Friday, 31 January 2020

'Unbelievable': Giant sinkhole threatens to swallow two homes in Florida

'Unbelievable': Giant sinkhole threatens to swallow two homes in FloridaAnwar El Khouri's Tallahassee mobile home hangs off the edge of the crater, which also swallowed a pine tree.




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Boris Johnson Urges U.K. to ‘Unite And Level Up’ After Brexit

Boris Johnson Urges U.K. to ‘Unite And Level Up’ After Brexit(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson will urge the U.K. to come together after the years of division over Brexit as it finally leaves the European Union on Friday.“The most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning,” Johnson will say in a video message to be released by his office at 10 p.m., an hour before Britain leaves the bloc. “This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act.”Earlier in the day, the prime minister, who is determined to move the national conversation on from Brexit, will meet with his cabinet in Sunderland, northeast England, as part of an effort to show he’s interested in parts of the country where his Conservative Party hasn’t historically been strong.“This is the dawn of a new era in which we no longer accept that your life chances -- your family’s life chances -- should depend on which part of the country you grow up in,” Johnson will say, according to his office. “This is the moment when we begin to unite and level up.”To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Thomas Penny, Stuart BiggsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.




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Tom Cotton Claims Coronavirus Epidemic ‘Much Worse’ than China Admits

Tom Cotton Claims Coronavirus Epidemic ‘Much Worse’ than China AdmitsSenator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) claimed on Thursday that the coronavirus epidemic spreading across China is worse than the country is willing to admit."There was a 28% increase in coronavirus cases overnight in China," Cotton wrote in a Twitter post. "Make no mistake, though: these aren’t 'new' cases. Just what China is willing to admit. It’s much worse."By Thursday morning over 7,700 cases of the virus were confirmed worldwide, mostly in mainland China, while 68 cases were recorded in other locations around the world. 170 people have died from the virus so far.Cotton has repeatedly pushed for a travel ban to China due to concerns over the spread of the virus. On Tuesday Cotton sent a letter to members of President Trump's cabinet, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging the administration to enact a travel ban."As of [Tuesday] morning, China has reported that the Wuhan coronavirus has infected more than 4,500 people and killed more than 100," Cotton wrote in the letter. "But the real number is likely far higher — perhaps in the hundreds of thousands — given the Chinese Communist Party's long history of covering up and minimizing these crises."On Friday Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) himself called for a ban on U.S.-China travel as the epidemic spread.The World Health Organization will meet on Thursday to determine whether to announce a global-health emergency. W.H.O. director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has praised China's response to the outbreak."I was struck by the determination of Chinese leadership & it’s people to end the new coronavirus outbreak," Dr. Tedros wrote on Twitter.




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Pelosi suggests Trump's acquittal will be invalid if witnesses aren't called

Pelosi suggests Trump's acquittal will be invalid if witnesses aren't calledAs it appears less likely that new witnesses will be called in President Trump's impeachment trial, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is suggesting his acquittal will, therefore, not be valid. "He will not be acquitted," Pelosi said in a news conference Thursday, The New York Times reports. "You cannot be acquitted if you don't have a trial, and you don't have a trial if you don't have witnesses and documentation and all of that."Pelosi's comments Thursday, which came in response to a question about how Trump will react to his likely acquittal, comes as the Senate is set to determine whether to call additional witnesses in the impeachment trial. Republican senators reportedly believe they have the votes to prevent new witness from being called, and the Times reports "cracks are beginning to show in Democrats' unity" as well. The impeachment trial could, therefore, be on the verge of wrapping up with Trump's acquittal on Friday. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) echoed Pelosi's thoughts ahead of this possible outcome, saying Thursday that "without the evidence, without witnesses and documents would render the president's acquittal meaningless," Politico reports. After these statements from Pelosi and Schumer, Politico writes it appears Democrats are "already testing out their post-impeachment spin." > House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that President Donald Trump cannot be acquitted if senators do not call witnesses and admit evidences in his impeachment trial https://t.co/oXpu13UahF pic.twitter.com/0LrbeF6qV3> > -- Reuters (@Reuters) January 30, 2020More stories from theweek.com Mitch McConnell's rare blunder John Bolton just vindicated Nancy Pelosi All the president's turncoats




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Hangings of Delhi bus gang-rapists postponed

Hangings of Delhi bus gang-rapists postponedThe hanging of four men scheduled for Saturday for a notorious gang-rape and murder on a Delhi bus in 2012 has been postponed "until further orders," a court ruled Friday. The brutal attack on Jyoti Singh sparked weeks of demonstrations and shone a spotlight on the alarming rates of sexual violence and the plight of women in India. Four men were convicted in 2013 and were due to be hanged simultaneously on Saturday at 6:00 am in India's first execution since 2015.




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Democrats announce new debate rules likely to allow Bloomberg to join

Democrats announce new debate rules likely to allow Bloomberg to joinThe Democratic Party on Friday announced new rules around how presidential hopefuls can qualify to take part in debates, changes likely to allow billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg to join the stage in February. Starting with the debate on Feb. 19 in Nevada, candidates who want to participate will no longer have to demonstrate grassroots support by collecting donations from thousands of donors, according to a press release from the party. Bloomberg is funding his campaign entirely with his own money, estimated at $60 billion, meaning that while he has climbed in the polls, he could not qualify for debates under the old rules.




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An emergency UK flight out of Wuhan has been canceled, leaving 200 Britons and their families stranded in quarantine

An emergency UK flight out of Wuhan has been canceled, leaving 200 Britons and their families stranded in quarantineA total of 130 people had been screened for the Wuhan coronavirus in the UK. So far, there have been no confirmed cases.




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Carter Page is Suing the DNC For the Steele Dossier

Carter Page is Suing the DNC For the Steele DossierHow much responsibility should they have?




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Sanders is starting to get pressured on how he would finance Medicare for All

Sanders is starting to get pressured on how he would finance Medicare for AllSen. Bernie Sanders is surging in Iowa ahead of its Feb. 3 caucus, but the increased prominence is coming with escalating scrutiny from Democratic presidential rivals over a key part of his progressive agenda: Medicare for All.




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Trump news: Rape accuser asks for president's DNA, as impeachment judge foils attempt to reveal whistleblower on Senate floor

Trump news: Rape accuser asks for president's DNA, as impeachment judge foils attempt to reveal whistleblower on Senate floorDonald Trump has lashed out at lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff, again calling him “mentally deranged”, as Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell claims to have seen off the threatened Republican rebellion on subpoenaing new witnesses and hopes to press ahead with the president’s acquittal on Friday after a final question-and-answer session in the upper chamber today.Mr Schiff ripped into the president's defence team after the president's lawyer Alan Dershowitz argued that his client couldn't be impeached for an action he thought might get him re-elected.




