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  • Conspiracy-mongering Republican seeking John Lewis seat gets social media boost from Trump

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    Besides parroting many of President Trump’s talking points, Angela Stanton-King, a Republican congressional candidate, has frequently repeated ideas related to the conspiracy theory QAnon.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 11:47:02 -0400
  • Former US soldiers sentenced to 20 years for bungled Venezuelan coup plot

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    A Venezuelan court sentenced two former US special forces soldiers to 20 years in prison for their part in a failed beach attack aimed at overthrowing President Nicolas Maduro, prosecutors announced late on Friday. Former Green Berets Luke Denman and Airan Berry admitted to taking part in the May 4 operation orchestrated by a third ex-US soldier who remains in the United States, Venezuelan's chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab announced on Twitter. "THEY ADMITTED THEIR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FACTS," Saab wrote, adding that the case will continue for dozens of other defendants. He did not offer details. "Operation Gideon" was launched from makeshift training camps in neighbouring Colombia and left at least eight rebel soldiers dead while a total of 66 were jailed. Former Green Beret Jordan Goudreau, who operated a private, Florida-based security firm called Silvercorp USA, claimed responsibility for the failed attack. Venezuelan prosecutors announced that Denman and Berry, both decorated former US service members, were found guilty of conspiracy, trafficking in illegal arms and terrorism.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 01:35:20 -0400
  • Hong Kong hits back at 'shameless' U.S. sanctions on leader Carrie Lam

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    The Hong Kong government said it was being used as a "pawn" in the U.S.-China relationship.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 07:29:47 -0400
  • The Russian owner who abandoned the ship full of ammonium nitrate that caused the Beirut explosion has been questioned by police in Cyprus, reports say

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    Igor Grechushkin was questioned by Cyprus police on Thursday over the MV Rhosus, the ship that carried ammonium nitrate to Beirut, local reports say.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 06:47:13 -0400
  • Data shows Kansas counties with mask mandates have seen a decrease in COVID-19 cases

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    Counties in Kansas that adopted a mask mandate have seen a drop in COVID-19 cases, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said.In late June, Gov. Laura Kelly (D) issued a statewide mask guidance, but because the Kansas legislature limited her emergency powers, each county was able to decide whether or not to enforce the order, KSHB reports. During a press conference on Wednesday, Norman said 15 counties went along with the order, while 90 decided to make wearing a mask a recommendation only."What we've seen through this is that in the counties with no mask mandate, there's no decrease in the number of cases per capita," Norman said. "All the improvement in the case development comes from those counties wearing masks."The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has been interviewing people who have recovered from the virus, and Norman finds it worrisome how some can't seem to shake the symptoms, saying, "This serves to me as humbling, in many regards, and a reminder that we still know very little about this disease and its impact on the body."More stories from theweek.com Trump's latest fundraising attempt is reportedly a Facebook scam against his own supporters Biden campaign reportedly making 'ruthless cuts' to convention speaking list The case against American truck bloat

    Thu, 06 Aug 2020 22:47:56 -0400
  • Tropical wave on track to approach the mid-Atlantic

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    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 13:39:00 -0400
  • Robber snatches California man's life savings in front of bank

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    Francisco Cornejo walking to his car after making a hefty withdrawal from his account. He was carrying 200-thousand dollars when a robber attacked him and ripped away Conejo's bag of money. The thief escaped with the money and has yet to be arrested.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 14:23:43 -0400
  • Woman confronting vandals covered in paint during renewed Portland protests

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    Protesters in Portland allegedly threw white paint over a woman, as demonstrators clashed with police for a third consecutive day.On Friday, following two days of protests marred by vandalism, more than 200 people clashed with police, as two other Black Lives Matter protests marched peacefully through the city.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 17:21:23 -0400
  • 'I don't want to fly again': Surviving India's worst crash in 10 years

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    Seated on the last row of the plane, Muhammed Junaid sensed something was amiss when Air India Express flight IX 1344 from Dubai was jerked around by strong winds as it approached the southern Indian city of Kozhikode late on Friday. After an aborted attempt, the aircraft swung around and touched down on the runway, said Junaid, who like many others onboard worked in the Middle East but was forced to return home when his salary halved because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of slowing down, Junaid said, the Boeing-737 appeared to pick up speed, overshooting the runway slickened by heavy rains, hurtling down a sharp slope and breaking in two.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 08:26:35 -0400
  • GOP appeals after Judge dismisses lawsuit over House's proxy voting system established due to COVID-19

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    A federal judge tossed out a GOP-led lawsuit aiming to halt an unprecedented proxy voting system established by the House due to the COVID pandemic.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 18:19:43 -0400
  • The US pledged over $17 million in initial disaster aid for Lebanon after an explosion devastated Beirut

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    Lebanese authorities are investigating the explosion that left more than 150 dead, thousands injured, and leveled a large portion of the city.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 09:40:00 -0400
  • Fort Hood commander's transfer on hold amid investigations

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    Army leaders have delayed the planned transfer of the Fort Hood commander, as a team of independent investigators heads to the base to determine whether leadership failures contributed to the murder of a soldier earlier this year, and several other deaths. Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, commander of Fort Hood, Texas, was slated to go to Fort Bliss, which is near El Paso, and take over leadership of the 1st Armored Division. Command of a division is a key step in an Army officer's career.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 17:37:49 -0400
  • How Is New York Having Crazy Parties With No COVID Surge?

