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Leicester helicopter crash: Football club's owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha among five killed

The owner of Leicester City was among five people killed when his helicopter crashed outside the football club's stadium, it has been confirmed.

Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died when the aircraft fell from the sky after taking off from inside the ground following a 1-1 draw against West Ham.

Witnesses said the chairman's helicopter seemed to spiral out of control moments after it set off from the King Power Stadium pitch on Saturday evening and plummeted in a huge fireball into a car park.


Mr Srivaddhanaprabha celebrates with Leicester players after the team won the Premier League in 2016

Police said the other four victims were believed to be two of Mr Srivaddhanaprabha's staff Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and Mr Swaffer's girlfriend Izabela Roza Lechowicz, who was a fellow pilot.

Ms Lechowicz, who moved to the UK from Poland in 1997, and Mr Swaffer lived together in Camberley, Surrey.

Officers said formal identification had not been completed and no one else was believed to be injured.


'Fans loved Vichai for his deeds, not his words'

Leicester City supporter Lee Marlow looks back on a golden period in the club's history

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha, who was highly thought of in the city, was known for arriving and leaving the stadium in his helicopter at home games.

The club said the 60-year-old tycoon, who bought it for £39m in 2010 and led it to a first Premier League title in 2015-16, was a "great man".

It said: "The primary thoughts of everyone at the club are with the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the families of all those on-board at this time of unspeakable loss.

"The world has lost a great man. A man of kindness, of generosity and a man whose life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he so successfully led.

"Leicester City was a family under his leadership. It is as a family that we will grieve his passing and maintain the pursuit of a vision for the club that is now his legacy."

A Sky cameraman who watched the crash said the pilot guided the aircraft away from people on the ground.

Having just recorded post-match interviews inside the stadium, Sky Sports News cameraman Dan Cox was walking

Leicester crash: Daytime images show damage

He told Sky News: "I heard the helicopter coming out of the stadium, saw it as you do, they are amazing pieces of machinery and then I just carried on walking thinking next time I look up it is going to be overhead.

"The next thing I just looked up and it was just spinning, static just out of control, just a constant spinning, I have never seen anything like it."

The air accident watchdog has launched an investigation into why the helicopter crashed.

Leicester City fans describe the impact Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha had on the club after leading the team to Premier League victory. The tragedy is being described as the "darkest day" in the club's history, and mourners have been laying wreaths near the stadium.

Bouquets, flags and football shirts have been left outside the ground by members of the public alongside a large image of the Hindu god Ganesh which was also placed amidst the flowers.

The club said a book of condolence, which will be shared with the Srivaddhanaprabha family, will be opened at the stadium from 8am on Tuesday for supporters wishing to pay their respects.

An online book of condolence will be put on its website for supporters unable to visit the stadium to leave tributes.

Tuesday's first team fixture against Southampton in the EFL Cup and the development squad fixture against Feyenoord in the Premier League International Cup have been postponed.

KaroA Posted on October 29, 2018 08:23

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Johnny Depp Throws Hat into the Crypto Ring, Joins TaTaTu Platform

Announced today, Hollywood star Johnny Depp has signed a deal with a new cryptocurrency related platform called TaTaTu. The platform, like Depp himself, aims to provide social entertainment.

A ‘New Approach’ To Entertainment

With a name sounding like it’s from Pirate’s of the Carribean, TaTaTu is a cryptocurrency based platform that rewards users in tokens, as payment for interacting with certain content like movies and games (according to its website).  The Hollywood Reporter news outlet announced today that Depp will work alongside Andrea Iervolino on the project.

Iervolino is the businessman, entrepreneur, and movie producer behind the TaTaTu platform. Additionally, he operates AMBI Media Group with Monica Bacardi. Depp also previously founded a production company called Infinitum Nihil, which he will use to create movies and content for TaTaTu’s platform.

Depp and Iervolino already have things rolling and are shooting a movie together later this month, produced by Iervolino and his production company (AMBI), explained The Hollywood Reporter. The movie, Waiting for the Barbarians, is based on a novel by author J.M. Coetzee.

The Hollywood Reporter disclosed Iervolino’s excitement to work with Depp, stating that “Johnny has the ability to conceptualize material in a way that few can, and is unburdened of conventional industry formulas that dictate the projects that get made, traditionally”.



Depp For The Rebound

This partnership comes in a year that sees Depp looking for a comeback, after losing almost $650 million, as reported by  Deadline.


According to IMDB, Depp has previously received nominations for three Oscars and nine Golden Globe awards, while clinching one Golden Globe award win, as well as ten People’s Choice Awards. Involvement in the cryptocurrency space with TaTaTu gives a new avenue of success potential for the actor.


Celebrity Crypto Attention

Depp joins a somewhat sizeable list of mainstream celebrities who have shown interest in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.


Earlier this year, reported about Steven Seagal and his involvement in an ICO called Bitcoiin. The Bitcoiin ICO was associated with an exit of sorts. The exit followed a cease and desist sent to Seagal a few weeks prior, which states celebrity endorsement to have possibly been illegal.

Near the end of last year, CCN initially reported  on a statement from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding celebrity ICO endorsement – “These endorsements may be unlawful if they do not disclose the nature, source, and amount of any compensation paid, directly or indirectly, by the company in exchange for the endorsement”.


Other Celebrity Involvement

TheUnikrn ICO backed by Mark Cuban was also the subject of criticism, being sued “for allegedly skirting federal securities violations by offering UnikoinGold Tokens (UKG) to the general public, rather than just accredited investors”, reports CCN.


 CNBC lists other celebrity cryptocurrency endorsements by figures such as Paris Hilton and Jamie Foxx.

And of course, how could anyone forget when Katy Perry painted her  fingernails with cryptocurrency logos like Bitcoin and Ethereum, in what seemed like an endorsement of cryptocurrency as a whole.

KaroA Posted on October 28, 2018 23:36

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Gunman kills 11 in Pittsburgh synagogue massacre investigated as a hate crime

A gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue Oct. 27, killing multiple people and wounding six, including four police officers. 

By Deanna Paul, Avi Selk , Amy B Wang and Mark Berman

October 27 at 5:52 PM

An ambulance arrives at the Tree of Life Synagogue where a shooter opened fire Saturday, October 27, 2018 (Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo)

A gunman armed with an assault rifle killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue during Saturday-morning services in what the Anti-Defamation League called "likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.”

Law enforcement officials said Robert Bowers — a 46-year-old man with a history of making virulently anti-Semitic statements online — was taken into custody after a gun battle with police and is expected to face federal hate crime charges.

“Justice in this case will be swift and it will be severe,” said Scott W. Brady, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Brady said Bowers could be charged sometime Saturday for what he called a “terrible and unspeakable act of hate."

Authorities described a rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue, the city’s oldest Jewish congregation, that was stunning in its savagery.

People gather near the synagogue. Gene J. Puskar/AP

“This is the most horrific crime scene I’ve seen in 22 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation," said Robert Allan Jones, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Pittsburgh field office. "Members of the Tree of Life synagogue conducting a peaceful service in their place of worship were brutally murdered by a gunman targeting them simply because of their faith.”

All 11 people killed were adults, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said. Six people were also wounded, four of them police officers responding to the gunfire, he said.

Witnesses told police Bowers burst into the synagogue shouting anti-Semitic statements and began firing. Hissrich said authorities began to receive calls about an active shooter at the synagogue at 9:54 a.m. and officers were dispatched one minute later.

Jones said that Bowers entered the synagogue, gunned down 11 people and was leaving when he encountered responding officers. He fired at an officer who was wounded and then went back into the synagogue to hide, Jones said. More officers responded, and after an exchange of gunfire, Bowers was taken to a hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said.

Hissrich declined to say if Bowers was speaking to authorities, and it was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

SWAT police officers respond after a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the shooting “reprehensible and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation. Accordingly, the Department of Justice will file hate crimes and other criminal charges against the defendant, including charges that could lead to the death penalty.”

Bowers appeared to have repeatedly targeted Jewish people using an account on the social media site gab, which is popular with white supremacists and far-right users. Gab deactivated an account under Bowers’s name shortly after the shooting Saturday.

Messages posted by the account under his name, recovered before it was deactivated, included white supremacist symbols and anti-Semitic messaging. Recent postings specifically focused on the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, known as HIAS, which is one of nine organizations that works with the federal government to resettle refugees in American communities.

“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in,” reads a posting on the account that appears to have been published just before the shooting Saturday morning.

Mark Hetfield, president and chief executive of HAIS, has no formal relationship with the Tree of Life synagogue, but has helped hundreds of refugees resettle in the Pittsburgh area in recent years.

First responders surround the synagogue. Gene J. Puskar/AP

“Our agency is the oldest refugee agency in the world, and we’ve seen some horrible dark periods in our time, and we’ve seen plenty of hate, and refugees by definition are fleeing hate,” Hetfield said. “But the United States is supposed to be a place of refuge, and a synagogue is supposed to be a place of refuge.”

The account that appeared to belong to Bowers was rife with bigoted messaging. His biography on the site read “jews are the children of satan” and his background photo was a radar gun reading “1488,” a popular white supremacist symbol.

For weeks, “Robert Bowers" was enraged by the national Jewish group HIAS’s efforts to hold Shabbat services for refugees, according to the archives messages.

“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people," the user wrote hours before the shooting. “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

Trump on Saturday described the shooting in Pittsburgh as “pure evil” and an “anti-Semitic act."

“It looks definitely like it’s an anti Semitic crime," President Trump said Saturday afternoon. "That is something you wouldn’t believe could still be going on.”

Earlier Saturday, Trump also suggested that armed security at the synagogue might have prevented the attack. He has regularly suggested that after shooting rampages, even following some high-profile massacres that occurred despite law enforcement officers being present.

The violence Saturday -- the latest in America’s seemingly unending string of mass shootings at seemingly safe public places -- occurred at a synagogue in a leafy residential enclave near Carnegie Mellon University, one of the larger predominantly Jewish neighborhoods in the United States. Its “traditional, progressive and egalitarian” congregation was formed in 1864.

It’s the “center of Jewish life on Shabbat morning," said Rabbi Aaron Bisno of the Rodef Shalom Congregation, two blocks away.

It is unclear how many were in the synagogue at the time of the shooting, which occurred at around the time synagogues around the country host regular services for the Shabbat holiday. According to an online calendar, there would have been a Shabbat service scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Saturday.

The synagogue’s main sanctuary, a cavernous space with soaring stained-glass windows that depict the story of creation, can hold up to 1,250 guests, according to the Tree of Life’s website.

Police in Washington, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles all said they were increasing patrols at synagogues and other houses of worship following the Pittsburgh attack as precautionary measures.

The shooting comes during an sharp spike in anti-Semitic activities in the U.S., according to an Anti-Defamation League report released earlier this year. From 2016 to 2017, instances of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism and assault increased 57 percent, the largest single-year jump since ADL began tracking the data in the 1970s.

Ben Opie, 55, who lives across the street from Tree of Life, said his wife was leaving for a volunteer duty at about 11 a.m. when police shouted at her to get back inside the house. Officers banged on neighbors’ doors and told them to stay locked inside.

This Department of Motor Vehicles ID picture shows Robert Bowers, the suspect of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. -/AFP/Getty Images


Two hours later, after many of the police vehicles had left the neighborhood, Opie said he’s still shaking.

“It’s just,” Opie said, pausing, his voice trembling. “Sorry, it’s shaking me more than usual."

By Saturday afternoon, members of the synagogue were gathering at a grief center waiting to hear about friends and family members caught in the shooting.

“It’s one of my biggest fears,” said Chuck Diamond, who worked as a rabbi at Tree of Life for seven years. “When I was leading the congregation, I always had in the back of my mind that something like this will happen. It’s a terrible thing to feel."

Joel Achenbach, Devlin Barrett, Wesley Lowery, Abby Ohlheiser, Kristine Phillips, Mike Rosenwald and Katie Zezima contributed to this developing story.

More pictures from the scene:



joewalash Posted on October 27, 2018 22:59

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Who Are Actually Pretty Attractive In Real Life (Part 1) 10 Creepy Actors Who Are Actually Pretty Attractive In Real Life (Part 1)

When it comes to movies, nothing is impossible. Women transform into aliens, fashion models play music stars, men become beasts, and really attractive actors and actresses turn into the creepiest creatures on the silver screen. We often can’t look past the outer layer of horrifying makeup mixed with some serious CGI and other special effects, but the more interesting it is to look back on some of the most iconic horror movie roles and figure out who was hiding beneath all those sharp teeth, unsettling smiles, and piles of dirt. Here are 10 creepy actors and actresses who are actually pretty attractive in real life.

Bill Skarsgard, It
The new rendition of It is killing it in the box office, while Bill Skarsgard is killing the rest of the world with his handsome looks. It’s almost impossible to recognize him under those layers of freakish makeup and that devilish clown smile, but there’s no denying the fact – that’s one of the hottest ‘creepy actors’ we’ve ever seen! Quick fact: Bill Skarsgard has developed this disturbing smile of his when he was just a little boy, so he used it to run around scaring people, including his younger brother, Valter.

Daveigh Chase, The Ring
The analog age of video tapes is long gone, so a ghost story about a cursed videotape doesn’t sound as scary today as it was back in 2002. Nevertheless, Samara Morgan from The Ring is one of the most iconic horror characters of all time, rocking long black hair and a dirty white robe that’s became an inspiration for numerous Halloween looks all over the world. Daveigh, on the other hand, is a pretty young woman that looks nothing like the monster she once portrayed on screen.

Naomi Grossman, American Horror Story
Who could have thought that Pepper from AHS: Asylum and AHS: Freak Show is an incredibly attractive woman in real life? American Horror Story is famous for its freaky characters, with gorgeous and handsome people playing some borderline disturbing roles, but Naomi Grossman had to go even further and change her whole appearance for the role in the show. Despite her disturbing looks, Pepper is one of the least dangerous characters on the show and is quite harmless, compared to the others.

Delphine Chanéac, Splice
Splice is one of those underrated sci-fi movies that haven’t hit the box office hard, but still deserves a few mentions when it comes to humans, cloning, and alien life forms. Dren, played by Delphine Chaneac, is a part human, part animal creature that has developed some kind of conscience, therefore, deserves a better treatment than it got in the movie. The creature itself is more disturbing than beautiful, which we can’t say about gorgeous Delphine Chaneac. This woman is pure beauty!

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
What is it about good-looking actors that makes them such superb creepy-looking villains? Many people had their doubts about Heath Ledger playing one of the most iconic DC villains, but boy, were they wrong! Not only did Heath Ledger look the part, but he also showcased some pretty hardcore acting skills that allowed him to portray the Joker in an eerily believable way. But in real life? He was one of the cutest actors out there.

Manu Bennett, The Hobbit Trilogy
It’s hard to look past Azog’s scary features and see the attractive hunk, Manu Bennett, that’s hiding underneath all that makeup and CGI effects. First appearing in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Azog continued building his orc leader career and became one of the main characters in The Hobbit trilogy as well. It’s one of the most unbelievable transformations and we can only applaud Manu Bennett for this role!

Paul T. Taylor, Hellraiser X: Judgment
The 10th installment of the Hellraiser series, entitled Judgment, will have its most iconic character – the Pinhead – played by Paul T. Taylor. With Doug Bradley off the screen, fans are wondering what the new Pinhead will look like and will he be just as creepy and revolting as his previous incarnations? The first glimpses of Paul T. Taylor in his new role are more than promising and we’re about to see more of him soon. It wasn’t easy for Paul as his career took a huge blow while he had to fight Hepatitis C. Nevertheless, he landed the role of Pinhead and we can’t wait to see how it all turned out!

Matthew G. Taylor, Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Rarely do we think about who’s actually hiding under the skin of merciless monsters like Project Nemesis from Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Matthew G. Taylor was one of the few men that could pull off playing Nemesis as the actor was required to carry the studio’s mini gun that weighed over 60 lb., which is more than the weight of an average six-year-old. He had to carry it around single handedly! When first firing the prop, the actor was thrown back flying at the wall of the police station setup. He wasn’t expecting that at all!
Jodelle Ferland, Silent Hill
There’s hardly a horror movie that doesn’t have a creepy child going around singing nursery rhymes, who later gets possessed by some evil spirit or the Devil himself. Silent Hill has one, too! Jodelle Ferland played poor Alessa Gillespie that was killed at a young age as a sacrifice because the child possessed psychic powers and was born out of wedlock. Though she played a creepy child, Jodelle herself isn’t creepy at all. In fact, she’s grown up to be an incredibly attractive young woman; she’s in her twenties now.

Bolaji Badejo, Alien
The first ever Alien that we’ve seen on the big screen had an actual human inside (pun intended). Back in 1979 there was no CGI around and monsters had to be created the old-fashioned way – either with dummies and puppets, or with actual human beings wearing frightening costumes. Alien was just like that! Someone from the Alien’s casting crew spotted young Bolaji Badejo in a bar and instantly recognized his potential. Bodaji’s frame was perfect for the role – he was tall, slim, and had incredibly long arms and legs. He wasn’t a very well-known actor, but he acted his heart out playing the horrendous insect-like creature that’s became an iconic monster for years to come.

ruby Posted on October 27, 2018 17:45

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New self-lubricating condoms could boost their use, prevent STDs

By Bianca Britton, CNN


Updated 1520 GMT (2320 HKT) October 19, 2018


A study, conducted by a team of scientists from Boston University, have said their self-lubricating condoms may help increase condom use.

(CNN)Self-lubricating condoms may be the answer in helping prevent sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies, researchers have found.

In a step away from the traditional water- or oil-based condoms currently on the market, a team of scientists from Boston University has created a condom that is self-lubricating, becoming slippery when it comes into contact with moisture -- for example, bodily fluids.

Rates of three STDs in US reach record high, CDC says

The team assessed the performance of the condoms when faced with friction and then surveyed 33 people who felt the condoms to get their opinions on whether they would use them.

Their study found that the majority of people surveyed -- 73% -- not only preferred the feel of the condoms to those currently available but also said it would increase their condom use.

The study size was small and the new condoms have yet to be tested during sex, but researchers hope to start a clinical trial soon.

READ: Rates of three STDs in US reach record high, CDC says

For some, without enough lubrication, sex can be painful and uncomfortable and condoms may break or slip. The team, which was backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, says the self-lubricating coating "shows potential to be an effective strategy for decreasing friction-associated pain, increasing user satisfaction and increasing condom use."

Pain and reduced sensation are common reasons why people don't use condoms, according to previous research in the US.

The majority of participants who were involved in touch-tests of the self lubricating condoms found that they preferred the condom over those currently available.

The study, published Wednesday, showed that the coating kept the condom slippery longer than regular lubricants, which can wear off quickly.

Australians urged to get tested for syphilis after unborn baby dies

"The coating does not affect the strength of the latex, and the coating provides consistently low friction even when subjected to large volumes of water or 1000 cycles of articulation (thrusting motions)," it said.

The research, which was led by Mark Grinstaff, shows that the new latex retains its lubrication because its coating is made from hydrophilic polymers -- molecules that attract water.

Olwen Williams, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, told CNN: "We welcome any developments that allow people to enjoy sex more safely and condoms remain the main tool in the prevention of sexually transmitted infections."

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Last year, nearly 2.3 million sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed in the US. Rates of infections such as gonorrhea and syphilis are also rising in countries such as Australia, which saw a 63% rise in gonorrhea diagnoses in just five years, between 2012 and 2016.

If used correctly, condoms act as a barrier to protect users from STIs and are also 98% effective in preventing pregnancy.

The Boston University team has already filed a patent for the self-lubricating condoms, in the hope that they will be made available to the public after further trials.


Luke Posted on October 27, 2018 16:11

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Check your kitchen for these recalled foods

By Susan Scutti and Debra Goldschmidt, CNN


Updated 1344 GMT (2144 HKT) October 27, 2018






























Current Time 0:22


Duration Time 0:52


Now Playing What to do when food is...

Source: CNN

What to do when food is recalled 00:52

Story highlights

  • Certain curry powder brands showed lead contamination
  • Raw beef and raw chicken may be infected with strains of salmonella

(CNN)Be careful what you eat! A variety of foods, including curry powder, meats and poultry, have been recalled recently due to confirmed or possible contamination.

Curry powder may have an unwanted 'kick'

Curry powder sold under the Baraka brand and several others has been recalled.

UBC Food Distributors Inc. voluntarily recalled 7-ounce plastic containers of Baraka brand hot curry powder (UPC Code 822514265566) and curry powder (UPC Code 822514265535), according to the US Food and Drug Administration. This recall is due to a high level of lead found in these products by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

Cases of these products were shipped to Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri and Colorado between June 15 and July 31.

Sirob Imports, Inc has also recalled 8-ounce and 16-ounce plastic containers of curry powder branded as Corrado, Orlando Imports, Nouri's Syrian Bakery, Mediterranean Specialty Foods and Butera Fruit Market due to elevated levels of lead, according to the FDA. These products were distributed to Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

Eating these lead-contaminated products may elevate blood lead levels, the FDA explained. A toxic substance, lead is present in our environment in small amounts. In general, the small exposure to lead within the U.S. population does not pose a significant public health concern, according to the FDA.

However, large amounts of ingested lead can cause poisoning with symptoms of abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, weakness, behavior or mood changes, delirium, seizures and coma, the government agency noted. Children and infants are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can cause learning disabilities, developmental delays and lower IQ scores.

No safe level of lead ingestion has been identified for children, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which lists 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood as the danger point for a child.

Don't be tempted to eat raw beef

A recall of raw beef products linked to a multistate outbreak of salmonella illness is ongoing.

Sixty-three additional cases of salmonella have been identified in an ongoing, multistate outbreak linked to raw beef products, the CDC reported Tuesday.

This brings the total number of people who have fallen ill to 120 in 22 states since August.

While no deaths have been reported, 33 people sickened in this outbreak have been hospitalized, according to the CDC.

63 more cases of salmonella linked to recalled raw beef

The recalled products were sold nationwide under brand names Walmart, Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Showcase, Showcase/Walmart and JBS Generic. The USDA inspection mark on the packaging of the recalled products contains the establishment number "EST. 267."

Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington are the latest states to report illnesses as part of this outbreak. They join Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, which all previously reported cases.

Those who are sick began experiencing symptoms between August 5 and September 28.

Symptoms of salmonella usually begin within 12 to 72 hours of consuming contaminated food. Symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever that last between four and seven days. Most people recover on their own, but those who experience persistent diarrhea may need to be hospitalized.

Chicken can cause sickness -- preparation is key

Both raw and live chickens have caused salmonella infections.

A total of 92 people in 29 states have been infected with an outbreak strain of salmonella infantis linked to chicken products, the CDC reported last week. While no deaths have occurred, 21 people have been hospitalized.

Both live chickens as well as different types of raw chicken products have been contaminated, the CDC noted. Chicken products from a variety of sources have been contaminated, the government agency said. Since a single, common supplier has not yet been identified, this might indicate widespread contamination in the chicken industry, the CDC stated.

The outbreak strain is a type of salmonella commonly found in chickens and swine, and it can cause symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. Antibiotic resistance testing on bacteria isolated from ill people shows that the outbreak strain is resistant to multiple antibiotics. This means that anyone who develops a serious salmonella infection might be more difficult to treat with standard medicines.

Because salmonella infections can spread from one person to another, the CDC recommends washing hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers. To kill harmful germs, raw chicken should be cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit while leftovers should be reheated toteh same temperature, according to the CDC.

Ready-to-eat meat and poultry products could lead to food poisoning

Trader Joe's is among the retailers that recalled ready-to-eat products.

Bakkavor Foods USA Inc. recalled about 795,261 pounds of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products containing an onion ingredient that may be contaminated with salmonella and listeria monocytogenes, the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Sunday.

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Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

No sickness has been reported, the USDA said.

The ready-to-eat meat and poultry items include three Harris Teeter Fresh Foods Market Deli-Bakery products: 16-ounce packages of BBQ Style Chicken Artisan Pizza; 8-ounce butcher-paper wrapped packages of Chicken Sausage, Egg White and Cheese Breakfast Burrito; and 8-oz. butcher-paper wrapped packages of Bacon, Egg and Cheese Burrito.

Another of the ready-to-eat meat and poultry items is 10-ounce butcher-paper wrapped packages of Trader Joe's Carnitas with Salsa Verde.

The products list establishment numbers "EST. 19198," "P-19198," "EST. 46937" or "EST. 45335," inside the USDA mark of inspection, the government agency stated.

Listeriosis can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the person, including fever and diarrhea similar to other foodborne germs.


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Luke Posted on October 27, 2018 16:00

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Turkey seeks extradition of 18 Saudis for murder in Khashoggi death

By Laura Smith-Spark and Nic Robertson, CNN


Updated 1235 GMT (2035 HKT) October 27, 2018






























Current Time 0:09


Duration Time 3:56


Now Playing What happened to...

