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  • Ilhan Omar: Trump admin can't be trusted on Iran if it ' lies about weather maps or crowd sizes' news

    Omar said that the administration could not be trusted to "give us the full information" on Iran because of past falsehoods about "weather maps."

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 08:18:29 -0400
  • Middle East Mystery Theater: Who Attacked Saudi Arabia's Oil Supply? news

    The United States doesn't know how to respond to the attack on its ally's oil plant—or who to hold responsible for it.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 13:10:00 -0400
  • Wisconsin man accused of making THC cartridges charged news

    A Wisconsin man suspected of running an illegal operation to manufacture vaping cartridges flew to California last month to get THC oil in bulk to fill thousands of cartridges to sell, prosecutors said Monday in charging documents. Authorities in Kenosha, Wisconsin, arrested 20-year-old Tyler Huffhines on Sept. 5 after parents tipped off police when they saw their teenage son with one of the cartridges. Prosecutors say Huffhines employed 10 people to fill the cartridges with THC oil at a condo he rented with a stolen identity.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 17:55:48 -0400
  • China must give Hong Kong leaders room to compromise: former governor news

    China must give Hong Kong leaders leeway to reach a compromise with protesters or face continued unrest in the city, former governor Chris Patten said on Tuesday. "In order to have a resolution the Chinese government needs to make it clear that they still believe in the treaty which was signed by Britain," he told AFP, referring to the 1985 agreement that led to Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule in 1997. Under the deal, Hong Kong was allowed to keep its unique freedoms for 50 years.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 20:18:01 -0400
  • A flight from Vietnam to South Korea was delayed for 11 hours after the pilot arrived at the airport and realized he had lost his passport news

    T'Way Air said it was investigating the incident and how the pilot lost his passport, and that it put passengers in a hotel and fed them breakfast.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 08:19:35 -0400
  • Merkel urges return to Iran nuclear deal to defuse Middle East tensions news

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called for a return to an international deal curbing Iran's nuclear activities as the only way to defuse tensions in the Middle East. "We believe that the deal to stop Iran from acquiring military nuclear capabilities is a building block we need to get back to," Merkel said during a news conference with Jordan's King Abdullah. "But there is also a long list of other burdens coming from Iran like the ballistic missiles program and its engagement in Syria," she said.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 07:45:44 -0400
  • NYC to Allow 1.1 Million Students to Skip Class for Climate Protests news

    New York City public schools will allow 1.1 million students  to skip classes Friday in order to attend the planned "climate strike" ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit.The protests aim to press the Summit for immediate action to stop climate change, and are geared specifically for the participation of young people.Reactions to the decision have been ecstatic in some cases, as protest organizers contemplate what they hope will be the largest climate change protest in the history of the U.S.“This completely changes things, and it’s our doing,” Xiye Bastida, 17, a senior at Beacon High School in Manhattan, told the New York Times. Some teachers at her school were planning to accompany students to the protests even before the school district granted permission to do so.“We’re not against the school system,” she said. “We need the schools to work with us because our larger goal is to stop the fossil fuel industry.”

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 08:49:55 -0400
  • Astronomers Observe the Most Massive Neutron Star Ever news

    It's 15 miles across with a mass of more than twice the sun.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 10:59:00 -0400
  • Investigation into alleged surveillance abuse and targeting of the Trump campaign is in its final stages news

    Inspector general Michael E. Horowitz outlined a multi-step review process with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General William Barr; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports from Washington.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 10:51:11 -0400
  • Fall-Flavored Cocktails, From Pecan Pie Martinis to Pumpkin Pie Sangria

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

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 12:54:00 -0400
  • Iran said there will be no talks with the US following growing tensions. How did things get to this point? news

    Tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalated following the Trump administration’s claim that Tehran was behind attack on Saudi Arabia oil facilities.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 10:00:08 -0400
  • Threat Assessment High: The Attack on Saudi Arabia's Oil Supply Signals a New Danger news

    The drone strike on Riyadh’s oil supply is a strategic turning point that has wider implications for the Middle East.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 07:29:00 -0400
  • 20 dead as truck falls off cliff in southern Philippines news

    Twenty villagers were killed and 14 others were injured when the truck they were riding in lost control and fell off a cliff Tuesday in a remote mountain village in the southern Philippines, police and the Red Cross said. Provincial police chief Joel Limson said the truck was negotiating a downhill road in Tboli town in South Cotabato province when its brakes apparently failed and plummeted down a ravine, pinning 15 people to death. Police, Red Cross volunteers and villagers retrieved the 15 bodies from the wreckage at the bottom of the ravine.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 07:12:34 -0400
  • UN experts urge probe of Rohingya killings in Bangladesh news

    UN human rights experts have raised new concerns about the treatment of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh following a deadly backlash over the killing of a ruling party official. The experts called for an "impartial" investigation into the deaths of at least six Rohingya men in gunfights with police after they were named as suspects in the killing of Omar Faruk, a youth wing official of the ruling Awami League. In a statement released late Monday in Geneva, the six specially appointed UN experts on rights issues backed Bangladesh's probe into the murder of Faruk.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 04:50:46 -0400
  • Obama’s team lines up to defend Andrew McCabe in court

    Obama-era national security leaders would testify on behalf of McCabe should he face trial over allegations that he misled officials about leaks to the media.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 13:24:08 -0400
  • B-2 Spirit: The Stealth Bomber Trump Could Send to Strike Iran news

    Or North Korea, Russia, China--anyone.

