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Jennifer Aniston on stereotypes attached to aging: 'I don’t know what it is because I don’t feel any different'
Jennifer Aniston opened up on aging and prevalent stereotypes attached to growing older in the InStyle October beauty issue. "So it’s weird that it’s all of a sudden getting telegraphed in a way that’s like, 'You look amazing for your age.'" Aniston continued. Another major star, Jennifer Lopez, also recently spoke out about why she wanted to celebrate her 50th in a big way.
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Putin says he offered Trump the chance to buy Russian hypersonic weapons
Putin says he gave Trump the opportunity to buy new Russian weapons, including hypersonic missiles, supposedly to stop an arms race.
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Mike Pence accused of humiliating hosts in Ireland: 'He shat on the carpet'
The vice-president’s comments on Brexit while visiting Ireland and his stay at his boss’s golf course did not go down wellVice-President Mike Pence arrives in Doonbeg to dine with relatives at a seafood restaurant. Photograph: Jacob King/PAMissteps during Mike Pence’s visit to Ireland that included controversial praise of the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, have led to accusations of betrayal and “humiliation”.One Irish Times columnist concluded that the vice-president, a “much-anticipated visitor”, turned out to have “shat on the … carpet”.Pence’s problems started with his decision to stay for two nights at Donald Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg, County Clare, more than 140 miles from Dublin, necessitating costly and logistically complex travel. The move quickly drew fire from ethics experts and political rivals.The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, called Trump’s properties a “cesspool of corruption” and accused the president of “prioritizing his profits over the interests of the American people”.“Pence is just the latest Republican elected official to enable President Trump’s violations of the constitution,” she said.A spokesman for the vice-president said the decision was partly based on the president’s suggestion Pence stay there, and partly on secret service concerns about costs and logistics. Questioned about the decision on Wednesday, Trump claimed he had “no involvement, other than it’s a great place”.But that was only the start of the controversy.The Irish Times columnist Miriam Lord responded to a tense meeting between the vice-president and the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, in which Pence urged the republic to protect the “United Kingdom’s sovereignty”. That Varadkar is gay and Pence a past champion of anti-LGBTQ legislation in Indiana also caused widespread comment.Pence laid on platitudes about being “deeply humbled” and “honoured” to be visiting Doonbeg, the home of his mother’s grandmother. But in Dublin he offered his hosts a clear lesson in his administration’s political priorities.“Let me be clear: the US supports the UK decision to leave the EU in Brexit,” Pence told Varadkar in a prepared statement. “But we also recognise the unique challenges on your northern border. And I can assure you we will continue to encourage the United Kingdom and Ireland to ensure that any Brexit respects the Good Friday agreement.”Among media responses, Irish Central asked: “Did VP Pence betray Ireland in his Brexit comments during Irish trip?”The Irish Examiner accused Pence of trying to “humiliate” the republic.But Lord struck the most telling blow.She described the impact of the Pence visit on Ireland as “like pulling out all the stops for a much-anticipated visitor to your home and thinking it has been a great success until somebody discovers he shat on the new carpet in the spare room, the one you bought specially for him”.“As Pence read from the autocue and Irish eyes definitely stopped smiling,” she added, “it was clear he was channeling His Master’s Voice. Trump is a fan of Brexit and of Boris.”“Pence,” Lord continued, “is Irish American and wastes no opportunity to go misty-eyed about his love for the ‘Old Country’ as he lards on his Mother Machree schtick on both sides of the Atlantic.”Lord wasn’t alone in her criticism. The Cork Examiner’s political editor, Daniel McConnell, wrote: “The cheek of him coming here, eating our food, clogging up our roads and then having the nerve to humiliate his hosts.”
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Washington in talks with Yemeni rebels, US official says
Washington is in talks with Yemen's Iran-aligned Huthi rebels in a bid to end the country's war, a top US official said on Thursday, the first such contact in more than four years. The negotiations open a direct channel between President Donald Trump's administration and the Huthis amid the threat of a broader regional conflict with Iran. It also comes after the rebels stepped up missile and drone attacks on neighbouring Saudi Arabia, a key US ally which heads a military coalition against the Huthis.
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UK govt schedules new vote for Monday on snap election
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government said Thursday it would make a second attempt next week to call an early general election, to try to break the political deadlock over Brexit. The day after MPs rejected the first attempt to call a snap poll, senior minister Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs he would put forward a "motion relating to an early parliamentary election" to be voted on on Monday evening. It would be put under a 2011 law that requires the support of two-thirds of the 650-seat House of Commons, Downing Street said.
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Trump's Mideast peace envoy set to leave the White House
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UPDATE 3-Pound posts biggest two-day surge in 10 months as no-deal Brexit fears fade
The pound surged to a five-week high on Thursday after lawmakers voted to prevent Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 without a transition agreement and his brother Jo quit the government, citing national interest. "Removing the immediate threat of a no-deal Brexit has helped the pound recover some of its recent weakness," said Daniel Trum and Dean Turner, strategists at UBS Wealth Management. The British currency rose as much 0.8% to above $1.2350, its highest since July 29 and building on Wednesday's 1.4% surge, its biggest one-day jump since March.
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UPDATE 1-Trump's Middle East envoy Greenblatt to resign after plan released -officials
Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump's special envoy for the Middle East, plans to resign once the long-delayed U.S. peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians that he has been working on is released, officials said on Thursday. Greenblatt, who had intended to stay only two years when he began working at the White House in early 2017, is eager to return to his wife and six children who stayed behind at their home in New Jersey, the officials said. Greenblatt and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, have led the effort to develop a peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians and have spent the entire Trump presidency working on the project.
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New push for racial equality in the marijuana trade
Black entrepreneurs who say people of color are being shut out of the lucrative marijuana trade are joining forces to close the gap. Real Action for Cannabis Equity, or RACE, launched Thursday in Boston, and its founders said the coalition will work to create more opportunities in the industry for minority owners. Organizers said they're frustrated that all but two of Massachusetts' 184 marijuana business licenses have been issued to white operators.
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Portuguese drama "A Herdade" chronicles one landowner's tale amid change
A landowner must learn to adapt to changes sweeping his country in Portuguese film "A Herdade" (The Domain), a nearly-three hour long drama about a domineering family patriarch. The movie, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday, tells the story of Joao Fernandes, who owns a massive country estate on the southern bank of the River Tagus. "(Fernandes) has his own emotional heritage and he thinks that he needs to keep the land, and the world changes in a way that that's no longer possible," director Tiago Guedes told a news conference.
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UPDATE 1-Samsung to launch Galaxy Fold in S.Korea on Sept. 6 priced $2,000
SEOUL/BERLIN, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Thursday said its first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, will be available in South Korea from Sept. 6 with fifth-generation (5G) mobile connectivity. It will go on sale in Britain, France and Germany in less than two weeks, with a U.S. release also planned. The remodeled version of the Galaxy Fold, which opens like a book to reveal a 7.3-inch infinity display, now has the screen's protective layer tucked under the bezel at its edge.
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Portuguese drama 'A Herdade' chronicles one landowner's tale amid change
A landowner must learn to adapt to changes sweeping his country in Portuguese film "A Herdade" (The Domain), a nearly-three hour long drama about a domineering family patriarch. The movie, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday, tells the story of Joao Fernandes, who owns a massive country estate on the southern bank of the River Tagus. "(Fernandes) has his own emotional heritage and he thinks that he needs to keep the land, and the world changes in a way that that's no longer possible," director Tiago Guedes told a news conference.
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US entry ban for Romanian politician imprisoned for graft
The decision announced Thursday affects Liviu Dragnea, a former chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party serving a 3½-year prison term in a graft case, and his two children. Dragnea was found to have intervened to keep two women employed by his party on the payroll of a state agency. Until his sentencing in May, Dragnea was considered the country's most powerful politician even though he could not become prime minister because of a 2016 conviction for vote rigging.
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South Africa shuts embassies in Nigeria amid violence
South Africa has closed its diplomatic missions in Nigeria, underscoring the growing strain between Africa's two largest economies after the latest wave of xenophobic violence in South Africa., the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said Thursday. The department said while there had been "no direct physical threat" to any diplomats or staff, the situation remained "somewhat unpredictable" and there were sufficient safety concerns to close the offices in Lagos and Abuja on Tuesday. On Sunday, violent mobs began looting and setting fire to foreign-owned businesses in several areas of Johannesburg and the South African capitol Pretoria.
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Study Reveals What the Loch Ness Monster May Be
Scientists searched the Scotland lake for a year. Here's what they found.
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Boris Johnson tells Mike Pence the British aren't 'keen' on chlorinated chicken, wants Americans to eat haggis
"We’re not too keen on that chlorinated chicken,” Johnson told Pence during a meeting that centered in part on prospects of a U.S.-U.K. trade deal.
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North Carolina principal has made it his mission to gift students with a book on their birthday
Reading can open a world of joy and imagination for students, and one North Carolina principal wanted to spread that moment of happiness to them on a special day -- their birthdays. Glenn Cook, principal of Pleasant Ridge Elementary in Gastonia, North Carolina, came up with the idea to gift each student with a book on their birthday.
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Prince George and Princess Charlotte go back to school: See the adorable photos
Prince George and Princess Charlotte are back in school and, for the first time, are attending the same one. This school year is the third at Thomas's Battersea for Prince George, 6, the eldest child of Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. Princess Charlotte, 4, is starting her first year at the private school, located just a few miles from the family's home at Kensington Palace.
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UPDATE 3-EU fears UK is rowing back on Irish border and 'level playing field' - sources
The European Union is increasingly worried about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's stance on the Irish border and future competition rules, sources said on Thursday. Johnson is pushing for a parliamentary election after the House of Commons blocked his bid to take Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 - with or without a divorce settlement. Diplomats and officials told Reuters EU negotiator Michel Barnier had informed envoys from the 27 other member states in Brussels on Wednesday that London had presented no specific ideas on how to replace the 'backstop' in May's accord - an insurance policy to keep the Irish border free of checks.
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Ericsson's CEO tells staff report of his imminent exit is incorrect
Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson's CEO Borje Ekholm told employees in an internal note this week that a recent media report of his imminent replacement was incorrect, a company spokesman said. Business daily Dagens Industri said last week, citing anonymous sources, that Ekholm was set to leave after less than three years on the job and would be replaced by defense material group Saab CEO Hakan Buskhe. Ericsson's shares fell over 3% on Aug. 28, the day the report was published.
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America has no good options in Afghanistan and is negotiating with terrorists who continue to kill civilians and NATO troops
A Taliban bomb killed 2 NATO troops Thursday while the US says the Taliban has agreed to reduce violence in return for withdrawing troops.
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Poll: 73 Percent of Republican Students Have Hidden Their Politics over Fears about Grades
A  recent survey of 1,000 Republican and Republican-leaning college students has found that 73 percent of them have hidden their political views in the classroom -- because they’re worried that exposing them could negatively impact their grades.College Pulse conducted the online poll at the end of August for a conservative campus-news source, The College Fix, which has previously reported on its findings. The survey polled conservative-leaning students only.According to The Fix, the survey asked students: “Have you ever withheld your political views in class for fear that your grades would suffer?”Seventy-three percent of students who considered themselves to have “strong Republican” views said yes, as well as 71 percent with “weak Republican” views and 70 percent of Republican-leaning independents.The huge percentage of conservative students responding in this way is disheartening -- but it’s not shocking. In my years working for National Review, I’ve covered numerous examples of professors and faculty on college campuses who have chosen to make their hatred for conservatives known. For example, earlier this year, administrators at Middlebury College apologized to students who were upset that a conservative speaker had been invited to campus and pledged to do more to prevent conservative speakers in the future. In 2017, a Clemson University professor declared in a Facebook post that “all Republicans” are “racist” and “scum.” In 2015, a journalism instructor at Mississippi State University compared a conservative student group to the KKK. Back in 2014, a University of Michigan department chairwoman published an article titled “It’s Okay To Hate Republicans.”First of all, let me be clear about the fact that I completely, totally support the First Amendment -- and I absolutely understand that colleges’ professors and other employees do, and should, have the right to express their views. The thing is, though, they should really take more care to keep their comments to be more along the lines of policy discussions and avoid demonizing entire groups of people based solely on the fact that they’re on the opposite side of the political spectrum. Truly, I believe that our country would be a better place if everyone tried to maintain this kind of civility -- but educators should especially want to adhere to it, for the sake of the students that they are tasked with teaching.Now, it’s obvious how the Republican students would be helped by this kind of approach. If such huge numbers of them are really too uncomfortable to share their honest views in the classroom for fear of getting lower grades because of it, then they are not getting the kind of educational experience that they deserve. No student should feel uncomfortable in the classroom simply because he or she is a Republican. After all, college should be a place where people with all different kinds of views can feel free to express them -- and have them challenged -- so that they can learn and grow, and Republicans are missing out on that sort of valuable expression.Which brings me to my second point: The status quo doesn’t just hurt Republican students, it hurts liberal students as well. Think about it: If Republicans are missing out on the valuable learning experience of having their views challenged because they do not feel that they can express them honestly, then liberal students are missing out on the same experience because they don’t have anyone challenging theirs. It’s true: Many college campuses are liberal echo-chambers, where liberal students and liberal professors are constantly reassuring each other of the correctness of the liberal position, without anyone ever exposing them to other points of view. This sort of environment will inevitably result in the liberal students who graduate from these colleges never having had the experience of defending their views or considering any others -- which leaves them ill-prepared to engage politically in a real world that very much does include people who feel differently. In order to allow students to have the most educational college experience possible, these institutions should be encouraging its faculty and professors to demonstrate respect for people with different ideas.
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Hurricane Dorian strengthens to Cat 3 as storm tracks toward North Carolina coast
Hurricane Dorian gains strength Wednesday night and is now a Cat 3 storm as it creeps toward North Carolina.
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GLOBAL MARKETS- Stocks hit one-month highs on news of U.S.-China trade talks
A separate report showed the U.S. services industry rebounded last month to its fastest expansion since February, bouncing back from a three-year low, according to the Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI). European and emerging markets stocks jumped on hopes that next month's U.S.-China trade talks would move the world's two largest economies closer toward ending their cantankerous dispute, which has pushed major economies toward recession. The dollar held its losses against a basket of world currencies following the upbeat U.S. jobs data.
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UPDATE 6-Taliban suicide bomber kills at least 10 civilians, two NATO troops in Kabul
A Taliban suicide blast in the centre of Kabul killed at least 10 civilians and two NATO soldiers on Thursday, destroying cars and shops in an area near the headquarters of Afghanistan's international military force and the U.S. embassy. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack even as the insurgents and U.S. officials have been negotiating a deal on a U.S. troop withdrawal in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.
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UPDATE 3-British Airways dismisses pilot union offer ahead of planned strikes next week
British Airways on Thursday dismissed a proposal by a pilots union to avoid strike action next week as "unrealistic", leaving it little closer to resolving a dispute over pay with its pilots that could disrupt its services. Earlier the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) had said that BA pilots could call off proposed strikes set for Sept. 9 and 10 if the airline agreed to come back to the negotiating table. "We remain open to constructive talks with BALPA to resolve the pay negotiations, but we do not believe the union is acting in good faith by making an eleventh hour inflated proposal," the airline said in a statement.
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Boris Johnson demanded by UK lawmaker to apologize for 'racist' comments about Muslim women
In his first Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson came under fire for “racist” comments he has made in the past. Opposition Member of Parliament Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, who is Sikh and wears a turban, demanded that the prime minister apologize for comments about Muslim women in a newspaper column in August 2018. Johnson wrote that women who wear the burka look like “letter boxes” in a column for The Telegraph newspaper last year, a month after he resigned as the UK’s foreign secretary.
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UPDATE 1-Venezuelans in Argentina get sense of deja vu as crisis builds
Andreina Pirrone left Venezuela for Argentina six years ago as her country was spiraling toward the worst humanitarian crisis in its history. Pirrone, an employee at a pasta factory in Buenos Aires, is now feeling a sense of deja vu, as her adopted home teeters towards its own economic crisis, with inflation running at over 50% and the peso currency plunging amid default fears. Argentina's turmoil hits close to home for the South American country's extensive Venezuelan community, many of whom moved here to escape rising poverty, spiraling inflation and tight controls on currency and food.
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This time it's Boris Johnson's younger brother to jump ship
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's bad week got even worse Thursday when younger brother Jo walked away from his government post over their differing stances over Brexit. It was clearly a difficult decision for Jo Johnson, who had returned to government as an education minister when his big brother replaced Theresa May as prime minister in July. Jo Johnson had quit May's government last year and argued that Britain should have another vote over its decision to leave the European Union.
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Black hole portrait wins Breakthrough Prize for Event Horizon Telescope’s team
What's $3 million divided by 347? That's the math problem to be solved by the physicists on the Event Horizon Telescope team, who won one of the top awards in the Breakthrough Prize program for snapping the first picture showing the dark maw of a supermassive black hole. Now in its eighth year, the "Oscars of Science" honor achievements in fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics. Past winners have included the late British physicist Stephen Hawking and the teams behind the Large Hadron Collider (for discovering the Higgs Boson), the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (a.k.a. LIGO) and the Wilkinson Microwave… Read More
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8 Facts About the Amazon That'll Blow Your Mind
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‘I feel sorry for the president’: Pete Buttigieg brands Trump’s fake Hurricane Dorian map ‘pathetic’
Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg says he feels “sorry” for Donald Trump after the president presented the public with an altered official map of Hurricane Dorian’s forecast to seemingly back his unfounded claims Alabama was within the storm’s trajectory.The 2020 presidential hopeful slammed Mr Trump in an interview with CNN on Thursday morning, saying: “On one level it’s laughable, on another it’s exactly why we’ve got to do something.”
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America's 'democratic experiment' is inextricably tied to the history of slavery
The year 1619 laid out rough boundaries of citizenship, freedom, and democracy that are still being policed‘What we politely refer to as the ‘legacy’ of slavery is a political and economic system built on racial exploitation and the theft of black labor.’ Photograph: Carlos Barría/ReutersThis year marks 400 years since enslaved Africans from Angola were forcibly brought to Jamestown, Virginia. This forced migration of black bodies on to what would become the United States of America represents the intertwined origin story of racial slavery and democracy. This year also marks what would have been the 90th birthday of Martin Luther King, the most well-known mobilizer of the civil rights movement’s heroic period between 1954 and 1965.While Americans are quick to recognize Jamestown as the first episode of a continuing democratic experiment, the nation remains less willing to confront the way in which racial slavery proved crucial to the flourishing of American capitalism, democratic freedoms, and racial identity. The year 1619 laid out rough boundaries of citizenship, freedom, and democracy that are still being policed in our own time.Although we hardly remember this today, King often discussed how the imposing shadow of slavery impacted the civil rights struggle, perhaps most notably on 28 August 1963, during the March on Washington.Addressing a quarter of a million people in front of the Lincoln Memorial, King acknowledged racial slavery’s uncanny hold on the American imagination. A century earlier, Abraham Lincoln, whom King called “a great American”, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Yet 100 years later, black people remained marginalized from the American dream. “Instead of honoring this sacred obligation,” King said, African Americans had received a “bad check” – one that the nation would have to pay in full to overcome the tragic dimensions of a racial past that continued to constrain its future.King longed to reconcile the fundamental contradiction of American democratic traditions: the existence of racial slavery alongside individual freedom and liberty. What King interpreted as a contradiction, Malcolm X recognized as ironic symmetry. According to Malcolm, racial slavery in America helped to undergird a system of racial democracy that became the exclusive provision of whites.In his stinging denunciations of white supremacy and his bold support for revolutionary violence against anti-black racism, Malcolm often invoked African Americans’ experience of 400 years of racial oppression. 2019 is the exact anniversary of the date that Malcolm often extolled in speeches, televised debates, and jaw-rattling interviews.Both Malcolm and Martin understood the intimate connection between the struggle for black dignity and citizenship during the civil rights and Black Power era and the movement to end racial slavery in the nineteenth century.Perhaps no single figure more elegantly represents that century’s struggle over racial slavery, freedom, and citizenship than Frederick Douglass, whose reputation has swelled in the aftermath of the historian David Blight’s recent Pulitzer-winning biography.A former enslaved African American from Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, Douglass narrated his escape from slavery to freedom as a journey emblematic of the nation’s entire democratic experiment. A brilliant writer and public speaker, Douglass became the 19th century’s most-photographed American, the nation’s leading abolitionist, and a proponent of the violent overthrow of slavery by any means necessary. Douglass, no less than Abraham Lincoln, came to represent the freedom dreams that animated not only the struggle for black citizenship but the destiny of democracy.Racial slavery – a ruthless system of bondage closely tied to the rise of global capitalism – collapsed in 1865 only after the deaths of over 700,000 Americans in the civil war. Black soldiers’ patriotism in the face of white supremacy was only begrudgingly, if ever, acknowledged by northern politicians. New constitutional amendments designed to settle the debate over black freedom by abolishing slavery and establishing birthright citizenship and the vote competed with the rise of political, economic, and racial terror against black Americans.Reconstruction between 1865 and 1896 found black women and men on the cutting edge of new interracial democratic experiments that helped to establish public education, historically black colleges, churches, businesses, civic groups, and mutual aid societies and elect black officials. Yet those triumphs were challenged by violence, political betrayal, and legal and legislative assaults on black citizenship. In 1896, the supreme court’s Plessy v Ferguson decision made segregation the law of the land and ushered in a dark period of history.Contemporary black-led social movements such as Black Lives Matter confront not only the racial ghosts of the Jim Crow south memorialized in popular culture. They face the larger specter of racial slavery that our society often still refuses to acknowledge. What we politely refer to as the “legacy” of slavery represents the evolution of a political and economic system built on racial exploitation, the theft of black labor, and the demonization and dehumanization of black bodies.What is all the more remarkable is the way in which black folk have embraced an expansive vision of democracy even when the nation refused to recognize it as legitimate. Ida B Wells, the 19th-century anti-lynching crusader, was a trailblazing social justice activist whose work anticipated the rise of mass incarceration in America. Ella Jo Baker, the founder of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), understood the sit-in movement to be less about gaining access to white lunch counters than about eradicating oppressive and anti-democratic systems that had flourished since the bullwhip days of antebellum slavery.Similarly, King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail extolled the heroism of black schoolchildren jailed for violating Jim Crow laws in Alabama. Those young people, King argued, would be one day recognized as heroes for having transported the entire nation back to those “great wells of democracy” that were dug deep by the founding fathers.The relationship between slavery and freedom and our contemporary understanding of this history remains at the core of the American democratic experiment, one that has global reverberations for a sprawling communities of indigenous and immigrant people around the world who, in the best of times, have looked to America as a beacon of liberty. Barack Obama’s extraordinary rise to the presidency in 2009 burnished the United States as a symbol of racially transcendent freedom even as Trump has tempered such celebrations as premature.Perhaps the most important lesson from Jamestown for the present is the indefatigable nature of the black freedom struggle. Courageous individual acts of resistance during slavery inspired collective rebellions that transformed American democracy. Yet this change, as we are painfully experiencing today, remains fraught with the weight of a history rooted in racial slavery. Contemporary debates over racial privilege, white supremacy, and identity politics flow from political, economic, and social relations that have become normalized by our history but are far from normal.Confronting slavery’s indelible impact on conceptions of freedom, citizenship, and democracy offers us essential tools for confronting our contemporary age – what might be considered a Third Reconstruction – where efforts to embrace racial justice and an expansive vision of democracy compete alongside movements for racial bigotry rooted in ancient hatreds dressed up in new clothes. * Peniel E Joseph is the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin
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Boris Johnson’s brother resigns from cabinet amid Brexit tension
Boris Johnson's brother resigns his cabinet post amid rising Brexit tensions.
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'Sharpiegate': Trump insists Dorian was forecast to 'hit or graze' Alabama
James Comey among critics, saying ‘America deserves better’ after president defended altered map showing path reaching the state Unable to let a good fight with the media go to waste, Donald Trump insisted again on Thursday that his warning that Alabama could be hit by Hurricane Dorian was accurate.The federal National Weather Service (NWS) has said it was not.Dorian, meanwhile, moved back up to category 3 strength, threatening life-endangering storm surge and flooding in the Carolinas and prompting evacuations there and along the coast of Georgia. It had left at least 20 people dead in the Bahamas.Among critics of Trump’s behaviour one leading enemy-cum-nemesis, fired FBI director James Comey, wrote: “Americans are in harm’s way and the president is laser-focused on ... covering up a small mistake he made. Narcissism is not leadership. America deserves better.”Undeterred, the president tweeted his fury about his own side of the matter a day after he displayed a National Hurricane Center (NHC) map in the Oval Office which appeared to have been altered with a Sharpie, or marker pen, to show the storm’s predicted path reaching into the Yellowhammer state.Trump insisted later on Wednesday that his original briefings on Dorian showed a “95% chance probability” that Alabama would be hit. Asked if the chart showing a government weather forecast had been altered – which would be a crime under US law – he said: “I don’t know, I don’t know.”The incident prompted scorn and hilarity online, with some christening the scandal “Sharpiegate”.On Wednesday night, Trump demanded apologies from the media.On Thursday morning, typically unabashed, he tweeted: “In the early days of the hurricane, when it was predicted that Dorian would go through Miami or West Palm Beach, even before it reached the Bahamas, certain models strongly suggested that Alabama [and] Georgia would be hit as it made its way through Florida [and] to the Gulf.“Instead it turned North and went up the coast, where it continues now. In the one model through Florida, the Great State of Alabama would have been hit or grazed. In the path it took, no. Read my FULL FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] statement. What I said was accurate! All Fake News in order to demean!”Later, he repeated his insistence that “Alabama was going to be hit or grazed” before the storm changed path, and claimed: “The Fake News knows this very well. That’s why they’re the Fake News!”Saying Alabama had been predicted to be “hit or grazed” was nonetheless a downgrade from Trump’s initial tweet about the state, which counted it among states likely to be “hit (much) harder than anticipated”.Trump also retweeted a map from last Wednesday which showed outer strands of the storm crossing the Georgia-Alabama line. The map was produced by the South Florida water management district and contained in its caption: “NHC Advisories and County Emergency Management Statements Supersede This Product.“This map should complement, not replace, NHC discussions. If anything on this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product.”The first warnings of Dorian’s potency began to spread across the media late last week. The NHC map showing the forecast path of the storm which Trump displayed in the Oval Office was published last Thursday. It can still be seen online. It does not show the hurricane reaching Alabama.Regardless, on Sunday, Trump tweeted: “In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!”Shortly after that, the National Weather Service tweeted: “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east.”
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China urges release of Huawei exec with new Canadian envoy
China urged Canada to "reflect on its mistakes" and immediately release an arrested Huawei executive in comments Thursday on the appointment of a new Canadian ambassador to the country. Relations between China and Canada were severely damaged when Meng Wanzhou — the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei and the daughter of its founder — was arrested at Vancouver's airport last Dec. 1 at the request of the U.S. "At present, China-Canada relations are facing serious difficulties," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing.
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Johnson's Brother Quits Over Government Strategy: Brexit Update
(Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. Boris Johnson’s six-week-old premiership was thrown into yet more disarray after his brother quit the government in protest at his Brexit strategy. After three days of humiliation, the beleaguered prime minister will attempt to launch a fightback with a speech later. He will appeal directly to the public, saying only a general election can resolve Britain’s political crisis, and will try again to trigger a snap poll on Monday.Key Developments:Minister Jo Johnson resigns, citing tension between “family loyalty and the “national interest”Johnson to make speech appealing for election this afternoonPrime Minister will try again to persuade MPs to trigger an early general election on MondayHouse of Lords debating bill to block no-deal Brexit until FridaySplits appear in cabinet over Johnson’s tacticsThe pound rose 0.6%Johnson Calls Corbyn ‘Chlorinated Chicken’ Again (1:15 p.m.)Boris Johnson met U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Downing Street, and used the opportunity -- while talking about a future free-trade deal -- to make the same joke as Wednesday when he called opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a chicken because he didn’t vote for an early general election .“We will make sure we do everything we can to increase free trade,’’ Johnson told Pence. “The National Health Service is not on the table as far as our negotiations go -- we’re not too keen on that chlorinated chicken either. We have a gigantic chlorinated chicken already here on the opposition bench.”Pence said the U.S. is “ready, willing and able” to offer the U.K. a trade deal.No-Deal Bill to Get Rapid Royal Assent (1:15 p.m.)Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said that the bill passed by MPs last night blocking a no-deal Brexit will get royal assent -- come into law -- “speedily” once it is debated for the final time in the Commons on Monday. The bill is currently in the House of Lords, and is due to return to the Commons, potentially with amendments, by Friday evening.Gove Sees Johnson Resignation as Unlikely (1:05 p.m.)Michael Gove, the Cabinet minister in charge of no-deal planning, is still speaking to the House of Commons committee on Brexit. Asked whether Boris Johnson would resign rather than ask for another delay, he said: “I don’t think the prime minister has any intention of resigning.”Under legislation working its way through Parliament, Johnson would be compelled to seek a delay to Brexit if by Oct. 19 he’s failed to secure a new Brexit deal or persuade MPs to back a departure without a deal. The premier said in reaction: “I refuse to do this.” Instead, he wants a general election before then -- but MPs refused to vote for one.That means if Johnson fails to secure an election, on Oct. 19 he’d be faced with the conundrum of either writing the letter or disobeying the law.Berger: Not Clear Where She’ll Stand for Lib Dems (1 p.m.)Luciana Berger, who joined the Liberal Democrats as an MP Thursday, said it was not yet clear if she will stand in the district of Liverpool Wavertree at the next election because of the party’s localized decision-making structure. It’s “not a decision for me,’’ she told Sky News. “I’d like to remain making a contribution to public life.’’Berger quit the Labour Party in February citing anti-Semitic bullying. She has remained as an independent candidate until today. The Liverpool Wavertree district has a strong Labour history and the Liberal Democrats have already selected a candidate for the area.MPs Will Vote Again on Early Election (12:50 p.m.)Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg laid out a list of motions that will be debated in the House of Commons on Monday, culminating in a “motion relating to an early parliamentary general election.”It will be a second attempt by the government to force an early general election -- the next one currently isn’t due until 2022. Late on Wednesday, Johnson tried and failed to secure the 434 votes he needs -- two thirds of the House of Commons -- to call a ballot.Opposition parties declined to approve of an election because they want a bill to pass into law that would stave off a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31. By Monday, that bill is likely to have passed into law, and the government’s calculation is that opposition parties may then swing behind his demand for a fresh election.Rees-Mogg also said that all bills needed for the U.K. to leave the European Union are in place.Gove Says New Brexit Deal Can Be Secured (12:35 p.m.)Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, who’s in charge of no-deal Brexit preparations, said the changes to the Brexit agreement being sought by Johnson are “eminently achievable.’’He said that while he would support former Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal if it came back to the house of Commons for another vote, the changes Johnson is seeking would mark a “material improvement” in the deal. They are to strip out the Irish backstop, and alter the political declaration to make clear Britain would be outside the customs union and single market. He also said the U.K. wants a free-trade agreement with the bloc.Gove was giving evidence to the House of Commons Exiting the European Union Committee. He earlier said that the Operation Yellowhammer document spelling out the potential impact of a no-deal exit that was leaked to the Sunday Times last month represented a “reasonable worst-case scenario,” and not a base-case prediction. He said there was no evidence to suggest former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond could have been behind the leak.Business Secretary to Meet With Banks (11:40 a.m.)Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom will meet later Thursday with executives from the country’s main banks to discuss their support for small and medium-sized companies through Brexit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman, James Slack, told reporters in London.Johnson Wants Election Before Oct. 17 EU Council (11:35 a.m.)Prime Minister Boris Johnson will say in a speech this afternoon that he wants an election before the EU council meeting on Oct. 17, his spokesman James Slack said.“The prime minister believes we should have the election before the EU council and asks MPs to reflect on the sustainability of their position,’’ Slack told reporters. “Having chosen to introduce a bill that destroys our negotiating position,’’ he said, politicians “ must take responsibility for their actions.”Johnson’s Brother Quits Over Strategy (11:30 a.m.)Boris Johnson’s own brother, Jo Johnson, said he’s quitting the government and his seat in Parliament because of differences with the prime minister.“In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest,” Jo Johnson said on Twitter. “It’s an unresolvable tension & time for others to take on my roles as MP & Minister. overandout.”The departure is a severe blow to the prime minister at a time when he’s alienated the moderate wing of his party by expelling 21 MPs on Tuesday because they voted against the government in order to stave off the risk of a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31.Jo Johnson is a longstanding pro-European -- and had quit as a minister under former Prime Minister Theresa May because he believed the country needed a second referendum on Brexit. It raised eyebrows when he agreed to serve in his brother’s government -- because the premier was the figurehead of the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum.Former Labour MP Berger Joins Liberal Democrats (11 a.m.)While Johnson has been expelling MPs from his party, Parliament’s fourth party, the Liberal Democrats keep growing. Luciana Berger, who quit Labour earlier in the year, said on Thursday she’s joined the Liberal Democrats.It’s the party’s second addition of the week, after Philip Lee’s defection from the Conservatives on Tuesday deprived Johnson of his majority. They now have 16 MPs.Javid Hopes Rebels Can Return (9:30 a.m.)Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said he wants the 21 rebels expelled from the Conservative Party on Tuesday to be reinstated, though he also added Johnson had “no choice” but to fire them.Javid’s comments follow reports of an argument in cabinet this week in which a group of senior ministers, led by no-deal Brexit minister Michael Gove, demanded that Johnson should give the rebels a way back into the party. The prime minister refused.“I would like to see those colleagues come back at some point,” Javid told LBC radio. “They are not just my colleagues; these are my friends, they are good Conservatives.”Javid said it was right for Johnson to make Tuesday’s vote -- allowing Parliament to seize the legislative timetable in order to block a no-deal Brexit -- a matter of confidence in the government. Those who voted against it knew the “consequences,” he said.Swinson Wants Extension Before Election (9 a.m.)Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said she wants a general election only after an extension to Brexit has been agreed with Brussels.She said she believes Johnson wants an election before his exit deadline of Oct. 31 so he can take the U.K. out of the EU without a deal and blame Brussels for the failure to get an agreement.“He’s frightened of being found out,” she told Sky News. “He’s got an opportunity to go and that great deal he said he could get and get it past Parliament, but he’s frightened to do that.”Caroline Nokes, one of the MPs expelled from the Tory Party on Tuesday, also said Johnson shouldn’t rush a national vote. “It’s really cynical to try to force through an election,” she said. “The tool we need in Parliament is time.”Labour ‘Consulting’ on Election Timing (Earlier)Labour Treasury Spokesman John McDonnell said the party is consulting with its own MPs and other parties over the best timing for a general election.While some want a national vote once a law against a no-deal Brexit is enacted, others want to wait until after a further delay to Jan. 31 has been secured before going to the country. None of the opposition parties have any confidence that Johnson will keep to his word, he said in media interviews on Thursday morning.“We have to be the adults in the room,” McDonnell said, after comparing Johnson to a toddler having a tantrum. Labour wants to keep “as much control as we possibly over the date of that election,” he told Sky News.Earlier:Johnson Boxed In Over Brexit as Bill Is Pushed Through LordsPound Rally Stalls After Lawmakers Reject Johnson’s Brexit PlansBrussels Edition: No Deal for Boris\--With assistance from Justin Sink and Ian Wishart.To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net;Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Mark WilliamsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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UPDATE 2-Netanyahu opposes Iran talks after Trump moots meeting Rouhani
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged world powers on Thursday not to open a dialogue with Iran, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he may meet his Iranian counterpart to resolve a crisis over Tehran's nuclear project and sanctions against it. "This is not the time to hold talks with Iran. This is the time to increase the pressure on Iran," Netanyahu told reporters en route to London, where he was hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and was later scheduled to confer with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
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U.S. services sector growth accelerates; private payrolls jump
U.S. services sector activity accelerated in August and private employers boosted hiring, suggesting the economy continued to grow at a moderate pace despite trade tensions which have stoked financial market fears of a recession. The upbeat reports on Thursday came on the heels of data this week showing the manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in August as the trade war between the United States and China intensified. The U.S. central bank lowered borrowing costs in July, citing growing risks to the economy, now in its 11th year of expansion, from the trade fight and slowing global growth.
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Facebook launches dating service in United States
The company said users will be able to integrate their Instagram account with Facebook dating profile and add Instagram followers to their Secret Crush lists, a feature that allows users to explore potential romantic relationships within their friend circle. The service would be optional for Facebook users, the company said, adding that dating activity of users will not appear on their profile or news feed. Users can take a call on who gets to see their dating profile, Facebook said.
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EU sets up tool for easier conviction of jihadist fighters as hundreds may return
The European Union has set up a common counter-terrorism register, hoping to facilitate prosecutions and convictions of suspected militants and people returning home from fighting with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, EU officials said on Thursday. The move is partly aimed at addressing concerns about the fate of hundreds of EU citizens who fought for Islamic State and are now detained in Iraq and Syria. Many of them could return to Europe and not face trial because of a lack of evidence against them, a factor that has contributed to unease in several EU countries over returning fighters.
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Where did the Sacklers move cash from their opioid maker?
The estate is a pastoral prize — proof of the great wealth belonging to the family accused of playing a key role in triggering the U.S. opioid epidemic. On paper, the land is owned by seven companies, most based in distant Bermuda, all controlled by an offshore trust. The haziness surrounding the estate hints at one of the challenges for government lawyers as they eye a potential settlement with Purdue Pharma L.P. and its owners, the Sackler family, for their alleged role in flooding communities with prescription painkillers.
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Police: Officer fatally shot armed drug suspect in St. Louis
A St. Louis police officer fatally shot a suspect who tried to pull a gun from his pocket during a struggle early Thursday, the police chief said. Police Chief John Hayden said two officers were patrolling an area known for drug activity just before 1 a.m. when they noticed several people around a car and their suspicions were raised. When the officers approached the car they found a man with marijuana on his lap, Hayden said.
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Survivor sees Dorian peel off his home's roof in the Bahamas: 'This can't be real'
Bahamas storm survivor Ramond King watched as Hurricane Dorian's swirling winds ripped the roof off his house in the Abaco Islands, and then as it churned to a neighbor's home to pluck the entire structure off the earth. "'This can't be real, this can't be real'," King said, as he recalled the thoughts that flashed across his mind as one of the most powerful Caribbean storms on record roared through the Bahamas earlier this week, killing at least 20 people. Everything is gone, just bodies," King said as he surveyed the wreckage of his home in the seaside town, according to a video provided to Reuters.
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House panel to discuss Big Tech's impact on privacy, antitrust
The House of Representatives' antitrust panel will hold a hearing next week to discuss the effect of consumer data collection by big tech platforms, like Alphabet's Google and Amazon , on online competition. The House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee will hear from Rohit Chopra, who is on the Federal Trade Commission, as well as experts from Harvard Kennedy School and the American Enterprise Institute.
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Regulator discord could delay the return of Boeing's MAX jets
Nearly six months after its 737 MAX jets were grounded, Boeing is now close to applying to recertify the aircraft, according to sources, but the timeframe for flights to resume remains murky. Regulators will have final say on when the planes to return to service, clouding the outlook, in part because of signs of discord between US and international regulators. Boeing has completed work on an upgrade to the anti-stall system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System that has been linked to two crashes, said a person familiar with the matter.
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Iranian authorities break up mixed-gender party, arrest 22
Iran's official IRNA news agency is reporting that police have detained 22 men and women at a mixed-gender party in Tehran province. Such parties are illegal under Iranian law. The report said the party was held in a villa near the city of Damavand and that police took possession of all the participants' cars.
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UPDATE 3-New Italian coalition sworn in, seeks better ties with Europe
Italy's new government, combining the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and centre-left Democratic Party (PD), was sworn into office on Thursday, promising to reset Rome's often fraught relations with Brussels. "The parties in this government will do their utmost not to quarrel with Brussels, not to have pointless fights or rows, but rather to put forward new ideas," said Vincenzo Amendola, a member of the pro-European PD. The PD has taken charge not just of the EU affairs ministry but also the economy ministry, which has been in the frontline of recent battles with Brussels, while former PD prime minister Paolo Gentiloni was named as Italy's next EU commissioner.
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Vogue's Anna Wintour to give fans unprecedented access in new MasterClass
Anna Wintour, the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, has new plans to give fans unprecedented access into the world of Vogue and the secrets of her success. Wintour is sharing her tips and advice in a new MasterClass, joining the online education company’s lineup of experts. “I am asked so often by young students and young designers and people that I meet on my travels how I started in my career,” Wintour told Robin Roberts in an interview that aired Thursday on “Good Morning America.” “It's easy to become famous today.
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WRAPUP 2-U.S. services sector growth accelerates; private payrolls jump
U.S. services sector activity accelerated in August and private employers boosted hiring, suggesting the economy continued to grow at a moderate pace despite trade tensions which have stoked financial market fears of a recession. The upbeat reports on Thursday came on the heels of data this week showing the manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in August as the trade war between the United States and China intensified.
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UPDATE 2-WeWork considers slashing IPO valuation amid pushback -sources
WeWork owner The We Company is considering slashing the valuation it will seek in an initial public offering (IPO) at a little over $20 billion, less than half the $47 billion valuation it achieved in a private fundraising round in January, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The We Company's deliberations illustrate how growing investor skepticism over the office space sharing start-up's lack of a roadmap to profitability, and its co-founder Adam Neumann's firm grip on its governance, are weighing on its IPO prospects. The We Company has not yet launched its IPO road show to formally solicit feedback from investors.
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5 takeaways from CNN's marathon climate town hall
Ten Democratic candidates for president spent hours on Wednesday night discussing their climate change plans in detail, including how they would pay for it and what it would mean for both fossil fuels and Americans. Here are five of the biggest takeaways on how Democrats would tackle climate change and where they disagree. Hours before the debate Sen. Bernie Sanders called on all of the candidates to support a complete ban on fracking, the process of removing and processing natural gas.
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UPDATE 1-Facebook launches dating service in United States
Facebook Inc is launching its dating services in the United States, the social network said on Thursday, sending its shares up 2%. The company said users will be able to integrate their Instagram account with Facebook dating profile and add Instagram followers to their Secret Crush lists, a feature that allows users to explore potential romantic relationships within their friend circle. The service would be optional for Facebook users, the company said, adding that dating activity of users will not appear on their profile or news feed.
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Official: Feds search home for link to gun in Texas shooting
A federal law enforcement official says ATF agents have executed a search warrant at the Lubbock, Texas, home of a man they believe was involved in the "transfer" of an AR-style rifle to the gunman who killed seven people in a Labor Day weekend mass shooting. The official familiar with the investigation spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the ongoing investigation into the shooting rampage that spanned from Midland to Odessa, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) south of Lubbock. The official said federal agents are investigating whether the Lubbock man has been manufacturing firearms but said no arrests have yet been made.
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Indian court approves JSW Steel's takeover of bankrupt Bhushan Power
An Indian court on Thursday cleared JSW Steel Ltd's takeover plan for debt-ridden Bhushan Power and Steel, bringing an end to a bankruptcy case that has dragged on over two years. The move paves the way for JSW Steel, which has the biggest steel capacity in India, to take control of a steel asset in the east of the country where rival Tata Steel Ltd and Steel Authority of India Ltd have long dominated. The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in New Delhi said it approved the debt resolution plan of JSW Steel, according to a copy of the judgment.
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U.S. bans Romanian party leader after corruption conviction upheld
The United States on Thursday barred Romania's jailed Social Democrat Party leader, Liviu Dragnea, and his two children from entering the United States after his corruption conviction was upheld. "Today's action sends a strong signal that the United States is committed to fighting corruption and supporting the rule of law in Romania," the U.S. Department of State said in a statement.
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Rapid DNA analysis will be used to ID California boat fire victims. Here's how it works
Rapid DNA analysis will identify victims of the Conception fire. The method was also used to identify victims of the Camp Fire in Paradise last year.
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Five Things They Don’t Tell You about Slavery
The same people most obsessed with slavery seem to have little interest in the full scope of its history.There has been an effort for decades now — although with new momentum lately, as exemplified by the New York Times’ 1619 project — to identify the United States and its founding with slavery.To the extent that this campaign excavates uncomfortable truths about our history and underlines the central role of African Americans in our nation, it is welcome. But it is often intended to undermine the legitimacy of America itself by effacing what makes it distinctive and good.Yes, slavery and racial prejudice were our great original sins. It would have been better if we had, like the British, been leaders against the slave trade and for abolition (the representation of slaveholders in Congress and the rise of King Cotton forestalled this). But we didn’t invent slavery, even in its race-based form.Slavery didn’t make us unique, which is obvious if we consider its history in a little broader context. Critics of the American Founding don’t like to do this because it weakens their case and quickly brings them up against politically inconvenient facts that they’d prefer to pass over in silence.Let’s dwell, then, on a few things they don’t tell us about slavery. None of these are secrets or are hard to find, but they are usually left out or minimized, since they don’t involve self-criticism and, worse, they entail a critical look at societies or cultures that the Left tends to favor vis-à-vis the West.None of what follows is meant to excuse the practice of slavery in the United States, or its longevity. Nor is it to deny that the Atlantic slave trade was one of history’s great enormities, subjecting millions to mistreatment so horrifying that it is hard to fathom. But if we are to understand the history of slavery, it’s important to know what happened before 1619 and what happened elsewhere besides America.1\. Through much of human history, slavery was ubiquitous and unquestionedSlavery wasn’t the exception in human history; it was the norm. The “perennial institution,” as historian Seymour Drescher calls it, was an accepted feature of the ancient world, from ancient Egypt to Greece to Rome, and of traditional societies.The Greeks, according to the compelling David Brion Davis book Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World, “came to see slave labor as absolutely central to their entire economy and way of life” and deployed it in a wide range of occupations. Roman slavery wasn’t race-based but was brutal all the same (see the fate of slave gladiators, among many other atrocities).In the post-Roman world, the Byzantines, the Vikings, and Central Asian societies all embraced slavery in various forms.Again, this wasn’t remarkable. Consider, for instance, Ethiopia. Stewart Gordon writes in his book Shackles of Iron: Slavery Beyond the Atlantic that its first legal code, dating from the mid-13th century, “recognized slaves as central to the economy and defined the acquisition and holding of slaves as the natural order of things.” In the 16th century, Ethiopia “was a full slave society,” even taking tribute from some provinces in the form of slaves.Slavery knew no bounds of color or creed. During one period, from 1500 to 1700, there were more white European slaves held captive on the Barbary Coast than slaves sent from West Africa to the Atlantic world, according to Gordon.All this history wasn’t incidental to what eventually arose in the Atlantic world. Davis notes, “There was a genuine continuity of slave-trading and slave-holding from Ancient Greece to Rome and from the late Roman Empire to the Byzantine and Arab worlds, from the medieval shipment of slaves from the Balkans, the Black Sea and Caucasia to Muslim and Christian Mediterranean markets, and from there to the beginnings in the fifteenth century of an African slave trade to Portugal and Spain, and then to the Atlantic Islands and New World.”And slavery was widespread throughout the New World. “An imaginary ‘hemispheric traveler,’” Davis writes, “would have seen black slaves in every colony from Canada and New England all the way south to Spanish Peru and Chile.”2\. The East African slave trade lasted into the 20th centuryThe United States ended slavery too late (again, Britain is a better model). But let’s not forget how long the slave trade, ended in 1808 in the United States, lasted elsewhere.Gordon discusses the East African slave trade, also called the Arab slave trade: “Throughout the vast Indian Ocean region,” he writes, “slave trade and ownership were considered completely moral and legal, regardless of the religion of the slaver or the buyer.”More than a million slaves were taken from East Africa in the 1800s. Despite British attempts at suppressing it, this trade continued into the 20th century. According to Gordon, “Perhaps the last large-scale movement of East African slaves to the Middle East was in the 1920s.”Relatedly, the Muslim world was a vast empire of slavery and enslaved countless black Africans.3\. Islam was a great conveyor belt of slavery“Long before the establishment of African slavery in the Americas,” James Walvin writes in his A Short History of Slavery, “Islamic societies were characterized by the widespread and generally unchallenged use of slavery. Indeed slavery was commonplace throughout Arabia well before the rise of Islam. But as Islam spread between the eighth and 15th centuries, and especially to black Africa, it extended and confirmed the commonplace use of slavery and slave trading.”According to Walvin, Muslim slavers transported enslaved Africans across vast distances — via overland routes — “long before the European pioneers in the Americas began to consider the use of African slaves as laborers in the American settlements.” The routes across the Sahara, he adds, “survived from the seventh to the twentieth century, and millions of Africans were force-marched along them from their homelands to the slave markets to the north.”This story is relevant to the nature of slavery in the Atlantic world. At first, slavery in the Muslim world wasn’t race-based, but that changed. Davis writes: “The Arabs and other Muslim converts were the first people to make use of literally millions of blacks from sub-Saharan Africa and to begin associating black Africans with the lowliest forms of bondage.”It may well be, he continues, that “racial stereotypes were transmitted, along with black slavery itself — to say nothing of the algebra and knowledge of the ancient Greek classics — as Christians treated and fought with Muslims for the first Islamic challenges to the Byzantine Empire, in the seventh and eighth centuries, through the era of the crusades.”Certainly, while slavery was in eclipse in the rest of Europe, it had a new vitality on the Muslim-occupied Iberian peninsula, with Muslims and Christians both engaged in the practice.“By the fifteenth century,” historian James Sweet notes, “many Iberian Christians had internalized the racist attitudes of the Muslims and were applying them to the increasing flow of African slaves to their part of the world.“ He adds, “Iberian racism was a necessary precondition for the system of human bondage that would develop in the Americas during the sixteenth century and beyond.”One would think that there would be more attention paid to the Muslim world’s contribution to race-based slavery, but since it doesn’t offer any opportunity for Western self-reproach, it’s mostly ignored.4\. The Atlantic slave trade would have been impossible without African cooperation Slavery wasn’t a European imposition on West Africa. It was already a common practice before the European slavers showed up to subject African captives to the hideous Atlantic passage and bondage in the New World.According to John Thornton, “slavery was widespread in Atlantic Africa because slaves were the only form of private, revenue-producing property recognized in African law.”Europeans didn’t capture millions of slaves on their own. The slavers were confined to the coasts. They weren’t capable of enslaving masses of Africans, and even when they attempted it, they risked disrupting the entire system (and retribution from the Africans).In the interior, slaves were captured in battles and raids and marched to the coast in unspeakable conditions. They were then sold to the Europeans for liquor, textiles, tobacco, and other goods.Davis notes “the rise of predatory states, such as Futa Jallon, Dahomey, Asante, Kasanje, and the Lunda Empire, which found it financially profitable to wage war on neighbors and sell prisoners to the Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, Danes, or Americans.”The system of West African enslavement kept running even when the Europeans stopped coming, “flooding various regions with nonexportable slaves,” as Davis puts it. The slave population in West Africa would come to exceed that of the New World.5\. Brazil took the lion’s share of slaves from the Atlantic slave tradeAny historical accounting of the Atlantic slave trade has to judge Brazil harshly.Ninety-five percent of the slaves transported across the Atlantic went to places south of the present-day United States, with Brazil alone taking about 40 percent.Black slaves were already about 10 percent of Lisbon’s population in 1550, and Brazil had about 1 million slaves by 1790.Even though a relatively small 5 percent of African slaves went to colonial America, the population in the colonies and the United States grew until there were four million slaves by the time of the Civil War. Brazil never had this natural increase because the life expectancy of the slaves there was so low. Life on Brazil’s sugar plantations was brutal and regimented.“Beginning in the 1960s,” Davis writes, “historians have demolished the myths that Brazilian slavery was benign or humane and that Brazil was relatively free from racism.” The record shows, he writes, “extreme forms of racial prejudice coupled with the view that slaves were mere instruments of production.”Even when the Atlantic slave trade was mostly illegal and on the way out, the beat went on. Brazil and Cuba received most of the more than 2 million slaves transported between 1820 and 1880, according to Davis.***To repeat, none of this justifies American cruelty and hypocrisy across the centuries. It does suggest, however, that an appropriate perspective should take full account of all that sets us apart, which emphatically wasn’t chattel slavery.None of the other societies tainted by slavery produced the Declaration of Independence, a Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton, the U.S. Constitution, or a tradition of liberty that inspired people around the world for centuries. If we don’t keep that in mind, as well as the broader context of slavery, we aren’t giving this country — or history — its due.
