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  • Turkey says Kurdish forces emptied Islamic State prison in northeast Syria

    Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Monday Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters had emptied a jail holding Islamic State prisoners in a part of Syria where Ankara is mounting an offensive, and that the prisoners there had been abducted. Turkey launched a cross-border operation against the YPG militia in northeastern Syria last week, after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to withdraw forces from two posts in the area in a move that drew strong international criticism. The Turkish assault has prompted alarm that it could allow Islamic State (IS) militants to escape Kurdish-run prisons in northern Syria and regroup.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 08:48:35 -0400
  • 'It's got to stop': Superintendent condemns teacher's racist rant in school parking lot

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    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
  • Executed man's daughter asks court to order DNA testing

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    A woman whose father was executed for murder in Tennessee 13 years ago asked a judge on Monday to order the testing of DNA evidence in the case. The hearing in Memphis focused largely on whether April Alley can legally bring a petition for DNA testing on behalf of her father's estate. Sedley Alley was convicted of the 1985 murder of 19-year-old Marine Lance Cpl.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 14:52:59 -0400
  • The Army Wants Laser-Armed Drone Killers for its New 'Fighting Vehicle'

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    But will it happen?

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 03:55:00 -0400
  • Climate change researchers recommend banning all frequent flyer reward programs to cut carbon emissions by targeting jet-setters

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    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
  • Billionaires Could Face Tax Rates Up to 97.5% Under Sanders

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    (Bloomberg) -- Billionaires may have much more to fear from a Bernie Sanders presidency than they do from an Elizabeth Warren administration, according to two economists advising both candidates.That’s one of the conclusions of a new interactive website developed by University of California, Berkeley professors Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.If Sanders had his way, they calculate that the 400 richest Americans, on average, would have an effective tax rate of 97.5%. That includes not only their income, but also a wealth tax that whittles away at the family fortune.The 97.5% average effective tax rate under his plans compares with 23% now and 62% under Warren’s proposals, according to the two economists. Sanders and Warren have both pitched wealth taxes, which is a key reason that their plans tax billionaires so much more. Warren’s wealth tax places a 2% levy on fortunes above $50 million and a 3% levy on assets more than $1 billion. Sanders’ plan goes further, and starts taxing wealth of $32 million at 1%, increasing to an 8% tax on fortunes above $10 billion.“With the wealth tax, you get directly at the stock instead of hitting the flow of income, making it a much more powerful de-concentration tool than income taxes,” Saez said in an email about Sanders’ tax, which Sanders has said would cut the number of billionaires in the country in half in 15 years.The calculations by Saez and Zucman cover state, local and federal taxes and also treat health insurance premiums that individuals pay as a tax, arguing that they are one of main drivers of inequality in the U.S.If a Democrat wins in 2020, wealthy Americans would fare best if it were Joe Biden, even though the former vice president would hit the rich with a markedly bigger tax burden -- an effective average rate of 30.6%, or more than 7 percentage points higher than they face now under President Donald Trump.Read More: Why Taxing the Rich Is Popular But Isn’t Always Easy: QuickTakeLarge tax increases on the rich have been a key topic in the 2020 Democratic primary as candidates have looked for proposals that would lessen inequality and raise lots of revenue to pay for expensive social programs, such as expanded health care and free college tuition.The economists released an interactive website Sunday that lets users select different tax rates to see how levies on various income groups are increasing. Saez and Zucman are also releasing a book on Tuesday, “The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay,” making the case for large tax increases on top earners.All major Democratic candidates have called for higher taxes on the wealthy, including raising the income tax rates or increasing levies on capital gain income. Sanders, Warren and Senator Kamala Harris have also floated levies on stock and bond trades.Taxes on the wealthy have historically been popular with voters. For decades a majority of polls have shown that people think the wealthy pay too little in taxes. Gallup found in April that 62% of people say that “upper-income” individuals pay too little in taxes.To contact the reporters on this story: Rich Miller in Washington at rmiller28@bloomberg.net;Laura Davison in Washington at ldavison4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 23:00:00 -0400
  • Police officer stabbed in the neck in latest Hong Kong clashes

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    A Hong Kong police officer was stabbed in the neck on Sunday in one of the worst acts of violence against the authorities during the 19th straight weekend of civil unrest in the global financial hub. Graphic footage emerged of the policeman being stabbed in the neck from behind with a sharp object as his team retreated towards Kwun Tong metro station.  The police confirmed that two people had been arrested at the scene and the officer had been transferred to hospital “in a conscious state” and was stable.  A police source said that the officer had sustained a 3cm cut to his neck, and while it was still hard to confirm the extent of his injuries, that the attack was “one of the worst” when seen “in terms of malice, in terms of an attempt to kill the officer.”  Flash mob-style protests had initially peacefully in multiple locations with small groups of a few hundred people chanting “Free Hong Kong” slogans but soon developed into chaotic clashes with the riot police as more radical black-clad activists trashed shops and erected barricades on busy roads.     Anti-government protesters in Tai Po, Hong Kong Credit: Ammar Awad/Reuters Dozens were reportedly injured, numerous arrests were made and tear gas was deployed to disperse protesters, although the police said “minimum force” was used. As night fell, about 20 Molotov cocktails were thrown at a police station in Mongkok in Kowloon.  Earlier in the day, protesters played a game of cat-and-mouse with riot officers in Mongkok’s busy shopping district – blocking roads with metal railings and bamboo sticks, only to disappear into a warren of side streets when police vans arrived to clear the way. The Telegraph witnessed at least two rough arrests and an injured officer on the ground on the main thoroughfare of Nathan Road. One bystander claimed that a young man had been detained simply for being alone in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Crowds of residents surrounded the police, hurling insults and accusing them of being “mafia,” jeering as the vans pulled away and giving officers the finger. Video footage of an officer being floored by a protester’s flying kick during another attempted arrest in the area went viral. Elsewhere, the ongoing anti-government protests, which began in opposition to a controversial extradition bill but have now widened into an appeal for universal suffrage and greater democracy, played out more peacefully.  Alan Fung, 62, is taking part in a 48-hour sit-in outside the main police station on Hong Kong island Credit: Michael Zhang On Saturday night, pro-democracy demonstrators performed the exhausting feat of hauling a four-metre statue called “Lady Liberty” to the top of the Lion Rock, a 495-metre peak overlooking Kowloon’s skyscrapers. The statue, which has become one of the many symbols of the movement, was left watching over the city wearing a gas mask, protective goggles and a helmet, proclaiming the slogan "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times". Meanwhile, as younger protesters tried to taunt and out-run the police, the older generation were staging their own rebellion.  About 100 “silver hair” protesters gathered for a 48-hour sit-in outside the main police headquarters in Wan Chai on Hong Kong island this weekend, chanting anti-government slogans and making protest banners. A masked old man took out a black marker pen and wrote insults against the police on the barriers surrounding the station before running away giggling.  About 100 older Hong Kong citizens are staging a "silver hair" rally this weekend Credit: Michael Zhang The group’s presence was a sign of the city’s continuing widespread anger over the government’s handling of the worst political crisis in decades. Although the summer’s mass rallies have largely been led by the young, support for their pro-democracy demands crosses generations.   “We want to say we are the silver haired coming together. We are old but we want to support the younger people. We can’t go to the frontlines but we are in the back to support them,” said Mr Yip, 73, who had come with his 70-year-old wife and two small picnic stools. “I support democracy, I hate the government now.”  Alan Fung, 62, was one of about a dozen pensioners who had braved the humidity as they huddled through the night under a bridge next to the station.  He admitted that he had not got much sleep but said he wanted to camp outside to “protect the young people” and prevent more clashes in the area with the police. “We don’t want it to be dangerous for them again,” he said.  “If we are noisy the government will see that it’s not just the young people who support the campaign but we are too.”

