusing Malaysian and Cambodian children, Britain's Ministry of Justice said on Monday, with media saying he had been stabbed to death. Huckle, 33, who abused children and babies during a nine year period, was sentenced to life in prison in 2016 after pleading guilty to 71 offences. Dubbed the country's worst paedophile by Britain's media, he was found stabbed to death in prison on Sunday after being attacked with a makeshift knife, the BBC reported.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 08:29:41 -0400
  • Climate change researchers recommend banning all frequent flyer reward programs to cut carbon emissions by targeting jet-setters news

    A report commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change says that just 15% of the entire British population take 70% of all flights from the country.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 07:20:55 -0400
  • 'Be water': Police swoop as Hong Kong protests shift tactics news

    Taking a page from ancient Chinese military philosophy, black-clad protesters in Hong Kong changed tactics and wreaked havoc by popping up in small groups in multiple locations across the city Sunday, pursued by but also often eluding police who made scores of muscular arrests. Violence spiraled as protests stretched from Sunday afternoon into the night, with police struggling to restore order. Video broadcast on Hong Kong television also showed a masked, black-clad protester dropping a riot officer with a flying high kick, followed by two other protesters who beat the officer on the ground and tried unsuccessfully to snatch his gun.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 11:33:20 -0400
  • Meet the Massive Ordnance Penetrator: The Air Force's Newest Bunker Buster Bomb news

    Huge and very powerful.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 22:00:00 -0400
  • Tales of Crypto-Currency: Bitcoin Jihad in Syria and Beyond news

    Photo Illustration by The Daily BeastWhen President Donald J. Trump talks about the withdrawal of American forces from Syria, he’s turning his back on more than U.S. allies and the problem of their hardened prisoners from the so-called Islamic State. The president also turns his back on what has in many ways become a proving ground in the war on terrorism. Syria has been an incubator for every innovation to the global jihad in the last decade: social media recruitment, lone-wolf inspiration, and, as of the last few years, the essential pillar of any terrorist group: financing.A terrorist organization cannot exist without money, and since 9/11 draining those resources has been an indispensable component of fighting them. But what progress the world has made against terrorist financing in Syria is becoming increasingly irrelevant as ISIS, al Qaeda, and other jihadi groups are reviving once-dying fundraising machines with a previously untapped resource: crypto-currency.ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s New Video Is Desperate—but Potentially EffectiveWhen I began tracking terrorist financing rings in the late 1990s, they relied on charities and person-to-person resources like hawalas, which are systems of transferring money between different networks of families and trusted associates. As technology evolved, so too did terrorists, embracing services like Western Union, Moneygram, and PayPal. These developments brought forth slews of regulations and security protocols by governments and the companies themselves.At the same time these new security measures mounted, a perfect storm of circumstances were shaping in Syria that would make the country the springboard for the jihadis’ embrace of crypto.  First was the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Monero, Lumens, Zcash, and of course Bitcoin, along with the increasing ease of exchanges. Second was the July 2016 dissolution of the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s former Syrian affiliate. At the same time, major offensives against ISIS were well underway, shrinking its territory and removing ISIS from many of its oil fields and other financial resources. That put many foreign fighters out of a paycheck—and, with no family in Syria, short on ways to get money. Worsening their situation, Syria was a virtual dead zone for money transfers. Now without income, ISIS and al Qaeda fighters’ only real way to get money from whatever families, friends, and supporters they had overseas was through hawala-style transfers made to neighboring countries like Turkey—an already risky process made even less reliable because of heavy monitoring by government agencies. Jihadists in Syria needed to get creative. And, considering their options, what better starting point did they have than a largely unregulated, under-the-radar resource, that is, crypto?By 2016, ISIS and al Qaeda fighters were already calling for crypto donations on social media. ISIS, like many other groups’ central commands, never outwardly fundraised for Bitcoin donations, but its operatives and fighters have done so on its behalf behind the scenes on social media and other platforms at least as early as 2015. By 2017, ISIS had long been receiving Bitcoin donations from all over the world, with numerous cases coming out of the US in places like New York and Virginia. To this day, you can find calls for Bitcoin donations across ISIS-linked chat groups on Telegram. ISIS would eventually even use Bitcoin to fund attacks, including the deadly Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka bombings this past April.Likewise, groups like al-Sadaqa, run by Western fighters associated with other jihadi factions in Syria, were among the first to fundraise with Bitcoin in any significantly organized sense. It fundraised for weapons with Bitcoin “so people from outside [Syria] can donate towards the jihad [securely] without getting [caught].” The money, according to the group, would “help by buying other items maybe guns.”These fundraising messages were posted publicly on platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, Facebook, and Instagram. And they were anything but shy about where the money was going. In December 2017 al-Sadaqa launched a campaign for “ribat” (garrison position) upgrades. It released a video that following February thanking donors while showing video footage of their upgraded space:We are your mujahideen brothers. We thank the brothers from Al Sadaqah for their help in reinforcing this guarding point, and we tell the brothers that we are in need of more donations, so we are able to stand firm against our enemy.Such independent fundraising efforts were effectively proof-of-concept demonstrations. Donations came in, fighters got their money, and everything came together. By late 2017, groups linked to ISIS, al Qaeda, and other organizations began embracing this approach. Incite the Believers’ Operations Room, a coalition of Syrian factions including de facto al Qaeda affiliate Hurras al-Deen, solicits Bitcoin donations as part of its ongoing “Prepare Us [For Battle]” campaign, which it launched in May 2019 to supply weapons, ammunition, and other equipment for fighters in Northeastern Syria. Text at the bottom of its propaganda boldly gives a Bitcoin wallet address along with WhatsApp and Telegram contact info. Malhama Tactical, a group that trains fighters with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham’s (HTS), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization and the largest faction in Syria, even fundraised for drones to be used toward “artillery adjustment and reconnaissance.” This crypto buzz even reached upward to HTS itself which, in an April 2019 issue of its magazine, took on the utopian language of an avid crypto-bro in hyping Bitcoin as “The Currency of the Future Economy.”Just as noteworthy as the terrorists’ cleverness is their dogged persistence. One HTS-linked fundraising organization called “Al-Ikhwa” has shared at least nine Bitcoin wallet addresses, generating at least $1,600 in Bitcoin donations among them, based on publicly available transaction records and Bitcoin values calculated based on the date of the exchanges. The update shows a mirroring approach to jihadists tactics against social media companies that delete terrorist accounts, which is simply to create a surplus of back-ups. For crypto fundraising to truly take off, though, jihadists in Syria needed more than just a currency like Bitcoin by itself. There were still serious obstacles in receiving Bitcoin donations—let alone actually spending them on anything productive.   To start, jihadi fighters in a place like Syria cannot buy food or clothing with Bitcoin directly. Just as your local supermarket prefers to use the currency of your country, so too does most any corner store, landlord, or weapons dealer in Syria. But members and supporters of these groups are finding ways to transfer Bitcoin into serviceable cash by integrating the technology with, ironically, old hawala methods. This past spring, jihadists began promoting “Bitcoin Transfer,” a service run by jihadists in Idlib, Syria. The announcement of the service, written in English, Arabic, Turkish, French, German, and other languages, describes it as an “anonymous and safe way” to transfer money, written with language clearly meant to assure donors who would never have used crypto otherwise:You want to receive money from Europe, Saudi, Asia, Africa and America and you don’t want to use unsafe transfer means for the one sending you the money? BITCOIN TRANSFER is the solution.Services like Bitcoin Transfer show that there is both a demand for Bitcoin exchanges and a capacity to make money on them. But while services like Bitcoin Transfer solve the usable-currency issue, there remains the larger and perhaps more difficult obstacle of getting people to use it. It’s safe to presume the average jihadi supporter knows just as much about crypto as most people: it’s money (but not really money); supposedly secure, but maybe also kind of dangerous; and associated with a lot of shady activities. Thus, you can further presume how wary, or even plain confused a donor might be in using crypto to fund these fighters and groups. New Zealand Shooting: White Supremacists and Jihadists Feed Off Each OtherThere was, first and foremost, the issue of permissibility. Many banks and related services are, according to many Islamic fundamentalists, not allowed under Shariah law. Addressing these concerns, HTS released a 26-minute video this past July of one of its religious officials, Abu al-Fateh al-Farghali, describing Bitcoin use as permissible according to the Quran, effectively giving the green light for donations. Promotion for video by HTS religious officialAdding to such messages is a growing wealth of educational material for the crypto layman who might want to donate to a fighter or group in Syria but doesn’t know how to. Bitcoin Transfer, for example, gives detailed breakdowns of how the service works, testimonials from ‘customers,’ and even offers prospective donors the option of contacting them if they have any questions about the process. A quick breakdown of the group’s services, as it describes them, reads:Our work1\. The sender knows how to buy bitcoins: he sends us the bitcoin in our wallet, we convert them in dollar and you receive them in 3-4 days.2\. The sender doesn’t know how to buy bitcoins: the company helps him to buy bitcoins, we convert them in dollar and give you your money.3\. Depending on the country of the sender, we have other means of receiving your money.All these elements—the transfer services, the religious green lights, the instructions—gave proof that jihadi groups can use crypto to safely, consistently, easily raise funds. And, as has been the trend for nearly a decade, what started in Syria would be emulated across the globe. Perhaps it doesn’t catch much attention when Syrian groups and militants, obscure in some contexts, use Bitcoin. But what about one of the most diligently tracked, widely designated groups in the world? This past January, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the terrorist-designated military wing of Hamas, issued an announcement reading, “Izz ad-Din Qassam Brigades announces the beginning of receiving your financial support for the resistance by the currency ‘Bitcoin’ through the official wallet address and is only posted on the Qassam site.” The group has since then built an impressive financing infrastructure around Bitcoin, including an elaborate system in which a new Bitcoin address is generated for each user, intended to make the transfers much harder to source. Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades has since released its own video showing how to purchase and send Bitcoin, with the same educational focus seen in Syria. The directions have come to span Arabic, English, French, Malay, Indonesian, Russian, and Turkish. In June, the group’s spokesman thanked those “who have responded and continue to respond to our call by helping the resistance with digital currency,” announcing further pushes for more fundraising efforts.Hamas is not the only group outside of Syria using crypto. Jaish al-Ummah, a pro-al-Qaeda organization based in Gaza, launched its own Bitcoin fundraising campaign this past May, bluntly stating the aim to be supplying its fighters “with weapons and ammunition.”Since 9/11, government agencies and financial institutions have together made major progress in cutting off terrorist financing. Money is, after all, a critical pillar of every terrorist group, powering everything from their media productions to actual attacks. To see terrorist groups use a yet-budding technology like crypto to sidestep this progress is a serious matter. These developments shouldn’t be surprising. Just as terrorists embraced social media, messenger platforms, and other technologies for recruitment and planning attacks, it was inevitable that they would also add cryptocurrency for fundraising. It took years for social media companies and government agencies to understand—let alone act on—jihadist recruitment online, and the results of the delay were disastrous: thousands of people leaving home for battlefronts or carrying out attacks in their homelands. It is incumbent on us to learn from these mistakes, otherwise we are doomed to see a similar scenario play out in the financial realm. Observing these evolving fundraising machines alone, President Trump’s abandonment of America’s allies on the ground will have effects cascading well beyond northern Syria. Based on what we’ve seen already—the successful fundraising drives, well-functioning (and even profitable) currency transfer infrastructures around them, and the recent adoption by groups outside of Syria—there is no reason to doubt that this model of terrorist fundraising will only spread to other fronts. And as long as the money keeps coming in for ISIS, al Qaeda, and other jihadist organizations, efforts to counter them will be in vain.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 05:13:45 -0400
  • Booker Scolds Buttigieg for Referring to Gun ‘Buybacks’ as ‘Confiscation’: ‘Doing the NRA’s Work for Them’ news