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    Bikini-packed pool parties. Insane backyard blowouts. Unhinged prom bashes.Spectacular scenes of COVID-19 recklessness have emerged from New Jersey in recent weeks, alarming state leaders into implementing new restrictions to curb the tide of rising coronavirus cases and prompting plenty of snickering about the Jersey Shore. But a looming question has plagued experts as similar signs of non-compliance have been witnessed across the Hudson River in New York—without the same upticks.New Jersey and New York have had similar regulations, travel restrictions, and contact tracing efforts. Giant, raucous boat parties in New York are making headlines, too. So why aren’t infection rates following suit the same way? Why are two states that were both early coronavirus hot spots on seemingly divergent courses all these months later?As of Thursday, New Jersey’s case rate per 100,000 people was 30 over the past seven days, according to The New York Times. The state had a positivity rate of 1.77 percent on its tests over the past week, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. For the past month, that number was 1.52 percent. The state was testing 2.3 people per 1,000, a rate that was trending downward according to Johns Hopkins.Those figures might seem perfectly fine in the abstract, but they amounted to an ominous trend.“The numbers are setting off alarms,” New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy said last Friday. “We are standing in a very dangerous place.”Meanwhile, New York’s case rate per 100,000 was 24 over the past seven days, according to the Times. This week, the state had a positivity rate of 0.97 percent on its tests, according to Johns Hopkins. For the past month, that number was 1.06 percent. The state was testing 3.5 people per 1,000, a rate that was trending upward according to Johns Hopkins.Conversations with a wide array of public health experts, local health officials, and disease modelers suggested the reasons for the split were still very much out of focus. But hypotheses ranged from subtle differences in pandemic restrictions to the perception of New York as being more inclined toward aggressive enforcement, deterring non-compliance and would-be spreaders from traveling there.‘Worse Than New York’: How Coronavirus Exploded in South Carolina“Up until this week the restrictions on indoor gatherings were way too high” in New Jersey, said Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which has modeled the pandemic in collaboration with the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “That was really problematic, particularly with people gathering on the Jersey Shore, which also has a long coastline and is a big vacation destination.”Of course, New Jersey’s cases and test positivity rates were nowhere near as concerning as those in hot zones like Texas or Florida. And New York is still finding more COVID-19-positive people on any given day than its neighbor, thanks to its much larger population. But the trendlines in Jersey have concerned state authorities, and last Friday, Murphy squarely placed the blame for new cases on residents not following the rules.“Everyone who walks around refusing to wear a mask, or who hosts an indoor house party, or who overstuffs a boat, is directly contributing to these increases,” Murphy told reporters. “This has to stop.”It didn’t.Just one day later, about 300 bikini-clad and maskless guests spilled out of a massive pool party in Alpine, New Jersey, when police showed up to break up the crowd, NBC New York reported. The party was advertised on social media and by DJs as “The Lavish Experience Pool Party,” and the unidentified host told local reporters that “it got out of control.”Promoters had posted about the party, and party buses pulled up outside. “It’s been happening all summer,” one neighbor told The New York Post. “The owner of the house doesn’t care, the mayor doesn’t care. There’s cursing, loud music, drugs.”Alpine Mayor Paul Tomasko, for what it’s worth, told the local NBC station that such parties were under investigation by local police, state officials, and the county prosecutor’s office.A few weeks earlier, a “BikiniPalooza” event was held at the same mansion, with some neighbors calling it “a night club.” It received the same promotional treatment, according to posts on Instagram.Murphy has said the event involved “close congregation and not a lot of face covering, if any.”In the aftermath, the governor announced on Monday that he would reduce the limit on indoor gatherings to 25 percent capacity, capped at 25 people total. Until this week, it had been capped at 100. By contrast, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order on COVID-19 has for some time prohibited crowds of non-essential workers over 50 people indoors. The rate of transmission in New Jersey jumped from 0.87 a month ago to 1.48 on Monday, Murphy said, meaning that people were spreading the virus more readily.“This is no time for complacency, for selfishness, or for thinking that someone else can wear a mask but not you,” Murphy tweeted on Wednesday. “Do your part.”Carrie Nawrocki, executive director at the Hudson Regional Health Commission, which oversees a population of about 675,000 and includes Jersey City, said her area has seen “extensive delays with testing turnaround time,” making it “difficult to get an accurate picture of the daily cases we have.”Nawrocki said that there has not been a significant increase in case numbers among the 18-29 age group, but that she doesn’t “think that’s necessarily the age group that’s going to get tested as often, especially if they are not adhering to social distancing.”“We have enough contact tracers and disease investigators for every new case that comes in, so we are reaching out to everyone and we haven’t identified one specific reason why people are getting COVID,” said Nawrocki. “My guess would be that they have to do with travel.”That being said, NJ.com reported that state officials warned in recent weeks that the 18-29 age group was the fastest-growing in the state to test positive for COVID-19, and Murphy has certainly pointed the finger at large indoor parties hosted by younger people. Dozens of new cases have been traced to house parties in towns like Westfield and Middletown.Still, the same recklessness—yelling, cheering, drinking and singing without masks—has been reported in New York City. On bistro patios, on crowded boats, and in the middle of crowded streets.“We’re drinking to everyone’s health,” a 31-year-old consultant who was drinking a beer with running buddies at a sports bar told Bloomberg News last month. “We could’ve stopped the virus a long time ago if they gave us clear directions. Now, they want to blame it on us.”Last weekend, officials in New York City broke up an alleged sex party of about 30 people in Midtown on Friday and then, a day later, busted a party boat filled with 170 revelers. Authorities arrested the owners of the ship, the Liberty Belle, for allegedly violating the state's ban on large crowds and for running a bar without a license.On Sunday, the New York State Liquor Authority issued violations for 24 city establishments that violated social distancing guidelines, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. The state has also reportedly opened an investigation into a July 25 outdoor charity concert in the Hamptons that was attended by more than 2,000 people. As of this weekend, the total number of pandemic-related charges in the state had hit 503, according to ABC News.“It’s disrespectful,” Cuomo said Monday. “It’s illegal. It violates public health. It violates public decency. What if one of the people on that cruise gets sick and dies?”Rubin posited that the main difference between both states could be a matter of enforcement. Or, just as important when it comes to deterrence in the context of disease containment, the perception of enforcement.“My impression of Gov. Cuomo is that kind of tough stance with anyone who might try to defy the rules,” said Rubin. At the very least, the two states’ travel advisory websites show a tonal difference on that score. That matters because, according to Dr. Brittany Kmush, an assistant professor at Syracuse University and expert on epidemiology and infectious diseases, “the biggest risk in both states is importation from higher risk areas.”“The self-quarantine is voluntary, but compliance is expected,” according to the New Jersey public health department website’s travel advisory page. The New York health department meanwhile, “expects all travelers to comply and protect public health by adhering to the quarantine.’ But, significantly, it also stipulates that it reserves “the right to issue a mandatory quarantine order” on any given individual, for which a violation is subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 15 days, according to the state’s website. New York City also made a show of announcing checkpoints to enforce a quarantine on out-of-state travelers this week.“If people don’t believe there’s any penalty, they’re just going to defy orders,” said Rubin. “These are very important differences.”“Even though both states have the same travel restrictions, the perception of the consequences differ by the states,” Kmush added.New Jersey has made its own show of enforcement, too—or, at least, it did in the past.N.J. Gym Owners Drop F-Bombs in Off the Rails CNN InterviewFrom April through June, State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan released regular round-ups of enforcement actions against violators of Murphy's executive orders. Just in the first weekend, they reported that officers had issued more than 200 summonses in Newark alone, each carrying a sentence of up to six months and a fine as large as $1,000. Local police also famously busted a party of 30 people at a house in the town of Rumson and arrested the homeowner and an allegedly unruly guest. Cops cuffed a Toms River man after crashing another party of 20 at his abode. Authorities in West Windsor took a 16-year-old year into custody who they accused of hacking on a 52-year-old in a Wegmans supermarket. And 13 people were charged with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency in as many incidents in just the first half the month, after they reportedly coughed or spit on police and claimed to be carrying the virus. The round-ups went from daily to weekly in May, to ending entirely after June 5 as the state moved forward with reopening.Asked for comment, Murphy’s office deferred to Grewal’s team, who did not provide a response by press time. The New Jersey Department of Health did not respond to a request for comment for this story.“I got the sense that New Jersey was not enforcing things as strongly as New York is, where Cuomo has cracked down on bars and is wielding more penalties than other governors are, and that’s keeping people in line,” said Rubin. For guidelines and restrictions in other states, what will matter in case counts, he said, is: “Are these just empty threats? Or is there just more teeth to them?”In any case, Rubin said, “Our models are seeing sea levels rise everywhere around New York, but we don’t know exactly why New York has been insulated from the resurgences we’re seeing in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.” Or, as Kmush put it: “I really don’t think we’ll know the answer to this for years.”—With additional reporting by William BreddermanRead 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.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 04:36:14 -0400
  • Biden campaign reportedly making 'ruthless cuts' to convention speaking list