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Help needed in identifying suspects who allegedly robbed 2 gas stations and killed a clerk
HAVE YOU SEEN THEM? Police searching for two men who are accused of killing a store clerk and robbing two gas stations.
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China found a mysterious 'gel-like' substance on the moon's uncharted far side
Researchers have suggested that the strange substance could be "melt glass," formed from meteorites crashing into the lunar surface.
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Will Smith talks Martin Lawrence out of retirement in 'Bad Boys for Life' trailer
Will Smith's character Mike Lowrey convinces his partner Martin Lawrence's Marcus Burnett to not retire in the "Bad Boys for Life" trailer, which dropped Wednesday. In the clip, Lowery tells Burnett, "On these streets I never trusted anybody but you.
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2nd person in US dies from lung disease linked to vaping
2nd person in US dies from lung disease linked to vaping originally appeared on abcnews.go.comA second person in the country has died after developing a severe lung illness that is believed to be linked to vaping, as health officials continue to grapple with the dangers of e-cigarette use and the exact cause of the deaths.The victim, whose name and age was not made public, died in Oregon in July after using an e-cigarette or vaping device that contained marijuana, according to the state’s Health Authority. ...
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Air Tanzania suspends flights to Johannesburg due to ongoing violence - transport minister
Tanzania's national carrier suspended its flights from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg on Thursday, citing ongoing violence that was a risk to its passengers. "You are aware that there is ongoing violence in South Africa whereby the youth have taken laws in their hands," Tanzania's Transport Minister Isack Kamwelwe told journalists in Dar es Salaam.
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Trump refuses to concede he was wrong about hurricane forecast
Four days after incorrectly stating Alabama was in Hurricane Dorian’s path, the president continues to insist the forecast he relayed was accurate, despite evidence to the contrary.
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Survey: US services sector expands at faster pace in August
The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, says that its non-manufacturing index rose to 56.4 from 53.7 in July after two months of cooler growth. Services make up the bulk of US economic activity, so the results are a reassuring signal of continued economic strength. While services companies surveyed express their concern over tariffs and geopolitical uncertainty, they appear so far to have avoided the challenges faced by the manufacturing sector.
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Indian 'citizenship' list causes anger, confusion
After living in India all his life, father-of-two Gokul Chandra Saha woke up last weekend to learn he was among almost two million people in the religiously diverse state of Assam that the government had suddenly deemed to be foreigners. The register, initially feared to be a stalking horse for the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to expel Muslims, has in fact ensnared many people from both religions. Assam, a poor and isolated state in India's far northeast neighbouring Bangladesh, has long seen large influxes of migrants from elsewhere.
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Administration switches off rule for thriftier light bulbs
The Trump administration turned its deregulatory focus Wednesday to light bulbs, scrapping a rule that would have phased out less energy efficient incandescent bulbs. The move slows a years-long push by Congress and past administrations to switch Americans to LED bulbs and other lighting using less electricity. The Energy Department announced the action ahead of the revision's publication in the Federal Register, a step toward a rule becoming final.
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Santa Cruz Island Dive Boat Fire: Santa Cruz students, teacher from Fremont among victims on Conception
We are starting to learn more about some of the victims from Northern California from the dive boat fire in Southern California near Santa Cruz Island.
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A man in Florida spent $50,000 at Costco on 100 generators and supplies for the Bahamas
"It's important that we help each other out," the man told CNN. "It's better than just sitting there. You see a need and you fill it."
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Trump flashes anger about Alabama forecast as Dorian bears down on Carolinas
The president became the subject of online mockery after showing off an apparently doctored National Hurricane Center projection.
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'We need change:' El Paso mass shooting survivors file lawsuit against Walmart
A lawsuit was filed by two victims claiming that Walmart failed to have proper security in place to prevent the Aug. 3 mass shooting in El Paso.
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Jordan teachers demanding wage increases clash with police
Thousands of teachers protested in Jordan on Thursday to demand higher wages, with some scuffling with security forces. Organizers of the demonstration in the capital, Amman, said the government has yet to deliver on a 50% wage increase agreed upon in 2014. Security forces blocked roads and prevented the protesters from reaching the prime minister's office.
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$700 for books and furniture: Teachers reveal how much they're spending in classrooms
Courtney Jones, a Texas-based elementary educator, launched a successful hashtag: #clearthelist -- a pay it forward initiative which asks the public via social media to help meets simple demands of teachers across the nation. Items bought: snacks, knee pads for my volleyball players, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, tissues, science lab materials.
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Tyler C. denies accusations he was 'throwing shade' at Hannah Brown
Tyler C. denies accusations he was 'throwing shade' at Hannah Brown originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.comTyler Cameron, aka Tyler C., just hit back at anyone claiming there's bad blood between him and Hannah Brown.Although unclear where the former couple's relationship stands, Cameron set the record straight that he will "always support HB and her family.""Someone DM’d me something that I liked a comment that said I was throwing shade at HB and I must say that is a complete accident," he wrote on Twitter."For 1 I am very selective for what I like," he continued. ...
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Hurricane latest: 'Dorian is ready to unleash its fury on our state,' North Carolina governor warns
Hurricane latest: 'Dorian is ready to unleash its fury on our state,' North Carolina governor warns originally appeared on abcnews.go.comHurricane Dorian is pummeling the coastline between Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, Thursday morning before the powerful storm moves "to unleash its fury" on North Carolina.The latestDowntown Charleston's narrow, low-lying streets -- already prone to flooding -- are now underwater, and the northbound portion of the city's expressway has been shut down since Wednesday due to flooding. ...
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UPDATE 1-Gay fathers receive less parental leave than other couples: study
Gay men around the world receive less paid parental leave than lesbian or heterosexual couples, researchers said on Thursday, with many left struggling to pay household bills if they opt to spend more time at home with their children. The study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) examined paternity laws in 33 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that offer paid leave to new parents. First published in the Journal of Social Policy, the research found that gay male couples received the same number of weeks off as different-sex couples in just 12% of those nations.
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UPDATE 1-Yahoo down for six hours, users vent out on Twitter
Thousands of Yahoo email users took to Twitter on Thursday to complain that the internet company's services have been unavailable for more than six hours. Users in Spain, France and Germany were the worst hit, according to outage tracker website Downdetector. Yahoo said in a series of tweets that it was working to address the issue.
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Democratic presidential candidates thank Gov. Jay Inslee for his climate change-themed campaign
Democratic presidential candidates thank Gov. Jay Inslee for his climate change-themed campaign originally appeared on abcnews.go.comIn lieu of a climate-centered debate -- the same 10 candidates who will be appearing at the third Democratic primary debate hosted by ABC came together to discuss their stance on combating climate change and face the voters directly on Wednesday night. ...
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UPDATE 1-Slack shares tumble after dismal forecast
Shares of Slack Technologies Inc tumbled 14%, wiping out nearly all their gains since the company's listing in July, after the workplace messaging firm warned of slower revenue growth amid intensifying competition. Slack is trying to become the main source of communication in workplaces and competes with Microsoft Corp's Teams, which in July had over 13 million daily active users, three million more than Slack. Credit Suisse analysts expect competition with Microsoft and slower growth in free cash flow to cut the stock's value to $25.
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Meanwhile, across the English channel, EU waits
As Brexit recriminations reached fever pitch in London Thursday, Britain's European Union partners were keeping their distance. For weeks, they've been waiting for Britain's new prime minister, Boris Johnson, to make a concrete suggestion on how to end the impasse over their divorce agreement. Without any fundamental change of approach, they are showing little willingness to grant another extension to Britain's departure from the bloc.
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Young men have died in fraternities every year for 2 decades. But frats are slow to change
fraternities say their benefits include a network of friends and alumni, plus better grades and community service. But you have to be alive to benefit
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The Latest: Lam says decision to end bill was her govt's own
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam says the move to withdraw the extradition bill was her government's own decision, and that it was backed by the Chinese central government. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says the extradition bill that sparked months of demonstrations will be formally withdrawn in the legislative council without the need for debate or vote. The massive protests since June have disrupted transportation links around the city and at its international airport.
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UPDATE 2-Long-dated euro zone bonds sell off as risk appetite bounces back
Longer-dated debt led a selloff in euro zone bonds on Thursday on signs of progress in resolving the U.S.-China trade war, and as investors seized on recent doubts about whether a European Central Bank stimulus package next week can match expectations. After a strong price rally in August, euro zone bonds have stumbled in recent days.
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Global renewables investment to triple this decade - U.N.
Global investment in new capacity for renewable energy is on course to reach $2.6 trillion by the end of this decade, more than triple the amount of the previous decade, a report commissioned by the U.N. Environment Programme says. The figure excludes large hydropower projects and is equivalent to 1.2 terawatts (TW) of new renewable energy capacity this decade. The increase stems from a fall in interest rates in major economies and a slump in costs, with the "levelised" cost of solar photovoltaics down 81%, onshore wind down 46% and offshore wind down 44% this decade.
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UPDATE 1-Myanmar's biggest airport closes after plane skids off runway, flights diverted
Myanmar's largest airport was forced to close temporarily after a military plane skidded off the runway, forcing inbound international flights to be diverted, an official at the civil aviation department said on Thursday. A Chinese-made Y-8-200F transport plane slid off the runway at Yangon international airport in the morning after one of its engines failed, according to a government statement. There were no injuries reported, but outbound flights were delayed and inbound flights suspended.
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Pentagon pauses 120 military construction projects to free up $3.6bn for Trump's wall
More than 120 US military construction projects will be adversely affected as the Pentagon prepares to use $3.6 billion to help build or enhance 175 miles (282 km) of the border wall with Mexico, U.S. officials said on Tuesday. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. The emergency declaration allows the Trump administration to use money from the military construction budget and the Pentagon has said it could use $3.6 billion from the budget. In March, the Pentagon provided Congress with a broad list of projects that could be affected, but did not provide details. On Tuesday, Pentagon officials said 127 would be affected and the first $1.8 billion would come from deferred military construction projects outside the United States. The second tranche would come from deferred military projects inside the United States, the officials said. Elaine McCusker, the deputy under secretary of defense comptroller, said construction could begin as early as within 100 days on land owned by the Defense Department, such as the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range in Arizona. There are more than 4,500 active duty and National Guard troops on the border. Lieutenant General Andrew Poppas, director of operations at the Joint Staff, said he expected that building the wall would reduce the number of troops needed on the border. Trump made the border wall a major 2016 campaign promise. The wall, which critics have called a political stunt, is part of his hardline immigration policies that are central to his 2020 re-election bid. “Department of Defense components and military departments provided input and prioritized projects based on effects on readiness and consistency with the national defense strategy,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said. Hoffman added that the specific projects affected would be released after lawmakers were notified of the decision. The announcement was criticized by Democratic lawmakers. In a conference call with U.S. House of Representatives Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed her phone conversation with Defense Secretary Mark Esper about the decision earlier in the day. “My view of it is that stealing money from military construction, at home and abroad, will undermine our national security, quality of life and morale of our troops, and that indeed makes America less safe,” Pelosi said, according to an aide. She said she told Esper that Trump was negating the constitutional principle of separation of powers, the aide said. “This decision will harm already planned, important projects intended to support our service members at military installations in New York, across the United States, and around the world,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
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A Mississippi Wedding Venue Refused to Serve Gay or Interracial Couples. Amid Backlash, the Owner Is Now Apologizing
The alleged owner of the event hall cited her "Christian belief"
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A Pennsylvania teen is in a coma and on life support from vaping. His parents say he may need a new lung, if he survives.
The 19-year-old had tiny holes in his lungs after a coughing fit. He's been in a medically-induced coma for about three weeks.
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India's $145 million lunar mission is set to make it just the 4th nation to make a soft landing on the moon, only months after NASA called its actions in space 'unacceptable'
If the mission is successful, India will follow in the footsteps of China, Russia, and the US, in making a soft moon landing.
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On Iran, Trump and Netanyahu Finally Disagree
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel are usually on the same page, especially on Iran. But over the last few days, their scripts have diverged.Trump, at the G-7 summit on Aug. 26, emphasized that “Iran is not the same country that it was two and half years ago when I came into office.” It is no longer the No. 1 nation in terms of supporting terrorism, he said, “Because they can’t spend like they used to spend.” The implication is that the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions has so severely damaged Iran’s economy that its behavior is changing for the better.Contrast that with a statement by Netanyahu on the same day. “Iran is operating on a broad front to carry out murderous terrorist attacks against the State of Israel,” he said. “Israel will continue to defend its security however that may be necessary. I call on the international community to act immediately so that Iran halts these attacks.”Netanyahu was speaking directly about the steps Israel has taken recently to ensure its security: Destroying Iranian rockets at Shiite militia bases in Iraq; reportedly using drones to attack a facility enhancing the precision capability of missiles provided to Hezbollah by Iran; and pre-emptively striking Iranian forces and Hezbollah operatives near Damascus as they prepared a terror attack into Israel.From Israel’s standpoint, Trump’s comments notwithstanding, Iran is not a different country today posing less of a threat. Indeed, shortly before the Netanyahu statement, Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian group that has always been close to Iran, fired four rockets from Gaza into Israel — clearly to add fuel to the fire.What is particularly noteworthy here is that Netanyahu called on the “international community” to act in Israel’s defense. I’ve served in five different U.S. administrations, often as the point person with Israeli leaders, and I know that Israeli prime ministers, when seeking to deter broader threats, always have come to the U.S. first. They counted on America to act or to mobilize others to help counter possible threats and raise the costs to those who might be thinking of carrying them out. But Netanyahu realizes that the U.S. does not play that role any longer, and so he directly seeks the help of the rest of the world.Implicitly, at least, Netanyahu seems to recognize that the Trump administration has little “soft power” — the diplomatic and other non-military efforts that draw others to support U.S. objectives. Similarly, his statement indicates that he has little faith in the U.S. ability to deter Iran; not a huge surprise, as Iran has adopted its own version of maximum pressure on America’s allies and interests in the region after the U.S. ended waivers permitting eight countries to receive Iranian oil.That decision, which took effect in May, surely squeezed the Iranians. But their answer, in addition to incrementally walking away from the 2016 nuclear agreement, has been to attack oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, have their Houthi surrogates in Yemen escalate attacks against Saudi airfields and oil facilities, and expand their range of threats to Israel. All of this after John Bolton, the national security advisor, declared on May 5 that any such threats would be met with “unrelenting force.”No doubt, Bolton meant it - but Trump calls the shots, and he does not want a conflict with Iran. Moreover, the president seems to believe that Iranian threats to U.S. friends in the region are their own responsibility to deal with, not America’s. Trump, reversing the policy of every president since Jimmy Carter, applies the same logic to the Strait of Hormuz: Since other nations depend on it being open for their oil supplies, they are mainly accountable for safeguarding it. Taken along with Trump’s decision not to retaliate for the shooting down of an American drone earlier this summer, this gives the Iranians reason to believe that the U.S. will respond only against direct attacks against its own forces that result in fatalities, and that there is little reason to fear a U.S. reaction to Iranian aggression against America’s friends.Trump may criticize President Barack Obama for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in terms of its sunset provisions on Iran’s nuclear program ending too soon, but he speaks of an objective of “no nukes” — surely the same objective Obama had — and seemingly downplays Iran’s regional behavior. Moreover, in acknowledging the point made by French President Emmanuel Macron that the Iranians might need “compensation” to enter talks, he went so far as to say the Iranians might “need some money to get them over a very rough patch,” and “if they do need money, it would be secured by oil, which to me is great security.” There is nothing wrong with Trump wanting to talk to the Iranians. But the signals he sends now suggest that it is not American maximum pressure that will produce those talks - it is Iranian maximum pressure that is working on the U.S. and the Europeans. Perhaps this is why Netanyahu reportedly tried to persuade Trump not to meet soon with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif; he clearly fears what might be given away at this point.Yes, the Iranians are hurting economically and are likely to go for talks eventually. But the demand of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the U.S. must first drop the sanctions – something he knows Trump is unlikely do now - suggests they are in no rush. In the meantime, the Iranians will heighten their pressure, believing that will give them more leverage — they seem to be taking a page from Trump: Squeeze harder, and the other side will come to the table.For now, the Iranian position means there will be no prospect of an early deal between the U.S. and Iran. Yes, that will ease Netanyahu’s concerns of what a deal would look like now. But the irony is that because the Iranians are trying to increase their leverage, Israel will likely face increasingly aggressive behavior from Tehran’s proxies. And, while the Trump administration will absolutely support Israel’s right of self-defense, it will also leave Israel largely on its own to face the consequences of a new American policy. This may be a classic case of Israel’s prime minister needing to be careful about what he wishes for.    To contact the author of this story: Dennis Ross at dross@washingtoninstitute.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Dennis Ross is counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and served in senior national security positions for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. He is co-author of "Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel's Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Dorian, back to a Category 3 hurricane, creeps up US coast
Hurricane Dorian , back to a Category 3 storm, began raking the Southeast U.S. seaboard late Wednesday, threatening to inundate low-lying coasts from Georgia to southwest Virginia with a dangerous storm surge after its deadly mauling of the Bahamas. Dorian had crashed into the island nation as its strongest hurricane on record leaving widespread devastation and at least 20 people dead. Dorian could maintain this intensity for about 12 hours or so, but guidance is showing shear increasing, and that should result in gradual weakening Thursday and Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
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Former Obama counsel acquitted of lying to government
Prominent Washington lawyer Greg Craig was found not guilty of lying to the Justice Department about work he did for the government of Ukraine in a case that arose from the special counsel's Russia investigation and that centered on the lucrative world of foreign lobbying. The swift verdict on Wednesday was a setback to the Justice Department's crackdown on lobbyists who do unregistered work for foreign governments and came as prosecutors have been ramping up enforcement of a decades-old law meant to police foreign influence and promote transparency. U.S. officials hoped a conviction would demonstrate an aggressive approach to lobbyists who fail to register their foreign work or who give false information to the Justice Department to avoid identifying themselves as a foreign agent, as Craig was alleged to have done.
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Carolinas bracing for potential landfall from Hurricane Dorian
Janice Dean has the latest track from the Fox Extreme Weather Center.
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The worm that turned: fossils shed light on early animal movement
More than half a billion years ago, a worm-like creature wriggled its last, creating a groove preserved as a fossil that offers new insights into some of the earliest animal movement. The origins of movement in animal species remains fairly murky, though there is evidence of "directional movement" -- as opposed to the meandering drift of a jellyfish for example -- as early as 560 million years ago. The fossils provide the first "direct supporting evidence" of early movement by a segmented animal, Shuhai Xiao, a professor at Virginia Tech university's geosciences department, told AFP.
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SpaceX’s Starhopper test rocket takes one giant leap, marking new step toward Mars
A prototype rocket that looks more like a water tower took a 500-foot-high hop today in Texas, blazing a methane-fueled trail for a spaceship that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk plans to send to the moon and Mars within a few years. SpaceX's Starhopper served as a test vehicle for Musk's Starship launch system – which would consist of a Super Heavy booster with 35 next-generation Raptor engines, plus a Starship craft with six Raptors. Starship could be used to loft people, cargo or fuel out of Earth orbit and onward to deep space. "One day Starship will land on the… Read More
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'We owe it to them': Bahamian ships prepare for relief missions
As a humanitarian crisis unfolded in the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, a flotilla of ships and boats was preparing on Wednesday to begin ferrying relief supplies to areas of the island-nation hardest hit by the Category 5 storm. Tens of thousands of people on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco need food, water and medical supplies after Dorian pulverized their homes and sent storm waves crashing through communities. Not enough helicopters were available to get the aid to where it was needed, with the main airport on Grand Bahama not yet operating, according to a Reuters photographer, making it impossible to get fixed-wing aircraft in and out.
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See Photos of the Zenvo TSR-S Hypercar
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Grand Bahama waterlogged in Hurricane Dorian before and after satellite photos
Next-generation satellite technology capable of penetrating cloud cover shows widespread flooding from slow-moving Hurricane Dorian.
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Hurricane Dorian: Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, others pledge support to Bahamas
Royal Caribbean, The Walt Disney Co. and others are offering support to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian ripped a destructive path across the nation
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33 bodies recovered after California dive boat disaster
Rescue workers have recovered a total of 33 bodies from a scuba-diving boat disaster off the coast of California, authorities said Wednesday, adding that one person remains missing. Divers have since recovered 13 other bodies, according to the Santa Barbara County sheriff's department, which is in charge of the investigation. The boat had been on a diving excursion around Santa Cruz Island, just west of Santa Barbara in southern California.
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Kosovo jails six for plans to attack NATO troops, other countries
A court in Kosovo said it had jailed six people, including a woman, for terms ranging from one to 10 years, for planning attacks on NATO troops and the public in Kosovo, Belgium and France. The population of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is nominally 90 percent Muslim, but largely secular. NATO has fewer than 4,000 troops there, with the mission to keep the fragile peace since the war ended in 1999.
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Ex-UAW official pleads guilty in US court to kickbacks
A former United Auto Workers official pleaded guilty on Wednesday to taking kickbacks and bribes from vendors connected to a training fund operated jointly by the union and General Motors. Michael Grimes, who played a key role in the UAW's GM Department for more than a decade, admitted in federal court to taking over $1.5 million from vendors who did business between 2006 and 2018 with the fund, a training center for union members employed by GM. Grimes and two as-yet unidentified union officials demanded bribes and kickbacks from vendors in exchange for contracts with the center, prosecutors said.
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Biden defends campaign fundraiser with natural gas investor
Joe Biden is defending himself against criticism that the co-founder of a liquefied natural gas firm is hosting a fundraiser for him despite his pledge not to accept fossil fuel money for his 2020 presidential bid. The former vice president said Wednesday during a CNN climate town hall series that he's not violating his pledge because Andrew Goldman "is not a fossil fuel executive" according to certain corporate filings. Some environmental leaders, including several who pushed Democratic candidates to refuse fossil fuel money, say Goldman's involvement in Thursday's fundraiser still violates the spirit of Biden's commitment.
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Police: Fotis Dulos Was ‘Lying in Wait’ for Estranged Wife the Day She Vanished
New Canaan Police DepartmentConnecticut investigators working to get to the bottom of what happened to missing mother Jennifer Dulos say a truck her estranged husband used on the day she vanished was found to have a “bloodlike substance” inside it—and he allegedly went to great lengths to conceal it by having the vehicle professionally cleaned, according to an arrest warrant application. Police took Fotis Dulos into custody Wednesday afternoon and charged him for a second time with tampering with evidence. According to the The Hartford Courant, he posted a $500,000 bond and was released Wednesday evening. Upon his release, Dulos apparently made no mention of his estranged wife, who has been missing since May 24, telling the Courant, “It’s an exhausting fight, I love my children, that’s about it.”In an arrest warrant application detailing the evidence behind his arrest, investigators said Dulos “has declined to cooperate with this investigation in any way” since refusing to provide an interview with police the day after Jennifer Dulos went missing. The warrant application paints a detailed picture of what investigators say happened on the day the mother of five dropped her kids off at school only to never be seen again. After borrowing an employee’s Toyota Tacoma, Dulos is believed to have traveled to his estranged wife’s New Canaan home where he was “lying in wait” when she returned home, the warrant application says.  At the home, investigators later found signs of a “serious physical assault,” including “multiple areas within the garage which tested positive for human blood as well as evidence of attempts to clean the scene,” according to the arrest warrant application.  Surveillance cameras in Hartford reportedly picked up a man resembling Fotis Dulos driving a large pickup truck and “stopping at multiple locations to dumb garbage bags in several trash cans” the night Jennifer Dulos went missing, according to the warrant application. Two Arrested in Case of Missing Mom Jennifer DulosThe 43-page document says cell phone records and surveillance footage indicate that Dulos, who was involved in a volatile divorce battle with Jennifer, drove off with her vehicle after first arriving at her home in the borrowed Toyota Tacoma that was “used in the commission of the crime.” When Dulos allegedly drove off in his estranged wife’s car, it was believed to be carrying “the body of Jennifer Dulos,” the warrant application said.  Investigators reportedly learned of the role the Toyota Tacoma truck allegedly played after Pawel Gumienny, an employee of Dulos’ home-development business, told them he had replaced the rear seats in the vehicle at Dulos’ insistence. Gumienny later told police that Dulos and his girlfriend Michelle Troconis had used his truck on the day Jennifer went missing and taken it to get washed without his knowledge or permission five days later. Over the next several days, he said Dulos became “pushy” about urging him to swap out the seats in the vehicle, and later asked him if he had “seen anything” on the day Jennifer vanished. Police later found Dulos’ blood on one of the seats in the vehicle. Troconis, who was allegedly with Dulos when he had the truck cleaned, allegedly told investigators he claimed to be cleaning up “coffee” in the truck. When pressed by investigators to explain why the vehicle needed to be cleaned, however, she allegedly said the “evidence” presented to her by police suggests “it’s because the body of Jennifer at some point was in there.” Investigators also said they found “alibi scripts” in Dulos’ business office— handwritten notes that Troconis is said to have told detectives were meant to “help them remember” their activities on the day Jennifer Dulos vanished. Much of the information, including alibi witnesses, turned out to be false, investigators said. Norm Pattis, Dulos' lawyer, told the Courant the arrest didn't “even rise to the level of a jab” and said his client would plead not guilty. As for the new details revealed in the arrest warrant application, he told The New York Times, “There’s not much here that we hadn’t heard before, and I question the wisdom of these charges at this late date.”Dulos and Troconis were initially arrested on tampering with evidence charges in early June before released on $500,000 bail. Clothes, Sponges Stained With Missing Mom Jennifer Dulos’ Blood Found in Trash Cans: PoliceRead 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.
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Home of Hong Kong Media Tycoon Jimmy Lai Hit With Firebombs, Says Cable TV
(Bloomberg) -- The home of media tycoon and Hong Kong democracy advocate Jimmy Lai was attacked by firebombs and no one was hurt in the incident, Hong Kong’s Cable TV news reported.Two masked men threw firebombs at the gate of Lai’s home at around 1 a.m. local time Thursday before leaving, Cable TV news reported people at the scene as saying, adding Lai’s security guard put out the fire and called police.Police put out a statement concerning a firebomb incident but didn’t mention whose residence was attacked. Police said they received a report from a security guard at the site, saying that the suspects had thrown what are believed to be petrol bombs before fleeing by motorcycle.Lai, whose publications such as the Apple Daily newspapers have championed Hong Kong’s three-month-old democracy movement, has been labeled a traitor by Chinese state media over the months-long protests in the Asian financial center.Hong Kong Protests Fuel Media Tycoon’s Turnaround PlanSince protesters took to the streets in June, Apple Daily has been sending people with cameras to the front lines of clashes with police and broadcasting live online from tear gas battles, night vigils, and peaceful marches.After three months of at-times violent demonstrations, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam made her most significant concession yet on Wednesday evening. In a somber televised address, she told an anxious city that she was meeting a demand from protesters to officially scrap a proposal that ended up sparking the worst unrest since the former colony’s return to Chinese rule in 1997.To contact the reporter on this story: Dominic Lau in Hong Kong at dlau92@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Jon HerskovitzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Dive-boat fire: What we know about the victims in deadly blaze off Santa Cruz Island
The day after a fire roared through a scuba-diving boat off the coast of Ventura County, portraits were emerging of the 34 victims who are presumed dead in the tragedy.
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Are Republican challengers a threat to Trump?
Former Congressman Joe Walsh became the second Republican to announce a primary challenge against Donald Trump. Should the president worry about opponents from within his own party?
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Year after India gay ruling, a battle to change attitudes
Vivek Kishore and Vishwa Srivastava hit it off soon after meeting at a cafe, little knowing what lay in store for them as a gay couple in India where homosexuality was a criminal offence until a year ago. The couple's worst fears came true when they were slapped, abused and threatened with police action by none other than Kishore's parents, who found out they were living together. Hundreds of people had been prosecuted under the law, known as Section 377, which was often used to threaten, abuse and blackmail members of the LGBTQ community.
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Johnson’s NHS Funding Fuels Election Speculation
(Bloomberg) -- Talk of an early general election is intensifying after last week’s special election cut the U.K. government’s working majority in Parliament to one. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new funding for the National Health Service, delivering on a key Brexit pledge while demonstrating his administration has a domestic agenda beyond leaving the European Union.Key Developments:Labour says Parliament can block no-deal Brexit in the fallPM Johnson unveiled 1.8 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) in additional funding for the state-run National Health ServiceConservative Party Chairman James Cleverly said the government won’t “initiate” an early general electionCleverly: Government Will Not Trigger Early Election (10 a.m.)Speaking on Sky News, U.K. Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly said the government won’t “initiate” an early general election, adding that voters want the government to get on with Brexit and deliver on other policies including boosting the NHS.He also said recent spending pledges on health care and policing would be funded by economic growth, as the government invests in infrastructure including railways that will boost tax receipts. Cleverly reiterated that Boris Johnson is committed to leaving the EU with or without a deal on Oct. 31.After the Tory party failed to hold on to its Brecon and Radnorshire seat in last week’s special election, Cleverly said he was “frustrated” that voters opting for the Brexit Party had enabled a Liberal Democrat victory.Labour’s Ashworth Expects Election in Fall (9:10 a.m.)Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said he expects an early general election in the autumn, and that the main opposition party’s lackluster performance in last week’s special election -- it finished fourth -- would have no bearing on its prospects in that vote.He also told Sky News there would be ample time for politicians to work to block a no-deal Brexit in September and October, especially when the government puts forward legislation necessary for leaving the EU. Ashworth was responding after the Telegraph reported that a senior adviser to Boris Johnson told ministers that Parliament would be unable to prevent the U.K. leaving without a deal if the government opted to do so.“We will use all the means available to us” to prevent a no-deal Brexit, Ashworth said, adding that there are former Tory ministers now on the backbenches willing to assist.Cummings Says MPs Can’t Stop No-Deal Exit: Report (Earlier)Dominic Cummings, a senior adviser to Boris Johnson, told ministers and officials last week that members of Parliament won’t be able to stop a no-deal Brexit even if the government loses a no-confidence vote in September, the Telegraph newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the briefings.The prime minister would have the power to schedule an election for after the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline, the newspaper reported Cummings as saying, meaning the U.K. would leave regardless of the efforts of MPs to prevent it. He also said Johnson’s Conservatives would win an election, according to the report.No-Deal Pain Starting to Hit Irish Companies (Earlier)Ireland’s biggest companies are getting a taste of the pain that could come from the U.K. crashing out of the EU without a deal. The country’s ISEQ All-Share Index has been the worst performing benchmark in Europe, the Middle East and Africa since Boris Johnson became U.K. prime minister, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Johnson Adds NHS Funding to Meet Brexit Vow (Earlier)Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled 1.8 billion pounds in additional funding for the NHS, delivering on a pledge made during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. The money will be used to add hospital beds, wards and cutting-edge equipment, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.Earlier:Johnson’s Brexit Enemies Prepare for Fight After Tasting VictoryJohnson Sets $2.2 Billion in New NHS Funding to Meet Brexit VowQueen’s Banker Casts Wide Net for Clients as Brexit Takes TollThe Plan to Avert Banking Chaos in a No-Deal Brexit: QuickTakeTo contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Biggs in London at sbiggs3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, James AmottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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A U.S. Navy F9F Panther Has the First Recorded Jet-On-Jet Shootdown
The first air-to-air combat between fighter jets took place on Nov. 8, 1950 when, during an attack on the Sinuiju bridges near the mouth of the Yalu River, a U.S. Air Force F-80C belonging to the 16th Fighter Squadron encountered a MiG-15. ​The Korean war, that raged for three years from Jun. 25, 1950 to Jul. 27, 1953, saw the first widespread use of jet engine-powered fighter aircraft for both sides of a conflict.This article first appeared last month.These machines brought the air combat to a new, more faster and more lethal level. In fact the jet engines offered a significant increase in performance over the last piston engines, such as higher top speed, twice the cruise speed, greater ceiling and sustained climb rate. During the Korean War the fighter jets were deployed not only by the U.S. and their allies, but also by the North Korea and China and eventually some of these jets were flown by Russian pilots.
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Some of the most recent deadly US mass shootings
— Aug. 3, 2019: A gunman opened fire at a shopping center in El Paso, Texas, killing 20 people and injuring more than two dozen. — Feb. 15, 2019: Gary Martin killed five co-workers at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois, during a disciplinary meeting where he was fired. — Oct. 27, 2018: Robert Bowers is accused of opening fire at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during Shabbat morning services, killing 11 and injuring others.
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Journalist's death helps to reshape US handling of hostages
Diane Foley learned her son's fate not from any government official but from a sobbing journalist who asked if she'd been on Twitter. President Barack Obama soon confirmed the news to the world: James Foley, a 40-year-old American journalist kidnapped in Syria two years earlier, was the American beheaded by Islamic State militants in a video circulating online. For many in the United States, the August 2014 video brought home the extent of the Islamic State's violence and brutality.
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North Korea reportedly steals cryptocurrency to bankroll its nuclear program
A confidential U.N. report obtained by Reuters reveals that North Korea has been employing a range of sophisticated cyberattacks in an effort to bankroll its development of weapons of mass destruction.According to the report, which was compiled by experts over the past few months, North Korea thus far has made upwards of $2 billion via a number of schemes designed to "steal funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges." Though specifics remain a bit murky at the moment, North Korean's malicious cyber activities reportedly encompass more than 30 independent attacks across 17 countries.Specifically, the report -- an excerpt of which can be seen below -- notes that North Korea has been using money generated from such activities to bolster its nuclear missile program.> Democratic People's Republic of Korea cyber actors, many operating under the direction of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, raise money for its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programmes, with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion US dollars.Notably, this certainly isn't the first time we've seen reports regarding official North Korean actors engaging in cryptocurrency theft. Just a few months ago, for example, FBI Intelligence Analyst Tonya Ugoretz told attendees at a conference that North Korea began its hacking activities as a direct response to US sanctions on the country."Sanctions are having an economic impact," Ugoretz said, "so cyber operations are a means to make money, whether it's through cryptocurrency mining or bank theft."To the latter point, an FBI investigation revealed that North Korea was behind a 2016 cyberattack on a Bangladesh bank that resulted in a loss of $81 million. Indeed, the attack could have been far worse as the hackers initially sought to transfer upwards of $1 billion, though most of those transfer requests were fortunately blocked.
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Kim says North Korean launches were warning to US, South
North Korea said Wednesday leader Kim Jong Un supervised a live-fire demonstration of newly developed, short-range ballistic missiles intended to send a warning to the United States and South Korea over their joint military exercises. The official Korean Central News Agency said two missiles launched from a western airfield flew across the country and over the area surrounding the capital, Pyongyang, before accurately hitting an island target off its eastern coast. Its four rounds of weapons demonstrations in two weeks come during a stalemate in nuclear negotiations and after President Donald Trump repeatedly dismissed the significance of the tests, even though the weapons show North Korea's ability to strike at U.S. allies South Korea and Japan and its military bases there.
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U.S.-China Trade War Already Rippling Across Other Countries' Economies
With each shot fired in the ongoing U.S.-China trade confrontation, the margin narrows for President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to not only save face by coming to a mutually beneficial resolution -- but also to limit the collateral damage a clash of the world's two largest economies is already starting to produce. Analysts warn that the Sino-American conflict is not playing out in a vacuum and that economies around the world are suffering from investment volatility, supply chain uncertainty and currency fluctuations. "We are increasingly looking at significant damage to an international economy that was already starting to lose momentum in other ways," says Louis Kuijs, the Hong Kong-based chief Asia economist at Oxford Economics.
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Turkey kills 2 more suspects in diplomat's slaying in Iraq
Turkey's state-run news agency says an operation by the Turkish military and its intelligence agency has killed two more suspects and alleged planners in last month's assassination of a Turkish diplomat in Iraq. Anadolu Agency said on Thursday that Turkish forces targeted a vehicle carrying the two men in Iraq's semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region in an aerial operation last week.
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You Will Get Crushed: 5 Reasons No One Goes to War with Israel (And Wins)
The IDF has developed systems of recruitment, training, and retention that allow it to field some of the most competent, capable soldiers in the world. None of the technologies above work unless they have smart, dedicated, well-trained operators to make them function at their fullest potential.Since 1948, the state of Israel has fielded a frighteningly effective military machine.Built on a foundation of pre-independence militias, supplied with cast-off World War II weapons, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have enjoyed remarkable success in the field. In the 1960s and 1970s, both because of its unique needs and because of international boycotts, Israel began developing its own military technologies, as well as augmenting the best foreign tech. Today, Israel boasts one of the most technologically advanced military stockpiles in the world, and one of the world’s most effective workforces.(This first appeared in 2015.)Here are five of the most deadly systems that the Israeli Defense Forces currently employ.Recommended: 8 Million Could Die in a War with North Korea MerkavaThe Merkava tank joined the IDF in 1979, replacing the modified foreign tanks (most recently of British and American vintage) that the Israelis had used since 1948. Domestic design and construction avoided problems of unsteady foreign supply, while also allowing the Israelis to focus on designs optimized for their environment, rather than for Central Europe.  Around 1,600 Merkavas of various types have entered service, with several hundred more still on the way.
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U.S. Intel Officials Eye Disinformation Campaign Targeting John Bolton’s Family
GettyAmerican intelligence officials are monitoring a social media disinformation campaign that attempted to falsely implicate the White House National Security Adviser in a global money laundering and drug trafficking operation.On Monday, a Twitter user claiming to be a high-ranking Canadian law enforcement official posted records supposedly showing a $350,000 wire transfer from a Canadian children’s apparel company to a Swiss bank account owned by National Security Adviser John Bolton’s daughter. “Police investigations show [the company] and its CEO are accused of laundering and transferring dirty money between Canada and some European countries, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States,” the Twitter account claimed.The claims are clearly fabricated, and the effort does not appear particularly sophisticated. But a U.S. official familiar with the apparent disinformation campaign said intelligence community officials were aware of the effort. And  Lee Foster, an information operations intelligence analyst at the cybersecurity firm FireEye, told The Daily Beast that the hoax’s techniques are “consistent with what we've seen with previous pro-Iranian influence operations.”Foster emphasized that there wasn’t enough information to attribute the Bolton hoax to Iran or any other specific party yet, but said the incident did share some similarities with other campaigns documented by FireEye.The Twitter account at issue impersonated a high-ranking Toronto police officer named Donald Belanger. Twitter suspended the fake Belanger account and Toronto Police Service spokesman Alex Li confirmed to The Daily Beast that it was “a fraudulent” persona. The real police official the account had impersonated has never had a Twitter account and Toronto’s Police Service does not tweet out information naming witnesses, victims, and other sensitive information in the course of criminal investigations, Li said. The tweet from the fake police official also made another mistake when the supposed wire transfer record in “Belanger’s” tweet misspelled Bolton’s daughter’s name.The operator of the account first registered it in 2013 and appears to have originally tweeted in Arabic before repurposing the account into a fake Toronto police service official. The account, under the now defunct handle @BelangerPolice, retweeted an unremarkable stream of content from Canadian police accounts and mentioned nothing about Iran or Bolton until Monday.A Twitter spokesperson did not respond to questions about the “Belanger” account.Bolton is among the Trump administration’s most aggressive critics of the Iranian regime. The U.S. official, while not commenting on this week’s disinformation campaign specifically, said Bolton has been the target of state-sponsored influence operations designed to weaken his standing in the administration.Though Twitter quickly removed the tweet on Monday and suspended the account, it had already been picked up and covered by a handful of websites with editorial positions sympathetic to the Iranian government. News outlets such as Iran Front Page blared “Belanger’s” claims that a Canadian business had supposedly transferred the funds at issue had been caught smuggling “a significant amount of opium” and “has close ties with the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group.”The outlet attributed its story to a tweet from a “senior Canadian law enforcement agent from the Toronto Police Drug Squad”—the fake police account—but has not updated or corrected its story to reflect the account’s suspension or the Toronto Police Service’s confirmation that the account was fake.  “John Bolton,” the “exclusive” article added, “is a fervent supporter of MKO terror group,” using one of several acronyms for the Mujahideen-e-Khalq organization, or MEK. Bolton has earned tens of thousands of dollars in speaking fees for appearances at MEK conferences. The MEK participated in the 1979 revolution which installed Iran’s theocratic government, but eventually sought exile in Iraq, where it carried out terrorist attacks in Iran on behalf of Saddam Hussein’s government. The United States removed the MEK from its list of designated terrorist groups in 2012, but critics claim the organization, which has paid influential former American officials thousands of dollars to speak at events, is a cult bent on pushing the U.S. to war with Tehran.  In May, FireEye assessed with “low confidence” that a series of fake Twitter accounts impersonating U.S. and Israeli political candidates and reporters “was organized in support of Iranian political interests.” The fake accounts published content in line with Iranian foreign policy, but FireEye was unable to pinpoint the identity or location of those behind it. In other cases, FireEye has found more direct ties between social media influence campaigns and Iran. An August 2018 report from the company cited a network of interconnected fake news websites and Facebook pages echoing “anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian themes” tied to Iranian state-run media outlets.  Send The Daily Beast a TipFoster noted that one of the Iran-linked fake news websites identified in that FireEye report, “US Journal,” published a story based on the fake account’s tweet. In contrast to the other stories, which summarized the fake Torono police account’s tweet, U.S. Journal also claimed to have “other documents we got our hands on,” in addition to the @BelangerPolice tweet.  The apparent disinformation campaign comes as the feud between Iran and the Trump administration over U.S. sanctions and a 2015 nuclear agreement have grown increasingly personal. In late July, the Trump administration sanctioned Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif “because Zarif acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Zarif has spent the past few months blasting Bolton as part of a so-called “B_team” bent on war with Iran and undermining President Trump’s attempts at diplomacy with the Islamic Republic. The Daily Beast was initially alerted to “Belanger’s” tweets by a Twitter user claiming to be a U.S.-based freelance journalist covering the Middle East. The Twitter account was created in June, and has posted numerous tweets in broken and grammatically incorrect sentences consistent with someone whose first language is not English.Of the account’s 63 tweets, 47 were devoted to promoting the “Belanger” story. Another 11 attacked Bolton by name.The Daily Beast could not identify any bylines by the purported Middle East freelance reporter. 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.
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UPDATE 1-Brexit hazard warning lights: UK economy contracts for first time since 2012
The British economy shrank unexpectedly for the first time since 2012 in the second quarter, dragged down by a slump in manufacturing just as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to leave the European Union with or without a divorce deal. In the most startling economic warning sign since the 2016 Brexit referendum, gross domestic product fell at a quarterly rate of 0.2% in the three months to June, below all forecasts in a Reuters poll that had pointed to a flat reading.
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France says 'needs no permission' for Iran dialogue after Trump swipe
France said Friday that it "needs no permission" to work towards easing tensions between Iran and the US, after President Donald Trump accused his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron of meddling in the dispute. "On Iran, France speaks with complete sovereignty. It is working hard for peace and security in the region, it is working to facilitate a de-escalation in tensions and it needs no permission to do so," Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
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The Latest: Israeli troops kill gunman near Gaza fence
Gaza's Health Ministry says a 26-year-old Palestinian was killed after exchanging fire with Israeli troops along the perimeter fence surrounding the coastal territory. The Israeli military says an "armed terrorist" approached the frontier early Sunday and opened fire toward troops on the other side, who responded by shooting at the attacker. The army says a tank also targeted a nearby military post operated by the Islamic militant group Hamas.