    Sun, 15 Sep 2019 23:00:00 -0400
  • California Bans State-Sponsored Travel to Iowa over Refusal to Provide Medicaid Coverage for Gender-Reassignment Surgeries news

    California added an eleventh state to its travel blacklist on Friday, banning state-sponsored travel to Iowa over that state's refusal to cover gender-transition surgeries under its Medicaid program.California attorney general Xavier Becerra announced the decision to add Iowa to the travel-ban list, which takes effect October 4 and means public employees and college students will not be able to travel to Iowa on the taxpayer's dime.In May, Iowa governor Kim Reynolds signed a law blocking Medicaid from paying for gender-reassignment surgeries despite the state Supreme Court's ruling earlier this year in favor of charging taxpayers for the procedures. Gender identity is a protected characteristic under Iowa's Civil Rights Act."The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming healthcare," Becerra said in a statement. "California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it."California's travel blacklist stems from a 2016 law allowing the Golden State to ban state travel to other U.S. states that roll back protections for LGBT citizens. Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Kentucky are also on the list.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 15:25:41 -0400
  • Putin Loses Legendary Approval-Rating Crown to His New Neighbor news

    (Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Vladimir Putin takes great pride in his sky-high approval rating. But with Muscovites rising up and a new government instilling hope in Ukraine, he’s being outshone by the president next door, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.It’s still early days for the administration in Kyiv. While pushing a raft of popular reforms, Zelenskiy, 41, remains in his honeymoon period, while cries he’s too close to a local billionaire grow louder.The 66-year-old Putin, meanwhile, is approaching two decades as Russia’s leader. Economic expansion has fizzled out, and along with it the spending largess that kept the masses happy.The last time his popularity sagged meaningfully, Putin famously got a boost after annexing Crimea from Ukraine and fomenting a war between the two former allies.Zelenskiy has a long way to go to match the 89% rating Putin reached back then.To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Langley in London at alangley1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at, Gregory L. WhiteFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0400
  • Satellite photos show the scale of destruction at Saudi oil facilities hit by attacks that put global markets in chaos news

    Reacting to the attack on the Saudi Aramco plant, oil prices hit a six-month high early Monday, with prices spiking 20% when markets opened.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 06:22:51 -0400
  • Warren Goes After Trump’s Sister in Anti-Corruption Push news

    Brian Snyder/ReutersSen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is adding some new proposals to her anti-corruption plan, this time with one particularly provocative target: President Trump’s sister. In a Medium post published Monday, the Massachusetts Democrat proposes closing the loophole that “allows federal judges to escape investigations for misconduct by stepping down from their post.” In outlining the idea, Warren specifically references a case involving Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump-Barry, whose retirement brought an abrupt end to an investigation into her role in various tax schemes of the family and potential fraud therein. “Under my plan, investigations will remain open until their findings are made public and any penalties for misconduct are issued,” Warren writes in the post. Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Trump’s Actions ‘Align’ With Authoritarian RegimesIn spotlighting the Trump-Barry case, Warren becomes the first Democratic presidential candidate to take an overt shot at the president’s sister. But Trump-Barry isn’t the only judge that Warren cites as a basis for her ethics policy. The senator also cites allegations of sexual misconduct against the former appeals court judge Alex Kozinski and how a probe into the allegations was scuttled when he resigned. Nor is the proposal dealing with federal judges the lone plank in the new policy. The proposal is one of many in a larger package that includes banning “lobbyists from making political contributions” and “from bundling donations or hosting fundraisers for political candidates." It would also ban senior officials and members of Congress from serving on for-profit boards and prohibit courts from using sealed settlements to conceal evidence in cases involving public health and safety. Collectively, the program is ambitious in its scope. But it would face hurdles to its passage. Warren is attaching it to her current ethics bill which requires congressional approval in order for enactment. The timing of Warren’s proposals is politically intriguing, however, as it comes as reports of new sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Warren, as well as many of her 2020 Democratic opponents, said on Sunday that they believed the new revelations warranted impeachment of Kavanaugh, something that several progressive groups have been pushing as well. In laying out her new ethics pledge, Warren says that the proposed closing of loopholes could apply to situations like Kavanaugh’s, as she noted that a judicial conduct panel dismissed a number of ethics complaints against Kavanaugh in August, citing their lack of authority over Supreme Court justices. “Our federal court system only works if the American people have faith that it is neutrally dispensing fair-minded justice without bias or personal interests interfering in judicial decisions,” Warren writes. “If we want the American people to believe this, we need some serious judicial ethics reforms.”The release of it precedes a speech Warren will deliver in New York City on Monday night near the site of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, continuing a pattern for the 2020 contender of introducing policy tied to the historical struggles of workers. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 16:08:40 -0400
  • Wisconsin brothers charged with operating counterfeit vaping cartridge operation news

    Tyler and Jacob Huffhines ran an operation that cranked out 3,000 to 5,000 counterfeit vaping cartridges each day, authorities say.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 11:33:05 -0400
  • Half of the 147 tigers rescued from Thai temple have died news

    More than half the tigers rescued three years ago from a Buddhist temple in Thailand where they served as a popular tourist attraction have died of disease, wildlife officials said Monday. The tigers were vulnerable to illness because of inbreeding, leading to laryngeal paralysis causing respiratory failure, said national parks official Patarapol Maneeorn. The DNA of all 147 confiscated tigers could be traced to six tigers who were the original breeding stock, said Patarapol, head of the department's Wildlife Health Management Division.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 20:43:38 -0400
  • Iran charges three detained Australians with spying news

    Iran has charged three detained Australians with spying, a judiciary spokesman said on Tuesday, after the reported arrest of a travel-blogging couple and an academic. Two of the Australians were alleged to have used a drone to take pictures of military sites, while a third was accused of spying for another country, spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told reporters. It was the first official confirmation that Australians have been detained in Iran after the families of three of them said last week they had been arrested in the Islamic republic.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 09:20:18 -0400
  • Man who dragged shark to death from speedboat and poured alcohol down throats of fish is jailed news

    A Florida man who dragged a shark to its death from a high-speed boat has been jailed for 10 days.Robert Benac III will pay a $2,500 fine, perform 250 hours of service at an animal shelter and lose his fishing licence for three years after pleading guilty to misdemeanour of animal cruelty.