    Senator Cory Booker (D., N.J.) admonished fellow presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Monday for referring to a mandatory gun buyback proposal as "confiscation" on the grounds that doing so propagates a right-wing talking point."Calling buyback programs 'confiscation' is doing the NRA's work for them," wrote Booker on Twitter, "and they don't need our help."Buttigieg insisted on referring to buybacks as "confiscation" in an interview on the Snapchat show Good Luck America. Previously, the South Bend, Indiana Mayor shied away from such comparisons."As a policy, it’s had mixed results," said Buttigieg during an October 2 interview. "It’s a healthy debate to have, but we’ve got to do something now.”O'Rourke subsequently condemned Buttigieg's comments, saying Buttigieg was "afraid of doing the right thing" by supporting mandatory buybacks."[O'Rourke] needs to pick a fight in order to stay relevant," Buttigieg commented on Good Luck America.O'Rourke has previously pushed the issue of mandatory gun buybacks and outright confiscation, declaring at the third Democratic primary debate in September that he supports taking away certain semi-automatic rifles from their legal owners.“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against a fellow American anymore,” O'Rourke said at the time.Buttigieg is currently polling at five percent while O'Rourke stands at just 1.8 percent. The former Texas congressman has struggled to gain more than two percent of the vote, but has captured attention for radical policy proposals on gun rights and issues of church and state.During a CNN Townhall on October 11, O'Rourke called for institutions that don't support same sex marriage, such as churches, religious schools and charities, to be stripped of their tax-exempt status.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 14:05:06 -0400
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faces backlash over haircut news

    This week, the Washington Times published a story saying that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., had spent $80 on a haircut and $180 on color at a Washington, D.C., salon, a choice the newspaper presented as hypocritical, given she “regularly rails against the rich and complains about the cost of living inside the Beltway.”