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Mexico City’s Best Green Spaces
Megan FryeIn May of this year, Mexico City registered some of the highest levels of air pollution in recent history. The particles that chilangos (as Mexico City residents are colloquially known) often feel in the air were actually visible. The city, ringed by pine and snow-covered mountains visible on clear days, felt like a bar at last call back in the day of indoor smoking. Smoke from wildfires across Mexico had conflated with the city’s status quo pollution (there’s at least 25 million people living in the metropolitan area, with millions of vehicles churning out exhaust and a number of factories emitting industrial waste) and low oxygen levels (its lowest elevation is 7,200 feet) making the city “unsafe” by World Health Organization standards for multiple days at a time. It’s been established that should the Valley of Mexico enter a serious drought, vulnerable populations in poorer neighborhoods would be the first to suffer. City officials called a state of emergency and went with their go-to air quality emergency plan of limiting which cars can circulate on certain days of the week (this does not pertain to buses and garbage trucks). The city’s Chief of Government, Claudia Sheinbaum, tossed blame for the air pollution problem on the previous administration while a 2017 pre-mayoral tweet resurfaced in which she accused the former city government of waiting for the annual appearance of the Mesoamerican rain deity Tlalóc (who was late to the party this year) to help with the dire situation.  Now, it’s August and Tlalóc has arrived. The first storm didn’t do much other than prove how dirty the air really was. But now the capital is thriving with near-daily afternoon showers and clouds which have improved the mood of capitaleños, for the time being at least. And, to be fair, much has changed since 1992 when the United Nations named Mexico City the world’s most polluted city. It’s now not anywhere near the top of the list and ranks somewhere similar to Los Angeles in that realm. Fortunately, Mexico City has a green lining for these moments and any moment, that travelers and locals alike can take advantage of: some serious green spaces. And we’re not just talking quaint city parks or tree-lined neighborhoods. There are massive pine forests which lead up to 13,000-foot peaks within the city and volcanoes that loom in the distance. Take that, everywhere else. So, we’ve compiled a list to some of the best green spaces in and around the city.Desierto de los LeonesMegan FryeDesierto de los Leones National ParkArea: 4,611 acres How to get there: Can be accessed by rideshare apps and taxis for about 250 pesos one way from most parts of the core city, whether you’re calling from Roma or Coyoacán. A return ride is more reliable in taxi due to limited cell service in the park. The trip takes about an hour by car. A bus marked “SANTA ROSA / DESIERTO” leaves frequently from outside the Viveros subway station and takes about an hour depending on traffic conditions. Hours: The park is open daily from 6 a.m.-5 p.m., though the former convent is closed on Mondays. This park on the city’s southwest side requires a bit of travel, with winding roads passing the outskirts of town and into an area where many chilangos have their vacation homes. The main attraction for most people is the 17th century ex-convent founded by Carmelite monks. The convent is open to tour, and wandering onto the surrounding hiking trails takes visitors through a thick forest where lesser kept remains of the convent can be found embraced by nature’s reclaim. Sit down for a game of chess if there’s a table set out—there often is—at the entrance where there’s no shortage of places to eat fresh quesadillas and prized wild mushroom soup, a staple of Central Mexico’s mountain cuisine. Bring a jacket as it’s much cooler here than in the city. Bosque de ChapultepecArea: 1,675 acres How to get there: Best accessed by Chapultepec, Auditorio or Constituyentes subway stations, or by taxi or rideshare. Hours: The park consists of three sections, section 1 being the most visited and regulated, open from 5 a.m.-8 p.m, and closed on Mondays. Sections two and three are open 24 hours every day of the year. Near Mexico City’s bustling business district of Reforma Avenue, lies the Bosque de Chapultepec (a Nahuatl phrase meaning “grasshopper hill”). This impeccably manicured and lively space gives green life to the city’s center, where many trees were felled in order to make way for human progress. The park itself boasts two lakes which were created during the Porfirio Diaz dictatorship of the early 20th century, though the area has been the site of irrigation and aqueducts since the era of Tenochtitlán (the former capital of the Aztec empire on which Mexico City sits). In addition to being a sacred space for the Aztecs, and likely those who came before them, the park also boasts a curious mansion on said grasshopper hill which was built between 1785-1863 and housed an Austrian archduke and his Belgian princess wife during France’s invasion of Mexico. Los DinamosMegan FryeLos Dínamos Area: 6,002 acresHow to get there: Taxi or rideshare will take you all the way to Dínamos 4 in less than an hour from most parts of the core city, depending on traffic conditions. From the Taxqueña subway station, take a bus marked “Los Dínamos” which takes about an hour to arrive, depending on traffic conditions. Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.Los Dínamos is the go-to spot for rock climbing fanatics, hikers and mountain bikers in CDMX. Similar to Desierto de los Leones, it’s on the city’s southwest side though easily accessible through the southwest borough of Magdalena Contreras, just a 30-45 minute drive from many places in the central city. The park is sectioned off into four locations, with Dínamos 4 being the most remote and flaunting the highest elevation (more than 10,000 feet). Like any good mountain send-off trail in Mexico, there are vendors selling local cuisine, cerveza, and even in this case pulque (slightly alcoholic fermented agave nectar) to replenish your energy sources after meandering through any of the 16 miles of rustic trails. Megan FryeCumbres del Ajusco National Park Area: 2,300 acresHow to get there: Rideshares and taxis are pretty easy to come by from within the city and to return, though the trip will likely take more than an hour. If you find yourself stuck after a hike, just ask around and you’ll find a taxi driver. From the Universidad metro, take the “San Miguel Ajusco” bus which takes about an hour to arrive, from there, ask for the “parque nacional” which can be another 20 minutes. Hours: Open hours, though recommended during daylight as trails can be difficult to navigate in the dark. Mexico City’s highest point is Ajusco mountain, which guards the southern edge of the city. At 12,894 feet, Ajusco is rugged and steep, but not a technically difficult mountain to climb. Cabins and of course quesadillas and birria (a hearty country soup made with goat or sheep meat) stands abound and the foothills are a popular place for family members to gather. Also part of the national park is the Volcán Xitle, a volcano that blew its top roughly 1,700 years ago and covered much of the city’s south side in volcanic rock. Rumored to have been used as a place for sacrifices and offerings to the Gods, it still draws visitors to its crater for hiking and to connect with the legends of its pre-Columbian past. Insurgente Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla National Park (aka La Marquesa)Area: 4,349 acresHow to get there: Rideshares and taxis make the roughly hour trip from the core city on a regular basis. To go by bus, go to the Observatorio subway station, exit and head across the road to the bus station and purchase a ticket to Toluca (make sure it’s an “intermedio” ticket) which will drop you right at La Marquesa in about 45 minutes. Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.La Marquesa is a popular park which climbs into the highlands surrounding Mexico City, bordering the city limits and the neighboring State of Mexico. There are hiking trails, diversions (think go-karts and paintball) and horseback riding and is a great place to stop off on the way to or from the stunning Nevado de Toluca volcano or Valle de Bravo, a charming village-surrounding Avándaro lake valley now being touted by Mexico City real estate agents as “the Hamptons of Mexico City” (please don’t go there looking for that). La Marquesa sits at more than 10,000 feet and entices visitors with sampling a variety of Mexican delicacies such as rabbit, mixiote (a pit-barbecue dish) and cecina (dried beef). You can even fish for your own trout and have a restaurant grill it up for you. Los Viveros de CoyoacánArea: 119 acres How to get there: The best way to arrive is to the Viveros subway station. Hours: 6 a.m.-6 p.m. dailyViveros is the Spanish term for plant nursery, and there is a large one on site at this park where you can buy anything from herbs to a palm tree. But the real draw and importance of the space is the surprisingly private forest that lies within the park’s walls. Most visitors to Viveros get their walk or run in on the more than one mile-wide loop that encircles the collection of neatly planted trees, including varieties of acacia and eucalyptus. The part plant nursery/part public park was founded as a space to reforest the city and was declared a national park in 1938. Bosque de Tlalpan and Fuentes BrotantesArea: 936 acres combinedHow to get there: For Bosque de Tlalpan: Take the Metrobus Line 1 south to Villa Olímpica and take a 10-minute taxi drive or walk 15-20 minutes. For Fuentes Brotantes, exit at the Ayuntamiento station and take a five-minute taxi drive or walk 10 minutes. Hours: Bosque de Tlalpan is open daily from 5:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fuentes Brotantes from 9 a.m-6 p.m. Right along Insurgentes Avenue, the main artery connecting the north and south of the city, lie two national parks in the southern delegation of Tlalpan. Bosque de Tlalpan is made up of steep inclines dotted with pines, oaks and cedars. It’s a popular place for people to hike, hold picnics and other events (including a weekly organic market) and to come with children to enjoy the massive jungle gym equipment. At the southern edge of the park with a separate entrance and hours is Fuentes Brotantes, where natural spring waters flow into a large pond enjoyed by passersby and plenty of ducks. Both parks are often tapped for their natural and tranquil atmosphere to host activities such as yoga and dance classes. UNAM Botanical GardenMegan FryeUNAM Botanical GardenArea: 30 acresHow to get there: Take the subway to Universidad, and take a short walk into the UNAM campus. Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Small, sweet, and complete is the UNAM Botanical Garden, part of the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s massive campus that is home to more than 300,000 students. UNAM has a great deal of outdoor spaces to enjoy, such as the Sculpture Park and its central Las Islas common area, but the Botanical Garden is one of the most relaxed areas on campus, featuring plants and trees endemic to Mexico, including a wide variety of cacti. There’s even a gift shop where you can adopt a native, endangered cactus (for a small fee) and care for it in your own home. The space is popular for students and cityfolk alike, with plenty of space to stretch out and take in the sun and the oxygen that it provides. Parque Nacional Iztaccíhuatl-PopocatépetlArea: 98,842 acresHow to get there: The best bet is to rent a car so you can explore the park at your leisure. Otherwise, buses make the hour-and-a-half trip regularly for Amecameca, from the city’s TAPO bus station, from there you can hire a taxi to take you into the park. Hours: 7 a.m.- 9 p.m., with special backcountry permits required to hike Iztaccíhuatl (it’s at least a 14-hour out-and-back hike). While not technically part of Mexico City, this massive national park is home to two of Mexico’s largest volcanoes which play a major role of  the valley’s indigenous legends. On a day with moderate traffic, the park is between one and two hours to the east. On clear days (mostly in the late fall and early winter), the snow-capped mountains can be seen from the city itself. Iztaccíhuatl, at more than 17,100 feet, last erupted in 1868 and is now considered dormant; known colloquially as The Sleeping Woman or The White Woman for its year-round snowpack, and its form of a woman resting on her side. As Aztec legend goes, she was the true love of warrior Popocatepetl (17,800 feet), which is still active to this day, dousing dust on surrounding communities in his mourning of her death. It erupts at small levels regularly, and its habit of spitting out ash contributed in part to the poor air quality the city experienced this spring.  Parque Ecológico de XochimilcoArea: 531 acresHow to get there: Rideshares and taxis are abundant in the area, though congestion is high in Xochimilco due to two-lane roads and travel from central areas of the city can take an hour or more. The park sits right off of the Periférico highway which circles the city. On Metrobus line 1 or Tren Ligero, get off at the Periférico station and take a bus east asking for Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco. Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Xochimilco is one of Mexico City’s most important neighborhoods in terms of its food production on floating islands known as chinampas (an ingenious creation of the Aztecs) and the canals built from now mostly dry Lake Texcoco, making up for about 60 miles of waterways. The delegation’s water and trees function as lungs as well as a popular recreation area and home to the endangered axolotl (cuteness level: red alert). So popular, in fact, that water in the canals is pumped out and treated and also diverted from other areas of the city for the popular Xochimilco boat rides. The Xochimilco Ecological Park is home to migrating birds as well as native flora and fauna that has managed to stand up to the tests of Mexico City’s rapid urbanization of this not-long-ago rural delegation. Cerro de la Estrella National ParkArea: 200 acresHow to get there: Take the subway to the Cerro de al Estrella National Park station and have a taxi take you to the park. Hours: Open daily 5 a.m.-7 p.m.Overlooking the densely populated Iztapalapa borough, Cerro de la Estrella sits at more than 8,000 feet  (more than 700 feet above the city) and is covered in pines, eucalyptus and white cedar. It's popular for trail running and offers an excellent view of the city on a clear day. Though the cherry on top is really a pyramid. Other visitors go for the pre-Columbian sites including a pyramid and petroglyphs, the work of various indigenous groups (namely the Chichimecas) dating as far back as 1500 BCE. Cuicuilco Archaeological Zone and Ecological ParkArea: 44 acresHow to get there: Take the Metrobus to the Villa Olímpica station, Cuicuilco sits alongside northbound Insurgentes Avenue. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The largest archaeological site in Mexico City is also one of its oldest and greenest. Long before the Mexica (also known as the Aztecs) took hold of the valley, this pyramid was built by the Cuicuilca people (of whom not much is known) in honor of a fire deity, possibly referencing nearby Xitle volcano which erupted between 245 and 315 CE and ultimately lead to the abandonment of Cuicuilco. Much of the pyramid still lies beneath more than 30 feet of volcanic rock from that eruption. Agaves, eucalyptus, grasses and many endemic flowers make up the ecological aspect of this ancient part of the city. An onsite museum boasts what is arguably the best depiction of the now-dry Lake Texcoco on which Mexico City was formed as an island.  BicentenarioMegan FryeParque Bicentenario Area: 136 acresHow to get there: Take the subway to the Refinería station which sits on its eastern border. Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.Providing respite on the city's north side, Parque Bicentenario is home to five gardens, an orchid house and a conservatory. The park has undergone a number of recent reforestation programs providing shade for chilangos to rest under in between soccer matches. With sports fields and a lake, it's provides this side of town with a tranquil and family friendly place to spend time. While it's often quiet on weekdays, the weekends welcome hordes of people to celebrate everything from having a day off to birthdays and weddings in the wide green areas. The park is even adapted from time to time to host major concerts featuring national and international acts such as Hello Seahorse! and Björk. Megan Frye is an independent journalist and translator living in Mexico City. She has a history of newsroom journalism as well as nonprofit administration and works with international and Mexican publications.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.
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Russia's Su-35 Fighter: Can It Kill American F-15s, F-22s and Even F-35s?
The Su-35 has twelve to fourteen weapons hardpoints, giving it an excellent loadout compared to the eight hardpoints on the F-15C and F-22, or the four internally stowed missiles on the F-35.The Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E is the top Russian air-superiority fighter in service today, and represents the pinnacle of fourth-generation jet fighter design. It will remain so until Russia succeeds in bringing its fifth-generation PAK-FA stealth fighter into production.Distinguished by its unrivaled maneuverability, most of the Su-35’s electronics and weapons capabilities have caught up with those of Western equivalents, like the F-15 Eagle. But while it may be a deadly adversary to F-15s, Eurofighters and Rafales, the big question mark remains how effectively it can contend with fifth-generation stealth fighters such as the F-22 and F-35.(This first appeared several years ago.)HistoryThe Su-35 is an evolution of the Su-27 Flanker, a late Cold War design intended to match the F-15 in concept: a heavy twin-engine multirole fighter combining excellent speed and weapons loadout with dogfighting agility.An Su-27 stunned the audience of the Paris Air Show in 1989 when it demonstrated Pugachev’s Cobra, a maneuver in which the fighter rears its nose up to 120-degree vertical—but continues to soar forward along the plane’s original attitude.Widely exported, the Flanker has yet to clash with Western fighters, but did see air-to-air combat in Ethiopian service during a border war with Eritrea, scoring four kills against MiG-29s for no loss. It has also been employed on ground attack missions.Recommended: We Went Aboard the Most Powerful Aircraft Carrier Ever BuiltRecommended: This Is How China Would Invade Taiwan (And How to Stop It)Recommended: North Korea’s Most Lethal Weapon Isn’t NukesThe development history of the Su-35 is a bit complicated. An upgraded Flanker with canards (additional small wings on the forward fuselage) called the Su-35 first appeared way back in 1989, but is not the same plane as the current model; only fifteen were produced. Another upgraded Flanker, the two-seat Su-30, has been produced in significant quantities, and its variants exported to nearly a dozen countries.The current model in question, without canards, is properly called the Su-35S and is the most advanced type of the Flanker family. It began development in 2003 under the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO), a subcontractor of Sukhoi. The first prototypes rolled out in 2007 and production began in 2009.Airframe and EnginesThe Flanker family of aircraft is supermaneuverable—meaning it is engineered to perform controlled maneuvers that are impossible through regular aerodynamic mechanisms. In the Su-35, this is in part achieved through use of thrust-vectoring engines: the nozzles of its Saturn AL-41F1S turbofans can independently point in different directions in flight to assist the aircraft in rolling and yawing. Only one operational Western fighter, the F-22 Raptor, has similar technology.This also allows the Su-35 to achieve very high angles-of-attack—in other words, the plane can be moving in one direction while its nose is pointed in another. A high angle of attack allows an aircraft to more easily train its weapons on an evading target and execute tight maneuvers.Such maneuvers may be useful for evading missiles or dogfighting at close ranges—though they leave any aircraft in a low-energy state.The Flanker-E can achieve a maximum speed of Mach 2.25 at high altitude (equal to the F-22 and faster than the F-35 or F-16) and has excellent acceleration. However, contrary to initial reports, it appears it may not be able to supercruise—perform sustained supersonic flight without using afterburners—while loaded for combat. Its service ceiling is sixty thousand feet, on par with F-15s and F-22s, and ten thousand feet higher than Super Hornets, Rafales and F-35s.The Su-35 has expanded fuel capacity, giving it a range of 2,200 miles on internal fuel, or 2,800 miles with two external fuel tanks. Both the lighter titanium airframe and the engines have significantly longer life expectancies than their predecessors, at six thousand and 4,500 flight hours, respectively. (For comparison, the F-22 and F-35 are rated at eight thousand hours).The Flanker airframe is not particularly stealthy. However, adjustments to the engine inlets and canopy, and the use of radar-absorbent material, supposedly halve the Su-35’s radar cross-section; one article claims it may be down to between one and three meters. This could reduce the range it can be detected and targeted, but the Su-35 is still not a “stealth fighter.”WeaponryThe Su-35 has twelve to fourteen weapons hardpoints, giving it an excellent loadout compared to the eight hardpoints on the F-15C and F-22, or the four internally stowed missiles on the F-35.At long range, the Su-35 can use K-77M radar-guided missiles (known by NATO as the AA-12 Adder), which are claimed to have range of over 120 miles.For shorter-range engagements, the R-74 (NATO designation: AA-11 Archer) infrared-guided missile is capable of targeting “off boresight”—simply by looking through a helmet-mounted optical sight, the pilot can target an enemy plane up sixty degrees away from where his plane is pointed. The R-74 has a range of over twenty-five miles, and also uses thrust-vectoring technology.The medium-range R-27 missile and the extra long-range R-37 (aka the AA-13 Arrow, for use against AWACs, EW and tanker aircraft) complete the Su-35’s air-to-air missile selection.Additionally, the Su-35 is armed with a thirty-millimeter cannon with 150 rounds for strafing or dogfighting.The Flanker-E can also carry up to seventeen thousand pounds of air-to-ground munitions. Historically, Russia has made only limited use of precision-guided munitions (PGMs) compared to Western air forces. However, the capability for large-scale use of such weapons is there, if doctrine and munition stocks accommodate it.Sensors and AvionicsThe Su-35’s most critical improvements over its predecessors may be in hardware. It is equipped with a powerful L175M Khibiny electronic countermeasure system intended to distort radar waves and misdirect hostile missiles. This could significantly degrade attempts to target and hit the Flanker-E.The Su-35’s IRBIS-E passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar is hoped to provide better performance against stealth aircraft. It is claimed to able to track up to thirty airborne targets with a Radar-cross section of three meters up to 250 miles away—and targets with cross-sections as small 0.1 meters over fifty miles away. However, PESA radars are easier to detect and to jam than the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars now used by Western fighters. The IRBIS also has an air-to ground mode that can designate up to four surface targets at time for PGMs.Supplementing the radar is an OLS-35 targeting system that includes an Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST) system said to have a fifty-mile range—potentially a significant threat to stealth fighters.More mundane but vital systems—such as pilot multi-function displays and fly-by-wire avionics—have also been significantly updated.Operational Units and Future CustomersCurrently, the Russian Air Force operates only forty-eight Su-35s. Another fifty were ordered in January 2016, and will be produced at a rate of ten per year. Four Su-35s were deployed to Syria this January after a Russian Su-24 was shot down by a Turkish F-16. Prominently armed with air-to-air missiles, the Su-35s were intended to send a message that the Russians could pose an aerial threat if attacked.China has ordered twenty-four Su-35s at a cost of $2 billion, but is thought unlikely to purchase more. Beijing’s interest is believed to lie mostly in copying the Su-35’s thrust-vector engines for use in its own designs. The Chinese PLAAF already operates the Shenyang J-11, a copy of the Su-27.Attempts to market the Su-35 abroad, especially to India and Brazil, have mostly foundered. Recently, however, Indonesia has indicated it wishes to purchase eight this year, though the contract signing has been repeatedly delayed. Algeria is reportedly considering acquiring ten for $900 million. Egypt, Venezuela and Vietnam are also potential customers.Cost estimates for the Su-35 have run between $40 million and $65 million; however, the exports contracts have been at prices above $80 million per unit.Against the Fifth GenerationThe Su-35 is at least equal—if not superior—to the very best Western fourth-generation fighters. The big question, is how well can it perform against a fifth-generation stealth plane such as the F-22 or F-35?The maneuverability of the Su-35 makes it an unsurpassed dogfighter. However, future aerial clashes using the latest missiles (R-77s, Meteors, AIM-120s) could potentially take place over enormous ranges, while even short-range combat may involve all-aspect missiles like the AIM-9X and R-74 that don’t require pointing the aircraft at the target. Nonetheless, the Su-35’s speed (which contributes to a missile’s velocity) and large load-carrying abilities mean it can hold its own in beyond-visual-range combat. Meanwhile, the Flanker-E’s agility and electronic countermeasures may help it evade opposing missiles.The more serious issue, though, is that we don’t know how effective stealth technology will be against a high-tech opponent. An F-35 stealth fighter that gets in a short-range duel with a Flanker-E will be in big trouble—but how good a chance does the faster, more-maneuverable Russian fighter have of detecting that F-35 and getting close to it in the first place?As the U.S. Air Force would have it, stealth fighters will be able to unleash a hail of missiles up to one hundred miles away without the enemy having any way to return fire until they close to a (short) distance, where visual and IR scanning come into play. Proponents of the Russian fighter argue that it will be able to rely upon ground-based low-bandwidth radars, and on-board IRST sensors and PESA radar, to detect stealth planes. Keep in mind, however, that the former two technologies are imprecise and can’t be used to target weapons in most cases.Both parties obviously have huge economic and political incentives to advance their claims. While it is worthwhile examining the technical merits of these schools of thought in detail, the question will likely only be resolved by testing under combat conditions. Furthermore, other factors such as supporting assets, mission profile, pilot training and numbers play a large a role in determining the outcomes of aerial engagements.The Su-35 may be the best jet-age dogfighter ever made and a capable missile delivery platform—but whether that will suffice for an air-superiority fighter in the era of stealth technology remains to be seen.Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.This article originally ran in 2016.
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Mohammed bin Salman backs Yemeni government as Saudi-led coalition descends into infighting
Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, has thrown his weight behind the Yemeni government as it battles against a separatist group backed by Saudi Arabia’s allies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  The prince’s military coalition in Yemen fractured dramatically over the weekend as the Yemeni government and the southern separatists turned their guns on each other after years of fight side-by-side under Saudi leadership.    The intense fighting in the port city of Aden left 40 people dead as separatist forces, who seek an independent state in south Yemen, seized control of government buildings and fought against presidential guards.   Saudi jets carried out an airstrike in Aden in support of government troops and Prince Mohammed met with the Yemeni president, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, on Sunday night in a show of support.  Mr Hadi’s office said the two men discussed the separatist “coup” against the government and “various other crimes against the sons of Aden”.  By Monday morning a tense calm appeared to have settled over Aden with no reports of fresh fighting between the two sides. Humanitarian groups warned that thousands of civilians were trapped in the firing line.  Mohammed bin Salman is supporting the Yemeni government. Credit: REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo But it was unclear how the standoff would be resolved and whether separatist forces, known as the Southern Transitional Council (STC), would withdraw from seized government buildings. Aidarus al-Zubaidi, the head of the STC, said he was committed to a ceasefire and was prepared to travel to Saudi Arabia to negotiate a long-term truce.  He said his forces had moved against the Yemeni government because he had intelligence that government troops were preparing to launch an attack of their own.  Even if the immediate crisis in Aden can be resolved, the violence highlights the deep fractures in Prince Mohammed’s coalition, which has been struggling for more than four years against Houthi rebels aligned with Iran.     Saudi Arabia led an Arab military coalition into an air campaign against Houthi forces in 2015 in an effort to restore Mr Hadi’s control over Yemen.  The fighting has plunged the country into famine and the UN now considers Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Thousands of civilians have been killed by the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes. The separatists are armed by the UAE Credit: REUTERS/Fawaz Salman The UAE, which has one of the region’s most effective militaries, played a major role in helping government forces push the Houthis back towards their stronghold in the country’s northwest.  It also provided weapons and support to the STC, arguing that the separatists were key partners in fighting both the Houthis and jihadists groups in Yemen.   However, the UAE withdrew most of its forces from Yemen in recent months, hampering the coalition’s ability to continue fighting the Houthis.   With their patrons withdrawing from Yemen, the STC decided to move against the Yemeni government.  In an statement over the weekend, the Yemeni embassy in Washington said it held “the United Arab Emirates fully responsible for the coup perpetrated against the state in Aden”.
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UPDATE 1-U.S. would enthusiastically support a UK choice for no-deal Brexit - Trump adviser
The United States would enthusiastically support a no-deal Brexit if that is what the British government decided to do, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton told reporters on Monday. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants the European Union to renegotiate the terms of Britain exit ahead of an Oct. 31 exit date, but the EU says it will not alter the part of the deal Johnson says must be changed. "If that is the decision of the British government we would support it enthusiastically," he said.
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Congress Rushes to Respond to Epstein Death Before Conspiracies Take Over
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyMembers of Congress, furious over Jeffrey Epstein’s death in federal custody, are set on getting to the bottom of it before the many conspiracy theories swirling around the accused serial sex offender’s demise completely overshadow the facts.  They are, obviously, running far behind. By the time the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Monday demanding answers about the circumstances of Epstein’s apparent suicide, the country already had two full days to marinate in President Trump’s retweet of a conspiracy theory that former President Bill Clinton was somehow to blame. Beyond Trump, political and media figures on the right and left have been openly entertaining on social media every idea from foul play being involved to the death having been faked altogether since the news of Epstein’s demise broke on Saturday.“Where you have few facts, you have much speculation,” said Rep. Al Green (D-TX). “If we don’t get facts before the people… we will find ourselves dealing with speculation about what happened in that cell.”The challenge now for Congress is to chart a path forward for an investigation that will answer key questions and establish a factual record, without veering into partisan turf—a tall order, given that two U.S. presidents, royalty, and prominent political and business figures have been linked to Epstein, fueling the conspiracy chatter. Recently unsealed court filings revealed that Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre claimed that the financier’s close associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, directed her as a minor to have sex with former Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson and Prince Andrew of Great Britain. Both Trump and Clinton, meanwhile, have flown on Epstein’s private jet. In their Monday letter, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) gave the Bureau of Prisons until Aug. 21 to answer nearly two dozen questions surrounding Epstein’s custody and death. Many of them focus on discovering how Epstein, who was placed on and then taken off suicide watch at the Metropolitan Corrections Center in New York, was in a situation where he could take his own life. They ask who in the federal government was notified that Epstein’s suicide watch had terminated, for example, in addition to what plan was in place to observe him and who was meant to do so. But plenty of lawmakers are already demanding much more investigative firepower. Green, for his part, told The Daily Beast the Epstein case warrants a federal fact-finding effort on par with the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Texas Democrat has written to Trump asking him to appoint a special investigator to head up such a probe; he has also requested that House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) open up an investigation. While the Judiciary Committee oversees federal prisons, the Oversight Committee’s broad jurisdiction has prompted members to call on Cummings not only to investigate Epstein’s death but also his criminal conduct and others who may have been implicated in it. Spokespeople for Cummings did not respond to requests for comment about the chairman’s plans.Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), who represents many of Epstein’s victims in the Palm Beach area where he owned a mansion, called for a wide-ranging Oversight investigation. “I’m calling for the House Oversight and Reform Committee to begin an investigation so we can get answers to many questions, like why the U.S. Attorney’s Office entered into such a lenient non-prosecution plea deal and who was given immunity,” she said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Additionally, there needs to be a forum for Epstein’s victims to be heard if they so desire.”Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), another member of the Oversight panel, told The Daily Beast he will urge Cummings to open up an Epstein probe and appoint a special counsel who has dealt with similar cases before.“We need to understand whether it was suicide or whether there was any foul play,” said Khanna. And, he added, “we need to make sure nothing was done to impede the investigation and expose anyone who may be involved in a criminal scheme of sex trafficking.”Entities within the Trump administration have already said they will be investigating the circumstances of Epstein’s death. On Saturday, Attorney General William Barr said the FBI and the Department of Justice’s internal watchdogs would be on the case.To Democrats, Barr’s role only makes congressional involvement more urgent. “Bill Barr has covered up administration wrongdoing since Iran-Contra,” said Khanna. “After what he did with the Mueller Report, I don’t think anyone on the Democratic side trusts him.”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.
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British PM sees 'collaboration' between anti-Brexit MPs, Brussels
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said Brussels and Brexit-blocking MPs were guilty of a "terrible collaboration" that would force Britain towards a no-deal exit from the EU. Taking questions from the public live on Facebook -- a first for a British PM -- Johnson said Brussels needed to compromise to avoid the UK leaving the EU without a deal on October 31. It came after former finance minister Philip Hammond slammed Johnson's "wrecking" approach to negotiations, saying the new PM had set Brussels an impossibly high bar to meet, in demanding the complete removal of its fallback provisions.
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Secret Russia weapon project: gamechanger or PR stunt?
A deadly explosion at a Russian testing site has focused attention on President Vladimir Putin's bid to build a nuclear-powered missile that the Kremlin hopes would give Moscow the edge in a new arms race. Western experts have linked the blast at the Nyonoksa test site on August 8, which caused a sharp spike in local radiation levels, to the 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile first revealed by Putin in 2018. The Kremlin has, however, not confirmed that the accident was linked to the Burevestnik project and the identity of the missile that exploded remains uncertain.
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In Trump's America, Why Code When You Can Dig?
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- President Donald Trump delivered remarks on Tuesday afternoon about “American energy and manufacturing.” As you might expect, these also covered much non-contiguous ground, including Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell (“another beauty that I chose”), the president’s love of trucks “of all types” and a curiously extended bit about pouring cement at Central Park’s Wollman Rink – a subject “nobody wants to talk about,” apparently.The rink riff was part of an elaborate shout-out to the Teamsters; Trump was at a new petrochemicals complex in Pennsylvania to tout his support for the local workers and fossil-fuel industry. That the message was decidedly mixed may not come as a shock, but it also says something important about the line the president is walking on energy, particularly in Pennsylvania.For me, the most interesting part came about halfway through:The last administration tried to shut down Pennsylvania coal and Pennsylvania fracking. If they got in, your fracking is gone; your coal is gone. You guys, I don’t know what the hell you’re going to do. You don’t want to make widgets, right? [Pointing to audience] You want to learn how to make a computer? [Mimicking making something] A little tiny piece of stuff; you put it with those big beautiful hands of yours, look … Nah, you want to make steel and you want to dig coal and that’s what you want to do.It should be pointed out that while Pennsylvania’s coal production fell during President Barack Obama’s administration, it had been declining since at least 2001. That trend was accelerated by the arrival of cheap shale gas from states such as Pennsylvania – where, as you can see below, the Obama administration presented little obstacle. Incidentally, cheap gas from fracking is the main reason Royal Dutch Shell Plc built the plastics plant at which Trump spoke – making its final investment decision in June 2016, several months before the presidential election.Trump’s framing is the main thing, here, though. Toward the end of his speech, he lauded Americans’ ability to “outperform anyone,” adding “no one can beat us; nothing can stop us.” Yet, mere weeks after the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, he links that greatness to production of raw commodities while mocking the idea of making “widgets” or – heaven forbid – “computers.”Let’s just get the obvious out of the way and say America is big and fortunate enough to support a range of industries, from fracking to fabrication. Private production of all goods – including agriculture, mining, construction and manufacturing – amounts to less than 18% of GDP, while private services are 70%. Setting sectors up in mutual exclusion to each other is ridiculous.More importantly, putting one’s faith in such raw-calorific concepts as “energy dominance” sells short the human ingenuity that has underpinned breakthrough after breakthrough – including, as it happens, the fracking for which the president professes such admiration. It also glosses over real trade-offs that must be addressed, such as climate change and the fact that promoting gas production is the single-biggest rival to Trump’s beloved coal miners – partly because shale operators have increased productivity under pressure from the energy crash.Trump was playing to a local crowd, of course, so he was bound to focus on their particular concerns and hopes. Pennsylvania is a particularly interesting arena in this regard, in part because it’s so finely balanced.Trump won the state by a margin of less than 1%, partly by focusing on factory workers who felt ignored by his opponent Hillary Clinton, during what was a mini-recession for the sector in the year leading up to November 2016. Yet, as my colleague Justin Fox wrote here, U.S. manufacturing job gains have slowed lately, and industrial production has outright declined in the past two quarters. Trump’s tariffs, while nominally aimed at protecting domestic industry, are piling pressure on a weakening global economy. Tuesday’s surprise decision to delay tariffs on what amounted to a Christmas gift list of products suggests they’re putting pressure on American consumers too. We’re a long way from the Trump-bump to industrial stocks that greeted his election.Besides being purple, Pennsylvania’s energy identity is also mixed. While it’s one of the country’s biggest producers of fossil fuels, it’s not in the same league as states traditionally seen as big energy producers. Less than 2% of Pennsylvania’s GDP relates to production of oil and gas, for example – much lower than in Texas or even Colorado, which went for Clinton in 2016(1). And as I wrote here ahead of last year’s midterms, Pennsylvania also looks “bluer” in terms of average income and gasoline consumption:This makes Pennsylvania a microcosm of the political trade-offs in U.S. energy. Tariffs boost Trump’s standing with steelworkers but pressure energy demand (and raise producers’ costs). Boosting fracking, meanwhile, modestly helps the state’s economy but exacerbates the pressure on coal miners from natural gas without necessarily paying much of a political dividend on the oil side, given Pennsylvania’s relatively low average gasoline burden. On the other hand, those relying on fuel oil for heating may be more sensitive to rising prices, which in turn bears on Trump’s confrontation with Iran and Venezuela. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is the only one of 15 states with a low- or zero-emissions vehicle program where Trump won the popular vote in 2016, according to ClearView Energy Partners.Such complex networks of influence and impact perhaps explain why Trump has resorted to trying to end-run the energy market in certain respects. For example, trying to force through subsidies for coal-fired power plants offers one route to garnering votes from miners while also supporting fracking – and socializing the costs and inefficiencies more opaquely across the broader electorate. In what has become a hallmark of his administration, Trump’s electoral instincts push him to divide that which is inherently linked.(1) These data are taken from ClearView Energy Partners’ “Energy Policy by the Numbers, 2019 Update”To contact the author of this story: Liam Denning at ldenning1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Gongloff at mgongloff1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Liam Denning is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering energy, mining and commodities. He previously was editor of the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column and wrote for the Financial Times' Lex column. He was also an investment banker.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Pelosi: No UK trade deal if Brexit undermines Good Friday accord
An American trade pact with Britain is doomed if the latter's withdrawal from the EU undermines the Northern Ireland peace accord, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Wednesday. "Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Good Friday Agreement, including the seamless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland," Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said in a statement.
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Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell Spotted at In-N-Out Burger
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyOn Thursday August 15, the New York Post reported that British socialite—and accused madam of deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein—Ghislaine Maxwell had been spotted at an In-N-Out Burger in Universal City, Los Angeles. She was dining alone with a pet pup by her side, and reading a book titled The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives. When the Post's source snapped a picture of the raven-haired 57-year-old, he asked, "Are you who I think you are?" She replied, ‘Yes, I am.'”Police have reportedly been scrambling to find Maxwell as she faces a new lawsuit from one victim who alleges the socialite gave “organizational support to Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring” and procured “underage girls for Epstein’s sexual pleasure.”Since Epstein’s apparent jail-cell suicide on Saturday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said their sex-trafficking and conspiracy probe into the multimillionaire’s orbit is ongoing. (In a July court filing, prosecutors said they were investigating “uncharged individuals” in Epstein’s case.)Attorney General William Barr has vowed that authorities are coming for Epstein’s alleged accomplices. “Let me assure you that case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein," Barr said Monday. “Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. Victims deserve justice and will get it.”Maxwell hasn’t been charged with any crimes in connection to Epstein. And for years, she has denied any wrongdoing, in particular after accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre claimed that Maxwell and Epstein groomed her for sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew. (Buckingham Palace and Andrew also deny that anything improper happened.)Send The Daily Beast a TipEpstein Had His Own Lodge at Interlochen’s Prestigious Arts Camp for KidsBut last Friday, a tranche of unsealed documents in a defamation lawsuit filed by Giuffre spelled out how Maxwell allegedly drove around seeking teen “masseuses” for Epstein to abuse, and how she allegedly participated in the sexual abuse herself and kept a “sex slave” of her own.David Boies, a lawyer for Giuffre and other Epstein victims, said Maxwell should be prosecutors’ next logical focus after Epstein’s demise. “Maxwell is not gonna be able to hide,” Boies predicted. “There’s no place in the civilized world where she can go and not be found. And unlike Epstein, she does not have the massive resources that would be required to carve out a new life in some obscure place where she cannot be extradited from.”“I think it’s interesting to speculate as to where she is. I also think the more important issue is: where do the prosecutors stand in bringing a case and is she cooperating?”It’s unclear if Maxwell has spoken to authorities after Epstein’s arrest. Multiple lawyers of Maxwell’s didn’t return messages seeking comment. Before Maxwell was spotted at In-N-Out Burger, friends had told The Daily Beast that she was lying low in France, where she has been known to stay at Epstein’s residence on Paris’s exclusive Avenue Foch near the Arc de Triomphe. “She isn’t responding to even her closest friends’ calls,” said one person who had tried reaching her in recent weeks. Epstein purchased multiple properties within a building at 22 Avenue Foch for about 1.5 million euros in 2002, and officials in France have called for a police probe into his activities there.Maxwell’s sister Christine also owns property in France.Yet on Wednesday, the Daily Mail reported that Maxwell wasn’t holed up somewhere in Europe—but in the secluded mansion of tech CEO and maritime expert Scott Borgerson in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. The British tabloid snapped photos of Borgerson, 43, walking a dog it claims is Maxwell’s.“She's become a real homebody, rarely ventures out,” a source told the Mail. “She’s the antithesis of the woman who traveled extensively and partied constantly with Epstein.”Tech CEO and maritime expert Scott Borgerson's home in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MassachusettsRealtorOutside the wooded trail to Borgerson’s manse, where dogs were barking, a woman drove by and told a Daily Beast reporter of Maxwell: “Is she still there? They better get her out fast because the town will run her out.”Residents in the downtown Manchester area—less than two miles from Borgerson’s home—did not recognize Maxwell or her boyfriend, and only a few had heard about her connection to Epstein.A 66-year-old resident who has been living in the area since 1993 said he heard the news from a friend, and said he found it “surprising.”“This is not the kind of community that tolerates that crap,” he said.Another woman who asked not to be named said she was horrified to hear people connected to Epstein lived in the area. “I don’t care what political side you’re on ... I have less than zero tolerance. If she’s guilty I don’t want her in my town,” said the 46-year-old attorney, who said she’s worked with women who have been trafficked for sex.“If she’s falsely accused, then it’s horrible. If she’s rightly accused it’s repulsive and disgusting,” the lawyer said.In the city of Boston, where Borgerson owns another property close to the state house and the next to the city's historic park, all was business as usual.The strip of street his property is located on is a quiet area in Beacon Hill—a neighborhood known for its high housing costs and a stone’s throw from the bustling downtown area.  Reached by The Daily Beast, Borgerson denied that he was dating Maxwell or that she was staying at his $3 million home. “Ghislaine is not at my house. She’s a friend—former friend. Not true,” Borgerson said, adding that he was about to board a plane and would call police in light of the Mail’s report to protect his house and his family.“The police are coming to my house,” he said. “No one’s home except my cat.”In a text message to a Daily Beast reporter, Borgerson added, “Hi, I’m traveling abroad for business. Ghislaine Maxwell is not at my home and I don’t know where she is. I’m passionate about ocean policy and wish people were as interested in Jones Act reform, joining the law of the sea, and funding icebreakers.”Borgerson was listed as a “director” of Maxwell’s ocean nonprofit, the TerraMar Project, in 2013 tax filings. That year, Maxwell and Borgerson both attended the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavík. While Maxwell was representing TerraMar, Borgerson was there as CEO of CargoMetrics, a Boston-based firm that “delivers transformative quantitative investing and maritime shipping solutions, anchored in its proprietary platform that tracks all seaborne cargoes and vessels,” according to one press release.In 2014, a United Nations event featured Maxwell as a speaker. According to her bio in the program, Maxwell’s “web-based non-profit” aimed “to protect the Oceans by empowering a global community of ocean citizens.” It further described Maxwell as “a private helicopter pilot and an Emergency Medical Technician and a qualified ROV and Deepworker submarine pilot.”A former Coast Guard officer, Borgerson was also a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, which featured Borgerson and Maxwell as speakers during one 2014 talk titled “Governing the Ocean Commons: Growing Challenges, New Approaches.” Friends of Maxwell, according to The New York Times, said Borgerson became her boyfriend. Maxwell had allegedly described Borgerson as a “Navy SEAL” to her pals.Maxwell’s dubious charity also roped in the Clinton Global Initiative, the now-defunct networking platform for the Clinton Foundation. In the fall of 2013, CGI named TerraMar as one of the “commitments to action” at their annual meeting. A close-up of Ghislaine Maxwell's residence in LondonGoogle MapsIndeed, Maxwell was tied to the Clintons for years and attended Chelsea's wedding in 2010. She's also flown on President Trump's private jet, according to Politico, which reported Maxwell helped get Epstein access to Trumpworld, including parties at Mar-a-Lago.A blurb on the Clinton Foundation’s website announced TerraMar would launch the Sustainable Oceans Alliance “to mobilize the international community and the public at large on the importance of the Oceans and the Seas and to ensure that the 193 UN Member States recognize and incorporate oceans in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be adopted in 2015.”While TerraMar’s website listed modelling mogul Paolo Zampolli as a member of the Alliance, Zampolli recently told Politico he didn’t know Maxwell was involved. Zampolli said he remembered the late diplomat Stuart Beck, a former director of TerraMar, brought Maxwell to the United Nations twice to discuss her ocean activism. Zampolli reiterated this in an interview with The Daily Beast.“She came to the United Nations twice to meet with me. She had a very creative idea about the oceans,” Zampolli told one Daily Beast scribe. “She wanted to create awareness and give free passports to the ocean. Oceans are so big. Her idea wasn’t aligned with the charter of the U.N.”“She was very active and knowledgeable about the oceans,” he added. “I learnt after the meetings the Clinton foundation was funding her. She did not give us money. It was not a United Nations idea. It was a virtual passport. It’s like getting a piece of ice from an eskimo. It would be like getting a passport for an ice cube.”Shortly after Epstein’s arrest, TerraMar disabled its website and the New York Post reported that the feds were probing the charity over its potential connection to Epstein.“The TerraMar Project is sad to announce that it will cease all operations,” a message on the group’s defunct site reads. “The web site will be closed. TerraMar’s mission has always been to connect ocean lovers to positive actions, highlight science, and bring conscious change to how to people from across the globe can live, work and enjoy the ocean.”Before Maxwell surfaced, speculation ran wild as to where she might be. Those close to her pointed to one of her relatives’ properties in France.A property in southern France that belongs to Maxwell's sister ChristineDana Kennedy for The Daily BeastMaxwell was born in Maisons-Laffitte, in the Paris suburbs, to a French mother (Holocaust researcher Elisabeth “Betty” Maxwell) and a Czech-born father, the notorious publishing mogul Robert Maxwell who died mysteriously after falling from his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, after he’d plundered hundreds of millions from his Daily Mirror employees’ pension fund. She and several of her six surviving siblings—as well as her late mother, who died in 2013—had homes in various small towns in the south of France. Her older sister, Christine Malina-Maxwell, has a home in Meyreuil, a semi-rural village about 8 miles from Aix-en-Provence. Nobody was home at the walled-in villa when The Daily Beast rang the gate buzzer Wednesday. Most of the surrounding estates seemed empty. A neighbor directly across the way had a strange reaction when asked if he knew the Malinas or Ghislaine Maxwell. He seemed to confirm that a man with the last name Malina lived there but said he’d never heard of Ghislaine Maxwell. But as the reporter was leaving, he started laughing and said, “Maybe they’re all there.”Meanwhile, there was no answer at Maxwell’s townhouse on Kinnerton Street in London's Belgravia district. A gaggle of press shutterbugs told a Daily Beast reporter they’ve seen no signs of life at the home over the last two or three weeks.Neighbors say the house, which had fresh flowers in its window boxes, hasn’t appeared lived-in for a while. “I’ve only seen someone go in and out a couple of times and my first thought was that it was maybe a cleaner,” said one resident who has lived on the street since last year. “It’s not really the kind of street where everyone talks to each other. It’s actually been quite nice having all you lot (journalists) around because there’s been someone to talk to.”Another neighbor said she didn’t recognize Maxwell’s name and said of the townhouse, “I have no idea who lives there. A few of us know each other on the street but I don’t know who lives at that house.”Ghislaine Maxwell's residence in LondonJamie Ross for The Daily BeastAccording to public records, the property hasn’t been sold since 1997. The windows of the home appear to match those in the infamous photo of Prince Andrew with his arm around the bare midriff of Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, as Maxwell smiles behind them. In a 2015 court declaration, Giuffre stated, “One day when I was in London (specifically in a townhouse that is under Maxwell’s name), I got news from Maxwell that I would be meeting a prince. Later that day, Epstein told me I was meeting a ‘major prince.’ Epstein told me ‘to exceed’ everything I had been taught.”“He emphasized that whatever Prince Andrew wanted, I was to make sure he got,” Giuffre added. “Eventually Prince Andrew arrived, along with his security guards. The guards then went out of the house and stayed out front in their car. It was just Epstein, Maxwell, and me inside alone with Andy.”Maxwell’s name is also connected to a cottage in Salisbury, records show, for her company Ellmax. In 2015, the Daily Mail reported the home was occupied by Maxwell’s old friend, Catherine Vaughan Edwards. (Katie Vaughan Edwards was listed as a “director” of TerraMar in 2012 tax records.) The New York Post, which revealed Maxwell posed for racy photos in the 1990s wearing an American flag bikini, reported that the British heiress was last spotted on Manhattan’s social scene in October 2016. One fellow socialite told the Post, “What’s crazy—now—is that other women liked her and really thought she was a ‘girl’s girl.’ The friend added, “I would see her at parties and she seemed perfectly lovely—but then I would hear these stories about her.”Wherever Maxwell is, she’s surely heard the news of Jeffrey Epstein’s demise. The two were entwined romantically, financially—and, some say, criminally—for years.According to one unsealed deposition, Epstein’s former house manager in Palm Beach, Juan Alessi, said Maxwell “became the supervisor not only for this house, but for all the homes” when Epstein was absent. Alessi said more than 100 girls came to Epstein’s mansion during his employment, and that he cleaned and returned sex toys to Maxwell’s closet.Asked who went out looking for girls, Alessi said, “Ms. Maxwell, Mr. Epstein and their friends, because their friends relayed to other friends they knew a massage therapist and they would send to the house. So it was referrals.”A butler for Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, Eva Andersson-Dubin, detailed one occasion where Maxwell, Epstein, and an unnamed 15-year-old girl from Sweden, entered the home Dubin shares with her husband Glenn, a billionaire hedge-funder. The employee, Rinaldo Rizzo, testified that Eva brought the girl into the kitchen and left. The teen, who was distraught, told Rizzo she was Epstein’s personal assistant. She then burst into tears, claiming she was on Epstein’s island with Maxwell and Epstein’s ex-assistant, co-conspirator Sarah Kellen. The trio had asked her for sex, and she said no.According to Rizzo, the girl didn’t know how she got to the Dubins’ residence from the island and claimed Kellen snatched her passport and phone and handed them to Maxwell. The girl then allegedly told Rizzo, “I was threatened by Ghislaine not to discuss this.”55 Court Street in BostonHandoutGiuffre claimed in a deposition that Maxwell had sex with underage girls every day Giuffre was around her—and that Maxwell directed her to have sex with Glenn Dubin, Prince Andrew, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, MIT mathematician Marvin Minsky, former Senator George Mitchell, model scout Jean-Luc Brunel, and the owner of a large hotel chain. (The men have denied her claims.)“Glenn and Eva Dubin are outraged by the allegations against them in the unsealed court records and categorically reject them," said a spokesperson for the couple.“You know, I was told to do something by these people constantly, told to—my whole life revolved around just pleasing these men and keeping Ghislaine and Jeffrey happy,” Giuffre testified. “Their whole entire lives revolved around sex.”Giuffre’s defamation suit against Maxwell, filed in 2015, described the socialite as a “primary co-conspirator” who was granted immunity via Epstein’s 2007 plea agreement. This week, attorneys for Epstein’s victims suing the government asked a judge to rescind the deal’s provisions that protected Epstein’s accomplices, stating, “It would be unfair to the victims if Epstein not only managed to cheat justice through his death, but also left behind some kind of legal issue preventing the victims from obtaining the rescission remedy to which they are plainly entitled.”  As part of the shady non-prosecution agreement, the feds agreed not to charge “any potential co-conspirators of Epstein, including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova.”While Maxwell wasn’t explicitly named, she’s long been at the center of the Epstein controversy as his girlfriend-turned-majordomo and recruiter of his minor victims. And now that Epstein is dead, all eyes are on Maxwell as the keeper of his secrets.The government will have access to the full, unredacted evidentiary record in the case Giuffre brought against Maxwell, Boies said. “In my view, it is very unlikely that Maxwell will escape prosecution,” Boies said. “If that’s right, she would have an enormous incentive to see if she could do a deal.”He added, “It would be a lot better for her to cooperate as opposed to fight it, because somebody’s going to cooperate. There are too many people with knowledge. There are too many people involved in the criminal enterprise. Somebody’s going to cooperate, and in that context, if you’re somebody in Maxwell’s position, you want to be sure you’re in as early as possible.”Barbara McQuade, the former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said Maxwell could remain as the most egregious offender in Epstein’s case.“I would imagine if I were a prosecutor or an investigator in the Epstein case, I would be considering her a subject of the investigation,” said McQuade, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School. “People are usually subjects, witnesses or targets. You gather evidence about people.”“Just what we know from the press, there’s some complicity there,” McQuade added.McQuade said that if Maxwell were charged, the complaint would likely be filed under seal. And that the FBI has offices across the world to work with foreign agencies to find her—if Maxwell is hiding from authorities. “She is an intriguing figure here,” McQuade told The Daily Beast. “It could be that investigators have already talked to her and are not making that known that she’s cooperating. Or it could be that she is under investigation herself. She even could have been indicted under seal.”Based on the allegations brought by victims to the media, Maxwell could face charges for being  co-conspirator of Epstein, McQuade said. One of the child sex-trafficking charges in Epstein’s indictment, 18 U.S.C. 1591, refers to recruiting and enticing minors. “She herself could be liable as a principal even if she was not engaged in any sex acts with the girls,” McQuade said.— Additional reporting by Adam Rawnsley and Blake MontgomeryRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. 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UK's Johnson to meet Macron, Merkel next week - Guardian
British leader Boris Johnson will travel to meet his French and German counterparts on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, in his first foreign engagements since becoming prime minister last month, a Guardian reporter said on Friday. Johnson is seeking to persuade European Union leaders to reopen Brexit talks or face the prospect of its second-largest member leaving abruptly on Oct. 31 with no deal in place on their future relations, a move businesses expect would cause major disruption. Germany's government said earlier on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel would meet Johnson soon but did not give a date.
