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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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