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:46:35 -0400
  • Kurds agree to Russian-brokered plan to allow Assad into their territory news

    The West’s Kurdish allies on Sunday night announced they had agreed to a Russian-brokered deal to allow the Assad regime into their territory in a bid to spare their cities from a Turkish assault after they were abandoned by Donald Trump.  Hours after the US said it was withdrawing all of its troops from northern Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said it had reached an agreement to allow Bashar al-Assad’s troops into their territory.  “If we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people,” said Mazloum Kobani Abdi, the commander of the SDF.  It was not immediately clear if the agreement with Assad would bring a halt to the Turkish offensive or if the Turkish military and its Syrian rebel allies would continue to advance.  But the deal appeared to strike a death knell for Kurdish hopes of maintaining autonomy from Damascus in their own semi-state in northeast Syria.  Read more | Syria crisis The announcement marked a stunning fall for the SDF, who just a week ago could count on the support of the US military in deterring Turkey from taking action.  That security came to an end last Sunday night when Mr Trump told Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, the US would not interfere in a Turkish attack on northeast Syria. “The betrayal process is officially completed," an SDF official said of the US withdrawal.    Turkish warplanes thundered into Syrian airspace while Turkish-backed rebel forces advanced against the SDF on the ground and on Sunday night Kurdish commanders decided they had to strike a deal to prevent annihilation.  While the formal details of the agreement were not announced, Syrian regime forces appeared poised to enter many of the key Kurdish-held cities along the Turkish-Syrian border, including Kobani, Manbij and Qamishli.  Many of the areas hold vast symbolic importance for the Kurds, who have lost 11,000 men fighting against the Islamic State (Isil) in the last five years to free those cities from jihadist rule.   A woman sits in the back of a truck as they flee Ras-al-Ain The announcement came after Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, said he and Mr Trump had decided to withdraw all 1,000 US troops from northern Syria because the Turks “likely intend to expand their attack further south than originally planned”.  “We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies and it's a very untenable situation,” he said on Sunday morning.   While Mr Trump said last week he was removing around 50 US commandos from a 120km section of the Turkey-Syria border, hundreds of other American soldiers remained near Kurdish key cities like Kobani and Qamishli.  News of the US retreat sparked panic across northern Syria as civilians, who believed their towns might be spared from Turkish onslaught by the presence of American forces, started fleeing their homes. At least 200,000 people have been displaced so far, aid groups said, and the number is likely to rise. The town of Ras-al-Ain in flames The decision came as civilian casualties mounted and Islamic State prisoners took advantage of the chaos to mount a mass escape. Kurdish authorities said early on Sunday around 785 women and children escaped from a camp in Ain Issa when it came under attack from Turkish shelling. Isil inmates “attacked the camp guard and opened the gates” while Kurdish forces were under fire, authorities said.  Tooba Gondal, a notorious British Isil recruiter from Walthamstow, and her two children, may have been among those who fled and her whereabouts were unknown on Sunday night. Ms Gondal travelled to Syria to join Isil in 2015 and has been accused of grooming other young British women, including Shamima Begum, to follow her. There were unconfirmed reports last night that Ms Gondal had contacted family back in Britain to tell them she had escaped the camp.   The Telegraph understands at least three other British women, and reportedly three British orphans, were held in Ain Issa camp before the break-out. British Isil recruiter Tooba Gondal pictured inside Ain Issa camp The SDF warned the West the breakout may be the first of many and that the resurgent jihadists “will come knocking on your doors” if the Turkish offensive is not stopped. Mr Trump said on Sunday night that Turkey and the Kurds must not allow Isil prisoners to escape and blamed the terror risk on Europe for not taking them back. "The US has the worst of the ISIS prisoners. Turkey and the Kurds must not let them escape," he tweeted. "Europe should have taken them back after numerous requests. They should do it now. They will never come to, or be allowed in, the United States!" The SDF said Turkish-backed rebel fighters intercepted a car carrying Hevrin Khalaf, a Kurdish political leader with the Future Syria Party, and shot her to death along with her driver and an aide on Saturday. Video footage showed her black SUV riddled with bullet holes while Arabic-speaking Syrian fighters cheered. Turkey has said such fighters, known as the National Army, would be at the forefront of anti-Isil operations once the Kurds were defeated.  While US officials insisted America was opposed to the Turkish invasion, Mr Trump struck a laissez-faire note in a series of Sunday morning tweets. Plight of the Kurds | Timeline of Western involvement “The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years,” he noted. “Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them!” The US has yet to slap any sanctions on Turkey for the assault, despite White House warnings that it would target the Turkish economy if the offensive led to a humanitarian crisis or disrupted anti-Isil operations.  Both outcomes have already happened. At least 60 civilians have been killed in northern Syria and 18 civilians have died from Kurdish shelling in southern Turkey since last Wednesday, according to the Syrian Observatory.  France and Germany both announced they were halting arms sales to Turkey but the UK did not match their announcements. Britain approved military export licenses worth £583m to Turkey in 2017, including licenses for attack aircraft and helicopters.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 19:38:58 -0400
  • Anthony Scaramucci is desperately trying to recruit Mitt Romney for a 2020 run news

    Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is running for president again -- at least in Anthony Scaramucci's dreams.The famously short-lived White House communications director has since turned on the president who appointed him, and has publicly said he's trying to knock President Trump off the 2020 ticket. Now, it seems Scaramucci has decided on his dream candidate, and has launched a website and line of T-shirts to persuade him to run.Scaramucci started making his support for Romney known earlier this month, tweeting a poll that showed the 2012 GOP nominee beating the presumptive 2020 nominee in a hypothetical primary. He then revealed last week he'd launched, and on Sunday night, showed off that the site was offering "commit to Mitt" campaign T-shirts. They are being sold at $20.20 each to "test demand," and so far Scaramucci has seen an "overwhelming" response, he told ABC News.> You may be proud of your "Where's Hunter?" T-shirt...but we're really proud of ours...You see, we know where Mitt is...he's listening, he's hearing, he's seeing, he's reading and he's coming.... committomitt mitt2020 @MittRomney MittRomney> > -- Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) October 12, 2019While Romney hasn't even hinted at granting Scaramucci's wishes, the "Mitt Happens" shirt is sure to be a collector's item in a few years.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:02:37 -0400
  • More than a dozen police killed in ambush in violent Mexican state

    More than a dozen police have been shot dead in an ambush in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, authorities said on Monday, in one of the bloodiest attacks on security forces since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in December. The ministry for public security said on Twitter it would use all means at its disposal to catch those responsible for the attack in the municipality of Aguililla in Michoacan, a state that has long been convulsed by turf wars between drug cartels. The federal public security ministry said 14 police were killed, though its state counterpart in Michoacan said 13 officers were confirmed dead, and three injured.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:27:56 -0400
  • View Photos of Our Sports Sedan Battle Between the Dodge Charger and Kia Stinger GT

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 07:59:00 -0400
  • Typhoon leaves as many as 33 dead as Japan continues rescue news

    Helicopters, boats and thousands of troops were deployed across Japan to rescue people stranded in flooded homes Sunday, as the death toll from a ferocious typhoon climbed to as high as 33. One woman fell to her death as she was being placed inside a rescue helicopter. Typhoon Hagibis made landfall south of Tokyo on Saturday evening and battered central and northern Japan with torrents of rain and powerful gusts of wind.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 10:27:58 -0400
  • This New Submarine Could Be a Real Killer (And No, Its Not American) news

    Their first new submarine in a decade from France.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 03:00:00 -0400
  • States are cutting university budgets. Taxpayers aren't interested in funding campus kooks news

    University campuses have abandoned their central mission in their pursuit of utopia. The American public has had enough.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:22:08 -0400
  • California becomes first US state to ban fur products news

    California has become the first US state to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products.On Saturday, California’s governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law to prohibit residents from making or selling items such as clothing, shoes or handbags made of fur.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 07:38:16 -0400
  • China Built a Flying Saucer news

    The UFO is still on the ground—for now.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 09:55:00 -0400
  • Assad troops enter north-east Syria after Russia-backed deal with Kurds news