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 12:14:11 -0400
  • NBC News Chief Unleashes on Ronan Farrow in New Staff Memo

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    Steven FerdmanNBC News on Monday is pushed back hard against damning claims made about the network in Ronan Farrow’s new book, dubbing some of the allegations a “smear,” “lie,” and “conspiracy theory.”In a lengthy memo sent to staff, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim attempted to fact-check Farrow’s assertion that network higher-ups had advanced knowledge of and downplayed a rape accusation against former Today anchor Matt Lauer, and worked to kill Farrow’s NBC investigation into disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. “Farrow’s effort to defame NBC News is clearly motivated not by a pursuit of truth, but an axe to grind. It is built on a series of distortions, confused timelines, and outright inaccuracies,” Oppenheim said.Farrow’s book, Catch & Kill, which is set for release on Tuesday, has already inspired a heated back-and-forth between the former NBC reporter and the storied news division. Farrow recounts his time working on the Weinstein probe for NBC News, and how he grew disillusioned with the network’s hesitation to publish the piece, which he eventually took to the New Yorker and garnered a Pulitzer Prize.NBC News Chief Noah Oppenheim’s Harvard Writings on Women and Sexual Assault Horrify StaffersOppenheim’s memo on Monday offered point-by-point rebuttals to many of the NBC-related claims in the book. For one, the embattled NBC News chief denied Farrow’s claim that Weinstein threatened to expose Lauer through the National Enquirer as a means to shutting down Farrow’s investigation into the studio executive. The news network, which has maintained it was completely unaware of Lauer’s behavior, also said that severance paid to several women mentioned in Farrow’s book was unrelated to their apparent knowledge of Lauer’s misconduct. In an appearance Monday on CBS This Morning, however, Farrow replied that the amounts paid to the women who claimed they were aware of Lauer's misbehavior was “atypical.”“I feel absolutely terrible that these three employees were subjected to Matt Lauer’s horrific behavior, but the facts do not support Farrow’s allegation of a ‘cover-up,’ and he offers no further evidence,” Oppenheim wrote, adding that the company’s legal team said there was “no way we have found that NBC's current leadership could have been aware of his misdeeds in the past.” The company also heavily disputed Farrow’s own recollection of his time attempting to report on Weinstein. In one example, NBC denied Farrow’s claim that several colleagues did not listen to audio he had of a Weinstein accuser before killing his reporting.The network also went after Farrow’s old NBC News producer, Rich McHugh, who claimed he was ordered to “stand down” on the Weinstein reporting (the network said the “stand down” order came after Farrow had left the network).In his appearance on CBS This Morning, Farrow dismissed Oppenheim's assertion to that end, noting that in addition to living the experience, he spent two years working on the book, which was fact-checked by a New Yorker researcher.Farrow also said that NBC’s Monday memo included several “lies” and “untruths.” Network higher-ups are "concealing the fact that they actively ordered us to stop,” the reporter claimed.‘I’ll let the reporting in the book stand on its own, we’re very confident in it,” he added.While the network has experienced plenty of external criticism in the wake of Farrow’s book, his reporting has also ignited fierce discussion among NBC News staffers, beginning when many were outraged when Farrow’s Weinstein exposé published in the New Yorker in 2017, and demanded to know how the network let an award-winning investigation walk out the door.‘Women Are Furious’: NBC Roiled by Farrow Book AccusationsPrivately, many NBC News and MSNBC staffers have said that allegations in Farrow’s book have been damning, and expressed concern that the claims have threatened the credibility of the news network and its leadership. Employees also began circulating Oppenheim’s own decades-old Harvard Crimson columns, in which he wrote that “apparently women enjoy being confined, pumped full of alcohol and preyed upon,” and lambasted NBC for firing sportscaster Marv Albert after he pleaded guilty to assault in a sex case. “I couldn’t be more sorry I wrote them,” Oppenheim commented Monday on those columns. “They are totally inappropriate.”Additionally, during a private meeting last week, Oppenheim faced tough questions from staffers who expressed concern over Farrow’s reporting. Chief among their concerns: Whether NBC News was aware that Lauer’s accuser had claimed he raped her while network brass publicly referred to the ordeal as “misconduct” and, per Farrow’s book, privately downplayed the accusations as not “criminal.”“It is an absolute disgrace these two [Oppenheim and Lack] are dirtying our doorstep,” a senior staffer told The Daily Beast following the meeting last week. “We were lied to and are pissed.” NBC Staff Confront Network President Over Lauer Rape Claim: ‘We Deserve Answers’Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 10:44:05 -0400
  • Anthony Scaramucci is desperately trying to recruit Mitt Romney for a 2020 run

    Golocal247.com 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 Mitt2020.org, 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.... https://t.co/sCUTWW6IHA committomitt mitt2020 @MittRomney MittRomney pic.twitter.com/gpgTdL33UY> > -- 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
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faces backlash over haircut

    Golocal247.com 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
  • View Photos of Our Sports Sedan Battle Between the Dodge Charger and Kia Stinger GT

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    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 07:59:00 -0400
  • Russia-backed Syrian army sweeps in after U.S. announces abrupt exit

