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U.S., Iran send conflicting signals on their disputes

U.S., Iran send conflicting signals on their disputesTensions have risen since U.S. President Donald Trump last year abandoned the major powers' nuclear deal with Iran under which Tehran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in return for the lifting of global sanctions crippling its economy. Washington has since reimposed draconian sanctions to throttle Iran's oil trade in a "maximum pressure" policy to force Tehran to agree stricter limits on its nuclear capacity, curb its ballistic missile program and end support for proxy forces in a regional power struggle with U.S.-backed Gulf Arabs.




POSTED JULY 16, 2019 10:11 AM

2 women who say they were abused by Jeffery Epstein have asked a judge not to release him from jail

2 women who say they were abused by Jeffery Epstein have asked a judge not to release him from jailCourtney Wild and Annie Farmer attended Jeffrey Epstein’s bail hearing on Monday, and asked a federal judge not to release him as he awaits trial.




POSTED JULY 16, 2019 11:03 AM

Michael Flynn’s Ex-Business Partner Points the Finger at Him in Court

Michael Flynn’s Ex-Business Partner Points the Finger at Him in CourtPhoto Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/GettyIf there is a question of who worked on behalf of the Turkish government to influence the 2016 Donald Trump campaign, then the court should look no further than former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, lawyers for Bijan Kian, the Iranian-American businessman and former Flynn partner, told jurors in the Eastern District of Virginia Monday. Kian is charged with two felonies—illegally lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government and conspiring covertly to influence U.S. politics about Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who is now living in Pennsylvania. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted. But Kian’s team of attorneys said in their opening statements Monday that their client “did not conspire with anyone” to work on behalf of the Turkish government in the U.S. When questioning the Turkish government’s influence operations in the U.S., the jury should look at the newly announced cache of evidence the government has on Flynn, said attorney Bob Trout. Kian isn’t referenced in any of it, Trout said. Michael Flynn Putting Mueller Deal at Risk in ‘Dangerous’ New TrialIn the opening statements Monday the Kian legal team spent the majority of their time arguing that their client did not work on behalf of the Turkish government when he attempted to influence public opinion in the U.S. about Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. Gulen currently lives in Pennsylvania and is wanted by the Turkish government for allegedly planning a military coup in the country in 2016. Kian instead worked on behalf of a Turkish-Dutch businessman named Ekim Alptekin, Trout said. (Alptekin is named as a defendant in the Kian case but will likely avoid appearance because he is living in Istanbul.) Toward the end of his statements, Trout tried to create a degree of separation between Kian and Flynn who is currently awaiting sentencing in Washington for crimes carried out during his time working with the Trump team. He pointed to the government’s evidence, which was mentioned in a hearing last week, and said that prosecutors had all but conceded that Kian was not involved. The jurors have not seen the evidence yet and the details of what the government currently has in its position is unclear.According to a government indictment filed last year, Flynn and Kian worked together throughout the fall of 2016, when Flynn was an advisor to then candidate Trump, on a project to try and extradite Gulen back to Turkey. Prosecutors said the two took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Turkish government to execute the plan. Flynn was also at the time accused of lying about his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. He entered into a cooperation deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and admitted to lying about the communications and about his consulting firm’s business with the Turkish government. He said that the registration he filed for the Turkey-focused project in 2017 contained several inaccuracies, though his lawyers maintain that Flynn did not intentionally lie on the documents. As part of his deal with the government, Flynn was supposed to testify against Kian and his sentencing in Washington was postponed so he could appear as a witness in Virginia.That all changed last week when the government removed Flynn from the witness list and instead named him as a co-conspirator in the case. The government also said it had extensive information that the Turkish government attempted to influence the Trump campaign through Flynn. It was the first mention of an additional set of materials that show how Flynn was being extensively involved in the Turkish lobbying.It’s that evidence that lies at the heart of who really committed the crime of illegally lobbying for Turkey, Kian’s lawyers said Monday. Kian “didn’t know” about the alleged separate communications between Alptekin and Flynn that are in the government’s possession, Trout said.For its part, the government in its opening statement barely mentioned the former national security adviser, instead referring several times to Kian’s business team members as “associates.” The government focused on Kian’s email correspondences, including with Flynn, about the Gulen project and attempted to lay out for the jury how the money that flowed into Kian’s account for services rendered connected back to the Turkish government.After nearly an hour and a half of opening statements, both of which were at times tangled and difficult to follow, the jury seemed to fade by 5:30 p.m. Several individuals closed their eyes and appeared to be sleeping.They’re due back in court Tuesday morning for testimony, including evidence to be entered into the record and for witness examinations.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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POSTED JULY 15, 2019 8:07 PM