    Sun, 15 Sep 2019 11:56:55 -0400
  • Locked and Loaded: Could Iran Sink the U.S. Navy If War Breaks Out? news

    Tehran has lots of missiles. Could they start sinking warships?

    Sun, 15 Sep 2019 18:00:00 -0400
  • China signals veto in standoff with U.S. over Afghan U.N. mission: diplomats news

    China and the United States are deadlocked over a U.N. resolution to extend a mission in Afghanistan, with Beijing signaling it will cast a veto because there is no reference to its Belt and Road project, diplomats said on Monday. A planned vote on Monday by the 15-member Security Council to renew the U.N. mission, known as UNAMA, was delayed to Tuesday to allow for more negotiations.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 13:16:50 -0400
  • Gay Softball League Leads to Major Supreme Court Job-Bias Case news

    (Bloomberg) -- Gerald Bostock says he’s convinced his participation in a gay softball league was why he was fired from his job running the child-advocate program at the juvenile court in Clayton County, Georgia.The Atlanta-area county’s decision sent “a homophobic message that we do not approve of your sexual orientation,” Bostock said.But Bostock might never get to test his allegations in court. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to use his case to consider whether federal law gives gay people any protection against employment discrimination. The court will hear arguments on Oct. 8, the second day of its new nine-month term.The case will tackle a central irony in the fight over gay rights. Even though the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015, gay people can still be fired from their jobs in much of the country. Lower courts are split on whether federal law permits anti-gay discrimination, and fewer than half of the states bar it through their own civil rights statutes.“Most people in this country already think that federal law protects gay and lesbian employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation,” said Sasha Samberg-Champion, a Washington lawyer who filed a brief backing Bostock for a group of employment-discrimination scholars. For the Supreme Court to say otherwise “would be very surprising and upsetting to many people,” he said.The court will hear Bostock’s appeal on the same day it considers a similar case involving a now-deceased gay skydiving instructor in New York, as well as a separate fight over a transgender woman fired from her job at a Michigan funeral-home chain.Defining ‘Sex’Together, the cases will define the reach of the main federal job-bias law, known as Title VII. That measure outlaws discrimination because of sex, as well as race, religion and a handful of other factors. It doesn’t explicitly mention sexual orientation or gender identity.President Donald Trump‘s administration is among those arguing that Title VII, by its terms, doesn’t cover sexual orientation or gender identity.“The ordinary meaning of ‘sex’ is biologically male or female,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued. “It does not include sexual orientation.”The administration and its allies say Congress had no intention of covering sexual orientation or gender identity when it enacted Title VII as part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They say lawmakers have repeatedly tried -- and failed -- to broaden the law’s coverage.“If ‘because of sex’ included ‘sexual orientation,’ why have there been efforts over the past several decades to amend the statute to include ‘sexual orientation’?” said John Eastman, a professor at Chapman University School of Law. He filed a brief backing the county on behalf of the National Organization for Marriage and the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.Bostock and his supporters contend that sexual-orientation bias is a form of sex discrimination because it necessarily depends on the gender of the person being targeted. They say the Supreme Court has always interpreted the law broadly, as when it barred employers from sex stereotyping in a 1991 ruling.“What the court has said in the past is that discrimination ‘because of sex’ is a very broad concept that applies even to situations that the Congress that enacted Title VII probably never imagined,” Samberg-Champion said.Business SupportBostock has the support of more than 200 businesses, including Inc., Apple Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and General Motors Co. They say a ruling in Bostock’s favor would help companies recruit talent and generate innovative ideas.Bostock was 49 when he was fired in 2013 from his job running Clayton County’s Court Appointed Special Advocates program, which recruits and trains volunteers to serve as the voice for children who have been victims of abuse or neglect.His dismissal occurred after a county audit of the funds he managed. The juvenile court’s chief judge, Steven Teske, was quoted at the time by a local television station as saying Bostock improperly used the money at bars and restaurants in midtown Atlanta, about 20 miles north of the Clayton County courthouse in Jonesboro.“I don’t see how you can justify going to Atlanta to recruit volunteers for Clayton County,” Teske told WSB-TV.Teske didn’t respond to a request for an interview, and the county’s attorney, Jack Hancock, declined to discuss the specifics of the lawsuit.“It is our position that Mr. Bostock’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with his termination,” Hancock said in an e-mail. “Nor does the juvenile court or the county discriminate against employees based upon their sexual orientation.”But Bostock said in an interview at his house that he was engaging in the same type of recruiting he had been doing for years. He said his spending wasn’t questioned until he got involved with the Hotlanta Softball League and started recruiting volunteers from the people he got to know.“I wanted to open that door,” said Bostock, who now lives on the other side of Atlanta in a house festooned with University of Georgia paraphernalia. “There are a lot of resources within the gay community that had really kind of been untapped.”He said he had been open about his sexual orientation at work even before he joined the league.‘A Job You Love’Bostock said his active recruiting had helped make the county the first in the Atlanta area to have a volunteer for every child who needed one. He said he was passionate about making a difference for needy children and was devastated by his firing.“You have a job you love, you’re good at it, and then all of a sudden you find yourself fired,” he said. He now works as a mental health counselor at a local hospital.Bostock, now 55, said he hadn’t intended to become a civil rights activist.“I didn’t ask for any of this,” he said. “But this is an issue of national importance. And through my experience, I’ve learned that somebody needs to stand up for this cause and now that person’s me.”To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at, Laurie Asséo, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 04:00:00 -0400
  • The U.S. Army's Next Generation of Super Weapons Are Coming news