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Senior UK Conservative lawmaker says he could not back Corbyn-led government
A Conservative lawmaker at the centre of efforts to block a no-deal Brexit said on Saturday he was pessimistic about his chances because he and other party colleagues could not support a caretaker government led by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowing to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal by Oct. 31, anti-Brexit politicians from all sides have been trying, and so far failing, to agree on a plan to stop it from happening. Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, wants a caretaker government with himself as head, and then an election.
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Senegalese ex-UN food agency chief Jacques Diouf dies
Senegalese Jacques Diouf who headed the UN food agency for 18 years has died at the age of 81, President Macky Sall said on Saturday, describing him "as one of Senegal's most valiant sons". Diouf, a former Senegalese ambassador to the United Nations, died in France following a long illness, his family said quoted by Senegal media. "Senegal has lost one of its most valiant sons with the death of our compatriot Jacques Diouf," Sall said on Twitter.
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Kuwait says emir recovered from 'setback'
Kuwaiti state media on Sunday reported Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah had "recovered", shortly after Iran's foreign minister indicated that the 90-year-old was unwell. The emir "has recovered from a setback and is in good health now", Kuwait's official news agency KUNA said, citing a palace statement, without specifying the nature of the "setback". Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier on Sunday wished Sheikh Sabah a "speedy recovery" after talking with the Gulf state's officials.
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Syrian army besieges insurgents and Turkish troops in Hama
Syrian government forces marching from different directions in southern parts of the opposition-controlled province of Idlib met around sunset Wednesday, laying siege to several rebel-held towns and villages as well as a Turkish army post, a Syrian opposition war monitor and pro-government activists said. The rapid advance by the Syrian army in the northwestern province marks a major blow for insurgents in their last remaining stronghold in Idlib, which has been subjected to a government offensive for the past three months. The new gains by the government came amid intense aerial and ground bombardments during which troops advanced in southern parts of Idlib, which is home to some 3 million people, many of them displaced by fighting in other parts of the country.
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North Korea Made Its Very Own AK-47: Meet the Crazy Type 88 Rifle
The latest North Korean assault rifle is the Type 88. One of the largest armies in the world has adopted one of the most unusual variants of the AK-series of assault rifles.The North Korean People’s Army Type 88 rifle is similar to the Soviet-era AK-74 with one key difference: unusual helical magazines that carry up to five times as many rounds as conventional 30-round magazines.(This first appeared late last year.) Over the past sixty years, the Korean People’s Army (KPA) has consistently ranked as one of the largest armed forces in the world. The size and strength of the KPA has fluctuated over time and are not made public but are thought to number today an estimated 1.19 million men and women under arms. The vast majority of the KPA belongs to the ground forces, with the air force and navy a distant second and third.The KPA was trained and equipped in the late 1940s by the Soviet Union and received considerable support throughout the Cold War. Like most communist bloc countries, North Korea manufactured and fielded its own version of the AK-47. The AK-47 itself became the Type 58 assault rifle, while the improved AKM became the Type 68 rifle. Both rifles used the 7.62x39 round, simplifying logistics considerably and requiring the country to stock only a single common rifle caliber in vast quantities. According to small arms historian Edward Clinton Ezell, the rifles were manufactured at the Number 61 and 65 small arms factories at an annual rate of 150,000 a year.The latest North Korean assault rifle is the Type 88. The Type 88 is a copy of the AK-74 assault rifle, whose primary advantage over the AK-47 was the adoption of the smaller, lighter 5.45-millimeter round. Exactly when the Type 88 was adopted is not clear, but the type designation, in this case, may indicate the year of adoption—1988. The rifle is now a staple of North Korean military parades and is frequently seen in the hands of North Korean special operations troops and leader Kim Jong Un’s bodyguards.As a copy of the AK-74, the Type 88’s performance is likely identical to the original Soviet (and now Russian) rifle. The AK-74 is approximately 37.12 inches long, though a North Korean rifle could have a shorter overall buttstock and overall length to suit shorter North Korean soldiers. The lighter recoil and weight of the 5.45-millimeter round over the older 7.62-millimeter round was likely considered enough of an advance to warrant changing calibers. The AK-74 weighs 6.5 pounds and has a rate of fire of approximately 600 to 650 rounds per minute. Unlike previous rifles which were blued steel with wooden furniture, the Type 88 is all black in appearance, likely a purely cosmetic feature meant to give it a modern look like South Korea’s Daewoo K2 and American M4A1 carbine.The rate of issue for the Type 88 can only be guessed at. Although previous North Korean assault rifles were produced in prodigious quantities, the collapse of the North’s economy in the 1980s probably slowed production. Unlike the Type 58 and Type 68, Pyongyang does not appear to be producing the Type 88 for export. Sufficient numbers of Type 88s have probably been produced for the country’s 200,000 special purpose and special operations forces, including army and navy sniper brigades, airborne units, light infantry brigades and commando units, and perhaps the country’s mechanized infantry units. Given the country’s relative poverty and the diversion of funds to the nuclear program, combat service support and other rear area troops, as well as reservists, almost certainly still carry Type 58 and 68 rifles.Beginning in 2010, North Korean troops with Type 88 rifles were photographed with a strange new accessory: helical ammunition magazines. The cylindrical magazines were larger the traditional 30-round “banana” magazines and estimated to carry between 100 and 150 rounds. That’s up to five times more firepower than conventional magazines. How reliable this new magazine is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for sure: it will certainly be heavier. A 100 round magazine will add 2 pounds in ammunition alone, and probably another two to three pounds in magazine body, spring, and follower. Suddenly the 6.5 pound Type 88 is a 11-pound weapon—a difficult weapon for a 150-pound soldier to carry.Why the new magazine? The end of the Cold War shut off the flow of new arms technology to North Korea, and since then the country has sought to maximize the use of existing tech. The KPA, for example, mounts anti-tank guided missiles on main battle tanks to increase their killing range and man-portable surface to air missiles to armored personnel carriers. More firepower is always better. The helical magazine may be a similar attempt to increase firepower for ground troops, especially in the suppressive fire role during infantry attacks. Another new innovation appears to be mating the Type 88 with a bolt action grenade launcher and a new, previously unseen optic.North Korea’s arms industry is poor and backward but full of surprises. Pyongyang’s infantry and special operations forces make up a disproportionate amount of its armed forces and a major part of its offensive capability, giving it considerable incentive to provide new technology when possible. The Type 88 rifle will probably see further improvements in the coming years, but how much new tech North Korea can sustain across hundreds of thousands of rifles remains to be seen.Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he co-founded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.Image: Reddit.
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Putin orders Russia to respond after US missile test
President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military on Friday to work out a quid pro quo response after the test of a new U.S. missile banned under a now-defunct arms treaty. In Sunday's test, a modified ground-launched version of a U.S. Navy Tomahawk cruise missile accurately struck its target more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) away. The test came after Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
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US-China Business Council urges talks to end damaging trade tensions
The US-China Business Council on Friday said millions of U.S. citizens will be harmed by the increased trade tensions between the United States and China, the world's largest economies, following the latest salvos in the U.S.-China trade war. The group, which represents American companies doing business in China, urged President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to end the downward cycle of tit-for-tat tariffs and focus on resolving their trade differences. "A trade deal that addresses the legitimate concerns articulated by the (U.S. Trade Representative's office) in its Section 301 Report would be in the mutual interest of both China and the United States.
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UN threatens sanctions over C.Africa peace pact violations
The United Nations special envoy for the Central African Republic on Friday threatened sanctions for violations of a peace agreement signed by the government and rebel groups to end a war that has ravaged the country since 2013. The CAR is experiencing relative calm since the accord was signed in February between the government and 14 military groups -- the eighth deal since the conflict erupted -- but clashes are still regular in the landlocked country.
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North Korea launches short-range missiles complicating US attempts for talks
North Korea fired what appears to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast on Saturday, the South Korean military said, the latest in a series of launches in recent weeks. A US official said the two missiles North Korea had fired appeared to be similar to launches in recent weeks. Saturday's launch, the seventh by North Korea since US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met at the inter-Korean border in June, have complicated attempts to restart talks between US and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. The two leaders agreed to restart working-level negotiations in June, but since then the United States has so far been unsuccessful in attempts to get talks going. US envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun was in Seoul this week to discuss ways to get negotiations back on track. "We are prepared to engage as soon as we hear from our counterparts in North Korea," Mr Biegun said on Wednesday. But in recent weeks, North Korea has repeatedly criticised US and South Korean largely computer-simulated joint military drills, South Korea's import of high-tech weapons such as F-35 stealth jets, and US testing of its intermediate-range cruise missile as threatening and hindrances to dialogue. North Korean missile ranges On Friday, North Korea's top diplomat called US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a "diehard toxin," saying: "We are ready for both dialogue and standoff." South Korea's National Security Council (NSC) expressed "strong concern" over North Korea's continued launches despite the fact that the South Korea-US joint military exercises denounced by North Korea had ended. It called for North Korea to stop escalating military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The NSC agreed to make diplomatic efforts to bring North Korea to the negotiating table with the United States as soon as possible for the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, South Korea's presidential office said in a statement. A senior US administration official said: "We are aware of reports of a missile launch from North Korea, and continue to monitor the situation. We are consulting closely with our Japanese and South Korean allies." Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said that North Korea's missile launches were a clear violation of UN resolutions and cannot be ignored. He confirmed that missiles fell outside Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone, and posed no immediate threat to Japan's security. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) said North Korea fired what appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles on Saturday at around 6:45 a.m. and 7:02 a.m. KST respectively from around Sondok, South Hamgyong Province. Sondok is the site of a North Korean military airfield. They flew about 236 miles and reached a height of 60 miles, JSC said. Japan's Coast Guard warned shipping not to approach any fallen debris. South Korea officially informed Japan on Friday of its decision to scrap an intelligence-sharing agreement, which Japanese Minister of Defence Takeshi Iwaya said was regrettable and showed that Seoul failed to appreciate the growing security threat posed by North Korea.
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UPDATE 1-UK PM Johnson to tell Trump to de-escalate trade tensions
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday he would tell President Donald Trump at this weekend's G7 summit to pull back from a trade war that is already destabilising economic growth around the world. Johnson and Trump are due to meet on Sunday morning for what are expected to be positive talks on their countries' future bilateral trade relations and Brexit, as well as covering international topics where the two sides do not see eye to eye, like Russia, the Iran nuclear deal and trade policy on China. Asked if he would be telling Trump he should not escalate the trade war with China, Johnson said "you bet".
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Hezbollah official: Israeli drone falls in south Beirut suburbs, second drone crashes
An Israeli drone fell in the southern suburbs of Beirut, dominated by the Iran-backed movement, and a second drone exploded near the ground before dawn on Sunday, a Hezbollah official told Reuters. The second drone caused damage when it crashed in a neighbourhood of the Dahyeh suburbs close to Hezbollah's media centre, the official said.
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Hezbollah: Israeli drone falls, another explodes over Beirut
A Hezbollah official said Sunday that an Israeli drone went down over the Lebanese capital of Beirut and another exploded in the air, amid regional tensions between Israel and Iran. Residents of the Iranian-backed group's stronghold in southern Beirut reported one large explosion that shook the area early Sunday, triggering a fire. The Hezbollah official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as the person was not authorized to speak on the record to journalists.
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North Korea tests new 'super-large' rocket launcher
North Korea said Sunday that leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test-firing of a "newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher," another demonstration of the North's expanding weapons arsenal apparently aimed at increasing its leverage ahead of a possible resumption of nuclear talks with the U.S. Kim underscored the need to "continue to step up the development of Korean-style strategic and tactical weapons for resolutely frustrating the ever-mounting military threats and pressure offensive of the hostile forces," according to KCNA.
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Trump moves to ease tensions over China, Iran as G7 summit wraps up
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday offered an olive branch to China after days of intense feuding over trade and opened the door to diplomacy on Iran, easing tension on the last day of a strained G7 summit. The leaders of the world's major industrialised nations, meeting in the French coastal resort of Biarritz, look set to reach an agreement on how to help fight the Amazon forest fires and try to repair the devastation.
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UN secretary-general confident businesses will do what Trump will not on climate: G7 Summit
"If you look at the U.S. society today, you see states, you see cities [and] you see businesses that are really leading in relation to climate action, the U.N. Secretary-General said.
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UPDATE 1-Farage offers UK PM Johnson an electoral pact for no-deal Brexit
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage offered British Prime Minister Boris Johnson an electoral pact if he goes for a no-deal EU exit, but warned that if he tried to fudge Brexit then he would face a battle over every seat at the next election. More than three years since the United Kingdom voted 52-48% to leave the European Union, Brexit remains up in the air: Options range from an acrimonious divorce on Oct. 31 and an election to an amicable exit or even another referendum.
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Too much screen time linked to a child's risk of being overweight: study
New European research has found that children who spend a lot of time in front of a screen also appear to have an increased risk of being overweight and abdominal obesity, regardless of how active they are. The children were classified as light, medium, or heavy screen users, which included viewing TV shows and films on any screen-based device and using computers, and having a low, medium, or high level of physical activity. The researchers also recorded the children's height, weight, and waist circumference.
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The story of the first ever space wedding, when a woman on Earth married a cardboard cutout of her astronaut boyfriend while he watched on from the International Space Station
Yuri Malenchenko was on the ISS in his spacesuit with another astronaut playing the wedding march on a keyboard as he wed his wife, who was on earth.
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New Jersey’s largest city is distributing bottled water — another sign that its water crisis may be mirroring Flint
The EPA warned residents on Friday that water filters distributed by the city "may not be reliably effective" at removing lead.
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Blue Origin protests launch contract rules as it competes with SpaceX, ULA, Northrop Grumman
Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space venture is protesting the rules of the game for awarding future national security launch contracts, while continuing to play against SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and Northrop Grumman. All four companies have submitted bids in the second phase of an Air Force competition aimed at selecting vendors for launches in the 2022-2026 time frame. In the first phase of the competition, the Air Force said it would set aside as much as $2.3 billion to support the development of Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket, ULA's Vulcan rocket and Northrop Grumman's OmegA rocket. All those… Read More
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A 52-year-old man is swimming through the Pacific Garbage Patch. He's caught disgusting trash, including a toothbrush and a toilet seat.
Ben Lecomte swam across the Atlantic from Massachusetts to France in 1998. This summer, he's swimming through a vortex of trash in the Pacific.
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'The saddest dive of my life': A diver's before-and-after photos reveal the death of a coral reef
As our planet and its oceans warm, coral reefs worldwide are experiencing bleaching — when the corals expel their food source and turn ghostly white.
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Problem: China Wants Its Very Own X-37B Space Plane
China’s own spaceplane, should it ever become operational, would suffer the same disadvantages compared to conventional satellites. Moreover, in choosing to launch the spaceplane from a mothership aircraft, instead of atop a rocket, China Aerospace and Industry Corporation assumes the burden of also developing a new, very large aircraft.A Chinese company claimed it’s working on a reusable spaceplane similar to the U.S. Air Force’s secretive X-37B. Unlike the X-37B, which launches into orbit atop a Falcon rocket, the Chinese vehicle would blast off in mid-flight from under the wing of a large “mothership” aircraft.(This first appeared back in 2018.)It’s unclear how far along the Chinese design is, when it might fly for the first time and whether the Chinese government has committed to acquiring the vehicle. Nor is it clear exactly why Beijing would want an X-37B-style spaceplane.Some observers have speculated that the X-37B could be a weapon-in-disguise that’s capable of intercepting and tampering with enemy satellites. If that were true, a Chinese spaceplane might also represent a military threat. But in fact, the X-37B is almost certainly a test vehicle whose main mission is hosting small science experiments. Were it to become a reality, Beijing’s own version of the X-37B would probably undertake similar missions.Chinese state television reported on the spaceplane concept on March 7. An animation accompanying the report depicts a sleek, twin-engine mothership carrying the spaceplane to high altitude. The spaceplane’s single rocket engine boosts the vehicle to low orbit, where it opens dorsal bay doors and deploys a small satellite. The spaceplane returns to Earth and lands like an airplane.Recommended: How North Korea Could Start a WarRecommended: This Is What Happens if America Nuked North KoreaRecommended: The Colt Python: The Best Revolver Ever Made?A graphic on the news report indicated the spaceplane would be orbit-ready in 2030.The new vehicle, reportedly under development by state-owned China Aerospace and Industry Corporation, is actually the second major spaceplane concept to appear in China in recent years. In 2008, a robotic vehicle similar in shape and size to the 29-feet-long X-37B was photographed under the wing of a Chinese bomber.In January 2011, the Chinese vehicle, reportedly named “Divine Dragon,” flew on its first atmospheric test flight. It’s unclear whether Divine Dragon’s development continued after 2011.Eight years after the X-37B began its first operational mission in 2010, the merits of a reusable space plane are still subject to intensive debate. The X-37B is essentially a small, reusable satellite with a shorter per-mission endurance compared to single-use satellites. Where many satellites can function for up to a decade in orbit, the X-37B’s longest mission as of early 2018 was its fourth, beginning in May 2015. It lasted 717 days.The U.S. Air Force insists the X-37B is strictly a technology host for small experiments. The 5-ton X-37B is “a reusable and more effective way to test technology in space and return it for examination,” Richard McKinney, then the deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for space programs, said in 2011. The X-37B’s cost is classified, but almost certainly totals billions of dollars for development and operations through 2018.The U.S. vehicle’s limitations back up the Air Force’s assertions with regard to its purpose. For military missions, the X-37B is actually at a disadvantage compared to disposable spacecraft. “Building this return capability into the space plane adds tons of extra mass compared to maneuvering spacecraft that are not designed to return to Earth,” Laura Grego and David Wright, from the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists, explained in a blog post. “That large mass penalty makes it more difficult and expensive to get a spaceplane and its payload into orbit and reduces the amount of maneuvering that it can do with a given amount of fuel.”China’s own spaceplane, should it ever become operational, would suffer the same disadvantages compared to conventional satellites. Moreover, in choosing to launch the spaceplane from a mothership aircraft, instead of atop a rocket, China Aerospace and Industry Corporation assumes the burden of also developing a new, very large aircraft.While a heavy bomber might be able to launch a small spaceplane on some missions, it’s worth noting that the leading user of mothership aircraft in the United States — billionaire Paul G. Allen’s Stratolaunch company — is developing a brand-new, six-engine aircraft for that purpose. The Stratolaunch plane, which in March 2018 was still undergoing ground testing, will “make access to space more convenient, reliable and routine,” the company promised.Stratolaunch has been working on its first mothership since at least 2011, and initially projected the plane would cost $300 million. If Beijing hopes to deploy a spaceplane and a new mothership by 2030, it needs to hurry … and be prepared to spend a lot of money.
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Poachers forced this rhino subspecies to two. Scientists are in a race to save them.
Poachers forced this rhino subspecies down to two. Now scientists are in a race to save them before it’s too late.
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Greenland's ice is melting at the rate scientists thought would be our worst-case scenario in 2070
Summer heat waves have caused Greenland's ice to melt at rates scientists didn't expect to see for another 50 years.
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40% of US honeybee colonies disappeared last year. This is what the world would look like without any bees at all.
Bee populations are in decline. Without them, food like nuts, fruits, and vegetables would become more expensive and rare.
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Plastic trash discovered in 'pristine' Arctic snow
We've polluted the deepest oceans with plastic trash, now it's the Arctic's turn: Blown by the wind, 'microplastics' have been discovered there.
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Neanderthals also got 'surfer's ear,' suggesting they liked to fish
What do surfers, kayakers and Neanderthals have in common? New research published Wednesday revealed that abnormal bony growths in the ear canal, also called "surfer's ear" and often seen in people who take part in water sports in colder climates, occurred frequently in our ancient cousins who died out around 40,000 years ago. "It reinforces a number of arguments and sources of data to argue for a level of adaptability and flexibility and capability among the Neanderthals, which has been denied them by some people in the field," lead author Erik Trinkaus of Washington University told AFP.
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New Jersey’s largest city just handed out expired bottles of water to residents affected by the lead contamination crisis
Water doesn't spoil, but plastic bottles can leach chemicals over time. Some Newark residents don't want to take that chance.
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A bacon-and-eggs keto diet may not be good for long-term health, but a Harvard nutrition expert says there’s an oily alternative
Harvard nutrition expert Walter Willett was one of the first to point out that fat won't make us fat. But the types of fat we eat regularly matter.
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Study This Photo: This Powerful Little Plane Is the Future of Counterterrorism
Noteworthy pilots flew the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine this summer as a part of the Light Attack Experiment (OA-X).The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has decided that it needs light attack aircraft and has issued a presolicitation on Aug. 3 to kick start the process.“We must develop the capacity to combat violent extremism at lower cost,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “Today’s Air Force is smaller than the nation needs, and the Light Attack Aircraft offers an option to increase the Air Force capacity beyond what we now have in our inventory or budget.”In the notice, the service said only proposals from Sierra Nevada Corp. and Textron Aviation are accepted as they “are the only firms that appear to possess the capability necessary to meet the requirement within the Air Force’s time frame without causing an unacceptable delay in meeting the needs of the warfighter.”Noteworthy pilots flew the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine this summer as a part of the Light Attack Experiment (OA-X) to gather additional information about aircraft capabilities, as well as partner nation interoperability, prior to a potential light attack purchase.A formal solicitation will be released in December of 2018 and a contract will be awarded in 4th quarter of FY19, according to the notice.“It is important to look at the light attack aircraft through the lens of allies and partners,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “An interoperable light attack aircraft that delivers common architecture and intelligence-sharing network capabilities will enhance our collective ability to compete, deter and win across all domains.”As we have previously reported Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas, director of Air Force public affairs, explained that OA-X program was aimed to find a cheaper CAS platform that would be needed to perform the mission over permissive environments which don’t require F-22 or F-35 stealth fighters. However it must be noted the new light attack aircraft will not replace but rather will complement the iconic A-10 Thunderbolt II in CAS missions.This article by Dario Leone originally appeared on The Aviation Geek Club in 2018.Image: DVIDShub.
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NASA puts Alabama center in charge of moon lander program, drawing Texans’ ire
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced today that Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama will take the lead role in developing the vehicles for landing astronauts on the moon – which could be good news for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space venture, but definitely came as bad news for Texas lawmakers. To be fair, Texas is getting a piece of the action in NASA's Artemis moon program as well: NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will continue to take the lead role in human spaceflight – and in the development of the ascent module for the human landing system.… Read More
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Did Russia’s Bizarre Nuclear-Powered Missile Just Blow Up?
Did Russia’s nuclear-powered cruise missile just blow up? Or was it something else that spewed a radioactive cloud and triggered radiation alarms?  An accident at a military test site in northern Russia has sparked speculation of a mishap with the 9M730 Burevestnik ("Petrel"), an intercontinental cruise missile powered by a nuclear reactor.  Russia has confirmed an explosion during an August 8 test at Nyonoksa, a military testing base on the White Sea. The explosion killed employees of Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation. “Five Rosatom staff members died and a further three people were injured in a tragic accident that took place during tests on a liquid propulsion system involving isotopes at a military facility in Arkhangelsk region,” stated a brief Rosatom announcement.   After Russian media reports that radiation in the area had spiked to 200 times normal background levels, Russian news agency TASS hastened to claim that the dose was less than that of a medical X-ray—though the village near the explosion has been ordered to evacuate, raising memories of the Chernobyl incident.  The fact that the accident involved rocket propulsion and radioactive isotopes immediately led to speculation that the Burevestnik (NATO code name SSC-X-9 Skyfall) was involved. In fact, President Donald Trump went on Twitter to announce that “we have similar, though more advanced, technology. The Russian ‘Skyfall’ explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!”  But Edward Geist, an expert on Russian nuclear history at the RAND Corp. think tank, cautioned that it is premature to assume that the Petrel was the culprit.  “The case that this may be associated with the nuclear cruise missile is pretty circumstantial,” Geist told The National Interest. For example, the site of the accident is a closed Russian military town that is “associated with the testing of all kinds of missiles.”   Perhaps there was an accident involving Petrel. Or, perhaps there was an accident involving another weapon that damaged a Petrel. Or, maybe Russia was testing some other system: among Putin’s much-touted wonder weapons is the nuclear-powered Poseidon robotic torpedo.  In other words, something happened, and that something involved fatalities and release of radiation. But we can’t be sure, and the Russian government isn’t likely to tell us.  Nonetheless, Geist suspects that Russia is expanding on Cold War-era Soviet research into nuclear aircraft propulsion. During that era, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union explored nuclear-powered manned aircraft. They also explored nuclear-powered missiles, such as the notorious 1950s U.S. Project Pluto, a nuclear-powered, low-altitude, supersonic ramjet missile that would have dropped atomic bombs over the Soviet Union—and poisoned the Russian countryside with radioactive exhaust from its reactor.   While the United States abandoned those projects by the 1960s, Soviet research continued into the 1970s, according to Guest. It is more than possible that Petrel is based on those old nuclear ramjet designs.  The problem isn’t with nuclear power per se. NASA uses Radioisotope Power Systems—fueled by plutonium—for its spacecraft exploring Mars, Saturn, Pluto and the Voyager probes that have journeyed beyond our solar system. Operating so far from the Sun, solar power isn’t an option. Despite some public fears about launching a plutonium device through the atmosphere aboard a rocket, the system has so far worked safely.  But these spacecraft spend almost all of their lives far, far from Earth. Not only are there technical challenges to powering a missile or aircraft with a nuclear reactor (especially if the aircraft is manned), but the Petrel will fly inside the atmosphere.  Nor is it clear why Russia needs a nuclear-powered cruise missile in the first place. Russia claims that because such a weapon has unlimited range, it can evade U.S. missile defenses designed to stop ballistic missiles descending from space rather than low-flying cruise missiles. Yet even if the Petrel was hard to detect and intercept, it would be too slow as a first-strike weapon.   It would be more useful as a retaliatory weapon. But as always with the nuclear Balance of Terror, it would be simpler to just build more ICBMs, armed with multiple warheads, to overwhelm anti-missile defenses. An ICBM can also reach its target within 30 minutes, compared to a cruise missile that would take hours.   Unlike an ICBM, a nuclear-powered cruise missile could potentially stay aloft indefinitely. But over whose territory would the radiation-spewing missile orbit? For how long? And why would anyone want a nuclear missile orbiting over their heads 24/7?  Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.Image: Reuters
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Russia's Nuclear-Powered ‘Skyfall’ Missile with Unlimited Range: A Doomsday Weapon?
An explosion during a missile test on Russia’s White Sea on August 8 that killed seven nuclear scientists and caused radiation levels to briefly spike in the region has drawn new attention to Moscow’s development of exotic new weapons designed to deliver long-range strategic nuclear strikes.As reports of the accident circulated, Moscow claimed that it had been testing a “liquid fuel rocket.” Rosatom, the state nuclear energy agency, then stated it was working on an “isotope power source in a liquid propulsion system.”Convincing evidence has led to a consensus among foreign experts that missile being tested was likely a 9M730 Burevestnik (“Petrel,” a seabird)—a prototype of a nuclear-powered cruise missile. Such a missile—if it can be made to work—would be powered by a very small nuclear reactor, allowing it to fly practically unlimited distances at very high speeds.Burevestnik’s existence is no secret. In March 1 2018, Putin revealed as one of six new weapons under development by Russia—also including hypersonic missiles and intercontinental-range nuclear drone torpedoes.While a companion piece details the fallout from the deadly testing accident, this piece will seek to answer a simple question: why on earth is Russia seeking to develop such a peculiar and complicated weapon in the first place?Cruise Missiles to Fly Under an Anti-Ballistic Missile ShieldQuite simply, the pursuit of unconventional weapons like the Burevestnik stems from Russian fears that America’s new anti-ballistic missile systems put Moscow’s nuclear deterrence at risk. Intercontinental ballistic missiles fly extremely high and fast—but they are also highly visible to sensors and generally fly in a predictable trajectory. Using advanced sensors, the United States can potentially detect and shoot down a small number of ICBMs with the few dozen interceptors it has deployed. That’s far too few interceptors to stop Moscow’s hundreds of ballistic missiles, but Moscow is paranoid American defense will continue to improve.Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles skim close to surface, allowing them to hug terrain and maneuver around obstacles. These characteristics mean ground-based radars may only have a detection angle on cruise missiles when they’re only a few dozen miles away. While defenses do exist that can potentially shootdown cruise missiles, the short detection range and interception windows would mean that it wouldn’t be practical to create a huge defensive umbrellas like those provided by anti-ballistic systems.However, most cruise missiles simply can’t pack enough fuel to fly thousands of miles on intercontinental attacks—and usually can’t sustain speeds much faster than an airliner when traveling longer distances. A nuclear-powered cruise missile could—theoretically—have practically unlimited range, and sustain supersonic speeds, making it hard to intercept, and allowing it to circumnavigate bubbles of radar coverages and leverage terrain to minimize the chance of interception.The Russian claim that a “liquid-fuel” booster was being tested may not in fact be inaccurate. The most likely scheme for a nuclear-powered missile involves a ramjet engine, in which the reactor would heat onrushing air at speeds exceeding twice the speed of sound. This expanding heated air would be squeezed out the engine’s rear nozzle, resulting in sustainable supersonic propulsion.However, conventional booster would be required for the missile to move fast enough for the ramjet to work. Therefore, The Drive’s Joe Trevithick argues it’s possible scientists were testing the robustness of the missile’s reactor when exposed to the heat and physical stress caused by the rocket boosters—with explosive results.Another issue is that the Burevestnik’s unshielded reactor core could potentially leave behind a trail of radioactive emissions and contaminants over everything it overflies. In fact, in the early 1960s, the United States’ Project Pluto developed a nuclear ramjet-powered missile that was canceled in part due to concerns over its extreme radioactive pollution—though not before its designers considered whether its extreme radioactive emissions could be weaponized! The problem remained that the trail of sickness-inducing radiation would begin over friendly territory.Failed TestsWestern intelligence had already been keeping tabs on Skyfall prior to Putin’s speech. Around a dozen tests have been held since 2016, first at Kapustin Yar (near Volgograd), then the Pan’kovo test site on Yuzhny island. Only two were successful. However, Pentagon snooping of the latter by WC-135 weather reconnaissance planes used to measure radiation may have led to the program’s relocation to Nyonoksa, which is distant from international airspace.In the most successful test in November 2017, which can be seen in a video released by Putin, the Skyfall missile flew little more than twenty miles before crashing into the sea. The nuclear refueling ship Serebryanka, which was also present at the accident in August 8, was dispatched to recover the possibly irradiated debris. These results suggest the program is far from mature. Thus, Pranay Vaddi argues in a piece on Lawfare that Burevestnik should not have any impact on renewal of the New START Treaty regulating deployed strategic nuclear weapons, as it is unlikely to enter service in the next decade.Clearly, Russia is still far from solving the daunting challenges of developing a practical and functional nuclear-powered missile. Even if the Skyfall is eventually developed into an operational system, deploying dozens of strategic missiles each with their own miniature nuclear reactors would be extremely expensive and pose costly political, safety and security risks—as was amply demonstrated by the tragic incident on August 8.Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.Image: Flickr
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There Is Only 1 Way to Save the Aircraft Carrier from the 'Scraper': Study Battleships
The reciprocal is that navies tend to see new, experimental ships as fleet auxiliaries—as assets that help the existing fleet execute what it already does, only better. Early on, for instance, naval officers considered the submarine an adjunct to the battle fleet. Aircraft carriers and their air wings were "the eyes of the fleet," scouting and screening for battleships, rather than offensive weapons in their own right. The dreadnought thus lingered on long after its successor, the flattop, hove into view. (Today the U.S. Navy may be repeating the pattern with unmanned-aircraft development. Having debated whether UAVs should emphasize ground attack or surveillance, navy potentates evidently favor the latter. A new set of eyes for the aircraft-carrier strike group may be in the offing.) Hanging onto old hardware and doctrine can represent a grievous mistake—so can being standoffish toward novel warmaking methods.How can the U.S. Navy prolong the relevance of its big-deck aircraft carriers amid increasingly menacing surroundings?In part, through hindsight. The Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor rudely evicted dreadnought battleships from their perch atop the navy's pecking order. The day of the aircraft carrier had arrived. And yet battleships found new life for a time, pressed into service for secondary but vital functions. That could be the flattop's eventual fate as well. Naval-aviation proponents may find insights from battleship history discomfiting. They should study them nonetheless.Amphibious operations, not sea fights against enemy surface fleets, gave battleships renewed purpose after Pearl Harbor. Dreadnoughts took station off the Solomon Islands scant months later, pummeling Japanese Army positions to support U.S. Marines embattled on Guadalcanal. The opposed landing is among the most grueling missions amphibian forces can undertake. Debarking from amphibious transports, making the transit from ship to shore in fragile landing craft, and clawing their way onto the beach under fire constitute the most delicate part of the endeavor.Carl von Clausewitz pronounces defense the stronger form of war. Never is this more true than in amphibious combat. Defenders strew obstacles along the beaches, position gun emplacements to rake landing craft approaching through the surf and make things hellish while soldiers and marines are at their most vulnerable. Nor is island warfare any cakewalk, even after the force is ashore. Softening entrenched enemy defenses, then, is imperative both before sea-to-shore movement commences and after the fighting moves inland.Battlewagons rendered yeoman service as shore-bombardment platforms throughout World War II. Reactivated Iowa-class battleships, moreover, saw action during the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the first Gulf War. Nor is this purely an Asian enterprise. Indeed, this Friday marks seventy years since swarms of Allied ships descended on the French coast. Troops stormed the Normandy beaches in history's most epic opposed landing. Some 10,800 Allied combat aircraft dominated the skies, flying from airfields in nearby Britain. Battlewagons, cruisers, and destroyers cruising offshore rained gunfire on German strongpoints.To deadly effect. Battleship gun rounds are comparable in weight to a Volkswagen Bug. Imagine flying economy cars exploding in your midst and you get the idea. So lethal was Allied naval gunfire that Desert Fox Erwin Rommel informed his Führer that "no operation of any kind is possible in the area commanded by this rapid-fire artillery." Quite a testament coming from one of history's great commanders.And yet furnishing fire support was quite a comedown in status for the battlewagon, once the pride of navies from London to Washington to Tokyo. Seafarers reared on the works of Alfred Thayer Mahan and Sir Julian Corbett assumed fleets of "capital ships"—battleships escorted by their lighter, but still-heavily-gunned, thickly armored brethren—would duel for maritime supremacy at the outbreak of war. By sinking or incapacitating an enemy battle fleet, the navy would secure the blessings of "command of the sea." That meant virtually unfettered freedom to blockade enemy shores, assail enemy merchantmen, or project power ashore.The battleship once performed the glitziest of missions, but Pearl Harbor demoted it to secondary, unglamorous duty. Ships built to withstand hits from exploding VWs could venture within reach of shore-based enemy defenses—artillery, tactical aircraft, and the like—with good prospects of survival. And commanders could risk them with impunity. If the aircraft carrier was now the centerpiece of naval warfare, it was imperative to conserve flattops for future actions. After December 7, by contrast, the dreadnought was a wasting asset searching for a mission.So why not send these vessels into harm's way? Once dethroned from the battle line, in short, battleships became expendable assets. In so doing they became ground-pounders' favorite ships. Therein lies wisdom. Herewith, are five lessons from the battleships' twilight years, applied to today's high-tech, access-denial/area-denial age:Extend striking reach: As noted before, modernized battleships saw action in Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf. But these were relatively permissive surroundings where few defenders could do serious damage to armored vessels. More forbidding settings might have told another story. To be sure, battleship guns boasted extravagant range by gunnery standards. They could send rounds over twenty miles downrange. But that's short range for today's speedy attack aircraft and antiship missiles. Closing in on enemy coastlines, perversely, compresses the time available to ward off attack. That would render a battleship's staying power doubtful despite its ability to take a punch. Boosting the range of a ship's main armament, it seems, is critical to survival in this age of gee-whiz antiship weaponry. The farther away from enemy countermeasures, the better a man-of-war's prospects for staying alive—and accomplishing its goals.Boost shipboard defenses: On the other hand, the laws of physics are a stern taskmaster. Battleships could disgorge one or two rounds per minute from each of their nine big guns. Hence, their devastating impact on defenders at Normandy. But the rate and volume of fire may suffer as the range separating the firing platform from its targets increases. Long range also reduces the amount of territory a vessel can reach. These problems are acute for a carrier, which reuses the delivery systems—the aircraft—that put ordnance on target. Aircraft have to launch, make their way to the combat zone, turn loose their weapons and make it back to the ship to refuel and rearm. That cycle takes time—and the farther offshore the flattop, the longer it takes. The strike group, thus, needs to get as close to its objectives as possible. Consequently, anything ship designers can do to harden ships against air and missile attack will improve the carrier's, and its escorts', ability to stand into danger at acceptable risk. Rugged construction, stealth, exotic weaponry, such as lasers and electromagnetic railguns—any of these will enhance warships' capacity to withstand landward assault and project power. Suffice it to say, striking the balance between self-protection and offensive firepower is a dicey prospect.Don't cling too tight to the old: Seamen have a habit of falling in love with ships, ship types, and missions. Letting go is hard to do—even when circumstances warrant. Mahan defined capital ship broadly, to mean any warship capable of meting out and taking heavy blows. Naval commentators, nonetheless, construed his writings as advocacy on behalf of a specific ship type—the armored battleship. Once that assumption found its way into U.S. Navy strategy and doctrine, it took incontrovertible evidence—such as Japan's air assault at Pearl Harbor—to shatter habitual ways of thinking about sea combat. Better to remain intellectually and doctrinally nimble and repurpose old ships, aircraft and armaments when need be. Remember Rommel's verdict on naval gunfire at D-Day. Naval gunfire exuded little sex appeal. But it was a decisive factor in France.Embrace the new: The reciprocal is that navies tend to see new, experimental ships as fleet auxiliaries—as assets that help the existing fleet execute what it already does, only better. Early on, for instance, naval officers considered the submarine an adjunct to the battle fleet. Aircraft carriers and their air wings were "the eyes of the fleet," scouting and screening for battleships, rather than offensive weapons in their own right. The dreadnought thus lingered on long after its successor, the flattop, hove into view. (Today the U.S. Navy may be repeating the pattern with unmanned-aircraft development. Having debated whether UAVs should emphasize ground attack or surveillance, navy potentates evidently favor the latter. A new set of eyes for the aircraft-carrier strike group may be in the offing.) Hanging onto old hardware and doctrine can represent a grievous mistake—so can being standoffish toward novel warmaking methods.Find an alternative: It is entirely possible that the technical challenges cataloged here are insoluble at any affordable cost, much as restoring the dreadnought's supremacy was impossible in World War II. Accordingly, it behooves the U.S. Navy and friendly services to experiment with new technologies and concepts now, in case the sunset of the aircraft carrier approaches. We make much of the abrupt switch between battleships and carriers as the capital ships of choice. But navy leaders didn't conjure the carrier into being in 1941, when they needed a new capital ship. Rather, farsighted leaders such as Admiral William Moffett—a battleship-officer-turned-air-power-enthusiast—had pushed the development of naval air during the era of battleship supremacy. Hence, the implements to prosecute an aviation-centric strategy already existed when the navy needed them. Commanders merely had to divine how to use them. As things worked out, the ex-capital ship performed support duty while its replacement bore the brunt of navy-on-navy fighting. Not a bad division of labor.In short, battleship history suggests that today's leaders face an array of technical, tactical and operational challenges. It also suggests that imagination poses the stiffest challenge. One hopes there's a William Moffett out there thinking ahead to the next big thing.James Holmes is J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the Naval War College.
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Study linking mother's fluoride exposure to lower IQ scores in kids raises questions
A study finds that mothers' consumption of fluoride during pregnancy might be associated with lower IQ scores in young children.
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People in Iceland held a funeral and erected a plaque for a glacier lost to climate change
Okjökull lost its status as a glacier in 2014 due to ice melt caused by climate change. The plaque eulogizing it carries a message for the future.
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If you need a mental break from work, don't check your phone, indicates new study
Carried out by researchers at Rutgers University, the new study recruited 414 participants and gave them sets of word puzzles to solve. Halfway through the task, many participants were given a break with another task involving selecting three items for a hypothetical shopping list either on a cell phone, a computer screen, or on paper, and writing or typing the reasons for their selections. The findings, published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, showed that the participants who took a break with their cell phone showed the highest levels of mental depletion and were among the least capable of solving the puzzles quickly and correctly afterwards.
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We've killed off more than 50% of forest animals on Earth, a new report found — even more evidence of a 6th mass extinction
Forests are our "greatest natural ally in the fight against global warming," said one conservationist.
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Stem Cells Could Regenerate Organs – But Only If the Body Won’t Reject Them
Many of the most common diseases, like heart failure, liver failure, Type 1 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, occur when cells or whole organs fail to do their job. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if it were possible to replace cells in these defunct organs? That is exactly what physician-scientists in the field of regenerative medicine are trying to do.I am a surgeon and stem cell scientist and am interested in regenerating failing organs with stem cells – because for many diseases we don’t have good treatment options yet.In a recent paper, my colleagues and I figured out why stem cells derived from a patient’s own tissue are sometimes rejected by their own immune systems. We also developed a solution that we think may solve the problem: stem cells that are stripped of their immune features and can’t trigger rejection.The Search for the Ideal Starter CellA few years ago a breakthrough occurred that many scientists believed would help fast-track the goal of regenerating organs. That was the identification of proteins that turn on genes that allowed researchers to reprogram adult cells. These proteins transformed cells back into their embryonic-like stem cell state. This gives them the capacity to turn into almost any cell type – like liver or heart or any other cell of interest.These stem cells can theoretically be used as an inexhaustible source for cells. Scientists believed these cell products could be used to restore the functions of organs and treat diseases. However, regenerating cells and organs from a patient’s own cells and then returning them to that same patient turned out to be trickier than expected.Researchers are still debating what is the ideal starting cell type for regenerative medicine. The cells required for these therapies can be grown in bioreactors in the lab. But for cell therapies to succeed, the biggest hurdle we have to overcome is immune rejection.Like transplanted organs, transplanted cells are susceptible to attacks by the recipient’s immune system. Any cells generated from another individual have different proteins on their surface, called tissue antigens, that tag them as “foreign.”Once tagged, white blood cells, which defend the body against bacteria, viruses and foreign tissue, target these therapeutic cells for destruction. Physicians use high-dose immunosuppressive drugs to silence this immune response so that patients can tolerate a transplanted organ. But these drugs have significant side effects.To create cells for use in regenerative medicine, scientists envision large-scale collections of stem cells with diverse characteristics and specific tissue antigens. Then just as blood types can be matched, these cataloged stem cells could be matched to the recipient to avoid the patient’s immune system from rejecting these new cells.One day, hospitals may have enough cell lines to match patients with stem cells based on tissue types. Whether enough cell lines can be banked to serve the wider patient population and whether this strategy will prevent immune responses is yet to be seen.Adult cells are removed from patients, transformed into so-called induced pluripotent stem cells and then, using various chemicals, the cells are made to differentiate into different tissue types. Ideally these are then transplanted into the same patient to fix their damaged tissues. metamorworks/Shutterstock.comHurdles for Using a Patient’s Own Stem CellsStem cells generated from a patient’s own cells – called autologous stem cells – are currently believed to be the most promising strategy for circumventing immune rejection. Autologous stem cells are generated directly from the patient seeking treatment and need to be differentiated into the cell type that needs to be replaced. Since the cells carry the same tissue antigens as the patient, they are tagged as “self,” and immunologists believe these cells are accepted by the immune system.However, this notion may not be correct. In a previous study, our lab had revealed that minor genetic mutations in the DNA carried by a special part of the cell’s DNA, the mitochondrial DNA, can trigger an immune response.Mitochondria are small structures inside cells that carry their own set of genes that are responsible for generating energy for the cell. Because every cell has many mitochondria, they carry many copies of the mitochondrial DNA. Spontaneous changes in mitochondrial genes, called mutations, alter the shape of the proteins they encode. These mutated proteins, which we call “neoantigens,” re-tag the cells as “foreign,” alert the immune system and target the stem cells for destruction.Cells That Lack Immune Features May Be the SolutionOur latest study reveals that neoantigens can spontaneously occur in a patient’s own cells. This renders them susceptible to rejection when used as part of stem cell-based treatment. We showed in mice and humans that minor changes in the mitochondrial DNA can occur when the patient’s cells are being reprogrammed into stem cells so that they can produce different types of cells. This can also happen while the cells are multiplying in plates or bioreactors outside of the body, giving rise to neoantigens.The likelihood of neoantigens arising increases with the time it takes to manufacture a particular type of cell. If white blood cells recognize neoantigens after injecting the cells back into the animal or human, they may trigger a strong immune response leading to tissue rejection.Neoantigens can thus jeopardize the whole strategy of autologous cell transplantation. So to use this form of cell transplantation, it may be necessary to test all cell products for mutations in the mitochondrial DNA.To dodge the immune system and make regenerative stem cell therapies widely available to the general public, our lab aims to engineer stem cells lacking any immune features.Modern gene editing tools now allow us to make very specific edits and create engineered cell products without any tissue type tags. We recently published our early success with both edited mouse and human stem cells, which survived after transplantation into different mouse models with different tissue types. This was the first report of “universal cells” that completely circumvented rejection by a foreign immune system. We believe this concept could lead to the manufacturing of universal cell products for all patients and has the potential to transform health care.This story first ran in The Conversation on August 19.Image: Reuters
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TripAdvisor proposing simulation of life on Mars
The American online-review pioneer is offering would-be explorers the opportunity to visit a Spanish cave with living conditions said to closely resemble those on Mars. The out-of-the-ordinary experience is a collaboration between TripAdvisor and Spanish tech company Astroland Agency. Space enthusiasts will be given an opportunity to experience life in space -- without ever leaving Planet Earth.