    Bashar al-Assad’s forces swept into cities across northeast Syria for the first time in seven years on Monday after the West’s former Kurdish allies agreed to a Russian-brokered deal to try to hold off a Turkish attack.  The Syrian regime’s black-and-red flag went up across the region as Russia seized on Donald Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds to restore Assad’s rule over swathes of territory he has not controlled since 2012.  Assad’s troops clashed with Turkish-backed Syrian rebels outside Manbij, a key city on the Turkey-Syria border where US forces are evacuating on Mr Trump’s orders.  Western officials are watching closely to see if the skirmishes escalate into a direct confrontation between Turkey and the Syrian regime, or whether Russia can broker another deal to keep the two countries from clashing. Several European countries joined France and Germany in halting arms sales to Turkey, as the EU put out a joint statement condemning the offensive.  A Syrian regime soldier waves the national flag a street on the western entrance of the town of Tal Tamr in the countryside of Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province on October 14, 2019 Credit: AFP Fears were also rising over an Islamic State (Isil) resurgence as it emerged that US forces had failed to secure dozens of the most hardened jihadist fighters, and Isil prisoners once again rioted against their Kurdish guards.  Mr Trump suggested the Kurds were deliberately freeing Isil prisoners in a bid to get the West’s attention, a talking point that has been repeatedly used by Turkey’s government to discredit its Kurdish enemies.    Assad’s re-entry into northeastern Syria marks a dramatic redrawing of the lines of control in the war-torn country and likely signals the beginning of the end of seven years of Kurdish autonomy in the area.  Regime fighters began entering the provinces of Hasakah and Raqqa and were moving quickly to consolidate their control over long swathes of the Turkish-Syrian border with the permission of Kurdish troops.  The exact details of the agreement between Damascus and the Kurds remains unclear. Kurdish authorities insisted that they would maintain their political autonomy and that the deal was focused solely on military issues.  Syrian regime forces are pictured as they patrol a street on the western entrance of the town of Tal Tamr in the countryside of Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province on October 14, 2019 Credit: AFP But other reports suggested that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Western-backed Kurdish units who led the fight against Isil, would be folded into Assad’s army and that northeast Syria would come back under direct rule from Damascus.     The immediate focus of the newly-aligned SDF and Assad regime is to repel Turkish-backed rebels from seizing control of Manbij, a border city west of the Euphrates River which is currently in Kurdish hands.  The Syrian rebels, known as the National Army, said Monday night they had launched an operation to “liberate Manbij and its surroundings from the terrorist gangs”. The National Army claimed to have engaged Assad’s forces and captured a tank in a first round of fighting. The battle for Manbij will pose a test for Turkey, which must decide whether to back its Syrian rebel allies with airstrikes at the risk of sparking a confrontation with the Syrian regime. Turkey - Syria map Russia is believed to be relaying messages between the two sides to try to avert conflict.  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish president, said he was determined to put the city under the control “our Arabic brothers” in the National Army. But while Turkish warplanes thundered overhead there were no reports they were striking Assad’s forces in support of the rebels.  US forces have been ordered to evacuate northern Syria but many troops remained caught up in the chaos as different armed groups maneuvered and the roads remained clogged with refugees.  Sen. Lindsey Graham Credit: AP The situation in northeast Syria collapsed into disorder so quickly that US special forces did not have time to carry out a plan to seize around 60 of the top Isil fighters in Kurdish custody, according to the New York Times.  US commandos had planned to take the prisoners from the Kurds and move them to Iraq but were unable to reach a key road in time.  It is not known if any British fighters were among the 60 men on the US list. America has already taken custody of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, the two surviving members of the “Beatles” group of alleged British executioners.      The report appeared to drastically undercut Mr Trump’s claim that “the US has the worst of the Isil prisoners”.  Mr Trump also said the “Kurds may be releasing some [Isil prisoners] to get us involved” in trying to stop Turkey’s offensive. Mr Erdoğan and other Turkish officials have made the same claim repeatedly in recent days.  The Turkish military released a video which it claimed showed its commandos entering a Kurdish prison only to find that the guards had released all the inmates. But Kurdish officials suggested the video was staged at an empty facility never used as a prison.  SDF guards at a prison were wounded during a riot by Isil prisoners at Ain Issa, according to Kurdish media. The Isil suspects still in Kurdish custody are panicked at the prospect they could be handed over to the Assad regime, which has a long history of torturing detainees.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 13:20:45 -0400
  • U.S. Gets Final OK to Hit EU With $7.5 Billion Airbus Sanction news

    (Bloomberg) -- The World Trade Organization on Monday formally authorized the U.S. to impose tariffs on about $7.5 billion worth of European exports annually in retaliation for illegal government aid to Airbus SE.Members approved this month’s arbitration award -- the largest in the trade organization’s history -- at a special meeting of the dispute settlement body at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva. The development marks the final procedural hurdle before the U.S. can retaliate against European goods, which it plans to do on Oct. 18.The EU made a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. over the weekend to thwart the tariffs, seeking a negotiated settlement that would avoid the economic harm a tit-for-tat escalation would cause both parties. European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told her U.S. counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, that his tariff plan would compel the EU to apply countermeasures in a parallel lawsuit over aid the U.S. provided to Boeing Co.“I strongly believe that imposing additional tariffs in the two aircraft cases is not a solution,” Malmstrom said in an Oct. 11 letter to Lighthizer seen by Bloomberg News. “It would only inflict damage on businesses and put at risk jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, harm global trade and the broader aviation industry at a sensitive time.”‘Short-Sighted’U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Dennis Shea said at Monday’s meeting in Geneva that the Trump administration’s preference is to “find a negotiated outcome with the EU that ends all WTO-inconsistent subsidies,” according to a copy of his remarks obtained by Bloomberg. Malmstrom said last month that the EU had reached out to the U.S. with a “detailed proposal,” but that the U.S. wasn’t willing to negotiate.The EU said that it would be “short-sighted” for the U.S. to impose retaliatory tariffs on European goods and urged the U.S. to find a “fair and balanced solution” to the dispute, according to a statement delivered by Paolo Garzotti, the EU’s deputy head of delegation to the WTO.“Both the EU and the US have been found at fault by the WTO dispute settlement system,” Garzotti said. “In the parallel Boeing case, the EU will in some months equally be granted right to impose additional countermeasures. The mutual imposition of countermeasures, however, would only harm global trade and the broader aviation industry.”The EU has already published a preliminary list of U.S. goods -- from ketchup to video-game consoles -- it will target in a $12 billion plan for retaliatory levies related to the Boeing case. The WTO will issue an arbitration award next year. The office of the U.S. Trade Representative previously said it would impose a 10% tariff on large civil aircraft from France, Germany, Spain and the U.K. The U.S. will also slap 25% levies on a range of other items including Irish and Scotch whiskeys, wine, olives and cheese, as well as certain pork products, butter and yogurt from various European nations.(Updates with U.S. comment in the fifth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Jonathan Stearns.To contact the reporter on this story: Bryce Baschuk in Geneva at bbaschuk2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Murray at, Richard Bravo, Chris ReiterFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 05:49:06 -0400
  • Israel asks Putin to pardon U.S.-Israeli jailed for Moscow airport transit drugs