    And Iran, North Korea, Russia and China should be very afraid.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 03:28:00 -0400
  • The Future of Design: Transportation

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

    Sun, 15 Sep 2019 16:26:10 -0400
  • Democratic challenger criticizes Susan Collins after new Brett Kavanaugh allegations news

    Sara Gideon, a Democratic challenger of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has repeatedly criticized Collins for voting last year to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanuagh.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 19:51:12 -0400
  • Agency could keep Three Mile Island nuclear debris in Idaho news

    The partially melted reactor core from the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history could remain in Idaho for another 20 years if regulators finalize a license extension sought by the U.S. Energy Department, officials said Monday. The core from Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania partially melted in 1979, an event that changed the way Americans view nuclear technology. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has determined there would be no significant impact from extending the license to store the core at the 890-square-mile (2,305-square-kilometer) site that includes Idaho National Laboratory.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 18:52:57 -0400
  • Iran seizes new boat near vital oil shipping lane news

    Iran has seized a boat suspected of being used to smuggle fuel and arrested its 11 crew members near a vital oil shipping lane, state television reported on Monday. A naval patrol of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps intercepted the vessel carrying 250,000 litres of fuel near the Strait of Hormuz, state TV's website said, citing a commander of the force. "This boat was sailing from Bandar Lengeh towards United Arab Emirates waters before it was seized 20 miles (32 kilometres) east of Greater Tunb island," Brigadier General Ali Ozmayi was quoted as saying.

    Sun, 15 Sep 2019 20:49:15 -0400
  • Inside the US military's $223 million 'doomsday plane,' capable of surviving a nuclear blast news

    The E-4B "Nightwatch" is nicknamed the Doomsday Plane. It's designed to survive a nuclear blast. In the event of nuclear war, the militarized Boeing 747 will become the command center for the US President, Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 09:00:00 -0400
  • Edward Snowden Is Exposing His Own Secrets This Time news