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    This year's virtual, time-crunched Democratic National Convention isn't making space for many top Democrats to speak.The DNC has set aside just two hours every night from August 17–20 for the convention where former Vice President Joe Biden will accept the nomination. That has led the Biden campaign to make some "ruthless cuts" to some of the highest profile Democrats out there, though the convention's official schedule is far from finalized, Politico reports."It goes without saying that the party's two most popular figures," former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, will get a big role even with time so limited, Politico writes. Former President Bill Clinton and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are in as well. But some Democrats have "grumbled" that if Hillary Clinton is appearing, failed nominees like Al Gore and John Kerry probably should too, per Politico. Others are worried about "spotlighting" Bill Clinton "in the MeToo era," Politico continues.Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) reportedly doesn't have a slot yet, nor do any of her fellow progressive political newcomers. But the party has reportedly made room for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who ran against President Trump in 2016. He'll speak on the same night as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) "in a demonstration of unity," Politico writes. Democrats are also reportedly on the lookout for veterans and Republicans with national security expertise to speak, though planning is still underway with just 10 days until the convention's first night. Read more about what to expect at the DNC at Politico.More stories from theweek.com Trump's latest fundraising attempt is reportedly a Facebook scam against his own supporters The case against American truck bloat Why France is 'walking on the edge of a precipice' when it comes to Lebanon

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 12:19:00 -0400
  • China sentences another Canadian to death on drugs charges

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    As relations between the countries remain fraught, the man has been accused of producing ecstasy.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 12:55:13 -0400
  • The National Rifle Association faces its worst nightmare: accountability

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    The NRA is facing lawsuits and investigations for possible financial misconduct while losing the influence it once had on American leadership.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 09:20:20 -0400
  • Should Judge Sullivan Be Disqualified from Flynn Case? An Appeals Court Is Asking