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UK government drops bid to stop Brexit delay bill in parliament
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government abandoned attempts to block a law aimed at stopping at the country leaving the European Union without a deal in the upper house of parliament. The move paves the way for Johnson to ask the EU for a three-month extension to the Brexit deadline, if he fails to reach a deal with the bloc by the middle of October. Conservative Party members of the upper house of parliament had tabled a series of amendments in an attempt to run down the clock and prevent the law being passed before parliament is suspended on Monday.
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Israeli leader calls for more pressure on Iran, not talks
Israel's prime minister says now is the time to ratchet up pressure on Iran and not the time for talks, as the Islamic Republic appears poised to move further away from its commitments under the nuclear deal with world powers. Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran's continued violations of the deal, as well as "aggressive actions" on international shipping and attempts to stage "murderous attacks" on Israel are the impetus for more sanctions.
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Zumwalt: The Stealth Destroyer That Could Become the Ultimate Killer
Also, the launchers are especially designed with software such that it can accommodate a wide range of weapons; the launchers can house one SM-2, SM-3 or SM-6, ASROCs and up to four ESSMs due to the missile’s smaller diameter, Raytheon developers explain.Navy developers of the new high-tech, stealthy USS Zumwalt destroyer are widening the mission envelope for the ship, exploring new ammunition for its guns and preparing to fire its first missiles next year.The US Navy’s stealthy destroyer will fire an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and SM-2 in 2019 from its Mk 57 Vertical Launch Systems, marking the first time the new ship will fire weapons as part of its ongoing combat activation process.The Navy is exploring a new range of weapons for its stealthy USS Zumwalt destroyer to better prepare the ship for future warfare against technically advanced enemies.Recommended: North Korea’s Most Lethal Weapon Isn’t Nukes. Recommended: 5 Worst Guns Ever Made.Recommended: The World’s Most Secretive Nuclear Weapons Program.“The Navy is in the process of updating required documents to support new surface strike requirements,” according to Navy statements briefed at the service’s Sea Air and Space Annual Symposium by Zumwalt program manager Capt. Kevin Smith.(This first appeared several years ago.)The new ship, engineered with a sleek, radar-evading design, was initially conceived of in terms of primarily engineering a shallow-water land attack platform. While the ship was envisioned as a multi-mission platform at its inception, current emerging threats and new technology have led Navy strategists to scope a wider strategic view for the ship.In particular, given the rapid evolution of targeting technology and advanced long-range precision weaponry, particularly those being developed by near-peer adversaries, the strategic calculus informing maritime warfare is changing quickly.Long-range strike technology, coupled with advanced seekers, electromagnetic weapons and higher-resolution sensors, quite naturally, create the need for greater stand-off ranges; such a technical phenomenon is a key element of the Navy’s current “distributed lethality” strategy designed to better prepare the Navy for modern, open blue-water combat operations against a technologically advanced adversary.Part of the initial vision for this ship, which is still very much part of its equation, is to engineer a ship able to detect mines. For this reason, the ship has been architected with a shallow draft, enabling it to operate closer to shore than most deep water surface ships.At the same time, threat assessment experts, strategists and Navy weapons developers also heavily emphasize the growing need for the ship to succeed in the event of major nation-state force-on-force maritime warfare.In preparation for all of this, the ship is now going through combat activation in San Diego, Calif., to pave the way toward preparing the weapons systems for the ship’s planned move to operational status in 2020, Navy officials say.This process will also carefully refine many of the ship’s other technologies, such as its advanced Integrated Power System and Total Ship Computing Environment, multi-function, volume-search SPY-3 radar and sonar systems.The activation process for USS Zumwalt development includes many technology assessments, such as calm and heavy weather examinations to further verify the ship’s stability.Many of the weapons systems are being assessed and refined on board a specially configured unmanned test ship. The remote- controlled vessel continues to be involved in integration testing with the SM-2 and other weapons.The USS Zumwalt is built with a high-tech, long-range, BAE-built Advanced Gun System designed to find and hit targets with precision from much farther ranges than existing deck-mounted ship guns.Most deck mounted 5-inch guns currently on Navy ships are limited to firing roughly 8-to-10 miles at targets within the horizon or what’s called line of sight. The Advanced Gun System, however, is being developed to fire rounds beyond-the-horizon at targets more than three times that distance.The Navy had been planning to have the gun fire a Long-Range Land Attack Projectile, but is now exploring different ammunition options for, among other things, cost issues, Navy leaders said.The Navy is also currently evaluating potential SM-6 integration for the USS Zumwalt. The SM-6 has been a fast-evolving weapon for the Navy – as it has expanded its mission envelope to include air-defense, ballistic missile defense and even offensive use as an anti-ship surface attack weapon.In addition, utilizing its active seeker, the SM-6 is a key part of Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air, or NIFC-CA; NIFC-CA uses fire-control technology to link Aegis radar with an airborne relay sensor to detect and destroy approaching enemy threats from beyond the horizon.With an active, dual-mode seeker able to send an electromagnetic “ping” forward from the missile itself, the SM-6 is able to better adjust to moving targets, according to Raytheon developers.Giving commanders more decision-making time to effectively utilize layered ship defenses when under attack is an integral part of the rationale for NIFC-CA.The ship also fires Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rockets, or ASROCs. ASROCs are 16-feet long with a 14-inch diameter; a rocket delivers the torpedo at very high speeds to a specific point in the water at which point it turns on its sensors and searches for an enemy submarine. Wade Knudson, DDG 1000 program manager, Raytheon, has told Warrior in recent years through the course of several interviews.The ship is also built with Mk 57 a vertical launch tubes which are engineered into the hull near the perimeter of the ship.Called Peripheral Vertical Launch System, the tubes are integrated with the hull around the ship’s periphery in order to ensure that weapons can keep firing in the event of damage. Instead of having all of the launch tubes in succession or near one another, the DDG 1000 has spread them out in order to mitigate risk in the event of attack, developers said.In total, there are 80 launch tubes built into the hull of the DDG 1000; the Peripheral Vertical Launch System involves a collaborative effort between Raytheon and BAE Systems.Also, the launchers are especially designed with software such that it can accommodate a wide range of weapons; the launchers can house one SM-2, SM-3 or SM-6, ASROCs and up to four ESSMs due to the missile’s smaller diameter, Raytheon developers explain.In 2016, the new ship was formally delivered to the Navy at Bath Iron Works in Portland, Maine. The ship was formally commissioned in October of that year.This first appeared in Warrior Maven here.
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Controversial study links fluoride in water to lower IQ
A study published Monday links exposure to fluoridated tap water during pregnancy to lower IQ scores in infants, but several outside experts expressed concern over its methodology and questioned its findings. Fluoride has been added to community water supplies in industrial countries to prevent tooth decay since the 1950s. Very high levels of the mineral have been found to be toxic to the brain, though the concentrations seen in fluoridated tap water are generally deemed safe.
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ULA’s Vulcan rocket selected for launches of moon lander and mini-shuttle in 2021
United Launch Alliance's next-generation Vulcan rocket – and Blue Origin's next-generation BE-4 rocket engine – have been chosen to send Astrobotic's Peregrine moon lander as well as Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser mini-shuttle to the final frontier in 2021. Neither of the past week's announcements is all that surprising, because Astrobotic and SNC both had previous agreements to use ULA's current-generation Atlas 5 rocket. But both announcements underscore the importance of holding to the current schedule for rolling out the BE-4 as well as the Vulcan, which is designed to use two BE-4 engines on its first-stage booster. Blue Origin,… Read More
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New study links antibiotic use with a higher risk of bowel cancer
New research has found that antibiotic use is linked to an increased risk of bowel (colon) cancer, but a lower risk of rectal cancer, suggesting that, to some extent, the risk of cancer may depend on the type and class of antibiotics prescribed. Carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA along with the University of East Anglia Norwich Medical School and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust, UK, the new study set out to investigate how the strong and long-lasting impact of antibiotics on the gut microbiome, which is the balance of helpful and harmful bacteria in the gut, could affect bowel and rectal cancer risk. To do so, the researchers looked at the medical records of 19,276 patients diagnosed with bowel cancer and 9,254 patients diagnosed with rectal cancers who were followed for at least two years.
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Napping more? That could be an early symptom of Alzheimer's, new study says
Alzheimer's wipes out an entire network of neurons that keeps us awake, the study found. This means increased napping may be an Alzheimer's symptom.
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India's Moon probe enters lunar orbit
India's Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Tuesday, executing one of the trickiest manoeuvres on its historic mission to the Moon. After four weeks in space, the craft completed its Lunar Orbit Insertion as planned, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement. ISRO chief K. Sivan said the manoeuvre was a key milestone for the mission, adding he was hoping for a perfect landing next month.
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Has LIGO detected its first smash-up of black hole and neutron star? Stay tuned
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO,  has detected mergers of black holes, and even a couple of neutron star smash-ups. But it hasn't yet confirmed the signature of a black hole gobbling a neutron star. That could soon change. Over the past week, physicists have been buzzing over an Aug. 14 detection made by the twin LIGO detectors in Hanford, Wash., and Livingston, La., as well as by the European Virgo gravitational-wave detector in Italy. Those L-shaped facilities monitor ever-so-slight fluctuations in laser beams to look for wobbles in spacetime caused by passing gravitational waves. The types of waves… Read More
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Study This Picture Closely: Did This French Fighter Jet Kill a Drone in Battle?
An interesting marking has been spotted on a French Air Force Rafale fighter indicating it has ‘killed’ an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).The picture was released by the French Ministry of Armed Forces on Aug. 1 and features the Rafale, with the UAV stenciled next to bomb markings symbolizing ground attack missions the fighter has performed. According to Jane’s, the photo appeared to be taken at Jordan’s Prince Hassan Air Base from where French aircraft support the mission against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria.More info about the kill marking is provided by Air Forces Monthly which states that the aircraft featured in the shot is Rafale B 322 ‘4-HU’ and it has received markings to denote a ground kill of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the Middle East.More specifically the aircraft’s markings represent delivery of eight 500lb (227kg) GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs (LGBs), five AASM (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire) guided munitions and a drone.Noteworthy a crashed coalition UAV (which was apparently an MQ-9 Reaper based on the marking) was destroyed by the Rafale to avoid its wreckage falling into the hands of IS or other insurgent groups.While deployed in the Middle East, French Rafale ‘omnirole aircraft’ were engaged on a daily basis for the Coalition, in Iraq as in Syria for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). Flying days and nights, Rafale’s pilots totally contributed to reduce the military IS potential and to support the ground troops against the terrorist group through oversight and information missions, but also with air strikes.This first appeared in Aviation Geek Club here.
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The northernmost reaches of the Earth are on fire. Here's what this record-breaking hot summer looks like from space.
Climate change comes with a higher risk of wildfires. This summer, fires have ravaged the Arctic, and the flames can be seen from space.
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Tiny pellets called 'nurdles' are leeching into the ocean. A new Shell plant could produce 80 trillion of them a year.
Nurdles from a new Shell plant outside Pittsburgh can be used to make virgin-plastic items like phone cases or food packaging.
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Neuroscientists publish a ‘parts list’ for the brain, detailing differences between mice and humans
A study led by researchers at Seattle's Allen Institute for Brain Science lays out a "parts list" for the brain, including a detailed look at the differences between the parts for human brains and mouse brains. They say the genetic results, published today in the journal Nature, suggest that relying on mice to study how the brains of men and women work could lead neuroscientists down blind alleys. "The answer may be that you have to go to species that are more similar to humans," Ed Lein, an investigator at the Allen Institute who's also affiliated with the University of… Read More
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Ivanka Trump had to move out of her office in the White House because the ceiling might be contaminated with asbestos — here's why that's concerning
Renovations underway at the White House are sparking fears of asbestos contamination in the offices of Ivanka Trump and Kellyanne Conway.
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Brazil’s president baselessly claimed that NGOs set the Amazon on fire on purpose to make him look bad
Fires in the Amazon are producing so much smoke that the city of São Paulo, which is 2,000 miles away, was plunged into darkness Wednesday.
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Fires in the Amazon could be part of a doomsday scenario that sees the rainforest spewing carbon into the atmosphere and speeding up climate change even more
Fears for the Amazon's future have been heightened under Brazil's new far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who encourages industry in the region.
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Uranus is hiding 13 invisible rings. These images captured their warm glow for the first time.
Astronomers measuring heat in Uranus' atmosphere stumbled upon its rings and measured their temperature for the first time: -320 degrees Fahrenheit.
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China Studies the Contours of the Gray Zone
There is good news out of Ukraine, for once. A fresh face, Volodymyr Zelensky, won the presidency back in April with a resounding victory. Ukrainian nationalists have been thrown back on their heels, and the Zelensky wave seems to have been confirmed in the parliamentary elections. The young president, short on experience but possessing impressive wit, now has the mandate to make difficult decisions that could pull Ukraine in a more stable, peaceful, and prosperous direction if these efforts are not derailed by the recent seizure of a Russian tanker.A Chinese strategic assessment of contemporary Black Sea security offers us a glimpse of the impact Russia’s actions have had. There is a reasonably high degree of similarity between Russia’s position in the Black Sea and China’s situation in its own “near seas,” especially with regard to the South China Sea. Beijing has been watching with admiration and has been effectively “taking notes” on Russian actions in the delicate region since 2014–15 and even before that time. It is not simply that China could opt for a lightning Crimea-like annexation of Taiwan (although it might), but also that China has been observing so-called “gray-zone tactics,” or military actions with major political effects that are beneath the threshold of all-out war.The rather detailed rendering appeared under the headline “A Farce: What can be said about the detention of the Ukrainian patrol boats [场闹剧: 从乌克兰巡逻艇被口说起]” in the naval magazine Naval and Merchant Ships [舰船知识] in early 2019. The Chinese analysis opens with a crisp description of how infrastructure—a Chinese specialty after all—can alter strategic facts on the ground (and the water too). Of course, the Crimean Bridge [克里米亚大桥] which was partially completed in 2018, links Russia directly to Crimea and also, it is observed, “chokes” the entrance to the Sea of Azov. For the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine, the port of Mariupol is identified by the Chinese author as crucial, so that the control of the Kerch Strait is assessed to be highly significant. Thus, this analysis concludes that Moscow’s completion of the Crimean Bridge in May 2018 constituted a “heavy blow” against Kiev.Not surprisingly, the Chinese rendering seems to track closely with Russian accounts. It is reported that the group of three Ukrainian vessels (two artillery boats and a tug) were taken under observation by Russian forces at 4 p.m. on November 24, 2018. At 9:30 p.m., this account has the Russian side warning the Ukrainian squadron that requests to transit the Kerch Strait require a twenty-four hour advanced notification. At 5 a.m. on November 25, it is asserted that the Ukrainian request to transit the Kerch Strait was rejected by the Russian side. At that point, “the Russian side discovered that the Ukrainian artillery boats raised their guns to aim at the Russian ships, which was taken as a threatening action [俄方发现乌方两艘炮艇炮口升起并指向俄舰被视为威胁性举动].” Low on fuel, according to this rendering, at 6 p.m. on November 25, the Ukrainian squadron suddenly went to flank speed to attempt passage under the bridge, according to the Chinese telling. At 8:55 p.m., and after two explicit warnings, this account has the first shots fired by a Russian vessel against one of the Ukrainian artillery boats. “Three seconds later, the boat requested Russian assistance, saying there were wounded, and a few seconds after that, the boat was detained.” After ramming, the tug was also captured. Finally, this Chinese account has the other artillery boat fleeing, but surrendering when confronted directly by a Kamov-52 attack helicopter at 9:52 p.m. By 6:40 a.m. on November 26, the three captured Ukrainian ships were said to be berthed in the Russian port of Kerch, with twenty-three Ukrainian sailors made prisoners. It is noted in this Chinese analysis that “six wounded … were delivered by the Russian side to the hospital.” Needless to say, this version has more than a few discrepancies with the most widely circulated Western accounts.Yet, rather than chewing over the details of the Kerch skirmish for us here, it's important to understand the lessons that Chinese strategists have taken from what transpired. It’s a fair bet, albeit admittedly speculation on my part (informed by a visit I made there about a decade ago), that this Kerch Strait incident is already a case study being analyzed and taught at the Chinese Coast Guard Academy in Ningbo, and probably in China’s many naval academies, as well. To be sure, the Russian Coast Guard comes away with a burnished reputation, having prevailed in this “first ‘real combat’ [第一次’实战’]” on the seas between Russia and Ukraine. Not surprisingly, the Type 22460 modern Russian cutter comes in for praise. These 630-ton vessels are both well-armed and also fast with decent endurance as well. The Chinese article observes that Moscow has already built more than a dozen of these boats in the last decade for a total fleet that will reach perhaps thirty boats as production continues. It is noted with some pride that at least one of this class is outfitted with a Chinese-made diesel engine. The parallels evident in the simultaneous buildup of coast guard fleets by both Beijing and Moscow are amply evident and this set of events may well be viewed as confirming evidence for China’s decision going back at least a decade to build the world’s largest armada of coast guard ships.The Ukrainian fleet does not get similarly high marks. While the fifty-four-ton artillery boats are reported to be the most ambitious Ukrainian military shipbuilding project since independence, it is also observed here that it was not the Ukrainian Navy that put down the first orders for these slightly odd boats. Rather, it is said to have been U.S. aid money to actually fund a third country’s naval forces (Uzbekistan). Never mind that somewhat bizarre use of American taxpayer funds, the Chinese assessment of the Ukrainian artillery boats is that they are not seaworthy and can only really be used effectively in conditions of moderate or preferably calm sea state. Moreover, it is stated that these Ukrainian vessels are poorly armed. Their “threat to any normal warship is very small [对普通战舰的威胁很小].”To be sure, this Chinese analysis emphasizes the importance of the powerful Black Sea Fleet (BSF) in the background of these events “to respond in the event of escalation.” It is widely understood that Moscow has long prioritized this particular fleet and they have received many new ships and substantial modern weaponry, up to and including even Russia’s first deployed hypersonic anti-ship missiles. Yet, it is interesting that the Chinese article focuses not on hypersonic weaponry and such, but rather on the workhorses of naval warfare, such as the ASW corvette, Suzdaletz [Суздалец], which was said to be nearby during the Kerch incident. Indeed, the article writes extensively regarding the exploits of this small 1980s-vintage Russian warship. That naval vessel, it is explained, was apparently part of a BSF task force that engaged the small navy of Georgia in the August 2008 conflict. “The Georgian Navy was thus destroyed [格鲁吉亚海军就这样覆灭了].” The article also briefly discusses the Russian actions in early March 2014 to seize most ships of the Ukrainian Navy. The article takes a special interest in the employment of special operations forces for that task. Such efforts were undoubtedly also facilitated by complex identity issues related to armed forces personnel serving on Crimea. Could identity issues play a similar role in Chinese “gray zone” operations? That possibility can hardly be ruled out.Still, appraising all these developments over the last decade or so in the Black Sea, this Chinese analysis concludes rather starkly: “In the past ten years, Russian maritime forces have lifted the butcher’s knife to the former Soviet republics three times, while the latter have offered no resistance to the slaughter. [十年间, 俄罗斯海上力量三次对前苏联加盟共和国举起屠刀, 而后者几平无任何反抗能力, 任其宰割].” The article ends by remarking that Russia is succeeding in converting land power into sea power, and that Crimea has been converted into a “bastion” as a key part of that project. A simple takeaway from this article that Beijing is carefully monitoring and looking to imitate aspects of Russia’s “gray zone” coercion strategy. Interestingly, this description also notes certain “soft” aspects of Russian coercion in the Kerch incident; for example, the fact that none were killed and wounded were taken immediately to the hospital for treatment. Still, the clear emphasis in the analysis is on both the special operations and especially the coast guard aspects of these events. What is to be done? It is all too common among foreign-policy elites these days to opine that “the United States and its allies are not moving fast enough to counter efforts by Russia and China to foment instability with ‘gray zone’ tactics,” as the New York Times did in its July 22 editorial. However, that bit of conventional wisdom regrettably refuses to admit why China and Russia continue to tally a steady stream of victories in the nebulous world that comprises “gray zone” operations—namely that space for military or quasi-military action below the threshold of major war. The reasons are twofold and reasonably simple.First, Beijing and Moscow both wield very considerable and indeed credible combat power in these proximate domains. That is simply the nature of fighting along interior lines, as any strategist knows. Second, and even more importantly, both of these great powers have the will to “go to the mat” to control (or nearly so) the outcomes of brush-fire conflicts on their borders. For Americans, the stakes are much murkier, to say the least, and may even approach the absurd. The double asymmetry, in both military capabilities and the will to use them, therefore constitutes “trumps” and means that Russia and China will continue to roll.Does that mean that Washington needs to redouble its efforts, sending suitcases of cash to build up the Ukrainian and Philippine navies and coast guards, etc.? No. Such efforts to date have regrettably made these tense situations worse. A more mature and realistic strategy would recognize that spheres of influence cannot be wished away with soaring rhetoric, nor can the stark reality of the balance of power (or lack thereof). An essential part of the United States learning to live in a multipolar world will be the admittedly difficult task of adapting American diplomacy and defense strategy to this new set of circumstances.Lyle J. Goldstein is Research Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. In addition to Chinese, he also speaks Russian and he is also an affiliate of the new Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) at Naval War College. You can reach him at goldstel@usnwc.edu. The opinions in his columns are entirely his own and do not reflect the official assessments of the U.S. Navy or any other agency of the U.S. government.Image: Reuters
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Trump suggested using bombs to fight hurricanes. These 4 graphics show why that would never work.
President Trump has suggested hitting hurricanes with nuclear weapons. But no nuclear bomb is powerful enough to continuously disrupt a hurricane.
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Tensions mount between Trump, Pence camps heading into 2020 election
Tensions mount between President Trump's and Vice President Mike Pence's camps as the 2020 election draws closer, amid discussion of their personal relationship and the recent rumors that Pence may be replaced by Nikki Haley.
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These Patriotic Party Ideas Will Take Your 4th of July Soiree To Another Level
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These Fun and Easy 4th of July Appetizers Will Have Everyone Crowding the Food Table
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Procrastinators, You'll Appreciate These Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas
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GLOBAL MARKETS-Confirmation of U.S.-China trade talks buoys shares, investors' spirits
Asian shares extended gains on Thursday and U.S. stock futures jumped after China said it will hold trade talks with the United States in early October, raising hopes they can de-escalate their trade war before it inflicts further damage on the global economy. U.S. stock futures reversed early losses and rose 1%.
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Kosovo jails six for plans to attack NATO troops, other countries
A court in Kosovo said it had jailed six people, including a woman, for terms ranging from one to 10 years, for planning attacks on NATO troops and the public in Kosovo, Belgium and France. The population of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is nominally 90 percent Muslim, but largely secular. NATO has fewer than 4,000 troops there, with the mission to keep the fragile peace since the war ended in 1999.
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ANALYSIS-Hard right: Political divide deepens in Thailand
A new term is gaining ground in Thailand's political vocabulary: "Chung-Chart", which translates roughly as "nation-hater". The term is used by ardent supporters of the monarchy and military to label anyone they see as a threat in a kingdom where polarisation between the ruling establishment and Thais seeking change has become even sharper after the end of junta rule this year. "Chung-Chart" is now a stock phrase for pro-government media and politicians as well as conservative nationalists waging an increasing battle against the opposition on social media and in the courts, illustrating the deepening political divide in the southeast Asian nation.
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UPDATE 1-Dutch regulator ACM blocks proposed postal services merger
The Dutch market regulator said on Thursday it would not allow the proposed 130 million euro ($144.8 million) acquisition by postal service company PostNL of its main rival Sandd because it would create a monopoly. The Netherlands' Authority for Consumers and Markets said that after careful consideration it "will not provide a licence" for the acquisition, proposed in February. The companies had proposed combining the two largest mail companies in the country.
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Large blast rocks Afghan capital near area housing embassies
A large explosion has rocked the Afghan capital and smoke is rising from a part of eastern Kabul, near a neighborhood housing the U.S. Embassy and other diplomatic missions. Firdaus Faramarz, a spokesman for Kabul's police chief, says the blast occurred in the city's Ninth Police District. The blast took place on Thursday morning as a U.S. envoy has been in the capital briefing the Afghan government and others on a deal he says has been reached "in principle" with the Taliban on ending America's longest war.
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Another resignation shakes LGBT Republican group after Trump endorsement
The first female executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans resigned this week following the group’s endorsement of President Trump’s reelection, the second official to step down in as many weeks.
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Veteran Wisconsin GOP Rep. Sensenbrenner says he'll retire
Veteran Wisconsin Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner announced his retirement from Congress on Wednesday, making the former House Judiciary Committee chairman the 15th GOP lawmaker to say he will step aside before next year's elections. Sensenbrenner, 76, was first elected in 1978 and is the second-longest serving current member of the House, trailing only Alaska Republican Don Young in seniority. Sensenbrenner said in a statement that when he first began public service, "I said I would know when it was time to step back" and that he'd decided now was that time.
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San Francisco Deemed the NRA a ‘Domestic Terrorist Organization’. Here’s Why That’s Wrong.
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution labeling the National Rifle Association a “domestic terrorist organization.”The resolution also states that “the City and County of San Francisco should take every reasonable step to limit those entities who do business with the City and County of San Francisco from doing business with this domestic terrorist organization.”“The National Rifle Association musters its considerable wealth and organizational strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence,” the resolution states. “The National Rifle Association spreads propaganda that misinforms and aims to deceive the public about the dangers of gun violence, and . . . the leadership of National Rifle Association promotes extremist positions, in defiance of the views of a majority of its membership and the public, and undermine the general welfare.”The NRA has since responded with its own statement: “This ludicrous stunt by the Board of Supervisors is an effort to distract from the real problems facing San Francisco, such as rampant homelessness, drug abuse and skyrocketing petty crime, to name a few,” the statement reads, according to KTVU. “The NRA will continue working to protect the constitutional rights of all freedom-loving Americans.”Honestly, the NRA is right . . . “ludicrous” is the perfect way to describe this. If the NRA were truly a “domestic terrorist organization,” then it would (and this seems so obvious that I can’t believe I even have to write it) have to have supported at least one act of domestic terror. (Read: It hasn’t.) What it does support is the Second Amendment of the Constitution, and supporting the Constitution should absolutely never result in getting labeled a “terrorist.”As a Second Amendment supporter myself, I have to say that I am honestly sick and tired of this BS narrative that you have to support whatever gun-control measure that the Left throws our way or else you’re a murderer who wants children to die. Yes, gun violence absolutely is tragic, so I can understand how people’s emotions about it might prompt them to feel that we have to “do something.” The thing is, though, it would be a huge mistake to “do something” that would take away our freedoms just for the sake of being able to say we did “do something” -- especially if that “something” likely won’t even solve the problem, anyway.Unfortunately, “likely won’t even solve the problem, anyway” describes most of the gun-control measures that have been proposed thus far. For example: Over the weekend, Beto O’Rourke announced that, if he were president, then “Americans who own AR-15s, AK-47s, [would] have to sell them to the government.” This sort of proposal, as a piece in Reason notes, is one that has become popular with Democrats, including Senator Bernie Sanders. As Reason also notes, however, it likely wouldn’t work. After all, similar things have been tried in the past, and they, well, didn’t. In 1991, the New York Times reported: "More than a year after New Jersey imposed the toughest assault-weapons law in the country, the law is proving difficult if not impossible to enforce. Only four military-style weapons have been turned in to the State Police and another 14 were confiscated. The state knows the whereabouts of fewer than 2,000 other guns”— out of an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 privately owned weapons in the state.Now, these people in New Jersey were faced with the possibility of felony prosecution for disobeying this law, and yet they still disregarded it -- which makes me think that most of them would almost certainly not be motivated by O’Rourke’s threat of a fine. As Reason explains, it was easy for New Jerseyans to disobey this law because the state had no registration requirements for guns. Seeing as most of the United States doesn’t have these requirements, either, O’Rourke’s gun-control idea seems like more like wishful thinking than a viable solution.Why not just make everyone register, then? Well, because people won’t listen to that either -- especially if you’ve been open with them about the fact that the reason you’re asking them to register is because you do intend on taking their guns away. As Reason notes, Connecticut’s attempt in 2014 to register “assault weapons” achieved only an estimated 15 percent compliance rate, and a similar law in New York achieved a less than 5 percent compliance rate.As another piece in Reason notes, the resounding call for “universal background checks” would likely also be a futile policy. After all, most mass shooters either have passed or could pass background checks. For example: Both the El Paso and Dayton shooters did.The truth is, San Francisco’s labeling of the NRA as a “domestic terrorist organization” over its support of gun rights and opposition to gun control helps absolutely no one -- but it could hurt some. In case you haven’t noticed, we have become quite a divided country these days. We are finding ourselves starkly divided along political lines, with each side seeing the other not simply as people with whom they disagree, but rather as actual enemies. Incorrectly and ridiculously labeling supporters of the Constitution as “terrorists” only cements this kind of divisive, hateful thinking -- and the folks in San Francisco who are responsible for this should be ashamed of themselves.
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Trump administration pulls plug on energy-efficient bulb rules
Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday issued a new rule reversing a requirement for all new light bulbs to be energy-efficient by 2020, a move welcomed by industry but strongly criticized by climate change groups. The rollback represents the latest in the US president's running battle since taking office against nearly all forms of environmental regulation, coming shortly after his administration axed rules limiting leaks of the greenhouse gas methane and after weakening a key wildlife protection law. Incandescent light bulbs, which were invented by Thomas Edison in 1878 and lose 90 percent of their energy to heat, have been on the decline since a 2007 law that mandated phased-in energy efficiency targets they could not meet.
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Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on what's moving European markets in your inbox every morning? Sign up here.Good morning. Boris Johnson is running out of options, there’s optimism on both the U.S.-China trade war and the situation in Hong Kong, and Mario Draghi faces pushback on his stimulus plans. Here’s what’s moving markets.Johnson TrappedIn dramatic voting on Wednesday, members of U.K. Parliament moved to stop Johnson forcing the country out of the European Union without a deal next month, effectively wrecking his plan to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31. When he responded with a desperate appeal for a snap general election, Parliament snubbed that, too. If Johnson can’t now find a way to win its support for an election so he can get a shot at commanding a majority, he’ll be trapped in office, compelled by law to request a further delay to Brexit.Trade ReliefChinese Vice Premier Liu He agreed to visit Washington in early October during a telephone call on Thursday morning Beijing time with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, while a cautious statement from the U.S. confirmed that ministerial-level discussions will take place in “the coming weeks,” without specifying when. It was a relief for equities markets after the two sides’ recent wrangling over meeting scheduling, with some key stock benchmarks in Asia rising 2% or more. Lam’s StepsHong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her decision to scrap extradition legislation that sparked three months of protests was only the “first step” to addressing the city’s unrest, after protesters said the chief executive’s concessions fell short of their demands. European luxury goods stocks and Asia-exposed banks rallied on Wednesday’s announcement, and Hong Kong’s government has taken out an advertisement overseas as it seeks to reassure investors the city is stable and the economy is strong.Draghi Pushed BackMario Draghi’s is facing the biggest pushback on policy ever seen during his eight-year reign as European Central Bank president, as a raft of colleagues voice skepticism over the need for an immediate resumption of quantitative easing. That said, ECB presidential nominee Christine Lagarde has pledged to act with “agility” against low inflation, signaling that she’ll follow Draghi’s example in finding ways to keep monetary policy exceptionally loose. The euro edged lower overnight after gaining Wednesday. Coming Up...German factory orders and U.S. durable goods are on the date slate amid talk of a manufacturing contraction globally, while U.S. ADP employment change acts as a marker for Friday’s nonfarm payrolls number. In corporate earnings, France’s Safran raised its sales and profit guidance, following a beat Wednesday for defense peer Thales, and we’ll also get an update from U.K. engineer Melrose Industries Plc. What We’ve Been ReadingThis is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.Trump altered Dorian map to show storm threatened Alabama. These are the world’s most liveable cities.  Brexit ruined a reliable energy bet.  Why Apple is borrowing $7 billion while sitting on $200 billion. Vegan and vegetarian diets may increase the risk of stroke. European execs rule out M&A amid political storm.  Pleasing photos taken by brothers with drone. Like Bloomberg's Five Things? Subscribe for unlimited access to trusted, data-based journalism in 120 countries around the world and gain expert analysis from exclusive daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. Find out more about how the Terminal delivers information and analysis that financial professionals can't find anywhere else. Learn more.To contact the author of this story: Joe Easton in London at jeaston7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Dorian expected to cause flooding along Carolinas coast
As Hurricane Dorian slogs up the Carolinas coast, forecasters are predicting high storm surges and drenching rains that could trigger flooding and unleash environmental hazards in areas still recovering from last year's Hurricane Florence. The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning Wednesday for the Atlantic coast from northern Georgia to southern Virginia, predicting a "potentially life threatening storm surge" up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) around the North Carolina-South Carolina line. There could also be up to a foot of rainfall across much of Eastern North Carolina, raising concerns of flash flooding well inland.
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Britain Can’t Fix Brexit Until It Drafts a Constitution
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Democracy, Winston Churchill once famously said, was the worst way to run a country “apart from all the others that have ever been tried.” Unfortunately, he did not make clear what kind of democracy he favored.Britain’s dreadful Brexit impasse has divided the country into roughly equal camps, both convinced democracy has been traduced. And they both have a point. What started as an argument over the European Union’s democratic deficit, and the way in which it encroached on Britain’s unwritten constitution, has degenerated into something more fundamental: an argument about the nature of democracy itself in the U.K.This crisis is in turn the bequest of generations of making minor tweaks to an unwritten constitution while avoiding the extremely difficult decisions needed to write a new one.  In the void, two forms of democracy are attempting to co-exist in Parliament -- representative democracy and direct democracy.On the one hand, Britain is a representative democracy, leaving decisions to elected MPs. Yet those same MPs sanctioned a Brexit referendum, or an act of direct democracy. The current crop of representatives, elected a year after the referendum, cannot agree on a way to enact it. The House of Cards-style intrigue plainly shows the limits of representative democracy. Within the Commons there is no majority for any one course of action, and nobody has managed to thrash out a workable compromise. Two prime ministers – Theresa May, and now Boris Johnson – have tried to paint the issue as Parliament thwarting the will of the people. But the imbroglio also shows the weakness of direct democracy. Britain’s membership in the EU, we now know, was far too complicated and subtle to be framed as an either/or question. One tribe says that nobody voted for a “no-deal” Brexit, while the other says that a majority is for a Brexit in some form. Both are right.To deal with this, either the people should be asked ever more questions to help their representatives sort out the mess, which is impractical. Or they must trust their representatives to sort it out. Neither is happening.And the problem runs deeper. Time and again in the last few decades, politicians have confronted anachronisms in Britain’s political apparatus and made changes while shirking the far harder task of devising new institutions. The result is a political system in gridlock.Under Britain’s unwritten constitution, the monarch is absolutely powerful but faces a duty of eternal self-restraint. In this way, Britain has avoided arguments attending any attempt to write a constitution and abolish the monarch. The Queen worked on the assumption that she had no right to turn down Johnson’s request to suspend Parliament. For a hereditary monarch to say no to a prime minister would have introduced an even deeper constitutional crisis. But the incident revealed that the prime minister enjoyed monarchical powers to suspend Parliament – and it is not surprising that it triggered a rebellion.Next look at the House of Lords which, it is whispered in the parliamentary lobbies, might yet try to stage a filibuster of the bill barring Johnson from accepting a “no-deal” Brexit. The Lords has been stripped of hereditary peers but it is still an unelected body. It is hard to believe it has the the legitimacy to thwart the will of elected MPs.  Now turn to the parties. Until a generation ago, MPs alone chose their leaders. Both Labour and the Conservatives have moved toward a looser model like the American system, where all party members have a vote. But the result has been half-baked. Johnson was elected by 140,000 Conservative activists far more strongly opposed to the EU than the rest of the country. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn was elected by an expanded party that allowed anyone to be a voting member after paying a modest fee.  An influx of enthusiastic ideological left-wingers swung the result. Neither party’s leader has anything like the broad mandate of a U.S. presidential nominee. Both represent unrepresentative electorates while failing to command the support of their own MPs in Parliament. So the major parties lack the legitimacy to sort the Brexit mess.Would a general election help, as Johnson suggests? Probably not. The “first past the post” system works well in a purely representative democracy where MPs as individuals have great latitude. It is useless if there is any hope that Parliament should reflect the “will of the people.” In that scenario, results are affected by the geographic distribution of votes and distorted by the presence of major alternative parties. There is no reason to think that MPs in a new Parliament would accurately reflect the broad spread of opinions about Brexit. So it looks hard for the U.K. to sort Brexit without reforming its parties and its electoral system (while also possibly agreeing on an elected upper chamber and even limiting or replacing the power of the monarch). Moreover, nothing will be solved until Britain drafts a written constitution. The nation’s democratic deficit appears at least as serious as that of the EU, and resolving it may require turning the U.K. into something far more like a continental European country.And that is not what anyone thought they were voting for back when the Brexit referendum first surfaced. To contact the author of this story: John Authers at jauthers@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at tobrien46@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.John Authers is a senior editor for markets. Before Bloomberg, he spent 29 years with the Financial Times, where he was head of the Lex Column and chief markets commentator. He is the author of “The Fearful Rise of Markets” and other books.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Britain Can’t Fix Brexit Until It Drafts a Constitution
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Democracy, Winston Churchill once famously said, was the worst way to run a country “apart from all the others that have ever been tried.” Unfortunately, he did not make clear what kind of democracy he favored.Britain’s dreadful Brexit impasse has divided the country into roughly equal camps, both convinced democracy has been traduced. And they both have a point. What started as an argument over the European Union’s democratic deficit, and the way in which it encroached on Britain’s unwritten constitution, has degenerated into something more fundamental: an argument about the nature of democracy itself in the U.K.This crisis is in turn the bequest of generations of making minor tweaks to an unwritten constitution while avoiding the extremely difficult decisions needed to write a new one.  In the void, two forms of democracy are attempting to co-exist in Parliament -- representative democracy and direct democracy.On the one hand, Britain is a representative democracy, leaving decisions to elected MPs. Yet those same MPs sanctioned a Brexit referendum, or an act of direct democracy. The current crop of representatives, elected a year after the referendum, cannot agree on a way to enact it. The House of Cards-style intrigue plainly shows the limits of representative democracy. Within the Commons there is no majority for any one course of action, and nobody has managed to thrash out a workable compromise. Two prime ministers – Theresa May, and now Boris Johnson – have tried to paint the issue as Parliament thwarting the will of the people. But the imbroglio also shows the weakness of direct democracy. Britain’s membership in the EU, we now know, was far too complicated and subtle to be framed as an either/or question. One tribe says that nobody voted for a “no-deal” Brexit, while the other says that a majority is for a Brexit in some form. Both are right.To deal with this, either the people should be asked ever more questions to help their representatives sort out the mess, which is impractical. Or they must trust their representatives to sort it out. Neither is happening.And the problem runs deeper. Time and again in the last few decades, politicians have confronted anachronisms in Britain’s political apparatus and made changes while shirking the far harder task of devising new institutions. The result is a political system in gridlock.Under Britain’s unwritten constitution, the monarch is absolutely powerful but faces a duty of eternal self-restraint. In this way, Britain has avoided arguments attending any attempt to write a constitution and abolish the monarch. The Queen worked on the assumption that she had no right to turn down Johnson’s request to suspend Parliament. For a hereditary monarch to say no to a prime minister would have introduced an even deeper constitutional crisis. But the incident revealed that the prime minister enjoyed monarchical powers to suspend Parliament – and it is not surprising that it triggered a rebellion.Next look at the House of Lords which, it is whispered in the parliamentary lobbies, might yet try to stage a filibuster of the bill barring Johnson from accepting a “no-deal” Brexit. The Lords has been stripped of hereditary peers but it is still an unelected body. It is hard to believe it has the the legitimacy to thwart the will of elected MPs.  Now turn to the parties. Until a generation ago, MPs alone chose their leaders. Both Labour and the Conservatives have moved toward a looser model like the American system, where all party members have a vote. But the result has been half-baked. Johnson was elected by 140,000 Conservative activists far more strongly opposed to the EU than the rest of the country. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn was elected by an expanded party that allowed anyone to be a voting member after paying a modest fee.  An influx of enthusiastic ideological left-wingers swung the result. Neither party’s leader has anything like the broad mandate of a U.S. presidential nominee. Both represent unrepresentative electorates while failing to command the support of their own MPs in Parliament. So the major parties lack the legitimacy to sort the Brexit mess.Would a general election help, as Johnson suggests? Probably not. The “first past the post” system works well in a purely representative democracy where MPs as individuals have great latitude. It is useless if there is any hope that Parliament should reflect the “will of the people.” In that scenario, results are affected by the geographic distribution of votes and distorted by the presence of major alternative parties. There is no reason to think that MPs in a new Parliament would accurately reflect the broad spread of opinions about Brexit. So it looks hard for the U.K. to sort Brexit without reforming its parties and its electoral system (while also possibly agreeing on an elected upper chamber and even limiting or replacing the power of the monarch). Moreover, nothing will be solved until Britain drafts a written constitution. The nation’s democratic deficit appears at least as serious as that of the EU, and resolving it may require turning the U.K. into something far more like a continental European country.And that is not what anyone thought they were voting for back when the Brexit referendum first surfaced. To contact the author of this story: John Authers at jauthers@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at tobrien46@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.John Authers is a senior editor for markets. Before Bloomberg, he spent 29 years with the Financial Times, where he was head of the Lex Column and chief markets commentator. He is the author of “The Fearful Rise of Markets” and other books.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot keeps up Twitter spat with Sen. Ted Cruz over Chicago crime
Mayor Lori Lightfoot is not backing down in her war of words with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz over crime in Chicago.
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China, U.S. to hold trade talks in October: China commerce ministry
China and the United States agreed to hold high-level trade talks in early October in Washington, China's commerce ministry said on Thursday, amid fears that an escalating trade war could trigger a global economic recession. The announcement followed a call earlier in the day between China's Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website.
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Dozens killed in dive boat fire came from all walks of life
The dozens of people who perished as flames engulfed a dive boat off the Southern California coast came from many walks of life. Thirty-four people died when the Conception caught fire before dawn on Labor Day as it anchored off Santa Cruz Island. The only crew member to die was Allie Kurtz, 26, who quit her corporate job at Paramount Pictures to work on dive boats.
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Memorials show California community's grief over boat fire
Just hours after a fire raced through a scuba diving boat, a memorial started sprouting up to commemorate the lives of 34 people who died trapped below decks. Days later, it has all but enveloped the sprawling harbor boardwalk where the boat, the Conception, once docked in Santa Barbara. The poignant displays, though common following a tragedy, showed the impact of the fire on Santa Barbara, a picturesque community of historic buildings, hilltop mansions and pristine beaches.
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Boris Johnson Has Badly Miscalculated
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- After just 43 days in office, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has gotten himself into a dire fix. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way out — for him or for the country he nominally leads.Thanks to a series of miscalculations, Johnson’s party is cracking up, his government is collapsing, and his political strategy is backfiring. This week, he ejected 21 rebels from the parliamentary Conservative Party after they joined the opposition to stop him from forcing the country out of the European Union without an exit agreement. To restore his authority and a workable majority, the prime minister then called for a prompt general election — and lost that vote as well, failing to muster the necessary two-thirds support.All politicians have bad weeks. But the first part of this one has set some kind of record. Its consequences will extend far beyond the operatic disarray in Westminster. Most immediately, Johnson has made resolving Brexit — the gravest challenge the country has faced in decades — far harder. Britain is still scheduled to leave the EU on Oct. 31. Holding a general election in the meantime, as Johnson presumably still hopes to do, could conceivably ease that process by securing a clearer majority for the prime minister’s plans. The problem is that no one can say what those are.By nearly all accounts, negotiations with the EU on a revised deal have gone nowhere. Johnson can’t even identify what he hopes to achieve in these talks. He wants to ditch the “backstop” arrangement intended to prevent a hard border with Ireland, but can’t specify what should take its place. Meanwhile, in purging his party of no-deal opponents, he’s ousted the very lawmakers who would’ve been most likely to support any new compromise.In proceeding so heedlessly, Johnson is not only shooting himself in the foot, but also maximizing the long-term damage Brexit is doing to Britain’s constitutional order and political norms. Unelected and lacking a mandate, he has nonetheless pressed the executive’s power to its limits. He seems to view Parliament as an irritant; his ministers seem to regard the rule of law as one option among many. They should all try to imagine what the opposition might do with such an expansive interpretation of the prime minister’s authority.Perhaps most damaging, though, is the cost of this endless misadventure. Britain is on the verge of a recession. Business investment — the most obvious victim of Brexit uncertainty — has been in a severe funk. Services growth is stalling while manufacturing and construction are most likely in contraction. Johnson is meanwhile spending millions on an advertising campaign to convince businesses to prepare for no-deal even while assuring everyone that it’s highly unlikely — a strategy that has not exactly alleviated the uncertainty.Is there any way out of this?A general election would offer one potential escape route. Yet it will also present voters with a dismal choice. On one hand, there’s Johnson, and the renewed threat of his delivering a chaotic exit. On the other, there’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose modest agenda includes nationalizing much of the economy, eviscerating property rights, and otherwise expunging the counterrevolution. In any event, another hung Parliament seems all too likely.The unfortunate fact is that the machinery of British politics has become stuck on Brexit. As the process grinds on — chewing through two prime ministers and counting — it is doing worsening damage without producing any forward momentum. More of the same will hardly help. Even at this late date, the best and most democratic way out of this morass is to let the public decide the matter in a second referendum. The alternatives look bleaker by the day.\--Editors: Timothy Lavin, Clive Crook.To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg Opinion’s editorials: David Shipley at davidshipley@bloomberg.net, .Editorials are written by the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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The variability of menstrual cycles might affect the accuracy of fertility apps: study
New European research has found that only 13 percent of women have menstrual cycles lasting 28 days, which researchers say could help couples better understand when pregnancy is more likely to occur. Led by University College London (UCL) and Natural Cycles, a contraceptive app, the new study is one of the biggest to date to look at menstrual cycles, analyzing data gathered from the app on over 600,000 menstrual cycles and 124,648 women aged 18 to 45 from Sweden, the US and the UK. The researchers studied whether the women's menstrual cycle characteristics were associated with age, body mass index (BMI) and body temperatures.
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Boris Johnson Has Badly Miscalculated
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- After just 43 days in office, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has gotten himself into a dire fix. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way out — for him or for the country he nominally leads.Thanks to a series of miscalculations, Johnson’s party is cracking up, his government is collapsing, and his political strategy is backfiring. This week, he ejected 21 rebels from the parliamentary Conservative Party after they joined the opposition to stop him from forcing the country out of the European Union without an exit agreement. To restore his authority and a workable majority, the prime minister then called for a prompt general election — and lost that vote as well, failing to muster the necessary two-thirds support.All politicians have bad weeks. But the first part of this one has set some kind of record. Its consequences will extend far beyond the operatic disarray in Westminster. Most immediately, Johnson has made resolving Brexit — the gravest challenge the country has faced in decades — far harder. Britain is still scheduled to leave the EU on Oct. 31. Holding a general election in the meantime, as Johnson presumably still hopes to do, could conceivably ease that process by securing a clearer majority for the prime minister’s plans. The problem is that no one can say what those are.By nearly all accounts, negotiations with the EU on a revised deal have gone nowhere. Johnson can’t even identify what he hopes to achieve in these talks. He wants to ditch the “backstop” arrangement intended to prevent a hard border with Ireland, but can’t specify what should take its place. Meanwhile, in purging his party of no-deal opponents, he’s ousted the very lawmakers who would’ve been most likely to support any new compromise.In proceeding so heedlessly, Johnson is not only shooting himself in the foot, but also maximizing the long-term damage Brexit is doing to Britain’s constitutional order and political norms. Unelected and lacking a mandate, he has nonetheless pressed the executive’s power to its limits. He seems to view Parliament as an irritant; his ministers seem to regard the rule of law as one option among many. They should all try to imagine what the opposition might do with such an expansive interpretation of the prime minister’s authority.Perhaps most damaging, though, is the cost of this endless misadventure. Britain is on the verge of a recession. Business investment — the most obvious victim of Brexit uncertainty — has been in a severe funk. Services growth is stalling while manufacturing and construction are most likely in contraction. Johnson is meanwhile spending millions on an advertising campaign to convince businesses to prepare for no-deal even while assuring everyone that it’s highly unlikely — a strategy that has not exactly alleviated the uncertainty.Is there any way out of this?A general election would offer one potential escape route. Yet it will also present voters with a dismal choice. On one hand, there’s Johnson, and the renewed threat of his delivering a chaotic exit. On the other, there’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose modest agenda includes nationalizing much of the economy, eviscerating property rights, and otherwise expunging the counterrevolution. In any event, another hung Parliament seems all too likely.The unfortunate fact is that the machinery of British politics has become stuck on Brexit. As the process grinds on — chewing through two prime ministers and counting — it is doing worsening damage without producing any forward momentum. More of the same will hardly help. Even at this late date, the best and most democratic way out of this morass is to let the public decide the matter in a second referendum. The alternatives look bleaker by the day.\--Editors: Timothy Lavin, Clive Crook.To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg Opinion’s editorials: David Shipley at davidshipley@bloomberg.net, .Editorials are written by the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Reuters People News Summary
Judge Herbert Moses of the Manhattan Supreme Court set an Oct. 10 trial date on Tuesday for the actor Cuba Gooding Jr., who was charged with groping a woman at a Manhattan bar in June. Actress Priyanka Chopra and her pop star husband Nick Jonas were named the best dressed of 2019 by People magazine on Wednesday, marking the first time in the celebrity magazine's history that a couple has shared top style honors.