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3 inmates facing US extradition driven out of Mexican jail

3 inmates facing US extradition driven out of Mexican jailAn important financial operator for the Sinaloa Cartel and two other inmates facing extradition to the United States who escaped from a Mexico City prison were driven out of the penitentiary in a jail transport van, city officials said Thursday. Officials in Mexico's capital say city jails are not the appropriate facilities for high-value prisoners and that judges are allowing inmates to manipulate the system to be transferred to or remain in lower-security lockups. Mexico City Interior Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez said that at the end of the jail's second shift, when a headcount is supposed to be taken at 7:45 a.m., the report was that nothing was amiss.




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Dear Mr. Dershowitz, 'mixed motives' is no impeachment defense when there's corrupt intent

Dear Mr. Dershowitz, 'mixed motives' is no impeachment defense when there's corrupt intentTaken together, Donald Trump's actions — at least seven of them — contradict the defense claim that he had any legitimate national interest in mind.




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Lori Vallow didn't meet the Thursday deadline to turn her kids over to the state. Their grandma believes the 'monster' will face consequences.

Lori Vallow didn't meet the Thursday deadline to turn her kids over to the state. Their grandma believes the 'monster' will face consequences.Vallow had until Thursday to turn her children over to the state of Idaho. She missed it and is believed to still be in Hawaii.




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Boris Johnson’s Plan to Kill ‘Brexit’

Boris Johnson’s Plan to Kill ‘Brexit’(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Shortly after his election victory in December, it was reported that Boris Johnson wanted the word “Brexit” retired. Not just retired, but expunged as a matter of urgency once the U.K. has left the European Union on Jan. 31.This would be like Donald Trump telling White House staff that they need to drop the “Make America Great Again” thing. Without Brexit — and his “Get Brexit Done” campaign — we’d mainly know Boris Johnson as just another former mayor, a talented politician who wrote amusing newspaper columns.This attempted change of language seems trivial, but it’s not. For nearly four years, the neologism “Brexit” has dominated British politics, and resonated around the world. Why try to retire it now? I can see two reasons: The word is a constant and powerful reminder of the division and open wounds in British society; and while it was a weapon Johnson wielded successfully against his opponents, it might easily be used against him in future. The first concern is honorable, the other more Orwellian. But how successful Johnson is in changing the language of British politics might prove as important as anything he gets around the trade negotiating table with the European Union and the U.S. this year.The word “Brexit” appeared back in 2012. Peter Wilding, a former lawyer and aide to former Prime Minister David Cameron, had little idea of its impact when he coined it in a May 2012 blog, inspired by the Greeks:Unless a clear view is pushed that Britain must lead in Europe at the very least to achieve the completion of the Single Market, then the portmanteau for Greek euro exit [Grexit] might be followed by another sad word, Brexit.A few years later, it spread like bush fire. By 2016, it had a place in the Oxford English Dictionary and was later named “word of the year.” But Wilding was appalled to find his invention used as a tool of destruction. Now chairman of the British Influence think tank, he sees Brexit as a “narcissistic victim syndrome ignited by charlatan nostalgists.” He has said it might do to Britain what the Treaty of Versailles did to Germany.Brexit, in Johnson’s hands, wasn’t a flaccid noun but a powerful verb. One might argue that you could have called Britain’s EU departure campaign pretty much anything and the result would have been the same. Perhaps, but something happened when those two words — British exit — fused. It became a rallying point for a passionate, but small, euroskeptic core of Johnson’s ruling Conservative party. It anchored a Leave campaign whose language invoked national pride, appealed to people’s bias for action over inaction and their preference for simplicity.In his book, “The Language of Brexit,” the linguist Steve Buckledee shows how skillfully this was done. Brexit stirred passion and represented action; Remainer language was limp by comparison and passive. The British Twitter poet Brian Bilston captured the power of the word in the last stanzas of a poem titled Meaningful Vote, which was the name given to the attempts of Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, to win parliamentary approval for her Brexit deal:How foolish, it seems; How senseless, absurd,To re-define a nation In pursuit of a word.Johnson, of all politicians, understands the mobilizing and seducing power of language. He’s probably the most prolix (and prolific) political leader Britain has had since Winston Churchill. He loves words that pack heat. He famously denied an affair by calling the allegations an “inverted pyramid of piffle.” He often invents words where a conventional formula won’t do — such as “backstop-ectomy” to denote his determination to remove an element of May’s Brexit deal known as the Irish backstop, which he and other Brexiters disliked.But now that the war is over, the weapon looks unsightly. Brexit represents a heroic and victorious campaign for freedom to one side of the divide, but a perfidious act of self-harm to the other. RELATED: Why Brexit Opponents Lost the Vote and the ArgumentEven many Brexiters are battle-weary and spent, no doubt worried about how well things will go from here for Britain. Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, a vocal Brexiter, is holding back on the mirth. Sarah Vine, the columnist wife of cabinet member Michael Gove, says being on the winning side has left her numb. “I think, like many Leave voters the length and breadth of the country, I have found the hatred and vitriol of the past few years ultimately very brutalizing,” she wrote for the Daily Mail (not exactly a bastion of temperateness). “We Leavers have been accused of innumerable crimes, cast as racist, short-sighted, xenophobic and, above all, thick and uneducated. We’ve been compared to the Nazis, been blamed for the actions of every lunatic extremist, accused of lying — not to mention held responsible for every stock market fluctuation (downwards, naturally) or passing economic squall.” If that’s how the victors feel, spare a thought for the losers. Johnson won the war, but he won’t succeed in keeping his new Conservative coalition together (which includes plenty of Remain voters who were fearful of allowing Labour’s hard-left leader Jeremy Corbyn into power) if the loaded language of Brexit frames all discussion.But burying “Brexit,” the word, is a way of shirking responsibility too. If everything that happens from now is just another tick on the plus or minus side of the Brexit ledger, the divisions will eventually tear away at Johnson’s power and every concession over fish or drop in GDP growth will be seen as an indictment of the Brexit campaign that swept him into Downing Street.By getting rid of the Department for Exiting the EU and rechristening the U.K. negotiating side something positive like Taskforce Europe, Johnson is saying “nothing to see here but some tedious trade negotiations.” Why should voters worry about such minutia as will be discussed when Britain and the EU sit down to work out their future trade relationship? If the word “Brexit” is a call to battle, “trade taskforce” is an invitation to snooze. That must be the hope, anyhow: That if Brexit is only muttered occasionally, somewhat apologetically, or better yet, not said at all, there will be less scrutiny — and criticism — of what lies ahead. Separating Britain from the EU is bound to be painful. Johnson’s ultimate political survival may depend on whether he can denuclearize the domestic conflict he waged so successfully with Wilding’s B-bomb.To contact the author of this story: Therese Raphael at traphael4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Therese Raphael writes editorials on European politics and economics for Bloomberg Opinion. She was editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.




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San Francisco airport official resigns in wake of FBI report

San Francisco airport official resigns in wake of FBI reportA member of the board that oversees San Francisco International Airport resigned Wednesday, a day after the FBI and U.S. attorney announced charges against a senior city bureaucrat and a restaurateur alleging they offered bribes to a board member for a restaurant lease at the airport. Airport Commissioner Linda Crayton said in a statement that she is resigning due to “multiple, severe medical conditions" she's had for several years. The complaint unsealed Tuesday against San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru and longtime restaurateur Nick Bovis focuses on an aborted attempt in 2018 to bribe a female airport commissioner, who has not been named.