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    Maybe Judge Luttig was right all along.I had the misgivings you’d expect back in late May, when I disagreed with J. Michael Luttig, the stellar scholar and former federal appeals court judge, regarding how the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals should handle the Flynn case.At the time, that court’s three-judge panel had not yet heard oral argument on Michael Flynn’s mandamus petition — i.e., Flynn’s request that the panel find that federal district judge Emmet Sullivan was acting lawlessly. Sullivan had not only failed to grant the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the criminal case against Flynn; he had appointed a former federal judge (the overtly anti-Trump John Gleeson) to posit the argument abandoned by DOJ — to wit, that Flynn should proceed to sentencing because he had pled guilty to a false-statements charge, waiving his right to contest the case any further in exchange for the government’s agreement not to file any other charges. Basically, Flynn was asking the appellate court to order Judge Sullivan to dismiss the case.In a Washington Post op-ed, Luttig contended that “there are ample grounds in the actions the district court has already taken for the appeals court to order that the government’s motion to dismiss be heard by a different judge, and it should so order.”It is interesting to revisit this assessment in light of an order issued by the D.C. Circuit on Wednesday. The Circuit directed that the participants in the dispute over Judge Sullivan’s actions, including Judge Sullivan himself, must address the question of whether Sullivan should either recuse himself or be disqualified by the Circuit. Arguments in the case will be heard this coming Tuesday, August 11, in a rare en banc review by the full Circuit (i.e., all active judges who have not taken senior status, minus one who has recused himself, so it will be a ten-judge panel).Let’s back up for a moment.Back in May, I disagreed with Luttig because I thought the more important issue was prejudice to Flynn, not the harm Sullivan’s apparent bias was causing to the court’s integrity. At the time, the D.C. Circuit had given Sullivan ten days to respond to Flynn’s mandamus petition. I argued that, rather than reassigning the case to another judge, the Circuit should give Sullivan a chance to explain himself. If he was unable to do that to the Circuit’s satisfaction, I posited that the Circuit should then order him to dismiss the case.After Luttig and I, among other commentators, weighed in on what the appellate court should do, a three-judge panel heard argument. The panel granted Flynn’s mandamus petition and ordered Sullivan to dismiss the case. The 2–1 majority reasoned that, with possible exceptions that do not apply in Flynn’s case, the Justice Department’s discretion to end a prosecution is unreviewable. A dissenting opinion countered that mandamus, which is an extraordinary remedy disfavored by courts absent truly egregious judicial lawlessness, was premature — i.e., that Sullivan should be permitted to conduct a hearing and, if he decided not to grant dismissal, Flynn could then appeal. That would be the normal route to appellate review in a criminal case.After the panel ruled for Flynn, Judge Sullivan asked the Circuit to rehear the case en banc. Sullivan’s petition was remarkable because he is not a party in the case. The only parties in a criminal prosecution are the government and the accused. The judge is the arbiter, not a litigant. The court is not supposed to have a stake in the outcome. It is unseemly for a judge to act as if he has become invested in the outcome of a case the way a party is. It strongly suggests a loss of judicial perspective.Nevertheless, the D.C. Circuit granted Judge Sullivan’s petition. It vacated the panel’s ruling and agreed to full-court review.At first blush, this seemed like doom for Flynn. After all, the full court skews heavily Democratic: seven of the ten judges who will hear the case were appointed by Democratic presidents. There are only four Republican appointees, and as noted above, one (appointed by President Trump) has recused himself. In modern times, there are enough blatantly politicized judicial decisions that people can be forgiven for assuming that partisanship always trumps law. Indeed, in the three-judge panel decision, the two majority judges who ruled in Flynn’s favor were Republican appointees, while the dissenter was a Democratic appointee.Nevertheless, the mandamus litigation in Flynn’s case is not a brute political matter. Anyone who listened to the oral argument could tell how reluctant the judges seemed about issuing a mandamus writ against Judge Sullivan, even if they were convinced that he was wrong on the law. Furthermore, the main Circuit precedent, United States v. Fokker Services B.V. (2016), which clearly indicates that the Justice Department’s dismissal motion should be granted, was written by Chief Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan. He is often touted as a potential Supreme Court nominee in a future Democratic administration. For him, then, the case is a Catch-22: Walking away from his own reasoning in Fokker would be a bad look, while ruling in Flynn’s favor would be very unpopular among Democrats. In addition, we should note that any of the Circuit’s judges could have asked for en banc review by the full court. None did. The case is being heard because Sullivan himself pressed the issue.The complications presented by the mandamus dispute were evident in the Circuit’s initial order scheduling the rehearing en banc, which added an intriguing directive: “The parties should be prepared to address whether there are ‘no other adequate means to attain the relief’ desired” (quoting from the Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in Cheney v. U.S. District Court). I interpret this somewhat cryptic assertion to indicate that, while the Circuit judges have agreed to reconsider the panel’s ruling because courts are generally hostile to mandamus, that hardly means the judges approve of the circus that Sullivan has made of the Flynn proceedings.The judges seemed to be signaling that they know the case should be dismissed, but they’d prefer not to slam a longtime district judge if there is some way to avoid doing so. Perhaps they could deny the writ, but couch the denial in a way that reminded Judge Sullivan that a court must neither take over the prosecutor’s role nor probe the executive’s decision-making in a matter that the Constitution commits to executive discretion.That is what makes Wednesday’s subsequent order regarding the en banc proceeding so interesting. The Circuit instructs counsel for Flynn, the Justice Department, and Judge Sullivan to consider the effect of Congress’s disqualification statute (Section 455 of Title 28, U.S. Code). Specifically, the participants in the mandamus dispute are told to address the law’s mandate that a judge be disqualified “in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” particularly if the judge “is a party to the proceeding.”Manifestly, at least some of the Circuit’s judges (I’d wager most of them) are disturbed by the degree to which Judge Sullivan has exhibited bias and become invested in Flynn’s case. This is exactly the problem on which Judge Luttig focused back in May.It could thus turn out that Luttig presciently homed in on the dispositive issue. I believe, though, that it’s more a matter of new developments breaking, perhaps inevitably, in favor of disqualification. At the time Luttig wrote his op-ed, I still think it would have been premature for an appeals court to jump in and disqualify Judge Sullivan. The parties were not pushing for Sullivan to be removed, just that he be directed to grant the dismissal motion. And even in making his disqualification argument, Luttig conveyed some hesitation. He said the Circuit panel should grant the mandamus but in a more limited way than Flynn was suggesting: Have Judge Sullivan pick a different adviser (someone other than the explicitly biased Gleeson), then promptly rule on the motion to dismiss, explaining his reasoning in full so the appellate court could review it.That is not consistent with Luttig’s other suggestion of having the case reassigned to another judge. But it was right: As things stood back in May, Sullivan should have been given an opportunity to do the right thing. Most of us were hoping he’d correct himself, rather than need to be corrected by a higher court.Plus, let’s put personalities aside, as well as the understandable distaste judges have for mandamus (which essentially asks them to dress down a colleague). A federal appeals court also has very practical reasons for discouraging mandamus. The regular appellate process calls for a criminal case to be appealed only at the end of the lower court proceeding. At that point, the trial or plea is over, sentence has been imposed, the judgment has been entered, and the appeals court can deal with all the claims of error at once, with finality. Courts do not want to encourage litigants to start viewing mandamus as a way to appeal to the higher court in the middle of the lower court proceedings, any time a party claims a judge has made an error. Chaos would reign and cases would never end.That said, things have significantly changed in the nearly three months since we analysts first opined on the mandamus dispute.For one thing, Judge Sullivan retained his own counsel to argue the case on his behalf before the panel, as if he were a party. Then, when the panel’s decision did not go the way he wanted it to go, he took the highly unusual step of seeking en banc review. As the Justice Department pointed out, Sullivan did not have standing to seek reconsideration; he is not a party and did not comply with the rules government officials are supposed to follow before seeking a rehearing.More to the point, by seeking full-court reconsideration of the mandamus matter when both the Justice Department and Flynn are seeking dismissal of the case, Sullivan is both causing prejudice to the defendant and stoking suspicion about the executive branch’s motives. How, then, could Sullivan continue to be considered a fair and impartial judge, fit to rule on the Justice Department’s dismissal motion?That question may signal something about the wisdom of the D.C. Circuit judges that I previously failed to appreciate. The Justice Department’s contention that Sullivan lacks standing seemed compelling to me. I was surprised when the Circuit appeared to ignore it in granting Sullivan’s request for full-court review; I thought they’d deny it and let the panel’s ruling stand. But is it possible that the Circuit saw this as a graceful off-ramp? When none of the Circuit’s judges asked for full-court reconsideration, that signaled to Sullivan that if he wanted it, he would have to ask for it himself. The Circuit judges probably calculated that if the irascible Sullivan made a formal application for rehearing en banc, it would be manifest that he had transformed himself into a party in the Flynn case. Then the Circuit could use the disqualification rule to nudge him aside for the sake of maintaining the judiciary’s reputation for objectivity. That would avoid all the downsides of issuing a mandamus writ while gently reminding lower court judges that they are supposed to remain umpires in these contests, not become one of the players.To sum up, whatever one may have thought about the gravity of Sullivan’s irregular behavior back in May, he has now clearly crossed the Rubicon. It is incumbent on him to recuse himself. If he can’t bring himself to do that — a failure that would further demonstrate a lack of judicial detachment — the D.C. Circuit should disqualify him. Either way, the case should be reassigned to a new judge, who should promptly grant the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss.I’ll conclude with a verity that seems sadly lost on Judge Sullivan: Granting the Justice Department’s dismissal motion would not be a judicial endorsement of the motion, much less a court ruling that Flynn is not guilty. Judge Sullivan is absolutely entitled to believe the Justice Department is wrong to dismiss the case, and that Flynn is as guilty as the day is long. What a judge is not entitled to do, however, is substitute his view for the prosecutor’s on the question of whether a prosecution should continue. In our system, separation of powers principles make that the Justice Department’s call.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 06:30:59 -0400
  • A Sampling of Work From Mexico City’s Top Talents 

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    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 08:00:00 -0400
  • Decades after they last saw each other, homecoming king and queen reunited by chance on a dating app

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    They were married on the 50-yard-line at Montclair State University's football stadium — where they were crowned homecoming royalty in 1992.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 06:00:33 -0400
  • CIA analysts reportedly told the White House there's 'no evidence' the Chinese government has accessed TikTok data

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    Despite the report, President Trump still issued an executive order prohibiting US firms from doing business with TikTok's parent company ByteDance.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 18:27:27 -0400
  • US: Border tunnel appears to be 'most sophisticated'

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    An incomplete tunnel found stretching from Mexico to Arizona appears to be “the most sophisticated tunnel in U.S. history," authorities said. The tunnel intended for smuggling ran from a neighborhood in San Luis Río Colorado, Mexico, to San Luis, Arizona, where it stopped short of reaching the surface. It was built in an area that's not conducive to tunnels because of the terrain, and it had a ventilation system, water lines, electrical wiring, a rail system and extensive reinforcement, federal officials say.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 01:07:28 -0400
  • New York is moving homeless people into luxury hotels to protect them against coronavirus and wealthy neighbourhoods aren't happy

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    New York was in the midst of a record homelessness crisis even before the coronavirus hit. Some 60,000 people were filling municipal shelters across the city every night. Nearly a third of that number was living in dorm-style facilities for single adults, sharing bathrooms, dining areas and sleeping facilities.“When Covid struck, we recognised very quickly this was a recipe for disaster,” said Jacqueline Simone, of Coalition for the Homeless, a New York charity. The problem was only going to get worse, they warned, as the economic crisis caused by the pandemic deepened.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 16:29:00 -0400
  • Biden will soon pick a running mate. Here are the front-runners