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    BEIRUT/ANKARA (Reuters) - Russia-backed Syrian forces took rapid advantage of an abrupt U.S. retreat from Syria on Monday, deploying deep inside Kurdish-held territory south of the Turkish frontier less than 24 hours after Washington announced a full withdrawal. Washington's Kurdish former allies said they invited in the government troops as an emergency step to help fend off an assault by Turkey, launched last week after President Donald Trump moved his troops aside in what the Kurds call a betrayal. Washington's decision to abandon a policy it had pursued for five years gives Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russia's Vladimir Putin free hands to shape the battlefield of the world's deadliest ongoing war.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 04:43:53 -0400
  • Son of sheriff who called immigrants ‘drunks’ at White House event arrested for public intoxication

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    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
  • Mobile phones back in Indian Kashmir, but internet still down

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    Mobile phone networks were restored in Indian Kashmir on Monday after a 72-day blackout, authorities said, but the internet remains off-limits to the region's seven million-plus people. India cut access to mobile networks in the restive Kashmir Valley in early August citing security concerns as it scrapped the region's semi-autonomous status and imposed a lockdown. The easing on Monday covers around four million post-paid mobile phone contracts, but only for calls and text messages.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 04:08:04 -0400
  • Boris Johnson Uses Queen’s Speech to Set Out General Election Platform

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Boris Johnson set out his ambitions for governing Britain with an outline plan for what he will do if he wins the general election that’s expected to be triggered within weeks.The British prime minister promised a focus on domestic issues if he can “get Brexit done,” as he used the pomp and ceremony of a speech to Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II to announce 26 draft government bills.Without a majority in the House of Commons, Johnson has little chance of seeing his plans turned into law. With that in mind, he is seeking an early general election -- and Monday’s policy package is likely to form the skeleton of his manifesto for that campaign.Seven of the proposals related to Brexit, but everything hangs on the first one: The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which would allow the U.K. to leave the EU with a deal -- if one is agreed.In the event that Johnson and the EU can reach an accord before the end of the month, Johnson will try to rush that bill through Parliament. If not, he may try to take Britain out of the bloc without a deal, or he might be forced to delay the divorce.The issue for Johnson is that he is so far short of a majority he cannot pass any controversial legislation without an election, which the opposition parties won’t let him hold until he delays Brexit or agrees a deal with the EU.In that context, the speech, delivered to both Houses of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II on her throne in the House of Lords, was a preview of the ground on which Johnson would like to fight that election: Health, crime and education.“People are tired of stasis, gridlock and waiting for change,” Johnson wrote in an introduction to the Queen’s speech. “They don’t want to wait for their streets to be safer. They don’t want to wait for their schools to have the funding they need.”There were other measures to deal with Brexit, covering agriculture, fisheries, trade and immigration. A financial services bill aims to maintain the U.K.’s status as an investment center.Measures affecting business included:a Medicines and Medical Devices Bill, to simplify trials and prescribinga pension bill to make it easier for savers to keep track of different pots of moneyMoves to give government more powers to scrutinize takeovers of companies with national security linksa crackdown on child abuse online, putting a duty of care on technology companiesThe speech also contained lines clearly intended as voter-friendly talking points in an election:a law to let servers in restaurants keep all their tipsa nationwide roll-out of gigabit broadbandan Animal Welfare Bill, banning the use of wild animals in circusesAnother promise seeks to give Johnson’s Conservatives an answer to the opposition Labour Party’s eye-catching plan to take railways back into public ownership. The government will review how the trains work, with a pledge to simplify ticket structures and a new industry structure, Johnson’s office said in a briefing.The rest of the week will see debate on these measures in Parliament, but the political focus will be on Johnson’s talks with the EU, and a summit of EU leaders starting on Thursday. The government wants Parliament to sit on Saturday, the first weekend sitting since the Falklands War in 1982, to discuss the outcome of that meeting.The pageantry of the Queen’s Speech began at 10 a.m., when the Yeomen of the Guard, the royal bodyguards known as “Beefeaters,” searched the cellars of Parliament. The tradition dates back to 1605, when Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament, and King James I with it.The Queen then traveled in a gilded coach from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament, escorted by the Household Cavalry. As the Queen arrived, the Union Flag of the U.K. was lowered and her Royal Standard raised over Parliament.At 11:30 a.m., Sarah Clarke, the Queen’s representative to Parliament -- generally known by her official title of Black Rod -- marched to the House of Commons, the lower, elected, chamber. She summoned politicians to hear the Queen, who was waiting in the House of Lords, the upper, unelected chamber. The door of the Commons was slammed in her face.This ritual symbolizes the independence of the Commons from the Crown: no British monarch has entered the lower house since 1642, when King Charles I tried to arrest five members in the run-up to a civil war that ended with his execution in 1649.To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Thomas Penny, Andrew AtkinsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 07:39:25 -0400
  • Meet the Massive Ordnance Penetrator: The Air Force's Newest Bunker Buster Bomb

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    Huge and very powerful.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 22:00:00 -0400
  • Japan storm victims felt worst was over, then floods came

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    After the worst of Typhoon Hagibis passed over this town north of Tokyo, Kazuo Saito made sure there was no water outside his house and went to bed. The storm, which made landfall in the Tokyo region late Saturday, had dumped record amounts of rain that caused rivers to overflow their banks, some of them damaged. It turned many neighborhoods in Kawagoe into swamps.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 10:04:31 -0400
  • States are cutting university budgets. Taxpayers aren't interested in funding campus kooks

    Golocal247.com 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
  • Booker Scolds Buttigieg for Referring to Gun ‘Buybacks’ as ‘Confiscation’: ‘Doing the NRA’s Work for Them’

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    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
  • Police Respond to Reports of Mall Shooting in Florida, Confirm 1 Person Injured

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    Authorities have not yet identified the circumstances which led to the shooting

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 17:06:02 -0400
  • Hong Kong protesters and police clash, metro and shops targeted

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    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
  • U.S. ‘Withdraws’ as Kurds Strike Deal to Let Assad’s Forces Into Region