Source: CNN

What happened to Jamal Khashoggi?: A timeline 03:56

Istanbul (CNN)Eighteen Saudis are being investigated on the charge of "intentional homicide with premeditation" and torture over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a senior Turkish official with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

Saudi Arabia initially said Khashoggi had left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul alive on October 2, then claimed he had died in a fistfight there with Saudi officials. The Saudi attorney general said Thursday that Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated murder.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday demanded that Saudi Arabia reveal the location of Khashoggi's body and hand over the suspects.

The Istanbul prosecutor's office has submitted an extradition request to Saudi Arabia for the 18 suspects, who have not been charged.

Khashoggi fiancée rejects Trump invitation to visit White House

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir indicated Saturday the request would be denied.

"The individuals are Saudi nationals," he said. "They're detained in Saudi Arabia, and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia."

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said earlier this week in Riyadh that the kingdom would "implement all necessary rules and investigate deeply in order to achieve results. And to bring to justice those who are responsible for this heinous crime, and they will be put before courts."

Riyadh has maintained that neither bin Salman nor King Salman knew of the operation to target Khashoggi, a former Saudi insider who wrote critical columns for The Washington Post.

US officials have said such a mission, including 15 men sent from Riyadh, could not have been carried out without the authorization of bin Salman, the country's de facto ruler.

Saudi minister: 'Hysteria' over case

Speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Manama Dialogue in Bahrain, Al-Jubeir urged the public to wait for a complete investigation.

"There has been a hysteria in the media about Saudi Arabia's guilt," he said. "People have assigned blame on Saudi Arabia with such certainty before the investigation is complete. We have made it very clear that we are going to have a full and very transparent investigation, the results of which will be released."

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, speaking in Bahrain on Saturday, said the suspects in Khashoggi's killing would be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia.

Asked how the murder was carried out without the knowledge of bin Salman, Al-Jubeir reiterated that the investigation is ongoing.

"We're trying to uncover what happened," he said. "We know that a mistake was committed, we know that people exceeded their authority, and we know that we are investigating them."

Al-Jubeir added that those responsible would be punished and prosecuted in Saudi Arabia and that "mechanisms will be put in place to ensure this doesn't happen again."

Can Saudi Arabia win back its global business partners? 'Time will tell'

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary James Mattis, at the same event in Bahrain, said Khashoggi's murder should "concern us all greatly."

"As US Secretary of State Pompeo stated, the US does not tolerate this kind of ruthless action to silence Mr. Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence," he said. "Failure of any one nation to adhere to international norms and rule of law undermines regional stability when it is needed most."

Mattis said US President Donald Trump had noted that the United States would "get to the bottom of it" and added that the President had called for congressional involvement.

Pompeo has vowed to revoke the visas of those responsible and "will be taking additional measures as the situation is clarified," Mattis said.

Robotic cameras probe sewer

Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamir Gul said Friday that Turkish institutions were capable and determined in their investigation, according to Turkey's state news agency Anadolu.

Gul also said Turkey wants its extradition request fulfilled since "this atrocious incident happened in Turkey," Anadolu said.

On Friday evening, a private company used robotic cameras to look into the sewer outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"The manhole cover was removed by the staff in the van and robotic cameras were lowered into the sewer. The examination carried out in the sewer was monitored in the screens in the van. The van left the street after the examination was over, " Turkish state media Anadolu reported.

The company that did the search told CNN the system was designed to spot the tiniest materials. The search was commissioned by the Turkish government's Water and Sewage Administration, the company said, and was regarding the Khashoggi case.

CNN's Nic Robertson reported from Istanbul and Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London. CNN's Nimet Kiraç, Onur Cakir, Milena Veselinovic, Gul Tuysuz, Isil Sariyuce, Bethlehem Feleke, Jennifer Hauser and Sara Mazloumsaki contributed to this report.

Luke Posted on October 27, 2018 15:54

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Top 10 Richest Bollywood Actresses

Being a movie star isn’t always easy but it’s one of the best paid jobs on the planet. Take Hollywood superstars for example: the whole world idolizes them! Now, with Bollywood celebs the scale is a bit smaller but this only means that they must work even harder than their American colleagues. They’ve been growing their net worth for years, sometimes even decades, so it’s no surprise that many of these celebrities are millionaires. So, stay tuned if you want to know who the top 10 richest Bollywood actresses are!






10. Sonam Kapoor – $15 Million
Let’s start off with one of the most iconic actresses in the whole Bollywood – Sonam Kapoor. She’s best known to be able to adapt to any type of character on the screen. Probably, her best work to date was in Neerja, for which she is still known and loved all over India.



9. Kajol Devgan – $16 Million
Could you imagine that Kajol Devgan is quite famous internationally? As the #9 richest Bollywood actress, I’d say it’s extremely plausible.

8. Amrita Rao – $20.5 Million
With $20.5 millions behind her back, Amrita Rao is the #8 richest actress in India. You may remember her from movies like “Welcome to Sajjanpur“, “Victory“, and more Amrita was even named one of 50 most desirable women in the world!



7. Anushka Sharma – $25 Million
Anushka Sharma stared off as a model, then became an actress, and now she’s a famous producer. No wonder this busy girl is on this list.

6. Vidya Balan – $25 Million
Remember Vidya Balan in “Hum Paanch”? Oh boy, people really loved her performance there. Of course that show was only the start of her career. After starring in the life-changing “Dirty Picture“, Vidya kept getting great role one after another






5. Preity Zinta – $30 Million
Those dimples are to die for! And Preity’s worth at least $30 million, which grants her a spot in the middle of the list. Too bad she stopped acting, though.

4. Aishwarya Rai – $35 Million
This Miss World 1994 still got the looks. Aishwarya has starred in countless movies from “Iruvar“, her debut, all the way through “Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya“, “Dhoom 2“, and “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam“.

3. Madhuri Dixit – $35 Million
Madhuri Dixit is definitely one of the most gorgeous women in India, nay, the world! In addition to that straight up fact, Dixit is one of the highest paid Indian actresses, too. How can one not love her?






2. Priyanka Chopra – $40 Million
World-famous actress, Priyanka Chopra is also Miss World 2000, which makes her at least 10 times hotter. Initially she was a big name in India, but soon became the best-paid TV actresses in the world, after she blew up in “Quantico”.

1. Deepika Padukone – $45 Million
And our #1 richest actress is Deepika Padukone! After her stellar debut in “Om Shanti Om” there was no stopping her! And her role in “xXx” she only got more popular. $45 millions in net worth is nothing to scoff at!

ruby Posted on October 27, 2018 15:17

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Former England manager Glenn Hoddle 'seriously ill in hospital'

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle has fallen ill and been taken to hospital after preparing to appear on television.


Hoddle fell ill shortly after he began his punditry duties on BT Sport and the show was cancelled as a result.


Broadcaster Jake Humphrey, who works alongside Hoddle for BT, broke the news on Twitter.


He wrote: "Our friend & colleague Glenn Hoddle was taken seriously ill at the BT Sport studio this morning.


"For that reason there will be no @btsportscore - but we will be live as usual for the 5.30 ko at Leicester. Everyone of us is right with you Glenn, sending love & strength."




Hotspur player Glenn Hoddle (R) and Andy Thomas of Newcastle United during a 1987 FA Cup match

Presenter Mark Pougatch confirmed that the channel's football results show, BT Score, had been cancelled.

Hoddle, who managed England during the 1998 World Cup, was taken ill on his 61st birthday.

He capped 53 times for England and was a star midfielder for Tottenham, widely considered to be one of the best players of his generation.


Hoddle won the FA Cup and UEFA Cup with Spurs and also played for Monaco, Swindon and Chelsea.

He went on to manage Tottenham and Chelsea, as well as Swindon, Southampton and Wolves.

Hoddle was fired as England manager after one tournament following a newspaper interview in which he implied disabled people were paying for sins from previous lives.


One of those who played under him, Rio Ferdinand, said recently the Three Lions would have won a World Cup if he had stayed on. England reached the second round but lost on penalties to Argentina in 1998.

KaroA Posted on October 27, 2018 15:15

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WWE: Going to Saudi Arabia 'incredibly tough decision'

A world wrestling body has defended its decision to run an event in Saudi Arabia despite a global outcry after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


Mr Khashoggi, a Saudi government critic who lived in the US, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.


Saudi Arabia denied knowledge of Mr Khashoggi's whereabouts for nearly three weeks before admitting his killing had been "premeditated".


They have also denied any involvement of the powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman - but that did not stop some countries and businesses from distancing themselves.


Many top Western officials have boycotted an investment conference, called Davos in the Desert, held in the country this week.

Late last week, WWE confirmed it would go ahead with its Crown Jewel event in Riyadh on 2 November but chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon said the decision had been difficult.


She told Sky News: "Moving forward with Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia was an incredibly tough decision, given that heinous act.

"But, at the end of the day, it is a business decision and, like a lot of other American companies, we decided that we're going to move forward with the event and deliver Crown Jewel for all of our fans in Saudi Arabia and around the world."


WWE held its first live events in the oil-rich kingdom in 2014.




Vince McMahon, chairman of WWE, has been criticised for the decision

The organisation had said in a statement late last week that it had "decided to uphold its contractual obligations" in staging the event.


WWE signed a 10-year partnership with Saudi Arabia earlier this year.


But some of the show's stars reportedly decided not to take part next month and some fans accused the organisation of being more interested in money than doing what was right.

Twitter users accused them of being "tone-deaf" and accepting "blood money", while some said they had cancelled their subscriptions in protest at the move.


In April, WWE held its Greatest Royal Rumble in Jeddah, although female competitors were not involved due to rules in the strict Islamic country.

KaroA Posted on October 27, 2018 15:06

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United States to ‘DOMINATE asteroid mining industry’ – will be worth $3 BILLION in 6 years

THE asteroid mining industry will be worth a whopping $3 billion by 2025 – despite the fact space drilling’s not even begun. A new report predicts the emerging market will explode within the next decade as more and more private companies plan missions to space. Asteroids have previously been dubbed “flying gold mines” because of the value of the metals contained within them. One the technology to mine the space rocks has been developed, it is thought these metals can be extracted and brought back to Earth. According to Markets and Markets, which carried out the latest research, Type-C asteroids will be targeted by companies first.

These asteroids, which are coal black in appearance, contain large quantities of metal and crucially, water, which would be used by spaceships landing on them.

The first Type-C asteroid mission is scheduled for 2022 when Japanese space agency JAXA launches the Destiny spacecraft to space rock Phaethon.

But the United States is predicted to be a key player in the emerging industry.

In 2015, the country’s Government passed new legislation that will allow private companies to take a bite out of the space mining market.

The report by Markets and Markets said: “As the space industry is undergoing profound transformation and the national budgets of various countries have begun to squeeze and are more dependent on the private sector, it is observed that many countries want the private sector to indulge in space activities.

Asteroid measuring 15 meters makes close flyby of Earth

COMPETING: Companies are now racing against each other to mine an asteroid (Pic: GETTY)

“The US government updated US commercial space legislation with the passage of the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship (SPACE) Act of 2015 (also known as Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act) in November 2015.

“This law explicitly allows US citizens to engage in the commercial exploration and exploitation of space resources, such as water and minerals.“Research activities based on space mining are primarily supported by NASA.

“NASA has announced many programs for various prospecting asteroid missions, which can gather the data from an asteroid and use it for further mining process.”

jmparker Posted on October 27, 2018 13:38

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Archeologists discover HIDDEN PASSAGE ‘to the underworld’ beneath ancient Mexican pyramid

The tunnel was found underneath the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacán by an expert team examining the structure. They believe the secret path was used during rituals that may have related to beliefs about the underworld and could contain human remains. The tunnel is approximately 26ft below the ancient structure and was first discovered using laser scanning technology last year. A team from the National Institute of Anthropology and History believe the passage may have been used to emulate the path taken to the underworld.

Veronica Ortega, director of the Project of Integral Conservation of Plaza de la Luna, said: "Previous explorations found skeletons of individuals with cranial deformation, as in the Mayan area, and diverse green stone objects (necklaces, anthropomorphic figures made with mosaics).

"So it is not difficult to think that something similar could be found in the subsoil.

"The tunnel is located to the south of the Plaza de la Luna, but it is likely that there is another entrance to the east side.

ANCIENT: The passageway may have been used in rituals relating to the underworld (Pic: GETTY)


HUGE: The pyramid is the second biggest of its type in Mexico (Pic: GETTY)

“The tunnel is located to the south of the Plaza de la Luna, but it is likely that there is another entrance to the east side.“What's found inside could help to unravel the relationships that this ancient metropolis had with other regions of Mesoamerica."The discovery would confirm that the inhabitants of Teotihuacan followed the same pattern in their large-scale temples, and that their function would be to emulate the underworld.”The Pyramid of the Moon is the second largest one of its kind in Mexico and is thought to pre-date 200 AD.

jmparker Posted on October 27, 2018 13:29

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Mohamed Salah is UNHAPPY at Liverpool, he could leave in January - PAUL MERSON COLUMN

MO SALAH’S goals record for Liverpool is phenomenal but it’s only a matter of time until Real Madrid come calling. That’s some record, to be the fastest man to score 50 for Liverpool, especially when people are saying you are having a bad season! But if he keeps on scoring Madrid will come calling. How can they not? They need to do something big and they will want him in January. They are struggling like mad. If Salah wanted to go, Liverpool would be powerless to stop him. I can’t remember the last player to say ‘no’ to Real Madrid or Barcelona. It’s another level. Madrid have won the last three Champions Leagues. Liverpool have only won it once in the last 30-odd years. There was plenty of bad blood after last season’s final with what happened between Salah and Sergio Ramos. But would that stop him going there if they come in for him? No chance.

Salah doesn’t look happy at Liverpool at the moment and we’ve seen this before with players like Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho. I watched him score against Huddersfield and his body language looked terrible. That would worry me if I was a Liverpool fan. If you take his goals away they’re not title contenders any more. Liverpool fans have seen big players leave before. They would be fuming if Salah left too. But this is what happens when you’re successful in the Premier League.

The even bigger clubs come calling. Liverpool look like they could be around for a long time with the team they have now. So losing such a big part of if would be devastating for the fans. But I wouldn’t be shocked if Real Madrid make a big bid in January, and you know how these things work, there might already be some contact. It was inevitable there would be some drop-off with Salah this season. He’s not Lionel Messi. Last season was a one-off. He came back to England and surprised people. Now everyone is paying attention to him. They’ve all spent time working out how to stop him and he gets special treatment because he’s Liverpool’s danger man.

What Salah did last season was phenomenal but even if he only scored 20 this time around that would be a good return from a winger. He is one of the best in the world without the ball and he wants it all the time. He’s not making token runs like some people do. When he goes, he expects to get it. His running off the ball is some of the best I’ve ever seen. But he works hard for the team as well. Should Cardiff be worried today though? I don’t think so.

These are the games that are hard for him. There won’t be a lot of space for him to run into because they will sit back and frustrate. This is why I see Manchester City winning the league easily. They are already blowing teams away but with Liverpool it’s going to the wire.


DON’T blame Jose Mourinho for what happened at Stamford Bridge last Saturday. Chelsea’s assistant coach Marco Ianni shouldn’t have done what he did. I don’t know a manager who wouldn’t have reacted like Mourinho. He was under pressure and he reacted. He’s only human. The only thing you can criticise him for is the three-fi nger thing.

The fans have moved on. Don’t respond. Everybody is blaming Mourinho for Manchester United’sform but the players need to show some pride. It’s getting too easy to play United at the moment. Against Juventus in midweek they looked like 11 players with no idea what to do or when to press. They need a leader in that team. But these are internationals with lots of caps. They’ve got to look at themselves. Anything could happen against Everton tomorrow. It depends which United turn up.


MANCHESTER CITY are the best team in Europe right now. They are relentless and come at teams from everywhere. The goalkeeper can have the ball at City and you’re in danger! If you squeeze up on them they can have the ball in your net in three passes. Spurs rode their luck against West Ham last weekend and they know they’re going out of the Champions League after Wednesday’s draw with PSV Eindhoven. Wembley won’t help Mauricio Pochettino’s team either. The pitch looks poor and it will look even worse after two more NFL teams have been all over it again tomorrow. But Spurs are a footballing team so it will affect them as much as City. I can’t see anything but a City win. Tottenham should still fi nish in the top four but they could do without dropping into the Europa League. It would be much better to go out of Europe altogether.

jmparker Posted on October 27, 2018 13:07

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Apu to be killed off from the Simpsons – goes to HEAVEN

SHOPKEEPER Apu is reportedly set to disappear from The Simpsons following claims the character was racial stereotyping. The Kwik-E-Mart worker, famous for his “Thank you, come again!” catchphrase, has been on the show for around 30 years.

But some say he negatively portrays migrants and Indian-Americans and needs to go. The issue made headlines last year thanks to comedian Hari Kondabolu’s documentary The Problem with Apu. In it, South Asian heritage Americans criticised the portrayal of Indians in the cartoon, with some saying it led to bullying.“Kids in the playground would always mimic the accent and say ‘Thank you, come again!’ or ‘Hello, Mr Homer!'", Kondabolu told the BBC.

The Simpsons producer Adi Shankar has now told IndieWire about an effort crowdsource a script that solved the problem by portraying Indians differently. Shankar made a sample episode with the winning script by doctor Vishaal Buch for YouTube, where Apu becomes a successful businessman in Springfield. However it was rejected and the character is to be dropped from the show, he confirmed. “I’ve verified from multiple sources now: They’re going to drop the Apu character altogether,” he said.

“They aren’t going to make a big deal out of it, or anything like that, but they’ll drop him altogether just to avoid the controversy.”But Shankar said the decision was a mistake, adding: “If you are a show about cultural commentary and you are too afraid to comment on the culture, especially when it’s a component of the culture you had a hand in creating, then you are a show about cowardice.

“It’s not a step forward, or step backwards, it’s just a massive step sideways.“After having read all these wonderful scripts, I feel like sidestepping this issue doesn’t solve it when the whole purpose of art, I would argue, is to bring us together.”

Kondabolu appeared to agree, tweeting: “There are so many ways to make Apu work without getting rid of him. If true, this sucks.” He added: “RIP Apu.”Adil Ray, the British creator the popular BBC One comedy Citizen Khan, who has South Asian heritage, was also not happy with the decision.“This is the biggest ‘joke’ The Simpsons team have ever made,” he blasted on Twitter.“A load of complete nonsense. What about those of us Asians who loved Apu?

“We recognise that many of us are shopkeepers but are aware that not all of us are. The solution is more varied depictions not less. Regressive.”When IndieWire contacted the show for comment, a representative at Fox hinted that the character had gone to heaven. A spokesman added: “Apu appeared in the 10/14/18 episode ‘My Way or the Highway to Heaven. “In the episode, Apu only appears in a single wide shot (below) that showed dozens of characters gathered around God.”

jmparker Posted on October 27, 2018 11:56

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US pipe bombs: Suspect Cesar Sayoc charged after FBI finds fingerprint

A man has been charged over a series of pipe bombs sent to prominent critics of Donald Trump after his fingerprint was found on one of the devices.


Cesar Sayoc, from Aventura, Florida, was arrested in Miami after 13 explosive devices were sent to several high-profile figures, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Robert De Niro.


US justice department officials said the bombs were "not hoax devices" and warned there could be more still undiscovered.


Sayoc, 56, was identified after officers found a fingerprint on one of the packages, FBI director Christopher Wray said.




Cesar Sayoc has been arrested in connection with the devices. Pic: Broward Sherrif's Office

Speaking at a news conference, US attorney general Jeff Sessions said the suspect could face up to 48 years in prison if found guilty but reiterated that he was "innocent until proven guilty".


He said the Sayoc, who "appears to be a partisan", was facing five federal charges which included illegally mailing explosives and the interstate transportation of explosives.


The charges also include making threats against former presidents, threatening interstate commerce and assaulting federal officers.






Trump stickers cover US bomb suspect's van

Sending a warning to others, Mr Sessions said: "We will find you and we will prosecute you to the full extent of the law."


Mr Wray said the devices consisted of six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, and "energetic material" that could give off "heat energy" in response to any heat or friction.


He said there could be more suspicious packages and urged people to remain vigilant.

Mr Wray said it was too early to discuss any possible motives and that officials were still investigating whether other people were involved in sending the packages.


According to court records, Sayoc - an amateur bodybuilder - has a string of arrests for theft and illegal steroids possession. In 2002, he was charged with making a bomb threat.


His social media accounts contain numerous posts denouncing Democrats and praising Mr Trump.



Trump, guns and abortion: Divided States of America

Why is the US more divided than it has been for decades?





Trump: Pipe bombs are 'despicable'

His arrest came after police intercepted suspicious packages sent to Democrats Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and the former director of national intelligence James Clapper.


Mr Sessions said: "Let this be a lesson to anyone regardless of their political beliefs that we will bring the full force of law against anyone who attempts to use threats, intimidation and outright violence to further an agenda."

In Florida, officers were seen examining and seizing a white van which had several stickers on its windows, including American flags, Republican logos, a photo of Mr Trump and one which read: "CNN sucks."


Following the arrest, speaking at an event for young black conservatives, Mr Trump said "we must never allow political violence take root in America", saying the country "must unify".


Earlier in the day the US president complained on Twitter that this "bomb stuff" had slowed momentum for the Republicans ahead of the US midterm elections, which are less than two weeks away.

"Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this 'Bomb' stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics," he wrote. "Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!"


Others sent suspicious packages include former vice president Joe Biden, billionaire philanthropist George Soros, and former CIA head John Brennan.

KaroA Posted on October 27, 2018 10:38

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Visa CEO: Crypto is Not a Big Threat But if Needed, We Will Support it

According to Al Kelly, the CEO of Visa, the company could support crypto in the future if the global market moves in the direction of embracing consensus currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.


In the short to mid-term, Kelly told Jim Cramer, the host of Mad Money, that cryptocurrencies as an asset class is not a threat to reserve currencies that serve as the basis of Visa’s products. But, he stated that as the adoption of cryptocurrencies improve in the years to come, Visa will facilitate the demand for the asset class.

“I think there has to be some market that it becomes somewhat like a fiat currency in order for us to be comfortable. If it goes in that direction, we will move in that direction. We want to be in the middle, Jim, of every payment flow in the world regardless of how it happens or what the currency is behind it. So if we have to go there, we will go there. But right now, it’s more of a commodity than a payment vehicle.”


In the Middle

Visa is the most influential credit card service company in the finance sector and is amongst the most profitable businesses in the market alongside Mastercard.


In the long-term, Kelly emphasized that Visa will eventually serve as a middleman to attract crypto users to send and receive digital assets with Visa on its platforms, by providing fees to the company.

However, by the time Visa would feel comfortable in integrating cryptocurrencies, which as the CEO described it as when the asset class is established utilized by the mainstream, cryptocurrencies would not require middlemen to process payments.


With non-custodial wallets and open-source platforms, users of cryptocurrencies can efficiently and securely transfer digital assets without paying additional fees on top of the trasnaction fee provided to the miners of the ecosystem.


Currently, due to the lack of merchant adoption, it is difficult for crypto users to compensate merchants to purchase simple products like coffee and food. A financial institution at the size of Visa could single-handedly increase the adoption of crypto amongst merchants in a large capacity.


But, the intent of Visa to target the cryptocurrency sector is to provide middleman services several years from now when cryptocurrencies are already accepted by merchants and being utilized as an alternative currency to reserve currencies like the US dollar.


Fidelity’s Big Bet

The time to support and experiment with cryptocurrencies is now, when it is experiencing exponential growth and is still at an early phase.


Years down the line, the cryptocurrency sector could heavily rely on decentralized systems and services, which even platforms within the market including Binance expect, as seen in the development of the Binance decentralized exchange.

Already, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup have started to serve investors in the cryptocurrency market by seeing sufficient demand for the new asset class, while Visa, Morgan Stanley, and several other financial institutions remain cautious in entering the cryptocurrency market.

KaroA Posted on October 27, 2018 10:12

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Delaware Helps Catch British Hacker Holding Over $200k in Bitcoin

Recent news shows Delaware playing an important role in the capture of British hacker Grant West. U.K. Authorities caught West last year and recovered $700,000 worth of Bitcoin.


The Catch

According to a  report by Delawareonline, undercover U.K. officials caught West last year while he was traveling by train. West was convicted of fraud, in addition to other crimes.


Catching West “was the first time London Metropolitan Police arrested a cybercriminal” reports Delawarenewsonline. This case dates back to activity in 2015, with West hacking over 100 different companies.

The same report also uncovers the U.S. Secret Service of Delaware having a part in West’s capture. Roughly one year ago, Delaware helped British police uncover some of West’s stolen capital, finding an account with close to $217,000,000 of value in Bitcoin.


“Delaware for years has been the site of large numbers of government seizures of dollars from the bank accounts of suspected criminals because so many banks keep their central servers in the First State. Now, that has expanded to include bitcoin and other cryptocurrency”, reported Delawareonline.