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    Biden has vowed to choose a woman as his potential vice president. Following widespread protests over racial injustice and police brutality, pressure increased on Biden to choose a woman of color. Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian parents, fits the bill.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 14:48:11 -0400
  • The Real Reason New York’s Attorney General Went After the NRA

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    New York Attorney General Letitia James may be able to do what no politician before her has been able to accomplish – take down the National Rifle Association. Her lawsuit alleging self-dealing and misconduct could, if successful, dissolve the entire organization. While the suit is civil in nature, it reads like an old-fashioned corruption indictment. It alleges that the not-for profit organization violated New York state laws governing charities by diverting tens of millions of dollars away from the organization’s mission for the personal benefit of its leaders, with Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s Executive Vice President for the past 29 years, and three other officers named as defendants along with the organization itself. According to the complaint, LaPierre used NRA funds for eight private plane flights to the Bahamas, where they enjoyed life on the 107-foot yacht of an NRA vendor, as well as for safaris in Africa and elsewhere. The complaint also claims that LaPierre allotted millions of dollars for private security for himself without sufficient oversight (and cited “security” concerns to explain why he didn’t disclose those trips to the NRA’s board), that he  spent $1.2 million of the group’s funds on gifts from Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman for favored friends and vendors, and that he negotiated a post-employment contract for himself valued at $17 million without board approval. ‘Fraught With Fraud and Abuse’: NY Attorney General Sues to Dissolve the National Rifle AssociationNew York, like most states, requires non-profit organizations to file annual financial reports as a condition of its non-profit status, which confers tax benefits for the organization and its donors. The law requires funds to be used to serve the organization’s members and advance its charitable mission. The complaint alleges that the NRA’s leaders “blatantly ignored” those rules by failing to ensure proper internal controls, ignoring whistleblowers and concealing problems from auditors. Like other cases of corruption, this easily could have been framed as a criminal case. Filing false registration and disclosure documents as part of a scheme to defraud can serve as the basis for federal mail or wire fraud, and often does in public corruption cases. When I served as a federal prosecutor, my former office brought public corruption cases on such theories in similar cases in which officials misused funds for personal benefit. Why then, is it left to James, whose office’s oversight over charities is civil in nature, to bring this action? The silence of the U.S. Department of Justice here is deafening. But the effect of the state attorney general’s civil case might be even more devastating than a criminal case because one of the remedies of her action is dissolution of the NRA itself.  She used the same tactics to dissolve the Trump Foundation in November. There, she reached a settlement with President Donald Trump and family members to pay $2 million to resolve allegations of misuse of charitable funds to influence the 2016 presidential primary election and to further his own personal interests. Among the improper use of funds was doling out $500,000 to potential voters at a 2016 campaign rally in Iowa. As part of that settlement, James required Trump to personally admit to misusing the Foundation’s funds. Sometimes, parties to settlements are permitted to publicly state that a resolution is not an admission of wrongdoing. James would not let them off so easily. Her success in the Trump Foundation case puts teeth into her legal quest to dissolve the NRA as well. Trump to NRA Bigwigs: Get Better LawyersSince 1871, the NRA has been the nation’s largest gun advocacy group. Founded to improve marksmanship following the Civil War, the organization has lately become a powerful lobbying organization and campaign funder that can make or break candidates for political office depending on their stance on firearms regulations. As its website boasts, the NRA is “widely recognized today as a major political force.” Following mass shootings in America, Democratic candidates for office have blamed the NRA for the inability to pass gun reform legislation, and have demanded campaign finance reform to expose and limit the organization’s influence on elections. No doubt, there will be Second Amendment advocates who claim that the New York lawsuit is politically motivated effort to strike a blow against gun ownership. Indeed, if the allegations are true that the NRA engaged in cartoonishly corrupt self-dealing and misconduct, then the dissolution of the NRA would end its 139-year run as the nation’s strongest advocate for gun rights. The law may be the only weapon that can take down the NRA. And if James can prove her case, then the demise of the NRA will be a self-inflicted wound. Lawsuit: The NRA’s ‘School Safety Initiative’ Was a Front to Increase FundraisingRead 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.

    Thu, 06 Aug 2020 18:49:15 -0400
  • Christiane Lemieux and Anthropologie Team Up for the Launch of Her Newest Collection

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    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 14:06:15 -0400
  • Portland Police Chief Slams ‘Incomprehensible’ Violence, Says Rioters Target Local Officers with Mortars and Commercial-Grade Fireworks

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    Portland police chief Chuck Lovell slammed "incomprehensible" violence on Thursday after rioters moved to target city police precincts.Riots in Portland have been ongoing since the May death of George Floyd, an African American man killed during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers. Rioters targeted the city's federal courthouse for two months, assaulting federal officers with explosives and in some cases shining lasers to blind officers.City police began coordinating with federal officers to protect the courthouse last week. However, rioters are now targeting Portland's police stations.“Last night’s violence by rioters at our east precinct was incomprehensible,” Lovell said at a virtual press conference on Thursday. “We have people who are intentionally planning to go out and attack precincts, trap people inside, [and] set fires to these buildings.”Lovell continued, “We have nightly violence where officers get mortars thrown at them, rocks, commercial grade fireworks, and these senseless attempts to injure officers and destroy police facilities [are] reprehensible and [they] need to stop.”Lovell said that the riots were intended to injure officers and could not be considered connected to the George Floyd protests.A local NBC affiliate reported that rioters attempted to start a fire at Portland's East Precinct. Additionally, a memorial to a Portland police officer who died while pursuing a suspect who shot a child was vandalized.> The memorial to fallen officer Thomas Jeffries was tagged last night during a riot at Portland's East Precinct. He died in 1997 pursuing a man wanted for shooting a child. portlandpolice @KGWNews https://t.co/eVVFna0BBA pic.twitter.com/6LbzYrJ2PB> > -- Eric Patterson (@KGWphotog) August 6, 2020> A rough night at Portland Police Bureau's East Precinct. Police called it a riot around 10pm last night. A security camera was vandalized and fire set at the front door as officers dodged items thrown at them. @KGWNews PortlandProtests PortlandRiots pic.twitter.com/cZWhtBD4hg> > -- Eric Patterson (@KGWphotog) August 6, 2020The Department of Homeland Security announced that crowds outside the federal courthouse "peaked at 50 people" over Wednesday night, however now local law enforcement was bearing the brunt of the assaults."While criminal violence towards federal officers and property has receded, Portland’s rioters have since redirected their attacks to local law enforcement, employing many of the same violent tactics previously used against federal officers and property," the DHS said in a statement.

    Thu, 06 Aug 2020 17:55:04 -0400
  • Germany floats a new NATO spending yardstick: 10 percent

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    Officials are pushing for a new yardstick to measure Berlin's contributions to NATO, suggesting the country could shoulder 10 percent of alliance requirements.