    Barton GellmanEdward Snowden doesn’t share new state secrets in his memoir, Permanent Record, which The Daily Beast obtained a copy of ahead of its release Tuesday. But he does offer some personal ones, from his transformation into America’s most famous secret-spiller, to the news that he was married, two years ago, to Lindsay Mills, the girlfriend he left behind when he fled the U.S. for Hong Kong with a virtual library of top secret files detailing America’s global electronic spying apparatus.After enlisting in the Army at 21, Snowden writes that he was on a track called “18 X-Ray”, with a chance to come out of training as a Special Forces sergeant, before breaking his leg at Fort Benning and receiving an administrative separation. “I had hoped to serve my country,” he writes, as his family had before him, “but instead I went to work for it” as a contractor for the intelligence community. That was effectively a cover, in his telling, as “the agencies were hiring tech companies to hire kids, and then giving them the keys to the kingdom because… no one else knew how the keys, or the kingdom worked.” He elaborates: “Here is one thing that the disorganized CIA didn’t quite understand at the time, and that no major American employed outside of Silicon Valley understood, either: The computer guy knows everything, or rather can know everything.”Eventually, Snowden, having attained the security clearances necessary for his tech work, “went govvy” and signed up for a straight CIA job. He joined class 6-06 of the BTTP, or the Basic Telecommunications Training Program that “disguises one of the most classified and unusual curricula in existence… to train TISOs (Technical Information Security Officers),” who work under State Department cover to “manage the technical infrastructure for CIA operations, most commonly hidden at stations inside American missions, consulates, and embassies.” “[T]he worst-kept secret in modern diplomacy is that the primary function of an embassy nowadays is to serve as a platform for espionage,” he writes.After being stationed in Vienna, Snowden moved to Tokyo in 2009 to work as a systems analyst for the NSA, he writes, though nominally as an employee of Dell. “Two things about the NSA stunned me right off the bat: how technologically sophisticated it was compared with the CIA, and how much less vigilant it was about security in its every iteration,” he writes, noting that the NSA “hardly bothered to encrypt anything.”While working there on a project called EPICSHELTER—“a backup and storage system that would act as a shadow NSA: a complete, automated, and constantly updating copy of all the agency’s most important material, which would allow the agency to reboot and be up and running again, with all its archives intact, even if Fort Meade were reduced to smoldering rubble”—Snowden began researching China’s domestic surveillance system, which led to his first inkling that if such systems were possible, the U.S. might be using them too, given “perhaps the fundamental rule of technological progress:. if something can be done, it probably will be done, and possibly already has been.”That same summer, the U.S. released its Unclassified Report on the President’s Surveillance Program, following the New York Times’ reporting on the Bush-era warrantless wiretapping program. Eventually, Snowden writes, he found the classified version, “filed in an Exceptionally Controlled Information (ECI) compartment, an extremely rare classification used to make sure something would remain hidden even from those holding top secret clearance… The report’s full classification designation was TOP SECRET//STLW//HCS//COMINT//ORCORN//NOFORN, which translates to: pretty much only a few dozen people in the world are allowed the read this.”Snowden found it only because the STLW classification—for STELLARWIND—had raised a red flag for him as a system administrator, meaning he had to examine the file to determine what it was and how best to scrub it from the system where it wasn’t supposed to have been placed.   “It was clear that the unclassified version I was already familiar with wasn’t a redaction of the classified report, as would usually be the practice,” he writes. “Rather, it was a wholly different document, which the classified version immediately exposed as an outright and carefully concocted lie” to hide the transformation of the NSA’s mission “from using technology to defend America to using technology to control it by redefining citizens’ private Internet communications as potential signals intelligence.”STELLARWIND, the classified report revealed, had been collecting communications in the U.S. since 2001, and continued even after Justice Department lawyers secretly objected to it in 2004. It’s longevity owed everything to a kafkaesque legal position adopted by the Bush administration, “that the NSA could collect whatever communication records it wanted to, without having to get a warrant, because it could only be said to have acquired or obtained them, in the legal sense, if and when the agency ‘searched and retrieved’ them from its database.”Having found the big secret, set up so that no one else knew it was there to even start asking questions, Snowden writes, he began using his access as a systems engineer and administrator to ask those questions, while keeping the knowledge a secret from his girlfriend and his family, and considering what to do about it. Back in the US in 2011, Snowden experienced his first epileptic seizure. The following year on a contract with Dell again, he returned to the NSA, at its Kunia Regional Security Operations Center in Hawaii. There, he writes, “my active searching out of NSA abuses began not with the copying of documents, but with the reading of them.” As the sole employee of the Office of Information Sharing, he was developing an automated “readboard” to scan the IC’s own internal internet and create a custom digital magazine for each employee, based on his or her interests and security clearances. He called the system Heartbeat, and its servers stored a copy of each scanned document, “making it easy for me to perform the kind of deep interagency searches that the heads of most agencies could only dream of.” Heartbeat, he writes, “was the source of nearly all of the documents that I later disclosed to journalists.”Snowden mentions a rare public speech Ira “Gus” Hunt, the CIA’s chief technology officer, delivered a week after then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had lied to Congress about the NSA’s collection of bulk communications. In the speech, covered only by the Huffington Post, Hunt flatly declared that we “try to collect everything and hang on to it forever.” “You’re already a walking sensor platform,” he said. “It is nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information”). As Snowden notes, a video of the talk has less than 1,000 views. After that, Snowden recounts his efforts to reach out to journalists, and to carefully hide his digital breadcrumbs by encrypting data and distributing the keys to it, while perhaps hiding his findings on SD cards inside of Rubik’s Cube cubes to get them out of the NSA’s underground tunnel in Hawaii.He then took what he saw as a less prestigious new position to gain access to the XKEYSCORE system, which he’d learned about but not used himself, and, he writes, is “perhaps best understood as a search engine that lets an analyst search through the records of your life.”“It was, simply put, the closest thing to science fiction I’ve ever seen in science fact,” he writes, allowing users to put in someone’s basic information and then go through their online history, even playing back recordings of their online settings and watching people as they searched, character by character. “Everyone’s communications were in the system—everyone’s,” including the president’s, he writes. The potential for abuse was obvious. NSA workers even had a word, “LOVEINT” for “love intelligence,” to describe analysts cyber-stalking current, former and prospective lovers, while among male analysts “intercepted nudes were a kind of informal office currency,” Snowden writes. “This was how you knew you could trust each other: you had shared in one another’s crimes.”Finally, Snowden recounts his trip to Hong Kong, after taking a medical leave, his efforts to reach Ecuador, and his exile in Russia, where he was finally reunited with Lindsay (whose diary entries recounting his disappearance, and the pressure then placed on her by U.S. authorities are given a full, moving chapter. Snowden speaks well of a very different leaker, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, writing that while “people have long ascribed selfish motives to Assange’s desire to give me aid, I believe he was genuinely motivated in one thing above all—helping me evade capture… It’s true that Assange can be self-interested and vain, moody, and even bullying—after a sharp disagreement just a month after our first, text-based communication, I never communicated with him again—but he also sincerely conceives of himself as a fighter in a historic battle for the public’s right to know, a battle he will do anything to win.” “Most important to [Assange],” writes Snowden, ”was the opportunity to establish a counter-example to the case of the organization’s most famous source, US Army Private Chelsea Manning, whose thirty-five-year prison sentence was historically unprecedented and a monstrous deterrent to whistleblowers everywhere.”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.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 18:47:51 -0400
  • U.S. farmers receive $4.07 billion of latest government trade aid

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has paid $4.07 billion of its latest round of compensation for farmers suffering from the trade war with China as of Monday, Communications Director Michawn Rich said in an email to Reuters. The Trump administration in July announced $16 billion to compensate farmers for lost sales due to China's retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, on top of $12 billion pledged in last year's aid package. USDA has received 302,397 applications for the program since enrollment opened, Rich said.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 18:13:02 -0400
  • Former Ohio judge gets life in prison for killing ex-wife in front of daughters news

    A former Ohio judge was given life in prison last week over the brutal 2018 stabbing death of his ex-wife and the mother of his children.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 14:38:23 -0400
  • The Iran-Iraq War Was a Special Kind of Hell (A Million Dead?) news

    Neither country came anywhere near achieving even the most modest of its war aims. The borders were unchanged; both armies ended the war in essentially the same position they were in at the outbreak of hostilities. Together, the opponents had squandered some $350 billion on a senseless war of attrition engineered by two venal and intransigent autocrats.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0400
  • Ocasio-Cortez backs liberal challenger to one of the most conservative House Democrats