Grant West – A Formidable Opponent

According to a report by CCN earlier this year, West – aka Courvoisier, hacked “websites of companies such as Sainsbury’s, Uber, Ladbrokes and others. After gaining access into the companies’ websites, he would then obtain personal information of customers for companies”.


West stole the private data of these companies’ clients, via phishing emails, and then proceeded to sell that information online.

A separate  report by Delawareonline explains that West was able to cover his tracks by storing his stolen funds in Bitcoin  and spreading them out into multiple wallets. During West’s capture, authorities were also able to apprehend his computer, which contained many of the pertinent passwords and information needed to access the stolen funds.


West had stolen private information from close to 165,000 different people, including specifics from 63,000 different payment cards, detailed one BBC  report.


One of West’s most notable scams were his phishing emails, disguised as emails from the popular online food service Just Eat. West’s efforts were so vast, that the judge on the case described West as “a one man cyber crime wave” according to BBC. West’s efforts led him to accrue the equivalent of over $2 million in cryptocurrency.

West was given 10 years and eight months in jail for his criminal activities, as stated by


The public continues to see repeated news of criminals apprehended in the cryptocurrency space this year. Chinese police arrested hackers guilty of $87 million in stolen crypto funds, stated by an August report from CCN. July also saw CCN reporting on Russian agents hacking emails, in hopes of Bitcoin keeping them anonymous.

KaroA Posted on October 27, 2018 10:02

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North Korea Enablers in Singapore Operated Crypto Scams to Fund Regime: Report

Cybersecurity company Recorded Future has released a lengthy expose claiming that North Korea uses cryptocurrency to skirt U.S.-imposed economic sanctions alongside a shady network of collaborators and enablers in Singapore.


The company claims that in addition to mining coins like bitcoin and monero, North Korean leaders have also been involved in promoting cryptocurrency scams that have bilked investors around the world of millions of dollars.


North Korea’s Technology-Backed Evasion of Sanctions

North Korea’s use of cutting edge technology to get around the effects of economic sanctions imposed on Kim Jong Un’s regime is well documented. In September, CCN reported that Washington-based financial experts Lourdes Miranda and Ross Delston accused North Korea of using crypto mining and coin scams as means of generating revenue. Earlier this month, CCN also reported  that a notorious North Korean hacker group called “Lazarus” is responsible for the theft of more than $571 million in cryptocurrency.


The Recorded Future report claims that North Korean leaders mine bitcoin and monero at a relatively small scale, with the bulk of their efforts in the cryptocurrency space from the first quarter of 2018 to date now focused on exploiting growing worldwide crypto awareness for the purpose of launching investment scams. Two coins in particular are identified as North Korean scam projects, namely HOLD coin and Marine Chain.

HOLD Coin, also previously known as Interstellar, HUZU and Stellar (not to be confused with XLM) used a fraudulent staking scheme to collect investor money, having been variously listed and delisted across a number of exchanges before disappearing with all funds.


Marine Chain on the other hand, was part of a more sophisticated scam that runs right to the heart of the North Korean government’s ability to consistently diminish the effectiveness of UN-imposed economic sanctions that would ordinarily cripple the regime. Billed as a tokenisation framework for maritime vessels, an investigation by Recorded Future into Marine Chain revealed a complex network linked to Singapore with potentially far-reaching implications for cybersecurity in Southeast Asia.


The Singaporean Connection

According to information gleaned from LinkedIn, an advisor called HyoMong Choi and the CEO of Marine Chain, Captain Jonathan Foong Kah Keong are the key figres in Marince Chain’s fradulent activities. Capt. Foong reportedly has connections to Singaporean companies that facilitate North Korean activities designed to circumvent U.N. sanctions. Activities these companies have been involved in include manipulating flag registries for three countries to give prohibited North Korean vessels the ability to sail under flags of convenience.


This means that more than just being a run-of-the-mill cryptocurrency scammer, Capt. Foong is actually part of the key strategy employed by the North Korean regime to skirt sanctions that should ordinarily make it the most isolated regime on earth, and keep itself in power. The appearance of Capt. Foong in the context of North Korean crypto scams is significant of a wider pivot in the regime’s criminal activities as it looks to harness the possibilities presented by a new wave of technology including blockchain technology.

KaroA Posted on October 27, 2018 09:47

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Florida man to be charged over mail bombs; Booker, Clapper latest to be sent packages

Cesar Sayoc, Jr., 56, who officials say has been previously arrested on unspecified charges, is currently in custody.


Special Report: Trump makes remarks following pipe bomb arrest

Oct. 25, 201800:03

Oct. 26, 2018 / 1:55 PM GMT+1 / Updated 5:15 PM GMT+1

By Pete Williams and Elisha Fieldstadt

A man in Florida was taken into custody Friday and will be charged in connection with the series of bombs found this week addressed to critics of President Donald Trump, law enforcement officials said shortly after the latest two devices were found.

Cesar Sayoc, Jr., 56, who has been previously arrested on unspecified charges, is currently in custody, law enforcement officials said. DNA evidence played a role in the arrest, law enforcement told NBC News.

Investigators in the Plantation, Florida, parking lot where Sayoc was arrested could be seen placing a tarp over a van with windows covered with dozens of pictures of Trump and decals, one of which appeared to be a version of a presidential seal.

Authorities investigate a van belonging to the suspect in custody in Plantation, Florida.NBC News

Two more packages containing explosive devices were discovered Friday, one in Florida addressed to Sen. Cory Booker and another in New York addressed to former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, officials said.

The package addressed to Booker, D-N.J., was discovered at a postal facility in Opa-locka, Florida. On Thursday, investigators said they believed some of the packages may have passed through that mail sorting facility. The packages listed Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's address in Sunrise, Florida, as the return address. Sunrise is adjacent to Plantation and less than 20 miles north of Opa-locka.

The package mailed to Clapper was addressed to CNN's New York offices, according to a picture obtained by NBC New York, and discovered at a postal facility in Midtown Manhattan.

Image obtained by WNBC of the package found at NYC post office on the morning of Oct. 26,2018.WNBC

The New York Police Department said Friday morning that they were responding to a possible device at the postal facility at 52nd St. and 8th Ave. in Manhattan, about six blocks away from the Time Warner Center, where CNN is located. The explosive device is the second to be addressed to news network this week.

Buildings near the post office, including a high school, had been evacuated.

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Police said later Friday morning that the package had been removed and would first go to an NYPD facility in the Bronx before it would be sent to the FBI's lab in Quantico.


On CNN, where Clapper works as a contributor, he called the series of mailed explosives "domestic terrorism."

"I think anyone who has in any way been a critic, publicly been a critic of President Trump needs to be on extra alert and take some cautions, precautions, particularly with respect to mail," he said.

Clapper stressed that he wasn't "suggesting a direct cause-and-effect relationship" between anything the president has said or done and the sending of the packages, but "I do think he bears some responsibility for the coarseness and un-civility of the dialogue in this country, and that he needs to remember that his words count."

After Friday's bombs were discovered, Trump tweeted, "Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this 'Bomb' stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!."

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters earlier that “the President is receiving constant information as it is available.”

Mail bombing targets:

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • Former President Barack Obama
  • Former CIA Director John Brennan
  • Billionaire George Soros
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. (two )
  • Actor Robert De Niro
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden (two)
  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
  • Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

A spokesman for Booker declined to comment and referred all questions to law enforcement.

The 10 previous packages, all of which contained pipe bombs, have been addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden, actor Robert De Niro, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., former Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director John Brennan, former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The package sent to Brennan was also addressed to CNN's offices in New York and led to an hours-long evacuation of the building Wednesday. Brennan does not work for CNN. He serves as an analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

Both Biden and Waters received two packages. On Thursday, packages addressed to Biden and De Niro were discovered in Delaware and New York respectively.

At least some of the devices sent were flawed in varying ways and would not have exploded, investigators said Thursday. But it's unclear whether the deficiencies were intentional or the result of faulty construction, and officials urged the public to remain vigilant.

by Taboola


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A.I. Is Helping Scientist Predict When and Where the Next Big Earthquake Will BeNY Times

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Trunk or treat! Parents are dressing their cars in costumes for Halloween tailgatingUSA Today

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Air France: You can resell your plane ticket, but there's a catchUSA Today

Luke Posted on October 26, 2018 16:25

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10 Things A Woman Will Do Only When She’s Truly In Love

here are different types of love and as you go through relationships you learn to differentiate them. With some men you feeling yourself more like a friend with great benefits, while others treat you like a princess in constant need of attention. Men are different, women are different, so no wonder the relationships vary, too! But when you truly fall in love all that doesn’t really matter that much. The roles you play or the intricacies of your characters aren’t that important when your heart is filled with pure, agonizingly bright love. That’s when you start doing the most remarkable (and sometimes silly) things. Here are 10 things a woman will do only when she’s truly in love.

She becomes romantic in a cheesy way
You know how all those Valentine Day’s heart-shaped presents and date ideas for love birds used to make you cringe? Well, all of that changes once you fall deeply in love. Okay, maybe not all, but a considerable amount for sure. You start looking at things from a different perspective and sometimes you don’t mind getting all cheesy romantic, buying your boyfriend sweet little presents or surprising him with a romantic venue for your dinner. Guys get like that, too! Those romcoms aren’t based on fantasy alone.

She travels more because of his wanderlust
And vice versa! Yes, falling in love doesn’t mean that your personality changes. But it does a little bit, at least at first. You might be a home girl fond of spending quiet evenings with books, and then you meet this wonderful guy who’s really into adventure and suddenly you find yourself hiking somewhere in the mountains in full gear. Things like that happen all the time! And they’re not necessarily bad because you become more open to new opportunities and experiences with the person you truly care about.

She’ll learn to cook (or at least try to)
Cooking may not be your thing and it may remain totally not being your thing, but you’ll definitely have the urge to at least to try and cook something for your boyfriend. Taking care of your partner is one of the most basic relationship rules we start following on a subconscious level. We care about what he eats, how he sleeps, and whether he gets enough rest. It’s totally natural! But if your partner is a better cook than you, feel free to lend him your helping hands and not play the chef yourself.

She’ll move into his place
Moving in is a great game-changer at any stage of relationship. Both men and women like their own space and once you start living together there becomes naturally less of “I” and more of “Us”. This is an amazing thing and a next step in your relationship, but it can also be stressful for both you and your partner. That’s why if you’re willing to move in, it means that things have finally gotten serious.

She eats everything he makes
Your boyfriend might not be the greatest cook in the world, but he cares about you and makes all his food with love. That’s why you’ll gladly eat it even if it doesn’t taste like something made in a restaurant. This shows him that you really care and appreciate his efforts. This also means that you’re truly-madly-deeply in love!

She texts him all the time
It becomes so hard to stay away from each other that you continue your communication during the day with all those little Iloveyou’s and various casual stuff you feel like discussing at the moment. You probably used to think that such people were quite annoying, but now you are that person! And you think it’s the sweetest thing in the world to be able to talk to him even when he’s not around. Yep, that’s what true love does to a person.

She posts about him on social media
Yes, it may annoy some people, but you’ve gone past caring about that. You are in love and simply want to share it with the world. You post pictures, romantic photos, and even change your status on Facebook. It’s important to show that your life has changed and he is the exact reason of that change.

She starts thinking about the future together
Naturally, when you’re in love you feel like this could go on forever and there’s no reason in the world why it shouldn’t! You might not plan your future wedding (yet), but you already so into him that you want to travel together, try new things, eat new dishes, and, well, simply enjoy your life. Being truly in love makes you dwell on good things, which turns you into a really happy person in general.

She has the urge to try new things
New relationships mean new interests, hobbies, and possibilities. All those new experiences come into your life with that wonderful man you chose. Naturally, you get more curious and adventurous, although you may have been more reluctant to try new things before. He might offer you to take up a new hobby together and you’ll gladly agree because it promises to be so much fun.

She moves to another city for him
One of the biggest tests in relationship is when you don’t live in one city or, what’s even more challenging, one country. There just comes a point when you need to decide whether you try to maintain a long-distance relationship or you love him enough to change your whole life and move into a new place. Well, you boyfriend can do the same for you, it all comes down to which one of you is more flexible with work. If you find yourself willing to leave everything you know behind to go and be with him – this is definitely true love.

ruby Posted on October 26, 2018 16:08

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Lost Tapes’ from Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky years reemerge in new documentary By Stephanie Nolasco | Fox News Facebook Twitter Flipboard Comments Print Email

By Stephanie Nolasco | Fox News



'Lost Tapes' from Clinton impeachment emerge in new Doc

A new documentary series by the Smithsonian Channel attempts to shed light on the jaw-dropping impeachment crisis that rocked the Bill Clinton presidency and made a White House intern one of the most talked-about women in the world.

Featuring never-before aired tapes with Clinton confidant Taylor Branch, “The Lost Tapes” is sure to reignite the 20-year-old watershed scandal.


Branch made the recordings on his drive home from the White House late at night after meeting with a frustrated Clinton.

The series utilizes recordings featuring Monica Lewinsky, then 22, first-hand audio tapes of many of those involved in the political soap opera, and rediscovered news footage.

Series producer Tom Jennings told Fox News the recordings offered a fresh perspective on how Lewinsky was suddenly thrust into the media spotlight at such a young age and quickly became a late-night punchline.

“I don’t think she coped with [the media scrutiny] very well,” said Jennings. “I don’t know if anybody would have had the skills to deal with what she was going through. She was derided by so many people for causing so much destruction, which was perceived as political destruction at the time.

“It’s odd to think about how young she was, how she became the most famous person in the world. How would anyone of us deal with becoming the most famous person in the world?”

President Bill Clinton shakes his finger as he denies improper behavior with Monica Lewinsky, in the White House Roosevelt Room. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," Clinton said. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton stands by her man.

As the documentary reminds us, in 1998 special prosecutor Kenneth Starr requested permission to widen the scope of his Whitewater investigation to include whether Clinton had lied under oath in his deposition for Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit. After a federal court dismissed Jones’ suit, her lawyers appealed and submitted a list of other alleged victims, including Lewinsky. Both Lewinsky and Clinton denied they had a sexual relationship, but the evidence indicated otherwise.

Starr then began to investigate the possibility that Clinton had committed perjury. After receiving immunity, Lewinsky turned over evidence of the affair, and Clinton admitted he indeed had inappropriate relations with her. The House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against Clinton. In 1999, the Senate acquitted Clinton on all charges and he was able to finish his term.

Lewinsky, who for years kept quiet about the relationship, came forward in February for a Vanity Fair essay in which she described her ordeal as “a living hell,” adding that the experience of being publicly outed and ostracized back then resulted in her being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Lewinsky also shared that what transpired was not sexual assault, “although we now recognize that it constituted a gross abuse of power.”

Jennings suspected Lewinsky had no idea how much her reputation would be torn apart by the press if word of the affair was leaked, even during a time before social media. The Telegraph added the affair reportedly lasted “on and off” for two years.

“She was very young,” said Jennings. “Impressionable. She obviously had a lot of feelings for the president. I think she got swept up in things. You hear her being young and giddy in her descriptions of her feelings towards the president… And then the whole thing switches when Linda [Tripp] is basically being holed up… [by an ] investigatory committee. She’s telling Monica she’s not going perjure herself. And Monica realizes she’s in a very bad space. She goes from a young girl in a relationship to someone who’s extraordinarily panicked and thinks her world is going to come to an end. It’s fascinating to listen.”

Lewinsky moved to London in 2005 after struggling to find work and began working on her Master’s degree in social psychology at the London School of Economics, Time magazine reported.

Monica Lewinsky in 2016. (Reuters)

Lewinsky, 45, now serves as an anti-bullying advocate.

“Somehow she survived,” said Jennings. “And I think it’s a full circle journey for her… It appears that she’s trying to make a positive out of what she went through.”

As for Clinton, based on his conversations with Taylor Branch, Jennings believed he may have viewed the ongoing investigation as a “political witch hunt.”

“I don’t know if he used that exact phrase, but that’s my memory of what Taylor was saying that the president said,” explained Jennings. “That it’s politically motivated. There was one part of his description about what the president said about Paula Jones, that people had come along and given Paula Jones a makeover to make her appear more attractive. The president felt that was a part of that right-wing conspiracy… That it was part of a story being manipulated behind the scenes.

(2014 Getty Images)

“You get to hear through Taylor Branch’s words that point of view the president expressed. I would say in general the president was very frustrated about the process in what he discussed with Taylor Branch.”

Jennings said neither Lewinsky nor the Clintons have reached out to the Smithsonian Channel about the documentary being aired. He added Branch, who was interviewing Clinton for a possible book he was going to write, donated his tapes and papers to the University of North Carolina. The Smithsonian Channel was granted access to the tapes for their special.

“The network’s position is that this is living history and we are using primary sources to allow viewers to relive it,” said Jennings. “It’s like a time machine. There are no big surprises here, even with the Taylor Branch material. It’s just him commenting on what’s going on behind the scenes at the time. As far as I know, no one has reached out to the network.”

Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton stirred headlines when the former first lady told CBS’ “Sunday Morning” show that her husband’s affair with Lewinsky was not an abuse of power because the former intern “was an adult” at the time.

Hillary Clinton (AP)

Jennings hopes the documentary will give audiences a fresh perspective of what really occurred behind closed doors.

“I hope they’ll get a better understanding of what went on back then,” he said. “… History repeats itself and we have short memories.”

"The Lost Tapes: Clinton's Impeachment" premieres Oct. 29 at 9 p.m. on the Smithsonian Channel.

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Luke Posted on October 26, 2018 15:53

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Questions arise over politics, motivation of caravan organizers

Hollie McKay | Fox News



What can US do to stop migrant caravans?

As several thousand Central Americans and Mexicans continue to march toward the United States in the migrant caravan, more questions are being asked about how the effort was brought together, who is behind it, and what prompted the movement to this point just weeks before critical U.S. elections.

While some claim the caravan began organically, others argue opponents of President Donald Trump's immigration policy have played a key role in the movement, with the aim of embarrassing the U.S. administration, and its supporters in Central American countries like Honduras.


“This caravan was initially organized by Bartolo Fuentes, a known leftist activist and former member of the national Congress in 2013, representing the political party of deposed Honduras president Manuel Zelaya," Johan Obdola, president of Latin America-focused global intelligence and security firm IOSI, told Fox News. "Now, this is not new, but is the first time it gets a high level of international media attention. And the reasons are beyond the political.”

Obdola argued it's in the interest of Honduran opposition members like Zelaya to “actively create violent acts and destabilization in Honduras," and said the caravans are part of a plan to keep the region "in constant chaos." He also argued the former Honduran leader – who served as president from 2006 to 2009 – is closely allied with the Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro, and questioned that conflict-riddled nation’s role in fostering mass migration in an effort to embarrass the current, pro-U.S. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.



Honduras has been plagued by discord since its election last November of Hernandez, who defeated Zelaya. Many Zelaya supporters protested the results, claiming they were fixed in favor of a U.S-approved leader. The subsequent unrest has been cited as a key factor for Hondurans wanting to leave their country.

Fuentes, a former Zelaya government legislator and host of the migration-focused radio show “Without Borders,” is often characterized by Honduran government figures as a "coyote," or human trafficker. To others, he is a social activist. Fuentes himself last week was pulled from the main caravan group in Guatemala and deported back to Honduras.

Zelaya staunchly denied any link to the caravan, or any effort to push Hondurans toward the United States.

“This apocalyptic exodus is due to the disgraces that the people are living,” he told Fox News in an exclusive interview Thursday. “The caravan is a natural process of unity. It is self-summoned, and there is no organization assembling this quantity of immigrants in the country. It is a reaction from the people to the problems they are living in our countries.”

The former president also accused the U.S. of “maintaining a socialist dictatorship” in its support for the “illegitimate” Hernandez leadership, but denied any other governments – including Venezuela – were behind the caravan.

“No leftist government has come here to promote immigration to the U.S., nor has it financed it. No one needs to pay Honduras to leave. They leave voluntarily,” Zelaya continued, adding that while he has personally worked with Bartolo Fuentes in the past, immigration has long been his most important issue of advocacy.

“Fuentes has worked with the immigrant community for 20 to 30 years – well before entering politics – and that he receives no money for this work nor has he given out money to anyone,” Zelaya insisted.

The Honduras Embassy in Washington and Fuentes did not immediately respond to request for comment. Fuentes wrote on Facebook this week that the migrants are in need of basics like ointments for blisters, socks, shoes, diapers, and umbrellas. He thanked the help of pastors and churchgoers for food and other supplies.

While Fuentes had much to do with helping bring to life and expand the presence of the caravan, others contended he was not the first. Rather, social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp laid the first foundations that made it easy to draw in Hondurans looking for an easier path to the U.S.

“They had been unable to afford coyotes, so they viewed joining this caravan as their opportunity to flee turmoil in much of Central America,” said James Hyde, an analyst and member of the Electromagnetic Pulse Task Force on National and Homeland Security. “When Honduran TV picked up the posts and the reactions to it, the number of people swelled from hundreds to thousands.”

Hiring coyote smugglers for the perilous journey can cost up to $5,000, more than double what most Hondurans make in one year.

Central American migrants walking to the U.S. start their day departing Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the border, about 5,000 Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the U.S. border early Sunday in southern Mexico. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

Small groups started to talk among themselves about making a journey last month, sources said, while Fuentes got on-board to help mobilize the migrants – just as he had with another caravan in April – this time urging the group to meet up at the San Pedro Sula bus station.

“It’s very well-organized by those who started the social media campaign. It gained momentum when Bartolo Fuentes got involved and the movement stirred up lawyers group funded with dark money, who teach those headed north what to say for asylum,” Hyde said. “Joining the massive group is simple. People decide to cast away their current lives and jump into the opportunity to join.”

Word spread with media attention and a local news coverage. And soon Hondurans from across the country, who saw it as an opportunity to relocate cheaply and under the guise of “safety in numbers,” allowing them safe passage from dangerous drug cartels and smugglers along the dangerous roads.

Estimates on the size of the current caravan vary. And while there are signs the Mexican government is taking steps to better control or reduce the number of migrants, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seemed unwilling or unable to take much action. Some two-thirds of those in the caravan are Hondurans, according to estimates, with the remainder from other Central American countries and Mexico.


The motivations for those in the group also vary. Many are seeking better economic opportunities. Others are members of persecuted groups who say they're unable to live safely and openly in their home countries. Some were previously deported from the U.S., and are trying to get back to family members who remained behind.

“For most of these people trying to reach the USA, and fleeing violence and poverty, they are the ones paying the highest price as many of them are victims of crime, torture and sexual abuse," said Obdola. “There are some humanitarian and social groups assisting the caravan along the way. Some with only a humanitarian interest, some with more of a political interest who see the USA and Trump as the enemy.”

Sources said the caravan is being supported and nourished in part by an array of Mexican church and human rights organizations, as well as locals on the streets.

“It’s a weird mishmash of people involved. Small amounts of money have been handed out, but it is not clear from who and where,” said one Mexico-based law enforcement source. “It isn’t a cartel operation and cartels aren’t involved. The cartels are very nervous about what is happening, the last thing they want is attention on the border which only makes their job harder.”

Some have strongly argued the issue should be viewed in humanitarian rather than national security concerns.


“We need to focus on the human aspect of this and consider what is driving this migration; violence, corruption, economic limits or degradation, and the effect of climate change,” said Michael Scadden, Geopolitical Risk and Corporate Security Advisor specializing in Latin America. “Food and water security is a major factor in many migrants’ decisions to take the risk of this journey.”

A caravan migrant stops for a break in Mexico on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

Others contend that whatever the legitimate asylum claims of those in group, international law dictates caravans should not make it to the United States border.

“International law on asylum is that the asylum seeker is supposed to present themselves to the authorities of the first international border they reach upon fleeing their countries," said Dennis Santiago, a global risk and foreign policy analyst. "For Central Americans fleeing north from their governments, that country is Mexico; specifically, the southern border of Mexico.”

Santiago explained that Mexico, with aid from the international community, should have set up refugee camps at the borders to handle the migrant flow. That would have then triggered the involvement of the U.N. High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).

"It is from these camps that other organizations such as the U.S. Office for Refugee Resettlement are supposed to process persons to qualify eligible refugees for movement from the camps to a third host nation,” he said.

Santiago also asserted the U.S., Mexico and the U.N. have the money and resources to support the refugee camps.

"We’re talking 1,500 people per caravan, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the 11 million Syrians, Kurds and Yazidis displaced in the Middle East,” he continued. “But most of these people are refusing to go into camps and process as refugees. Somebody’s giving them a better deal than the internationally sanctioned solution set. Instead, they are marching towards the U.S. border. Are these people really legitimate refugees from their own governments?”

Joseph Fallon, a research associate for the U.K. Defense Forum, also argued that “if fear of violence in their country was their primary motive, they could have traveled to neighboring Costa Rica.”

Central American migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., cross the Suchiate River to avoid the border checkpoint in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, October 20, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido 

Under pressure from the Trump administration, Mexican officials have been desperately urging caravan members to stay in Mexico and be processed there. Yet the vast majority have remained steadfast in their endeavor to get to the United States. Migrants in the past have complained that applying for asylum in Mexico is a demoralizing process, which can take more than a year, and even then routinely results in a rejection.