    Thu, 06 Aug 2020 13:39:49 -0400
  • Black man's life sentence in stolen hedge clippers case is 'cruel and unusual,' Louisiana judge says

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    Repeat offender laws sent Fair Wayne Bryant to prison for life after trying to steal hedge clippers. Louisiana’s Supreme Court won't review the case.

    Thu, 06 Aug 2020 15:04:54 -0400
  • Oklahoma won't require masks in schools, so a teacher who's a 72-year-old cancer survivor is offering students extra credit to wear them

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    Oklahoma's board of education voted against requiring masks in schools, putting teachers and students at risk.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 11:42:14 -0400
  • List of COVID checkpoints in NYC

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    Mayor Bill de Blasio says the COVID-19 traveler registration checkpoints are located at key entry points into New York City to ensure compliance with New York State quarantine requirements and further the containment of COVID-19.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 08:25:03 -0400
  • How Nicola Sturgeon has secretly massaged Scotland’s coronavirus record

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    Nicola Sturgeon spent much of July telling anyone who would listen that the prevalence of coronavirus in England was “five times” higher than in Scotland. The figure was deployed to justify her refusal to rule out effectively closing the border by imposing quarantine on travellers from England, and her highly controversial move to set her a Scotland-only policy on air bridges, which airports warned put livelihoods at risk. The day after she first made the claim, masked nationalists in hazmat suits descended on the border near Berwick-upon-Tweed, shouting abuse at English “plague carriers”.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 06:48:11 -0400
  • France and Germany pulled out of talks to reform the WHO because the US was trying to take control, according to a report

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    The US, who said last month that they will leave the WHO in July 2021, is trying to dictate the terms, according to several European officials.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 07:58:50 -0400
  • CNN’s Poppy Harlow Confronts Larry Kudlow With All the Times He’s Been Wrong About the Coronavirus

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    White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to predictions. And CNN anchor Poppy Harlow was more than ready with the receipts when he came on her show to talk about the coronavirus fallout Friday morning. Harlow began her interview by asking Kudlow if he and President Donald Trump are “worried” about the slowdown in the recovery. “I don’t know that there’s a slowdown. These job numbers will go up and down,” Kudlow replied. When Harlow noted that only 1.8 million jobs were added in July compared to 4.8 million in June, he said, “That is true, and it's going to be uneven as it always is.” Kudlow continued to push the administration’s argument that a $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit has been a “disincentive” for Americans to go back to work. And when Harlow asked for evidence, he pointed to a University of Chicago study that supposedly supports that claim. “But, Larry, the University of Chicago survey, it doesn’t conclude what you’re arguing,” Harlow said. “I know you don’t want to incentivize people to go to work when it’s a dangerous situation for them to go because the virus is not under control,” she added, noting that she talked to the author of that study who said “it’s a mistake to draw the conclusion as you have been and the White House has been that right now it’s a disincentive to go back to work.” All Kudlow could say in response was, “We can argue one academic versus another, I think history shows this is probably not sustainable in the long term.” > Asked to explain why he's been wrong about the coronavirus at every turn -- he said the virus was "contained" in February, for instance -- Kudlow takes umbrage with Poppy Harlow for "nitpicking" pic.twitter.com/bNvNP8Qj4r> > -- Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 7, 2020But the most contentious moment of the interview came later when Harlow confronted Kudlow for his rhetoric over the past several months about the pandemic itself. “I’m wondering why you have consistently downplayed the severity of the pandemic,” she said. “Back on February 25th you said ‘it’s pretty close to airtight.’ February 28th, ‘It’s not going to sink the American economy,’ March 6th, ‘Let’s not overreact, America should stay at work.’ And just on June 12th, ‘There is no emergency, there is no second wave,’ but since June 12th, 45,978 Americans have died from COVID.”Kudlow attempted to defend his consistent downplaying of the virus’ severity but after a few moments he just resorted to attacking his interviewer. “I kind of resent your little nitpicking here because I don’t know what that has to do with today’s job numbers,” he said.“I’m not nitpicking, Larry,” Harlow replied. “I think people listen to you and the president when you say things about the pandemic.” Ultimately, he may have been chastened enough to acknowledge his own fallibility when it comes to predicting the future. “I think, again, the health guidelines that we have put out are in fact working, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed, maybe prayerfully, that we’ve seen the worst of this extension so we’ll see what happens.” “We all are, Larry,” Harlow said. CNN’s Brianna Keilar Comes at Trump Campaign’s Mercedes Schlapp for Falsely Smearing Her Military HusbandRead 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.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 11:49:40 -0400
  • Italian valley evacuated as cathedral-sized glacier slips

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    A melting glacier as large as a cathedral is at risk of breaking apart due to a heatwave, forcing the evacuation of part of an Italian alpine valley. A heatwave has created a layer of water under the glacier, which is made up of about 500 cubic metres of ice - roughly the size of the Milan cathedral - making it more prone to a break. "There is an enormous block of ice resting on the rock and the danger is that it could detach in an instant," glacier expert Fabrizio Troilo told the Corriere della Sera newspaper's website.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 07:25:59 -0400
  • Migrants adrift after camp at France-Italy border shut

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    Sudanese migrant Soulaimen has been sleeping on the beach in the Italian border town of Ventimiglia for 10 days now. With his only shelter a sleeping bag and pasta meals donated by a charity, the 20-year-old is getting by as best he can after a transit camp run by the Italian Red Cross was ordered to stop welcoming new arrivals and cease operations. Now, the migrants who continue to flock to this town hoping to cross into France are on their own, faced with strengthened border police and an uncertain future.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 12:45:16 -0400
  • Pompeo rejects Congress' subpoenas for IG, Biden probe info

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    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday rejected congressional subpoenas issued for him and for the State Department to provide information and testimony to lawmakers about two politically charged developments. The refusals set the stage for an escalation in the confrontation between the State Department and the Democratic-controlled House ahead of November's elections. In letters sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Pompeo and the State Department’s acting legislative affairs chief said they had no intention of complying with the subpoenas.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 17:20:29 -0400
  • Linda Collins: Ex-aide confesses to murder of Arkansas state senator

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    A woman in Arkansas has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after accepting a plea deal connected to the murder of former state lawmaker.Court records show that Rebecca Lynn O'Donnell, 49, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder as well as the abuse of the corpse of Arkansas state Senator Linda Collins.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 11:42:39 -0400
  • No pajamas allowed during remote classes at Illinois school district, officials say

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    The school district says its dress code will be “flexible” during online learning.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 14:09:33 -0400
  • Seattle protesters sue over police crowd control measures

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    Demonstrators say they are being 'priced out' of their First Amendment right; attorneys Andrew Stoltmann and Brian Claypool weigh in.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 23:43:28 -0400
  • No masks required as 250,000 expected at 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Here's what to know.