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    Khalil Ashawi/ReutersAmid a Turkish assault, the Kurds, or Syrian Democratic Forces, have struck a deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, that will bring forces loyal to Assad back into areas that have been under Kurdish control for years.“An agreement has been reached with the Syrian government—whose duty it is to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty—for the Syrian Army to enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to help the SDF stop this aggression [by Turkey],” the Kurds said in a statement.Once the agreement was made Sunday night, Syrian Assad troops began moving into towns near the border with Turkey where Turkish forces have been encroaching since President Trump announced that he was withdrawing American forces from the region earlier this week.The agreement appears to undermine any expectation that United States might continue to assist the Kurds—Washington’s allies against ISIS—as they are attacked by Turkey. In the aftermath of Trump’s announcement, with a Turkish invasion carried out just days later, American forces were unable to carry out a move of about 60 “high value” ISIS detainees out of wartime prisons run by the Kurds, The New York Times reports. The chaos also made way for hundreds of ISIS prisoners on Sunday to escape from a low-security detention camp in the area.In the latest surge of anti-war rhetoric from the Trump administration, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday that the U.S. is launching a “deliberate withdrawal” of American forces from northern Syria but refused to say how long it will take.“We want to conduct it safely and quickly as possible,” Esper told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday morning, adding, “I’m not prepared to put a timeline on it, but that’s our general game plan.” Two knowledgeable U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that the troops are just withdrawing further away from the advance of Turkish forces massacring the Syrian Kurds whom America relied upon to destroy the so-called Islamic State’s caliphate.There are currently 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria. A knowledgeable U.S. official said hundreds of those troops, without further specificity, will leave Syria for elsewhere in the Mideast. Following a pullout from two northern Syrian observation posts last week, the U.S. will now retreat farther away from the area Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invaded.Esper said Trump gave the withdrawal order because Turkish forces are pushing further south into Syria and Kurdish forces had been trying to cut a deal with Syria and Russia to counter-attack.“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said.But as Esper made clear, the order affects only the north and there will still be American forces in the rest of Syria even as Trump—who separately has ordered about 14,000 U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf region over the past six months—rails against the disastrous, bloody, and interminable U.S. misadventure in the Middle East over the past generation.A U.S. official told CNN that U.S. policy “has failed” and that the campaign in Syria to defeat ISIS is “over for now,” giving the terrorist group “a second lease on life with nearly 100,000 [people] who will re-join their jihad.” The mixed messaging by the Trump administration is making it difficult for even his most ardent supporters to help unravel his foreign policy on Syria as it spins out of control. Just days after Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria where they have been providing weapons and cover to allied Kurdish fighters on the border between Turkey and Syria, Turkey began a military incursion that has sent the region into a level of chaos it has not seen in recent years.The Daily Beast first reported Friday that claims made by the Trump administration that U.S. troops had been withdrawn were false. “We are out of there. We’ve been out of there for a while,” Trump said Wednesday. “No soldiers whatsoever.” Two officials told The Daily Beast that in fact the U.S. military had only pulled back from—not completely out of—northern Syria. They had simply abandoned two small observation posts from which they supported Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS fighters. Trump Says U.S. Troops Have Quit Syria. It’s Not True.Trump then tweeted that he had been talking with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–SC), who had been highly critical of Trump’s decision to remove troops. “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration. This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS,” Graham warned Wednesday. “I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time by going back to the safe zone concept that was working.” Graham later tweeted that any sanctions had to be serious. “The conditional sanctions announced today will be viewed by Turkey as a tepid response and will embolden Erdogan even more,” Graham tweeted Friday. “The Turkish government needs to know Congress will take a different path—passing crippling sanctions in a bipartisan fashion.”But in a Sunday morning tweet, the president wrote that he was working with Graham “and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey.”He then added: “Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”Turkey has warned that any threats of sanctions would be met with the release of millions of refugees along the border between Turkey and Syria into Europe. Trump told reporters at the White House earlier this week that such a possibility did not concern him. “Well they’re going to be escaping to Europe,” he said. “That’s where they want to go, they want to go back to their homes.”On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that up to 700 ISIS sympathizers did escape the Ain Eissa camp, which holds up 12,000 people caught up in years of unrest. Most of those who escaped are ISIS brides and children, but officials warn that they could be part of a resurgence of the so-called Islamic state. Several known ISIS fighters were also spotted fighting in the current conflict, according to CNN, which reported that at least five fighters had escaped the notorious Ghuwairan prison due to heavy shelling in the area. During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—who has been one of the president’s most vocal defenders on the Syria decision—called it a “messy, complicated situation” while saying the president was right to move soldiers out of the way because “Turkey was coming in one way or another.” When moderator Chuck Todd noted that U.S. soldiers near the Turkish border were serving as a deterrent to an Erdogan invasion, Paul retorted “they were until they weren’t.”Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin repeated Paul’s line that this is a “complicated situation” when asked on ABC’s This Week why the administration hasn’t imposed sanctions on Turkey yet.“We are ready to go on a moment’s notice to put on sanctions,” Mnuchin said. “As I said, these sanctions could be starting small. They could be maximum pressure which would destroy the Turkish economy. The president is very focused on this. He’s offered to mediate the situation.”Mnunchin also pushed back on criticism from those within the president’s own party. In response to Graham and others saying sanctions would be a tepid reaction to Turkey, Mnuchin stated that this is a “multi-step process” and the administration needs to make sure “we have the proper authorizations.” The treasury chief, meanwhile, was asked what the president was talking about when he criticized the Kurds for not storming the beaches at Normandy alongside U.S. troops. Mnuchin asserted Trump’s analogy was that he was pushing back on everyone “saying the Kurds are these long-standing allies” and that our role in Syria “was not to defend the Kurds.”On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said that while he wished the president’s decision had “been different,” he feels that we tend to “oversimplify the complicated relationships” in the region. He went on to say this wasn’t a “binary choice” as both the Turks and Kurds are considered allies. As for whether the U.S. was retreating from the area and allowing the Turks to invade northern Syria, Cramer said “we can’t be in the middle of every skirmish in the neighborhood.”House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-NY), meanwhile, told Meet the Press that while he is working on a bipartisan bill that will slap sanctions on Turkey and condemn the president’s policy as it relates to the Kurds, he acknowledges that “it’s not going to stop” the Turks now. Asked whether it’s too late to do anything at this point, Engel seemed to resign himself to that notion.“We could mitigate the damage,” he told Todd. “Of course, it’s spiraling quickly. And what’s happened, of course, is a lot of ISIS prisoners, we’ve gotten reports that they have been released or they’ve escaped and so this is just the tip of the iceberg. And if we think this is terrible, I predict we will have many, many more days, weeks, and months of terrible things like this.”Elsewhere on Meet the Press, former secretary of defense James Mattis warned that ISIS could see a revival in the area, noting the Syrian Democratic Forces were the ones who largely fought the terror group in Syria. If we don’t keep pressure on, ISIS will resurge,” Mattis said. “It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”During his State of the Union interview, South Bend Mayor and Afghanistan War veteran Pete Buttigieg insisted Trump was “systematically destroying American allies and American values.”“What’s even more disturbing to me as a veteran is hearing from soldiers who feel they have lost their honor over this, who feel they are unable to look in the eye [of] allies who put their lives on line to fight with us,” he added. “If you take away a soldier’s honor, you might as well go after their body armor next. That is what the commander-in-chief is doing right now.”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 11:18:59 -0400
  • Porn Producers Are Charged With Sex Trafficking