    Israel asked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday to pardon a U.S.-Israeli woman given a 7-1/2 year jail sentence for drugs found in her luggage as she transited through a Moscow airport. Naama Issachar's case has opened up an unusually public rift between Israel and Russia. Issachar was arrested in April during a layover in flights from India to Israel.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 10:00:01 -0400
  • Pope Francis's main bodyguard resigns over a leak news

    Domenico Giani, the Vatican's longtime security chief and Pope Francis's main bodyguard, resigned on Monday over a leak of information from an investigation into alleged financial wrongdoing in the Vatican.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 10:52:17 -0400
  • 7 Indigenous Pioneers You Need to Know

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 14:19:00 -0400
  • Gunman opens fire at church wedding ceremony, 2 people shot news

    A gunman opened fire at a wedding ceremony inside a New Hampshire church Saturday, shooting two people including the presiding bishop before guests tackled the shooter and pinned him to the ground until police arrived, authorities said. Dale Holloway, 37, has been charged with first degree assault for shooting Stanley Choate, 75, in the chest at the New England Pentecostal church, according to the state's attorney general office. A second person, Claire McMullen, 60, was shot in the arm.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 20:13:44 -0400
  • In 1986, a Russian Submarine with 27 Nuclear Missiles Sank (And Exploded) news

    "Seawater combined with missile fuel to produce heat and toxic gases. Despite a crewman venting the tube, an explosion erupted in the silo, ejecting the missile and its warheads into the sea."

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 15:00:00 -0400
  • Canadian Snowbird plane crashes during Atlanta air show news

    The remaining festivities associated with the annual air show were cancelled following the crash

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 15:54:44 -0400
  • When Elizabeth Warren ducked and dodged on Medicare for All news

    Seven years before Elizabeth Warren said “I’m with Bernie on Medicare for All," she was campaigning for the Senate and didn’t want to talk about single-payer health care. Running a tough race against Republican incumbent Scott Brown, the first-time candidate repeatedly distanced herself from the idea. In one interview, she was grilled by New England Cable News host Jim Braude: He wanted to know if she’d support single-payer if she were “the tsarina” — in other words, if politics weren’t an obstacle.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 07:48:58 -0400
  • Hong Kong protesters and police clash, metro and shops targeted news

    Rallies in shopping malls on Hong Kong island and across the harbor in the Kowloon district began peacefully around midday with a few hundred people at each chanting "Free Hong Kong" and other slogans. Police said protesters threw bricks and petrol bombs at police, with one setting a police van alight in Kowloon's Sha Tin district. Police made several arrests and used tear gas to disperse protesters, saying they used "minimum force".

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 22:56:56 -0400
  • Syrian Fight Heats Up With U.S. on Sidelines news

    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.President Donald Trump’s desire to get the U.S. out of Middle East wars is creating a mess that could reverberate long after America departs.His decision to give Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the green light to cross the border into Syria in an operation against the Kurds, the U.S.’s erstwhile allies in the fight against Islamic State, has sparked an alliance shift.The Kurds say they’ve now enlisted help from former foe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who’s supported by Russia. Turkish and Syrian troops could end up in close proximity as a result.Trump’s withdrawal of all U.S. troops from northern Syria prompted fresh criticism from lawmakers, including fellow Republicans, who return to Washington today after a two-week break ready to pursue penalties against Turkey. Critics accuse Trump of selling out the Kurds and abdicating America’s responsibilities in the region.Having enabled Erdogan’s initial move, Trump now says he’s ready to impose “powerful” sanctions if Turkey does anything in Syria the U.S. considers off-limits.Penalties though may not stop Erdogan, who has vowed to push the Kurds back from his border. That raises the chance of a broader clash as Assad’s troops move toward the area. Yet Damascus, with its forces fatigued by an eight-year civil war, probably doesn’t have the wherewithal to take on the Turks without Moscow’s help.How all this plays out depends largely on Turkey and Russia. Washington is now a bystander.Global HeadlinesJust In: Hold the champagne. China wants further talks as soon as the end of the month to hammer out the details of a “phase one” trade deal touted by Trump before President Xi Jinping agrees to sign it.Political posturing | Queen Elizabeth II will deliver Boris Johnson’s legislative agenda today, yet, with no working majority in Parliament, the prime minister’s proposed 22 bills stand little chance of becoming law. Instead, the speech is a way for Johnson’s Conservatives to outline their election manifesto. It comes as his attempt to secure a Brexit deal ran into trouble after the European Union said talks were a long way from a breakthrough.Read about how Brexit will only speed up the decline of Brand Britannia and click here for a timeline of events to watch over the next two weeks as the Oct. 31 divorce deadline approaches. Need for speed | If U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to finish the impeachment inquiry into Trump before the heart of the 2020 election, she’ll likely need to do it without help from federal courts, which could take months to resolve any fight over presidential stonewalling. Even though at least two State Department officials are testifying as part of Democrats’ probe, the White House continues to block access to documents and prevent testimony from other witnesses.Happening today: Trump’s former Russia adviser Fiona Hill is scheduled to testify behind closed doors before three House panels leading the impeachment inquiry.  Read more about Hunter Biden’s decision to step down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity company. The son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has been at the center of discredited allegations by Trump related to his work on behalf of foreign companies. Budapest brooding | Hungarian opposition parties celebrated last night after winning local elections in the capital and other cities, loosening the political stranglehold of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has clashed with the European Union over democratic standards. But another vote in regional peer Poland served to remind them how tough it is to expand local victories to the national level. A year after the nationalist ruling Law & Justice party lost big in city votes, it trounced pro-European parties in yesterday’s parliamentary election.Jail time | Catalan separatists who tried to break away from Spain two years ago were given jail sentences of up to 13 years by the Supreme Court in Madrid in an unprecedented ruling that marks a watershed in relations with the troubled region. The convictions will inject an extra dose of rancor into the political system as Spain prepares for a fourth general election in as many years on Nov. 10.Key state | No Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio. But Trump may not be able to count on the affluent suburbs that have helped all modern Republican presidents secure the must-win battleground state. Gregory Korte and Mark Niquette explain how one such community, Westerville, the site of tomorrow’s debate with the top 12 Democratic candidates, highlights warning signs for Republicans. Billionaires may have much more to fear (tax rates of up to 97.5%) from a Bernie Sanders presidency than they do from an Elizabeth Warren administration.What to Watch This Week Hong Kong protesters plan a rally tonight in support of legislation the U.S. House may vote on this week that would require annual reviews of Hong Kong’s special trading status and potentially sanction some Chinese officials. South Korean President Moon Jae-in apologized today as his justice minister — and close confidant — offered to resign amid a widening corruption probe. Islamist-backed law professor Kais Saied is poised for a landslide victory in Tunisia’s presidential election, an exit poll suggested, with official results expected later today. U.S. tariffs on billions of dollars of EU products, including Scotch whiskeys and French wine and cheese, are scheduled to take effect Friday.Thanks to all who responded to our pop quiz Friday and congrats to reader Jay Kraker, who was the first to correctly name Rex Tillerson as the person Trump asked to help persuade the Justice Department to drop a criminal case against Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab. Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at finally ... The women who spearheaded the “Me Too” movement in India are still fighting for justice. Their accusations against powerful men forced some to resign. Yet a year later, those who led the campaign and helped hundreds of others tell their stories find themselves stigmatized, out of work or embroiled in court cases. One high-profile journalist has been sued for defamation by the man she accused. \--With assistance from Kathleen Hunter, Archana Chaudhary, Kitty Donaldson and Ruth Pollard.To contact the author of this story: Karl Maier in Rome at kmaier2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 06:04:09 -0400
  • 12 Hours. 4 Syrian Hospitals Bombed. Evidence Reveals One Culprit: Russia. news