For the first time ever in 2016, Mexico deported double the number of Central Americans than did the United States. That has at least in part what has motivated many to head north.

Yet at least some of those seeking asylum also appear to have been "coached," according to several sources, and have memorized scripted stories that would make them more sympathetic to U.S. immigration officials.

Migrants bound for the U.S.-Mexico border wait on a bridge that stretches over the Suchiate River, connecting Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)

“Caravans didn’t exist before 2010. Trips are carefully planned and coached. Aliens removed do share their experiences back home and that presents lessons learned for a return trip for others planning their first run,” Gabriel Ruiz, a California border-based deportation officer with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told Fox News. "Almost all have birth certificates and identity documents, but establishing the validity of those documents is time-consuming and difficult because a processing officer doesn’t have that sort of time to investigate identities in detail.”

Hollie McKay has a been a Fox News Digital staff reporter since 2007. She has extensively reported from war zones including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Burma and investigates global conflicts, war crimes and terrorism around the world. Follow her on twitter and Instagram @holliesmckay

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Luke Posted on October 26, 2018 15:34

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Suspect arrested in Florida in connection with suspicious packages sent to Democrats

Barnini Chakraborty | Fox News


Timeline: Suspicious packages to Democrats and media figures

A timeline on a number of suspicious packages sent to to Democrats and media figures.

A suspect was arrested in Florida on Friday morning in connection with the rash of suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats nationwide, law enforcement sources confirmed to Fox News.

A news conference was set for 2:30 p.m. ET.


Federal authorities had been focusing on Florida as the location where the majority of packages originated.

“Some of the packages went through the mail,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Fox News. “They originated, some of them, from Florida. I am confident that this person or people will be brought to justice.”

Several of the packages went through a U.S. postal facility in Opa-locka, Florida. The Miami-Dade County Police Department confirmed Thursday it was helping federal agents who were at the facility as part of the ongoing investigation.

The USPS operates an innovative imaging system that photographs each piece of mail processed throughout the country. Investigators were likely relying on that system to pinpoint where some of the packages were mailed.

The FBI says the packages each consisted of a manila envelope with a bubble-wrap interior containing potentially destructive devices. The packages were addressed with a computer-printed address label and six stamps.

A government source told Fox News the stamps are being analyzed by the FBI in Quantico. The source also said the investigation had progressed “significantly” and that the FBI is reaching out to retailers to zero in on where the elements of the bombs were made and where they were sold.

The envelopes and packaging materials were being closely analyzed and likely contain a treasure trove of DNA information. Tiny bits of genetic material – traces of sweat, skin cells, saliva, hair or fingerprints – are typically used as a roadmap to the suspect’s door, investigators and bomb experts say.

Currently, the Washington, D.C., field office and the FBI headquarters have 24 teams in place and on the hunt for the culprit.

Forensic investigators at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Va., have been sifting through the packages addressed to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, liberal billionaire George Soros, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director John Brennan and California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters.

The devices are thought to have been fashioned from crude, bomb-making designs widely available on the Internet. Authorities haven’t said whether the devices were built to explode and kill or simply sow fear.

Ryan Morris, founder of Tripwire Operation Group, a company that provides explosives training to law enforcement and military officials, called the devices “Mickey Mouse” bombs that were meant to be found. He told Fox News he believes the primary motive is fear. The packages were sent about two weeks ahead of the midterm elections.

Regardless, investigators are treating the devices as “live” explosives New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

Larry Johnson, a former head of criminal investigations for the U.S. Secret Service who also served as a special agent in charge of the presidential protective detail, agrees that bomb makers usually leave evidence – and their signature- behind.

“If there is a human involved, there is a high probability you’re going to get somewhere investigatively,” he told The Associated Press. “There will be no stone left unturned.”

Johnson believes it’s “highly likely” the person who built the bombs will have been previously flagged by law enforcement. The Secret Service maintains a wide database of groups and individuals who have made threats in the past against presidents or other top political leaders and activists via email, letters or on social media.

James Fitzgerald, a retired FBI profiler and forensic linguist who, in 1996, helped catch "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski -- who killed 3 people and injured 23 in bombings between 1978 and 1995 -- told Fox News on Wednesday that the letter sent to John Brennan, the former director of the CIA and a staunch Trump critic, reminded him of something the Unabomber would send because of the amount of stamps used on the package.

“The linguist in me noticed that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the last name is spelled missing a ‘c’ and John Brennan’s name is spelled missing an ‘n’ and that kind of surprised me and I have a feeling that was done on purpose to make this look like somebody who doesn’t really know who these people are and that it wasn’t an honest mistake. If he had this much anger and vitriol against these people, you would think he would know how to spell their names.

Fitzgerald said that “almost all bombers in the past have been single bombers”, but he added what stood out to past campaigns, including Kaczynski and Mark Conditt, the bomber who terrorized Austin, Texas, earlier this year, for the most part mailed their package bombs separately.

Fitzgerald also said further evidence may present itself.

“There may be some sort of a letter or social media aspect or video tape, or something equivalent to that comes in the mail, a DVD or whatever that claims responsibility for this, but we’re too early, this person had a point they had to make with these devices and quite frankly they’ve made it.”

Fran Townsend, former Homeland Security Advisor in the George W Bush administration, and now CBS News’s security analyst, said the bombs were “not a standard recipe”.

“He didn’t go on the internet and just pull down the standard Al Qaeda recipe which we’ve seen before, so he’s left his own signature, there’s something unique about the way this has been put together which will be very helpful for investigators," she told CBS News.

Fox News' Brooke Singman and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report

You can find Barnini Chakraborty on Twitter @Barnini.

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Luke Posted on October 26, 2018 15:24

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7 TV Stars Who Outgrew Their Show

In the career of every TV actor there comes a time when you have to ask the hard question: am I okay with living in this small pond or should I take a risk and swim into the ocean? Just like that small screen actors can become major players in an instant!

1. George Clooney “ER” (1994-2009)
Remember the days when young Clooney rocked his ER scrubs and flirted with the nurses? Me either, I was only 7 and didn’t care for all that medical mumbo-jumbo. ER was Clooney’s big break and opened a lot of doors for him, like “From Dusk Till Dawn”, “Ocean’s Eleven”, and, like it or not, “Batman and Robin”.

2. Will Smith “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” (1990-96)
Today you know Smith for his music, acting, directing, producing, and probably a line of sneakers… He’s a very busy boy! And, apparently, he’s always been the go-getter, ever since he blew up on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” While doing that show he managed to release three albums! So it’s no surprise that using his charisma and good looks, Will Smith easily entered the top tier with “Hancock”, “Independence Day” and “Men in Black”.

3. Jennifer Aniston “Friends” (1994-2004)
Did you know that if it wasn’t for a couple of romcoms (namely “Office Space” and “The Break-Up”), Rachel from Friends would probably still be a B-list actress? Talk about luck. Out of all 6 friends she’s the only one still actively taking roles in movies. That has to stand for something.

4. Donald Glover “Community” (2009-15)
Throughout the years Don Glover has had many roles, and even written quite a few scripts for “30 Rock”, but you probably know him best as either Troy form “Community”, or Childish Gambino the rapper. He started out as a writer, then got a role of Troy, then produced his own show “Atlanta”, and even won a Grammy for “Redbone”. Bravo, Donny!

5. Steve Carell “The Office” (2005-13)
Now, I’ve personally never watched the Office but Steve Carell is still my spirit animal. People like me who saw Carell “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”, immediately googled him, which drew more attention to the mockumentary. He’s juggled his TV and movie careers for 7 long years, and finally decided to go full in on the movies, like the Academy nominated “Foxcatcher”.

6. Jason Segel “How I Met Your Mother” (2005-14)
Most of TV actors keep it nice and simple, milking their show for as long as possible. “How I met Your Mother” lasted for 9 long years, and aside from Neil Patrick Harris, only Jason Segel has made a name for himself. After a few years on the show Jason wrote and starred in his own movie, which by the way, got an 85% on RT! “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” showed the Hollywood he was quite bankable.

7. Chris Pratt “Parks and Recreation” (2009-15)
Everyone loves Chris Pratt now because of his breakout roles in Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, but nothing will replace the dorky, lovable Andy Dwyer from “Parks and Recreation”. I’m telling you, his career is only just starting to blossom. Expect no less than a dozen more billion-dollar hits for this bad boy!

ruby Posted on October 26, 2018 15:01

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European Crypto Mining Firm Bitfury Considers Going Public

Blockchain technology company Bitfury is considering a potential Initial Public Offering (IPO), which could reportedly become the first major public listing in the crypto industry in Europe, Bloomberg reported Oct. 25.

People familiar with the matter reportedly told Bloomberg that Bitfury is examining a range of options including raising debt financing or selling a minority stake. Should Bitfury go public in the following two years, its value could reach from $3 billion to $5 billion. However, the numbers could change depending on the markets and the health of the industry, purported sources told Bloomberg.

Bitfury has reportedly contacted global investment banks ahead of a potential IPO in London, Amsterdam, or Hong Kong next year.

Bitfury was founded in 2011 and is recognized as the largest non-Chinese company that develops Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain software and provides infrastructure for BTC mining. The company also developed a more efficient algorithm for routing on the Lightning network called Flare, which operates as a secure off-chain channel for faster transactions with less commissions.

Last month, Bitfury launched a new generation of its BTC mining hardware based on an Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chip, Bitfury Clarke. The chip is sold individually in addition to being integrated into Bitfury’s other BTC mining hardware. Bitfury is planning to implement the new ASIC in its mining centers in Canada, Iceland, Georgia, and Norway, where the company received governmental approval in March.

In July, Toronto-based BTC mining company Hut 8 announced the completion of its second mining facility in Canada, claiming to have become the world’s “largest publicly-traded” operator by capacity. The project was launched through a partnership with BitFury, which provided the company access to mining hardware and other necessities.…ers-going-public/

Dominic Solomon Posted on October 26, 2018 14:23

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CIA director briefs president on audio purportedly capturing the killing of Jamal Khashoggi

By: Karen DeYoung, Tamer El-Ghobashy, Kareem Fahim

CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed President Trump on Thursday about her trip this week to Turkey, where she listened to audio purportedly capturing the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, as Saudi Arabia appeared to acknowledge that its agents had murdered the dissident Saudi journalist in a “premeditated” operation.

A statement issued by the public prosecutor in Riyadh, citing shared Turkish evidence of premeditation, marked the latest reversal in the Saudi version of events and put the focus directly on the question of who ordered Khashoggi’s death.

U.S. intelligence officials and lawmakers have said that the killing, in a foreign country, of a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was unlikely to have taken place without the knowledge of the kingdom’s most senior leaders.

Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Saudi authorities, who insisted for weeks that he had left the building after a meeting and that they had no information on his whereabouts, said Saturday that their investigators had determined he was accidentally killed there during a brawl with Saudi agents. The authorities said the agents were there to discuss his desire to return to the kingdom, but offered no indication of who had sent them.

The Saturday statement said that 18 unnamed Saudis had been arrested and that five senior officials had been fired. It also said that a high-level committee to restructure Saudi intelligence agencies — headed by Mohammed — had been formed and that a joint Turkish-Saudi investigation into Khashoggi’s death was underway.

Mohammed and his father, King Salman, have both repeatedly assured Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who traveled to Saudi Arabia last week, that they had no knowledge of a plot to kill Khashoggi.

Trump initially described the Saudi explanation Saturday as credible. But in recent days he has expressed doubt, calling it “the worst coverup ever,” although he has not directly pointed the finger at the Saudi leadership. Instead, Pompeo announced that visas held by the arrested Saudis were being revoked, and the White House on Monday dispatched Haspel to Turkey.

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said publicly for the first time that there was evidence the killing had been “planned” — presumably including the audio reportedly recorded inside the consulate by Turkish intelligence.

The recording is the central piece of evidence Turkey has used to assert that the killing was planned. After listening to it and talking with Turkish officials, Haspel returned to Washington. The White House declined to provide details of her Thursday briefing, saying only that she had informed the president on her “findings and discussions.”

The briefing, which the State Department said Pompeo attended, coincided with the new statement by the Saudi prosecutor, which appeared designed at least in part to jump ahead of any conclusions the administration might draw from the new information.

Egyptian politician Ayman Nour talks to the media as friends of Jamal Khashoggi hold posters and banners with his pictures during a demonstration outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 25.

The Saudi statement said that the preliminary results of the joint investigation with Turkey had yielded “information from the Turkish side . . . suggesting that suspects in the incident had committed their act with a premeditated intention.” A translation of the statement, published in Arabic, was provided by the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

“The public prosecution continues its investigations with the accused in light of the information it has received and the results of its investigations to clarify the facts and complete the course of justice,” the translated statement said.

It was not immediately clear how Haspel’s report and the announcement from Riyadh would affect the administration’s thinking amid bipartisan demands from Congress for severe punishment of Saudi Arabia — the nation at the center of Trump’s Middle East policy. Trump has publicly resisted calls to end weapons sales to the Saudis, the world’s largest purchaser of U.S. defense equipment, saying that it would cost American jobs.

But the succession of events this week has underscored the rapidly mounting pressures on Saudi Arabia to fully illuminate Khashoggi’s killing, amid increasing global skepticism.

U.S. and foreign officials and experts with knowledge of the kingdom have said that such an operation was virtually unthinkable without the knowledge and approval of the highest levels of the Saudi government, particularly the powerful and ambitious crown prince. But Salman’s appointment of Mohammed to head the committee revamping the intelligence apparatus, and the prince’s appearance this week to host global government and industry leaders at a Riyadh investment conference, has all but ended speculation that his position was threatened.

Appearing at the conference Wednesday, Mohammed called the journalist’s killing “a heinous crime.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a session of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh on Wednesday. (Saudi Royal Palace/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

In another sign that the kingdom is seeking to contain the widespread fallout, Salah Khashoggi, the eldest son of Jamal Khashoggi, has left Saudi Arabia, two people close to the family said Thursday. The son, a dual U.S.-Saudi citizen who was photographed receiving condolences from Salman and Mohammed on Tuesday, had previously been restricted from leaving.

Salah Khashoggi was headed to the United States to join his three siblings, who are already here, according to one of the people. 

The photos and video footage of him meeting with the king and crown prince were released by the Saudi government in an apparent effort to showcase their sympathy. Instead, the images elicited scorn on social media, with critics accusing the leaders of exploiting a grieving son.

State Department deputy spokesman Robert J. Palladino told reporters that “we made it clear that we wanted him to be able to return [to the United States], and are pleased that he’s been able to do what he so desires.” Asked if the son had faced obstacles in leaving Saudi Arabia, Palladino said he was “not aware” of any.

Jamal Khashoggi, 59, was a contributing columnist for The Washington Post who was living in Virginia after leaving Saudi Arabia because of fear about his safety. He had been planning to settle in Istanbul and marry his Turkish fiancee when he was detained and killed in the Saudi Consulate.

In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, shakes hands with Salah Khashoggi, a son, of Jamal Khashoggi, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Oct. 23.

Also Thursday, the European Union issued a fresh condemnation of Khashoggi’s killing and reiterated its skepticism that it could have been carried out without Mohammed’s knowledge.

The European Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution urging a European Union-wide arms embargo on Saudi Arabia in response. The resolution came several days after Germany became the first Western government to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest arms importer.

French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May both spoke via telephone with Salman, according to a statement issued by the Saudi Foreign Ministry late Thursday, hours after the European Parliament’s resolution passed.

According to an Elysee Palace readout of the conversation, Macron pressed the Saudi king for more clarity on what happened to Khashoggi and told him France considers freedom of expression and freedom of the press an “essential priority.”

But Britain and France have both stopped short of suspending arms sales to the desert kingdom.

European Parliament members vote on a motion on the killing of Khashoggi in Strasbourg, France, on Thursday. (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)

Through a steady stream of leaks to Turkish and foreign media outlets, Turkish officials have mounted a compelling case that the Saudi agents planned all along to kill Khashoggi, dismember him and dispose of his remains. The Turks have identified a Saudi forensics specialist who is an expert in mobile autopsies and traveled to Istanbul the day Khashoggi was planning to visit the consulate. They also photographed Saudi diplomatic vehicles scouting wooded areas in the days before Khashoggi disappeared.

In addition, the leaks have featured surveillance pictures of a Saudi agent wearing Khashoggi’s clothes and a fake beard and leaving the consulate, in what appears to be an orchestrated bid to fool investigators into thinking the journalist had safely left the diplomatic mission, as the Saudis initially claimed.

Although the Turks have mounted an extensive search of the consulate and other areas in Istanbul, they have released no information indicating his remains have been found.

El-Ghobashy and Fahim reported from Istanbul. John Hudson and Josh Dawsey in Washington, James McAuley in Paris and Quentin Ariès in Brussels contributed to this report.

more pictures

A still image taken from CCTV video and obtained by A News claims to show Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and his fiancee entering their residence on the day he disappeared in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 2.

President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey during a bill signing ceremony at the White House in Washington, on Oct. 23.

Led by activist Medea Benjamin (C), about 17 protesters from Code Pink: Women for Peace demonstrate against U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen in the offices of Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill Oct. 22, in Washington, DC. Sparked by the apparent murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Code Pink activists called on senators to support Senate Joint Resolution 54, war powers legislation that would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Protesters with the group Code Pink march outside the White House in the wake of the disappearance of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Oct. 19, in Washington, DC.



joewalash Posted on October 26, 2018 13:18

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Inside the bookshops and libraries of Scotland

Scotland in Books is a photographic survey of second-hand bookshops, libraries, and private collections across Scotland by photographer Celeste Noche. In an increasingly digital age, the series documents the importance of the physical book - how people continue to make space for books, and conversely, how books create space for people.

Image copyrightCELESTE NOCHE

The front desk at Voltaire and Rousseau in Glasgow, where books overflow from shelves into piles on the ground around the shop. The owner, Eddie McGonigle, sits behind the counter while the shop cat, BB, sleeps.

Image copyrightCELESTE NOCHE

A 16th century book on palm reading at Innerpeffray Library, Scotland's oldest free, public lending library, founded in 1680. Although the library no longer lends out books, all books are available for viewing to the public and the Borrowers' Register holds a complete record of the locals who have borrowed from the library since its opening.

Image copyrightCELESTE NOCHE

David Buchan stands in front of his free lending library in Kinnesswood, Perth and Kinross.Upon learning that BT was decommissioning the phone box, he adopted it for £1 through the local council and converted it into a book exchange.

Image copyrightCELESTE NOCHE

Volunteers Julie (left) and Houida (right), with volunteer co-ordinator Gabrielle Macbeth (centre) at the Glasgow Women's Library which specialises in books, music, and art by and about women. A total of 30 libraries closed in Scotland last year, up from 15 the year before.

Image copyrightCELESTE NOCHE

The libraries at Haddo House (above) and Castle Fraser (below), properties owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Some of the country's oldest formerly private libraries have been preserved through the National Trust and are available for public viewing and tours.

Image copyrightCELESTE NOCHE

Booksellers Ian and Joyce Cochrane perform in their shop, Old Bank Bookshop in Wigtown.

Image copyrightCELESTE NOCHE

This year, Wigtown celebrates 20 years as Scotland's national book town. It is home to more than a dozen bookshops and its annual literary festival generates an estimated £3m for the regional economy each year.

Image copyrightCELESTE NOCHE

On the Isle of Skye, Celeste Noche fell upon Gilleasbuig Ferguson Books by way of a small sandwich board on the side of the road.

The bookshop itself is a bothy next to Ferguson's home, where he houses his collection of Gaelic, Highland, and antiquarian books. Here, his daughter Peggy reads a Gaelic children's book on the steps of Ferguson's bothy on the banks of Loch Snizort.

Image copyrightCELESTE NOCHE

Leakey's Bookshop in Inverness is based in a former cathedral.

Image copyrightCELESTE NOCHE

Mobile libraries play a critical role in the Outer Hebrides.

Image copyrightCELESTE NOCHE

jmparker Posted on October 26, 2018 13:09

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Trump considering plan to ban entry of migrants at southern border, deny asylum

Thousands of Central American migrants arrived in southern Mexico on Oct. 21, on their journey to the United States. (Luc Forsyth/The Washington Post)

By Nick Miroff, Dan Lamothe and Josh Dawsey October 25 at 10:46 PM

Members of a migrant caravan walk into the interior of Mexico after crossing the Guatemalan border on October 21, 2018, near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico

Fixated on the migrant caravan moving north through Mexico, President Trump is weighing a plan to shut the U.S. border to Central Americans and deny them the opportunity to seek asylum, asserting similar emergency powers used during the early 2017 “travel ban,” according to administration officials and people familiar with the proposal.

The White House is also preparing to deploy as many as 1,000 additional U.S. troops to assist in security operations at the southern border in anticipation of the caravan’s arrival, officials said. 

Under U.S. law, foreign nationals fleeing persecution have the right to apply for asylum once they reach American soil, but the executive order under consideration would suspend that provision and bar Central Americans as a matter of national security, according to those familiar with the proposal.

Trump considering plan to ban entry of migrants at southern border, deny asylum (Pedro Pardo / AFP/Getty Images)

Such a move would probably trigger immediate challenges in U.S. courts.

With the midterm elections two weeks away, Trump has seized on the migrant caravan as a vehicle for his own campaign messaging, depicting the Central American families as dangerous criminals and Democrats as their enablers.

According to a draft of the proposed rule reviewed by The Washington Post, the administration argues that the president can use his authority under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to declare certain migrants ineligible for asylum because it “would be contrary to the national interest” and “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

The section is the same legal authority he invoked during the travel ban.

Roughly 5,000 Central American migrants walk through southern Mexico toward the U.S. border. Here's what a few have to say about why they're traveling north. (Luc Forsyth for The Washington Post)

Several administration officials cautioned that the proposal is not yet finalized and is one of several measures under consideration. Taken together, they could help physically and legally fortify the southern border in anticipation of the arrival of large numbers of migrants the president characterizes as a threat.

A White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal discussions, said the administration is considering a wide range of legal, administrative and legislative options.

“No decisions have been made at this time,” the official said. “Nor will we forecast to smugglers or caravans what precise strategies will or will not be deployed.”

Said another administration official when asked about the Central America ban, “Everything is on the table.”

Central American migrants, part of a second wave of migrants heading to the U.S., hitchhike on a pick-up truck as they continue their journey to the Mexican 

The additional troops would reinforce the 2,000 or so National Guard personnel deployed to the border since April. Under a Pentagon order that could be issued as soon as Friday, they would not make arrests or operate in an enforcement role, according to officials with knowledge of the plan. 

The migrant caravan remains more than 900 miles from U.S. territory and has dwindled to about 3,000 people, according to the latest estimates from Mexican authorities. But the scenes of young men breaking through gates along the Guatemala-Mexico border earlier this week have alarmed the White House, and Trump continues to depict the Central American migrant group as a criminal menace and a security threat.

Impoverished families, many of whom are traveling with children and surviving on handouts, comprise the bulk of those advancing slowly through southern Mexico.

The Trump administration has provided no evidence that Middle Easterners and dangerous criminals are mixed in.

One potential problem with the border entry ban under consideration is that migrants who cross illegally would still have to be taken into U.S. custody. The administration could attempt to deny them access to U.S. courts and expedite their deportation, but those migrants would have to be returned to Central America, unless the Mexican government agreed to take them.

Central American migrants rest as a thousands-strong caravan slowly making its way toward the U.S. border stops for the night in Pijijiapan, Chiapas state, Mexico, (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Any attempt to force Mexico to take the Central Americans back would risk “potentially major conflict” with its government, said one Department of Homeland Security official familiar with some of the policy proposals that have been under discussion.

The United States has the legal authority to return them “since they let them through in the first place,” the person said.

In recent weeks, record numbers of migrant family members have streamed across the border in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and into southern Arizona, overwhelming detention capacity and prompting mass releases.

U.S. courts have limited the government’s ability to hold children in immigration jails, so “banning” Central Americans who enter illegally could have little practical effect. A denial of their ability to seek asylum could also matter little. Fewer than 10 percent of Central American applicants are granted asylum by U.S. immigration judges, according to the latest statistics, but many have used the process as a way to gain entry to the United States and remain in the country while their claims slowly proceed through the legal system.

White House officials have put escalating pressure on the Mexican government to stop the caravan, but officials there have declined to block its advance by force.

In a Thursday morning tweet, Trump called again for changes to U.S. immigration laws, which he said “make it tough for us to stop people at the Border.” He added that he is “bringing out the military for this National Emergency. They will be stopped!”

Later, the president tweeted: “To those in the Caravan, turnaround, we are not letting people into the United States illegally. Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!”