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    In a case that could test the online pornography industry, the owners and two employees of two popular pornographic websites were charged this week with sex trafficking and other crimes, accused of coercing several women to engage in sex videos that were posted on the internet.According to a criminal complaint, the owners and employees "used deception and false promises" to lure women who had answered modeling advertisements on Craigslist to participate in the videos, telling them that their identities would be shielded and that the videos would not be posted online.The owners, Michael James Pratt, 36, and Matthew Isaac Wolfe, 37, and one employee, Ruben Andre Garcia, 31, were each charged with three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.A second employee, Valorie Moser, 37, who the authorities said helped recruit the women, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.Wolfe, Garcia and Moser pleaded not guilty. Wolfe and Garcia were being held in federal custody Friday and the authorities said Pratt had left the country and was considered a fugitive.Pratt, Wolfe and Garcia are currently on trial in a civil case in San Diego Superior Court that mirrors the criminal filing. In that case, 22 women said they were tricked into performing in internet pornography.Ed Chapin, the lead trial lawyer representing the 22 women, called the alleged scheme "outrageous.""It is despicable," he said, "and I am glad that the feds are stepping up and that they've seen it and are doing something about it."Corey D. Silverstein, a First Amendment lawyer based in Michigan whose practice is focused on issues of pornography and similar entertainment, said this was the first case he knew of in which a content producer was prosecuted under these types of charges."The government has a pretty high burden," he said. "They have to be able to show that someone knowingly recruited, enticed, harbored and patronized a person and then gained value from it." He said he was "not convinced the government has a case," adding, "Was the line crossed from content production to sex trafficking?"In court filings, Pratt and Wolfe, who own the websites GirlsDoPorn and GirlsDoToys, said the women had signed contracts that stated the videos they appeared in could be "used anywhere, anyhow, for any purpose."The women also recorded videotaped statements stating that they consented to the videos being used in any way and were not under the influence of drugs or mind-altering substances, according to civil filings from the defendants.Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami who is the president of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, said many women in the pornography industry have lodged similar complaints of coercion but have not felt comfortable telling anyone. Or, she said, they were afraid that complaints would lead to their not working again."There's just a massive amount of fraud and coercion," said Franks, who coproduced a documentary about the world of amateur pornography. "It's a very welcome development that all porn companies will be put on notice that there is an appetite to investigate these cases."Significant criminal charges have not been brought by federal authorities against pornography producers for more than a decade. In 2008, Paul F. Little was sentenced to 46 months in jail after being convicted on multiple obscenity charges.Last year, a federal law strengthened the policing of sex trafficking online.Southern California, especially the San Fernando Valley, has historically been home to major pornography studios and producers, but the internet has made it possible for anyone with a cellphone camera to produce and upload explicit content. And the internet involves interstate commerce, which is regulated by the federal authorities."Traffickers use many ways to trick, coerce and manipulate," said Samantha Vardaman, vice president of Shared Hope International, a nonprofit organization that seeks to rescue victims of sex trafficking. "These brave women suffered exploitation and exposure but they are using the legal remedies to get control back. With the extraordinary abuses of the internet, we will surely see more criminal activity like this."Mike South, a former pornography producer who has chronicled the inner workings of the business for his blog MikeSouth.com, said he hoped the case would encourage young women to exercise caution before answering online advertisements in the future."There might be a few girls that will read about it and take heed," he said.Brian Gross, who has worked closely with pornography producers and actors for more than two decades, applauded the criminal charges."I hope it makes people take this industry as a legitimate business," Gross said. "If you think you're going to come in here and behave in this kind of manner you know there will be consequences."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 12:02:50 -0400
  • Iran alleges foreign government behind 'treacherous' ship attack

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    Iran said Monday a foreign government was behind what it alleges was a "treacherous" attack on a tanker off Saudi Arabia last week, as it released pictures of its damaged hull. Tehran says the Iranian-flagged Sabiti oil tanker was hit by two separate explosions off the Red Sea port of Jeddah on Friday. It is the first Iranian ship to have been targeted since a spate of attacks on vessels in the Gulf that Washington blamed on Tehran.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:00:58 -0400
  • California becomes first state to ban fur

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    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
  • In 1986, a Russian Submarine with 27 Nuclear Missiles Sank (And Exploded)

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    "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
  • Family ends search for missing CEO after a body is found

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    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
  • 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
  • Disney World retesting Skyliner after malfunction grounds cable cars, reports say

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    Disney World's Skyliner system is back up and running, but without passengers, as the park begins testing the system before reopening to guests.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 13:54:11 -0400
  • UK remains a long way from Brexit deal: Downing Street source

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    Britain remains a long way from agreeing a final Brexit deal and the next few days will be critical if it is to agree departure terms with the European Union, a Downing Street source said on Saturday. Negotiators for Britain and the EU have entered intense talks over the weekend to see if they can break the Brexit impasse before a crucial summit next week and a deadline for Britain to leave the bloc on Oct. 31. News of progress in the talks sent financial markets surging on Friday after Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar identified a pathway to a deal following months of acrimony.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:29:37 -0400
  • Assad troops enter north-east Syria after Russia-backed deal with Kurds

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    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
  • Man Convicted in Murder of Law Professor Locked in Family Feud