    The Russian Air Force has repeatedly bombed hospitals in Syria in order to crush the last pockets of resistance to President Bashar Assad, according to an investigation by The New York Times.An analysis of previously unpublished Russian Air Force radio recordings, plane-spotter logs and witness accounts allowed The Times to trace bombings of four hospitals in just 12 hours in May and tie Russian pilots to each one.The 12-hour period beginning on May 5 represents a small slice of the air war in Syria, but it is a microcosm of Russia's four-year military intervention in Syria's civil war. A new front in the conflict opened this week, when Turkish forces crossed the border as part of a campaign against a Kurdish-led militia.Russia has long been accused of carrying out systematic attacks against hospitals and clinics in rebel-held areas as part of a strategy to help Assad secure victory in the eight-year-old war.Physicians for Human Rights, an advocacy group that tracks attacks on medical workers in Syria, has documented at least 583 such attacks since 2011, 266 of them since Russia intervened in September 2015. At least 916 medical workers have been killed since 2011.The Times assembled a large body of evidence to analyze the hospital bombings on May 5 and 6.Social media posts from Syria, interviews with witnesses, and records from charities that supported the four hospitals provided the approximate time of each strike. The Times obtained logs kept by flight spotters on the ground who warn civilians about incoming airstrikes and cross-checked the time of each strike to confirm that Russian warplanes were overhead. We then listened to and deciphered thousands of Russian Air Force radio transmissions, which recorded months' worth of pilot activities in the skies above northwestern Syria. The recordings were provided to The Times by a network of observers who insisted on anonymity for their safety.Spotter logs from May 5 and 6 put Russian pilots above each hospital at the time they were struck, and Air Force audio recordings from that day feature Russian pilots confirming each bombing. Videos obtained from witnesses and verified by The Times confirmed three of the strikes.Recklessly or intentionally bombing hospitals is a war crime, but proving culpability amid a complex civil war is extremely difficult, and until now, Syrian medical workers and human rights groups lacked proof.Russia's position as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council has shielded it from scrutiny and made U.N. agencies reluctant to accuse the Russian Air Force of responsibility."The attacks on health in Syria, as well as the indiscriminate bombing of civilian facilities, are definitely war crimes, and they should be prosecuted at the level of the International Criminal Court in The Hague," said Susannah Sirkin, director of policy at Physicians for Human Rights. But Russia and China "shamefully" vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have referred those and other crimes in Syria to the court, she said.The Russian government did not directly respond to questions about the four hospital bombings. Instead, a Foreign Ministry spokesman pointed to past statements saying that the Russian Air Force carries out precision strikes only on "accurately researched targets."The U.N. secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, opened an investigation into the hospital bombings in August. The investigation, still ongoing, is meant in part to determine why hospitals that voluntarily added their locations to a U.N.-sponsored deconfliction list, which was provided to Russia and other combatants to prevent them from being attacked, nevertheless came under attack.Syrian health care workers said they believed that the U.N. list actually became a target menu for Russian and Syrian air forces.Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the secretary-general, said in September that the investigation -- an internal board of inquiry -- would not produce a public report or identify "legal responsibility." Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian permanent representative to the U.N., cast doubt on the process shortly after it was announced, saying he hoped the inquiry would not investigate perpetrators but rather what he said was the U.N.'s use of false information in its deconfliction process.From April 29 to mid-September, as Russian and Syrian government forces assaulted the last rebel pocket in the northwest, 54 hospitals and clinics in opposition territory were attacked, the U.N. human rights office said. At least seven had tried to protect themselves by adding their location to the deconfliction list, according to the World Health Organization.On May 5 and 6, Russia attacked four. All were on the list.The first was Nabad al Hayat Surgical Hospital, a major underground trauma center in southern Idlib province serving about 200,000 people. The hospital performed on average around 500 operations and saw more than 5,000 patients a month, according to Syria Relief and Development, the U.S.-based charity that supported it.Nabad al Hayat had been attacked three times since it opened in 2013 and had recently relocated to an underground complex on agricultural land, hoping to be protected from airstrikes.At 2:32 p.m. on May 5, a Russian ground control officer can be heard in an Air Force transmission providing a pilot with a longitude and latitude that correspond to Nabad al Hayat's exact location.At 2:38 p.m., the pilot reports that he can see the target and has the "correction," code for locking the target on a screen in his cockpit. Ground control responds with the green light for the strike, saying, "Three sevens."At the same moment, a flight spotter on the ground logs a Russian jet circling in the area.At 2:40 p.m., the same time the charity said that Nabad al Hayat was struck, the pilot confirms the release of his weapons, saying, "Worked it." Seconds later, local journalists filming the hospital in anticipation of an attack record three precision bombs penetrating the roof of the hospital and blowing it out from the inside in geysers of dirt and concrete.The staff of Nabad al Hayat had evacuated three days earlier after receiving warnings and anticipating a bombing, but Kafr Nabl Surgical Hospital, 3 miles northwest, was not as lucky.A doctor who worked there said that the hospital was struck four times, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The strikes landed about five minutes apart, without warning, he said, killing a man who was standing outside and forcing patients and members of the medical staff to use oxygen tanks to breathe through the choking dust.A spotter logged a Russian jet circling above at the time of the strike, and in another Russian Air Force transmission, a pilot reports that he has "worked" his target at 5:30 p.m., the time of the strike. He then reports three more strikes, each about five minutes apart, matching the doctor's chronology.Russian pilots bombed two other hospitals in the same 12-hour span: Kafr Zita Cave Hospital and Al Amal Orthopedic Hospital. In both cases, spotters recorded Russian Air Force jets in the skies at the time of the strike, and Russian pilots can be heard in radio transmissions "working" their targets at the times the strikes were reported.Since May 5, at least two dozen hospitals and clinics in the rebel-held northwest have been hit by airstrikes. Syrian medical workers said they expected hospital bombings to continue, given the inability of the U.N. and other countries to find a way to hold Russia to account."The argument by the Russians or the regime is always that hospitals are run by terrorists," said Nabad al Hayat's head nurse, who asked to remain anonymous because he feared being targeted. "Is it really possible that all the people are terrorists?"The truth is that after hospitals are hit, and in areas like this where there is just one hospital, our houses have become hospitals."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 12:03:03 -0400
  • $20,000 worth of ride props were reportedly stolen from Walt Disney World news

    The Orlando Sentinel reported on Thursday that the items were taken from a shed behind Test Track in Epcot.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 13:03:59 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-Scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to force climate action