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Biden Claims Trump’s Trial is ‘Not a Partisan Impeachment’ While Clinton’s Was

Biden Claims Trump’s Trial is ‘Not a Partisan Impeachment’ While Clinton’s WasFormer vice president Joe Biden argued Friday that President Trump was not subject to “a partisan impeachment” even if no Republicans vote to remove him from office, while simultaneously defending his resistance to “a partisan impeachment” during Bill Clinton’s 1998 trial.Biden, speaking from Iowa, was challenged in an interview with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos over comments he had made in Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial. “No president should be removed from office, merely because one party enjoys a commanding lead in either house of Congress,” Biden said at the time.Stephanopoulos then asked the former vice president why a partisan impeachment was no longer wrong, to which Biden replied “it’s not partisan impeachment.” After Stephanopoulos pushed back and pointed out that no Republicans in the House had voted to impeach the president, Biden insisted that the Constitution had been violated, and that those voting against impeachment were denying the facts.“That’s the issue — was the Constitution violated? Period,” Biden stated. “Even if it’s a party-line vote, it just reflects on those who know, in fact, in their heart and in their head, that it’s in fact a violation of the Constitution to do what he did, and in fact vote no.”> Joe Biden on doing a 180 on opposing “a partisan impeachment”: “This is not a partisan impeachment” pic.twitter.com/iaSRDloVWu> > -- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 31, 2020Biden then attempted to clarify why a party-line vote in impeachment did not count as partisan.“That’s a party-line vote, but that doesn’t make it right,” Biden said of lack of Republican support for Trump’s impeachment. “A party-line vote that is based upon something that doesn’t relate to a Constitutional violation is a different thing.”Several key Republican Senators announced their intentions on the vote for further witnesses and documents late Thursday night, with Senator Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) saying that Trump’s actions were “inappropriate,” but that “the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.”




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U.S. envoy warns Palestinians against raising opposition to U.S. peace plan at U.N.

U.S. envoy warns Palestinians against raising opposition to U.S. peace plan at U.N.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will speak in the U.N. Security Council in the next two weeks about the plan, Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour said on Wednesday, adding that he hoped the 15-member council would also vote on a draft resolution on the issue.




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North Korea says it has intensified efforts to block virus

North Korea says it has intensified efforts to block virusNorth Korea is intensifying efforts to prevent the spread of a new virus from China into the isolated country by blocking tourists, reducing flights and mobilizing more screening efforts, a health official said Thursday. It has sickened thousands, most of them China, but South Korea has reported six cases.




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Harvard professor slams Trump's lawyer for incorrectly citing him numerous times during Trump's impeachment trial: 'It's a joke'

Harvard professor slams Trump's lawyer for incorrectly citing him numerous times during Trump's impeachment trial: 'It's a joke'Harvard professor Nikolas Bowie said Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump's legal team was wrong during an interview with CNN.




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So Long, Spitzer, You Were a Good Telescope and Friend

So Long, Spitzer, You Were a Good Telescope and Friend




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Turkey says it will take extra measures against attacks in Syria's Idlib

Turkey says it will take extra measures against attacks in Syria's IdlibTurkey will take additional measures against attacks targeting its forces and civilians in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, the national security council said on Thursday, after a nearly 5-hour meeting chaired by President Tayyip Erdogan. Bombardments by Russia-backed Syrian government forces on Idlib have raised concern of a new refugee wave to Turkey. On Wednesday, Erdogan said that Ankara was losing patience with the assault in Idlib and that Russia was violating agreements aimed at stemming conflict there.




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Don Lemon Did Trump a Huge Favor

Don Lemon Did Trump a Huge FavorA  video of CNN news anchor Don Lemon laughing hysterically as his guests mocked Donald Trump’s supporters went viral this week -- and it couldn’t have been a more effective campaign ad for the president.In the video, which was clipped from a live broadcast that aired on Saturday night, Lemon can be seen crying tears of laughter, and at one point even slamming his head on his desk, because he’s apparently so overwhelmed with joy and amusement.It all started after one guest, ex-GOP strategist Rick Wilson, joked that Trump would be too stupid to find Ukraine on a map, before calling Trump’s supporters the “credulous boomer rube demo.”Lemon laughed heartily, and so Wilson continued his mocking:“‘Donald Trump’s the smart one — and y’all elitists are dumb!’” Wilson said in a heavy, stereotypical southern accent.Then, the other guest (CNN contributor Wajahat Ali) chimed in, saying: “‘You elitists with your geography and your maps -- and your spelling!’”“‘Your math and your reading!’” Wilson added. “‘All those lines on the map!’”By Tuesday night, Lemon was receiving considerable backlash over the clip -- prompting him to address the controversy on his show:> Ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you -- I don’t believe in belittling people, belittling anyone for who they are, what they believe. During an interview on Saturday night, one of my guests said something that made me laugh. And while in the moment, I found that joke humorous. And I didn’t catch everything that was said.“Just to make it perfectly clear,” he added. “I was laughing at the joke and not at any group of people.”(Notice that Lemon stopped short of actually apologizing for his behavior.)First of all, it seems pretty clear to me that Lemon’s defense (that he simply “didn’t catch” everything the panelists were saying) is a blatant lie. He is laughing, consistently, while the guests are making their jokes, and then continuing to laugh after the guests make them. You don’t need to be a human-behavior expert to understand that, when someone is laughing during and after a joke, then the laughter is because of that joke.Lemon knew exactly what he was laughing at -- and, by refusing to apologize, he has made it clear that he doesn’t see anything wrong with that, either.The thing is, though, he should regret it -- for his own sake. After all, it’s clear that Lemon hates Trump, and his performance in that segment is going to be a way bigger help to the incumbent president than anything that Trump could ever do for himself.Make no mistake: Clips like this embolden Trump’s supporters. They don’t see this sort of mockery and start to question their beliefs -- rather, it just strengthens their view that it is them (and Trump) against the world. It makes them more loyal to the president, not less.If you don’t understand what I mean, just think about what happened after Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment. Did that turn people away from Trump? Far from it. In fact, it prompted countless Trump supporters to use the word in their names or handles on Twitter. It prompted the Trump campaign to sell “deplorable” T-shirts. It prompted Trump to use the comments for his own campaign’s fundraising, and to bring his supporters closer to him, as well as to present himself as the foil who would never demean them in that way. (“While my opponent slanders you as deplorable and irredeemable, I call you hardworking American patriots who love your country and want a better future for all of our people,” Trump said during a rally in Iowa shortly afterwards.)In other words? Rather than question their choice of alliance because of Clinton’s insult, Trump’s supporters embraced it -- clearly seeing it as evidence that the people who disagree with them, in fact, don’t just disagree with them; they hate them, too. They think that they’re stupid. Nobody wants to listen to anyone who just got done calling them dumb, and all Lemon did here was further solidify the narrative that “liberal media elites” like him think Trump supporters are fools, which, in turn, only makes them hate Trump’s opposition more.What’s more, in Lemon’s instance, his guests’ usage of stereotypical Southern accents -- clearly intended to signify “stupidity” -- could extend the consequences of this particular blunder to include turning off those voters in rural areas who are on the fence politically. Trump can point directly to this segment as evidence whenever he makes one of his favorite claims: that his opponents don’t respect his supporters or rural Americans.In fact, this clip actually also provides ammunition for another one of Trump’s favorite claims: the idea that CNN is “Fake News.” Looking at this clip -- and seeing a CNN news anchor laughing at Trump supporters this way -- makes it easier for Trump to tell his supporters that all the news coming from CNN is tainted with this same bias, and therefore not reliable. It makes it more likely that they will blindly believe Trump, who hasn’t insulted them, and less likely that they will believe that anyone affiliated with CNN could ever have a legitimate criticism.Lemon, I’m guessing, didn’t expect that any Trump supporters would ever see this clip of him laughing at them -- but, unfortunately for him, millions of them did. If he doesn’t want to apologize to the people he insulted, then that is perfectly fine. He might, however, want to consider apologizing to the people who are going to actually be hurt by it the most: the people who want Trump out of office, and the network he represents.