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    Festivalgoers will be largely free of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions common elsewhere in the country during this year's 10-day event.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 21:47:14 -0400
  • An Air India plane carrying 190 people crashed in Calicut after overshooting the runway

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    An Air India Express plane carrying 190 people crashed on Friday in Calicut, India. Sixteen people were killed, India's civil-aviation minister said.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 11:56:29 -0400
  • Putin’s Got Big Problems in Russia’s Provinces

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    MOSCOW—The city of Khabarovsk, a sprawling, industrial metropolis about 5,000 miles east of the capital—the Bolsheviks turned it into a hub for serving Siberian prison camps, in the middle of nowhere by design—is about as far from the seat of Russian power as geographically possible. But it’s suddenly at the center of Russian politics these days. For the past three weeks, thousands of people have come out daily in Khabarovsk to protest the country’s top-down rule, what President Vladimir Putin once called his “vertical of power. “Wake up, cities, our Motherland is in trouble,” protesters chanted in the rain one Friday evening. Banners that read, “Putin, you lost my trust!” and “Down with the Tsar!” floated above people’s heads.Despite the Kremlin’s best efforts to hide them, problems have been bubbling up in Russia’s provinces, transforming local issues into the most dynamic arena for dissent, protest, and opposition in the country’s political system and fueling Russia’s version of post-lockdown unrest.   The arrest of Khabarovsk’s popular regional governor sparked the anti-Putin uprising that has drawn up to 60,000 people into the streets in this usually sleepy backwater. The arrested governor was a member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, which had for years been loyal to Putin. Yet even the party’s leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, told The Daily Beast that the provincial protests could spread, as people are fed up with the lies and media manipulation in the Putin system. “This is a genuine, wonderful, peaceful protest, but federal television channels do not cover them, and that offends people,” he said.Millions of Russians are still watching the Far East rallies online. People are outraged by unemployment, corruption, pollution, and failing government. “For as long as we have a one-party system, you will have the Khabarovsk protests,” Zhirinovsky recently declared from the tribune of the State Duma. “I have suggested to them a long time ago to have at least two parties, but they want to have the majority,” Zhirinovsky told The Daily Beast about Putin’s United Russia party. Putin continues the tradition of single-party system that began under Lenin, Zhirinovsky said.Two thousand miles away from Khabarovsk sits another provincial city, Norilsk, with its giant factory that is the source of a fifth of the world’s nickel and half of the precious metal palladium. Norilsk is the world’s northernmost city and also Russia’s most polluted; visitors stepping off a plane are greeted by air that leaves an unforgettable metallic taste in the mouth. But even by Norilsk’s own abysmal standards, this summer was a horrific one for the environment: Its factory, Norilsk Nickel, spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of red-hued diesel fuel into what locals now call “rivers of blood.” The rain smells of chemicals. The diesel fuel spill was caused by the collapse of a rust-covered storage tank at a heat and power plant on May 29. Local bureaucrats and the factory kept quiet about the disaster for two days as the red, oily rivers spread pollutants through the fragile tundra environment in what Greenpeace would later call the “biggest environmental catastrophe in the history of Russia’s Arctic.” Authorities initially tried to hide the disaster, in the same way state television channels have attempted to ignore the protests in Khabarovsk. Russians only learned of the spill from social media. Six weeks later, with still no word of any official reprimand for the spill, the factory dumped another round of toxic waste—this time, intentionally—right onto the tundra.Two reporters from the independent paper Novaya Gazeta, Yelena Kostyuchenko and Yuri Kozyrev, had traveled to Norilsk after the spill to see the pollution with their own eyes. The reporters discovered a stream with orange bubbles and a lake covered in white foam, surrounded by dead trees. But it had nothing to do with the diesel spill. “Two large pipes were pumping and dumping white toxic waste with a sharp chemical smell onto the tundra when we arrived,” Kostyuchenko told The Daily Beast. Novaya Gazeta’s report raised the alarm with local prosecutors and police, so the factory sent a bulldozer to quickly dismantle the pipes. Then, the bulldozer accidentally crushed a police car while backing up. Environmentalists witnessed a wild scene: A huge number of Norilsk Nickel’s security services were demolishing their factory’s pipes in front of police and officials from the emergency ministry and Russia’s natural resources regulatory agency, Rospotrebnadzor.Meanwhile, some Russian politicians started to call for the Kremlin to take control of the factory—owned by the country’s richest oligarch, Vladimir Potanin—and nationalize it. Potanin, a former member of the Communist Party, obtained the Norilsk factory on the cheap during the privatization of the 1990s. Since then, he’s seemed untouchable. After all, according to Kremlin-watcher Mikhail Zygar, the billionaire has always paid up for problems at the factory in the only currency that counts: loyalty to the Russian president. “People like Potanin are happy to pay for all [Putin’s] projects, for anything he ever wants,” said Zygar, author of All the Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin. Soviet and post-Soviet bureaucrats have a long history of attempting to hide the truth about disasters from the public, no matter how deadly—most famously after the 1986 nuclear accident in Chernobyl. Last year, an experimental missile exploded in the Arctic, releasing radioactivity into the air, and the official reaction was silence. So, too, in the first days after the fuel spill. Officials were even reluctant to break the bad news to Putin himself. “One has to earn the right to report bad news to Vladimir Vladimirovich,” said Sergei Markov, a political analyst close to the Kremlin. “It must have taken a few days before the decision-makers on various steps of power figured out who would be the one to break the news.”On the fifth day after the fuel spill, four people lined up shoulder to shoulder to report the truth about the accident to Putin in an online meeting: the oligarch Potanin; Svetlana Radionova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor; Yevgeny Zinichev, the minister of emergency situations; and Viktor Uss, the Krasnoyarsk regional governor.Zinichev told the president that “the event itself, the emergency situation, was localized on June 1. We have installed booms, so there is no development.” Radionova, in contrast, talked about “unprecedented” pollution. “We registered an increase by dozens of thousands of times,” after the diesel fuel spilled into the rivers, she told Putin.Potanin was the last to speak. He promised to dip into his wealth and pay for the damage. The accident would cost “not a ruble from the state budget.” Putin wanted to know how much, exactly, the company was going to pay. The billionaire paused.Putin pressed Potanin on how much money he was willing to pay to compensate for the damage. “Billions and billions” of rubles, or tens of millions of dollars, the oligarch finally told the president. “And how much does one reserve tank cost that you are going to replace now? If you replaced it on time, there would not have been such damage and such cost to the environment,” the president replied.According to Forbes Real Time, which gauges wealth, in the weeks after the accident Potanin’s net worth dropped by more than $3.6 billion, but he is currently worth $23 billion, which still allows him the title of Russia’s richest man. The World Wide Fund for Nature has addressed an open letter to Potanin, calling him personally to “take the full responsibility” for polluting the Arctic.  But money for the clean-up aside, Potanin is unlikely to face real repercussions for the spill. Earlier this summer Putin’s inspector,  Radionova, flew to Norilsk to calculate fines for the factory—but, according to Transparency International, she flew there on Potanin’s own Bombardier Challenger private jet, instead of taking a regular flight. Radionova has also been accused of corruption by the foundation of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which revealed documents for luxurious real estate in Moscow and Nice that suggest Radionova is the owner. “Such wealth cannot be explained. It is so outrageous,” Navalny said in his report on YouTube, viewed by more than 3 million people. Meanwhile, experts warn that Russia is ill-equipped to prevent another environmental disaster. After the diesel spill, a member of the board of directors at Norilsk Nickel, Yevgeny Shvarts, admitted on a television talk show that the storage tank that had collapsed was the newest piece of equipment at his company. “This is terrifying: One of Russia’s richest companies considers a tank made in 1985 their newest piece of equipment. That means things are much worse than we thought,” the show’s host, Vladimir Slivyak, told to The Daily Beast. He expressed concern that many other Russian factories are also storing diesel fuel in even older tanks: “Such accidents might take place any time.” 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.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 04:37:22 -0400
  • Trump's latest fundraising attempt is reportedly a Facebook scam against his own supporters