    Ocasio-Cortez will support Marie Newman’s bid to oust Dan Lipinski in Illinois' 3rd Congressional District.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 09:52:20 -0400
  • GOP 2020 candidate Joe Walsh: 'The Republican Party is a cult' news

    Republican leaders in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas have all canceled their party's presidential primary.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 13:55:23 -0400
  • Hong Kong lawmaker urges UN to probe growing 'police brutality' news

    A Hong Kong lawmaker called Monday on the UN to launch an international investigation into a police crackdown on pro-democracy protests, voicing alarm at escalating "brutality". "Hong Kong is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis," Tanya Chan told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, asking it to urgently discuss the situation and to dispatch investigators to probe abuses. Chan, the founder of Hong Kong's pro-democracy Civic Party, was earlier this year handed a suspended eight-month jail sentence over her role in creating a civil disobedience campaign known as "Occupy Central" in 2013 and the student-led Umbrella Movement that brought parts of the city to a standstill a year later.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 09:37:33 -0400
  • Taiwan loses biggest Pacific ally as Solomons embraces China news

    Taiwan has lost its largest ally in the Pacific after the Solomon Islands confirmed Tuesday that it is switching diplomatic allegiance to China, and observers say other Pacific nations may soon follow. The switch has geopolitical significance that will be felt as far away as Washington because the Solomon Islands are located directly between Australia and the U.S. and were the site of fierce battles during World War II. Alex Akwai, a spokesman for Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, said the government's caucus took a poll on Monday, with 27 lawmakers voting in favor of switching allegiance to China and six abstaining.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 01:15:37 -0400
  • Best Bar Tools for Your Home Bar

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    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 13:24:00 -0400
  • Back in 2015, Iran Practiced Sinking a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier news

    Could this become a reality?

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 10:35:00 -0400
  • Judge Refuses to Scrap Plea Deal That Protected Jeffrey Epstein’s Co-Conspirators news