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The Tesla Model Y is now in production, months ahead of schedule — and deliveries are expected to begin in March

The Tesla Model Y is now in production, months ahead of schedule — and deliveries are expected to begin in MarchThe Model Y was said to start production this summer, but Tesla's already at it and expecting to deliver units in Q1 2020.




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Thursday, 30 January 2020

'I'm in an apocalypse:' American student trapped in coronavirus-hit Chinese city

'I'm in an apocalypse:' American student trapped in coronavirus-hit Chinese cityAn eerie calm has descended on the normally bustling streets of the city of 11 million people, where Schneider has been studying geodesy - a branch of applied mathematics - at Wuhan University, about 10 miles (16 km) from where experts believe the new coronavirus originated in a market illegally trading in wildlife. Chinese officials cut most transport links to Wuhan on Jan. 23 in an effort to slow transmission of the virus, which has infected nearly 6,000 people in China - more cases than were recorded in the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak - and killed more than 130 people.




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Mexican butterfly activist found dead

Mexican butterfly activist found deadThe body of an environmental activist who fought to protect the famed monarch butterfly has been found in a well two weeks after he went missing, officials say.Homero Gomez Gonzalez, 50, was reported missing on 14 January amid fears he had been targeted by criminal gangs and illegal loggers in the central Mexican state of Michoacan.




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It’s D-Day for Doomsday Mom Lori Vallow to Produce Missing Kids