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Reuters Entertainment News Summary
Australian director Shannon Murphy manages to bring out the humor in pain and suffering in her tear-jerking film feature debut "Babyteeth", a harrowing tale of a seriously ill teenage girl embracing life. Actress Priyanka Chopra and her pop star husband Nick Jonas were named the best dressed of 2019 by People magazine on Wednesday, marking the first time in the celebrity magazine's history that a couple has shared top style honors.
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Reuters Health News Summary
Chinese health inspectors are expected to start evaluating four Brazilian beef plants on Thursday as part of a push to approve new meat exporters amid an outbreak of swine fever, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Marfrig Global Foods SA owns one of the plants, located in the town of Várzea Grande in Mato Grosso state, according to both sources. Researchers who followed more than 1,100 survivors of the Ebola virus outbreak - which swept through West Africa in the world's largest epidemic from 2013 to 2016 - found their mortality rates a year after discharge from hospital were up to five times higher than expected in general Guinean population.
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Glencore's risk appetite dwindles, fueling focus on safer regions
The Swiss-based commodity trader took majority control last June of PolyMet Mining Corp , which is developing a mine in the Midwest state near the Canadian border estimated to hold a century's worth of copper and nickel, critical to the development of electric vehicles. It is the first time that Glencore has controlled a major mining project in the United States, where President Donald Trump has cut mining regulations and red tape in a bid to encourage domestic mining, a marked change from predecessor Barack Obama, who favored stricter oversight of the sector and slowed or halted several large mining projects. Glencore for years has operated in regions considered high-risk, high-reward, making its shares a draw for some investors who saw the more conservative investing policies of peers, including BHP Group PLC , as too tame.
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Stay or go? Asian nations mull options as seas rise, cities sink
Small islands and coastal cities in Asia-Pacific need more funds to assist vulnerable communities and help them decide whether to relocate or stay and defend against rising sea levels and extreme weather, climate experts said on Thursday. Indonesia last month said it would relocate its capital from the sinking city of Jakarta, while Fiji plans to move dozens of coastal villages inland, and the Marshall Islands is building sea walls to protect coastal communities. "As much as possible, we must try to adapt and mitigate in situ because that's where people have their homes, land and livelihoods," said Harjeet Singh, global climate change lead at charity ActionAid.
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UPDATE 1-Biden jokes about gaffes with Colbert, gets serious about climate on CNN
U.S. presidential hopeful Joe Biden joked about his frequent verbal gaffes on one television show while laying out plans to combat climate change on another on Wednesday night, a high-stakes balancing act aimed at shoring up his lead among Democrats seeking their party's nomination. In an appearance on the CBS program The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Biden pretended to confuse Colbert with another comedian and talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, provoking laughter from the audience. "I think it's fair to go after a political figure for anything," Biden said.
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Nunes: The courts are going to have to come in and clean up Fusion GPS
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes on his lawsuit against Fusion GPS on 'Hannity.'
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Chinese shoppers adopt facial payments in cashless drive
No cash, no cards, no wallet, and no smartphones: China's shoppers are increasingly purchasing goods with just a turn of their heads as the country embraces facial payment technology. China's mobile payment infrastructure is one of the most advanced in the world, but the new systems -- which require only face recognition -- being rolled out nationwide could make even QR codes seem old-fashioned. Customers simply make a purchase by posing in front of point-of-sale (POS) machines equipped with cameras, after linking an image of their face to a digital payment system or bank account.
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Acting CBP commissioner hits back at Pelosi, says every mile of border wall makes the nation safer
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says diverting military funds to border security makes Americans 'less secure'; reaction from acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan.
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UPDATE 1-At least 30 injured after collision of train and truck in Japan's Yokohama
An express train and a truck collided in Japan's second-largest city of Yokohama on Thursday, train operator Keikyu Corp said, with fire officials confirming that about 30 people were injured. The truck driver was severely hurt, but the injuries to the passengers and driver of the train did not immediately appear to be serious, NHK added. Earlier, black smoke billowed from parts of the derailed train and the truck, which was crushed between the train and a wall, while smashed boxes and what appeared to be oranges littered the tracks.
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A Loophole in the Background Check System Let the Odessa Shooter Get a Gun. Millions of Guns Change Hands That Way, Experts Say
After reportedly failing a background check, he got a gun from a private seller
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His Brexit plans in crisis, Johnson pushes for new elections
Prime Minister Boris Johnson looked for new ways to bring about a national election after rebellious British lawmakers rejected his call to trigger a snap poll and moved to block his plan to leave the European Union next month without a divorce deal. It was the embattled leader's third Parliamentary defeat in two days and evidence that scarcely six weeks after taking office with a vow to break Britain's Brexit deadlock — which ensnared and eventually brought down his predecessor, Theresa May — Johnson's plans to lead the U.K, out of the EU are in crisis. The latest setback for Johnson came Wednesday evening after he called for a national election on Oct. 15, saying it was the only way out of Britain's Brexit impasse after lawmakers moved to block his plan to leave the European Union next month without a divorce deal.
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Beijing offers development fund if Solomon Islands breaks ties with Taiwan-govt
China is offering to bankroll a development fund for the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific if it switches diplomatic ties from Taiwan to Beijing, a parliamentary committee in the small island nation has heard. The proposal, which would replace a similar structure set-up by Taiwan, comes amid a global push by Beijing to peel away the allies of what it considers a wayward province with no right to state-to-state ties.
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Gay fathers receive less parental leave than other couples: study
Gay men around the world receive less paid parental leave than lesbian or heterosexual couples, researchers said on Thursday, with many left struggling to pay household bills if they opt to spend more time at home with their children. The study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) examined paternity laws in 33 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that offer paid leave to new parents. First published in the Journal of Social Policy, the research found that gay male couples received the same number of weeks off as different-sex couples in just 12% of those nations.
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Santa Cruz Island Dive Boat Fire: Santa Cruz students, teacher from Fremont among victims on Conception
We are starting to learn more about some of the victims from Northern California from the dive boat fire in Southern California near Santa Cruz Island.
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UK Johnson's Brexit plans in tatters after stinging defeats
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's hardline Brexit strategy stood in tatters on Thursday after a humiliating week left him without a working majority but unable to call an election. "Govt commits to allowing (the draft legislation) to complete all stages in course of Thurs & Friday -- with the bill then going back to the Commons for any further consideration on Monday," the main opposition Labour Party tweeted in the early hours of Thursday morning. Labour said it will only back the snap poll once it makes sure Johnson is unable to follow through on his threat to take Britain out of the EU with no deal by the October 31 Brexit deadline .
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Chinese paper says HK demonstrators now have no excuse for violence
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam's withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill that had sparked widespread protests was an olive branch that leaves demonstrators with no excuse to continue violence, the official China Daily said on Thursday. The bill would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where courts are controlled by the Communist Party. The state-run China Daily said the decision was "a sincere and earnest response to the voice of the community ... (that) could be interpreted as an olive branch extended to those who have opposed the bill over the past few months".
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Santa Cruz Island Dive Boat Fire: Santa Cruz students, teacher from Fremont among victims on Conception
We are starting to learn more about some of the victims from Northern California from the dive boat fire in Southern California near Santa Cruz Island.
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American Airlines retires last of its 'workhorse' MD-80 fleet
An era ended at American Airlines on Wednesday as the airline retired the remaining 26 planes of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 fleet.
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Santa Cruz Island Dive Boat Fire: Santa Cruz students, teacher from Fremont among victims on Conception
We are starting to learn more about some of the victims from Northern California from the dive boat fire in Southern California near Santa Cruz Island.
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POLL-Dubai house prices to fall sharply
Dubai house prices will decline sharply this year and next, according to property market experts in a Reuters poll, who said a slowdown in the economy and an oversupply of housing units are big downside risks to their already weak outlook. Dubai - with a diversified trade and tourism economy and one of the seven territories of the United Arab Emirates - has faced a sharp slowdown in its real estate market for most of this decade, barring a pick up for a brief period more than five years ago. The Aug. 14-Sept. 3 Reuters poll of market analysts at 11 investment firms and research institutions showed house prices in Dubai would fall 10% this year and 5% next.
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Trump claims 'radical left' spread rumors of bedbugs at Florida club
President Trump blamed “Radical Left Democrats” for spreading reports that there were bedbugs at a golf resort he owns in Miami, the same one he pitched as the venue for next year’s G-7 meeting.
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Indonesia restores internet access in parts of restive Papua region
Indonesia has partially lifted an internet blackout imposed following civil unrest in the country's easternmost region of Papua, but is yet to restore access in areas where the most violent protests erupted, a government statement said. The region of Papua has suffered the most serious civil unrest in years since mid-August over perceived racial and ethnic discrimination. Some protesters have also demanded an independence referendum, something Jakarta has ruled out.
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Twenty dead in Bahamas after Dorian leaves 'generational devastation'
Officials expect the number of dead will continue to rise as large parts of some islands remain inaccessible to rescue crewsA man walks through the rubble in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian on the Great Abaco island town of Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, 2 September 2019. Photograph: Dante Carrer/ReutersThe official death toll of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas has risen to 20 people with officials certain the number will continue to rise, the prime minister, Hubert Minnis, announced as he declared a “historic tragedy” on the archipelago.At a press conference late on Wednesday the prime minister also warned of reports of looting on the Abaco Islands, a northern band of islands in the Bahamas hardest hit by Dorian, which pummelled the area as a slow moving category 5 hurricane over the weekend.Minnis, who had recently returned from a flyover of the Abacos, warned of “generational devastation” in the northern region of the Bahamas that also includes Grand Bahama, the archipelago’s northernmost island.As Minnis confirmed the number of dead he cautioned: “we expect that this number will increase”.“We ask you to pray for the families and loved ones deceased,” the prime minister added.Large parts of the Abaco Islands have remained inaccessible to rescue crews, who continue to prioritize emergency evacuations, meaning the full scale of devastation caused by the hurricane is still not completely clear.Mark Lowcock, the United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, told the Guardian that the agency estimates around 70,000 people in the northern Bahamas remain in need of relief assistance.Flooding on Grand Bahama Island after Hurricane Dorian. Photograph: Joe Skipper/ReutersAt the island’s main rescue centre in Nassau, the Bahamas capital city, US Coast Guard and Royal Marines helicopters arrived sporadically throughout the day bringing in dozens of rescued people from the Abacos Islands.Rescue workers said that the challenge remained gargantuan due to the level of destruction and how remote the northern islands were. With no functioning water systems in accessible areas, workers had not been able to establish a permanent rescue site on the Abacos.The US Coast Guard had rescued 114 people by Wednesday afternoon. A spokesman told the Guardian that six helicopter rescue crews had rescued around 60 critically injured people by Tuesday evening.Lt Keith Webb, a Royal Marines helicopter co-pilot, said that his crew had rescued a seven-week-old baby girl who suffered from acute sepsis in the aftermath of Dorian. The crew had also rescued two children, aged six and seven, suffering from hypothermia.Other recently evacuated Bahamians said they had endured days without food and, in one case, had witnessed a neighbour die in front of them from cardiac arrest.Minnis said he had spoken to Donald Trump earlier in the day. The US president has suggested he may visit the Bahamas in the wake of Dorian.“I guess you would call it a British protectorate, but I will do a lot,” Trump told reporters earlier on Wednesday. “We’re waiting for a call – they’re having a lot of trouble with the telephones over there as you can imagine – from the prime minister and we’re helping a lot.”Survivors of the hurricane in Nassau. Rescue operations have been challenged by the immense level of destruction. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty ImagesThe British government has dispatched a team of disaster relief specialists from the Department for International Development (Dfid) that is coordinating aid operations based primarily from a royal navy landing vessel RFA Mounts Bay, anchored close to the Abacos Islands.Dorian’s ferocity has weakened since it struck the Bahamas, but it remains powerful as it creeps up the south-eastern US coast toward North and South Carolina. On Wednesday evening it was a category 3 storm with sustained winds of 115mph, regaining strength after previously being downgraded to a category 2. Forecasters warned of near-record water levels and millions of people are under evacuation orders. Businesses are boarded up around the city and some people have been in shelters for days. South Carolina’s governor Henry McMaster warned residents in evacuation zones to “get out now”. There was still time for people to leave at-risk areas, he said, but they should do so immediately.Adam Gabbatt contributed reporting
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'Any suggestion?' Duterte asks after Xi reaffirms sea claims
President Rodrigo Duterte spoke for the first time about his talk with Xi about the thorny disputes in a televised news conference Wednesday night where he was asked what move he would take next. Duterte, who has nurtured friendly ties with China, met Xi in Beijing last week. "They're claiming it as their own and the bad part is that they are claiming it as their historical right and they have the control over the property," Duterte said.
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Fake doctor prescribed massive opioid dosages at Texas 'pill mill': Feds
A jury found Muhammad Arif, 61, of Katy, Texas, guilty of one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances, and three counts of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances, the Department of Justice said. Arif was accused of conspiring with the owner of Aster Medical Clinic, an unregistered pain clinic in Rosenburg, Texas, where prosecutors said workers illegally prescribed "hundreds of thousands of doses" of opioids and other controlled substances, according to a statement.
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PHOTOS: Amazon rainforest wildfires
According to the National Institute for Space Research, Brazil's Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year. Between January and August, nearly 73,000 fires were recorded.
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FOREX-Trade talk plans cheer risk currencies, hit safe-haven yen
Risk-sensitive currencies such as the Aussie and yuan rallied on Thursday as investors cheered the announcement of U.S.-China trade talks for next month and abandoned safe haven assets such as yen. The news followed optimism that a no-deal Brexit could be avoided, which sent the pound sharply higher, and a potential breakthrough for the Hong Kong political crisis.
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Charles Schwab to close Singapore office
"Charles Schwab Singapore will cease to provide services and will close its office in Singapore. Charles Schwab had opened its Singapore office in late 2017 to provide greater access of the U.S. market to investors in Singapore and Asia, who are often underexposed due to high transaction fees. The launch of the office had come after integration and account migration from optionsXpress, a derivatives trading platform that Charles Schwab acquired in 2011.
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Kamala Harris wants to ban plastic straws but says paper straws too 'flimsy'
During CNN's climate change town hall Wednesday, the California esnator said that she believes single-use plastics like plastic straws need to be banned, but that the paper alternative breaks too often and is ripe for some innovation.
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Erdogan Lost Istanbul. Is Orban About to Lose Budapest?
(Bloomberg) -- Strongmen can struggle to maintain a hold over their nations’ major cities. Recep Tayyip Erdogan couldn’t stop an opposition candidate becoming Istanbul’s mayor. Protesters are giving Vladimir Putin a hard time in Moscow.A similar battle could be playing out in Hungary. While Prime Minister Viktor Orban reigns supreme after bringing the media under his control and rewriting electoral rules, rivals sense an opportunity in local votes next month and are uniting behind single candidates.Budapest, the eastern European country’s liberal-leaning capital, is a case in point. Opposition hopeful Gergely Karacsony, a youthful local politician who’s savvy with social media and strummed a guitar at his campaign launch, is closing in polls on government-backed incumbent Istvan Tarlos, 71.Orban’s self-styled illiberal democracy -- under which he wields outsized control and has sparked rule-of-law probes by the European Union -- is at risk of an upset.“The opposition only has a chance against Orban if local communities break this monolithic bloc that Hungary has become under him,” 44-year-old Karacsony said in an interview. “If that happens, this will be the single biggest challenge to the stability of the Orban regime.”It’s a tall order. The ruling party controls all but three of two dozen major urban areas and the opposition has lost seven elections in a row in the past decade. Standing as a prime ministerial candidate last year, Karacsony himself was crushed.Orban, meanwhile, is the EU’s longest-serving premier behind Germany’s Angela Merkel, enjoying his third straight constitutional majority before he next faces parliamentary elections in 2022.Karacsony, who previously taught political science, describes Orban’s administration as a “hybrid” -- part democracy and part dictatorship.Instead, he’s adopted a sustainability and anti-corruption platform, advocating a “left-wing populism” that would unite communities rather than pitting them against perceived enemies such as immigrants, like Orban has. Tarlos says his rival is attempting to “destabilize” Budapest.Karacsony has turned to Turkey for inspiration, visiting Istanbul to meet its new mayor and his campaign strategist.“The political machinery in Hungary and Turkey are incredibly similar,” he said. “Istanbul shows that in the battle between David and Goliath, David can win.”Budapest residents don’t seem to share Karacsony’s optimism. After so many defeats, opposition supporters are disheartened before the Oct. 13 election. In a recent voter poll, more than two-thirds predicted Tarlos would win, regardless of how they cast their ballots.\--With assistance from Cagan Koc.To contact the reporter on this story: Zoltan Simon in Budapest at zsimon@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net, Andrew Langley, Andrea DudikFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Women entrepreneurs play 'critical role' in Colombia's economy, peace: Ivanka Trump
Women entrepreneurs are playing a "critical role" in Colombia's economic development and its transition to peace, White House adviser Ivanka Trump said on Tuesday during a visit to Bogota. The daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump was attending a launch event for the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a U.S. government-funded initiative aimed at reducing barriers to women's economic participation. Colombia, long the closest U.S. ally in the region, is the first stop on a Latin American tour that will also take Trump to Paraguay and Argentina.
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The Latest: DA asks court to help in 'straight pride' pat
Boston's district attorney has asked Massachusetts' highest court to intervene in a dispute with a lower court judge over the prosecution of counterprotesters arrested during a "straight pride" parade in Boston last weekend. Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins filed an emergency petition Wednesday asking the state's Supreme Judicial Court to compel the lower court to accept her request not to prosecute some of the counterprotesters.
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2020 Porsche Taycan Is a Lot More Expensive Than the Tesla Model S
The 670-hp Taycan Turbo starts at $152,250 and the 750-hp Turbo S starts at a steep $186,350.
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Trump may have edited Hurricane Dorian map with a marker to cover up his bad tweet
Misinformation and on-camera gaffes continue to plague Trump's administration, and they seem to have just one-upped themselves -- with a Sharpie.On Sunday, Trump falsely claimed that Hurricane Dorian was threatening Alabama in a tweet. Meteorologists confirmed that it wasn't, and -- before statewide panic broke out over what the president called "one of the largest hurricanes ever" -- the National Weather Service followed up with a subtweet to clear it all up."Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian," the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama tweeted. "We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east." But Trump often refuses to backpedal on what he says, even if he's blatantly spreading false information. At the moment, Dorian is just off the coast of Florida and is expected to deliver "surge flooding, high winds, and flooding rain" to a large swath of the East Coast through Friday. But instead of offering support for the affected states in the hurricane's path -- Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia -- the president doubled down on his fake Alabama claim.During an "update" on the situation posted by the White House Twitter account on Wednesday, the president had Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan hand him a poster of the Southeastern U.S. highlighting Dorian's predicted path. "Hopefully we're gonna be lucky, it depends what's gonna happen with South Carolina, North Carolina," he drawled. But wait. Can we just zoom in and enhance on that map?It appears that someone drew in an additional outline of the hurricane's path, extending it to cover ... Alabama. > It is a violation of federal law to falsify a National Weather Service forecast and pass it off as official, as President Trump did here. > > 18 U.S. Code § 2074: https://t.co/jvROnpSJLI pic.twitter.com/TnIuvZRJoS> > -- Dennis Mersereau (@wxdam) September 4, 2019Sharpie? Dry erase marker? Perhaps an off-brand version from Staples? Either way, that addition definitely looks hand drawn. And does not mesh at all with the actual path of the storm.Image: jIM WATSON/ AFP / Getty ImagesMultiple reporters say that when another reporter pointed out the map appears to be Sharpie'd, Trump brushed them off. SEE ALSO: Why Twitter took action against parody Trump account @RealPressSecBot> Reporter just asked Trump about the map: "It looked like someone took a Sharpie...." > > Trump: "I don't know. I don't know." (But Potus insists several times that Alabama was in the Dorian's path despite evidence to contrary.) https://t.co/2S92ndpnB1> > -- David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) September 4, 2019> REPORTER: That map you showed us today, it looked like it almost had like a Sharpie on it. > > TRUMP: I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. pic.twitter.com/d2oZemOshh> > -- JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) September 4, 2019And some meteorologists worried that this would only increase distrust in actual experts.> This is actually really serious. Because you know what this does? This erodes trust in people like the NHC or meteorologists in general. It politicizes a forecast. And that has dangerous implications among the 30% of the population that would follow this man off a cliff.> > -- Matt Lanza (@mattlanza) September 4, 2019At least the jokes were good. > pic.twitter.com/WZLWkAEAdj> > -- Bierko (@VladBierko) September 4, 2019If you aren't in Dorian's path, enjoy screaming into the void and consider helping those who are. If you are, here are some precautions to take. And if you're in Alabama, feel free to join in on screaming with the rest of the country.UPDATE: Sept. 4, 2019, 4:04 p.m. PDT In a follow-up tweet Wednesday, the president posted a diagram showing Dorian's "originally projected path," which touches Alabama. "I accept the Fake News apologies!" he said. > This was the originally projected path of the Hurricane in its early stages. As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies! pic.twitter.com/0uCT0Qvyo6> > -- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2019But as New York Times national security editor Amy Ficus notes, the map is from the South Florida Water Management District and "warns that any maps from the National Hurricane Center or local emergency management officials 'supercede' it." Here's the text from the bottom of the map: Steve Lemongello, politics editor at the Orlando Sentinel, also pointed out that the map is from last Wednesday, before updated models predicted a turn in the storm's path. Trump's Alabama tweet is from Sunday. Feel free to resume your screaming.  WATCH: Apple's iPhone 11 event coming Sept. 10
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US, China to resume trade talks in Washington in October
US and Chinese trade negotiators will resume talks in Washington in early October, Beijing said Thursday, after new punitive tariffs raised fears of a breakdown in the protracted negotiations. The world's two biggest economies have been embroiled in a tense year-long trade war, which escalated further on September 1 when both sides implemented fresh levies. The negotiations were supposed to have resumed this month but the Chinese commerce ministry said Vice Premier Liu He, Beijing's pointman on trade, agreed to October talks in a phone call with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday.
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Black man sues American Airlines for discrimination after he was removed from plane over dog allergy
A black man is suing American Airlines for discrimination after he says he was removed from first class over his allergy to a fellow passenger’s support dog.
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22 Fourth of July Quotes That Celebrate What It Means to Be an American
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Venezuela's Armed Forces Bank slams Mastercard for halting card service
A Venezuelan bank run by the troubled country's military on Wednesday slammed Mastercard for cutting off service to the bank's credit cards following U.S. sanctions against the government of President Nicolas Maduro. The measure is another sign of how U.S. sanctions are affecting the functioning of Venezuelan state institutions. "The Bank of the Armed Forces denounces to its civilian and military clients ... the suspension of interbank services for its credit cards on the part of the American company Mastercard," the bank said in a statement posted on Twitter.
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Angry residents send German wind industry spinning
Wind power is a key pillar in Germany's ambitious renewables transition plan, but the sector has struck strong resistance, forcing the Chancellor Angela Merkel's government to open talks on the crisis on Thursday. After years of breakneck growth in capacity and uptake that has seen wind power delivering a fifth of Germany's total energy production, vocal "not-in-my-backyard" opposition by residents and a lack of government support have seen investments shrink in the sector. More than 600 citizen initiatives have sprung up against the giant installations, with a district called Saale-Orla even offering 2,000 euros to anyone taking action to get expert opinions opposing wind farms.
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GLOBAL MARKETS-Confirmation of U.S.-China trade talks buoys shares, investor spirits
Asian shares extended gains on Thursday and U.S. stock futures jumped after China said it will hold trade talks with the United States in early October, raising hopes they can de-escalate their trade war before it inflicts further damage on the global economy. U.S. stock futures reversed early losses and rose 1%. The Chinese yuan jumped versus the dollar in offshore trade, while safe-have assets such as gold and the yen fell.
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UPDATE 1-China, U.S. to hold trade talks in October - China commerce ministry
China and the United States agreed to hold high-level trade talks in early October in Washington, China's commerce ministry said on Thursday, amid fears that an escalating trade war could trigger a global economic recession. The announcement followed a call earlier in the day between China's Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website.
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Chicago Teachers Union set date for strike vote
One day after the start of a new school year for about 350,000 students, the Chicago Teachers Union set a date for a strike authorization vote. The union's House of Delegates on Wednesday decided public school teachers will vote Sept. 24 to Sept. 26 on whether to walk off the job. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said last week the city would go along with an independent fact-finder's recommendation that teachers receive 16% raises over a five-year contract.
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Joe Biden Defends His Many Gaffes to Stephen Colbert: The Details Are Not ‘Relevant’
Scott Kowalchyk/CBSThe night before Joe Biden was set to sit down on The Late Show for his first late-night interview as an official 2020 presidential candidate, Stephen Colbert downplayed his recent “gaffe” conflating multiple war stories into one tale of heroism that got nearly every detail wrong, including his elected position at the time. “Look, when you hear that, there’s really only one thing to say about Joe Biden,” Colbert said on Tuesday. “He’d be a much better president than Donald Trump.” The host gave Biden a chance to defend himself on Wednesday’s show.“You want to talk about issues, but a lot of people want to talk about your gaffes,” Colbert said, noting that his guest has called himself a “gaffe-machine” on occasion. After listing off just a few of the factual errors Biden has made over the past few weeks, it soon became clear he was setting the candidate up for a joke. “Look, the reason I came on the Jimmy Kimmel show…” Biden said to cheers from the audience and a laugh from Colbert. Asked if it’s “fair” to criticize his gaffes, Biden said, “I think it’s fair to go after a political figure for anything.” But he went on to defend himself by adding, “Any gaffes that I’ve made, and I’ve made gaffes like every politician I know has, have been not about the substantive issue.” Stephen Colbert Defends Joe Biden’s War Story ‘Gaffe’ Ahead of ‘Late Show’ AppearanceSpeaking to the controversial Afghanistan story specifically, Biden said, “I was not talking about me, I was praising the valor of all these people out there that I’ve visited, over 20 visits in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I’ve watched these people and I’ve watched what they’ve done.” Essentially, he argued it’s more about the sentiment than the details. Colbert agreed that this type of “empathy” is something “we sorely need right now.” “Look, it’s a different thing to say, when you’re talking about honoring bravery or the sacrifice or what other people went through and the essence of it is absolutely true,” Biden said. “The fact that I said I was vice president—well, in one case I was vice president-elect in the other I was a senator. I’m not sure that’s relevant.” Then came the pivot to Trump: “But I don’t get wrong things like we should lock kids up in cages at the border.” 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.
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Little Rock commission won't reinstate Little Rock officer
A city commission has decided a white Little Rock police officer who was previously fired for fatally shooting a black motorist should not be reinstated to the police force. The Little Rock Civil Service Commission made its decision late Wednesday to uphold the termination of former Officer Charles Starks following a daylong hearing. Starks fired at least 15 times through the windshield of a car Bradley Blackshire was driving in February.
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Cathay shares fall nearly 4% after chairman resigns
Shares in Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd fell nearly 4% in early trade on Thursday following the resignation of its chairman after the market closed on the previous day. The departure of John Slosar was announced less than three weeks after mounting Chinese regulatory scrutiny led to the shock exit of its chief executive, Rupert Hogg. Cathay shares had closed 7.2% higher on Wednesday as the Hong Kong market was lifted by reports of the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, which was officially announced after the market closed.
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USTR confirms ministerial level China trade talks in 'coming weeks'
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and agreed to hold ministerial-level trade talks in Washington "in the coming weeks," a USTR spokesman said late on Wednesday. "They agreed to hold meetings at the ministerial level in Washington in the coming weeks," USTR spokesman Jeff Emerson said in an emailed statement. Earlier, China's commerce ministry said that the top trade negotiators for the two countries agreed during the call to hold talks in early October in Washington.
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Biden jokes about gaffes with Colbert, gets serious about climate on CNN
In an appearance on the CBS program The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Biden pretended to confuse Colbert with another comedian and talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, provoking laughter from the audience, according to a clip of the interview provided in advance of the show's airing late on Wednesday. "I think it's fair to go after a political figure for anything," Biden said. Biden, who served as vice president under former U.S. President Barack Obama and was a senator from Delaware for decades, leads the pack of 20 Democrats seeking the party's nomination to run against Republican incumbent Donald Trump in 2020, polling as high as 32 percent in some polls, while others trailed him by double digits.
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Was Greg Craig’s prosecution political?
His defense attorney asked "why the Department of Justice brought this case against an innocent man in the first place."
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Wisconsin mother shot, killed in front of her son as she taught him to drive
A Milwaukee mother who was a WI DOC sergeant was shot and killed in front of her son.
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Trump shows fake hurricane map in apparent bid to validate incorrect tweet
* Trump points to map with black loop extending hurricane’s path * President made baseless claim that Alabama would be affectedDonald Trump’s map from a hurricane briefing on Wednesday bizarrely had a Sharpie loop expanding the path. Photograph: Evan Vucci/Associated PressTo the annals of American political scandal, we must now add Sharpiegate.In the Oval Office at lunchtime on Wednesday, Donald Trump held a briefing on Hurricane Dorian. At one point, the president held up a National Hurricane Center (NHC) map from 29 August, displaying the hurricane’s track and intensity.Bizarrely, someone had apparently used a Sharpie, a kind of marker pen, to add a black loop falsely extending the hurricane’s path from Florida to Alabama. It was apparently a belated effort to justify Trump’s previous baseless claim that the latter state could be affected.The hamfisted, homespun addition triggered uproar on social media and a frenzy of speculation over whether the president himself, or perhaps some lackey eager to impress, was responsible.Altering official government weather forecasts is against the law.Trump denied all knowledge. According to the Washington Post, when he was asked about the doctored map later on Wednesday, Trump said his briefings had included a “95% chance probability” that Alabama would be hit.Asked if the chart had been drawn on, he insisted: “I don’t know, I don’t know.”Over the weekend, as Dorian bore down on and then brutally struck the Bahamas, the president issued a torrent of tweets. One mistakenly warned that Alabama would be impacted, potentially spreading panic.Just 20 minutes later, the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama, tweeted: “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east.”But Trump is not one to admit he was wrong, whether over crowd sizes or how much of his border wall has been built.In his Oval Office remarks, the president argued that on the “original chart”, Dorian was going to hit Florida directly “and that would have affected a lot of other states”.“But that was the original chart,” he said.The original NHC map, showing the probable path of the storm, can still be seen online.Some saw the episode as the latest in the Trump administration’s war on reality. Bill Kristol, the director of Defending Democracy Together and a conservative critic of Trump, posted sarcastically: “Who among us hasn’t altered a National Hurricane Center forecast with a Sharpie?”On Wednesday night, apparently stung by the criticism, Trump tweeted another hurricane map. This one showed numerous, multicoloured lines projecting the path of Dorian. Some of the lines reach into Alabama. The map has a “South Florida Water Management District” logo in the bottom corner.The president wrote: “This was the originally projected path of the Hurricane in its early stages. As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies!”But the map is dated 28 August at 08.06 EDT. Trump sent his tweet about Alabama on 1 September, by which time forecasts made clear it was not in danger.The map also clearly carries the disclaimer: “NHC advisories and county emergency statements supersede this product. This graphic should complement, not replace, NHC discussions.”
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Colombia's FARC rebels announce political movement
The former second-in-command of the FARC rebels announced Wednesday the creation of a political movement, a week after announcing he was taking up arms once more. "The members of the new movement will have a mission in the social sector where they live, work, or study, without it being public knowledge of their political affiliation," he said. Marquez's whereabouts have been unknown for more than a year, but authorities suspect he has found refuge in neighboring Venezuela.
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Why Boris Johnson Lost His Bid for a New Election Before Brexit
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been pinning his hopes on public fatigue with Brexit, betting it would help him unite "leave" voters.
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Biden jokes about gaffes with Colbert, gets serious about climate on CNN
U.S. presidential hopeful Joe Biden joked about his frequent verbal gaffes on one television show while laying out plans to combat climate change on another on Wednesday night, a high stakes balancing act aimed at shoring up his lead among Democrats seeking their party's nomination. In an appearance on the CBS program The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Biden pretended to confuse Colbert with another comedian and talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, provoking laughter from the audience, according to a clip of the interview provided in advance of the show's airing late on Wednesday. "I think it's fair to go after a political figure for anything," Biden said.
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San Francisco passes resolution that labels the NRA as a 'domestic terrorist organization'
Shannon Bream breaks down the resolution and says she believes San Francisco is encouraging other cities and states to pass similar legislation.
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U.S. judge rules terrorism watchlist violates constitutional rights: NY Times
A U.S. judge ruled on Wednesday that a federal government database of people identified as "known or suspected terrorists" violates the constitutional rights of those placed on the watchlist, the New York Times reported. Several thousand U.S. citizens are among the more than 1 million people on the list, which can keep people off planes and block them from entering the United States. U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of 19 Muslim U.S. citizens who challenged the watchlist, the Times said.
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Trump makes baseless 'infected' ballot claims amid Florida recount
President Trump on Monday suggested that the ongoing recounts in Florida should be halted and the races called for Republican candidates while floating baseless claims of voter fraud.
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Former first lady of Honduras sentenced to 58 years in jail
The former first lady of Honduras Rosa Elena Bonilla, wife of ex-president Porfirio Lobo, was sentenced on Wednesday to 58 years in jail on charges of fraud and undue appropriation of funds, a spokesman for the nation's highest court said. "The former first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla was sentenced to 58 years in jail for the crimes of undue appropriation of funds and fraud," said Supreme Court spokesman Carlos Silva. Bonilla was accused of misusing the equivalent of $779,000 in funds between 2010 and 2014 that came from international donations and public funds, and which were meant to be used for social programs, according to an investigation carried out by attorney general's office and a unit of the Organization of American States.
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China, U.S. to hold trade talks in October - China commerce ministry
China and the United States agreed to hold trade talks in early October in Washington, China's commerce ministry said on Thursday. The announcement followed a call earlier in the day between China's Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website. China's central bank governor Yi Gang also attended the call.
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UI: Student charged in noose incident not currently enrolled
The University of Illinois says a student charged with a hate crime for leaving a noose in a residence hall elevator is no longer enrolled at the school. Champaign County prosecutors allege 19-year-old Andrew Smith of Normal found some rope in an elevator over the weekend and tied it into a noose.
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U.S. judge rules terrorism watchlist violates constitutional rights -NY Times
A U.S. judge ruled on Wednesday that a federal government database of people identified as "known or suspected terrorists" violates the constitutional rights of those placed on the watchlist, the New York Times reported. Several thousand U.S. citizens are among the more than 1 million people on the list, which can keep people off planes and block them from entering the United States. U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of 19 Muslim U.S. citizens who challenged the watchlist, the Times said.
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Santa Cruz Island Dive Boat Fire: Santa Cruz students, teacher from Fremont among victims on Conception
We are starting to learn more about some of the victims from Northern California from the dive boat fire in Southern California near Santa Cruz Island.
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Stone aide who battled Mueller will testify at former boss’ trial
Andrew Miller, whom Roger Stone has described as his "wingman," will appear at Stone's November trial for lying to Congress and the FBI.
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Conversion therapy organization founder comes out as gay: 'Please forgive me'
McKrae Game, the founder of the South Carolina-based conversion therapy ministry Hope for Wholeness, came out as gay this summer.
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FEATURE-Tricked by family members, widows in rural Kenya left landless
Two years ago, Alice Ciamati was living comfortably in a house on a plot of land she had recently inherited from her husband. Now, she can be found roaming the shopping centre in the small village of Chera in Tharaka Nithi County, central Kenya, hunched over a walking frame and begging for food. Ciamati, 62, blames her nephew for her destitution, saying he travelled from the capital Nairobi to trick her into giving away the title deed to her two acres (0.8 hectares) of land, then secretly sold the land and disappeared back into the city.
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GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares up as Brexit, Hong Kong progress lifts mood
Asian stocks perked up on Thursday, as apparent progress in the political crises in Britain and Hong Kong gave investor confidence a shot in the arm, with easing fears of a hard Brexit lifting the battered pound. Sterling held onto gains against the dollar in Asia after rallying by its most in more than five months on Wednesday as lawmakers voted to prevent Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking Britain out of the European Union without a deal on Oct. 31. Risk appetite also rose on news that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was withdrawing an extradition bill that had triggered months of often violent protests in the Asian financial hub.
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Guatemala declares state of siege after suspected drug dealers kill 3 soldiers
Guatemala's government on Wednesday declared a state of siege in five northeastern provinces in an effort to regain control after three soldiers were killed by suspected drug traffickers, authorities said. Authorities will send more military and police personnel to Alta Verapaz, El Progreso, Izabal, Peten and Zacapa provinces, a drug-trafficking corridor that runs from the Honduras to Mexico borders. The Guatemalan Army said a group of suspected drug traffickers "ambushed" a patrol of nine soldiers on Tuesday who were sent to detain an aircraft allegedly transporting drugs.
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FOREX-Pound at week-high, dollar sinks as risk-on mood cautiously holds
The British pound hovered around a one-week high on Thursday as another parliamentary defeat for Prime Minister Boris Johnson made investors optimistic that a no-deal Brexit could be avoided, while a broader risk-on mood held back the dollar. The dollar fell against most major currencies, though gained on the safe-haven yen, as the UK parliamentary vote, positive economic data in the United States and China and hopes for a de-escalation in Hong Kong's political crisis lured investors to riskier assets.
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UPDATE 1-Hong Kong leader to meet media after killing extradition bill
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is expected to address the media on Thursday, a day after she withdrew a controversial extradition bill that has triggered mass protests and plunged the Chinese territory into its worst political crisis in decades. The official China Daily said on Thursday that the withdrawal of the bill was an olive branch that leaves demonstrators with no excuse to continue violence. The announcement came after Reuters reports on Friday and Monday revealed that Beijing had thwarted Lam’s earlier proposals to withdraw the bill and that she had said privately that she would resign if she could, according to an audio recording obtained by Reuters.
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UPDATE 1-Guatemala declares state of siege after suspected drug dealers kill soldiers
Guatemala's government on Wednesday declared a state of siege in five northeastern provinces in an effort to regain control after three soldiers were killed by suspected drug traffickers, authorities said. Authorities will send more military and police personnel to Alta Verapaz, El Progreso, Izabal, Peten and Zacapa provinces, a drug-trafficking corridor that runs from the Honduran to Mexican borders. "These criminal groups operate throughout the region," Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales told a news conference.
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Planned Parenthood cares about abortion above all, even patients' health: Today's talker
A recent lawsuit reveals the lengths Planned Parenthood will go to protect its abortion business — even if it means sending women to the hospital.
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Utah Senators Upset Funds for Air Force Base Will Instead Be Spent on Southern Border Wall
Utah's two Republican Senators, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, responded strongly Wednesday after learning funding appropriated by Congress for military construction projects at Hill Air Force Base would instead be spent to construct a wall on the southern border.
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Nation's failed weed war turned blacks into prisoners and whites into moguls
Ferrell Scott is spending life in a federal prison for selling large amounts of marijuana. Entrepreneurs are making millions now doing the same thing.
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Record Broken: Air Force's X-37B In Space 719 Days Straight (Is This a War Machine?)
With 719 days of orbital spaceflight and counting, the current X-37B mission – known as Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-5) – has broken a new spaceflight-duration record that was previously set at 717 days, 20 hours and 42 minutes during the previous mission (OTV-4).According to Space.com, OTV-5, began on Sep. 7, 2017, with a liftoff atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It’s unclear what the space plane is doing up there now, or what it has done on past flights; X-37B missions are classified, and the Air Force, therefore, tends to speak of the vehicle and its activities in general terms.The test campaign seems to involve pushing the X-37B’s endurance because each of the five missions has lasted longer than its predecessor.However, OTV-5 is nowhere near the overall spaceflight-duration record. Earth-observation and communications satellites commonly operate for five years or more, as do robotic planetary explorers. NASA’s Curiosity rover has been exploring Mars for more than seven years, for example, and the agency’s twin Voyager probes are still going strong in interstellar space more than four decades after their launches.The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, is an experimental test program to demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Air Force (USAF), the service states. The Air Force has at least two X-37Bs, both of which were built by Boeing. The primary objectives of the X-37B are twofold; reusable spacecraft technologies for America’s future in space and operating experiments which can be returned to, and examined, on Earth.The X-37B is the first vehicle since NASA’s Shuttle Orbiter with the ability to return experiments to Earth for further inspection and analysis, but the X-37B can stay in space for much longer.Technologies being tested in the program include advanced guidance, navigation and control, thermal protection systems, avionics, high-temperature structures and seals, conformal reusable insulation, lightweight electromechanical flight systems, advanced propulsion systems, advanced materials and autonomous orbital flight, reentry and landing.The Air Force has successfully flown four X-37B missions, OTV-1 through OTV-4, beginning with its first launch on April 22, 2010 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. OTV-1 through OTV-3 all landed successfully at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., and the most recent mission, OTV-4, successfully landed at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The first four OTV missions have spent a total of 2,085 days on orbit, successfully checking out the X-37B’s reusable flight, reentry and landing technologies as well as operating experiments to benefit the national space community. This first appeared in Aviation Geek Club here.
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Exclusive: Secretary of State Pompeo Declines to Sign Risky Afghan Peace Deal
The deal doesn't ensure several crucial things, those familiar with the discussions tell TIME
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View Photos of the Lamborghini Sián
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Alva Johnson Drops Lawsuit Against President Trump: ‘I’m Fighting Against a Person With Unlimited Resources’
The Washington Post via GettyThe former Trump campaign staffer who accused the president of forcibly kissing her during an August 2016 rally has decided to drop her lawsuit.“I’m fighting against a person with unlimited resources, and repeatedly the judicial system has failed to find fault in his behavior,” Alva Johnson, 44, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “That’s a huge mountain to climb.”Johnson initially filed her lawsuit in February, claiming that Trump grabbed her and leaned in to kiss her on the lips in an RV during the Tampa event, and that she turned her head at the last minute to avoid the “super-creepy and inappropriate” encounter, causing him to plant the kiss on her cheek instead. She also accused Trump of gender and race pay discrimination. Then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied Johnson’s account at the time of the suit’s filing, claiming the kiss “never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eyewitness accounts.”When video evidence of the encounter was reported by Politico in July, lawyers for Trump and Johnson both claimed the footage vindicated their clients. President Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, posted the 15-second clip online and submitted it in court documents as part of discovery in the case. Harder said in those documents that the recording proved Johnson’s suit was “unmeritorious and frivolous,” calling the exchange “an innocent moment between a dedicated campaign staffer and the candidate for whom she was working.”Johnson, who has said she previously met Trump twice before, can be heard saying in the video: “We’re going to get you in the White House; I'll see you in February.” In the same court filings, Trump’s attorneys also included a brief, personal declaration from the president saying he did not remember ever meeting Johnson. “I do not know plaintiff Alva Johnson or recall having any interactions with her,” he said. But Johnson’s lawyer, Hassan Zavareei, said on Wednesday in a statement to The Daily Beast that the video “shows Trump grabbing Alva by the shoulders, pulling her into him, and kissing her in front of numerous co-workers and others” and that it proved Johnson was “telling the truth about what her employer did to her.”Zavareei called Trump “the most powerful sexual predator on the face of the Earth,” in light of the more than a dozen other women who have come forward with allegations of misconduct against Trump, including attempted rape, groping, and forcible kisses.Though Johnson doesn’t appear shaken in the video, she has repeatedly said that she did not fully appreciate the interaction until she heard the now-infamous audio recording from the Access Hollywood tape in October 2016, when Trump bragged that he used his fame to forcibly kiss and grab women “by the pussy.”“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them,” said Trump, in the 2005 footage. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”“Once the Access Hollywood tape came out, I knew that it wasn’t just something that he did 15 years ago, that it was still his behavior, that he thinks he can violate your personal space, that he can kiss women without permission,” Johnson recalled on Wednesday.After she filed the lawsuit, Johnson said she had to make “a big adjustment” to the onslaught of “nasty comments and having your entire life under a microscope.” “I think people forget that I was at work. It’s absurd to think that it was mutual,” she continued. “He’s a big guy. You should keep your hands to yourself, you should keep your lips to yourself.”Going public with her allegations “was very scary because a lot of his supporters are fanatics,”Johnson said. “But I’m proud of myself for standing up—not only for myself—but for other women.”“I think we’ve become kind of desensitized to his racism, to the misogyny,” said Johnson. “That’s a part of his MO. We are overwhelmed with the amount of absurd things that happen.”Johnson said she was surprised that so many people sided with Trump after the video surfaced.“He has proven to be great at propaganda,” she said. “They do a great job of changing the narrative, even when we see things with our own eyes.”Johnson said that her case didn’t get a “fair shake” from U.S. District Judge William Jung, who dismissed the suit on June 14 but allowed her to redraft her complaint if she still wished to pursue legal action against Trump. “As currently stated, the complaint presents a political lawsuit, not a tort and wages lawsuit,” Jung wrote. “If [Johnson] wishes to make a political statement or bring a claim for political purposes, this is not the forum.”Jung—a Trump appointee who was first nominated by Obama—wrote that Johnson’s case would have its “fair day in court” if she made the appropriate changes. He also allowed discovery to continue, which is why Trump’s attorneys shared the video of the encounter in July. But Johnson said she feels the fight is over.“I am very proud that I fought,” she said. “I will continue to remain an outspoken advocate for women and for the injustices against women.”“I do still believe in humanity.”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.
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UPDATE 1-North Korea tells United Nations to cut international aid staff - letter
North Korea has told the United Nations to cut the number of international staff it deploys in the country because the world body's programs have failed "due to the politicization of U.N. assistance by hostile forces," according to a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The United Nations estimates 10.3 million people - almost half the country's population - are in need and some 41 percent of North Koreans are undernourished, while Pyongyang said in February it was facing a food shortfall this year and had to halve rations, blaming drought, floods and sanctions. "U.N. supported programs failed to bring the results as desired due to the politicization of U.N. assistance by hostile forces," Kim Chang Min, secretary general for North Korea's National Coordinating Committee for the United Nations, wrote to the top U.N. official posted in the country.
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California becomes the first state in the country to outlaw the fur trade
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Wednesday banning the controversial fur industry in California.
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Newsom's California vaccine bill changes surprise backers
Medical groups and a lawmaker behind California legislation to crack down on vaccine exemptions said Wednesday they were surprised by Gov. Gavin Newsom's last-minute call for changes to the bill, a move that inserted fresh uncertainty into one of the year's most contentious issues. It was the second time the Democratic governor sought to change the measure aimed at doctors who sell fraudulent medical exemptions for students, a proposal vehemently opposed by anti-vaccine activists. After expressing hesitancy with the bill and winning substantial changes to the measure in June, Newsom had committed to signing it.
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Dive-boat fire: What we know about the victims in deadly blaze off Santa Cruz Island
The day after a fire roared through a scuba-diving boat off the coast of Ventura County, portraits were emerging of the 34 victims who are presumed dead in the tragedy.