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    MIAMI -- The killing shook Florida's capital and stunned the international legal community: A prominent law professor locked in a rancorous battle with his ex-wife and in-laws was gunned down in his garage, in what prosecutors depicted as a murder-for-hire plot.State prosecutors charged three people with the murder of the professor, Dan Markel, hoping to pressure them into revealing whoever may have financed the murder.Two of the accused, Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua, maintained their innocence and went to trial late last month, five years after the professor's death. Over 11 days, the case played out inside a courtroom in Tallahassee, the state capital, revealing a web of tumultuous relationships around Markel's murder.On Friday, a jury found Garcia, 37, guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, and not guilty of solicitation of murder. He faces the death penalty, and sentencing will begin Monday.After more than 11 hours of deliberation, jurors told Judge James C. Hankinson that they were unable to reach a verdict on the same charges against Magbanua, 35. Hankinson declared a mistrial.The other man charged with the murder, Luis Rivera, a close friend of Garcia and a former leader of the North Miami Latin Kings gang, cooperated with law enforcement. In exchange for testifying against Garcia and Magbanua, Rivera, 36, was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and avoid the death penalty. He received a 19-year sentence instead, and is concurrently serving a 12-year sentence in an unrelated federal racketeering case.After a contentious divorce in 2013, Markel, 41, a professor at the Florida State University College of Law who had helped build a network of online legal scholarship, and his ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, were given joint custody of their two young sons.Prosecutors argued that Markel was murdered because a court order prevented Adelson from relocating to South Florida with the children. They said her brother and mother then got involved, and arranged for Magbanua, Garcia and Rivera to carry out the murder for $100,000."What enemy or enemies had Mr. Markel made that set into motion such a brutal act?" Georgia Cappleman, the lead prosecutor in the case, asked during closing arguments Thursday. "The answer: his own family."Markel was shot twice in the head on the morning of July 18, 2014, shortly after he pulled his car into the garage -- his keys were still in the ignition. A neighbor thought he heard a gunshot and saw a light-colored Toyota Prius drive away.From cellphone records and surveillance footage, investigators determined that a light green Prius had followed Markel the morning he was killed. They found that Rivera had rented the Prius in Miami. On the rental contract, Rivera listed cellphone numbers for himself and Garcia, his best friend since childhood.Toll transponder data showed the Prius making the 450-mile-plus trip from Miami to Tallahassee and returning after the murder. That night, the men stopped at a drive-through ATM in South Florida, where they were photographed with Rivera behind the wheel and Garcia in the passenger seat.Finding Rivera and then Garcia led investigators to Magbanua, with whom Garcia has two children and an on-again-off-again relationship. At the time of the murder, the couple was broken up, and Magbanua was dating Charles Adelson, Adelson's brother and Markel's former brother-in-law.Magbanua did part-time clerical work at a Miami Beach dental office where she met Adelson, 42, a periodontist.Her finances improved considerably after Markel's murder. Bank records showed she began receiving regular checks from a different dental practice, owned by Adelson's parents in Broward County. The checks were handwritten and signed by Adelson's mother, Donna Adelson.Two assistants who worked at the practice testified that they did not know Magbanua to be an employee. A few months after the murder, Magbanua paid a plastic surgeon $4,000 in cash for breast implant surgery.In April 2016, police tapped the cellphones of Garcia, Magbanua, Charles Adelson and Donna Adelson. To get them to talk to one another, an undercover FBI agent posed as a member of the Latin Kings gang and asked Donna Adelson for more compensation for the family of Rivera, who was in prison. Garcia was arrested the following month, and Magbanua some months later.None of the Adelsons have been charged. For years, as Markel's sensational murder has been dissected in news articles, blog posts, a popular true-crime podcast and episodes of "Dateline" and "20/20," lawyers for the Adelsons have maintained their innocence.Donna Adelson, 69, had figured prominently in her daughter's divorce. About a year before the murder, she suggested that her daughter pretend the couple's sons had converted to Catholicism -- Markel was an observant Jew -- to pressure Markel to agree to the children's relocation. Donna Adelson also floated offering Markel $1 million to allow the move.The day of the shooting, the police brought in Wendi Adelson, 40, a former clinical law professor at Florida State, to tell her what had happened to her ex-husband. She cried and buried her face in her hands, according to police video of the interview. She also mentioned that her brother, after buying her a television as a divorce present, had joked, "I looked into a hiring a hit man and it was cheaper to get you this TV.""But he would never," Adelson added. "It's such a horrible thing to say."Wendi Adelson testified at the trial that she had no knowledge of the murder. She moved her sons to South Florida a few days after Markel was killed.Magbanua took the rare step of testifying in her own defense. She said she began receiving the checks from the Adelsons after she asked Charles Adelson to hire her as his assistant -- a favor so she could qualify for state health insurance for her children. The money for her surgery, she added, had been saved up from cash tips she made working in nightclubs.Magbanua denied any part in the murder but said she believed that Charles Adelson was involved. Her defense lawyers suggested that Garcia, the father of her children, agreed to kill Markel in exchange for Adelson to stop dating her. Garcia briefly confronted Adelson 17 days before the murder."The only thing she's guilty of is terrible taste in men," Tara Kawass, one of Magbanua's lawyers, said during opening arguments.Rivera testified that Magbanua had served as the conduit for the murder plot, and that Garcia had pulled the trigger.Garcia's defense posited a different theory: that Rivera must have been the shooter because Garcia disliked Adelson too much to kill someone for him. Saam Zangeneh, Garcia's lawyer, argued that Adelson had bought drugs from Rivera and hired him directly to commit the murder."I don't think that you can believe anything that he says out of his mouth," Zangeneh told jurors of Rivera. "Do you think he would have gotten the deal that he got if he admitted to being the shooter?"Investigators found no direct link between Adelson and either Rivera or Garcia. David Oscar Markus, a lawyer for Charles Adelson, said the mistrial against Magbanua showed why prosecutors have never charged the Adelson family."The case simply isn't there," Markus said in a statement. "Professional prosecutors rightfully understood that they couldn't prove a case against Charlie before this trial. After the hung jury, their prospects have gone down, not up."Lawyers for Markel's parents said they expect a new trial against Magbanua."After waiting five long years, we are relieved that at least one of the people responsible for Danny's murder was convicted today," their statement said. "Yet justice was only partially served."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 12:02:51 -0400
  • U.S. Gets Final OK to Hit EU With $7.5 Billion Airbus Sanction

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    (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 brmurray@bloomberg.net, Richard Bravo, Chris ReiterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 05:49:06 -0400
  • Canadian Snowbird plane crashes during Atlanta air show

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

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 15:54:44 -0400
  • Can The U.S. Army's Latest Air Defense System Handle 21st Century Warfare?