The caravan is still weeks from reaching the U.S. border, and Mexican authorities said the number of migrants has dwindled rapidly, from an estimate of 7,200 by the United Nations early in the week to 3,630 on Wednesday. The Mexican government said it had processed 1,700 asylum claims.

t is not clear what effect the additional military personnel would have, given that many of the migrants, if they reach the United States, would probably attempt to surrender to Border Patrol agents. U.S. officials said the troops would not conduct direct law enforcement but would instead play supporting roles. Those duties were still being defined but are likely to include engineers who can oversee construction, aviation support, and possibly doctors or lawyers who can assist migrants.

Critics have said that a military solution would be costly and ineffective, and they accused Trump of trying to fan public fears over inflated security threats of the caravan to stoke his conservative base ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections.“It’s sad and irresponsible that the president would deploy the world’s strongest military against a group of unarmed migrants, including women and children,” said Kevin Appleby, a policy director at the Center for Migration Studies. “It demonstrates that the administration’s deterrence policies have failed and they are at the point of desperation in their immigration policies. They need a new approach, one that addresses regional challenges and the push factors from the [Central American] region. It’s a waste of tax­payer money.”

The addition of active-duty forces could raise concerns among human rights groups, given that the caravan, which originated in Honduras, is made up largely of families, including children. U.S. officials said the additional forces are not expected to include any “trigger pullers.”

One U.S. official said the troops’ role will be designed so that the Posse Comitatus Act, a federal law that limits the use of the military for domestic law enforcement operations, is not violated. The official compared the deployment to active-duty troops assisting with hurricane relief.

The National Guard personnel already at the border are under direct orders from their respective state governors and remain under those governors’ control. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a memo this year that prohibited them from interacting directly with “migrants or other persons detained,” and that directive is still in place, said Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman. 

RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for lower immigration levels, said Trump deserves credit for the administration’s efforts to crack down on unauthorized immigration. But he added that a military solution to the Central American caravan would be “ineffective” and said the administration should focus on trying to get Congress to tighten asylum laws.

In most cases, children and families who apply for asylum are not legally allowed to be detained for more than a few weeks and are released into the United States as they await hearings before immigration judges — a process that could take more than a year because of backlogs. 

Trump administration officials say there has been a rapid increase in asylum cases, especially from Central America in recent years, and they have accused human smugglers of coaching immigrants to make false claims of persecution. Immigrant rights groups said the migrants are fleeing gang violence, organized crime and poverty. 

“Sending the military down to the border will be ineffective in preventing these organized incursions so long as our asylum and immigration laws can be so easily abused,” Hauman said. 

President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama dispatched National Guard troops to assist in border operations. The missions — one from June 2006 to July 2008 and another from June 2010 to September 2011 — cost a total of $1.35 billion, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

The report found that one of the primary benefits of the National Guard was to bridge gaps while new Border Patrol agents were hired and trained. But the report also found that Pentagon officials believed there was no comprehensive strategy at the border and worried about “mission creep” for Guard personnel. Department of Homeland Security officials, meanwhile, expressed concern that the Pentagon assistance was “ad hoc.” 

Use of active-duty service members has been especially sensitive since 1997, when a Marine on a drug surveillance mission shot and killed a high school student in the border village of Redford, Tex. The shooter and other Marines present were investigated, but no charges were brought against them. The U.S. government ultimately agreed to pay a $1.9 million settlement to the student’s family.

This year, the Pentagon has examined providing space to other federal agencies to run camps for migrants on specific military bases, and it said in a June memo to Congress that it would prepare to house up to 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children on bases in coming months. 

That plan would have similarities to 2014, when the Obama administration housed about 7,000 unaccompanied children on three military bases. But to date, the U.S. government has not moved forward with opening any camps on military bases.


joewalash Posted on October 26, 2018 13:04

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Roman Vishniac: Jewish photographer between World Wars

The Jewish Museum London and The Photographers' Gallery are staging the first UK retrospective of Russian-born American photographer Roman Vishniac (1897-1990), one of the most important social documentary photographers of the 20th century.

Vishniac is perhaps best known for his widely recognised photographic records of Jewish life in Eastern Europe between the two World Wars. Born to a Jewish family and raised in Moscow, Vishniac immigrated to Berlin in 1920, where he joined some of the city's many flourishing camera clubs. Inspired by the cosmopolitanism and cultural experimentation in Berlin at the time, Vishniac used his camera to document his surroundings.

His early work reflects the influence of European modernism, with his framing and compositions favouring sharp angles and dramatic use of light and shade.


Image captionWindow washer balancing on a ladder, Berlin, mid-1930s.


Image captionInterior of the Anhalter Bahnhof railway terminus near Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, 1929–early 1930s. Vishniac's development as a photographer coincided with political changes occurring in Germany; his photographs provide a visual foreboding of the growing oppression of Jews and the rise of Nazism.


Image captionVishniac's daughter Mara posing in front of an election poster for Hindenburg and Hitler that reads, "The Marshal and the Corporal: Fight with Us for Peace and Equal Rights". Wilmersdorf, Berlin, 1933. Social and political documentation quickly became a focal point of his work and drew the attention of organisations wanting to raise awareness and gain support for the Jewish population.

In 1935, Vishniac was commissioned by the world's largest Jewish relief organisation, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to photograph impoverished Jewish communities in Eastern Europe.These images were intended to support relief efforts and were used in fundraising campaigns for an American donor audience.


Image captionSara, sitting in bed in a basement dwelling, with stencilled flowers above her head. Warsaw, Poland, c. 1935–37.


Image captionInside the Jewish quarter, Bratislava, c. 1935–38.


Image captionErnst Kaufmann, centre, and unidentified Zionist youths, wearing clogs while learning construction techniques in a quarry. Werkdorp Nieuwesluis, Wieringermeer, The Netherlands, 1938–39.

Vishniac left Europe in 1940 and arrived in New York with his family on New Year's Day, 1941.

He continued to record the impact of World War Two throughout the 1940s and 50s, with particular focus on the arrival of Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors in the US.


Image captionCustomers waiting in line at a butcher's counter during wartime rationing. Washington Market, New York, 1941-44.


Image captionBoys exercising in the gymnasium of the Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, 1949.

jmparker Posted on October 26, 2018 12:59

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Africa's week in pictures: 19-25 October 2018

A selection of the best photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere in the world this week.

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionRich diamond fields in northern Angola, on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, are pictured from a helicopter on Saturday….

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionOver the last month, the authorities have forced more than 300,000 Congolese, including this woman on Saturday, to return home saying they have been digging for diamonds illegally.

Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionOn Wednesday, a vendor in Senegal's capital, Dakar, takes a break by perching on a fisherman's pirogue.

Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionOn the same day, Senegal's President Macky Sall chats with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a conference in Riyadh that went ahead despite the allegations that the country was behind Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing.

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionBedouin men play music during a wedding in Egypt's Sinai region on Friday…

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionThree days later, tourists take photos as sunlight illuminates the face of a statue of Ramses II at a temple south of Aswan. It is a phenomenon that only happens twice a year.

Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionNice Nailantei Leng'ete, a Kenyan activist who fights against female genital mutilation, stands on Friday to receive a top Spanish award - the Princess of Asturias 2018 for International Cooperation.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionThe next day, a Rwandan model is pictured during an "Afro-futuristic" fashion show at the US University of New Hampshire…

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionIt was an opportunity for designers to showcase African outfits and styles that may be worn 1,000 years from now...

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionA show at South African Fashion Week in Johannesburg on Wednesday also has a futurist look…

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionBut in Mali's capital, Bamako, it was a throwback to flares at the We Wax the World fashion show on Saturday...

Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionAnd not to be outdone on the fashion front, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed turns up in parliament looking dapper on Thursday.

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionCameroonians in material showing the face of President Paul Biya celebrate his election victory in the capital, Yaounde, on Monday.

Image copyrightREUTERS

Image captionSouth Sudanese prisoners of war walk out of jail in the capital, Juba, on Thursday - as part of a peace deal signed last month.

Image copyrightAFP

Image captionOn Tuesday, men in Tunisia's capital, Tunis, look at a film poster for Papa Hedi, dedicated to the famous singer Hedi Jouini and directed by his granddaughter Claire.

Image copyrightEPA

Image captionA young surfer rides a wave at sunrise near Cape Town in South Africa on Thursday.

Image captionAnd fans of the winner of Sierra Leone's Big Sister reality TV show cheer her on as she takes part in a victory parade in the capital, Freetown, on Thursday.

Pictures from AFP, EPA, Reuters and Getty Images

jmparker Posted on October 26, 2018 12:55

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BREAKING: Man caught trying to STEAL Magna Carta with HAMMER – cathedral evacuated

A MAN has been arrested after allegedly trying to smash the case holding the Magna Carta with a hammer in a bid to steal it. The suspect, 45, was arrested at Salisbury Cathedral yesterday afternoon, with the building having to be evacuated while police responded. The famous docuement was undamged. Pictures from the Cathedral show the first protective layer was smashed. Crowds could be seen in the Close after someone manually started the fire alarm. One witness, Jenny from Salisbury, was walking through the Close at the time of the incident and says she saw a citizen's arrest taking place. 

She told the Salisbury Journal: "We were walking past the cathedral as the alarms started, and everyone was starting to come out. "As we got to the stonemason's gateway we heard some shouting and could see a few people coming out of the gates so we stopped. "It looked like some men ‘play-fighting’ but as they got through the gates I saw a hammer drop to the floor and one of the men kicked it into the road whilst another man held on to him. "They then held onto him with hands behind his back whilst they picked up the hammer – lots of people around started to come over.

"The men really did a good job."Magna Carta 1215 is the best surviving copy of one of Britain's most influential legal documents, and is on permanent display at Salisbury Cathedral.  It is regarded by historians as the foundation of constitutional liberty in the English-speaking world. A cop spokeswoman said: "A 45-year-old man is in custody this morning arrested on suspicion of attempted theft of the Magna Carta. "Shortly before 5pm yesterday alarms were activated at Salisbury Cathedral after an attempt was made to smash the glass box surrounding the Magna Carta. Staff were alerted and police were called. 

"A man matching the description given by witnesses was arrested on suspicion of attempted theft, possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage, and has been taken to Melksham custody for questioning where he remains."The Magna Carta has not been damaged and nobody was injured in the incident." Salisbury Cathedral, which has been central to the Skripal poisoning case this year after Russian agents said they were visiting it's "world-famous 132m spire", proudly boasts of the iconic piece of history on its website. It says: "Magna Carta (Latin for "Great Charter") is one of the most celebrated documents in English history.

ATTRACTION: The document is kept in a glass box (Pic: PA)

At the time it was the solution to a political crisis in Medieval England but its importance has endured as it has become recognised as a cornerstone of liberty influencing much of the civilized world."Only four copies of Magna Carta dating from 1215 have survived the ravages of time and Salisbury Cathedral is proud to be home to the best preserved original manuscript. "Elias of Dereham, priest and steward of the archbishop of Canterbury is thought to have brought Salisbury's copy of to Old Sarum in the days following the events at Runnymede and it has remained in the Cathedral’s care ever since."Housed in our exquisite Chapter House, seeing Magna Carta presented in our family friendly interactive exhibition is a highlight for many visitors. "The responsibility of owning and interpreting Magna Carta is important in shaping Salisbury Cathedral's future objectives to this day."

jmparker Posted on October 26, 2018 11:19

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Instagram Finally Pulls Milo Yiannopoulos Post Lamenting The Bombs ‘Didn’t Go Off’

The right-wing acolyte railed at “social justice warriors” and “scum” who complained about his post.

After initially refusing, Instagram finally took down a post by Milo Yiannopoulos in which the former Breitbart editor said it was “disgusting and sad” that several pipe bombs sent to Democratic political figures “didn’t go off.”

He also lamented that a bomb wasn’t sent to The Daily Beast.

“Just catching up with news of all these pipe bombs,” Yiannopoulos wrote in his post to nearly 400,000 followers Thursday. “Disgusting and sad (that they didn’t go off, and the daily beast didn’t get one).”

When Daily Beast journalist Will Sommer complained to Instagram, the company replied that the post “does not violate our community guidelines,” Sommer reported.

Instagram’s community guidelines insist that “it’s never OK to encourage violence” and that the social media platform is “not a place to support or praise terrorism, organized crime, or hate groups.”

The message eventually vanished hours after it was posted with a note from Instagram to Yiannopoulos saying that it violated the company’s community guidelines. He complained in a follow-up post that “mob rule” succeeded in blocking the post after complaints by “social justice warriors.”

After initially refusing, Instagram finally took down a post by Milo Yiannopoulos in which the former Breitbart editor said it was “disgusting and sad” that several pipe bombs sent to Democratic political figures “didn’t go off.”He also lamented that a bomb wasn’t sent to The Daily Beast.

“Just catching up with news of all these pipe bombs,” Yiannopoulos wrote in his post to nearly 400,000 followers Thursday. “Disgusting and sad (that they didn’t go off, and the daily beast didn’t get one).”

When Daily Beast journalist Will Sommer complained to Instagram, the company replied that the post “does not violate our community guidelines,” Sommer reported.

Instagram’s community guidelines insist that “it’s never OK to encourage violence” and that the social media platform is “not a place to support or praise terrorism, organized crime, or hate groups.”

The message eventually vanished hours after it was posted with a note from Instagram to Yiannopoulos saying that it violated the company’s community guidelines. He complained in a follow-up post that “mob rule” succeeded in blocking the post after complaints by “social justice warriors.”

ruby Posted on October 26, 2018 10:54

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12 Oldest Mothers Who Have Given Birth

1. Daljinder Kaur

This woman now holds the record for being the oldest woman ever to give birth to a child. She was 72 and her husband was 79 when their baby boy was born. It’s highly unlikely to meet such a brave couple in today’s world.

2. Rajo Devi Lohan

This Indian woman gave birth to her last baby when she was 69 years old! She was long considered to be the oldest mother in the world’s medical history ever registered. The baby is now absolutely healthy.

3. Bhateri Devi Singh

An Indian woman, at the age of 66, became a mother of triplets! Three of the babies survived and now have grown up normally. Surprisingly enough the elderly mother is still quite healthy.

4. Elizabeth Adeney

She is the oldest mother in GB who, at the age of 66, gave birth to a child. The mother feels fine and the child has not suffered in any way. Elizabeth is now a frequent guest on many TV and radio shows.

5. Adriana Iliescu

Another woman that the world should be proud of is a Romanian old lady. At the age of 66, she was waiting for triplets to arrive but only one baby survived. The child is now the most loved daughter in all Romania.

6. Omkari Panwar

Wishing to have a boy to inherit her husband’s fortune, Omkari was pressed to undergo a medical treatment to become pregnant. As a result, she gave birth to twins – a boy and a girl. She then died three years later after such a struggle with her health.


7. Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara

A Spanish woman lied to doctors by telling them that she was 55 years old. After the truth was revealed that she was 66, it was too late to do anything. She gave birth to 2 children, but she then died less than 3 years later.

8. Valentyna Pidverbna

A Ukrainian woman, at the age of 66, gave birth to her first and only child. Knowing medical level in Eastern Europe, you would not believe she could have survived such a challenge.

9. Annegret Raunigk

A German woman was 65 years old when she gave birth to 4 babies. In total, she had 17 children ageing from birth to 44 years old! She is the only European woman over the age of 60 who has had that many children.

10. Memnune Tiryaki

An Indian mother delivered her child when she was 62 years old. She had been trying to have a baby for 35 years. Then, at the pensionable age, she achieved success thanks to modern medicine.

11. Dawn Brooke

An English woman, at the age of 59, conceived a child naturally. She is officially registered in the Guinness World Record Book as the oldest mother who naturally delivered a baby.

12. Raisa Akhmadeeva

A Russian woman, at the age of 56, had a natural child birth. It was her first child and she did not have any medical treatment to be artificially inseminated. The child was born too early and, for the first two years, the family struggled to help him survive.

ruby Posted on October 26, 2018 10:42

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Rita Ora says 'she's going crazy and alone' as gruelling promo schedule continues

RITA Ora is one of the busiest women in the world. The British beauty, who is just weeks away from releasing her second album Phoenix, appears to be in a new city or continent every day. But while she may be surrounded by a devoted team ready to fulfil her every demand, it seems dining in swanky hotel suites around the world loses its sparkle. Taking to her Instagram Rita shared a string of pics from her whirlwind trip to Milan, Italy. Jetting out to perform on The X Factor Italy, Rita looked hotter than ever as she belted out her new single Let Me Love You in a skintight red number. Featuring a large slit up the side, the 27-year-old oozed sex appeal and confidence. However, before she took to the stage Rita appeared to be pinging for company. In a string of snaps the Anywhere songstress rocked a white hotel robe as she filmed herself in bed looking glum. Rita captioned the shot: "No friends."

Another clip saw the starlet singing a song about being lonely to the tune of nursery rhyme Frère Jacques. Rita sang: "Billy no mates, Bill no mates, where are you? where are you? "I think I'm going crazy, think I'm going crazy, oh oh yeah, oh oh yeah." A third post saw Rita show off a dining table in her room ladened with food.

Claiming she’s just bored rather than expecting company, Rita said: “So obviously because I don’t have any friends i’ve decided to order food. “So we have some salmon… and here are some lemons for my lemon friends that I don’t have.” Rita captioned the clip: "What one does alone coz all I do is work” She later added: "Losing it."

jmparker Posted on October 26, 2018 10:05

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UK weather: Up to FOUR INCHES of snow forecast as BIG FREEZE starts today

A SAVAGE cold snap is forecast to crippled parts of Britain with heavy snow, powerful gales and death-trap frost from today as freezing air causes a “real change” in the weather. Freezing polar winds engulfing the UK from the north have caused a “big contrast” in the weather, with sub-zero temperatures and snow marking the first signs winter in the coming days.  Temperatures are forecast to plummet a staggering 10C on Saturday in comparison to Wednesday, when highs reached an unseasonably warm 19C in southern England.  A flurry of wintry showers are expected to blanket Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern and central England in what forecasters are calling “snow Saturday”. Almost four inches (10cm) of snow could fall over higher ground in Scotland, where the biggest accumulations are expected in the early hours of Saturday, according to the Met Office.

Some forecasters believe snow will fall on hills in Wales and northern England and possibly in parts of southern England over the weekend, though only a light dusting is expected.  The spell of cold weather – forecast to last for up for five days – is being caused by bitterly cold winds driving towards the UK from the Arctic region, the Met Office said.  The period of wintry weather could bring Britain’s first significant snow in October since 2012, Met Office records show.  Met Office forecast John West said the cold snap will be “a real change in feel from the rather mild weather” as high pressure is dislodged by “a strong northerly flow from the Arctic”.

“While the thermometers will be maxing out at about 6C (42.8F) it will feel colder in that strong northerly wind,” he said. He added: “Wintry showers are likely through Friday and into Saturday. “The Chilterns could see sleet, with wintry showers possible on Dartmoor, a dusting on north Wales, the North York Moors and Scottish hills over 300m, and 5-10cm of snow on the highest Scottish hills. Ice is a risk.“Colder weather will be in place across all of the UK by Friday morning, with Saturday and Sunday nights seeing widespread frost and lows down to -5C in the North where there is snow, and -3C in the South.”

Gritters have been deployed to Scottish roads already as large sheets of ice could cause hazardous conditions for drivers. Elsewhere, English councils are preparing to take similar measures to make roads safer. “Our gritters are now on 24-hour standby, ready to react to the weather. And with temperatures set to drop, you may see them in the next few days,” Stoke-on-Trent council said.  Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern said there will be “frequent showers” are expected across the UK throughout Friday, with snow reaching lowers levels later on. 

He said: “Snow levels will drop during Friday daytime, and snow may not be confined to the tops of the Highlands and Grampians.” Bookmakers Ladbrokes is slashing odds on snow falling in any part of the UK this weekend.  Odds of 7/4 are being offering to punters betting on snow falling anywhere in the UK on Saturday or Sunday. Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Apati said: "We're strapping ourselves in and wrapping up for a record-breaking winter but the latest odds suggest snow could come as early as this weekend."

jmparker Posted on October 26, 2018 09:57

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Stagecoach tram-train crashes into lorry upon launch of new service

A tram-train derailed when it collided with a lorry just hours after the launch of the much heralded new service.


Four passengers suffered minor injuries in the crash in Sheffield shortly before 3:20pm on Thursday.


The Stagecoach Supertram pushed the flatbed lorry sideways for around 30 feet, at the point where Staniforth Road crosses the tram tracks near to Woodbourn Road tram stop.


The crash, which took place roughly half a mile from the city centre, happened on the launch day of the UK's first tram-train service which runs between Sheffield and Rotherham.




Four passengers suffered minor injuries

It utilises both the Supertram system and main rail lines.


It is understood the tram signal was on green at the time of the collision.


The traffic lights around the junction were not working after the crash, with signs warning motorists of the situation, but it is not clear whether the lights were working before the collision.


Rhyse Morgan, 27, spotted the tram on his way to work and thought it had derailed.


He said: "We noticed it was the new train-tram but then saw it was more serious with the amount of emergency services."




The crash happened roughly half a mile from Sheffield city centre

A Stagecoach Supertram spokeswoman said on Thursday: "We can confirm that a collision took place this afternoon between a lorry and one of our vehicles shortly before 3:20pm on Staniforth Road.


"No one has been seriously injured, however a small number of people were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

"We are assisting police with their inquiries into the circumstances.


"Tram services in the area are currently suspended and the latest updates for customers are available via our website and Twitter feed."




The passenger service pushed the flatbed lorry roughly 30 feet sideways

The £75m tram-train system is a delayed project designed to link Rotherham into Sheffield's Supertram system, which has been operating for more than 20 years.


It was finally launched on Thursday morning with a ceremony which included rail minister Jo Johnson and Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis.




It is understood the tram signal was on green at the time of the collision

Mr Johnson said at the event: "The first tram-train journey is a milestone moment that will give commuters cleaner, more frequent and more reliable journeys across Sheffield and Rotherham.


"This pioneering project brings together innovation, state-of-the-art technology and our existing infrastructure to give passengers better journeys.


"It lays the groundwork for ambitious transport schemes right across the country that should give commuters more choice."




Emergency services descended on the scene after the collision

The Commons Public Accounts Committee criticised the project because of its delays, describing the scheme as an example of "how not to" manage a rail project in December 2017.

It was delayed by almost three years, with services due to begin running in December 2015.


It is intended to be a trial to test the concept for possible wider roll-out.

KaroA Posted on October 26, 2018 09:20

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Nigeria Cabinet Agrees Smaller Budget Amid Revenue Shortfall

Nigeria’s cabinet agreed to reduce next year’s budget as the biggest oil producer in Africa struggles to meet revenue targets.

The Federal Executive Council accepted the presidency’s 8.7 trillion-naira ($24 billion) spending plan, Budget and Planning Minister Udoma Udo Udoma told reporters in the capital, Abuja, on Wednesday. Nigeria’s budget has more than doubled since 2015 to 9.1 trillion naira this year and the spending cuts come as the country prepares to hold presidential elections in February.

“We want to keep spending at a level we can finance,” Udoma said.

Related Slideshow: News in pictures (Provided by photo services)

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Nigeria’s government forecasts gross domestic product will expand 3 percent next year, according to Udoma. It assumes oil output of 2.3 million barrels daily and crude at $60 per barrel, with an average exchange rate of 305 naira per dollar, he said.

Oil production averaged 1.7 million barrels a day in the first nine months of 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The naira trades at about 363 per dollar in the interbank market, while the central bank has maintained a stronger official rate of 305 for more than two years.

The spending proposals will be sent to lawmakers for consideration.


Revenue Shortfalls

The government might also cut capital spending in 2018 because of revenue shortfalls, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed told reporters at the same press conference.

“If we’re not able to shore up revenue then the consequences are we will at some point have to reduce spending and also we will struggle in servicing our debts,” Ahmed said.

Total revenue received by August was 52 percent of the 6.2 trillion naira expected income, putting the government under pressure to expand avenues for raising funds, she said.

Oil and gas account for about two-thirds of government revenue and crude flows have been disrupted this year by the sabotage of key pipelines in the Niger River delta, the main producing region. The finance ministry in June questioned remittances from the state oil company that were less than expected, prompting a move to reconcile accounts.

“We are in the process of finalizing a new reporting template to ensure better transparency in the remittance information that they provide us,” Finance Minister Ahmed said Wednesday.

khojho Posted on October 26, 2018 09:12

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Homes, roads and railway lines could fall into sea, experts warn

Today's children are likely to witness dramatic changes in coastal flooding and erosion in their lifetimes, climate experts have warned.


In about 60 years, more than 1.5 million coastal properties in England could be at significant risk, the committee on climate change (CCC) said.


It said current policy is not fit for purpose and that the nation is in danger of losing hundreds of miles of roads and railway lines - as well as 92 train stations - to the sea.


Toxic landfill sites could also be swept into the North Sea, its report warned.


The committee argues that current strategy for protecting the English coastline is unrealistic and not urgent enough given that sea levels are expected to rise by up to a metre in one generation.




Houses across the UK are at risk of falling into the sea

East Yorkshire has one of the fastest eroding coastlines in the world.