Man 'shot polar bear and left its body outside his home for five months'

Man 'shot polar bear and left its body outside his home for five months'A man has been charged with killing a polar bear and leaving the body to rot outside his home in Alaska for five months.Christopher Gordon, 35, allegedly shot the animal dead when it ventured into his front yard to try and eat some butchered whale meat.He then failed to report the polar bear carcass or attempt to “harvest” it for food between December 2018 and May this year.Gordon also allowed the bear to be covered with snow, which resulted in one of its legs being ripped off by a passing snowplough.Finally, on 22 May, he burned the carcass at the village dump in Kaktovik.He is now facing up to one year in prison and a $100,000 (£80,000) fine if convicted of the federal crime of “knowingly taking a polar bear in a manner unlawful under the Marine Mammal Protection Act”.Prosecutors say that the killing of the bear was not done in legal self defence and that he “left the harvestable remains to waste”.“Gordon allegedly left butchered whale meat outside in front of his yard of his residence for a substantial period of time, which attracted polar bear, as well as other animals to his front yard,” said federal prosecutor Ryan Tansey.“He then allegedly shot and killed the polar bear because it was trying to eat the improperly stored whale meat.”Gordon has also been charged with the state offence of wasteful taking of a marine animal.The investigation was carried out by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.Gordon declined to comment about the case and is scheduled to appear in court in Fairbanks in August.Kaktovik, with a population of just over 250, has experienced increasing encroachment by polar bears in recent years due to the disappearing Arctic sea ice.As a result it has become a popular tourist destination, with more than 2,000 people visiting the village during 2017.“These bears are getting used to people,” said council member Mike Gallagher. ”They’re domesticated.”Additional reporting by Associated Press




POSTED JULY 15, 2019 6:29 AM

Some Iranian women take off hijabs as hard-liners push back

Some Iranian women take off hijabs as hard-liners push backThe simple act of walking has become a display of defiance for a young Iranian woman who often moves in Tehran's streets without a compulsory headscarf, or hijab. With every step, she risks harassment or even arrest by Iran's morality police whose job is to enforce the strict dress code imposed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The hijab debate has further polarized Iranians at a time when the country is buckling under unprecedented U.S. sanctions imposed since the Trump administration pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers last year.




POSTED JULY 15, 2019 7:54 AM

Buzz Aldrin explains why Neil Armstrong was the first person on the moon

Buzz Aldrin explains why Neil Armstrong was the first person on the moonJuly 20, 2019, is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing when American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person ever to plant boots on the dusty lunar surface. Buzz Aldrin followed about 20 minutes later.




POSTED JULY 16, 2019 9:14 AM

All the Best Amazon Prime Day Tech Deals to Shop (So Far)

All the Best Amazon Prime Day Tech Deals to Shop (So Far)




POSTED JULY 15, 2019 12:10 PM

The B-2 Stealth Bomber Is Now 30 Years Old. Take a Look Inside.