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Cocaine washes ashore on Florida beach as Hurricane Dorian churns in Atlantic
In one case, a beachgoer reportedly found a duffel bag stuffed with more than $300,000 worth of cocaine on the beach.
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Man sentenced for road-rage slaying of Dallas postal worker
A Los Angeles man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for fatally shooting a postal worker during a road-rage attack on a Dallas expressway last year. Federal authorities say 26-year-old Donnie Arlondo Ferrell was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to murder in February in the death of 58-year-old Tony Mosby. Authorities say Ferrell was a passenger in a car traveling on Interstate 30 near downtown Dallas in February 2018 when he was angered by Mosby's driving.
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Venezuela's Armed Forces Bank slams Mastercard for halting card service
A Venezuelan bank run by the troubled country's military on Wednesday slammed Mastercard for cutting off service to the bank's credit cards following U.S. sanctions against the government of President Nicolas Maduro. The measure is another sign of how U.S. sanctions are affecting the functioning of Venezuelan state institutions. "The Bank of the Armed Forces denounces to its civilian and military clients ... the suspension of interbank services for its credit cards on the part of the American company Mastercard," the bank said in a statement posted on Twitter.
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Hong Kong leader to meet media after killing extradition bill
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is expected to address the media on Thursday, a day after she withdrew a controversial extradition bill that has triggered mass protests and plunged the Chinese territory into its worst political crisis in decades. Lam, in a pre-recorded televised message, on Wednesday formally withdrew the bill, acceding to one of pro-democracy protesters' five demands, although many demonstrators and lawmakers said the move was too little, too late. The official China Daily said on Thursday that the withdrawal of the bill was an olive branch that leaves demonstrators with no excuse to continue violence.
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UPDATE 1-North Korea tells United Nations to cut international aid staff - letter
North Korea has told the United Nations to cut the number of international staff it deploys in the country because the world body's programs have failed "due to the politicization of U.N. assistance by hostile forces," according to a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The United Nations estimates 10.3 million people - almost half the country's population - are in need and some 41 percent of North Koreans are undernourished, while Pyongyang said in February it was facing a food shortfall this year and had to halve rations, blaming drought, floods and sanctions. "U.N. supported programs failed to bring the results as desired due to the politicization of U.N. assistance by hostile forces," Kim Chang Min, secretary general for North Korea's National Coordinating Committee for the United Nations, wrote to the top U.N. official posted in the country.
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2020 Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander Hybrids Duke It Out over MPG, Capability
The Ford claims more towing capacity, while the Toyota boasts significantly better fuel economy.
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President Trump Displays Altered Hurricane Dorian Forecast Chart Showing It Was Expected to Hit Alabama
The Aug. 29 weather chart that mapped the predicted direction of Hurricane Dorian was marked in black ink to touch a corner of Alabama.
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Brooke Skylar Richardson on trial for the murder of her newborn baby.
Richardson claims the baby was stillborn when she buried her, but prosecutors insists that the baby was murdered.
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Hurricane death toll climbs to 20 in devastated Bahamas
The ground crunched under Greg Alem's feet on Wednesday as he walked over the ruins of his home, laid waste by Hurricane Dorian. The devastation wrought by Dorian — and the terror it inflicted during its day-and-a-half mauling of the Bahamas — came into focus Wednesday as the passing of the storm revealed a muddy, debris-strewn landscape of smashed and flooded-out homes on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands. With a now-distant Dorian pushing its way up the Southeastern U.S. coast, menacing Georgia and the Carolinas, many people living in the Bahamas were in shock as they slowly came out of shelters and checked on their homes.
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Exclusive: Pompeo Declines to Sign Risky Afghan Peace Deal
Tentative First Steps Towards Peace Leave Major Questions Unanswered, Raise Fears of a Return to Taliban Rule
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UPDATE 1-Texas executes man convicted of murdering 89-year-old woman and her elderly daughter
A man convicted of killing an 89-year-old woman and her elderly daughter in their Fort Worth home in 2003 was put to death by lethal injection in Texas on Wednesday. Billy Crutsinger, 64, was declared dead at 6:40 p.m. CDT at the state's death chamber in Huntsville, the Texas Department of Justice said in a statement. There is a lot of this I don’t understand but the system is not completely right," he said in a lengthy statement before his death, according to the department.
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More documents relating to Van Dyke murder trial released
The final documents relating to the murder trial of a white former Chicago police officer in the 2014 shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald have been released. Tina Hunter did not testify. The judge in January 2016 ordered documents in the case filed under seal and limited public comments by prosecutors and defense attorneys.
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Feds decline to charge FBI agent who killed kidnap victim
Federal authorities say they will not charge an FBI agent who fatally shot a hostage during a rescue attempt in Houston last year. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement that her office now has an obligation to present the case to a grand jury to determine if state charges are warranted. The decision by federal authorities comes after Houston police Chief Art Acevedo in October said the agent's explanation for why he shot the hostage "is not supported" by evidence reviewed by police investigators.
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UPDATE 1-Facebook, tech firms meet with U.S. intelligence on 2020 election security
U.S. technology companies including Facebook Inc, Alphabet's Google, Microsoft Corp and Twitter Inc met with U.S. intelligence agencies on Wednesday to discuss security strategies ahead of the November 2020 election. The companies' security teams met representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park.
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Trump tries to spin Republican losses: GOP 'defied history'
President Trump said Republicans “defied history” in the midterm elections by maintaining control of the Senate and winning a “slew” of governor’s races — despite losing its majority in the House of Representatives.
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Chinese paper says HK demonstrators now have no excuse for violence
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam's withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill that had sparked widespread protests was an olive branch that leaves demonstrators with no excuse to continue violence, the official China Daily said on Thursday. The bill would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where courts are controlled by the Communist Party. The state-run China Daily said the decision was "a sincere and earnest response to the voice of the community ... (that) could be interpreted as an olive branch extended to those who have opposed the bill over the past few months".
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Wildlife officials kill cougar that had threatened jogger
Four days after a cougar chased a jogger in an Oregon forest, state and federal wildlife officials on Wednesday tracked down and killed a mountain lion believed to be the same animal. The runner's frightening encounter with the cougar occurred Saturday in the Dunn Forest, a research facility managed by nearby Oregon State University's College of Forestry that is popular with runners, hikers and mountain bikers. Authorities quickly closed the forest, which is blanketed with Douglas fir and other trees, as wildlife officials hunted for the aggressive animal.
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Crew member who died in scuba boat fire fulfilled her dream
Allie Kurtz gave up a job in the movie industry to live her dream of working on the water, and when she landed a job as deckhand on a scuba diving boat, she was thrilled. "She wanted to go on the Conception so bad. Five crew members, including the captain, who were above deck managed to escape after fire engulfed the boat as the victims slept early Monday during a three-day scuba diving excursion off the Southern California coast.
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Pediatric nurses and therapists transport infants in 'mini ICU on wheels’ away from Hurricane Dorian’s path
As Hurricane Dorian prepares to make landfall in the southeastern U.S., causing several states to declare a state of emergency, a small team of 14 drove to the coast to pull sick newborns out of the storm’s path. The team of drivers, respiratory nurses and respiratory therapists from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta traveled to two hospitals in Savannah, Georgia, and transported infants undergoing treatment back to Atlanta.
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An Oval Office mystery: Who doctored the hurricane map?
The perpetrator may have committed a crime with the suspicious Sharpie marking. “I don’t know,” the president said repeatedly when confronted.
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Sealed Jeffrey Epstein Court Documents Name at Least 1,000 People. A Judge Must Decide Whether to Release Them
An individual only named "John Doe" sent a letter to the court arguing that the documents should remain sealed.
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North Korea tells United Nations to cut international aid staff - letter
North Korea has told the United Nations to cut the number of international staff it deploys in the country because the world body's programs have failed "due to the politicization of U.N. assistance by hostile forces," according to a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The United Nations estimates 10.3 million people - almost half the country's population - are in need and some 41 percent of North Koreans are undernourished, while Pyongyang said in February it was facing a food shortfall this year and had to halve rations, blaming drought, floods and sanctions. "U.N. supported programs failed to bring the results as desired due to the politicization of U.N. assistance by hostile forces," Kim Chang Min, secretary general for North Korea's National Coordinating Committee for the United Nations, wrote to the top U.N. official posted in the country.
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FEATURE-Cafe brews hope for Nepal's trafficking survivors
On a busy street in Nepal's bustling capital Kathmandu, a new cafe is seeking to change the lives of trafficking survivors - one cappuccino at a time. The Maiti Cafe is the first to be staffed by women who are either at risk of or have been rescued from slavery in Nepal, where thousands of people are trafficked every year, many to neighbouring India. As well as helping them rebuild their lives, it aims to end the stigma that survivors often have to deal with in Nepal's conservative, mainly Hindu society.
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EXCLUSIVE-Thai garment factory investigated by Starbucks after illegal wages expose
G arment factories in Thailand that supply to global brands such as coffee giant Starbucks and sports gear maker Bauer Hockey are under investigation after an expose found workers illegally underpaid in a region described as a "black hole". The Thomson Reuters Foundation interviewed 26 workers - all migrants from neighbouring Myanmar - employed at four factories in Thailand's western region of Mae Sot who said they were paid less than the daily minimum wage of 310 Thai baht ($10.15).
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Sharpie-gate? Trump shows apparently altered hurricane map
U.S. President Donald Trump showed a map of Hurricane Dorian's projected path on Wednesday that appeared to have been altered with a Sharpie pen to include the state of Alabama, which was never in harm's way. In a White House video released on Wednesday Trump points to an official weather chart dated Aug. 29 showing the states that could be hit in what the National Hurricane Center calls the "cone of uncertainty." A curved line had been added to the cone on the chart to show a risk that Dorian could move from Florida to Alabama. "It was going to hit not only Florida, but Georgia, it could have, it was going towards the Gulf, that was what we, what was originally projected...," Trump says in the video.
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Sharpie-gate? Trump shows apparently altered hurricane map
U.S. President Donald Trump showed a map of Hurricane Dorian's projected path on Wednesday that appeared to have been altered with a Sharpie pen to include the state of Alabama, which was never in harm's way. In a White House video released on Wednesday Trump points to an official weather chart dated Aug. 29 showing the states that could be hit in what the National Hurricane Center calls the "cone of uncertainty." A curved line had been added to the cone on the chart to show a risk that Dorian could move from Florida to Alabama. "It was going to hit not only Florida, but Georgia, it could have, it was going towards the Gulf, that was what we, what was originally projected...," Trump says in the video.
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Could the U.S. Military Use Lasers to Kill Russia or China's Hypersonic Missiles?
(Washington, D.C.) They unleash destruction traveling at five times the speed of sound. They maneuver with computerized precision while descending back into the earth’s atmosphere toward a target. Their speed and force is so significant, they can inflict damage by sheer “kinetic” impact without needing explosives.They can destroy Navy ships, air defenses, ballistic missiles, ground targets and aircraft in a matter of minutes or even seconds, depending upon the launch point……. they kill in an instant --- seemingly coming out of nowhere.They --- are Hypersonic weapons.Many senior Pentagon weapons developers share a common view; hypersonics are nearly impossible to defend against, ushering in an unprecedented tactical reality bound to reshape warfare and force unforeseen strategic adaptations.How can carrier strike groups project power within striking range of enemy targets? How can mechanized armored columns maneuver without being badly crippled by hypersonic attack? How can the most advanced fighter jets maneuver to avoid impact if there simply is no time? Perhaps satellites, ICBMs and defensive weapons such as Ground-Based Interceptors could also be vulnerable? The variables through which hypersonics promise to alter warfare are seemingly limitless. The danger is extremely serious.Of equal or greater concern, hypersonics are no longer something to envision for a distant future -- they are now being prototyped, tested and refined. In short, they are basically here. U.S. weapons developers have put them on the fast track and expect to have operational hypersonic weapons in a few years, if not sooner.An Air Force Chief Scientist once told Warrior that the U.S. technical approach to hypersonics is one of stair steps following a particular trajectory. First hypersonic weapons emerge in the early 2020s, to be followed by hypersonic drones in the 2030s leading up to the distant possibility of launching “recoverable” hypersonic platforms by the 2040s. However, given the pace of technical progress, this notional timeline could easily become massively accelerated. The current threat environment, we often hear, is creating a sense of urgency.“In the last year, China has tested more hypersonic weapons than we have in a decade. We’ve got to fix that,” said Michael Griffin, the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, according to an Air Force report from February of this year.The real problem hypersonic weapons present for adversaries -- is speed. Kinetic energy weapons exist, ballistic missiles exist and space-traveling weapons exist, but hypersonic weapons drastically change “sensor-to-shooter’ time. In effect, if commanders have merely a fraction of the response time associated with most existing weapons, how can they defend?But …..wait a second… before anyone becomes resigned to cataclysmic destruction… just what if there were a viable way to defend against hypersonic weapons? What if they could be destroyed or disabled before hitting a target?This, according to Pentagon and industry weapons developers… is possible. In fact, U.S. weapons developers are already working on it.While naturally many details of these emerging methods are not available due to security reasons, there are three broad categories of current inquiry, according to senior industry weapons developers -- lasers weapons, modifying existing interceptors or simply engineering new kill vehicles, Ret. Lt. Gen. Trey Obering, Vice President and Directed Energy Lead, Booz Allen Hamilton, told Warrior in an interview. (Obering previously served as the Director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency)Tracking Hypersonic WeaponsIndustry weapons developers explain that simply “tracking” approaching hypersonic weapons can be described as a key starting point when it comes to exploring these options. While there are of course a wide range of air, sea and land sensor technologies, tracking hypersonics will rely heavily upon satellites. Current satellite-mounted Spaced Based Infrared (SBIR) sensors can now detect the heat signature of an enemy ICBM or ballistic missile launch. The intent with SBIR is to transmit that information to land-based warning systems and instantly activate response protocols, but SBIR systems cannot themselves “track” the flight of a hypersonic weapon. However, the prospect of engineering a satellite, or group of satellites, with the technical capacity to track hypersonics -- is very realistic.“We’ve got to be able to track them through their flight. We know their trajectory once they are out of the boost phase. You are going to have to track precisely enough so you can engage it with an interceptor,” Obering said."We are collecting a lot of data on how this can be done,” he added.A way to do this, Obering explained, would be to engineer a group of networked, lower-flying Very Low Earth Orbit satellites able to cover large swaths of territory. Although they cover more narrow areas than larger satellites and use more focused sensors, smaller satellites traveling closer to the earth can move faster, detect objects with greater fidelity in some cases and use advanced processing speeds to network key sensor data.“We need enough satellites. We need to build a constellation that can track these weapons. We would have to have enough of them at the same altitudes,” Obering said.Obering traced the technical basis for this kind of tracking to two demo satellites launched in 2009 used to track ballistic missiles. “We can generate a track from space on a ballistic missile, and maneuver it precisely to engage it with an interceptor,” he said.Retired Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, Director of Booz Allen’s Aerospace business, says emerging iterations of machine learning and artificial intelligence can help process sensor information, perform analytics and succeed in organizing target-crucial data with much greater speed than existing technology can. This naturally bears prominently on the time-challenge when it comes to defending against hypersonics.“Machine learning and high-speed computing regarding sensor data can collapse those timelines down,” Bogdan told Warrior.With AI and certain kinds of machine-learning, new data can instantly be compared against a vast and seemingly limitless database of stored information in to organize information, solve problems and instantly give human commanders essential information. Should a meshed network of fast, moving low-orbiting satellites have an ability to share target information quickly, it could make an enormous difference when it comes to defending against hypersonics. Advanced algorithms can, among many things, process enormous volumes of ISR data and quickly pinpoint moments of relevance for human decision-makers. This can, as Bogdan points out, exponentially reduce any kind of response timeframe.Laser DefenseOnce tracked, of course, hypersonic weapons would need to be destroyed, disabled or rendered useless. Among several options, space, air and even some ground-based lasers may offer the greatest near-term promise.“With a laser, we could burn a hole through it and cause it to fail. Lasers can fire energy into a very narrow point,” Obering said.Also, when it comes to countering the speed of hypersonics, lasers travel at the speed of light - faster than hypersonic weapons. Therefore, from a command and control perspective, lasers might be able to help defending commanders somehow get in front of the sensor-to-shooter cycle.The way a layered defense of hypersonics might work, Obering explained, is to use satellites to track the approaching weapon and then transmit targeting data to laser weapons or some kind of interceptor. Given that a hypersonic missile launches like a ballistic missile and then becomes a maneuvering “glider” in space, “The best defense would be during the boost phase. You want to destroy them before they get into their maneuvering phase,” Obering said.From an operational standpoint, lasers are ideal weapons for space; the thin air reduces beam attenuation, enabling increases in functionality, precision, range and power. While satellite fired lasers are not here today, the Pentagon and industry are working on technology which might very well be able to accomplish this a few years from now. Yet another laser application might be to use some kind of laser-armed drone-type vehicle to operate at the highest altitudes in the earth’s atmosphere.“We might put an unmanned aircraft where the air is thin. How high could we get a drone?” a senior Pentagon official told Warrior.Pentagon weapons developers tell Warrior the main focus, at the moment, is work on laser scaling to engineer effective weapons with varying degrees of range and power. Part of this effort, U.S. military weapons developers say, is to maximize the power of transportable laser weapons.“We want to have something portable that could be used in a small platform, combining a strong beam in a small form factor,” the official said.Also, in addition to operating as offensive or defensive weapons able to destroy targets, lasers can also be used as sensors to quietly perform ISR at long distances. This sensing technology might prove particularly useful at longer ranges. “Lasers will burn through steel at 500 meters, but at longer ranges they might help pinpoint a target,” the senior Pentagon official said.In application, this could mean having a surface Navy ship help track hypersonic weapons a high altitudes within or just beyond the earth’s atmosphere. It could also mean deploying laser-sensors on satellites able to both sense and destroy targets.Are Hypersonic Weapons Vulnerable?“Hypersonics are fragile aerodynamically and thermally,” Obering said.Obering’s discussion of the thermal “fragility” of hypersonic weapons is further reinforced by an interesting RAND Corporation paper which explains why hypersonic weapons have a larger heat transfer than Re-entry Bodies releasing from an ICBM. The comparison, as discussed in the RAND essay, takes up what seems to be an extremely relevant question, given that Re-entry bodies also travel at hypersonic speeds when re-entering the atmosphere.Increased heat can bring challenges; it strengthens the weapon's thermal signature, making it easier for sensors to track. Heat challenges can also introduce difficulties by creating a need to engineer a weapon able to withstand the heat levels and remain intact during high speed flight. For this reason, hypersonic weapons -- and ICBMs as well -- are constructed with specially engineered heat-resistant materials.The RAND essay, called “Hindering the Spread of a New Class of Weapons,” explains that heat signatures are impacted by the shape, size, velocity and trajectory of a weapon.“The larger the nose radius, the smaller the heat transfer on the nose of the vehicle. Trajectory shaping, i.e., velocity and altitude, can also be used to manage the total heat transfer on an RV (Re-entry Vehicle) while meeting other input requirements and constraints, e.g.,range, maximum deceleration, and time of flight. Hypersonic weapons have different constraints and requirements compared with reentry bodies. HGVs(Hypersonic Glide Vehicles) and HCMs(Hypersonic Cruise Missiles) will tend to have sharp leading edges, i.e.,a small nose radius, which will increase the heat transfer,” the essay states. (RAND - Speier, Nacouzi, Lee)Hypersonic weapons, the essay further explains, need to travel for long periods of time at high speeds, when compared to a re-entry body.. therefore…”two of the major parameters in the total heat equation, velocity and time, cannot generally be reduced,” the paper states.Hypersonic weapons could also potentially be stopped by, as Obering put it, causing a “disruption in the air flow.” Changes in aerodynamics can break up forces such as lift, thrust and drag, Obering said.“These forces are all in balance. When you are going fast there is a small margin in those forces. A disruption can cause the entire vehicle to break up,” he explained.Essentially, the idea is not to destroy the hypersonic weapon with an explosion, but rather cause an “instantaneous” angle change in the complex, interwoven mixture of air-flow variables. This, quite significantly, can cause an entire vehicle to break apart. A number of things could cause this, such as a laser, rupture of a booster, missile explosion in the vicinity of the weapon in-flight or some other kind of disruption.“Hypersonics have control surfaces that can maneuver like an aircraft. You would take advantage of the vehicle’s speed and cause a change in vehicle direction,” Obering said.Causing this kind of change would be made possible, in part, due to the fragility of certain elements of hypersonics flight, such as control, heat and aerodynamic stability.“Igniting the engine of a hypersonic cruise missile has been compared to lighting a match in a 2,000-mile-per-hour wind. Moreover, the shape of the missile changes under the rigors of hypersonic flight, creating great challenges for flight control,” writes Richard Speier in a separate RAND essay called “Hypersonic Missiles: A New Proliferation Challenge.”Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army - Acquisition, Logistics& Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.Image: YouTube Screenshot.
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Cruise companies pledge aid after Dorian wreaks havoc on Bahamas
For the Atlantic's major cruise operators, deadly Hurricane Dorian has meant nothing but trouble in paradise as ships have been diverted from the Bahamas. Royal Caribbean, which has shuttled thousands of tourists every year to the Bahamas for more than half a century, said it is "rolling up our sleeves to help our friends" in the Bahamas by committing $1 million to Dorian disaster relief.
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North Korea tells United Nations to cut international aid staff - letter
North Korea has told the United Nations to cut the number of international staff it deploys in the country because the world body's programs have failed "due to the politicization of U.N. assistance by hostile forces," according to a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The United Nations estimates 10.3 million people - almost half the country's population - are in need and some 41 percent of North Koreans are undernourished, while Pyongyang said in February it was facing a food shortfall this year and had to halve rations, blaming drought, floods and sanctions. "U.N. supported programs failed to bring the results as desired due to the politicization of U.N. assistance by hostile forces," Kim Chang Min, secretary general for North Korea's National Coordinating Committee for the United Nations, wrote to the top U.N. official posted in the country.
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U.S. biodiesel industry leaders urge Trump's EPA to lift biodiesel mandate
The request came days after President Donald Trump promised to deliver a "giant package" https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-biofuels-trump/trump-promises-giant-package-related-to-ethanol-to-please-farmers-idUSKCN1VJ1OB to U.S. farmers related to ethanol, in response to pressure from the corn lobby over the administration's expanded use of waivers freeing small refineries from their obligation to blend biofuels. Trump authorized the EPA to grant 31 waivers to small refineries in August, far more than the Obama administration had typically granted. McQueen said he would relay comments from the meeting to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the sources said.
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Reuters World News Summary
Following is a summary of current world news briefs. As a humanitarian crisis unfolded in the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, a flotilla of ships and boats was preparing on Wednesday to begin ferrying relief supplies to areas of the island-nation hardest hit by the Category 5 storm. Tens of thousands of people on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco need food, water and medical supplies after Dorian pulverized their homes and sent storm waves crashing through communities.
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Reuters US Domestic News Summary
The Pentagon said on Wednesday it would pull funding from 127 Defense Department projects, including schools and daycare centers for military families, as it diverts $3.6 billion to fund President Donald Trump's wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. A daycare center at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland - the home of Air Force One - will also have its funds diverted, the Pentagon said.
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Trump shows apparently doctored map purporting to back his false claim Hurricane Dorian may hit Alabama
Donald Trump presented an altered National Hurricane Centre map that expanded Hurricane Dorian’s official forecast so it would include Alabama, a state he incorrectly and repeatedly said would be hit by the storm.Speaking to media in the Oval Office on Wednesday, the president had acting department of homeland security secretary Kevin McAleenan retrieve a large map from behind him showing the hurricane’s potential path over the US after it pummelled the Bahamas throughout the week.
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Hong Kong Leader Withdraws the Extradition Bill That Sparked Weeks of Unrest
The embattled leader of Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, has formally withdrawn a divisive bill that sparked the worst political crisis the Chinese enclave has seen in decades.
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Facebook, tech companies meet with U.S intelligence on 2020 election strategy
A number of technology companies including Facebook Inc, Alphabet's Google, Microsoft Corp and Twitter Inc met with representatives of the U.S. government on Wednesday to discuss security strategies related to the 2020 U.S. election, Facebook said in a statement. "The purpose was to build on previous discussions and further strengthen strategic collaboration regarding the security of the 2020 U.S. state, federal, and presidential elections," Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy said in a statement.
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Nissan CEO Saikawa admits to misconduct in compensation: Jiji
Nissan Motor Co Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa admitted to misconduct involving stock-related compensation and said he planned to return the portion he had wrongfully received, Jiji news agency reported. Saikawa made the comments to reporters on Thursday morning after media reported that an internal company probe had found he had received tens of millions of yen more than he should have through a stock appreciation rights (SAR) scheme. The investigation came after former Nissan director Greg Kelly went public with the allegations earlier this year.
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UPDATE 1-Nissan CEO Saikawa admits to misconduct in compensation - Jiji
Nissan Motor Co Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa admitted to misconduct involving stock-related compensation and said he planned to return the portion he had wrongfully received, Jiji news agency reported. Saikawa made the comments to reporters on Thursday morning after media reported that an internal company probe had found he had received tens of millions of yen more than he should have through a stock appreciation rights (SAR) scheme. The investigation came after former Nissan director Greg Kelly went public with the allegations earlier this year.
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Mom who was teaching son to drive killed in Milwaukee road rage shooting
A road rage incident took the life of a mother who was teaching her son to drive in Milwaukee. Matthew Lee Wilks was charged in the shooting.
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California bans fur trapping for recreation, commerce
California on Wednesday became the first state to ban commercial fur trapping, ending the practice nearly 200 years after animals like beavers and otters introduced the American West to international trade. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday he had signed a bill making it illegal to trap animals for the purposes of recreation or to sell their fur. It is still legal to trap animals for other purposes, including pest control and public health.
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Former first lady of Honduras sentenced to 58 years in jail
The former first lady of Honduras Rosa Elena Bonilla, wife of ex-president Porfirio Lobo, was sentenced on Wednesday to 58 years in jail on charges of fraud and undue appropriation of funds, a spokesman for the nation's highest court said. "The former first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla was sentenced to 58 years in jail for the crimes of undue appropriation of funds and fraud," said Supreme Court spokesman Carlos Silva. Bonilla was accused of misusing the equivalent of $779,000 in funds between 2010 and 2014 that came from international donations and public funds, and which were meant to be used for social programs, according to an investigation carried out by attorney general's office and a unit of the Organization of American States.
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'I Was a Religious Zealot That Hurt People.' After Coming Out as Gay, a Former Conversion Therapy Leader Is Apologizing to the LGBTQ Community
'I was a religious zealot that hurt people'
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Ex-contract chief pleads guilty in Atlanta corruption case
A man who helped control contracting for the city of Atlanta pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal crimes in connection with his efforts to hide his consulting activities with businesses seeking contracts from the city. Larry Scott, who resigned last week from his post as director of the Office of Contract Compliance, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing false tax returns before U.S. District Judge Steve Jones. The 54-year-old Scott is the sixth person to plead guilty in a probe of city government corruption under former Mayor Kasim Reed.
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Chanel Miller goes public, woman Brock Turner convicted of sexually assaulting
Chanel Miller, the woman who was sexually assaulted by former Stanford University student Brock Turner, has revealed her identity.
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Meghan McCain Pushes Bernie Sanders to Name One Republican He Likes
via The ViewSen. Bernie Sanders became the first 2020 Democratic candidate to grace the new season of The View on Wednesday. And while he may have gotten a friendly reception from longtime supporter Joy Behar, the rest of the show’s co-hosts treated him much more warily. This was true not only for Whoopi Goldberg, who seemed to insult Sanders by touting Andrew Yang’s universal basic income proposal, but especially for Meghan McCain, who pressed the candidate to explain how could get anything accomplished in Washington given his extremely progressive agenda. Kamala Harris Shuts Down Meghan McCain for Siding With Joe BidenMcCain’s questions came after Behar elicited a response from Sanders to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s apparent desire to see a “moderate” Democrat face Trump next fall. “I love Nancy, but she and I disagree on this issue,” he said. When Sanders went on to say, “I have conservative friends that I love and respect,” McCain interrupted him to ask, “Any in Congress or the Senate?” Asked if he could “name one” sitting Republican he respects, Sanders came up with Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who announced his retirement just last week. “Your dad was somebody I worked with!” Sanders added. “But they’re dead!” McCain shot back, referring to her father, the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). As Sanders started to praise former President George W. Bush, she again pushed him to name “anyone in office, if you were president, that you would work with on the other side.” Finally, Sanders arrived at Lamar Alexander, the 79-year-old Republican senator from Tennessee. “Lamar is not a liar,” he said. “Lamar is not a sexist, he’s not a racist, he’s not a homophobe. He’s a conservative guy.” Sanders failed to mention that Lamar Alexander would not be in the Senate by the time he hypothetically took office as president. At the end of last year, Alexander announced that he will not be seeking re-election in 2020. Whoopi Goldberg Goes Off on Debra Messing: ‘You Don’t Have the Right!’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.
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The Latest: Supreme Court won't halt Texas execution
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to halt the scheduled execution of a 64-year-old Texas inmate who was condemned for fatally stabbing an 89-year-old woman and her daughter more than 16 years ago in their Fort Worth home. Billy Jack Crutsinger is set to receive a lethal injection Wednesday evening for the 2003 killings of Pearl Magouirk and her 71-year-old daughter Patricia Syren.
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Some migrant parents deported without kids can return to US
A federal judge has ordered the U.S. government to allow the return of 11 parents who were deported without their children during the Trump administration's wide-scale separation of immigrant families. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ruled Wednesday that government agents unlawfully prevented those parents from pursuing asylum cases. The parents who will be allowed back include David Xol, the father of 9-year-old Byron, who has lived for several months with a family in Texas after spending nearly a year in government custody.
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US judge: Terror watchlist violates constitutional rights
A federal judge has ruled that the government's watchlist of more than 1 million people identified as "known or suspected terrorists" violates the constitutional rights of those placed on it. The ruling Wednesday from Judge Anthony Trenga grants a summary judgment to nearly two dozen Muslim U.S. citizens who challenged the watchlist with the help of a Muslim civil-rights group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The plaintiffs say they were wrongly placed on the list, and the government's process for adding names is overbroad and riddled with errors.
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Here's how one yellow sock helped solve a 28-year-old cold case murder
Nearly 30 years after Denise Kulb was found dead, her former boyfriend — whose nickname is "Ted Bundy" — was arrested and charged with her murder.
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Santa Cruz Island Dive Boat Fire: Santa Cruz students, teacher from Fremont among victims on Conception
We are starting to learn more about some of the victims from Northern California from the dive boat fire in Southern California near Santa Cruz Island.
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Law enforcement task force tackling violence in Baltimore
A federally funded task force representing more than a dozen federal, state and local law enforcement agencies was unveiled Wednesday, charged with investigating violent crime in Baltimore. U.S. Attorney in Maryland Robert Hur announced the strike force, which will focus gun- and drug-related crime for more than a year. Members will work from a shared location in the city, allowing law enforcement to work more efficiently.
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Records: USC gave extra attention to students tied to donors
The notes tracking the fundraising history associated with applicants were included in spreadsheets shared among top admissions and athletics officials. In some cases, students with ties to donors were labeled as "VIP" and were accepted despite having grades and test scores below the school's average. It has long been known that some schools consider fundraising when choosing applicants, but it's unclear how widespread the practice is, and only rarely has such explicit detail about the process been made available to the public.
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Britain's Princess Charlotte, 4, starts school
George, 5, who is third-in-line, has been a pupil at the school since 2017. The decision to send George there was a break with tradition for William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who will accompany the children to school for four-year-old Charlotte's first day.
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EXPLAINER-How important is Hong Kong to the rest of China?
Concerns over Hong Kong's political and economic future are growing as pro-democracy protests drag on and turn increasingly violent, and China makes clear that forceful intervention is possible. An intervention by Chinese troops could seriously damage Hong Kong's standing as a stable international financial centre and a gateway for global capital flowing into the world's second-largest economy. WHY DOES CHINA NEED HONG KONG AS IT IS?
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Britain's Princess Charlotte, 4, starts school
George, 5, who is third-in-line, has been a pupil at the school since 2017. The decision to send George there was a break with tradition for William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who will accompany the children to school for four-year-old Charlotte's first day.
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CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-U.S. House panel subpoenas DHS chief over alleged Trump pardon offers
The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Wednesday subpoenaed the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, to present documents about President Donald Trump's alleged offer of pardons to officials implementing U.S. immigration policy. McAleenan is required to appear before the panel at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) on Sept. 17 to provide a number of documents, notes and communications including those related to March 21 and April 5 meetings between Trump and DHS officials, according to a copy of the subpoena released by the panel.
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South Carolina scrambles ahead of Dorian's storm surge
"We've seen many worse storms than Dorian over the years, but we figured we wouldn't take any chances, so we're going to stay with family away from the coast," said George Wilson, 42, as he waited to buy candy and chocolate for his children. Dorian has devastated parts of the Bahamas and killed at least seven people, where the scope of the destruction was still coming into focus on Wednesday. The storm's wind speeds dropped on Tuesday to make it a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale.
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Ebola survivors face kidney problems and risk of premature death
People who survive Ebola virus infection face a dramatically higher risk of dying - probably from severe kidney damage - within a year of leaving hospital, according to a study of survivors of an epidemic in Guinea. Researchers who followed more than 1,100 survivors of the Ebola virus outbreak - which swept through West Africa in the world's largest epidemic from 2013 to 2016 - found their mortality rates a year after discharge from hospital were up to five times higher than expected in general Guinean population. Death rates were higher among those who were in hospital for longer, the study found, suggesting that patients who had more severe cases of Ebola may have yet higher post-disease risks.
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'We owe it to them': Bahamian ships prepare for relief missions
As a humanitarian crisis unfolded in the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, a flotilla of ships and boats was preparing on Wednesday to begin ferrying relief supplies to areas of the island-nation hardest hit by the Category 5 storm. Tens of thousands of people on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco need food, water and medical supplies after Dorian pulverized their homes and sent storm waves crashing through communities. Not enough helicopters were available to get the aid to where it was needed, with the main airport on Grand Bahama not yet operating, according to a Reuters photographer, making it impossible to get fixed-wing aircraft in and out.
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North Korean foreign minister will not attend U.N. gathering of world leaders
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho will not attend the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations later this month "due to his schedule," the country's mission to the U.N. told Reuters on Wednesday. Ri has attended the high-level meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York for the past three years. North Korea was initially listed on a tentative speaking schedule - dated July 10 - to again be represented at ministerial level, but a revised agenda issued on Friday downgraded Pyongyang's representation.
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FEATURE-Indigenous tribes fear hard year ahead after Amazon fires
The vice-chief of the village of Pakyri knows that next year his people will face hard times, as the fires raging in the Amazon forest burn their food, medicine and livelihoods. "Our firemen are not being able to handle it ... the trees where we pick Brazil nuts are gone," he said. Last month, Brazil's space research agency, INPE, announced that the number of fires in the Amazon was the highest since 2010.
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South Carolina scrambles ahead of Dorian's storm surge
"We've seen many worse storms than Dorian over the years, but we figured we wouldn't take any chances, so we're going to stay with family away from the coast," said George Wilson, 42, as he waited to buy candy and chocolate for his children. Dorian has devastated parts of the Bahamas and killed at least seven people, where the scope of the destruction was still coming into focus on Wednesday. The storm's wind speeds dropped on Tuesday to make it a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale.
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North Korean foreign minister will not attend U.N. gathering of world leaders
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho will not attend the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations later this month "due to his schedule," the country's mission to the U.N. told Reuters on Wednesday. Ri has attended the high-level meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York for the past three years. North Korea was initially listed on a tentative speaking schedule - dated July 10 - to again be represented at ministerial level, but a revised agenda issued on Friday downgraded Pyongyang's representation.
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Mallinckrodt taps restructuring firms: Bloomberg
The company has hired law firm Latham & Watkins LLP and consulting firm AlixPartners LLP to advise on the matter, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the situation. Mallinckrodt, which has a market value of about $218 million, declined to comment on the report. The development comes as opioid makers in the United States, including Mallinckrodt, face pressure from a crackdown on the addictive drug in the wake of the opioid crisis and as state attorneys general file lawsuits against manufacturers.
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Brazil court rules Uber drivers are freelancers, not employees
A Brazilian high court has ruled that Uber drivers are not employees of the mobile ride-hailing company, a decision that bolsters its business model in its second-largest market. The ruling by Superior Court of Justice, known as STJ, Brazil's second-highest court, was taken last week and published on Wednesday. It was the first time a Brazilian superior court has ruled on the issue, setting an interpretation likely to influence future court decisions related to similar apps.
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Ebola survivors face kidney problems and risk of premature death
People who survive Ebola virus infection face a dramatically higher risk of dying - probably from severe kidney damage - within a year of leaving hospital, according to a study of survivors of an epidemic in Guinea. Researchers who followed more than 1,100 survivors of the Ebola virus outbreak - which swept through West Africa in the world's largest epidemic from 2013 to 2016 - found their mortality rates a year after discharge from hospital were up to five times higher than expected in general Guinean population. Death rates were higher among those who were in hospital for longer, the study found, suggesting that patients who had more severe cases of Ebola may have yet higher post-disease risks.
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GM CEO Barra set to hold White House meetings on Thursday: sources
General Motors chief executive Mary Barra is set to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump and White House officials on Thursday to discuss a variety of issues including trade, ongoing contract talks and revising fuel efficiency standards, three people briefed on the matter said. GM and the White House declined to comment Wednesday on the meetings.
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Trump says he had no role in Pence staying at his resort
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he had nothing to do with Vice President Mike Pence staying at his resort in Ireland or with Attorney General William Barr booking a ballroom at his Washington hotel for a holiday party. "People like my product," Trump said. Democrats and good-government groups say such moves enrich Trump at taxpayer expense.
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Tensions mount between Trump, Pence camps heading into 2020 election
Tensions mount between President Trump's and Vice President Mike Pence's camps as the 2020 election draws closer, amid discussion of their personal relationship and the recent rumors that Pence may be replaced by Nikki Haley.
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Trump displays incorrectly altered map of Hurricane Dorian path
Trouble is raining down on US President Donald Trump, who appears to have given Americans incorrect information on Hurricane Dorian's trajectory. During an Oval Office press conference Wednesday, Trump displayed a map from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) showing the devastating storm's initial predicted path. As he held up the poster board to give the journalists present a better view, it became clear the map had been edited: Dorian's cone had been extended with what appeared to be black marker to include the state of Alabama.
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New York City sues T-Mobile over 'rampant' customer sales abuses
New York City sued T-Mobile USA Inc on Wednesday, accusing the fourth-largest U.S. mobile phone company of engaging in "rampant" sales abuses of customers for its lower-priced, prepaid wireless brand, Metro by T-Mobile. In a complaint filed in the state supreme court in Manhattan, the city said it had identified more than 2,200 violations by T-Mobile, whose "pervasive" illegal activity spanned 56 Metro stores in all five boroughs, including authorized dealers and stores run by its MetroPCS NY unit. T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG , declined immediate comment.
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Scientists reproduce coral in lab, offering hope for reefs
A team of scientists in the US have managed to reproduce coral in a lab setting for the first time ever, an encouraging step in the race to save "America's Great Barrier Reef" off the coast of Florida. The researchers from Florida Aquarium's Center for Conservation were able to reproduce endangered Atlantic Pillar coral through induced spawning, a development that could ultimately prevent the extinction of the Florida Reef tract. "This amazing breakthrough was the first time that we spawned Atlantic corals in a laboratory setting that we've had for over a year in our greenhouses," Amber Whittle, the aquarium's director for conservation, told AFP Monday.
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Your Evening Briefing
(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every afternoon? Sign up hereFirst, Boris Johnson lost his majority. Then he lost control of the House of Commons. On Wednesday, the U.K. prime minister lost a third time when lawmakers voted to block his plan for a no deal-Brexit. In power for six weeks, Johnson is now pushing for a snap election, a move also rejected by Parliament. This time, all he has to lose is his job. Here are today’s top storiesWall Street rebounded along with European and Asian shares as political tensions appeared to subside in Hong Kong, Italy and the U.K., while indicators in China and Europe hinted global economic growth may not be as bad as some expected.Facebook and Google executives met with Trump administration  intelligence officials to discuss security efforts leading up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election.The USS Gerald Ford is a $13 billion aircraft carrier that came in $2.5 billion over-budget with catapults, elevators and a propulsion system that didn't work as advertised. Now, the contractor that built the ship, Huntington Ingalls, and subcontractor General Electric are fighting over who has to pay for the mistakes at taxpayer expense.  U.S. President Donald Trump said he never spoke with Vice President Mike Pence about staying at Trump’s Ireland golf resort during an official trip this week, a move that steers taxpayer dollars to Trump. The only problem with that is Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, said Trump did indeed mention staying at the the hotel as “a suggestion” to Pence.There are hundreds of people associated with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein whose names should be revealed, a lawyer for the dead money manager’s alleged victims told a judge. One of them might be a John Doe who is trying to keep his identity secret.Apple is sitting on a cash hoard of $200 billion. One might wonder why the gadget giant is borrowing $7 billion more?What’s Joe Weisenthal thinking about? The Bloomberg news director smells a trade deal coming between the U.S. and China. Bank of America’s David Woo said it’s time to start betting on a truce in Trump’s trade war. His argument is simple, Joe says: Going into an election year, it’s unlikely Trump would let trade uncertainty hurt the economy further. What you’ll need to know tomorrowHong Kong’s Carrie Lam folded on extradition, but will it be enough? America is creating jobs. The most popular one pays $24,000 a year. The world’s biggest lawsuit may be a sham, Businessweek reports. The Democratic contenders agree on how to fight the climate crisis. Trump tweaks a map to match his error on Hurricane Dorian’s threat. When CEO Jack Dorsey gets hacked, Twitter listens. Businessweek explains how robots can help, rather than replace, us.What you’ll want to read tonightTime to tell your smug New York City friends that they’ve made the wrong life choice: Second cities are taking the gold when it comes to where life is really worth living. To contact the author of this story: David Rovella in New York at drovella@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Judiciary panel issues subpoena on Trump's alleged offer to pardon DHS officials
Trump reportedly promised to pardon aides who broke the law while carrying out his immigration agenda.
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Grand Bahama waterlogged in Hurricane Dorian before and after satellite photos
Next-generation satellite technology capable of penetrating cloud cover shows widespread flooding from slow-moving Hurricane Dorian.
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California boat fire: stairs from sleeping quarters led to space filled with flames
Investigators believe passengers and crew may not have had any means of escape because stairs ended in the same enclosed spaceFBI investigators climb aboard the Vision, a sister vessel to the scuba boat Conception to document its layout and learn more about the deadly pre-dawn fire in Santa Barbara, California. Photograph: Christian Monterrosa/APPassengers and crew on a scuba diving boat that caught fire off Santa Barbara over the Labor Day weekend may not have had any means of escape because the staircases leading up from the sleeping quarters below decks ended in the same enclosed space, not an open deck, investigators believe.Two days after the inferno aboard the Conception, which local officials are calling the worst maritime disaster in California history, rescue workers reported the recovery of 33 of the 34 victims’ bodies. They were planning to use DNA analysis to identify the dead, many of whom were charred beyond recognition.The fire broke out around 3am on Monday morning and spread so fast that the captain and four other crew members on deck had no chance to pull anyone else to safety and ended up jumping off the vessel as it became engulfed in flames. In a harrowing Mayday call to the coast guard, one of the crew said: “I can’t breathe.”The dispatcher asked of the others below deck: “Are they locked inside the boat?” In the recording released to the public, the answer to this question is inaudible.The FBI’s Evidence Response Team has collected evidence both from the charred remains of the diving boat, which was docked a few yards off Santa Cruz Island, 25 miles south of Santa Barbara, and from its intact sister vessel, Vision, which was harbored in Santa Barbara.The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is expected to issue preliminary findings on the causes of the fire within 10 days, pending a full report that could take as long as two years.Preliminary reports suggest that there were no locks preventing the 33 passengers and single crew member trapped below decks from coming up. Rather, the problem was that the two exits required by law both led to a galley area that was consumed by flames and blocked any possible escape.The Conception’s operator, Truth Aquatics, has a good reputation and the coast guard has reported that the boat passed all its most recent inspections, which meant it was fitted with fire extinguishers and with a fire suppression system in its engine room.One former NTSB officialpointed at inadequate safety rules for boat construction. “It appears that both exits from the sleeping quarters bring you up inside the vessel,” the former head of the NTSB’s Office of Marine Safety, Marjorie Murtagh Cooke, told the Los Angeles Times.“With 30-plus people dying, the investigation could lead to changes in the way vessels are designed or protected.”Those aboard the Conception were largely families and diving enthusiasts who relished the chance to explore Santa Cruz Island, an uninhabited environmental treasure in the Pacific Ocean. The victims included a father, stepmother and three daughters from Stockton in northern California.The sheriff of Santa Barbara county, Brian Olmstead, told reporters that three dozen divers had been out looking for bodies around the clock since the disaster, spending long hours in the cold water and returning “emotionally drained”.“Our priority,” he said, “is trying to find the last victim.”
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Guatemala sees hike in migrant expulsions from Mexico
Mexico has sent more than 100,000 Central American migrants back across its border with Guatemala since January, a 63 percent rise on the same period last year, the government announced Wednesday. The hike in expulsions came as Washington increases pressure on its southern neighbor to curb illegal immigration from Central America, after tens of thousands of migrants flocked through Mexico to the US border earlier this year. Mexico sent 54,037 Hondurans, 34,430 Guatemalans, 12,317 Salvadorans and 1,530 Nicaraguans by land to Guatemala, said Alejandra Mena, a spokeswoman for Guatemala's migration authorities.
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Some Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Norwegian Cruise ship passengers are stuck at sea as Hurricane Dorian creeps dangerously close to Florida (RCL, CCL)
Royal Caribbean International, Disney Cruise Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line have extended the itineraries for some cruises that began in Florida as Hurricane Dorian nears the state.
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Everything we know about the California boat fire victims
Three sisters who were helping celebrate their father's birthday are thought to be among the 34 people killed when a diving boat caught fire off the coast of Southern California.Susana Rosas of Stockton, California, posted on social media that her three daughters, their father and stepmother were on board.
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The final text messages wife sent before carrying out secret murder-suicide plan
Mark and Jennair Gerardot were supposed to meet for dinner on April 23, 2018. But Jennair texted she was running late before she sent another one telling Mark to go home because she wouldn't make it.
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Easy Turkey Breast Recipes To Make When You Don't Feel Like Cooking A Whole Bird
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San Francisco supervisors call National Rifle Association a 'domestic terrorist organization'
San Francisco officials have officially deemed the National Rifle Association a "domestic terrorist organization."
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Trump clings to idea Alabama faced big threat from Dorian
President Donald Trump isn't giving up on the dubious idea that Alabama faced a serious threat from Hurricane Dorian. During an Oval Office briefing Wednesday, Trump displayed a map of the National Hurricane Center forecast for last Thursday that showed Dorian could track over Florida. The map he displayed included what appeared to be a hand-drawn half-circle that extended the cone of uncertainty over a swath of Alabama.
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UK Labour's Corbyn will not allow an election before Oct 31 Brexit date -BBC
UK opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will not allow Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hold an election before Oct. 31 even if he backs a new poll when a bill to stop a no-deal Brexit on that date becomes law, the BBC said on Wednesday citing a lawmaker. "A senior Labour MP has just said Jeremy Corbyn told him tonight he would NOT allow Boris Johnson to have an election before 31st October," BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said in a tweet.
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UK Labour's Corbyn will not allow an election before Oct 31 Brexit date -BBC
UK opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will not allow Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hold an election before Oct. 31 even if he backs a new poll when a bill to stop a no-deal Brexit on that date becomes law, the BBC said on Wednesday citing a lawmaker. "A senior Labour MP has just said Jeremy Corbyn told him tonight he would NOT allow Boris Johnson to have an election before 31st October," BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said in a tweet.
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U.S. to give additional $120 million to help Venezuelan migrants
The United States will give an additional $120 million in humanitarian assistance to help Latin America cope with the arrival of millions of Venezuelan migrants fleeing a crushing economic crisis, the State Department said on Wednesday. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) head Mark Green made the announcement during a visit to the border city of Cucuta, Colombia, an epicenter of arriving migrants, the State Department said in a statement.