    In a joint declaration, climate scientists, physicists, biologists, engineers and others from at least 20 countries broke with the caution traditionally associated with academia to side with peaceful protesters courting arrest from Amsterdam to Melbourne. Wearing white laboratory coats to symbolise their research credentials, a group of about 20 of the signatories gathered on Saturday to read out the text outside London's century-old Science Museum in the city's upmarket Kensington district. "We believe that the continued governmental inaction over the climate and ecological crisis now justifies peaceful and non-violent protest and direct action, even if this goes beyond the bounds of the current law," said Emily Grossman, a science broadcaster with a PhD in molecular biology.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 07:53:22 -0400
  • Son of sheriff who called immigrants ‘drunks’ at White House event arrested for public intoxication news

    The son of a Texas sheriff who used a White House press conference to describe immigrant offenders as “drunks” likely to repeatedly break the law has been arrested for public intoxication.Sergei Waybourn, 24, faces a count of indecent exposure as well as public drunkenness just days after his father, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn, was criticised for the comments.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 08:04:35 -0400
  • Can The U.S. Army's Latest Air Defense System Handle 21st Century Warfare? news

    A demonstration might give us hints.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:37:00 -0400
  • South Korean pop star Sulli found dead at her home news

    South Korean pop star and actress Sulli was found dead at her home south of Seoul on Monday, police said. The 25-year-old was found after her manager went to her home in Seongnam because she didn't answer phone calls for hours, said Kim Seong-tae, an official from the Seongnam Sujeong Police Department. "The investigation is ongoing and we won't make presumptions about the cause of death," said Kim, adding that security camera footage at Sulli's home showed no signs of an intrusion.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 07:35:41 -0400
  • Tight squeeze: Cruise ship passes through Greek Canal with only 5 feet of breathing room

    Fred Olsen Cruise Lines says its MS Braemar set a record for the biggest ship to pass through Greece's narrow Corinth Canal on Oct. 9.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 10:02:26 -0400
  • Tribal Map of America Shows Whose Land You're Actually Living On news

    A history worth examining on Indigenous People's Day.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 09:00:00 -0400
  • US officials are considering pulling nuclear weapons from Turkey, effectively severing the US-Turkey alliance news

    The US-Turkey relationship has soured over the past several years, but the US still stores as many as 50 B61 gravity bombs at Inçirlik Air Base.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 14:24:14 -0400
  • China’s Xi warns efforts to divide China will end with ‘crushed bodies and shattered bones' news

    China’s president Xi Jinping has warned efforts to divide or destabilise China will end with “shattered bones,” as international pressure mounts over the government’s handling of protests in Hong Kong and a widespread crackdown on Muslim minority groups.  “Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones,” Mr Xi said, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.  “And any external forces backing such attempts dividing China will be deemed by the Chinese people as pipe-dreaming!” he was quoted as saying to Nepal’s prime minister KP Sharma Oli during China’s first state visit to the South Asian country in two decades. Mr Xi’s comments come ahead of a potential flashpoint on Wednesday, when the Hong Kong government will reconvene its Legislative Council for a fall session. Embattled chief executive Carrie Lam is also scheduled to give a speech, and is expected to formally withdraw the extradition bill that sparked the protests. With violence escalating, foreign governments including the US and UK are putting more pressure on Beijing to act humanely and hold up its end of the Sino-British Joint Declaration – an agreement meant to protect freedoms in Hong Kong when the former colony was returned to China. China: Beijing celebrations mark 70 years of Communist rule in pictures American politicians have also introduced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would mandate an annual review to determine whether Hong Kong remained sufficiently autonomous to justify unique treatment by the US. It would also sanction individuals over human rights violations and bar them from entering the country. The bill has drawn bipartisan support and is scheduled to be considered in the House this week, after sailing unanimously through earlier committees. Protesters first took to the streets over concerns that suspects extradited to China would not receive a fair trial, as Communist Party control contributes to a 99.9 per cent conviction rate.  Hong Kong protests | Read more But after a summer of unrest, a pledge Ms Lam made last month to officially axe the legislation wasn’t enough to appease protesters. Activists have expanded their demands to include Ms Lam’s resignation, an independent probe into police handling of the protests, democratic election reforms, and for all rioting charges to be dropped as the offence carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.  Police have fired live rounds, sometimes as a warning, hitting at least two teenage protesters. Activists are also increasingly aggressive, hitting police officers with sticks, throwing petrol bombs and setting fire to road barricades. Over the weekend, the back of a police officer’s neck was also slashed. China is also battling foreign scrutiny in Xinjiang, a land-locked western province where millions of Muslim minorities have been locked up and tortured in “re-education camps.” Last week, the US Commerce Department also announced sanctions on 28 public security bureaus and companies in China implicated in human rights violations in Xinjiang.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 05:37:57 -0400
  • Malaysia Won’t Raise Tax Even as Trade War Halts Fiscal Plan news

    (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s finance minister said the government won’t raise taxes unnecessarily even as the trade war between two of its largest trading partners hampers the state’s goal of achieving a balanced budget.The government will spend within its means and won’t add taxes just to fund certain infrastructure projects, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Haslinda Amin, after announcing the 2020 budget Friday. To raise funds, Malaysia will sell samurai bonds early next year, and continue its pursuit of assets lost in the 1MDB state investment-fund scandal, he said.The government remains committed to reducing the fiscal deficit in the medium term, and could reach a balanced budget in five years if trade tensions between the U.S. and China are resolved, Lim said.The government widened its deficit target for 2020 to 3.2% of gross domestic product, from a previous target of 3%, to get the fiscal space it needs to support economic growth. On Friday, Lim announced larger development spending for next year and offered a slew of incentives to win over investors amid the trade war, which he described as a unique opportunity for Malaysia to attract investment.Special ChannelA special channel aims to make it easier for Chinese investors to enter the Malaysian market starting next year, Lim said in the interview Monday in Kuala Lumpur. He expects foreign-direct investment from China to reach levels of investment from the U.S. and Europe in coming years.Soon after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad returned to power last year, Malaysia halted or canceled major projects and slashed spending to rein in debt. That tone has changed since Lim said in February that he was nearly done cleaning house. The government raised next year’s transport allocation by 8.8% to fund a Kuala Lumpur mass rapid transit project and the Pan-Borneo Highway, while allocating 10 billion ringgit ($2.4 billion) to help Malaysians buy homes.Malaysia will raise funds by selling yen-denominated bonds in the first quarter of next year, with the size to be determined after talks with Japan, Lim said. The government raised 200 billion yen ($1.85 billion) this year at a coupon of 0.53%, lower than the 0.65% he indicated before the sale. Lim said he’s open to other types of bonds.“It’s always a pricing issue.” he said. “We are willing to consider all issues provided the price is right.”Reparation PaymentsMahathir has made it a mission to bring back money believed to be lost through 1MDB. Lim reiterated that he wants Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to make “reparation payments” amounting to $7.5 billion for the bank’s role in arranging bond sales for the troubled state fund. Until then, Malaysia will continue legal proceedings against the U.S. bank and its 17 current and former directors, Lim said.“I hope they back up their words with deeds,” he said, referring to comments from Goldman President and Chief Operating Officer John Waldron, who said last month the bank wants to get the Malaysian people the money they deserve.“If they want to make Malaysians happy, then back it up with reparation payments,” Lim said.(Updates with details from interview throughout.)To contact the reporter on this story: Anisah Shukry in Kuala Lumpur at ashukry2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Yudith Ho at, ;Nasreen Seria at, Michael S. ArnoldFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 22:26:55 -0400
  • California becomes first state to ban fur news