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    President Trump would love to have dinner with you, for the low, low price of a $10,000 fine.The Trump campaign blitzed supporters this week asking for donations in exchange for the chance to attend a "VIP dinner" with the president in Southampton, New York on Aug. 8, but Popular Information's Judd Legum, who investigated the contest, says the fundraising attempt is a pretty blatant "scam."The ads, which reportedly cost the campaign $100,000 to run on Facebook, failed to mention that anyone residing in one of 35 states is legally barred from attending the fundraiser (or any event in the state of New York, for that matter).Since late June, visitors to New York who are coming from states with surging COVID-19 numbers have been told they need to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine to help prevent the virus' spread. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has since doubled down on that requirement, imposing fines and installing checkpoints for visitors.It's unlikely that Trump, who has gone head-to-head with Cuomo throughout the pandemic, has forgotten these restrictions. Still, that didn't stop the campaign from advertising its one-of-a-kind deal to those very people."In one heavily promoted version of the ad, 73 percent of the impressions were targeted at users in states subject to New York's quarantine order," Legum writes.The Trump campaign seems to have advertised the fundraiser knowing much of its targeted audience wouldn't be in a position to actually attend, as the contest rules give the campaign permission "to suspend or cancel the Promotion" if any "viruses, bugs, unauthorized human intervention or other causes beyond Sponsor's control" interfere.Essentially, anything from the mandatory quarantine order to a fruit fly infestation could give Trump reason to bail.More stories from theweek.com Biden campaign reportedly making 'ruthless cuts' to convention speaking list The case against American truck bloat Why France is 'walking on the edge of a precipice' when it comes to Lebanon

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 15:31:35 -0400
  • Mauritius facing catastrophe as oil starts leaking from a shipwreck near pristine coral reefs

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    The island nation of Mauritius is facing an environmental crisis after a huge container ship ran aground and started to leak oil into an area home to some of the finest coral reefs in the world. Efforts to pump oil out of the ship have failed, and now there are fears that the carrier could start to break up, leading to an even greater leak and causing catastrophic damage on the island’s pristine coastline. “We are in an environmental crisis situation,” said the environment minister, Kavy Ramano, The carrier MV Wakashio, which belongs to a Japanese company and flew a Panamanian-flagged, was en route from China to Brazil when it ran aground near Pointe d’Esny on the island’s southeastern coast on 25 July. The vessel’s crew have been evacuated safely and the container was not carrying a cargo load when wrecked. However, the 1,000ft vessel was carrying 90 tonnes of lubricant oil, 200 tonnes of diesel and 3,800 tonnes of bunker fuel, according to local media outlets. Now the oil is spreading out of the ship rapidly, according to Sunil Dowarkasing, Greengate Consulting, a Mauritian environmental consultancy, who was on the beach in sight of wreck. “It’s really very bad because now despite all the measures, the oil has already reached the shores of Mauritius and polluted the shorelines. You can see fish dying. The situation is out of control,” Mr Dowarkasing told The Telegraph. Mr Dowarkasing said that the wreck was near four major wildlife and maritime sanctuaries, which contained flora and fauna unique to the island. He added that there was a 100-year-old ‘brain’ coral nearby in the Blue Bay Marine Park. “Thousands of species around the pristine lagoons of Blue Bay, Pointe d’Esny and Mahebourg are at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius’ economy, food security and health,” Happy Khambule from Greenpeace Africa told The Telegraph in a statement. Mauritius, which lies some 600 miles east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, is a major tourist hotspot and tax haven for international corporations and African oligarchs. The country of 1.2m depends on its seas for food and for tourism, boasting some of the finest coral reefs in the world. The Mauritian government has asked the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion for assistance. “This is the first time that we are faced with a catastrophe of this kind and we are insufficiently equipped to handle this problem,” said fishing minister, Sudheer Maudhoo.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 11:56:25 -0400
  • US ambassador says Iran is world No. 1 sponsor of terrorism

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    The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations called Iran “the world’s number one sponsor of terrorism” on Thursday and warned Russia and China that they will become “co-sponsors” if they block a resolution to extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran. Ambassador Kelly Craft said the United States hopes Russia and China “will not be co-sponsors of the number one state that sponsors terrorism” and “will see the importance of peace in the Middle East.”

    Thu, 06 Aug 2020 18:18:00 -0400
  • #DontCallMeMurzyn: Black Women in Poland Are Powering the Campaign Against a Racial Slur

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    "Each time I hear this word, I feel like someone was clawing at my heart."

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 12:25:36 -0400
  • Pence denounces rulings of Chief Justice Roberts calling him ‘disappointment to conservatives’

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    Vice President Mike Pence has called out Chief Justice John Roberts as a “disappointment to conservatives” in a rare criticism of a US Supreme Court judge.Mr Pence made the remarks during an interview with told Christian Broadcast Network’s David Brody, who asked if Mr Pence was “scratching his head” over Chief Justice Roberts as a “reliable vote”.

    Thu, 06 Aug 2020 15:59:27 -0400
  • After the FBI raided Jake Paul's mansion, speculation was rampant about his associate 'Armani' Izadi, who is an accused pimp and was also searched by the feds

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    In addition to Jake Paul's Calabasas home, FBI agents also searched the Las Vegas mansion of his associate, 'Armani' Izadi, an accused pimp.

    Thu, 06 Aug 2020 14:12:52 -0400
  • Pentagon chief expresses concern to Chinese counterpart about Beijing's activity in South China Sea

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    U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed concerns about Beijing's "destabilizing" activity near Taiwan and the South China Sea in a call with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, the Pentagon said on Thursday, the first time the two are believed to have spoken since March. The call came as U.S.-China ties have rapidly deteriorated this year over a range of issues, including Beijing's handling of the coronavirus, telecommunications equipment maker Huawei [HWT.UL], China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its clamp-down on Hong Kong. "Secretary Esper also communicated the importance that the PRC (People's Republic of China) abide by international laws, rules and norms and meet its international commitments," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters, adding that the call lasted for an hour and a half.

    Thu, 06 Aug 2020 14:17:32 -0400
  • Sales of pricey New York City apartments plunge as the suburbs become cool again

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    Homes in Connecticut and Westchester's suburbs are flying off the market as wealthy New Yorkers flee to greener pastures.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 07:55:00 -0400
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