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Couple injured in El Paso mass shooting sues Walmart
A Texas couple who were injured in a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso last month has filed a lawsuit against the corporation alleging it did not have adequate security in place to prevent the attack that killed 22 people. The lawsuit submitted Friday by Guillermo and Jessica Garcia is the first filed in the aftermath of the Aug. 3 shooting that also injured about two-dozen people, including the El Paso couple. Guillermo Garcia has undergone several surgeries for his wounds and remains hospitalized in critical condition.
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RPT-FEATURE-India's economy suffers car crash, pain spreads to villages
The narrow lanes in Aliyar and Kasan villages in Manesar, an automotive manufacturing hub on New Delhi's southern outskirts, would usually be packed on Sundays with migrant workers employed at the nearby plants enjoying their day off, but not anymore. The auto and component makers in and around Manesar, have shed thousands of jobs. Nationwide, according to industry estimates, automakers, component manufacturers and dealers have laid off about 350,000 workers since the start of the year, in response to plunging car sales.
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UPDATE 1-Trump taunts Democratic candidates as they tout their climate plans
U.S. President Donald Trump blasted the climate change proposals of his Democratic challengers for the White House on Wednesday as they began showcasing their plans in a marathon round of televised town halls. "The Democrats’ destructive 'environmental' proposals will raise your energy bill and prices at the pump," Trump said in a series of tweets, just minutes after the seven-hour event kicked off on CNN. Former Obama administration Housing Secretary Julian Castro was the first of 10 Democratic presidential contenders to explain plans to tackle climate change in the forums likely to pit moderates like front-runner Joe Biden against progressives such as Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
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UPDATE 1-Bolsonaro irks Chile after personal attack on U.N.'s Bachelet
GENEVA/RIO DE JANEIRO/SANTIAGO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro sparked friction with regional ally Chile on Wednesday after he accused its former leader Michelle Bachelet of meddling in his country's affairs by criticizing rising police violence and erosions of democracy. Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, reacted furiously to comments by Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who was tortured under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and was the first female Chilean president.
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Jury finds former Obama White House Counsel Gregory Craig not guilty in foreign-influence case
A jury found former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig not guilty Wednesday of providing false information to federal investigators.
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UPDATE 1-Churchill's grandson says Brexit is sending UK's influence into 'free fall'
Nicholas Soames, the grandson of World War Two leader Winston Churchill, said on Wednesday that Brexit is sending Britain's status into "free fall" after he was sacked from the Conservative Party for rebelling on a vote on leaving the European Union. Prime Minister Boris Johnson expelled 21 lawmakers, including Soames, from the Conservative Party on Tuesday and barred them from running for the party in the next election after they voted for a motion that paves the way for Brexit to be delayed.
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Even a little exercise linked to a longer life
Researchers examined data from 10 previously published studies that used accelerometers that track movement to measure the exact amount of active and sedentary time spent by more than 36,000 older adults. Compared to people who got virtually no exercise, people who got the most physical activity were 73% less likely to die during the study, regardless of how intensely they worked out. With even a little exercise, people were 52% less like to die.
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NYPD: Fewer arrests since 'I can't breathe' officer's firing
Arrests totals in New York City have plunged in the two weeks since the police department fired an officer for the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner, pointing to a possible slowdown amid a heated response to the firing from the officers' union. Felony arrests are down about 11% and misdemeanor arrests are down about 17% since Officer Daniel Pantaleo's Aug. 19 firing, compared with the average daily totals for the rest of the year, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said Wednesday. At the same time, the NYPD has seen a 32% drop in moving violations, he said.
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Cocaine washes ashore on Florida beach as Hurricane Dorian churns in Atlantic
In one case, a beachgoer reportedly found a duffel bag stuffed with more than $300,000 worth of cocaine on the beach.
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Will cities of the future be car-free?
Cities around the world are launching plans to reduce the number of cars on their streets. Will automobiles on city roads become a thing of the past?
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Sofia Vergara, Instagram influencers slammed for 'tone-deaf' posts amid Hurricane Dorian
Sofia Vergara and several Instagram influencers have been criticized for their social media posts during Hurricane Dorian.
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UPDATE 1-Effort to disqualify lawyer part of U.S. campaign against Huawei: counsel
The effort to stop a former U.S. Justice Department official from representing Huawei is another step in a broader U.S. government campaign against the Chinese company, a lawyer for Huawei argued on Wednesday. Lawyer Michael Levy said the company has not been given any material information as to why its counsel, James Cole, should be removed. Cole is Huawei’s lead lawyer in the U.S. case against the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker for allegedly misleading global banks about its business in Iran.
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U.S. judge approves CVS purchase of insurer Aetna
A federal judge reviewing a Justice Department decision to allow U.S. pharmacy chain and benefits manager CVS Health Corp to merge with health insurer Aetna said on Wednesday that the agreement was in fact legal under antitrust law. Judge Richard Leon of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had been examining a government plan announced in October to allow the merger on condition that Aetna sell its Medicare prescription drug plan business to WellCare Health Plans Inc . Leon had initially balked at approving the merger conditions and insisted on hearing from critics of the deal, but finally decided to grant the motion to approve the consent agreement.
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Youngest son of Egypt's ousted Islamist President Mursi dies
The youngest son of Egypt's former president, Mohamed Mursi, died on Wednesday from a heart attack, his brother and a family lawyer told Reuters, 2-1/2 months after his father's death from similar causes. Abdallah Mursi, 24, began to feel spasms while driving in Cairo with a friend and died shortly afterward, his brother Ahmed said. A top figure in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Mursi had been in jail since being toppled by the military in 2013 after barely a year in power, following mass protests against his rule.
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The Latest: Epstein filings name hundreds of third parties
A federal judge says sealed court records contain the names of hundreds of third parties mentioned in a civil case involving sexual abuse claims against Jeffrey Epstein. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said Wednesday the unnamed people will be notified and allowed to object to the release of the documents. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently released more than 2,000 pages in the since-settled defamation lawsuit filed by one of Epstein's accusers.
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House panel subpoenas DHS chief over alleged Trump pardon offers
The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Wednesday subpoenaed the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, to testify about President Donald Trump's alleged offer of pardons to officials implementing U.S. immigration policy. McAleenan is required to appear before the panel at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) on Sept. 17, according to a copy of the subpoena released by the panel. The committee said it was also seeking documents related to March 21 and April 5 meetings between Trump and DHS officials and other communications related to enforcement of U.S. immigration policy.
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The Latest: South Carolina congressman: Girding for Dorian
The congressman who represents much of South Carolina's coast says he's doing what he can to make sure his district is prepared as Hurricane Dorian approaches. U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he's spent days making sure his constituents have the information they need to stay safe. Cunningham spoke after touring the U.S. Coast Guard's operations center in North Charleston, South Carolina.
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WRAPUP 1-Iran to develop centrifuges for faster uranium enrichment
DUBAI/WASHINGTON, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Iran on Wednesday said it would take another step away from a 2015 nuclear deal by starting to develop centrifuges to speed up its uranium enrichment but it also gave European powers two more months to try to save the multilateral pact. Separately, the United States refused to ease its economic sanctions on Iran, imposed fresh ones designed to choke off the smuggling of Iranian oil and rebuffed, but did not rule out, a French plan to give Tehran a $15 billion credit line.
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NTSB: Metal fatigue caused wing to snap in fatal plane crash
Metal fatigue created by frequent takeoffs and landings caused a wing to snap off a university's training plane last year, resulting in a crash that killed the student pilot and a flight examiner, federal inspectors said Wednesday. The National Transportation Safety Board said in a report that the single-engine Piper Arrow owned by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University crashed April 4, 2018, after its left wing snapped off at 900 feet (274 meters). Pilot Zack Capra, a 25-year-old Navy veteran, was performing takeoffs and landings at Daytona Beach International Airport for Federal Aviation Administration examiner John Azma, 61.
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Trump doubles down on debunked Alabama comments about Dorian's path, holds up map with added circle
Speaking to reporters at the White House Wednesday, the president held up a map of Hurricane Dorian's projected path from Aug. 29 that included an added circle around parts of Alabama.
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Getting out -- tariffs push some US manufacturers to exit China
As fresh US tariffs on Chinese imports kick in, Illinois-based phone accessories manufacturer Ben Buttolph has been urgently moving production to other Asian countries despite the cost, inconvenience and deep uncertainty. "It's a huge inconvenience, it's a huge expense," he told AFP after Xentris set up in the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam since the trade war between the US and China erupted 18 months ago. "Building up these supply chains took 30 years in China.
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Lightened-Up Meals That Won't Leave You Ravenous
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WRAPUP 1-Iran to develop centrifuges for faster uranium enrichment
DUBAI/WASHINGTON, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Iran on Wednesday said it would take another step away from a 2015 nuclear deal by starting to develop centrifuges to speed up its uranium enrichment but it also gave European powers two more months to try to save the multilateral pact. Separately, the United States refused to ease its economic sanctions on Iran, imposed fresh ones designed to choke off the smuggling of Iranian oil and rebuffed, but did not rule out, a French plan to give Tehran a $15 billion credit line.
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UN envoy urges key nations to call for end to Libya conflict
The U.N. envoy to war-torn Libya said Wednesday he has launched "an intensive campaign" for an international conference to deliver a message that the offensive launched five months ago by a rebel commander must end. A civil war in Libya in 2011 toppled and later killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. In the chaos that followed, the country was divided, with a weak U.N.-supported administration in Tripoli overseeing the country's west, and a rival government in the east aligned with the self-styled Libyan National Army led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter.
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Hook, Line and Sinker: The State Department's Iran Hand Steps Up the Pressure on Tehran
NEW: Brian Hook is taking a swipe at the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Does he want to bring Iran to the table or overthrow its government?
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Facebook Meets With FBI to Discuss 2020 Election Security
(Bloomberg) -- Executives from Facebook Inc. and Google met with U.S. intelligence officials on Wednesday to discuss the technology industry’s security efforts leading up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election, according to a person familiar with the talks.The gathering, which is taking place at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, included staff members from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said the person, who asked not to be named because the talks haven’t been publicly disclosed. Representatives from Twitter Inc. and Microsoft Corp. were also in attendance.The full-day meetings were arranged to discuss how tech companies like Facebook are preparing for election-related security issues, including government-backed online disinformation campaigns similar to the one Russia orchestrated ahead of the 2016 U.S. election. In June, a senior Trump administration official told reporters that Russia, China, and Iran are all trying to influence public opinion ahead of the 2020 elections. Facebook has taken down coordinated influence campaigns originating from all three countries in the past year.Attendees at Wednesday’s meeting will also discuss plans for better coordination of security efforts between tech companies and government agencies -- something that didn’t happen in 2016. Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, was leading the meeting, according to a person familiar with the situation.Facebook has been heavily criticized for propagating past disinformation campaigns, and it has also been the most vocal about changes it’s making to protect its network around elections. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has said repeatedly that security is a top priority at the social network, and Facebook has hired thousands of content reviewers and security-related personnel to better monitor its service. Ahead of the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, Facebook also created a “war room” at its headquarters to more quickly respond to issues in the weeks leading up to election day.Facebook and other tech companies also have added more restrictions on political advertising after foreign agents used their platforms to buy ads in 2016. Facebook now requires verification and documentation from political advertisers, and launched a public database of all the political ads it runs. Twitter and Google have also added an application process for political advertisers.Representatives for Microsoft and Twitter confirmed their attendance at Wednesday’s meeting, and one U.S. intelligence official described the meeting as an effort to establish "shared goals" between the tech community and the government."We always welcome the opportunity to spend time with our peer companies and the government agencies tasked with protecting the integrity of the 2020 election," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. "This is a joint effort in response to a shared threat, and we are committed to doing our part."A spokeswoman for the DNI declined to comment. Google -- along with the FBI and DHS -- didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.(Updated with context around disinformation campaigns and comment from Twitter.)\--With assistance from Alyza Sebenius.To contact the reporter on this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at kwagner71@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Molly Schuetz, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Trump Used Doctored Hurricane Dorian Forecast Map Backing False Claim That Alabama Was in Its Path
Chip SomodevillaThe President of the United States is feuding with a weather forecast.Speaking to reporters inside the Oval Office on Wednesday, President Donald Trump discussed Hurricane Dorian and its current path, eventually pulling out a days-old forecast map that appeared to be altered to bolster the president’s previous false claims that Alabama was in the hurricane’s path.The president pointed to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast map from August 29, and where the original forecast ended, a black circle apparently drawn in Sharpie was added. Trump offered no explanation for the apparent alteration.The doctored map is just the latest in an ongoing saga wherein the president has doubled, if not tripled, down on claims that Alabama was in Dorian’s path. The original forecast from Aug. 29 predicted the hurricane making landfall in central Florida and dying out after crossing through the state. The president was briefed last Thursday using that exact map, according to photographs released that day by the White House.Nowhere in that prediction was Alabama slated to be in the storm’s path. And yet, on Sunday, the president warned that Alabama could be “hit (much) harder than anticipated.” Despite the Birmingham branch of the National Weather Service blasting out that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian,” the president made the false claim two more times. On Monday, he tweeted that he said nothing wrong, claiming that “under certain original scenarios, it was in fact correct that Alabama could have received some ‘hurt.’”The NOAA’s original Hurricane Dorian forecast map from August 29.NOAAAsked on Wednesday why the map appeared to have been doctored, Trump gave a bizarre non-denial. “I don't know. I don't know. I don't know,” he repeatedly said.He then quadrupled down on the false Alabama claim: “I know that Alabama was in the original forecast, they thought it would get a piece of it. We have a better map... in all cases Alabama was hit, if not lightly in some cases pretty hard. They gave it a 95-percent chance.”The NOAA, meanwhile, declined to address the president’s map discrepancies, referring all questions to the White House. (The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this story.)The president has a longstanding habit of refusing to back down from his incorrect assertions, even when proven definitively wrong; and he has an equally longstanding streak of enlisting aides and associates to help him perpetuate his lie or falsehood. In this first year of his presidency, Trump held a meeting with military veterans and advocates in the White House, and refused to concede that it was napalm, not Agent Orange, in the famous scene from Apocalypse Now—even though Vietnam War vets told him to his face that he was mistaken. And during his days hosting reality-TV show The Apprentice, years before he became president, Trump wouldn’t stop calling rapper Lil Jon an “Uncle Tom,” even after staffers informed him it was a racial slur and that he meant to say “Uncle Sam,” in reference to the Uncle Sam costume the rap artist wore. Producers pleaded with him to stop, but Trump just kept telling them, “No, that’s a saying, it’s Uncle Tom.”This has been a banner series of weeks for Trump and hurricanes.Late last month, the president posted a tweet complaining that Dorian looked like it was headed toward Puerto Rico, and took the time to snipe at his political enemies on the island. Shortly before that, Axios reported that Trump had repeatedly suggested to senior homeland-security and national-security officials that they look into deploying nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes as they form. The president was serious enough that, according to Axios, his remarks were even noted in a secret National Security Council memo.After the story published, Trump publicly and repeatedly insisted that he never made such comments to senior officials, and that Axios made it all up. (The Daily Beast can confirm Axios’s reporting, per two sources familiar with Trump’s comments.)In the past, some of the president’s private discussions regarding hurricanes have been decidedly more tongue-in-cheek than his nuke-the-hurricanes musings or the apparent doctoring of a government forecast map. Since assuming the office, Trump has on multiple occasions joked about hostile or foreign nations, such as China, using top-secret technology to start hurricanes to attack America, according to two people with direct knowledge of his recurring joke. 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.
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S.African businesses reeling after xenophobic onslaught
Paul Dihi treads cautiously through the charred carcass of his two-story shop building, taking a heartbreaking tally of the destruction wrought by xenophobic violence that raged through parts of South Africa in recent days. Dihi, who rented space to shopkeepers from Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others, said he received a late night call from a tenant telling him his property was ablaze, as mobs descended on foreign-owned shops and businesses in Johannesburg's eastern suburb of Malvern late Sunday. The unrest in Malvern was part of a wave of xenophobic violence that unfurled through South Africa's Gauteng province and other parts of the country this week, killing at least seven people and leaving scores of businesses in ruins.
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Former Chicago Police Sergeant: Today's shooters are tomorrow's victims
Retired Chicago Police Sgt. Peter Koconis on Chicago crime wave, recent shootings on 'The Story.'
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Trump Raids Elementary Schools to Pay for Wall; Mexico Off Hook
Jose Luis Gonzalez/ReutersDuring the 2016 election, Donald Trump repeatedly pledged that, as president, he would get Mexico to pay for the construction of his much-promised wall along the U.S. southern border. On Tuesday, his administration revealed that it would be paying for the wall instead by diverting funds meant for the construction of elementary schools, hazardous waste warehouse facilities, and fire stations, among other Department of Defense initiatives.The revelation came in the form of a list of projects that DOD sent to Capitol Hill that it says it will now be putting on hold as the president transfers funds from that department to wall construction. All told, DOD pinpointed more than $1 billion in mainland priorities that it was now shelving, in addition to $1.8 billion in foreign-based projects, and nearly $700 million in projects based in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands—all U.S. territories. Among the notable items now on the backburner include $62 million for a middle school at Ft. Campbell in Kentucky, $13 million for a “child development center” at Joint Base Andrews near Washington, more than $40 million to replace a hazardous materials warehouse in Virginia, nearly $11 million for a fire station replacement in Beaufort, South Carolina; nearly $95 million for an elementary school at Camp Mctureous in Japan; and nearly $80 million for an elementary school replacement project in Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. Lawmakers in Congress had fought the president’s ability to divert such funds to border wall construction. But a recent Supreme Court ruling left little doubt that Trump retained the legal ability to make such transfers, and congressional aides do not expect that the courts will come to their rescue at this point. Since the Trump administration signaled in February it would raid military construction funding to pay for the wall, the working assumption on Capitol Hill among Democrats had been that the White House would probably privilege funding in states held by Republicans while maximizing the pain for areas represented by Democrats.That’s true to some extent. New York, the home of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, will take the biggest hit of any state, with diversions from planned projects at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point tagged at $160 million. New Mexico, Virginia, and Maryland will all see significant cuts, too.But the administration will also divert plenty of dollars from projects in states with Republican representation, complicating politics for a handful of GOP senators with the most difficult re-election fights in 2020, including Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).Leaked Letter Shows Where Military Will Reinforce Trump’s Border WallTillis’ home state of North Carolina will see roughly $80 million in projects put on hold. McSally, who was appointed to her seat, will have to deal with the loss of $30 million for an Army facility in southern Arizona to her constituents. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is up for re-election too, will see roughly $60 million in projects for his state put on pause. But the final list may hurt territories, which have no electoral votes, the most— particularly Puerto Rico, which has been a persistent source of agitation for the president. The island will see over $400 million in funding for military projects there deferred.Almost all of the projects contained in the list appear in a larger list of unspent military construction funds circulated by congressional Democrats in a letter to the then-Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanhan and warned that diversion of funds from the projects “imposes known and unknown risks on the military services’ ability to train the force, maintain readiness, and support military missions.” The projects postponed in order to divert funding to Trump’s border wall include a number of congressional defense spending favorites. In Alaska, the Defense Department deferred $8 million for the expansion of a missile field at Fort Greely, home of the missile defense system the Pentagon hopes will help counter missile threats from adversaries like North Korea. And the Trump administration, which has embraced the use of drones more so than even the administration of Barack Obama, has decided to defer a huge pot of funds intended to fix a sinkhole that is developing at a key site for the U.S. drone program. In New Mexico, the Pentagon will delay $85 million to improve conditions at a drone training program at Holloman Air Force Base, where issues like bad plumbing, poor lighting, and a massive sinkhole prompted Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) to call the situation “unacceptable” during a visit in April. In Virginia, the Pentagon is delaying over $40 million in funding to bring hazardous waste storage up to current standards in a Naval facility that serves as the main supply point for vessels supporting NATO; it’s also icing $10 million to provide a new sensitive compartmentalized information facility, or SCIF, for the Air Force’s cybersecurity unit.  Secretary of Defense Mark Esper spent the past two days informing affected lawmakers of the cuts. In a Tuesday letter, a group of key Democratic senators, led by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), the top Democrat on the Senate panel that appropriates for military construction, demanded answers from Esper over why this group of projects was targeted.“We also expect a full justification of how the decision to cancel was made for each project selected,” they wrote, “and why a border wall is more important to our national security and the wellbeing of our service members and their families than these projects.”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.
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Minority EU Governments Not Unusual, But They Normally Work
(Bloomberg) -- Minority governments aren’t that unusual in the European Union. Yet in the U.K. -- typically governed by a one-party majority -- that form of rule has gone sour. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who lost his majority when a lawmaker switched party on Tuesday, expelled another 21 MPs after being defeated on a Brexit bill in Parliament. On Wednesday, the lack of support translated into yet another resounding defeat over a no-deal exit from the EU and also saw his push for an early general election rejected.\--With assistance from Nikos Chrysoloras, Andrea Dudik, Jonas Bergman and Paul Tugwell.To contact the reporters on this story: Eddie Spence in London at espence11@bloomberg.net;Zoe Schneeweiss in London at zschneeweiss@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sheldon Reback at sreback@bloomberg.net;Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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U.K.'s Boris Johnson Fails in Bid to Trigger Early Election
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed in his attempt to trigger a snap general election, in another blow for his Brexit strategy.Johnson needed two-thirds of members of Parliament to support his plan to break up Parliament early for a national poll but fewer than half backed him.He had argued that an emergency election was the only way out of the Brexit deadlock that has paralyzed British politics for the past three years.Speaking after his defeat, Johnson blamed his rival, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, for refusing to support the proposed election. "He does not think he will win," Johnson said.The result was the third time Johnson had suffered a major parliamentary defeat for his Brexit plan in 24 hours. It came after MPs moved decisively to stop Britain lurching out of the European Union without an agreement in eight weeks’ time.Earlier on Wednesday, Johnson failed to stop the House of Commons voting for a draft law designed to thwart his proposal to take the U.K. out of the EU -- with or without a deal -- on Oct. 31.To contact the reporters on this story: Tim Ross in London at tross54@bloomberg.net;Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson at fjackson@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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U.S. House panel subpoenas DHS chief over alleged Trump pardon offers
The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Wednesday subpoenaed the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, to testify about President Donald Trump's alleged offer of pardons to officials implementing U.S. immigration policy. McAleenan is required to appear before the panel at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) on Sept. 17, according to a copy of the subpoena released by the panel. The committee said it is also seeking documents related to March 21 and April 5 meetings between Trump and DHS officials.
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Reuters Entertainment News Summary
Australian director Shannon Murphy manages to bring out the humor in pain and suffering in her tear-jerking film feature debut "Babyteeth", a harrowing tale of a seriously ill teenage girl embracing life. Actress Priyanka Chopra and her pop star husband Nick Jonas were named the best dressed of 2019 by People magazine on Wednesday, marking the first time in the celebrity magazine's history that a couple has shared top style honors.
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Marshal: Fugitive couple likely getting help to stay hidden
Authorities believe husband and wife fugitives wanted in the killing an Arizona man have been able to stay under the radar for more than a week because they are getting help from multiple people. David Gonzales, the U.S. Marshal for Arizona, said Tuesday that deputy marshals are looking at several possible persons of interest in the search for Blane Barksdale and Susan Barksdale. Marshals, the FBI and other agencies have been sifting through hundreds of tips since the pair overpowered two guards more than a week ago in Utah and took control of a prison transport van delivering them to Tucson.
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UPDATE 1-Brazil Senate committee approves pension system overhaul
Brazil's Senate constitutional affairs committee on Wednesday approved by a vote of 18-7 a bill that would overhaul the social security system and save the federal government some 1 trillion reais ($243 billion) over the next decade. The vote adds to evidence that President Jair Bolsonaro's chief economic reform will see easy passage in the full Senate before he signs it into law. Overhaul of the costly pension system is being closely watched by investors worried about Brazil's huge budget deficit.
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How Disney World kept the magic alive as Hurricane Dorian threatened Florida
Early closures of Disney World parks Tuesday ahead of Hurricane Dorian meant many vacationers headed to the hotels to wait out the storm.
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Santa Cruz students, teacher from Fremont among victims of boat fire off SoCal coast
We are starting to learn more about some of the victims from Northern California from the dive boat fire in Southern California near Santa Cruz Island.
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Senior U.K. Conservative to Quit Parliament Over Brexit Fears
(Bloomberg) -- Former U.K. Conservative Party chairman Caroline Spelman will quit parliament at the next election citing concerns about jobs for her constituents if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal.Spelman, 61, who joined the Tories as an 18-year-old and has been an MP for 22 years, is the latest in a string of high-profile Tories to leave the party or be expelled after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered them not to vote against a no-deal Brexit.“In my constituency there is a large council estate and all the single mums there owe their jobs to the car factory,” Spelman told Bloomberg. “I can’t be pro no-deal when I’ve seen the predictions about what will happen to jobs, I can’t ignore it.”Spelman voted against the government on Wednesday after meeting Chief Whip Mark Spencer who “graciously allowed me to vote with my conscience” in favor of legislation forcing an extension to the Brexit deadline.Spelman denied she’d been asked to step down by the party, adding that her constituents need a fresh candidate for the next election whenever that comes. She declined to criticise Johnson’s handling of party discipline.After Spelman leaves the House of Commons she is keen to carry on her work with the head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. He is is overseeing a reconciliation commission to heal nationwide divisions over Brexit.To contact the reporter on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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UPDATE 1-Pentagon pulls funds for military schools, daycare to pay for Trump's border wall
The Pentagon said on Wednesday it would pull funding from 127 Defense Department projects, including schools and daycare centers for military families, as it diverts $3.6 billion to fund President Donald Trump's wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Schools for the children of U.S. military members from Kentucky to Germany to Japan will be affected. A daycare center at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland - the home of Air Force One - will also have its funds diverted, the Pentagon said.
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Reuters People News Summary
Judge Herbert Moses of the Manhattan Supreme Court set an Oct. 10 trial date on Tuesday for the actor Cuba Gooding Jr., who was charged with groping a woman at a Manhattan bar in June. Actress Priyanka Chopra and her pop star husband Nick Jonas were named the best dressed of 2019 by People magazine on Wednesday, marking the first time in the celebrity magazine's history that a couple has shared top style honors.
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Reuters Health News Summary
Following is a summary of current health news briefs. Chinese health inspectors are expected to start evaluating four Brazilian beef plants on Thursday as part of a push to approve new meat exporters amid an outbreak of swine fever, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Marfrig Global Foods SA owns one of the plants, located in the town of Várzea Grande in Mato Grosso state, according to both sources.
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North Carolina foster mother charged in 1-year-old's death
Authorities are charging a North Carolina foster mother in the death of a 1-year-old boy who was left inside a hot car in a shopping center parking lot. News outlets report Pineville police say warrants charge 42-year-old Dawn Aberson-Vanden Broecke with involuntary manslaughter. Police say Broecke has cooperated with investigators and is expected to turn herself in to police.
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Texas governor resists calls for quick votes after shooting
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday rejected calls from Democrats for immediate votes on new gun safety measures following a violent August that began and ended with mass shootings that left 29 people dead and injured dozens more. The Texas Legislature doesn't meet again until 2021. Following the Labor Day weekend attack in Odessa that killed seven people, Abbott said "words must be followed by meaningful action" to prevent more mass shootings in Texas.
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Trump's approval rating remains below 50% in Wisconsin
A poll released Wednesday shows that President Donald Trump's job approval in the key swing state of Wisconsin remains below 50%, a troubling sign for Republicans 14 months before the 2020 election. The poll offers the latest glimpse into voter attitudes more than a year before the election. Wisconsin is one of four swing states — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida are the others — that could determine the outcome of the 2020 election because their electorates are so evenly divided.
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Los Angeles man charged with selling fentanyl to rapper Mac Miller before his death
A Los Angeles man who prosecutors say sold counterfeit oxycodone laced with fentanyl to rapper Mac Miller two days before his death from an accidental overdose was arrested on Wednesday on federal drug charges. Cameron James Pettit, 28, was accused in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles of delivering the pills to Miller, the former boyfriend of Grammy-winning pop star Ariana Grande, early on the morning of Sept. 5, 2018. The 26-year-old performer, whose real name was Malcolm James McCormick, was found unresponsive in his home in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles on the morning of Sept. 7 and later pronounced dead at the scene.
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UK's PM Johnson: Opposition leader Corbyn first ever to turn down an election
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday taunted the leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, after Corbyn refused to vote in favour of holding a national election. "This is the first time in history that the opposition has voted to show confidence in Her Majesty's government," Johnson said in a short speech after he failed in his bid to call an election, in large part because Corbyn ordered his party to abstain on the vote.
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Mexico wants full probe in botched missing students case
Mexico's president said Wednesday he will push the country's attorney general and judicial council for a full investigation into officials accused of botching the investigation into the 2014 disappearance of 43 students so badly the principal suspects are being freed. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's announcement came following the weekend release of Gildardo López Astudillo, which sets a precedent that experts say could lead to the release of 50 more suspects in a case that has come to symbolize Mexico's human rights crisis.
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UK lawmakers reject PM Johnson's request for early election
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed on Wednesday to win the approval of enough lawmakers to go ahead with his plan to hold an early election. The opposition Labour Party instructed its lawmakers to abstain on the vote.
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Palo Alto: Fiscal 4Q Earnings Snapshot
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) _ Palo Alto Networks Inc. (PANW) on Wednesday reported a loss of $20.8 million in its fiscal fourth quarter. On a per-share basis, the Santa Clara, California-based company said it had a loss of 22 cents.
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Oregon senator: Tax e-cigarettes after Oregon vape death
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden said Wednesday he will introduce legislation next week that would tax e-cigarettes in the same way that traditional cigarettes are taxed to reduce their appeal to teenagers who are increasingly taking up the popular smoking alternative. Wyden's announcement came the day after Oregon public health officials said they are investigating the death of a middle-aged person who contracted a severe respiratory illness after using a vaping device that contained cannabis that was purchased at a marijuana dispensary. The death is the second one linked to vaping nationwide and the first linked by health officials to a product purchased at a dispensary.
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Pentagon pulls funds for military schools, daycare to pay for Trump's border wall
The Pentagon said on Wednesday it would pull funding from 127 Defense Department projects, including schools and daycare centers for military families, as it diverts $3.6 billion to fund President Donald Trump's wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Schools for the children of U.S. military members from Kentucky to Germany to Japan will be affected. A daycare center at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland - the home of Air Force One - will also have its funds diverted, the Pentagon said.
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Perceptron: Fiscal 4Q Earnings Snapshot
PLYMOUTH, Mich. (AP) _ Perceptron Inc. (PRCP) on Wednesday reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $8.4 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier. The Plymouth, Michigan-based company said it had a loss of 87 cents per share. Losses, adjusted for severance costs, came to 9 cents per share.
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UPDATE 1-Ahead of budget, Mexico government promises prudent fiscal policy
In the run-up to the presentation of Mexico's 2020 fiscal budget, Mexican Finance Minister Arturo Herrera said on Wednesday that fiscal policy will be conducted with prudence and discipline given the outlook for the global economy. Market watchers, credit ratings agencies and investors will pour over the budget proposal when it is presented on Sunday for signs of how President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will continue to manage Latin America's second largest economy. "We have to be very careful, we have to be responsible in macroeconomic terms and we have to be fiscally disciplined," Herrera said at an event in Mexico City.
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Iran has released seven crew members of seized tanker Stena Impero: Sweden foreign minister
LONDON/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Iran has released seven of the 23 crew members of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero that was seized earlier this summer, Sweden's foreign minister said on Wednesday. The Swedish-owned Stena Impero was detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards on July 19 in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations, two weeks after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement that the Swedish embassy in Tehran had confirmed that seven of the 23 members had been released.
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Cargo Airlines Prepare For Brexit Demand Spike
Air cargo carriers are expecting a demand surge for scheduled and charter capacity if the British government overcomes opposition in Parliament and proceeds with a no-deal exit from the European Union Oct. 31, a scenario that even government experts agree will cause logistics chaos at English Channel ports. Opposition to a no-deal Brexit reached fever pitch Sept. 4 when the Conservative government led by Boris Johnson suffered a heavy parliamentary defeat. The defeat could pave the way for a bill to be passed designed to prevent Britain from leaving the European Union with no deal at the end of October.
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US offered millions in cash to captain of Iranian tanker
A senior US official personally offered several million dollars to the Indian captain of an Iranian oil tanker suspected of heading to Syria, the State Department confirmed Wednesday. The Financial Times reported that Brian Hook, the State Department pointman on Iran, sent emails to captain Akhilesh Kumar in which he offered "good news" of millions in US cash to live comfortably if he steered the Adrian Darya 1 to a country where it could be seized. "We have seen the Financial Times article and can confirm that the details are accurate," a State Department spokeswoman said.
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Victim in Brock Turner Stanford sexual assault case goes public with her name and memoir
The woman who Brock Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting in 2016 has come forward, not only revealing her real name but also releasing a new memoir. In the book titled "Know My Name," which she began working on in 2017, Chanel Miller discusses the assault, which occurred after a fraternity party in 2015, The New York Times reported. In a "60 Minutes" segment to be aired in full Sept. 22, Miller read part of the victim statement that she previously read in court to Turner.
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Pentagon pulls funds for military schools, daycare to pay for Trump's border wall
The Pentagon said on Wednesday it would pull funding from 127 Defense Department projects, including schools and daycare centers for military families, as it diverts $3.6 billion to fund President Donald Trump's wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Schools for the children of U.S. military members from Kentucky to Germany to Japan will be affected. A daycare center at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland - the home of Air Force One - will also have its funds diverted, the Pentagon said.
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Slack: Fiscal 2Q Earnings Snapshot
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Slack Technologies Inc. (WORK) on Wednesday reported a loss of $359.6 million in its fiscal second quarter. On a per-share basis, the San Francisco-based company said it had a loss of 98 cents. The results beat Wall Street expectations.
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GLOBAL MARKETS-Equities advance, U.S. Treasury yield curve steepens on easing geopolitical fears
Stocks rebounded worldwide on Wednesday, and the U.S. Treasury yield curve steepened as upbeat geopolitical news and positive economic data from China helped revive risk appetite. A parliamentary vote in Britain put the brakes on the nation's no-deal exit from the European Union, Hong Kong withdrew the contentious extradition bill that sparked recent protests and political turmoil in Italy appeared to be easing with the formation of a new coalition cabinet, all of which brought buyers back to equities markets.
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Trump warns China against dragging its feet in trade talks
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned he would be "tougher" on Beijing in a second term if trade talks dragged on, compounding market fears that ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China could trigger a U.S. recession. Trump, ignoring recent negative U.S. economic data, said in a posting on Twitter that the United States was "doing very well in our negotiations with China," and played up the damage U.S. tariffs were doing to the Chinese economy. Thomas Donohue, chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told CNBC that U.S. companies and workers were bearing the brunt of the U.S. tariffs but China's economy was also hurting.
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Pope acknowledges opposition within the conservative right wing toward him
Pope Francis acknowledged his growing opposition within the conservative right wing of the U.S. Catholic Church and said in offhand remarks aboard the papal plane Wednesday that it is "an honor if the Americans attack me."
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Descartes Systems: Fiscal 2Q Earnings Snapshot
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At Home Group: Fiscal 2Q Earnings Snapshot
PLANO, Texas (AP) _ At Home Group Inc. (HOME) on Wednesday reported fiscal second-quarter net income of $10.4 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier. On a per-share basis, the Plano, Texas-based company said it had profit of 16 cents. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations.
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MongoDB: Fiscal 2Q Earnings Snapshot
NEW YORK (AP) _ MongoDB Inc. (MDB) on Wednesday reported a loss of $37.3 million in its fiscal second quarter. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. For the current quarter ending in November, MongoDB expects its results to range from a loss of 29 cents per share to a loss of 27 cents per share.
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Smartsheet: Fiscal 2Q Earnings Snapshot
BELLEVUE, Wash. (AP) _ Smartsheet Inc. (SMAR) on Wednesday reported a loss of $19.1 million in its fiscal second quarter. On a per-share basis, the Bellevue, Washington-based company said it had a loss of 17 cents. The results beat Wall Street expectations.
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DEA arrests man alleged to have sold Mac Miller fentanyl-laced pills before his death
Man arrested in connection with rapper Mac Miller's overdose death
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Verint: Fiscal 2Q Earnings Snapshot
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Canada names new China envoy amid damaged relations
Canada on Wednesday announced the appointment of a new ambassador to China amid damaged relations following the arrest of a top Chinese tech executive. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Dominic Barton, the former global managing director of consulting firm McKinsey & Co, is the new envoy. Trudeau fired the previous ambassador after he said it would be "great" if the U.S. dropped its extradition request for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
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James Mattis’s Blistering Criticism of Obama
Most of the coverage of James Mattis's new book, Call Sign Chaos, co-authored with Bing West, deals with the former defense secretary's relationship with President Trump. The Atlantic's pre-publication interview with Mattis was headlined, "The Man Who Couldn't Take It Anymore." The New York Times editorial page ran a column about Mattis called "The Man Trump Wishes He Were."Both articles establish that Mattis doesn't have much to say right now, in either the book or in interviews, about President Trump. Neither piece, though, mentions another president about whom Mattis is more than willing to dish. That would be Barack Obama, who was Mattis's commander in chief when the then–Marine general led Central Command. Mattis's critique of Obama isn't just harsh. It's blistering.Mattis's tenure at Central Command lasted from 2010 to 2013. It was during this time that the Obama administration took steps that diminished American influence in the greater Middle East and empowered Iran. The spillover effect includes the migrant crisis that contributed to the rise of national populism in Europe. Mattis dissented from Obama policy. "In 2010," he writes, "I argued strongly against pulling all our troops out of Iraq."When the Arab Spring came to Egypt in 2011, "I thought we should use quiet diplomacy to urge inclusive government." Obama instead called for Hosni Mubarak to resign. Mattis writes:> President Obama came out vocally against Mubarak, insisting that in Egypt, “we were on the right side of history.” Having read a bit of history and found that events, good and bad, had been “written” by both good and evil characters, I put little stock in the idea that history books yet to be written would somehow give yearning Arabs what they fervently desired today.In the spring of 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder revealed an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil. Mattis urged the White House to make the public case for reprisals against Tehran. He was rebuffed. "We treated an act of war as a law enforcement violation, jailing the low level courier."Through it all, Mattis was dealing with Iran's malign behavior across the region. "Each step along the way, I argued for political clarity and offered options that gave the Commander in Chief a rheostat he could dial up or down to protect our nation." The commander in chief wasn't interested. He turned the rheostat off.Mattis was informed he would be relieved of command in December 2012. He writes:> I was leaving a region aflame and in disarray. The lack of an integrated regional strategy had left us adrift, and our friends confused. We were offering no leadership or direction. I left my post deeply disturbed that we had shaken our friends' confidence and created vacuums that our adversaries would exploit.The following year, Barack Obama failed to enforce his "red line" against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's use of chemical weapons against civilians. "This was a shot not heard around the world," Mattis writes. He continues:> Old friends in NATO and in the Pacific registered dismay and incredulity that America's reputation had been seriously weakened as a credible security partner. Within thirty-six hours, I received a phone call from a friendly Pacific-nation diplomat. “Well, Jim,” he said, “I guess we're on our own with China.”Americans will have to wait for Mattis's full assessment of the Trump presidency. We were provided some clues in his resignation letter. It has also been reported that Mattis left over differences with the president regarding troop deployments in Syria and the potential abandonment of U.S. partners there.In the meantime, at this very moment, we have Mattis's devastating assessment of Barack Obama's foreign policy and its calamitous effects on American prestige and American power. Maybe we ought to pay attention?
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Apple’s iPhone 11 might’ve just been pictured in the wild for the first time ever
With all the leaks that have spilled out across the internet over the past year, it seems like there can't possibly be anything left to leak. The first details surrounding Apple's upcoming new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max first began to trickle out about 12 months ago, when top Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities detailed next-gen iPhones that would sport huge camera upgrades and a new design with frosted glass on the back. As time rolled on, we learned more and more about Apple's next-generation iPhone lineup until finally, the inevitable happened: Apple's iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro designs were stolen from the Foxconn factory at which they'll be manufactured. It happens each and every year, and it leads to a slew of renders that give us a very good idea of what Apple's new iPhones will look like.Such was the case this year, though most of the renders and physical mockups we've seen are wrong in several key areas. There was one image that came a bit closer to showing us what the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max will actually look like, but now we might have something even better. A huge leak may have just revealed the first-ever photo of an iPhone 11 model in the wild.Now, before we go any further and you get too excited about this potential leak, it's important to note that there's a very good chance it's a fake. The phone pictured in the image posted to Weibo on Wednesday morning is indeed a real smartphone, but there's a strong possibility that it's a Chinese knockoff as opposed to a real iPhone 11 model. After all, Chinese companies often manufacture fake iPhones once their designs leak. These phones often even run forked versions of Android that have been skinned to look just like iOS. They're still not genuine iPhones though, and that may be the case here.The biggest indication that this is a Chinese knockoff is the fact that the area surrounding the camera on the back is black. That's how all of Apple's previous-generation iPhone models have been designed, but rumor has it the space between the lenses will be color-matched to the rest of the back on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max.That said, news of the color-matched backs on Apple's next-generation iPhone models has obviously not been confirmed by Apple at this point, so it's still just a rumor that could certainly be wrong. On top of that, the supposed iPhone 11 pictured in the leaked photo is in a case. It might actually be the Space Gray model with a black back, but the case is making it look bluish. Were that the case, then the area in between the lenses of the new rear camera would indeed be black.With that out of the way, here's the leaked photo that was posted to Weibo:And here it is zoomed in:It is really an iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro? Is it just a Chinese knockoff? It's difficult to tell since the photo isn't great quality. The camera looks quite odd in the zoomed-in version, almost as if there's only one lens in the top-left corner with an LED flash beneath it. This could just be the result of distortion though, since the image quality is quite poor.Apple will unveil its new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max at a special event next Tuesday, September 10th. The phones are then expected to be made available for preorder that Friday and a release is likely set for Friday, September 20th.
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Amazon's 'tallest tree' safe from fires, say scientists
Intrepid Brazilian and British scientists say they have located the Amazon's tallest tree in northern Brazil, untouched by a spate of wildfires that have raged in the rainforest for weeks. The scientists say they located an unusually large specimen of the giant Dinizia Excelsa species -- measuring 88 meters (288-feet) with a circumference of 5.50 meters -- in a sanctuary of other Dinizia trees. Bastos led research conducted in August by scientists from the Federal University of the Valleys of the Jequitinhonha and Britain's Cambridge University and the University of Swansea.
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Successful PTSD treatment tied to lowered diabetes risk
Researchers examined medical records for 1,598 veterans who received treatment for PTSD and had regular assessments to rate their symptom severity. At the start of the study period, none of the participants had diabetes, and all of them rated their PTSD symptoms as moderate to severe, with scores of at least 50 on a scale topping out at 85 for the worst cases. After two to six years of follow-up, a total of 105 veterans developed diabetes.
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New York judge orders 'expedited' review of sealed lawsuit related to Jeffrey Epstein
A New York City federal judge ordered an "expedited" private review of sealed files from an earlier lawsuit related to Jeffrey Epstein in response to a news organization's effort to see the thousands of pages that remain hidden despite the wealthy financier's death. Once the documents are reviewed and categorized, Judge Loretta Preska said she would be able to decide which ones could be unsealed. In 2018, the Miami Herald petitioned to unseal all the documents connected with the defamation lawsuit filed in 2015 by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's former companion.
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Trump denies he suggested Pence stay at his Irish country club
President Trump said Wednesday the idea for Vice President Pence to stay at his Irish golf resort didn’t come from him — contradicting a previous statement by Pence’s top aide.
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Slack posts huge loss in first quarter as public company
Slack Technologies Inc, the workplace messaging and communication platform, posted a huge loss in its first quarter as a public company as it spent heavily on sales and marketing to boost engagement on its platform and retain users.
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US STOCKS-Wall St rises on strong Chinese data, Hong Kong and Brexit news
Wall Street's main indexes rebounded on Wednesday, after robust economic data from China, easing tensions in Hong Kong and British lawmakers' approval of a law to delay Brexit provided relief to investors worried about global growth. U.S. stocks opened higher and continued to rise as the day progressed after data showed activity in China's services sector expanded at the fastest pace in three months in August, providing a boost to the world's second-largest economy, which has struggled to reverse a prolonged manufacturing sector slump. Also, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam withdrew an extradition bill that had triggered months of often violent protests in the Chinese-ruled city.
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Tropical Storm Fernand makes landfall in Mexico as Gabrielle spins in the Atlantic
Tropical Storm Fernand made landfall along the Mexico coast just south of the U.S. border, and Tropical Storm Gabrielle is spinning in the Atlantic.
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Trump says ‘I don’t know’ how map was altered to show Alabama in danger from Hurricane Dorian
During an Oval Office briefing, the president showed reporters an enlarged map that he said was the initial forecasted path of the storm. It appeared to have been altered with a marker to include Alabama.
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Brazil's Bolsonaro praises 1973 military coup in Chile
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro criticized on Wednesday U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who is from Chile, by praising that country's 1973 military coup. Bachelet "forgets that her country is not Cuba only thanks to the courage of those who stopped the left in 1973," Bolsonaro wrote on his Facebook page, adding that among the communists that were defeated then was her father. Bachelet's father Alberto, an air force officer who opposed Gen. Augusto Pinochet during the coup, was imprisoned and tortured.
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Brazil Senate committee approves bill overhauling pension system
Brazil's Senate constitutional affairs committee on Wednesday approved by a vote of 18-7 a bill that would overhaul the social security system and save the federal government some 1 trillion reais ($243 billion) over the next decade. The bills must still win approval in the full Senate. The second bill, which has been drafted in the Senate, also requires approval in the lower house of Congress.
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Former White House counsel Craig not guilty in Ukraine case: media
Greg Craig, who had served as former President Barack Obama's top White House lawyer, was found not guilty on Wednesday of charges that he lied about work he performed for Ukraine, according to media reports. In a case that grew out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Craig was accused of lying about a legal review he conducted in 2012, after he left the White House, that largely vindicated the prosecution of a political enemy of Viktor Yanukovich, the Russian-aligned president of Ukraine at the time.
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Brad Pitt talks sobriety, 'being open and honest' in Alcoholic Anonymous
Brad Pitt talks sobriety, 'being open and honest' in Alcoholic Anonymous originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.comBrad Pitt spent the past few years "taking inventory of" himself, the famed actor told The New York Times in a candid new profile.The recently single movie star, whose breakup with Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie has made headlines for years now, spoke about the part of himself that "is weak and goes through self-doubts" as well as learning to "identify and accept those things. ...
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Shuttered shelter for migrant kids to reopen in Phoenix
A national provider of shelters for immigrant children will be allowed to reopen one of two Arizona facilities it was forced to shutter last year because of issues with employee background checks. The Arizona Department of Health Services said Wednesday it approved an application by Southwest Key to reopen a Phoenix facility that can house 420 children. The shelters are for kids who traveled to the U.S. alone or were separated from a relative.
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UPDATE 1-Former White House counsel Craig not guilty in Ukraine case -media
Greg Craig, who had served as former President Barack Obama's top White House lawyer, was found not guilty on Wednesday of charges that he lied about work he performed for Ukraine, according to media reports. In a case that grew out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Craig was accused of lying about a legal review he conducted in 2012, after he left the White House, that largely vindicated the prosecution of a political enemy of Viktor Yanukovich, the Russian-aligned president of Ukraine at the time.
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Grand Bahama waterlogged in Hurricane Dorian before and after satellite photos
Next-generation satellite technology capable of penetrating cloud cover shows widespread flooding from slow-moving Hurricane Dorian.
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Walmart’s Retreat on Guns Means Woke Capitalism Is Here to Stay
My first job was selling guns at Walmart. I was a clerk in the sporting-goods department at our local store in Georgetown, Ky. Georgetown was a much smaller place then. This was years before Toyota came to town, put an immense car plant in a field not far from my house, and started producing Camrys by the tens of thousands. The population was less than 10,000, tobacco farms dotted the countryside, and Future Farmers of America was one of the largest clubs in my high school.This was also the era when students would roll into class in the morning still wearing hunting camouflage, with their rifles in the trunks of their cars or mounted in their pickups. So when I started my work life selling guns, the only thing that was notable about