It’s D-Day for Doomsday Mom Lori Vallow to Produce Missing KidsIn the six weeks since Idaho police announced that Tylee and J.J. Vallow were missing, the investigation into the siblings’ disappearance has taken more turns than one of their stepfather’s Mormon apocalypse novels.And there’s likely to be another one Thursday—the court-ordered deadline for their mother, Lori Vallow, to produce them or face a contempt of court charge and possible arrest and extradition from Hawaii.That’s where she and husband Chad Daybell have been holed up since cops started looking into the whereabouts of their children, the deaths of their previous spouses, and other bizarre incidents connected to the couple.Last weekend, police on the island of Kauai served Vallow with a court order signed by an Idaho judge, giving her five days to turn up with 17-year-old Tylee and 7-year-old J.J., who was adopted and is autistic.Ominously, police found no sign of the kids or any indication that they had been in Hawaii. Now, authorities in Kauai are waiting to see if Vallow complies with the order and brings an end to the troubling mystery.Idaho Doomsday Couple Found in Hawaii—Without Missing KidsKauai Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that he’s been involved in other missing persons cases over the last decade, “but I’ve never seen one with so many twists and turns.”He did not know if Vallow and Daybell had left Hawaii for Idaho, and Kauai police did not return calls for comment. In Idaho, authorities are being very close-lipped because much of the child-protection case is sealed.“We hope and pray that the children will be produced or found and that they are safe and healthy,” Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood said in a statement.A reporter for East Idaho News, who was in Kauai when police stopped the couple with a search warrant last weekend and seized their vehicle, pelted them with questions about the children that they refused to answer. Told that people were praying for Tylee and J.J., Vallow had a two-word response: “That’s great.”Beyond that, the newlyweds have only commented on the situation in a single, brief statement from an Idaho attorney. “Chad Daybell was a loving husband and has the support of his children in this matter. Lori (Vallow) Daybell is a devoted mother and resents assertions to the contrary. We look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor,” lawyer Sean Bartholick said.Idaho police maintain there’s a lot more than speculation at play. No one has seen the children since late September. Daybell and Vallow got hitched soon after their previous spouses died—deaths that are now under new scrutiny. And they have refused to assist police in any way.“We strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger,” Rexburg police said last month.Chad Daybell, 51, is a prolific author of books aimed at a Mormon audience. With titles like Days of Fury, Evading Babylon, and The Rise of Zion, they focus on doomsday scenarios and near-death situations.A memoir, Living on the Edge of Heaven, catalogs what he says were his own near-death experiences, during a cliff-jumping incident when he was 17 and being hit by a wave at La Jolla Cove in California in his twenties.“While his body was being tossed by the wave, his spirit was visiting with his grandfather, who showed him future events involving his still-unborn children,” an Amazon summary of the book reads. “This accident caused his veil that separates mortal life from the Spirit World to stay partially open, so he often feels as if he has a foot in both worlds.”Lori Vallow, 46, was living in Hawaii with her fourth husband Charles, Tylee, and J.J. when she reportedly began reading Daybell’s florid end-times prose and became obsessed with his worldview.It’s not clear exactly how or when they met, but by 2018, she was involved with a group called Preparing a People that put on conferences, lectures and podcasts for those who, as its website says, “look forward to the rapidly coming changes to our current Telestial way of life, and rejoice in the hope of a far better world to soon come!”By then, Lori and Charles had moved from Hawaii to Arizona—and their 12-year marriage was on the rocks.Slain Hubby Claimed Doomsday Mom Threatened to Kill HimFamily members have said that Lori took Tylee and J.J. and disappeared for weeks. Charles filed for divorce in February 2019, painting a disturbing picture of his wife.He said she had become “obsessive about near-death experiences and spiritual visions” and refused to see a mental health professional. She claimed to be “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020,” Charles wrote in his petition, obtained by the Arizona Republic. He said she threatened to him kill him if he interfered with her plans.Charles didn’t go through with the divorce, though, withdrawing the petition a month later. He decamped to Texas while Lori stayed in Arizona. Four months later, he was dead.On July 11, 2019, he showed up at Lori’s home to see J.J. and was shot to death by her brother, Alex Cox, who told police it was self-defense. By his account, Charles got into an argument with Lori, became physical and then came at him with a baseball bat. “We knew immediately that was wrong,” Charles’ sister Kay Woodcock, who is also J.J,’s grandmother, said at a press conference earlier this month. “It was a setup.”Cox was not charged at the time and was found dead himself five months later of unknown causes. Arizona police have said the case was still open at the time.Within weeks of Charles Vallow’s killing, Lori moved to Idaho with Tylee and J.J. Kay Woodcock and her husband Larry, who live in Louisiana, said their contact with the little boy became more limited. “That was very concerning to us,” Kay said. By the end of September, J.J. was reportedly no longer attending Rexburg Elementary School.Over the next couple of weeks, police in Arizona and Idaho were alerted to two strange incidents that have since taken on greater significance.On Oct. 2, Brandon Boudreaux—who was in the midst of a divorce from Lori Vallow’s niece—was driving home from the gym in Glibert, Arizona, when a bullet came whizzing into his vehicle. He has said police told him the Jeep that raced away from the scene was registered to the late Charles Vallow.A week later, in Salem, Idaho, Chad Daybell’s wife, Tammy, 49, had just returned from the grocery store when, as she described to police, she was ambushed by someone clad in black and a ski mask who pointed what appeared to be a paintball gun at her. She called for Chad and the person took off.“She wasn’t shot, and there wasn’t any evidence to who it was. She figured it was a prankster. That’s what we wrote it up as,” Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries told the Rexburg Standard Journal. “She wasn’t injured. Beyond what she told us, we had nothing to go on.”Ten days later, there was another call from the house. Tammy was dead.Doomsday Writer’s Friend Says He Prophesied Wife’s Mysterious DeathAn obituary said the mother of five grown children “passed away peacefully in her sleep.” Her father, Ron Douglas, told a Salt Lake City TV station Chad called him crying, saying that Tammy had a coughing fit the night before and simply never woke up. Chad turned down an autopsy and the death was listed as natural causes.According to the obituary, Tammy and Chad had met when she was a freshman at Brigham Young University and quickly married. She supported the family while he continued his education and helped him build the Spring Creek Book Company, which published his novels.Tammy and Chad had been married for nearly 30 years, but within weeks of her death, he remarried—reportedly traveling to Hawaii to tie the knot with Lori.By late November, the Woodcocks had grown very worried about J.J. and Tylee and asked authorities to check on them. When police showed up, Chad and Lori said the children were with relatives in Arizona. A quick check showed that was not true, but when cops returned the next day, the couple were gone. Investigators learned the children had not been seen in two months and, chillingly, that the couple had told people that Tylee was dead or that Lori did not have children.Now police were just as concerned as the Woodcocks—and not just about Tylee and J.J. In early December, they secured permission to exhume Tammy Daybell’s body to determine if there was foul play. (Autopsy results have not been completed). And police in Arizona began investigating Charles Vallow’s death with a new eye.Others began to reassess the couple, as well. Nancy and Michael James, who run Preparing a People—which they describe as a media company, not a religious organization—wrote on their website that they returned from a vacation to news of Tammy’s death.“We considered Chad Daybell a good friend, but have since learned of things we had no idea about,” they wrote last month in a post that has since been removed. “We recently learned of Chad's new marriage to Lori Vallow a couple weeks after Tammy Daybell died... We did not know Lori as well as we thought we knew Chad.”The Jameses announced they were removing any content on their site from Daybell or Vallow. “We pray for the truth of whatever happened to be quickly manifest,” they wrote.Those prayers would not be answered. On Dec. 30, Rexburg police issued an extraordinary statement, publicly blasting Vallow for refusing to cooperate with their search for her children.“We know that the children are not with Lori and Chad Daybell and we also have information indicating that Lori knows either the location of the children or what has happened to them. Despite having this knowledge, she has refused to work with law enforcement to help us resolve this matter,” they said.Police said that Vallow had left Idaho, but they did not say where she was. That became clear over the weekend when East Idaho News revealed that they were in Hawaii. They moved into a townhouse condo in a gated community bordering a golf course where neighbors said they kept to themselves.On Saturday, Kauai police served Vallow with the child protective order requiring her to produce the children in Idaho by Jan. 30. On Sunday, they stopped the couple at the Kauai Beach Resort, served search warrants and took their SUV away.On Wednesday, the Woodcocks—who have put up a $20,000 reward for information leading to the return of Tylee and J.J.—flew from Louisiana to Idaho in the hopes that Vallow does show up with the children. It’s what everyone hopes, even though nearly every development in the case has only raised more questions. As Tammy Daybell’s father, Ron Douglas, told Fox 13: “Every time you peel a layer off the onion it makes you scratch your head.”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 outbreaks of both the Wuhan coronavirus and SARS likely started in Chinese wet markets. Photos show what the markets look like.

The outbreaks of both the Wuhan coronavirus and SARS likely started in Chinese wet markets. Photos show what the markets look like.The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak likely started in a Chinese wet market, where livestock and poultry are sold alongside animals like dogs and civets.




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The Democrats’ Civil War Gets Nasty in Iowa

The Democrats’ Civil War Gets Nasty in IowaIowa’s tiny Jewish community doesn’t normally play a serious role in the first-in-the-nation presidential-nominating caucuses that make the Hawkeye State the center of attention every four years. But as the New York Times noted this week, a political civil war dividing Jewish Democrats has garnered national attention in the last days before Iowa votes on February 3.Down the stretch in Iowa, a centrist, pro-Israel super-PAC has launched a major ad campaign attacking Senator Bernie Sanders by name, calling attention to his recent heart attack, and questioning his electability. The well-funded group, Democratic Majority for Israel (DMI), was founded last year to counter a trend in which Democrats are increasingly perceived as drifting away from support for the Jewish state. A half-century ago, Democrats seemed like the solidly pro-Israel party while the GOP was divided on the issue. But in recent decades, Republicans have become the lockstep pro-Israel party, while the Democrats are split between centrists who remain broadly supportive of Israel and left-wing activists hostile to its policies and even its existence.Though Sanders is bidding, along with the more-centrist billionaire Michael Bloomberg, to be America’s first Jewish president, he is easily the most critical toward Israel of any of the Democratic candidates. Though he supports the Jewish state’s existence and spent some weeks there on a kibbutz in his youth, he also has a record of bashing the measures it uses to defend itself from terrorism. He is not alone among Democrats in being hostile to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu or in advocating a return to the Obama administration’s more equivocal stance toward Israel’s government. But he is the only contender in the Democratic presidential field to have advocated a freeze on U.S. aid to Israel as punishment for what he considers to be its “racist” prime minister. He has even argued that some of that aid should be diverted to Hamas-ruled Gaza, whose isolation by the international community he opposes.Just as important, Sanders’s campaign has earned the support of some of the party’s most fervent opponents of Israel, namely Representatives Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). In the last year, Omar and Tlaib have been guilty of making flagrantly anti-Semitic remarks about supporters of Israel. Yet Sanders, who has denounced President Donald Trump as a “white nationalist” and accused him of being responsible for violence against Jews, has not distanced himself from them or campaign surrogate Linda Sarsour, the Women’s March leader who has also made a name for herself with anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist statements.Groups such as DMI rightly claim that Omar, Tlaib, and Sanders don’t speak for all Democrats on Israel or anti-Semitism. Yet Omar and Tlaib are treated like rock stars in their party and have faced no real consequences for their anti-Semitic statements or their support of the anti-Israel BDS movement, whose rhetoric is itself drenched in the language of traditional anti-Semitism. And Sanders, who is on record asserting that right-wing hate is a bigger concern than left-wing anti-Semitism, remains one of the front-runners for the nomination.Centrist Jewish Democrats have seen themselves forced to the sidelines in debates about Israel as liberal groups such as J Street and the openly anti-Zionist Jewish Voices for Peace led the charge against AIPAC and others who are supportive of the Jewish state. Republicans are able to tout Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital and of Israel’s right to the Golan. Democrats correctly dismiss fears that Trump will make inroads among Jewish voters because of this; Jews remain among the Democrats’ most faithful supporters. But DMI fears that if Sanders wins the nomination, Israel will become a major point of contention in the general election and that Jewish Democrats will be forced to choose between their partisan loyalties and their affection for Israel.With Sanders leading the RealClearPolitics average of polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, it’s obvious that DMI is in full anybody-but-Bernie mode, and that more than the Democratic presidential nomination is at stake: The group’s anti-Sanders efforts can be seen as one salvo in a broader war between the left-wing activists and centrists for control of the Democratic party. Israel has flown under the radar as an issue in the presidential race, with most Democrats focused on health care, the economy, and beating Trump. But it could yet play a much bigger role in determining the nominee and the future of his party.