    California has become the first U.S. state to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products. On Saturday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law to prohibit residents from making or selling items such as clothing, shoes or handbags made of fur.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 10:20:17 -0400
  • Special Report: The hunt for Asia's El Chapo news

    He is Asia’s most-wanted man. Tse Chi Lop, a Canadian national born in China, is suspected of leading a vast multinational drug trafficking syndicate formed out of an alliance of five of Asia’s triad groups, according to law enforcement officials. The syndicate, law enforcers believe, is funneling tonnes of methamphetamine, heroin and ketamine to at least a dozen countries from Japan in North Asia to New Zealand in the South Pacific.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 07:59:08 -0400
  • With Hypersonic Missiles, Israel's F-35s Are Upping The Ante In Syria news

    Iran has taken notice.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 18:20:42 -0400
  • Family ends search for missing CEO after a body is found news

    The family of a missing Utah tech executive has called off a search for her after police reported that a body was found inside a parked car in the San Francisco Bay Area. Police in San Jose said the body was discovered Saturday in an area where Erin Valenti's family had been searching. "While we were praying for a different outcome, we are so appreciative for the help and support you have given," according to a Facebook post by the group Help Find Erin Valenti.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:13:57 -0400
  • Disney Skyliner reopens with modified hours after stranding passengers last week news

    Disney's Skyliner is back in action after the new aerial cable car system stranded passengers for hours the night of Oct. 5.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 10:39:49 -0400
  • Portland antifa activist killed in hit and run, police say news

    City’s antifascist group says death of Sean D Kealiher, 23, was not ‘related to fascist activity’ and police did not specify a motiveThe Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Photograph: Jonathan Bachman/ReutersA Portland antifascist activist was killed in the early hours of Saturday in an apparent hit-and-run near Cider Riot, a cidery and taproom popular with the city’s anarchist left that has been the scene of conflict with rightwing groups. According to the Portland police bureau, the car involved was fired upon and crashed into a nearby building. Its occupants fled the scene. Police said in a statement that the 23-year-old victim, Sean D Kealiher, was taken to a local hospital by associates. The Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Police said homicide squad detectives would investigate and called on witnesses to come forward. Kealiher was a prominent participant in antifascist and anti-Trump protests in Portland, speaking and marching in opposition to events held by rightwing groups. His activities occasionally attracted the attention of rightwing bloggers and social media personalities. Rose City Antifa, the city’s longest-standing antifascist group, said in a tweet addressing Kealiher’s death that it “was not related to fascist activity”. Police did not specify a motive. Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler ,and the Oregon Democratic party, outside whose building the incident happened, expressed condolences on Twitter. Memorial tributes were laid at the site. Six men, including the Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, are awaiting trial on charges arising from a violent incident at Cider Riot on 1 May. In an affidavit in support of Gibson’s arrest warrant, police officer Brad Kalbaugh described the group approaching Cider Riot “in an effort clearly designed to provoke a physical confrontation”. Multiple videos of that incident show punches, thrown drinks and pepper spray being exchanged. One of the men awaiting trial, Ian Kramer, is alleged to have struck a woman with a baton, fracturing her vertebra. More video appears to show members of the group planning violence ahead of the brawl. Gibson and the other men are charged with riot. Some face felony assault charges.Cider Riot’s owner, Abram Goldman-Armstrong, has commenced a $1m lawsuit against Gibson and several others. Goldman-Armstrong’s lawyer, Juan Chavez, says his client has been subject to “homophobic and antisemitic” harassment since the suit was filed.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 11:40:37 -0400
  • US troops scramble for the exits in Syria news

    U.S. troops are scrambling for Syria's exits while the Trump administration threatens economic penalties on Turkey for an invasion that opened the door to a resurgence of the Islamic State group -- the fighters who were the reason U.S. forces came in the first place. The Turks began attacks in Syria against the Kurds, longtime U.S. battlefield allies against IS, after President Donald Trump declared U.S. troops would stay out of the fight. American troops consolidated their positions in northern Syria on Monday and prepared to evacuate equipment in advance of a full withdrawal as Turkish forces pressed an offensive against the Kurds, a U.S. defense official said.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 14:49:45 -0400
  • India tightens security clampdown ahead of divisive temple ruling news

    Authorities have tightened security restrictions in the northern Indian flashpoint city of Ayodhya ahead of a crucial Supreme Court ruling over the disputed site fiercely contested between Hindus and Muslims. Hindus and Muslims have for decades been bitterly divided over the 16th-century Babri mosque in Ayodhya, a city in Uttar Pradash state. The Supreme Court is expected to conclude on October 17 hearings into appeals against a key 2010 court ruling that both groups should split the site, with Hindus granted the lion's share.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 15:25:32 -0400
  • Climate Protesters Take Fight to the Bank of England, BlackRock news

    (Bloomberg) -- Hundreds of activists from the climate protest movement Extinction Rebellion blocked roads around the Bank of England and glued themselves to BlackRock Inc.’s London headquarters on Monday, calling out the financial sector for funding of fossil fuels.The action marks the start of the second week of disruption around London by the group who have targeted government buildings, bridges and key produce markets to raise the alarm that governments and business aren’t moving fast enough to contain climate change.“It’s time we had a grown-up conversation about the economic and legal system which is killing life on Earth,” said Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion. “It’s time to think about what kind of finance system we need to support the thriving of life on Earth.”Among several demands, the movement wants politicians to aim for net-zero emissions worldwide by 2025, a quarter of a century quicker than the U.K.’s current plans. It’s urging government ministers to establish a citizens’ assembly to analyze climate change and draw up proposals that would feed into legislation.London police have arrested 1,336 protesters as the force balances citizens’ right to protest with causing the least amount of disruption for Londoners. Dozens of police were stationed around Bank Underground station on Monday. At Blackrock protestors glued themselves to the building and blocked entrances accusing the investment of being the “world’s biggest” backer of fossil fuels, according to a press release from the group.Pressure on companies to divest from investing in fossil fuels has never been higher. The world’s biggest investors have increasingly pushed companies this year to reverse course on climate change and set short-term targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.BlackRock has been pushing to enhance climate-related disclosures through the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority stakeholder of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, chairs the group.However, a recent report from the largest investor initiative tackling climate change said that the world’s most polluting companies aren’t moving fast enough to fall in line with the Paris accord on global warming.Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has been at the forefront of a push to force companies to be more transparent about their climate risks. In a recent interview with the Guardian newspaper, he said that industries that are not moving toward zero-carbon emissions will be punished by investors and face bankruptcy.(Updates with Blackrock from first paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at, Adveith Nair, Lars PaulssonFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 10:40:37 -0400
  • Malaysia to study impact of India's planned trade action

    Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said his government will monitor the trade situation with India, which is reported to be considering trade curbs on the Southeast Asian nation over his criticism of actions in Kashmir, news wire Bernama reported. Government and industry sources told Reuters last week that New Delhi is looking for ways to limit palm oil imports and other goods from Malaysia, in retaliation for Mahathir's speech at the United Nations in September when he said India had "invaded and occupied" Jammu and Kashmir. Malaysia had said it did not receive "anything official" from India.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 22:13:14 -0400
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