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    A demonstration might give us hints.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:37:00 -0400
  • The Latest: 2nd person dead in building collapse

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    New Orleans' officials say a second person has been killed in the partial collapse of a hotel under construction. The city's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness released the news on its Twitter feed. Officials called off the search Saturday night but will resume Sunday morning.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 00:42:53 -0400
  • China Built a Flying Saucer

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    The UFO is still on the ground—for now.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 09:55:00 -0400
  • India tightens security clampdown ahead of divisive temple ruling

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    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
  • 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
  • British Isil 'matchmaker' feared to have escaped after mass prisoner breakout

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    Northern Syria was collapsing into chaos last night as hundreds of Islamic State (Isil) family members escaped from prison and Kurdish forces prepared to surrender key cities to the Assad regime after the US announced it was evacuating all troops from the area.  A notorious British Isil female recruiter was feared to be among nearly 800 wives and children of jihadist fighters who burst out of a Kurdish camp in the biggest prison break since Turkey launched its offensive last week.  The US also said it was pulling out all 1,000 of its soldiers in northern Syria, an abrupt reversal of policy that came just days after the Trump administration insisted it was only moving a few dozen commandos.  In a stark sign of how quickly US influence in Syria has collapsed, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) last night appeared to have brokered a deal with Russia and the Assad regime to hand over control of two key cities.  Smoke rises from a Turkish bombardment in northeast Syria on Sunday, seen from the Turkish side of the border Credit: ERDEM SAHIN/EPA-EFE/REX The SDF agreed to surrender Kobani and Manbij to Syrian government forces in a bid to shield them from Turkish attack, according to Kurdish and Syrian media. Both areas have immense symbolism for the Kurds, who lost hundreds of men while fighting Isil for control of them. "The betrayal process is officially completed," an SDF official said of the US withdrawal.   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.    At least 26 civilians were reportedly killed on Sunday as a Turkish airstrike hit a convoy and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels were accused of killing a prominent female Kurdish politician and several other unarmed people. The rebels denied the allegations.   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.  Turkey - Syria map Tooba Gondal, 25, and her two children, may have been among those who fled and her whereabouts were unknown last night. Ms Gondal traveled to Syria to join Isil in 2015 and has been accused of grooming other young British women, including Shamima Begum, to follow her. The Telegraph understands at least three other British women, and reportedly three British orphans, were held in Ain Issa camp before the break-out. 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. Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, said he and Donald 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.   Tooba Gondal is pictured before leaving for Syria While Mr Trump said last week he was removing around 50 US commandos from a 120km section of the Turkey-Syria border, hundreds of others American soldiers remained near Kurdish key cities like Kobani and Qamishli.  The complete US retreat is likely to remove any remaining obstacles to Turkey mounting a full-scale assault on those cities, prompting civilians to start packing their belongings into cars and trucks and flee south.    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. “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!” Read more | Syria crisis 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. Operations against Isil appeared to have come to a complete halt last night as US forces prepared to evacuate and all available Kurdish forces were directed to the fight against Turkey.  Mr Esper said the US understood that the SDF was “looking to cut a deal if you will with the Syrians and the Russians”. Sources said Mazloum Kobani, the top SDF commander, met with Russian officers to broker the agreement.  Turkey would likely welcome a deal that reasserts Damascus’ authority over northeast Syria, as that would fatally undermine Kurdish aspirations for an independent political region of their own.   As the area plunged into chaos civilian casualties mounted during the bloodiest day of the offensive so far. Several civilians were killed by a Turkish airstrike on a convoy, including at least one unidentified journalist.  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. Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change. Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight. They have no idea what a bad decision they have made. Why are they not asking for a Declaration of War?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2019 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.  But analysts said the group, which includes some jihadist sympathisers, was unlikely to be an effective counter-terrorism force. “They do what they are told to by Turkey but they do it very poorly,” said Elizabeth Tsurkov, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.  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. France is expected to propose an EU-wide arms embargo against Turkey on Monday, a Western diplomat said. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, has signalled he plans to press ahead with the attack despite widespread Western criticism.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 07:36:48 -0400
  • British paedophile who operated in Malaysia, Cambodia found dead in prison

    Golocal247.com 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
  • A Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein That Bill Gates Now 'Regrets'