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U.S. coronavirus evacuee from China placed under quarantine order after trying to flee base

U.S. coronavirus evacuee from China placed under quarantine order after trying to flee baseOne of 195 Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, to a U.S. air base in California to begin 72 hours of voluntary observation for signs of coronavirus infection was placed under mandatory quarantine after trying to leave the facility, public health officials said on Thursday. The individual, whose identity was not disclosed, was presented the quarantine order on Wednesday night, hours after arriving at March Air Reserve Base near Los Angeles on a government-chartered flight from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, officials from the Riverside County Public Health Department said.




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Suspected Hindu nationalist opens fire at Delhi student demo

Suspected Hindu nationalist opens fire at Delhi student demoA suspected Hindu nationalist Thursday live-streamed himself minutes before opening fire on university students protesting against India's new citizenship law. One student was reportedly shot in the hand before police arrested the alleged gunman, who timed his attack to coincide with the anniversary of the assassination of independence hero Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 by a Hindu radical. Video circulating on social media showed the man brandishing a handgun and confronting protesters while shouting "Yeh lo azadi" ("Here is your freedom") and "Long live Delhi police".




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Dear Mr. Dershowitz, 'mixed motives' is no impeachment defense when there's corrupt intent

Dear Mr. Dershowitz, 'mixed motives' is no impeachment defense when there's corrupt intentTaken together, Donald Trump's actions — at least seven of them — contradict the defense claim that he had any legitimate national interest in mind.




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Iraq says joint operations with US-led coalition resume

Iraq says joint operations with US-led coalition resumeJoint military operations with the U.S.-led coalition to counter the Islamic State group have resumed after a nearly three-week pause, an Iraqi military statement said Thursday. Meanwhile, anti-government protesters called for 1 million Iraqis to take to the streets Friday in what they said was a “last chance” for the protest movement to build on momentum gained after followers of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr packed up and left last week. The pause in joint anti-IS operations came amid heightened tensions after a Washington-led airstrike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad.




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The Wuhan coronavirus has officially spread to every region in China

The Wuhan coronavirus has officially spread to every region in ChinaHealth officials have confirmed a case of the coronavirus in the frontier region of Tibet — the last of China's 34 regions to see an infection.




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A man whose 7-year-old golden retriever was saved from cancer is thanking his vet with a $6 million Super Bowl ad

A man whose 7-year-old golden retriever was saved from cancer is thanking his vet with a $6 million Super Bowl adDavid MacNeil, the CEO of Weather Tech, bought the ad after the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine cared for his dog Scout.




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Schiff responds to Trump Lawyer Dershowitz's 'very odd argument'

Schiff responds to Trump Lawyer Dershowitz's 'very odd argument'House Manager Adam Schiff responded to President Trump's lawyer Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday. Dershowitz said that "If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment."




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Navy SEAL Promoted After Choking Green Beret to Death