Over the past 20 years, Peter Garforth's garden looking onto the North Sea, has slipped into the sea at an average of almost 3m (10ft) a year.


He told Sky News: "When it's particularly stormy the waves hit my windows and it can be distressing."


But what worries him more than the harsh weather is what he feels is a complete lack of support from the authorities.

He said: "Nobody is helping us. Not local government. Not national government.


"When the property was built it had full planning permission. We were advised that we had as much as 70 years left."




Hundreds of miles of roads and railway lines could fall into the sea

Now the cliff edge is within feet of a point in his fence which marks the moment he will be legally forced to leave home.


Jane Evison is a councillor representing people in East Yorkshire affected by erosion. She argues that although the local authority does what it can, the initative has to come from central government.


She said: "I don't think they fully recognise the impact of erosion. It is something that they probably talk about but until you see it for yourself.


"The council accepts that nature must take its course, but if that is to be the case what we would like is financial support."

Baroness Brown, chairwoman of the CCC's adaptation committee, said: "This is a wake-up call to the fact we can't protect the whole English coast to today's standards.

"Quite understandably most people living on the coast will assume that's exactly what will happen, that it will remain protected.


"We want to stimulate some honest conversation with coastal communities and affected places about the difficult choices which lie ahead."

KaroA Posted on October 26, 2018 09:03

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MPs call for Green to be stripped of knighthood if harassment allegations are true

MPs have called for Sir Philip Green to be stripped of his knighthood if allegations of sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying are true.


Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, said the billionaire businessman had "narrowly and luckily escaped losing his knighthood over the pensions scandal" at BHS, which plunged into administration back in 2016.


He added: "If these allegations are correct, he should certainly be stripped of his knighthood."


Others, including independent MP Frank Field and Labour's Jess Phillips, have echoed Sir Vince's remarks.


Sir Philip, who owns the Arcadia Group of high street brands including Topshop, Topman, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, was named in parliament as the businessman behind an injunction against The Daily Telegraph on Thursday.


The 66-year-old said he "categorically and wholly denies" allegations of "unlawful sexual or racist behaviour".


Retail analysts have said that, although the claims are unproven, they could be "highly damaging for both him and the retail businesses he owns" if they spark calls to boycott his stores.


Although the pensions scandal at BHS was "complex and nuanced and readily overlooked by many consumers", Neil Saunders of GlobalData Retail said the allegations could "weigh on people's minds when they decide where to shop".




Sir Philip is chairman of Arcadia Group, which owns brands including Topshop and Topman

In a statement, Sir Philip said he would not comment on anything that happened in court or was said in parliament on Thursday, adding: "To the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations.


"Arcadia and I take accusations and grievances from employees very seriously and in the event that one is raised, it is thoroughly investigated.

"Arcadia employs more than 20,000 people and in common with many large businesses sometimes receives formal complaints from employees.


"In some cases these are settled with the agreement of all parties and their legal advisers.


"These settlements are confidential so I cannot comment further on them."






Moment Philip Green was named in the Lords

Speaking in the House of Lords on Thursday, Labour peer Lord Hain used parliamentary privilege to name Sir Philip.


The former cabinet minister told peers: "I feel it's my duty under parliamentary privilege to name Philip Green as the individual in question given that the media have been subject to an injunction preventing publication of the full details of this story which is clearly in the public interest."


Lord Hain said the case involved "a powerful businessman using non-disclosure agreements and substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying which is compulsively continuing".

The Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday an unnamed senior executive in a company group had hired at least seven lawyers and spent close to £500,000 in legal fees in his quest to get an injunction against the newspaper.


Under the court ruling, it is illegal to reveal the businessman's identity or to identify the companies, as well as what he is accused of doing or how much he paid his alleged victims.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs it is "clear" some employers are using non-disclosure agreements "unethically", but refused to comment on "a particular case that is currently before the courts".


Mrs May said the government will look at ways to improve rules around non-disclosure agreements and make it "explicit" to companies when they cannot be used.

KaroA Posted on October 26, 2018 09:00

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Academics Analyze Crypto Pump and Dump Schemes in New Paper

Three university scholars – two from the University of Florida and one from Princeton – have concluded what many veteran cryptocurrency enthusiasts have long known and loudly preached: pump-and-dump schemes are bad.


In a new paper currently in progress by Tao Li, Donghwa Shin, and Baolian Wang, the scholars provide evidence that market manipulation schemes “are detrimental to the liquidity and price of cryptocurrencies.”


CCN readers may have an interest in the context of the paper in relation to the recent activity at YoBit, in which the exchange itself openly promised to inject a ton of money into random coins in order to inflate their price.


What Is A Pump-And-Dump Scheme?

For the uninitiated, the term “pump-and-dump” might be foreign. Therefore we should first point out that these schemes did not begin with cryptocurrency and they will be around forever. That’s right: there is no eliminating the pump and dump scheme so long as people are free to make trading decisions on their own.


In any case, a “pump” is when a great deal of value is injected into a given stock, symbol, or, in our case, cryptocurrency, in a market sense. A hype cycle is often involved, and new products are especially likely to be P&Ds. A lone investor with a lot of capital or a small group of colluding entities can make a huge difference in weak markets. The examples in the cryptosphere are endless. One or two bitcoins can purchase a large amount of literally thousands of different coins, and if there are only a few exchanges listing a given token, the “price” will see a significant rise.

The “dump” part of the scheme is when the people acquiring the asset and necessarily driving its price to ridiculous highs sell off their stake to people who are none the wiser. The people buying at rates which previously would have been unreasonable believe they are buying long-term, solid assets. There is also a psychological element to both gambling and investing in which a dominant part of the human brain believes that things will be the way they are today tomorrow. The reality is that pump and dump schemes are hard to regulate without hard facts and informants because often enough, on the surface, they can appear like healthy boom-time trading.



The cryptocurrency sector has been rife with pump-and-dump schemes.

High-risk instruments trading has one goal: get out at the top, or nearest to the top that you can. Experienced traders understand that any asset can turn to absolute crap overnight. Traditional stocks can dive on the news cycle. The fundamentals are what matter. But with even more high-risk instruments, such as speculative technologies and the tokens that power them, the fundamentals are incredibly difficult to gauge. This reporter has dedicated a substantial portion of his life to covering the happenings around cryptocurrencies, tokens, and the like, and still he is overly cautious in most investments surrounding them due to the simple fact that the future is unwritten, and something entirely unexpected can overshadow the basket you dump all your eggs into.


All of which is to say: trading amidst a pump and dump conspiracy is like being caught in a building victimized by arson. The arsonist is most likely to get out with barely even any smoke in his lungs, if he gets burned at all. The rest of the people suffer by degrees. The last person to sell loses the most money.


Hype Is Important

The hype cycle is important to most of these schemes, but it is not absolutely necessary for success. A pump-and-dump expert could potentially fool a market mostly made up of trading robots. Inside information such as the said bots’ trading triggers would help a great deal. A pump-and-dump scheme can go for weeks or months, or it can last a few days. Often, hundreds of smaller traders participate in private Telegram groups with the intent of making each other richer.


As the scholars write:


In the cryptocurrency market, manipulators often organize “pump groups” using encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram. They create Telegram channels and invite other investors to join. They frequently advertise on social media platforms to attract investors. A Telegram channel operator can post messages for other members to read. For a planned pump, the operator announces the target date, time, and exchange, usually at least one day in advance. However, they do not disclose the identity of the target token until the scheduled time. Members also receive multiple reminder messages before the announcement of the token symbol. As we show in this paper, a typical cryptocurrency P&D lasts for only several minutes. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that Telegram channel members are important participants in P&Ds.


What it really boils down to is having enough money and the know-how to raise the price of a given asset. We don’t use the word “value” because the actual value of a token is relative to much more than what people on markets are trading it for that day. As an example, if Bitcoin dove 75% again tomorrow, its actual “value” would probably not be reflected in the market price. Likely as not, it would cost more to mine it, for a time, than it would to buy it. But the value of Bitcoin is much more than what people are willing to pay for it at a given second. The price is a separate thing.


The most successful schemes happen at the launch of a token or a coin and are perpetuated by the creators or “team” themselves. Entire blockchains have been created and abandoned in the pursuit of sometimes small amounts of Bitcoin.


What Can Be Done?

As earlier stated, pump and dump fraud is like any other unsavory activity: it will always be there. How much and how often it is allowed to affect the rest of society is where positive action is possible. The study done by the authors reviewed a specific case, Bittrex, and its tactics attempting to mitigate or eliminate pumping and dumping on its platform. The results were apparently positive in nature:


Messages about pump groups on Telegram show that traders involved in P&D tactics had taken notice of the warning. Many scheduled P&D events were immediately canceled. For example, one prominent pump channel, “Trading signals for crypto,” canceled its P&D event on November 26, 2017. Some message groups solicited feedback from group members regarding whether to switch to other exchanges. Many message groups eventually ceased to pump tokens traded on Bittrex and/or switched to alternative exchanges such as Yobit.


Another conclusion of the paper is that newcomers are often looted of their initial investment. Again, in so many ways crypto trading parallels gambling: a new poker player might be bullied off his small stake by insane bets on the part of a bluffing veteran, or simply not know what they are doing and lose their money that way. The major difference is that a gambler understands it’s a just a game, whereas most investors are earnestly trying to make money, and often they are influenced by false information or downright lies. Resultantly, there is and may for the foreseeable future be “significant wealth transfer” from newcomers to immoral scam artists masquerading as investors.


And as long as there is a market for something, there will be a provider. We can’t stress enough how absurd it is for an exchange itself to openly “pump” coins at random, as Yobit have done. The next step is the exchange operators simply running off with the money, which has happened before. Perhaps it’s better than exchanges which do it on the sly, as most every exchange has been excused. Yet, there was long speculation that Crytpsy was pumping the price of Paycoin and other tokens using customer funds, and look what happened there.

KaroA Posted on October 26, 2018 08:22

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Google sacks dozens over sexual harassment

Google has sacked 48 people including 13 senior managers over sexual harassment claims since 2016.


In a letter to employees, chief executive Sundar Pichai said the tech giant was taking a "hard line" on inappropriate conduct.


The letter was in response to a New York Times report that Android creator Andy Rubin received a $90m exit package despite facing misconduct allegations.


A spokesman for Mr Rubin denied the allegations, the newspaper said.


Sam Singer said Mr Rubin decided to leave Google in 2014 to launch a venture capital firm and technology incubator called Playground.

He was given what the paper described as a "hero's farewell" when he departed.


Mr Pichai's letter said the New York Times story was "difficult to read" and that Google was "dead serious" about providing a "safe and inclusive workplace".


"We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate and we take action," he continued.


None of the employees dismissed in the past two years had received an exit package, Mr Pichai added.


According to the New York Times report, two unnamed Google executives said then-chief executive Larry Page asked Mr Rubin to resign after the company confirmed a complaint by a female employee about a sexual encounter in a hotel room in 2013.


A Google investigation found the woman's complaint to be credible, the paper reported, but the company has not confirmed this.


Mr Rubin has said he did not engage in misconduct and left Google of his own accord.


The claims will add to the growing chorus denouncing sexist culture in male-dominated Silicon Valley.


Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies in San Francisco, tweeted: "In a normal world this would mean Rubin is done, but tech has not just been forgiving, some tech sees little wrong with this.


"I'd like to think Google will clean up its act if anything to avoid having a retention problem with their female employees."


Shares in Alphabet, which owns Google, fell more than 3% in New York after it reported revenues of $33.7bn (£26.3bn) for the three months to September - slightly less than analysts had expected.


However, net profit soared $2.5bn to $9.2bn - far higher than expected.

Source: BBC

Nii Sackey Posted on October 26, 2018 05:32

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Jordan flooding: How many schoolchildren have died after flash floods hit family picnic

Jordan’s Dead Sea area has been hit by deadly flash flooding. But how many schoolchildren have died after flash floods hit families having picnic?

Jordan’s Dead Sea area has been hit by deadly flash flooding. But how many schoolchildren have died after flash floods hit families having picnic?

A major rescue operation was underway today after flash floods hit the area near Jordan’s Dead Sea. 

Around 40 children and their teachers were on an outing on Thursday when the floods struck. 

How many schoolchildren have died? 

At least 10 school children have died and 16 are still missing, rescuers said.

Army troops and helicopters were called in to help search for those still unaccounted for. 

So far, search teams have rescued 11 people, some of whom are in a serious condition, civil defence sources told Reuters.

Hospitals in the area were put on high alert today.

A civil defence official was also quoted on state television saying that the number of casualties was expected to rise as the day progressed.

A witness said a bus with 37 school children and seven teachers had been on a trip to a resort area.

Around 40 children and their teachers were on an outing on Thursday when the floods struck (Image: GETTY)

The flash floods hit near the Dead Sea area (Image: GOGGLE MAPS)

However, “raging” floodwaters swept them into a valley.

An officer at the Civil Defence Department told The Jordan Times: “A major rescue operation entailing scores of people from different state agencies as well as several rescue helicopters

and boats, marine divers and swimmers are at the site now to rescue trapped people and search for missing ones.

“The number of those killed in the flash flood is expected to increase because many were reported to have been swept away by the raging water.”

Prime Minister Omar Razza helped with the rescue operation, according to the Jordan Times. 

Related articles

Hospitals in the area were put on high alert today (Image: GETTY)

He reportedly instructed state agencies to provide all needed assistance to ensure the safety of the students.

The country was hit with sudden heavy rain, which flooded the hot springs area near the Dead Sea.



Prynx Posted on October 26, 2018 00:10

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Polio outbreak in USA 2018: What is polio-like virus acute flaccid myelitis?

POLIO-like virus acute flaccid myelitis has broken out in the US, with 155 patients under investigation for the condition this year. So what is acute flaccid myelitis?

By Kate Whitfield

PUBLISHED: 17:22, Thu, Oct 25, 2018 | UPDATED: 17:40, Thu, Oct 25, 2018



Acute flaccid myelitis: Expert reveals symptoms and prevention

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The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the alarming statistic, with the number of cases up from 127 in just one week.

The CDC reports that between August 2014 to September 2018, 386 cases of acute flaccid myelitis have been confirmed in the US, making the sudden recent spike more worrying.

The condition, which affects mostly children and can cause paralysis, is alarming health care workers for its similarity to poliovirus.



Polio has been eradicated in most parts of the world, but this similar virus is baffling doctors in the States.


Related articles

What is acute flaccid myelitis?

Acute flaccid myelitis, also called AFM, is a rare but serious condition that affects the nervous system.

In particular, the area of the spinal cord known as grey matter is affected.

The CDC estimates the disease affects on average less than one in a million people a year in the US.

Polio outbreak in USA 2018: It is advised to keep polio vaccinations up to date (Image: Getty)

Symptoms of AFM:

  • Weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes in the arms or legs

  • Facial droop or weakness

  • Difficulty moving the eyes

  • Drooping eyelids

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Slurred speech

Numbness or tingling is rare in people with AFM, although some people have pain in their arms or legs.

Some people with AFM may be unable to pass urine.

Related articles

Polio outbreak in USA 2018: Polio has been eradicated in most parts of the world (Image: Getty)

The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure that can happen when the muscles involved with breathing become weak, which can require urgent ventilator support.

In very rare cases, it is possible that the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death.

The CDC said in its advisory: “AFM is rare, but it can lead to serious neurologic problems.

“You should seek medical care right away if you or your child develops any of these symptoms.”

The average age of patients confirmed to have the condition is just four years old, with more than 90 percent of all cases occurring in children 18 and younger.

Polio outbreak in USA 2018: The condition mostly children and can cause paralysis (Image: Getty)

What causes AFM?

The CDC said certain viruses, such as poliovirus and West Nile virus could lead to conditions like AFM.

It is advised to keep polio vaccinations up to date and protect children from mosquito biters which can carry West Nile virus.

The CDC said: “While we don’t know the cause of most of the AFM cases, it’s always important to practice disease prevention steps, such as staying up-to-date on vaccines, washing your hands, and protecting yourself from mosquito bites.”




Prynx Posted on October 25, 2018 23:29

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US volcano warning: 18 pose ‘very high’ threat level in shock USGS report

THE United States is under “very high” threat from 18 volcanoes according to a comprehensive new assessment

The USGS report lists the United States' most dangerous volcanoes (Image: GETTY)

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano tops the list of 161 active or potentially active volcanoes assessed by the USGS.

The government agency looked at 24 hazard and exposure factors to assesses the volcanoes and update a volcanic threat assessment published by scientist John Ewert and colleagues 13 years ago.

The US has seen 120 eruptions and 52 episodes of notable volcanic unrest at 44 US volcanoes since 1980, the USGS said.

And of the 161 volcanoes, the assessment classed 18 as very high threat, 39 high threat, 49 moderate threat, 34 low threat, and 21 very low threat volcanoes.

carried out by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The threat ranking is not an indication of which volcano will erupt next. “Rather, it is an indicator of the potential severity of impacts that could result from future eruptions at any given volcano

USGS report

The report, entitled 2018 Update to the US Geological Survey National Volcanic Threat Assessment, said: “The 2018 update of the 2005 assessment adds or raises the threat level for 12 volcanoes and reduces or removes threat level status from 20 volcanoes.

“The threat ranking is not an indication of which volcano will erupt next.

“Rather, it is an indicator of the potential severity of impacts that could result from future eruptions at any given volcano.”

Kilauea, which erupted spectacularly earlier this year on Hawaii’s Big Island, is rated the most dangerous with an overall threat score of 263, as well as an aviation threat score, referring to the danger posed to aircraft flying across its path, of 48.

Kilauea, on Hawaii's Big Island, is top of the list (Image: GETTY)

Lava from Kilauea snakes towards the sea (Image: USGS)

Lava from Kilauea destroyed more than 700 homes and businesses, while more than 2,000 people were evacuated, and the coastline of the island’s south-east corner was altered dramatically, with the creation of more than 500 acres of new land.

Islanders are still picking up the pieces after the widespread destruction, with Susie Osborne, headteacher of Kua O Ka La School, which was one of the buildings destroyed, admitting: “Our lives are altered forever.”

The eruptive activity at Kilauea continued for three months, but appears to have abated, and its alert level has been downgraded by Watch to Advisory.

Second on the list is Mount St Helens in Washington state, with a threat level of 235. Its aviation threat score of 59 makes it the most hazardous volcano to fly across in the entire United States

The massive Long Valley Caldera also has a (Image: USGS)

Mount St Helens erupted spectacularly in 1980, releasing more than 1.5 million metric tons of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.

A total of 57 people died as a result, as well as almost 7,000 deer, elk and bears.

More than 200 homes and 185 miles of road were also destroyed.

In third place is close neighbour Mount Rainier, also located in Washington, with a score of 203, and an aviation threat level of 37

Officially Mount Rainier, which is also the highest mountain in the Cascade Range which runs up the Pacific Northwest, is dormant, with the last official eruption having occurred in 1854.

However, it is also listed by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior as a “decade volcano”, one of 16 around the world identified as being worthy of particular study in light their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas.

Volcanologists believe an eruption from Mount Rainier would post a grave threat to the southern sections of the Seattle metropolitan area, which is home to 3.7 million people.

Slightly further down the list, in 18th place, is Long Valley Caldera, which experts said earlier this year has a reservoir of semi-molten magma swilling around underneath measuring a staggering 240 cubic miles, much of which would be released into the atmosphere in the event of an eruption.

Such an explosion would dwarf the 1980 Mount St Helens event, which released 0.29 cubic miles



Prynx Posted on October 25, 2018 21:47

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The town of women A place where wives don't see their husbands for years

There is a town in West Africa where it has become traditional for men to leave and seek work in Italy. The women are often left behind for years, or even for decades. But Beguedo in Burkina Faso is not unique. There are other towns in Africa where the same thing occurs - and many where it is repeated on a smaller scale, as men travel to neighbouring countries, or to Europe, hoping to find a well-paid job. How does a community survive when husbands and wives live thousands of miles apart?

Alimata Bara is a joker, always smiling, always laughing. Today she is laughing at her own misfortune - the misfortune of being a “celibate wife”. Seven years ago, at the age of 17, she married an “Italian” - a local man working in Italy. Since then she has spent less than six months with her husband. And of course, that is not the life she once imagined for herself. “When you are a young girl, what do you know about life? You see an Italian, and your whole body starts to shake,” she says, with another big laugh. We are sitting on the porch of her house in the compound belonging to her husband's family in the town of Beguedo, 230km (140 miles) south-east of Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

“We met in the market, and started chatting,” she recalls.Then he brought cola nuts to my parents. Within 10 days we were married.” Once upon a time, it took months to organise a marriage in a rural area like this. The suitor had to work in the parents' field, gain their trust, show that he could provide and be a good husband for the woman he longed for. But now, months have turned to weeks - and sometimes days, when the potential husband is on holiday and is about to head back to Europe. In Beguedo, the “Italians” usually come home in August or December. Those periods have become wedding seasons - a time when girls dress up and go out to parties in the hope of meeting a husband. It's a poor area, where migrant workers have long symbolised the promise of a better life. For a while, Alimata thought she was living the dream. Three weeks after a beautiful wedding ceremony, Saada went back to Italy. Alimata settled in with her parents-in-law and in due course gave birth to a daughter, Omayma.

Now six years old, she takes great delight in flipping through photo albums and pointing to “Daddy!” - Saada posing in a field among crates of tomatoes, a continent away. After their wedding, it was almost three years before Alimata was able to hold her husband in her arms again. He came back for three weeks in 2011, and then a couple of months in 2014. He has the papers that would allow him travel back and forth between Beguedo and Italy but cannot afford to. “Things are tough in Italy, it is harder and harder to find work,” Alimata says. “He has no money to buy a plane ticket.” The couple's second child, a boisterous boy named Obaidou, now three years old, has only seen his father once. Alimata is still smiling, though ruefully, when she describes her lonely nights.I spend so much time missing my husband. Sometimes you go to bed but you can't even sleep. But what are you going to do? Go and find another man? ”She shakes her head. “We don't do that here.” In Beguedo, scores of women share the same fate. Nematou, who lives just across Alimata's yard, is married to Saada's brother - and he is also working abroad.

Nematou and Alimata are almost the same age, and the two have become close, sharing the hardships of bringing up their children on their own, and cracking jokes about it as often as they can. Half the mothers in the village are in the same position, according to a former mayor, Beatrice Bara. It's an unseen consequence of the migration of thousands of African men to Europe. It's not like this in every town, but here and there circumstances conspire to draw large numbers of men abroad, leaving behind a town full of women, waiting for them on the continent they left behind. When they marry, the men promise to come back often, or to fetch their wives once they are properly settled on the other side. Some have. But that was before the economic crisis, and before Europe gradually turned into a fortress. Until the early 1990s, people from Burkina Faso did not even need a visa to travel to Italy. Even in 2008, when Alimata married Saada, she thought that in time she would join him in Italy. “He thought he would bring me along, but then he lost his job,” she says. “Over there, life is so expensive. You have to pay rent, big bills for electricity and water. Here in the village, it is simpler. We grow our crops, cook our food, go and get water at the borehole. And even when electricity bills come, it is not that much.” In some ways it also made sense for her to stay, to look after Saada's parents as they get older. She brings up the children, works on the land, cooks food - the household revolves around her. When Alimata eventually realised she would not be joining Saada in Italy, she thought at least that they would be comfortably off.

This is meant to be the consolation for an absent husband, and Beguedo - while it has no supermarket, and no hospital to speak of - has several places where people can receive money wired from abroad.

However, while Saada was able to build a one-bedroom house for Alimata in his parents' compound, he has never been successful enough in Italy to send much money home - just 25,000 CFA francs (about £25) now and then, with months in between. The last time Alimata received something was in May. Since then, nothing. Luckily she has never relied solely on Saada's money. When she was pregnant with her first child she would go and sell vegetables in the market. Her feet started to get swollen from sitting all day under the sun, and her husband told her to stay home, but by then she had saved a little money. So, after Omayma was born, she bought a couple of bags of charcoal and started to trade, reinvesting the profits. Now she buys at least 30 bags of charcoal at a time. Her husband pitched in to build a small shelter for her business in front of the house.

Whenever she has the time Alimata also cycles to her mother's field to help her work the land. They grow gombo, millet, onions and peanuts. “If my peanut crop is good this year, I will be the one paying for my husband's plane ticket,” she says, beaming. It's another joke. Five years of peanut crops would not pay for a plane ticket. Over the years, Alimata has stopped dreaming of joining Saada abroad. “Now I just want him to come back,” she says. At least he still calls often. “Before he only called when he could buy airtime. And sometimes I would not hear from him for a week or two. Or he would call but after a couple of minutes we would get cut off,” she explains. The last couple of months, things have changed. They have started to use Skype and Alimata is now a frequent customer at Beguedo's tiny cybercafe. “He says he misses me. From time to time, he sounds so disheartened,” she says. She feels lucky that they talk often. Some women find there are lengthening silences as a husband who is geographically distant becomes emotionally distant too.