    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyA federal judge refused to scrap the controversial plea deal that granted immunity to Jeffrey Epstein and his co-conspirators, seven months after ruling that it had violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act.Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra ruled that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami under Alexander Acosta—who later became President Trump's labor secretary—broke the law in 2007 when it devised Epstein’s secret sweetheart deal without notifying victims. The ruling was seen as a huge victory for Jane Does 1 and 2, who sued the government in 2008, alleging the deal violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by keeping them in the dark on the negotiations with Epstein.But in his ruling on Monday, Marra rejected most of the victims' requests for remedies, including their demand that the government turn over FBI records related to the Epstein investigation and strike the immunity provision for Epstein's alleged co-conspirators.Four women were singled out for immunity in the 2007 plea deal—in addition to other potential unnamed accomplices—after victims identified them as recruiters who allegedly helped procure underage girls for the financier's pleasure. The women were identified in the document as “including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova."The plea deal gained national attention in July after Epstein’s arrest in New York, where he was charged with sex trafficking and one count of sex-trafficking conspiracy by Manhattan federal prosecutors. He pleaded not guilty and his lawyers continued to fight to uphold the 2007 plea deal in Florida, arguing that the New York case was an improper "do-over" of the Florida charges. But Epstein's death in August by apparent jailhouse suicide upended the New York investigation, even as prosecutors vowed to continue digging into Epstein's underage sex trafficking ring.Send The Daily Beast a TipSteven Mnuchin’s Mysterious Link to Creepy Epstein Model ScoutOn Monday, Marra denied Jane Does' request to rescind the plea deal's immunity provisions from Epstein’s alleged accomplices. He stated that the co-conspirators were not involved in active litigation and were non-parties to the case against the government. "The question of the validity of the non-prosecution provisions of the NPA as they relate to the alleged co-conspirators will have to be litigated with their participation if any prosecution against them is ever brought," he wrote. "Any decision by this Court on that question is meaningless without their participation in this proceeding."The judge also denied the victims' request for FBI files related to the 2008 investigation into Epstein and his alleged co-conspirators, stating that, "it is also a matter of public knowledge that there is an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice relative those individuals. The FBI’s documents, to the extent they were not otherwise protected by attorney/client or work product privileges, in all likelihood, are relevant to that ongoing investigation."Additionally, Marra denied the request for a hearing for the victims with Acosta present, stating the former U.S. Attorney is now a “private citizen.” He also rejected awarding attorneys’ fees to the victims or forcing the government to pay for damages associated with their decade-long fight. Despite the mounting legal bill, Marra said that Florida prosecutors did not act in bad faith during the deal and therefore should not have to monetarily compensate Jane Does 1 and 2.Marra concluded his opinion Monday by hoping the women "may take solace, however, in the fact that this litigation has brought national attention to the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and the importance of victims in the criminal justice system.” Highlighting that importance, Marra did order the government to comply with the women’s request for “training for employees in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Florida about the CVRA." Prosecutors are expected to immediately begin training on the proper treatment of crime victims. The victims were also granted their request to meet with U.S. attorneys and the Department of Justice to discuss the decision to resolve the Epstein case. “[The case] has also resulted in the United States Department of Justice acknowledging its shortcomings in dealing with crime victims, and its promise to better train its prosecutors regarding the rights of victims under the CVRA in the future,” the judge wrote, adding the rulings “rendered during the course of this litigation likely played some role, however small it may have been, in the initiation of criminal charges against Mr. Epstein in the Southern District of New York.”  * * *When Epstein was arrested in New York, the charges were a grim echo of what he faced in 2007, when he was accused of sexually abusing dozens of minor girls. Palm Beach police launched their investigation in March 2005, when a 14-year-old girl reported that a man named “Jeff” molested her at his home on El Brillo Way. The girl said she was introduced to Epstein by one of his recruiters, Haley Robson. (“Haley offers these girls a way to make fast cash. The man starts with a massage. If he likes them, he keeps them around and does more,” an early police report stated.)Epstein allegedly procured his alleged victims through a “pyramid abuse scheme,” as one victims’ attorney called it in civil court filings, by paying the girls $200 to $300 in cash for each new underage victim they brought to his lair. The teens made $200 to $300, and sometimes up to $1,000, for giving the massages, which in some cases led to rape, according to court documents.Ultimately, Epstein was accused of sexually assaulting more than 40 minor girls at his Palm Beach mansion after hiring them to give him “massages.” Police say that during these encounters, Epstein forced the girls to undress before he molested them. In some instances, Epstein allegedly had sex with the girls or ordered them to have sex with one of his co-conspirators, a young woman he described as his Yugoslavian “sex slave.”In 2006, local cops asked the FBI to look into allegations that Epstein and his crew of personal assistants used the facilities of interstate commerce to coerce girls ages 14 to 17 into illicit sexual activity. By May 2007, the U.S. Attorney’s Office had drafted an 82-page prosecution memo and 53-page indictment against Epstein. But Epstein’s all-star legal team quickly got in touch with prosecutors and penned lengthy letters arguing he committed no federal crimes. They also tried to discredit the girls by supplying dossiers on their MySpace pages, which allegedly indicated drug use and other unsavory behavior, and supposed run-ins with police. “While we have never intended to and do not here seek gratuitously to cast aspersions on any of the witnesses ... we have been constrained to point out the fact that the alleged victims chose to present themselves to the world through MySpace profiles with self-selected monikers such as ‘Pimp Juice,’” stated one February 2007 letter, signed by Epstein lawyer Gerald Lefcourt. Lefcourt argued the state attorney in Palm Beach had taken Epstein’s case to a grand jury, rather than filing charges, because the victims “have serious credibility problems, including damaging histories of lies, illegal drug use and crime.”In a July 2007 letter, Lefcourt and fellow Epstein lawyer Alan Dershowitz touted Epstein’s philanthropic endeavors, including his relationship with former President Bill Clinton, with whom Epstein traveled to Africa to address the AIDS crisis. They also claimed Epstein “was part of the original group that conceived the Clinton Global Initiative.”In September 2007, Epstein’s lawyers and prosecutors collaborated to find a lesser criminal charge to which Epstein could plead guilty. As part of the NPA signed on Sept. 24, 2007, Epstein agreed to plead guilty to the two misdemeanors in state court. The NPA granted immunity to Epstein’s co-conspirators and included provisions ensuring it would be secreted from the public. As the months passed, Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 believed the feds were still pursuing their case. In January 2008, the FBI sent out victim notification letters informing the women their “case is currently under investigation” and “this can be a lengthy process and we request your continued patience while we conduct a thorough investigation.” Another victim, Jane Doe 5, received a similar letter in May 2008.Yet Another Journalist Who Accepted Favors From Jeffrey EpsteinREVEALED: We Found Billionaire Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s Secret CharityBrad Edwards, an attorney for the Jane Does, contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office to discuss the possibility of federal charges against Epstein. That June, Edwards “was led to believe federal charges could still be filed, with no mention whatsoever of the existence of the NPA or any other possible resolution to the case,” Judge Marra’s February ruling noted.On June 30, 2008, Epstein entered his plea in state court. Instead of pursuing federal charges of sex trafficking of children, which could have landed Epstein in prison for decades, prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to two minor state charges of solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution. Jane Doe 1 filed an emergency petition to enforce her rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act on July 7, 2008. The victims didn’t receive a copy of the NPA until Aug. 28, 2008.“Particularly problematic was the Government’s decision to conceal the existence of the NPA and mislead the victims to believe that federal prosecution was still a possibility,” Judge Marra wrote in his February order declaring the NPA illegal. “When the Government gives information to victims, it cannot be misleading. While the Government spent untold hours negotiating the terms and implications of the NPA with Epstein’s attorneys, scant information was shared with victims. Instead, the victims were told to be ‘patient’ while the investigation proceeded.”Meanwhile, Epstein served 13 months of an 18-month prison sentence (much of it on a cushy work leave, during which time he allegedly continued to abuse young girls), then paid settlements to several victims, and became a registered sex offender. In one January 2015 declaration, Jane Doe 1 stated that Epstein molested her dozens of times from 2002 to 2005 at his Palm Beach home.“If I had been told about a non-prosecution agreement, I would have objected,” Jane Doe said. “Criminal prosecution of Epstein for crimes against me was extremely important to me. I wanted to be consulted by the prosecutors before any resolution.”During the FBI’s investigation of Epstein, Jane Doe said, the billionaire’s investigators trailed her and harassed her but she continued to cooperate with authorities. “I wanted to cooperate in the prosecution more than anything else in my life; I was scared of Epstein; I was scared of what he had done to me and others, and of how he was continuing to harass me, and also what he could do to me and others,” Jane Doe stated.She said Epstein “should be treated the same as other defendants with less money and connections are treated for these crimes.”After Marra ruled in February of this year that the plea deal violated the CVRA, the government argued the court should “give victims a voice in the criminal justice process, but not decision-making authority over prosecution decisions.” Rescinding the non-prosecution agreement, they claimed, would risk “unintended harm to the victims” who wished to remain private and not participate in any new investigation.“There are instances when victims of a crime or third parties may disagree with a prosecutor’s decision, but that decision nevertheless remains with the prosecutor and her supervisors, and this discretion is expressly preserved in the CVRA,” wrote Byung J. Pak, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, which represents the government in the Jane Doe case. Pak was nominated by President Trump in 2017.In his ruling on Monday, Marra largely agreed with the government's recommendations. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 15:04:56 -0400
  • Detroit mayor wants to wipe out residential blight with bonds news

    Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan unveiled a plan on Monday to sell up to $250 million of bonds to tackle the city's remaining blighted and abandoned houses over the next five years. If approved by the Detroit City Council, a bond measure would be placed on the March ballot, marking the first vote by residents on bonds since the city exited municipal bankruptcy in 2014. Proceeds from the 30-year bonds, along with annual appropriations from the city's budget, would be used to accelerate the demolition of 19,000 structures and the rehabbing of 8,000 others, according to a statement from Duggan's office.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 17:32:39 -0400
  • India Is Dangerously Close to Becoming an Also-Ran

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- India’s government will shortly find itself at a fork in the road. Will it choose globalization and export-oriented growth? Or will the isolationists in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party win, and keep India out of a giant Indo-Pacific trading bloc?This weekend, New Delhi hosted negotiators for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – from the 10 members of ASEAN as well as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and China – in the hope that it could swing last-minute safeguards for some of its producers. Indian officials have stalled RCEP’s progress as much as they could, and the others are now losing patience. One way or another, the deal will have to be concluded by November, when the leaders of the 16 RCEP countries will meet in Bangkok. Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohammed, not a man known for patience, said in June that the other countries could go on without India, if necessary.Many in New Delhi, even within the commerce ministry, would be relieved to see that happen. The belief that India has “lost” in most of its trade agreements is pervasive here. Influential lobbies tied to the country’s laggard producers are happy to remind officials how trade deficits soared with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations after a free-trade agreement was signed some years ago, for example. And there has always been a strong isolationist wing within the Hindu nationalist BJP – right-wing ideologues don’t just want India out of RCEP; they would prefer existing agreements with Japan, Korea and ASEAN be renegotiated, if not abandoned.Of course, India can only be said to have “lost” if you ignore the considerable gains to consumers from cheaper imports. Once upon a time, Indian households had to worry constantly about high and variable prices of cooking oil. That’s no longer a concern, thanks to imports of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, in spite of the steep duties permitted by the Indo-ASEAN free-trade agreement. And when producers’ lobbies complain about losing market share to Southeast Asia, they merely underline how uncompetitive Indian industry has become.There is, in fact, a far better reason than any of these for India to feel doubtful about RCEP, and it’s geopolitical more than economic. For Beijing, the trading bloc is just another method to ensure that the People’s Republic embeds itself as the hub of Asia’s economic geography. That’s not something anyone in India is comfortable with. India runs a massive trade deficit with China, of course; but, even more than that, officials here are conscious that concluding RCEP in the middle of the Sino-U.S. trade war would be a boost to Beijing. The problem is that all options for New Delhi are unappetizing. If only there was a large and comprehensive alternative to the RCEP that excluded China — but, of course, President Donald Trump has killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, leaving Beijing in control of the future of Asian trade.In the end, though, it’s hard to see how India would be best served by turning its back on RCEP. In spite of his pro-trade rhetoric at places like Davos, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has started putting up tariff walls in recent years, as early attempts to boost Indian competitiveness failed to show quick enough results. This turn to protectionism needs to be reversed, if India has any hope of employing the millions of young people graduating its schools every year.It’s true that signing a sweeping free-trade agreement would be a significant change in direction for a government that is most comfortable speaking a 1970s-vintage language of import substitution, industrial policy and protective tariffs. But Indian negotiators have already moderated their demands considerably. New Delhi has made it clear that it would be satisfied with a two-track agreement that keeps some walls up against Chinese imports while opening up to the other RCEP countries.I’m still hopeful that, come November, Modi’s signature will be on this agreement. If nothing else, it would be a massive humiliation on the international stage for him to stand aside as all the other leaders of the Indo-Pacific come together to declare a new era is dawning. So much of Modi’s domestic popularity is wrapped around the carefully constructed myth of his international importance, that this might be seen as an unacceptable political hit. At least that’s what we should hope the calculations within New Delhi’s corridors of power are – because, if not, then India is condemned to long decades of being an also-ran on trade and growth.To contact the author of this story: Mihir Sharma at msharma131@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mihir Sharma is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was a columnist for the Indian Express and the Business Standard, and he is the author of “Restart: The Last Chance for the Indian Economy.”For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 23:00:16 -0400
  • Pete Buttigieg and Beto O'Rourke spar over gun control comment at Democratic debate news

    Beto O'Rourke responded to criticism about his remarks on his gun control plan, saying of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell pretending to be interested, "sh--, that is not enough."

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 18:36:49 -0400
  • 20 photos that show how US towns still haven't recovered from devastating hurricanes that took place months or years ago news

    Hurricanes Michael, Florence, Maria, Irma, and Harvey are still impacting communities across the US, years after touching ground.

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 01:48:19 -0400
  • Air strikes kill 10 pro-Iran fighters in Syria: monitor news

    Overnight air strikes killed 10 pro-Iranian Iraqi militiamen in eastern Syria, a war monitor said Tuesday, without specifying who carried them out. The strikes targeted "three positions of the (Iranian) Revolutionary Guards and allied (Iraqi) militias" in Albu Kamal, in the Euphrates Valley just across the border from Iraq, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "Ten Iraqis from pro-Iranian militias were killed," the Britain-based monitor said.

    Tue, 17 Sep 2019 07:35:29 -0400
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