Navy SEAL Promoted After Choking Green Beret to DeathThe U.S. Navy promoted Chief Petty Officer Tony DeDolph four months after he admitted to choking a Green Beret to death. DeDolph—who will be back in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing—was formally charged in November 2018 with felony murder, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, burglary, hazing, and involuntary manslaughter in the strangulation death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a Special Forces soldier assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group.Melgar was nearing the end of his deployment when he was killed in the West African nation of Mali in June 2017. He was part of an intelligence operation in Mali supporting counterterrorism efforts against al Qaeda’s local affiliate, known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.Days after Melgar was strangled, DeDolph, at the time a petty officer first class, was sent back to his base in Virginia Beach under suspicion of murder. Despite that, DeDolph found himself on the promotion list for chief petty officer in August 2017; he was “frocked”—meaning he began wearing the insignia of the higher rank—on Sept. 15, 2017, according to defense officials. He didn’t start drawing chief’s pay until December.Slain Green Beret’s Widow Speaks: ‘I Knew They Were Lying’Three days before DeDolph’s promotion, the medical examiner’s report was signed. It concluded, based on a June 8, 2017, autopsy at Dover Air Force Base, that Melgar’s cause of death was asphyxiation and the manner of death was homicide, according to documents reviewed by The Daily Beast.A defense official familiar with the case said Naval Special Warfare Development Group, commonly known as Seal Team 6, didn’t flag DeDolph because he was not formally charged or a person of interest in an ongoing investigation. He was a participant in the investigation but no charges were filed until November 2018.Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, the former commander of Special Operations Command-Africa, told The Daily Beast this week that he authorized an investigation after he learned of Melgar’s death. Bolduc alerted Army Criminal Investigation Command and told commanders in Mali to preserve evidence. He didn’t understand why DeDolph was promoted when he returned to his unit in Virginia Beach.“It is another failure of leadership,” Bolduc said. “I mean senior leadership. It’s unfortunate. He should have never been promoted. The investigation was started right away. They whisked them out of there as fast as they could.”When asked if he was surprised by the news, Bolduc said no.“I’m disappointed,” he said. “But not surprised. It’s utter bullshit.”Navy prosecutor Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Garcia declined to comment on the promotion because DeDolph is part of an ongoing investigation.“DeDolph has remained a member of Naval Special Warfare throughout this process,” said Navy Capt. Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Naval Special Warfare. “It is paramount that the rights of the service member are protected, thus any additional information regarding this case will not be discussed.”Phil Stackhouse, DeDolph's civilian attorney, did not return calls or text messages seeking comment. Melgar’s widow, Michelle, declined to comment on the story.DeDolph’s case is just one of several high-profile incidents that have exposed issues in the SEAL culture. Members of SEAL Team 7 were expelled from Iraq in 2019 after allegations of drinking and sexual assault. Six SEALs tested positive for cocaine last year. Then there’s the case of Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Gallagher, a former member of SEAL Team 7, who faced a court martial for war crimes charges including murder, but was convicted of posing for a picture with a dead body and granted clemency by President Trump in November 2019. Trump Tells Allies He Wants Absolved War Criminals to Campaign for HimSome of the same issues were present in Mali, where there was widespread alcohol use, partying, and prostitutes at the safehouse, according to sources familiar with the investigation. “It was like a frat house,” one source said, when asked to describe what the safe house in Bamako was like. In response to the recent incidents, Rear Adm. Collin Green, head of Naval Special Warfare Command, sent a memo last year to his subordinate units declaring the whole SEAL community has a problem.“Some of our subordinate formations have failed to maintain good order and discipline and as a result and for good reason, our NSW culture is being questioned,” Green wrote in the July 2019 memo. “I don’t know yet if we have a culture problem, I do know that we have a good order and discipline problem that must be addressed immediately.”Gen. Richard Clarke, the head of Special Operations Command, ordered an ethics review last August following several high-profile incidents. He acknowledged in a memo to service members on Tuesday that “unacceptable conduct” had been allowed to occur as a result of “lack of leadership, discipline and accountability.” The 71-page report summing up the ethics review warned of what Clarke described as an emphasis on “force employment and mission accomplishment over the routine activities that ensure leadership, accountability, and discipline.”Chief Petty Officer Adam C. Matthews, who was in Mali doing an assessment of the mission there, testified in August he felt it was his duty to haze Melgar—on DeDolph’s recommendation—to teach him a lesson after Melgar “ditched” the team in Mali’s capital city of Bamako on his way to a party at the French embassy. Investigator of Green Beret’s Murder Had Romantic Relationship With Witness, Lawyer SaysDeDolph, Matthews and two Marine Raiders—Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez and Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell—spent the rest of the night plotting to choke Melgar into unconsciousness, pull his pants down and videotape the incident and then show it to him later to embarrass him. When Melgar became unresponsive, Matthews and DeDolph tried to resuscitate Melgar with CPR and opened a hole in his throat. The SEALS with Sergeant First Class James Morris, Melgar’s supervisor, then rushed Melgar to a French medical facility, where he was pronounced dead. At the clinic, DeDolph admitted to an embassy official he choked Melgar, according to NBC News and subsequent reports.Maxwell and Matthews have already pleaded guilty in exchange for plea agreements with prosecutors. Matthews, 33, pleaded guilty to hazing and assault charges and attempts to cover up what happened to Melgar. He was sentenced in May 2019 to one year in military prison. Maxwell, 29, was sentenced to four years of confinement after pleading guilty in connection with Melgar’s death in June 2019.DeDolph and Madera-Rodriguez are the last of the four men who carried out the attack to stand trial. Both men are expected to face courts martial this spring. An exact date has not been selected, according to Navy officials.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




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British officials: Tanker on fire in Gulf off Sharjah in UAE

British officials: Tanker on fire in Gulf off Sharjah in UAEThe United Kingdom’s Maritime Trade Operations said the fire struck the vessel northwest of Sharjah, an Emirati sheikhdom. Emirati officials said they were working to put out the blaze some 21 miles (34 kilometers) off the coast of Sharjah. The blaze comes amid heightened tensions in the region after the U.S. killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad and Iran fired ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.




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Biden Says He's Getting Old—So His VP Should Be 'Capable of Immediately Being a President'

Biden Says He's Getting Old—So His VP Should Be 'Capable of Immediately Being a President''I'm an old guy,' Biden admitted.




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Trial Date Set for Jeffrey Epstein Jail Guards

Trial Date Set for Jeffrey Epstein Jail GuardsTwo Manhattan jail guards charged with falsifying records after Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell will face trial in June, a federal judge ruled Thursday.Tova Noel, 31, and Michael Thomas, 41, who worked inside Metropolitan Correctional Center’s (MCC) Special Housing Unit, are accused of failing to conduct mandated checks on inmates in the hours before the multi-millionaire sex-offender killed himself in August 2019. Both corrections officers have pleaded not guilty.In Manhattan federal court on Thursday, defense lawyers asked to delay the trial until October—a request U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres promptly denied. Torres set a trial date for June 22, despite the protestations of Noel’s lawyer, Jason Foy, who said the schedule would interfere with his family vacation. The defense attorneys also requested a later date because of what they described as “voluminous” discovery materials, including some they said they hadn’t received. “It’s necessary,” Foy told the court. “This isn’t about us laying back and taking our time.”Thomas’ attorney, Montell Figgins, added, “It took the federal government 90 days to investigate … it’s going to take us more than 90 days to do the same amount of work.”Indictment Against Jail Guards Reveals News Details From Jeffrey Epstein’s Final HoursFiggins also told Judge Torres he’d likely file a motion to dismiss the indictment due to selective prosecution, and that he needed to obtain a report from the Department of Justice’s Inspector General which, along with the FBI and Bureau of Prisons, was tasked with investigating Epstein’s death in a federal facility.Prosecutors had argued against delaying the trial—previously slated for April—which they said will last a week. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Lonergan said the facts in the criminal case only relate to a 14-hour period of time. “This is a very focused, single-incident indictment,” Lonergan said, adding that broader working conditions at MCC were “just not relevant.”Foy disagreed, saying MCC’s environs and alleged failures in security measures “are directly related” to his client’s case. (Both guards were working overtime shifts, and the union representing the officers told The Daily Beast that MCC is constantly understaffed, forcing some guards to work “mandatory overtime” shifts totaling 16 to 18 hours.)After Thursday’s court appearance, Figgins told reporters that the feds “want to put my client in jail for the same conduct that’s happening with other officers on a daily basis.” He said Thomas is on leave without pay pending an administrative hearing.He said his selective prosecution defense will center around the fact that other corrections officers within the Bureau of Prisons system, outside of the Epstein case, have also fallen short with required checks but without criminal consequences.The Bureau of Prisons allowed guards to work nearly 24 hours straight, creating a system where guards could fall asleep on the job, Figgins claimed; guards might end a shift only to be told they couldn’t go home for another eight hours because of staff shortages. “How can they allow that type of work to go on and not expect something like that [Epstein’s death] to happen?” he said.“Now when a billionaire dies, they want to make [Noel and Thomas] a scapegoat,” Figgins continued. He pointed out Noel and Thomas weren’t the only officers working the night before Epstein died; a lieutenant had to sign off on paperwork for their rounds, and a control room held other guards, too. “Why are these the only people charged?” Figgins asked.Last November, federal prosecutors charged Noel and Thomas each with one count of conspiring to defraud the United States. Noel is also charged with five counts of making false records, while Thomas was slapped with three counts of making false records. According to prosecutors, the corrections officers face five years in prison for each count of the charges.Prosecutors say the guards never conducted their mandated checks on inmates, including Epstein, on the night he hanged himself. “Instead, for substantial portions of their shifts, Noel and Thomas sat at their desk, browsed the internet, and moved around the common area of the SHU [Special Housing Unit],” the indictment alleged. “To conceal their failure to perform their duties, Noel and Thomas repeatedly signed false certifications attesting to having conducted multiple counts of inmates when, in truth and in fact, they never conducted such counts.”Epstein was found dead in his cell around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 10—one month after he was arrested for trafficking minor girls. He’d previously attempted to hang himself on July 23, officials said, but was taken off suicide watch after 24 hours. He was under psychological observation until July 30.  Later in August, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said a jail psychologist removed Epstein from suicide watch. In a letter to the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, Boyd said “a doctoral-level psychologist” had “determined that a suicide watch was no longer warranted.”According to the indictment, no SHU guards conducted counts from about 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 until Epstein’s body was discovered the next morning. Both Noel and Thomas had been working overtime shifts the day Epstein died. A cellmate of the multi-millionaire had been transferred out of MCC on Aug. 9, and “despite the MCC’s psychological staff’s direction that Epstein have a cellmate, no new cellmate was assigned to Epstein's cell,” the indictment stated.Noel worked a shift from 4 p.m. on Aug. 9 to 8 a.m. on Aug. 10, while Thomas started his shift at 12 a.m. on Aug. 10. They were the only corrections officers on duty in the Special Housing Unit from 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Aug. 10, prosecutors say.The guards were collectively responsible for two prisoner checks on Aug. 9, at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., as well as three checks on Aug. 10, at 12 a.m., 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.When a supervisor who’d just gotten to work responded to an alarm that went off in MCC at 6:33 a.m. on Aug. 10, Noel allegedly announced, “Epstein hung himself.” Noel was said to admit later, “We did not complete the 3 a.m. nor the 5 a.m. rounds.”“We messed up,” Thomas allegedly told a supervisor. “I messed up, she’s not to blame, we didn’t do any rounds.”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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US hits Iran with new sanctions, keeps some waivers in place