Five wives

On some streets in Beguedo straw-roofed huts adjoin big houses. The big houses tend to belong to “old” Italians - those who left for Europe before the economic crisis, and found so many more opportunities there than the “new” Italians who followed them later.

Mominata Sambara is married to an old Italian. Her face is very wrinkled and she does not know her age. Her husband left for Italy almost 30 years ago, returning regularly enough for the couple to have seven children. “Things went well. Each month he would send 50,000 CFA francs (about £50). He built a house for us,” she says, sitting on a colourful mat in the front yard of her house. Her villa has a vast veranda, an intercom and a satellite dish. Her life seems peaceful - she works in the field, sells crops at the market and takes care of her grandchildren.

Next to Mominata sits her daughter-in-law, Fatimata, whose husband is also in Italy. “But things are different now,” she says. Fatimata is not so well off as her mother-in-law was. Beguedo's young men still want to believe Italian grass is greener though, possibly because those who return show off their success and hide their difficulties. “People who left but did not manage to make money abroad are stigmatised, and they usually don't even go back to stay in their village,” says Prof Mahamadou Zongo, a sociologist at Ouagadougou university. “They go to the capital where they can find anonymity.” The Italian dream has affected school attendance in Beguedo. Young men lose interest because they would rather make what they think is easy money in Italy, while young women are sometimes withdrawn from school to marry Italians. But Zongo says some women are becoming more aware of the downsides. “Between the wedding day and the next stop of the husband in the village, there can be up to five, six, seven years,” he says. In the meantime, the wife lives with her in-laws. She has to be obedient and docile. She is being watched. She can be rejected on a simple denunciation.”If someone in the husband's family considers her behaviour inappropriate, renunciation can be “as quick as a phone call”. And then there is the risk of having to accept a rival.

With a bittersweet smile, 50-year-old Adiassa (not her real name) says her life “is leaning towards the end”. Her marriage certainly is. Her husband of 30 years has lived in Italy for 20 years, and even took two of their sons to live and work there. “At the beginning, things were good, he would come back every couple of years, and send good money,” she recalls, adjusting the frayed beige veil that covers her head. “Yes, things were really good,” she repeats, cheekily making a noise with her lips to mimic kissing. But six years ago her husband informed her that he was planning on marrying a second time. I did not agree. No woman wants her husband to take a second wife, but he gave me no choice.” “He said I was too old now,” she grumbles. “And that if I did not agree, I could just leave.” The Bissa people who live in Beguedo and surrounding regions of Burkina Faso are Muslim. Polygamy is allowed in their culture. Yet it was a harsh blow for Adiassa when her husband not only married a much younger woman but also took this one with him abroad. She had hoped to see Italy herself, and had waited many years. “But I could not keep up,” she says. Her husband does not send money any more, nor does he call. Now she just relies on her children to take care of her.

Awa Sagne had a similar experience. Shortly after she got married, Awa's husband left her and their first child to find work abroad. He did not have enough money to get to Italy, so he went south to Gabon. Things were tough at first, but two years later Awa joined him. She became a hairdresser, and they had two more children. “I liked living somewhere other than here, and I enjoyed my work,” she says. But then she fell ill and had to go home. Her husband, meanwhile, finally made his way to Italy and prospered there. Three years ago, to demonstrate his success, he took a second wife. After years struggling with her husband to make ends meet, Awa, at the age of 38, is now sharing the family home with a wife almost 20 years younger than her. It's easy to appreciate the blow this represents to her pride, when she tells a story about an occasion years ago, when her husband was already working abroad and sent a disappointingly small amount of money home. Once he dared to send me 2,500 francs! (About £2.) What am I going to do with that? I looked again in the envelope, incredulous, and then just sent it back.” She then called him. “Thank you but no thank you,” she told him. “I would rather work and earn that money myself.”

It was perhaps as an insurance policy against a fate like this that 22-year-old Malika (not her real name), quietly opened a bank account after her marriage to an Italian three years ago. Whenever she can, she puts some money aside, even if it is just a few pennies. “You can't tell your husband everything. And you can't trust him 100%,” she argues. Even if he sent her enough money to provide for her, she would still work, she says. A Bissa proverb sums up her attitude: “If you sleep on someone else's mat, you might as well be sleeping on the floor.”

The "Italians"

For many wives in Beguedo, what happens in Italy stays in Italy. The women often don't know exactly where their husbands live, or what jobs they do. Alimata just knows that Saada has worked on farms. Her sister-in-law, Nematou, vaguely says her husband used to work in a factory. The women are aware that their husbands may have to move around, as they go from one job to the next. They can appreciate that their lives may be hard, but know little about their actual living conditions. In Beguedo, stories go around about Italians coming back with an Italian wife and treating their Beguedo wife as though she were a sister or a cousin for the duration of their stay. Many wives in the village don't even assume their partner remains faithful. When asked about the possibility of Saada having another wife in Italy, Alimata responds with a firm: “No, impossible.” But what about what some Africans call “opening a second office” - cheating, having a mistress?

Again, Alimata laughs out loud. “You can't know that. If I ask him, of course he is going to say, 'No.' But can a man go three years without laying hands on a woman?” She pauses, but does not expect an answer to her question. “Women are faithful,” she says. “But for men, it is a whole other story.” In any case, when he comes back, Saada will not face any scenes or jealous questioning. Alimata just hopes he will return, and be with her at last.

When contacted by telephone in Italy, where he is currently working on a farm outside the southern town of Foggia, Saada was tight-lipped, possibly to avoid annoying his employer. Agricultural labourers often have to work extremely long hours for low pay. When asked if he would have time to meet a reporter, Saada said he had no days off. Saada said he had been in Foggia since 2010, after losing another job at the time of the financial crisis in 2008 - the moment Alimata referred to when his income plunged. Men from the Bissa community first began travelling to work in Italy in the 1980s, after a man who had been working as a driver for a diplomatic family in Ivory Coast went with them to Rome and returned a wealthy man - by local standards, at least. “When he came back to visit Beguedo we watched him build a house and buy a nice motorbike, and we thought - as there is no work in Burkina, maybe we should go and help out abroad too?” says Inoussa Bara, one of the leaders of the Burkinabe community in Italy. Even before that, Bissa men were inveterate travellers, according Mahamadou Zongo, the sociologist.

In the past, some would migrate to the Gold Coast - now called Ghana. Others went to Ivory Coast. Italy, North Africa, and oil-rich countries in Central Africa, such as Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, are newer destinations. Culturally, migration is considered educational.” “Among the Bissa and the Mossi (another ethnic group in Burkina Faso), migration is almost part of the initiation, the path that leads from boyhood to manhood,” says Zongo. Someone who has travelled far, he says, is said to have “had his eyes opened”. According to Inoussa Bara (no relation of Saada Bara) the Bissa people make up 80% of the 45,000-strong Burkinabe community in Italy, which is the biggest in Europe.

When Inoussa set foot in Italy in 1991 its doors were wide open. “When you arrived at the airport, the border police asked you the purpose of your visit. 'I've come for a holiday.' 'For how long?' 'Two weeks.' 'How much money do you have for your stay?' … And if you had enough money in your pocket they would let you in. And then of course you didn't leave,” he says. In 1995 there was an amnesty for foreign workers, and he got his residence permit. Then in 1997 his wife came from Beguedo to live with him under the family reunification immigration policy.

Prof Mahamadou Zongo says the first Burkinabe immigrants worked in tomato fields in southern Italy - where, it's often been reported, many of them were and are still exploited by unscrupulous employers. After a while, some managed to move to northern Italy, where they got stable jobs in factories. According to Inoussa Bara it remained the case that new arrivals from Burkina Faso generally first worked in the south, then looked for opportunities to go north.That was until this year's immigration crisis and the opening of retention camps where immigrants may be held, then farmed out across Europe. With a degree in foreign languages, Inoussa Bara never worked in agriculture - he started out in a car-wash - but he too moved from Naples to northern Italy, where, in 2009, he was named Employee of the Year in a competition run by the Manpower recruitment agency. In recent years, even those who have found a steady job and acquired a residence permit have found it more difficult to bring wives to join them in Italy, because of changes to the family reunification policy.

In a recent story about the sorrow of celibate wives in Beguedo, a journalist in Burkina Faso compared them to Penelope, the wife of Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey.

She waits 20 years for her husband, who went away to fight and win a war, confronting all kinds of mythological creatures before he can return. She stays at home, raises her son, works tirelessly, and turns down other suitors, remaining faithful to Odysseus. Homer's epic has a happy ending, but life does not always mirror fiction. Alimata racks her brains to think of a way she and Saada could earn a good income, if he were to come home. But opportunities in Beguedo remain scarce to non-existent. “Maybe if I could have another business, plus the charcoal, then maybe we could work together,” she dreams. “Or if he can make enough money to come here and start a business of his own, that might allow him to spend half of the year here, and the other half in Italy. "That would really make me happy.”

jmparker Posted on October 25, 2018 15:44

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Robert Jones Locked up for 23 years - when the real killer had already been jailed

America imprisons a higher proportion of its citizens than anywhere else in the world, and Louisiana more than anywhere else in America. It is estimated that 14 out of every 1,000 adults in the state are in prison. This is the story of one of them, Robert Jones, who was jailed in the 1990s for killing a young British tourist in New Orleans. It was a crime another man had already been convicted of, but he was prosecuted anyway. The judge who sentenced the young father to life in prison now says his skin colour sealed his fate. But even today, more than 23 years after he was arrested, Robert Jones is still not a free man.

Murder of a tourist

British holidaymakers Julie Stott and her boyfriend Peter Ellis were on a trip to the US that was meant to be one they remembered for the rest of their lives. It was a celebration of the couple's engagement, though they had decided not to announce the news until they returned to the UK. On Tuesday 14 April 1992, having already visited Los Angeles and the Grand Canyon, the couple planned a night out in New Orleans. Julie chose a restaurant and later they went to see a Latin jazz band at the Cafe Brasil. At about 11.30pm the couple were strolling back to their hotel through the city's historic French Quarter, laughing and fooling around with a balloon they had found on the street. But suddenly, as they passed an old French convent, a man leaped out from the shadows, and pointed a gun at them. He shouted at them to lie down, but the couple froze in panic staring at the gun. The next moment the man started shooting. He fired two shots at Peter. One grazed the front of his shirt as he dived behind a parked car. Then the gunman turned to Julie, who was still standing startled in the middle of the road. She began to turn to run but as she did two shots rang out.

She slumped to the ground. The attacker turned, jumped into a car and sped off the wrong way down the one-way street. Peter rushed to his fiancee's side, trying to revive her. There was no response. He saw blood gushing from her arm and tried to stem the flow with his shirt. As he cradled her, he shouted for someone to call for an ambulance. But the second bullet had hit her in the head, just behind the ear and she was dying of her wounds.

Julie Stott

“When I got here, only Julie's clothes were left in the road. She had been taken away by the emergency medics,” says James Stewart, the murder detective called to investigate the killing. He had no trouble showing me the exact spot where the attack took place more than 23 years ago.“This crime scene is just burned on my brain. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Julie's boyfriend Peter Ellis was still here. He was in shock. He helped us piece things together trying to be as helpful as he could, but you could tell he was devastated.”Now an FBI agent based in Florida, Stewart says it was quickly apparent that Julie Stott's death was the result of a botched robbery. The entire confrontation, he estimates, took less than 30 seconds. While the details Peter Ellis gave were crucial, his description of the gunman was sketchy, so focused had he been on the gun. Stewart did have leads - the bullets used by the gunman and witness descriptions of the attacker's car. But he also knew the pressure would be on to find the murderer quickly. “At the time there were crime sprees in other American cities, like Miami, where tourists were targeted,” he says.

As soon as I realised this was the killing of a tourist in the US, I knew there would be a media blitz. But I've never seen anything like it on a case before or since.”What Stewart had not bargained for was the hunger for the story in the British media, which got involved in a way that dramatically altered the course of the case - and the life of Robert Jones.

Hunt for a killer

Stewart quickly learned some other important facts about the night of the murder. Just minutes before the shooting of Julie Stott, and just a short distance away in New Orleans's French Quarter, another couple had been robbed at gunpoint. And two hours after Julie was killed, another street robbery took place. Again the attacker was armed. Crucially, in both cases, descriptions of the gun and a burgundy car with a white roof used by the attacker matched those given by witnesses after the killing of Julie Stott, and by the victims of a sadistic robbery and rape a week earlier.

It was clear that Julie Stott's killer had embarked on a violent one-man crime spree and had already carried out at least four attacks in the city. Meanwhile, the UK media had begun crying out for this man to be brought to justice. Within days the Sun newspaper had offered a $10,000 reward. That news spread quickly in New Orleans and suddenly calls to the police flooded in. “Any time you throw around a lot of money like that, you're going to get all kinds of people calling in and all kinds of leads,” says Stewart.

Most of the tips were discarded, but then one came in that investigators thought they should explore further. “The caller identified some guys. He said they had all been in a bar talking about the murder and giving details that made him think they had been involved,” says Stewart, who was by this stage getting desperate for a breakthrough. One of those named by the caller was Robert Jones, a 19-year-old from a run-down neighbourhood who had already been in some scrapes with the law. He had been suspected of selling drugs, and though he had never been convicted of any crime, police had his picture on file. Soon after the tip came in, a woman who had been robbed, kidnapped and raped in a horrific, prolonged ordeal a week before the murder of Julie Stott, was in the police station for a follow-up interview. The investigator interviewing her said the police had news of a potential suspect and showed her a series of photographs.

Looking at the first picture, the rape victim said the man was too young. The second she did not recognise at all. The third she put to one side, before looking through the others. Ultimately, she went back to the third picture. That, she said, was the man who had attacked her.

The third photograph was of Robert Jon

It was about 4am when police officers surrounded Jones's home. “We were in bed asleep when we heard a lot of noise outside, and banging on the doors. All around we hear people shouting, 'Open up!'” says Kendra Harrison, then Jones's 17-year-old girlfriend.

Kendra Harrison

Someone opened the front door and they all just rushed in, pointing their guns at us and shouting. It was total chaos, everybody was hollering and crying.” She says the police made everyone - Jones and her, and their two young children, plus Jones's mother and his five younger siblings - lie flat on the floor.

Only then did they shout out who they were looking for. Robert Jones was quickly in handcuffs and being hauled out of the house. “He kept on asking them what he was being arrested for. We didn't understand what was going on. I was so lost and confused. We all were,” says Harrison. “After they took Robert away there was chaos, tears. Everybody was crying all over the place.”

Later, Jones was shown on TV bulletins being taken to Orleans Parish Jail, bare-chested and with his hands cuffed behind his back, accused of the murder of Julie Stott. TV news crews interviewed tourists, who talked of their relief that a killer had been caught. In the UK too, Robert Jones's arrest was being widely reported. “The Sun traps Julie's Killer” ran The Sun's front-page headline.

The Sun front page, 20 April 1992 The mayor of New Orleans was quoted congratulating and thanking the newspaper for offering the $10,000 reward that appeared to have led to the arrest (though there is in fact no evidence to suggest a reward was ever paid). Inside the newspaper, above a picture of Robert Jones, was the headline, Beast of the Jungle.

He was a “junkie murderer”, the story said, going on to describe the squalid conditions in the Jones family house, and to accuse him of a string of crimes - rape, kidnapping and robbery, as well as the callous shooting of Julie Stott.

But Detective James Stewart was uncomfortable. “It was hard not to publicise that arrest, the media were all over the case, but I thought the headlines were overblown because we knew there was a lot more work to do.” “The only things we had from the murder scene were a car and a bullet casing, and we hadn't yet tied Robert back to either,” he says. His misgivings proved well-founded. On 20 April 1992, six days after Julie Stott was killed - and the very day British newspapers ran triumphant headlines about the killer being caught - another young couple walking through New Orleans was suddenly confronted by a gunman. He ordered them to lie on the ground. They complied. With jewellery that the couple then handed over, the attacker got away. He drove off in a distinctive burgundy car with a white roof.

Robert Jones (no 5) in a police line-up, 1992

Nightmare in court

Thanks to what they had seen on the news, or read in newspapers, many in New Orleans believed that the violent attacker who had terrorised their city and killed a British tourist had now been caught. But detectives, who had by this stage formed a special taskforce, knew otherwise. They continued to look for the real gunman, and could not have hoped for better than what happened next.

It was reported that a car fitting the description given in all five crimes in the spree was parked outside a home in a poor area of the city - a housing development known as the Desire Projects. When detectives went to investigate, they found what appeared to be the burgundy car with a white roof that witnesses had described. More than that, a man identifying himself as the owner approached them, asking why they were sniffing around his car. A sharp-eyed detective immediately noticed that both the ring and the wristwatch the man was wearing matched descriptions of items stolen during the crime spree. On closer inspection, it was found that he was also wearing a gold chain stolen in another of the robberies - and a medallion and chain stolen during the rape. The man, 30-year-old Lester Jones (no relation to Robert), was arrested.

Car linked to the crimes

In his car, four more rings stolen during the crime spree and a pair of round wire-rimmed glasses described by the rape victim were discovered. And at his home there were clothes that matched those worn by the rapist, other items stolen during the robberies and one other crucial bit of evidence, in a jacket hanging in Lester Jones's bedroom wardrobe. “In Lester's apartment we found a weapon and bullets,” says James Stewart. “We quickly had them tested and the ballistics guy over in our lab was able to tie the gun to the bullet removed from Julie Stott's body.” In the days that followed, some of the victims of the crimes - including the robberies immediately before and after the murder of Julie Stott - identified Lester Jones as their attacker.

“We had everything we could want,” says Stewart. We had compelling physical evidence that linked Lester to all the crimes and nothing to link Robert to any of them.” “We still felt we had to positively exclude Robert from our investigations and that meant making sure there were no ties between Robert and Lester. We found none.” So, in August 1994, following a trial attended by the parents of Julie Stott, and where testimony was given by her fiance, Peter Ellis, Lester Jones was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He would soon be found guilty of other offences committed during the crime spree, though not the rape.

Inside Lester Jones's car

“I've always worked under the assumption it was one perpetrator, and we found him and he was going to jail. And once Lester Jones got convicted then I thought that the case was over with, it was done with,” says Stewart. But incredibly, two years after his arrest, Robert Jones had still not been released. And in March 1996, now 23 years old, he too went on to be convicted of some of Lester Jones’s crimes - the killing of Julie Stott and some robberies – and in his case the rape too. No-one mentioned at the trial that Lester Jones had already been jailed for some of these offences. Prosecutors described him as a man convicted of violent crimes - a dangerous associate of Robert Jones. They insisted the two were friends, despite the fact that detectives - including James Stewart - had told the prosecutor's office that they were not. Even though the original tip implicating Robert Jones related to Julie Stott's murder, the trial focused almost solely on the charge of rape, and the identification made by the rape victim. Prosecutors claimed that Robert had borrowed Lester's car and gun, carried out that attack, then given back Lester his car, weapon and all of the items he had stolen.

When they came back and said 'Guilty', I felt like I died. It was like it was a moment of total despair for me. I was totally crushed internally.” I can't put that moment into words,” Jones told me from prison.

Robert Jones in 1992 and 2015

Once he was convicted of rape, the prosecutors offered to downgrade the murder charge to manslaughter if he pleaded guilty to this and the other charges - a deal he accepted to avoid the risk, which must at the time have seemed a strong probability, of ending up on death row. The trial had lasted less than 10 hours. The parents of Julie Stott, now both deceased, were never informed that a second man was convicted of killing their daughter. Even the murder detective in the case, James Stewart, only found out in 2013. Jones was sent to Louisiana State Penitentiary, the famous prison known as “Angola” built on a huge former slave plantation. “It's like I've been having a nightmare for more than 23 years and I'm still waiting for someone to wake me up,” he told me. To this day, prisoners (more than three-quarters of whom are black) work in the fields, often picking cotton under the watch of (predominantly white) armed prison officers. Did race play a part in putting Robert Jones there? One key figure in the case now says that it did.

Judge's revelation

I meet Judge Calvin Johnson in the spacious hallways of New Orleans's grand criminal court. It's a place he came to love over his long career, but one where he now says grave injustices were done. “The fact that Robert Jones was wrongly convicted and is in jail for something he arguably he didn't do weighs heavily on me,” says the judge, now retired, who presided over Robert's trial in 1996. “But we had a prosecutor's office that was not forthcoming in providing information that could help defendants. It was playing fast and loose with the truth and was negligent across several cases and they did it consistently. That is what happened with Robert Jones.”Himself an African-American, Johnson makes the astonishing claim that the system worked to put as many young, black men behind bars for as long as possible.

Judge Calvin Johnson

“That wasn't anything unique about Robert Jones or that time. I mean that was the driving force in this town for decades,” he says.

The way we looked at Robert Jones was: 'If he didn't do this, he did something else and therefore his punishment is not justified for this particular act, it's justified for other things he did and got away with.'”

Both of the prosecutors involved in Robert's case declined to be interviewed.The first is Roger Jordan, now a defence lawyer. In 2005, in a rare ruling, the Louisiana Supreme Court barred him from practising law for three months for withholding evidence in another case. He said “professional rules of ethics” prevented him from discussing Robert Jones's case with me. The second is Fred Menner, who argued the case against Robert Jones in court and is still a prosecutor. Again, he said he could not speak to me on the record about an active case. But in September of this year, a memo that Menner wrote in 1996 was finally made public. In essence, it concedes that there was no admissible evidence against Robert Jones in the Julie Stott murder case.

Another person I wanted to talk to was Robert Jones's original defence attorney, Curklin Atkins, and as he never returned my calls I decided to visit his home.  After several minutes knocking on his front door, I noticed a movement in the car parked in the driveway. It appeared to be a head slowly being raised which disappeared again suddenly when I turned. It was Atkins, so I walked over to talk to him through the car window. “People can say whatever they want to say, they wasn't in the heat of the battle,” he said, referring to people who have criticised his handling of the case. The idea that it was his incompetence that led to Robert Jones spending 23 years in jail for crimes he did not commit, he dismissed as “impossible”. “While people on the side are sitting back criticising and saying, 'You could have did this, you could have did that, you could have investigated this, investigated that,' they didn't spend the time - they could have went down there and represented Robert Jones.” Any other defence attorney might also have failed to find out that Lester Jones had already been convicted of Julie Stott's murder, he said.

Curklin Atkins

Some might argue that the massive volume of cases going through the criminal justice system in Louisiana is bound to result in mistakes. Others have suggested that prosecutors may have withheld evidence to speed up trials, or simply to win. It is hard to prove Judge Johnson's allegation that there was a conspiracy to lock up as many black youths as possible, but another senior figure in the Louisiana justice system accepts that something was badly wrong during the 30 years the state prosecutor's office was run by District Attorney Harry Connick (father of the jazz musician and singer, Harry Connick Jr). “Certainly the reputation of this office traditionally has been stained, there is no question about that,” says the man doing the job now, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

There is also no question that this is not the only case, there have been other cases, where prosecutors either intentionally or negligently withheld evidence. The best I can do is move forward.” “From this point, from the moment I took office, what we said we were going to do, is those things are not going to happen.” But despite this admission, in the past Cannizzaro has strenuously fought accusations that the prosecutor’s office exhibited a pattern of failures. On that basis, he refused $14m in compensation to a man named John Thompson, who was freed from death row after evidence withheld by prosecutors was finally brought to light. He also fought to prevent any court ruling that Robert Jones's trial was unfair, but in June the Louisiana Supreme Court finally dismissed his appeals. He then wanted a bond of $2.25 million to be paid if Jones was to be released ahead of a retrial. But in mid-November that demand was rejected by a judge, who said that pending a retrial - on the charge of rape - Robert could finally leave jail.

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro

Almost free

Late in the afternoon on Friday 20 November, 23 years and seven months after he was arrested, Robert Jones walks out of jail, with arms raised, to be engulfed by his family.



Among those waiting for him are his elderly mother, his sister and a daughter, Bree, born eight months after he was dragged from the family home in handcuffs.

All are in tears except Jones himself, who is beaming and calmly telling them everything is going to be all right.

“It was wonderful, it's a beautiful feeling, I couldn't have dreamed of that feeling,” Jones tells me later.

“The burden of all this weight of being incarcerated was being lifted, like I wanted to fly - that's why I held my hands up, because I wanted to fly.”

I am meeting him the day after his release in a restaurant close to the home he once shared with his mother and siblings - his first trip to a restaurant for more than two decades.

In his hand is a smartphone his daughter has given him, which he struggles to use. When he was arrested the internet barely existed and mobile phones were the size of bricks.

He is wearing the new clothes they have just bought together.

I ask him what it was like to be in prison for so long.

“A complete nightmare actually, a real nightmare. You can't find the words in the dictionary to describe the cruelty,” he says. When you're in prison serving a life sentence, even for something you did do, life is just rough, man. It's a deeper, greater injustice when you're innocent. It's real tough.”

How did he get through it?