    Golocal247.com news

    Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who committed suicide in jail, managed to lure an astonishing array of rich, powerful and famous men into his orbit.There were billionaires (Leslie Wexner and Leon Black), politicians (Bill Clinton and Bill Richardson), Nobel laureates (Murray Gell-Mann and Frank Wilczek) and even royals (Prince Andrew).Few, though, compared in prestige and power to the world's second-richest person, a brilliant and intensely private luminary: Bill Gates. And unlike many others, Gates started the relationship after Epstein was convicted of sex crimes.Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, whose $100 billion-plus fortune has endowed the world's largest charitable organization, has done his best to minimize his connections to Epstein. "I didn't have any business relationship or friendship with him," he told The Wall Street Journal last month.In fact, beginning in 2011, Gates met with Epstein on numerous occasions -- including at least three times at Epstein's palatial Manhattan town house, and at least once staying late into the night, according to interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship, as well as documents reviewed by The New York Times.Employees of Gates' foundation also paid multiple visits to Epstein's mansion. And Epstein spoke with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase about a proposed multibillion-dollar charitable fund -- an arrangement that had the potential to generate enormous fees for Epstein."His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me," Gates emailed colleagues in 2011, after his first get-together with Epstein.Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Gates, said he "was referring only to the unique decor of the Epstein residence -- and Epstein's habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates.""It was in no way meant to convey a sense of interest or approval," she said.Over and over, Epstein managed to cultivate close relationships with some of the world's most powerful men. He lured them with the whiff of money and the proximity to other powerful, famous or wealthy people -- so much so that many looked past his reputation for sexual misconduct. And the more people he drew into his circle, the easier it was for him to attract others.Gates and the $51 billion Gates Foundation have championed the well-being of young girls. By the time Gates and Epstein first met, Epstein had served jail time for soliciting prostitution from a minor and was required to register as a sex offender.Arnold said that "high-profile people" had introduced Gates and Epstein and that they had met multiple times to discuss philanthropy."Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so," Arnold said. "Gates recognizes that entertaining Epstein's ideas related to philanthropy gave Epstein an undeserved platform that was at odds with Gates' personal values and the values of his foundation."The First MeetingTwo members of Gates' inner circle -- Boris Nikolic and Melanie Walker -- were close to Epstein and at times functioned as intermediaries between the two men.Walker met Epstein in 1992, six months after graduating from the University of Texas. Epstein, who was an adviser to Wexner, the owner of Victoria's Secret, told Walker that he could land her an audition for a modeling job there, according to Walker. She later moved to New York and stayed in a Manhattan apartment building that Epstein owned. After she graduated from medical school, she said, Epstein hired her as a science adviser in 1998.Walker later met Steven Sinofsky, a senior executive at Microsoft who became president of its Windows division, and moved to Seattle to be with him. In 2006, she joined the Gates Foundation with the title of senior program officer.At the foundation, Walker met and befriended Nikolic, a native of what is now Croatia and a former fellow at Harvard Medical School who was the foundation's science adviser. Nikolic and Gates frequently traveled and socialized together.Walker, who had remained in close touch with Epstein, introduced him to Nikolic, and the men became friendly.Epstein and Gates first met face to face on the evening of Jan. 31, 2011, at Epstein's town house on the Upper East Side. They were joined by Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin, a former Miss Sweden whom Epstein had once dated, and her 15-year-old daughter. (Andersson-Dubin's husband, hedge fund billionaire Glenn Dubin, was a friend and business associate of Epstein's. The Dubins declined to comment.)The gathering started at 8 p.m. and lasted several hours, according to Arnold, Gates' spokeswoman. Epstein subsequently boasted about the meeting in emails to friends and associates. "Bill's great," he wrote in one, reviewed by the Times.Gates, in turn, praised Epstein's charm and intelligence. Emailing colleagues the next day, he said: "A very attractive Swedish woman and her daughter dropped by and I ended up staying there quite late."Gates soon saw Epstein again. At a TED conference in Long Beach, California, attendees spotted the two men engaged in private conversation.Later that spring, on May 3, 2011, Gates again visited Epstein at his New York mansion, according to emails about the meeting and a photograph reviewed by the Times.The photo, taken in Epstein's marble-clad entrance hall, shows a beaming Epstein -- in blue-and-gold slippers and a fleece decorated with an American flag -- flanked by luminaries. On his right: James Staley, at the time a senior JPMorgan executive, and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. On his left: Nikolic and Gates, smiling and wearing gray slacks and a navy sweater.A Vast Charitable FundAround that time, the Gates Foundation and JPMorgan were teaming up to create the Global Health Investment Fund. Its goal was to provide "individual and institutional investors the opportunity to finance late-stage global health technologies that have the potential to save millions of lives in low-income countries."As the details of the fund were being hammered out, Staley told his JPMorgan colleagues that Epstein wanted to be brought into the discussions, according to two people familiar with the talks. Epstein was an important JPMorgan customer, holding millions of dollars in accounts at the bank and referring a procession of wealthy individuals to become clients of the company.Epstein pitched an idea for a separate charitable fund to JPMorgan officials, including Staley, and to Gates' adviser Nikolic. He envisioned a vast fund, seeded with the Gates Foundation's money, that would focus on health projects around the world, according to five people involved in or briefed on the talks, including current and former Gates Foundation and JPMorgan employees. In addition to the Gates money, Epstein planned to round up donations from his wealthy friends and, hopefully, from JPMorgan's richest clients.Epstein thought he could personally benefit. He circulated a four-page proposal that included a suggestion that he be paid 0.3% of whatever money he raised, according to one person who saw the proposal. If Epstein had raised $10 billion, for example, that would have amounted to $30 million in fees.Arnold said Gates and the foundation had been unaware that Epstein had been seeking any fee. She said Epstein "did propose to Bill Gates and then foundation officials ideas that he promised would unleash hundreds of billions for global health-related work."In late 2011, at Gates' instruction, the foundation sent a team to Epstein's town house to have a preliminary talk about philanthropic fundraising, according to three people who were there. Epstein told his guests that if they searched his name on the internet they might conclude he was a bad person but that what he had done -- soliciting prostitution from an underage girl -- was no worse than "stealing a bagel," two of the people said.Some of the Gates Foundation employees said they had been unaware of Epstein's criminal record and had been shocked to learn that the foundation was working with a sex offender. They worried that it could seriously damage the foundation's reputation.In early 2012, another Gates Foundation team met Epstein at his mansion. He claimed that he had access to trillions of dollars of his clients' money that he could put in the proposed charitable fund -- a figure so preposterous that it left his visitors doubting Epstein's credibility.Flying to FloridaGates and Epstein kept seeing each other. Arnold would not say how many times the two had met.In March 2013, Gates flew on Epstein's Gulfstream plane from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, according to a flight manifest. Arnold said Gates -- who has his own $40 million jet -- hadn't been aware it was Epstein's plane.Six months later, Nikolic and Gates were in New York for a meeting related to Schrodinger, a pharmaceutical software company in which Gates had a large investment. On that trip, Epstein and Gates met for dinner and discussed the Gates Foundation and philanthropy, Arnold said.In October 2014, Gates donated $2 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab. University officials described the gift in internal emails as having been "directed" by Epstein. Arnold said, "There was no intention, nor explicit ask, for the funding to be controlled in any manner by Epstein."Soon after, the relationship between Epstein and Gates appears to have cooled. The charitable fund that had been discussed with the Gates Foundation never materialized. Epstein complained to an acquaintance at the end of 2014 that Gates had stopped talking to him, according to a person familiar with the discussion.The relationship, however, wasn't entirely severed. At least two senior Gates Foundation officials maintained contacts with Epstein until late 2017, according to former foundation employees. Arnold said the foundation was not aware of any such contact."Over time, Gates and his team realized Epstein's capabilities and ideas were not legitimate and all contact with Epstein was discontinued," she said.Days before Epstein hanged himself in a Manhattan jail cell on Aug. 10, he amended his will and named Nikolic as a fallback executor in the event that one of the two primary executors was unable to serve. (Nikolic has declined in court proceedings to serve as executor.)Nikolic, who is now running a venture capital firm with Gates as one of his investors, said he was "shocked" to be named in Epstein's will. He said in a statement to the Times: "I deeply regret ever meeting Mr. Epstein."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 11:58:48 -0400
  • $20,000 worth of ride props were reportedly stolen from Walt Disney World

    Golocal247.com 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
  • A Real Threat: Why Russia's Air Force Should Be Taken Seriously

    Golocal247.com news

    And why countries love to buy them.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 08:00:00 -0400
  • South Korean pop star Sulli found dead at her home

    Golocal247.com 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
  • Pope Francis's main bodyguard resigns over a leak

    Golocal247.com 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
  • Thousands of Ukrainians march against a troop pullback

    Golocal247.com news

    It was the second of two marches in Kiev on Monday, a national holiday designated "Defenders Day". October 14 also marks the anniversary of the foundation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a group of nationalists who fought against Soviet troops in World War II alongside Nazi forces, and are accused of slaughtering Poles and Jews. Protesters chanted "No to capitulation!", "Ukraine above all" and "Russian language today, Russian tanks tomorrow".

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 14:46:29 -0400
  • China’s Xi warns efforts to divide China will end with ‘crushed bodies and shattered bones'

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    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
  • Special Report: The hunt for Asia's El Chapo

    Golocal247.com 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
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