US hits Iran with new sanctions, keeps some waivers in placeThe Trump administration said Thursday that it will continue — at least for now — its policy of not sanctioning foreign companies that work with Iran's civilian nuclear program. Brian Hook, U.S. envoy to Iran, said the U.S. would renew for 60 days sanctions waivers that permit Russian, European and Chinese companies to continue to work on Iran's civilian nuclear facilities without running afoul of U.S. sanctions.




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Trump, trying to head off testimony, says Bolton would have started 'World War Six'

Trump, trying to head off testimony, says Bolton would have started 'World War Six'As pressure mounts on senators to allow John Bolton’s testimony in President Trump’s impeachment trial, the president used Twitter to trash his former national security adviser.




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So Long, Spitzer, You Were a Good Telescope and Friend

So Long, Spitzer, You Were a Good Telescope and Friend




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Get us out of here, plead foreign students at China virus epicenter

Get us out of here, plead foreign students at China virus epicenterForeign students stuck in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of a coronavurus outbreak, are launching social media campaigns, making phone calls and writing letters urging their governments to get them out as soon as possible. Governments globally are grappling with the challenge of how to get their citizens out of China's Hubei province, where 60 million residents now live under virtual lockdown. Pakistan said that quarantine regulations prevented it from flying out the more than 500 Pakistani students and their families from Wuhan.




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GOP wins handily a closely watched Texas special election

GOP wins handily a closely watched Texas special electionRepublicans won handily a closely watched special election Tuesday to keep hold of a suburban Houston district that President Trump won easily four years ago, fending off a national blitz by Democrats in a Texas legislative race.




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Biden's campaign is reportedly seeking 'election-night alliances' with candidates who may not survive Iowa

Biden's campaign is reportedly seeking 'election-night alliances' with candidates who may not survive IowaFormer Vice President Joe Biden's campaign might be a little worried about Iowa.The first caucuses of the 2020 primary season are coming up in just four days, but Biden by no means has a lock on Iowa. So Biden's campaign is reaching out to lower-polling candidates in hopes of striking "election night alliances" to pick up their supporters if they don't make it past the first caucus ballots, Politico reports.Tom Steyer, the billionaire who's sitting at an average of 3.6 percent in the polls, was reportedly one of the targets of Biden's campaign. An aide to Steyer confirmed his campaign was approached by "multiple candidates," per Politico. Biden's team similarly talked with entrepreneur Andrew Yang's staffers, sources said. And three Biden staffers also "tentatively floated" a deal with a strategist for Sen. Amy Klobuchar's (D-Minn.) campaign, The New York Times reported earlier this week. All the campaigns told Politico they'd "rebuffed advances" from other candidates.Biden's second-tier strategy isn't unusual for the Iowa caucuses. The state's system allows people who've supported candidates "who fail to reach 15 percent support in a precinct on the first ballot" to chose someone else for the next ballot, which eventually chooses the state's delegates, Politico writes. Yet it also makes it clear that Biden's campaign knows the Iowa race is far from settled. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com Mitch McConnell's rare blunder John Bolton just vindicated Nancy Pelosi 7 witheringly funny cartoons about the GOP's John Bolton problem




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This Picture Is North Korea, China, Iran and Russia's Worst Military Nightmare

This Picture Is North Korea, China, Iran and Russia's Worst Military NightmareImagine 52 F-35s coming at you.




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Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Dylann Roof appeals death sentence for massacre at South Carolina black church

Dylann Roof appeals death sentence for massacre at South Carolina black church"Roof's crime was tragic, but this Court can have no confidence in the jury's verdict," says his appeal, filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday. A jury found Roof guilty of 33 federal charges, including hate crimes resulting in death, for the shocking mass shooting at the landmark Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in June 2015. Roof dismissed his defense attorneys just before trial and represented himself during jury selection.




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Police find mom of 2 missing kids in Hawaii with husband

Police find mom of 2 missing kids in Hawaii with husbandPolice say a mother of two missing kids has been found in Hawaii along with her new husband, but there’s still no sign of the children in the cross-country investigation, which includes several mysterious deaths.




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Syrian troops capture key town in rebel-held Idlib province

Syrian troops capture key town in rebel-held Idlib provinceSyrian government forces captured one of the largest and most strategic rebel-held towns in the country's northwest, the Syrian military and opposition activists said Wednesday, part of a Russian-backed military assault that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to safer areas. The town of Maaret al-Numan in Idlib province, which had been in rebel hands since 2012, sits on the highway linking Damascus with Aleppo and is considered critical to President Bashar Assad's forces. Its capture is the latest in a series of military triumphs for Assad.




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'Getting a little squirrely': Americans stuck in Wuhan are bored, hungry for coronavirus info

'Getting a little squirrely': Americans stuck in Wuhan are bored, hungry for coronavirus infoAmid the coronavirus outbreak, hundreds of Americans were unable to secure a seat on a flight out of Wuhan or chose to stay behind with family.




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