“My faith in God,” he replies. “And it's a true saying that the truth will set you free one day, when you can find it. And that was a problem for me, just finding the truth. The truth was buried so deep and God was able to reveal those things.”His close relationship with 22-year-old Bree, his youngest child, has been built entirely on prison visits and phone calls that automatically cut off after 15 minutes.“ I'd get emotional and upset at the end of the call, when they say there's one minute left,” she says. “I'd have so much to say.”

The two were never able to have their photograph taken together, so Jones painted a picture instead. It shows Bree in a lab coat - she has been studying at university and is now about to graduate. “Every year I think, 'He's gonna be home this year,'” she says, talking of the many times she wished her father had been around. “I saw my friends ride bikes and eat out with their parents… I graduated high school, he missed all those moments. It was like he was here, but not here.”

Bree with her father's painting

For years now, Jones has been fighting to clear his name. At one point he asked for DNA tests to be carried out, but forensic samples gathered after the rape had somehow disappeared and there was nothing left to test. Desperate as he was to leave prison, he refused a deal offered by the district attorney's office to admit to some of the charges he had been convicted of in exchange for freedom.

Reporters at Robert Jones's release on bail

In the end a judge released him. But he is still being monitored, he has a curfew, and the district attorney, Leon Cannizzaro, still insists that that he go through the ordeal of a retrial. In jail, Jones studied law and became a legal counsellor to other inmates, meeting many he felt sure were innocent but who never got out. Some, he says, lost their minds, and over the years 39 of them died. He suddenly breaks down at the memory of these wasted lives.

“That's something that gives me the resilience to fight. It's not just for me but for a lot of those guys as well. Because a lot of them, who I know were actually innocent, they died,” he says, still wiping away tears. A lot of guys have lost hope in the system. That motivates me to stand tall, to make sure my case gives them some hope and to create a better system for them.”

Emily Maw, director of the Innocence Project New Orleans, who has fought for years to clear Robert's name, says Jones's case stands out. It is one of the most obvious wrongful convictions she has seen.

Emily Maw

“When you start to read about it you think this cannot be true, I must be missing something,” she says. But in other respects she believes it is far from unique. Some justice charities estimate there are hundreds of innocent people in prison in New Orleans alone. Calvin Johnson, the judge at Jones's 1996 trial, agrees that Robert Jones is just the visible tip of the iceberg.

New Orleans, Louisiana, The South, America, our justice system is replete with Robert Joneses.“It's replete with individuals, because of how the justice system has operated over the decades,” he says. “We've ended up with people who were wrongly prosecuted, wrongly convicted, people who had mountains of evidence not provided which could have exonerated them. “When you drill down to New Orleans, and you factor in the race thing, then you're just multiplying the effect.” The truth in Robert Jones's case was not easy to unearth. In cases where the convicted man's innocence is less obvious, it may be buried even deeper. What will happen to the other Robert Joneses?

jmparker Posted on October 25, 2018 15:13

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Sony Develops Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet Tech, Plans to ‘Commercialize’ it

Electronics giant Sony has developed technology that it believes will help cryptocurrency users store their assets more securely, and that technology might just be coming soon to store near you.


The Japanese tech conglomerate this week announced that its Computer Science Laboratories division (Sony CSL) had developed a cryptocurrency hardware wallet that could be used to store bitcoin and other digital assets in a secure offline environment while retaining the convenience of less-secure online crypto storage systems.

Unlike conventional cryptocurrency hardware wallets like the Trezor One and Ledger Nano S, which connect to the user’s PC or mobile device using a USB cord, Sony CSL’s wallet would store the user’s private keys on a contactless IC card, enabling the user to easily sign transactions from an NFC-enabled mobile device.


Sony explained:


“This IC card type hardware wallet is small, portable and useful, unlike typical existing hardware wallets that connect to PCs via USB. In addition, it is possible to securely generate and store a private key with a highly reliable tamper-proof module within the IC card.”


The release further noted that this type of wallet card would have “multiple possible applications,” including allowing a user to sign a blockchain transaction authorizing the use of their personal information.


Perhaps most notably, Sony’s development of cryptocurrency tech does not appear to be a mere research project, or, as is often the case, an instance of a company seeking to position itself as an innovator in cutting-edge technology, even though it has no plans to convert its research into real-world products and applications.

Earlier this year, Sony applied to patent a system that uses blockchain technology for digital rights management (DRM). Just this month, the company unveiled the production version of that system, which will build on Sony Global Education’s already-existent DRM platform for sharing educational data.


In its latest announcement, the firm said it plans to work toward the “commercialization” of its cryptocurrency wallet, with the ultimate aim of furthering the spread of blockchain technology.


The company said, “Sony CSL will continue advancing towards the commercialization of that ‘cryptocurrency hardware wallet technology’ that allows for safe and secure transactions of digital assets including cryptocurrencies with the aim of further…adoption of blockchain technology.”

KaroA Posted on October 25, 2018 15:05

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Suspected explosives sent to Biden, De Niro as investigation into pipe bombs intensifies

Authorities are investigating suspicious packages sent to former president Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and other political figures. Several packages containing pipe bombs packed with shards of glass have been intercepted in the last few days

By Devlin Barrett, Mark Berman and Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

October 25 at 9:12 AM

Former vice president Joe Biden takes a moment as fans cheer when a supporter shouted that Biden should run for president in 2020, during a rally for Democrats in downtown Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018.Joe Burbank /Orlando Sentinel via AP

Authorities found packages that appeared to contain pipe bombs addressed to former vice president Joe Biden and the actor Robert De Niro, officials said Thursday, setting off a new wave of alarm amid a sprawling investigation into pipe bombs mailed to prominent political figures and critics of President Trump.

The new packages, which resemble those sent to figures including former president Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, were located in Delaware and New York. The discoveries mean that authorities have recovered nine similar packages as part of the investigation. Like the others, the latest packages were intercepted before reaching their intended targets.

The devices found so far, which officials described as pipe bombs, have put many in the country on edge, and authorities have begun an intensive effort to find other explosives that may still be out there. Police have increased patrols of high-profile people, areas and organizations that could be targeted, and authorities have warned some prominent figures -- including former president Jimmy Carter -- to be on alert.

A view of actor Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Grill restaurant on October 25, 2018, in New York City. ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Investigators found a package addressed to Biden in a Delaware mail facility that was like those containing pipe bombs found this week, according to a law enforcement official. The package was apparently not delivered to Biden’s home and may have been on its way to being returned to the person listed on the return address of the envelope, the official said.

In a statement Thursday morning, the FBI declined to confirm that a package addressed to Biden was found, instead saying only that local and state police, along with U.S. Postal Service investigators and FBI agents, were “responding this morning to a United States Postal facility in Delaware to conduct law enforcement activity.”

A similar package was also found addressed to De Niro, who has publicly clashed with Trump, at his production offices in Manhattan, according to law enforcement officials. This package was discovered around 5 a.m. by security personnel working for De Niro’s film company, Tribeca Productions, according to police. A police spokesman said the parcel “was similar to explosive packages that had been publicized.”

An X-ray of the package indicated a similar pipe bomb inside, and investigators suspect it was sent by the same person who sent explosives to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and others, a law enforcement official said.

Video from the scene showed the NYPD bomb squad removing the package in a heavily armored containment truck. It was transported to Rodman’s Neck, a peninsula in the Bronx where the NYPD explodes bombs, the department said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) urged people across the city to be on alert, and to refrain from opening suspicious packages. “Alert authorities, call 911,” de Blasio said on CNN. He added that New York had “put an additional NYPD presence outside media companies across the city, outside the offices of certain elected officials.”

The hunt for a serial mail bomber began late Tuesday when Secret Service personnel conducting standard mail screenings found a pipe bomb inside a plain manila envelope with a bubble-wrapped interior addressed to Clinton, the former secretary of state. A similarly packaged bomb was found hours later in mail addressed to Obama.

President Donald Trump and Leah Vukmir, a Republican Senate candidate from Wisconsin, gesture during a campaign rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Neither bomb got close to its intended target, and neither contained a written message, according to law enforcement officials. But the finds led to the discovery of other undetonated devices elsewhere, including in the mailroom at CNN’s New York headquarters and a district office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).

As more devices were found, a disturbing pattern emerged — the bomber or bombers appeared to be targeting prominent figures on the political left, many of whom have been targets of President Trump’s incendiary rhetoric.

[The instant, inevitable cries of ‘false flag’ after bomb threats targeting the Clintons, Obamas and CNN]

The first such package was discovered Monday at the New York home of George Soros, a billionaire activist known to fund pro-democracy and liberal political groups.

The package addressed to De Niro came after he had also publicly tangled with Trump.

President Donald Trump has claimed much of the “Anger” in society is “caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media.”

Trump’s tweet Thursday came as law enforcement was investigating pipe bombs and other suspicious packages addressed to prominent Democrats including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and to CNN.

Without referring specifically to the rash of explosive devices, Trump said: “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News.” Trump frequently labels stories he doesn’t like as “fake news.”

The president says what he calls “fake news” has gotten bad and the mainstream media must “clean up its act, FAST.”

An explosive sent to CNN prompted the evacuation of the Time Warner Center in New York, but no one was hurt.

Wilmington police and postal officials are investigating a suspicious package on the 1500 block of Lancaster Avenue. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other officials described the devices discovered this week as attempted acts of terrorism, and authorities cautioned that the number of bombs — and intended victims — could grow. FBI Director Christopher A. Wray issued an appeal for the public’s help to catch the bomber and warned people not to touch suspicious packages.

Law enforcement officials described the devices as pipes stuffed with explosive material and wrapped in electrical wire and tape, but they provided no detail on how they would have been detonated.

The FBI, the Secret Service, the NYPD and other agencies kicked into high gear Wednesday morning trying to determine who was behind the bombs — and how many more may be en route to intended victims. At least two of the devices appeared to have been hand-delivered, according to law enforcement officials.

“We will not rest until we stop these hazardous devices from being mailed and bring the individual or individuals to justice,” said C. Bryan Paarmann, an FBI counterterrorism official. The devices have been sent to the FBI’s lab in Quantico, Va., for further analysis.

Officials said the packages used as a return address the office of Wasserman Schultz, who chaired the Democratic National Committee during part of the 2016 election campaign. One such package used an incorrect address for former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr., and it was “returned” to her office in Sunrise, Fla., where it was intercepted, according to officials. Authorities do not believe she had anything to do with the packages and think she was a potential victim. A spokesman for Holder declined to comment.

The pipe bomb found in the mail at CNN’s headquarters in New York was addressed to former CIA director John O. Brennan. Since leaving the government, Brennan has been an outspoken critic of Trump; he is an on-air analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, rather than CNN.

On Wednesday night, the FBI issued a statement saying investigators found “two additional packages, both addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters, that are similar in appearance” to the other five.

In a statement, Waters (D-Calif.) said she was told by police that her office “was the target of a suspicious package that has been referred to the FBI. I am appreciative of the law enforcement entities who intercepted the package and are investigating this matter. I unequivocally condemn any and all acts of violence and terror.”

The packages came with computer-printed address labels, six Forever stamps and return addresses with Wasserman Schultz’s name misspelled, officials said.

Amid the frenetic pace of the investigation, some alarms turned out to be false. A suspicious package sent to New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) was in fact a thumb drive, according to the NYPD. Authorities also searched an office building in San Diego that houses a newspaper before concluding there was nothing dangerous there.

The known recipients of the bombs are all frequent targets of conservative politicians, including Trump. Speaking at the White House, the president decried the bombs and pledged that the federal government would bring those responsible to justice.

“In these times, we have to unify,” he said. “We have to come together and send one very clear, strong and unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.”

But hours later, at a rally in Wisconsin, Trump blamed the media and others for incivility, even as he refrained from acknowledging his own inflammatory rhetoric.

Speaking in Florida on Wednesday, Clinton said her family was “fine, thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home.”

She also spoke to the anger pulsing through American politics: “It is a troubling time, isn’t it? It is a time of deep divisions, and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together.”


joewalash Posted on October 25, 2018 14:25

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Ethiopia appoints first female president in its modern history in latest reform

By Paul Schemm

October 25 at 7:05 AM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethi­o­pia — Ethiopia’s Parliament on Thursday approved the East African country’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, a veteran of the United Nations and the diplomatic corps.

Sahle-Work Zewde leaves Parliament after being elected as Ethiopia's first female president, in Addis Ababa on Oct. 25, 2018. (Eduardo Soteras/AFP/Getty Images)

The position of president is ceremonial in Ethiopia, with executive power vested in the office of the prime minister. But the appointment is deeply symbolic and follows up on last week’s cabinet reshuffle. Half the ministers are now women in Africa’s second-most populous country.

“In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life,” tweeted Fitsum Arega, the prime minister’s chief of staff and de facto government spokesman.

Parliament accepted the resignation of Mulatu Teshome, who had served as president since 2013.

Sahle-Work Zewde (L) walks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (R) after being elected as Ethiopia's first female President at the Parliament in Addis Ababa. (AFP)

In remarks Parliament after she took her oath of office, Sahle-Work emphasized the imporance of respecting women and the need to build a “society that rejects the oppression of women.” She also promised to work for peace and unity in the country.

Ethiopia’s young new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April, has initiated a whirlwind of reforms, releasing political prisoners, inviting back exiles and making peace with the country’s chief opponent, Eritrea, after two decades of hostilities.

Abiy has also publicly declared the need to promote women in what has been a largely patriarchal conservative society.

A woman now heads one of the most powerful ministries in the country, the Ministry of Peace, which controls the intelligence agency and security forces. Muferiat Kamil, the former speaker of the house, heads the ministry, which aims to tackle the widespread ethnic unrest that has erupted in the country since the easing of the authoritarian control.

Amid these progressive moves and reforms, however, the government has been criticized for failing to contain the ethnic unrest in the countryside and for the arrest of thousands of people in Addis Ababa, some of whom then spent time in reeducation camps.

Sahle-Work becomes modern Ethiopia’s first female head of state, though in the country’s history there have been empresses who wielded great power.

Sahle-Work, 68, was previously the special representative of the United Nations secretary general to the African Union. Before that, she headed the organization’s Nairobi office with the rank of undersecretary general.

She began her diplomatic career as ambassador to Senegal in 1989 with responsibilities in neighboring African countries and later went to Djibouti before eventually serving as ambassador to France, where she had previously studied.

Among her many roles with the United Nations was head of the U.N. Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic until 2011.

According to Ethiopia’s constitution, the president is the head of state, but the office’s powers are ceremonial and include opening Parliament, appointing ambassadors following the prime minister’s recommendation and receiving the credentials of foreign envoys.

The president is limited to two six-year terms.



joewalash Posted on October 25, 2018 13:57

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Twins whose lives were torn apart by a terrible accident.

Anna and Lauren were as close as you might expect identical twins to be. They shared a bedroom, sat together in lessons and enjoyed the same hobbies, like basketball and tennis. “People used to call us The Twins,” Anna, 23, says. “We used to get one card, one birthday invite.” “People were convinced we could read each other’s minds,” Lauren adds.

The sisters had grown up in Scotland with their older sister Aisha. However, they moved to Sheffield as teenagers to live with their dad after their parents divorced. Aisha stayed behind in Scotland.

“If I ever needed someone to talk to, Anna was always the person,” Lauren says.

Three years ago, Anna was very focused on her future. She was studying graphic design at college and preparing for her driving test. In contrast, Lauren didn’t know what she wanted to do. She had applied for baking apprenticeships and taken some psychology courses, but nothing had quite stuck.

She and Anna would talk about their futures on night-time walks near their home.

“We called it pit-top hill. It was nice and quiet up there,” Lauren says.

“The stars would be out and you could chat and no-one was rushed. There was laughter and banter.”

The sisters enjoyed walking in the dark. That was why they got off their bus one stop early on the way home from a concert in December 2015. It was a fateful decision.

Anna was crossing the road when she was hit by a car. Her head struck the windscreen and she was thrown up in the air before landing on the tarmac.

“I stood there for a second thinking, ‘She’s going to get back up, she’s going to get back up,’” Lauren says.

“But she didn’t, so I ran to her and saw she was shaking. I put her jacket over her as I thought it would help, but it didn’t. I was shouting to everyone who stopped to get an ambulance.”

Lauren was relieved to see Anna was still breathing, but she was bleeding from the side of the head.

A doctor passing by stopped to help and Lauren found herself relaying numbers she didn’t understand to an ambulance operator. Once the ambulance arrived she called her dad who rushed out to join them.

At the hospital, Lauren’s dad called the family while they waited for news.

“My leg was shaking so much and dad was putting out a hand trying to stop it,” Lauren says.

Anna had survived but her condition was unstable and doctors were very concerned about her head injuries. The impact of the car had caused her brain to rock forwards and backwards against her skull, causing it to bleed and swell. They drilled a hole in her skull to try to relieve some of the pressure and placed her in an induced coma.

One of Anna’s legs had shattered and a titanium rod was inserted from her hip to her knee. After four days, she was considered stable enough to be transferred to a neuro-intensive care unit at a nearby hospital.

As her sedative was decreased, Anna made small but promising signs of recovery. She opened her eyes for a few moments, then for a few minutes. Random arm movements became deliberate ones and she made signs of recognising her sister and parents. However, there were worrying moments, too.

“There were times when Anna would start saying, ‘I want Lauren, I want Lauren,’ and I’d be in front of her gripping her hand saying, ‘I'm here,’ but she would keep saying, ‘I want Lauren’. It was scary,” Lauren says.

Lauren visited her twin every day and found it difficult to go home and take a break. She experienced flashbacks of the accident that left her shaking with fear, and struggled to cope with waves of guilt and anger.

“I’d go kicking doors, it was the only way I knew how to cope at that point. I had so much anger. I didn’t know what she was going to be like,” Lauren says.

The interactive VR experience Is Anna OK? is available to download from the Oculus store and is currently touring the UK.

You can also watch the full-length animation on YouTube here.

Doctors warned the family that Anna’s recovery would be a long and unpredictable process. They were told her brain injuries could affect, among other things, her memory, concentration, insight, motivation, mood and behaviour. Each patient was different. One unusual example was when Anna’s mum showed her ultrasound scans of her big sister Aisha’s baby, and for a few days Anna was convinced it was hers. “Her brain was slowly trying to take everything in and sort it out,” Lauren says. 
You want to rest but day after day people hoist you up and pull your limbs about. You hate it and you shout and swear at them, but they keep coming back. Each morning there’s a food tray and some clothes by your bed. You’re not sure why they’re there, so you ignore them. Anna had post-traumatic amnesia. Her first concrete memories are from a month after the accident when she moved to a neuro-rehabilitation unit. “I remember being very confused and very mentally stressed,” she says. “I used to get Lauren to help me. So if I wanted a shower she would help me to the room, and show me where the towels were kept and pick a towel and make sure I remembered my shampoo and fresh clothes. I wouldn’t have thought about these things otherwise.”

Anna started occupational therapy sessions to help her with memory, planning and decision making. “They would get me to look at three pictures but I could never remember them for the next session,” Anna says. “Or they’d ask me to take away seven from a number. The guy told me not to worry about it but I was like, ‘I’m worrying about it. I can’t count.’”Anna was encouraged to keep a diary and put alarms on her phone to prompt her to do different tasks. Her family were told to try not to help her too much.

Over time, she remembered the layout of the ward and settled into a daily routine. But she frequently asked to go home, insisting she had recovered. “I don’t think I understood why I had to be there,” Anna says. “Everything was just mush in my head.” Lauren would visit each day to keep her sister company. She noticed Anna suffered from mental fatigue and would often zone out when watching TV and stare at the wall instead.

“I’d see it on her face. You could talk to her but it wouldn’t go in,” Lauren says.

“She would say she was bored or couldn’t concentrate.” Lauren also felt exhausted as she was never off duty. She received early morning texts from Anna and felt obliged to reply. “We’d leave notes explaining what she had to do in the morning and when we’d be there, but she’d still text, ‘Where are you? Are you nearly here? How can I see you? I can’t find you,’” Lauren says. “Sometimes we’d come and she’d still be in her jammies and not have eaten because she wouldn’t ask for help. She needed someone to say, ‘Right Anna, let’s get dressed and have some food.’ The nurses just left her to it.”

Anna was discharged from the rehabilitation unit after two months. Back at home, Lauren became her main carer as their dad had to return to work and their mum could only travel down from Scotland on weekends. Lauren showed Anna jobs around the house such as how to lay the table and do the laundry.

Anna was happy to be home but struggled with little to occupy her. She was frustrated that she wasn’t able to restart her driving lessons or go back to college. “She’d be angry because she said there was nothing wrong with her, but she didn’t realise she had repeated the same thing three times that morning,” Lauren says. “If people spoke too fast to her it was an overload of information and she would get frustrated because she couldn’t take it all in.” Sometimes Anna’s frustration would boil over and she would slam doors and scream at Lauren, calling her names. Lauren knew it was a symptom of her brain injury but the words still hurt.

“I had to explain to Anna, ‘This isn’t my fault. What’s happened has happened, we have to slowly accept it,’” Lauren says. Anna would often retreat to her room to listen to music. She found certain songs especially meaningful, such as Jessie J’s track Masterpiece. “It goes, ‘I’m still working on my masterpiece’, so it’s saying you’re still on your journey,” Lauren says.You’re cold so you open your wardrobe to find a jacket. But inside all the clothes are just black and you don’t want any of it. You rip one of the jackets off the hanger and throw it on the floor. Jeans, skirts and tops follow until they are all lying in a heap. You’re just going to bin them. Lauren tried to help Anna by taking her on walks back to pit-top hill.

“Going up again made me feel good,” Lauren says. “It helped me start remembering things.”If they went out for a meal she’d pick three options for Anna so she wouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the choice. “Lauren is the one who has always understood me,” Anna says. The family moved back up to Scotland in October 2016 so that Anna’s mum could share the caring duties. However, it meant Anna’s out-patient support stopped for months while her medical records were transferred. That winter the family decided to visit the Christmas market in town. They thought it would be a nice treat for Anna but she stood at the edge of the stalls and refused to join in with trying things on. “I could see her rolling her eyes and looking down and she was very frustrated,” Lauren says.

“Dad said, ‘Oh Anna, pull yourself together, I will buy you a hat to keep you warm.’ And she said, ‘I don’t want a hat I want to go home.'” Anna felt overwhelmed by the crowds, noise and lights at the market. “I sometimes feel cut off from my family because they don’t understand. It’s an invisible condition,” Anna says. Lauren had got a tattoo after the accident in tribute to Anna. It said, “Though she be but little she is fierce.”

Now Anna has got one, too – a semi-colon on her wrist. “It shows life is like a big book, if something bad happens then you just turn the page,” Anna says. Lauren wanted to work in neuro-rehabilitation after seeing how the specialists had helped her sister and her fellow patients. “I found it really interesting. Like there was one guy who was learning a word a day and he was so happy with his progress,” she says. So in May 2017, she started a job working with people with disabilities at a day centre. She thinks Anna’s accident helped to give her more patience and compassion.

Anna also wanted a new start but found it difficult to be motivated. She often complained about being bored but would come up with excuses to not try various activities. However, that September she returned to college part-time to continue her graphic design course. She really enjoyed socialising with the other students but found the work too demanding. “The tutors were leaving me for hours at a computer where I would lose concentration, lose focus and get bored or frustrated. Nobody was around to encourage me or remind me what I was doing,” she says. Anna left college after six weeks. She tried to do an open study course but couldn’t keep it going with her family out at work. She spent her days helping in the house and going for walks.Your sister is out at the supermarket. 

Suddenly she walks into the room but she isn’t carrying any bags and you’re confused.  Her hair is wet and she says she’s just had a shower. But she told you she was going to Tesco’s.  You’re certain she did. Didn’t she?

After coming out of hospital, Anna complained of a lack of taste. She developed a habit of not eating for a few days before starting again. Soon, this developed in to an eating disorder. In February this year, her family got a dog called Harvey to keep her company and give her some responsibility, but her health continued to deteriorate. “I got into a bad habit of not eating and walking my dog for hours. I lost a lot of weight and got into a bad mind frame,” Anna says. Her mum repeatedly took her to the doctor and finally got an urgent referral to an eating disorder clinic, only to find out it was eight weeks until the appointment. She found the eventual treatment didn’t take Anna’s brain injury in to account.

As Anna’s weight fell, her memory worsened and her mood swings got worse. She was eventually admitted to hospital after her mum pleaded with staff at the clinic. Anna was started on a re-feeding programme this summer and was discharged last month. Her family hope they can keep the momentum of her recovery going and think she is finally getting the help she needs for both her eating disorder and brain injury, with a case manager overseeing her care. “We need her to start engaging. I just want her to be happy,” Lauren says. Anna continues to lack full insight in to her condition, however she’s planning for the future and hopes to one day visit Harry Potter world in London and see the Northern Lights in Iceland.

She knows she owes a huge amount to her twin sister, who has put her own life on hold.

“Lauren has supported me in more ways than everyone,” Anna says.

“Before the accident I used to look after her, now it’s the other way around. She’s always smiling and always strong and tries to push me to keep on fighting.”


jmparker Posted on October 25, 2018 12:14

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