The B-2 Stealth Bomber Is Now 30 Years Old. Take a Look Inside.(Washington, D.C.) Slicing through the sky with bat-like wings, eluding enemy radar with stealth technology, quietly destroying enemy air defenses from 50,000 ft and using computers to merge sensor data with targeting information -- the Air Force’s B-2 bomber … has been in the air attacking targets for “30-Years.”“You pull up the weapons suite screen, align the right weapon with the target and provide input into the DEP - Digital Entry Panel. Then, you enter text into the computer,” Lt. Col. Nicola Polidar, Commander of Detachment 5 of the 29th Training Systems Squadron, told Warrior in an interview.As this happens….the air attack begins.The B-2 took its first flight July 17, 1989 -- so now is the “30-Year Anniversary.” B-2 pilots have operated the sleek, curved air-defense-defying platform for sensitive, highly-dangerous missions many times in recent decades. After blasting onto the scene in the early 90s, the B-2s combat debut came in the late 90s when the aircraft destroyed Serbian targets over Kosovo. Three decades ago, the Air Force and Northrop Grumman thought to massively advance the paradigm for stealth attack, and create a first-of-its kind leap ahead bomber. It was conceived of as a Cold War weapon, engineered to knock out Soviet advanced air defenses. The intent was to build upon and surpass the F-117 Night Hawk’s stealth technology used in the Gulf War.The B-2s stealth configuration, buried engine, low heat signature and “radar absorbent” coating, is meant to not only avoid being hit by enemy weapons, but complete missions without enemies ever knowing it is there. Its core mission: launch secret, quiet, undetected attacks over heavily defended enemy territory to create a safer “air corridor” for less stealthy planes to operate within extremely lethal,otherwise uninhabitable airspace.




POSTED JULY 15, 2019 3:37 AM

Susan Rice Calls Chinese Diplomat a ‘Racist Disgrace’ on Twitter

Susan Rice Calls Chinese Diplomat a ‘Racist Disgrace’ on Twitter(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.Former U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice sparred with a senior Chinese diplomat on Twitter in an unusual and heated dispute over race in Washington.In a series of Tweets apparently aimed at making a broader point about diplomatic divisions over the mass detention of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province, Lijian Zhao, a diplomat posted in Islamabad, said on Sunday that if “you’re in Washington, D.C., you know the white never go” to the southeastern part of the U.S. capital.“You are a racist disgrace. And shockingly ignorant too,” Rice told Zhao on Twitter. Likely assuming that Zhao was posted in China’s mission in Washington, she then addressed her next comment to China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai. “Ambassador Cui, I expect better of you and your team. Please do the right thing and send him home.”Zhao, who is deputy chief of mission at the Chinese embassy in Pakistan’s capital, is often vocal on Twitter against critics of China’s infrastructure-building projects in Pakistan and other parts of Asia. Beijing has invested tens of billions of dollars in Pakistan, whose leader Imran Khan has previously dodged questions about the issue.‘Shockingly Ignorant’“You are such a disgrace, too. And shockingly ignorant, too. I am based in Islamabad. Truth hurts. I am simply telling the truth,” Zhao fired back at Rice on Monday. “To label someone who speak the truth that you don’t want to hear a racist, is disgraceful & disgusting.”Read More: How China Is Defending Its Detention of Muslims to the WorldZhao didn’t immediately respond to phone calls, an email and a direct message on Twitter seeking comment.In a string of messages that appeared aimed at highlighting U.S. hypocrisy on human rights, Zhao referred to everything from income inequality and school shootings in the U.S. to immigration officers separating children from parents.He tweeted a list of mostly-Western nations that condemned China for its actions in Xinjiang as well as a separate list of other countries -- including Pakistan, Cuba, Tajikistan and Nigeria -- that wrote a joint letter to the United Nations supporting Beijing, which Zhao called “a big slap on the face of U.S. & its western cohorts.”Outspoken DiplomatsChina’s diplomats have become increasingly vocal and outspoken. This month, China’s ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, gave a rare televised statement accusing the British government of meddling in Hong Kong, the scene of mass protests against Beijing’s rule.Earlier this year, China’s envoy to Canada publicly accused his hosts of “white supremacy,” while the country’s chief envoy in South Africa said President Donald Trump’s policies were making the U.S. “the enemy of the whole world.”Asked about the Twitter dispute on Monday, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang didn’t comment directly.“I don’t know the specific situation,” he said. However, he added, “we resolutely oppose the interference of the U.S. and individual Western countries in interfering in China’s internal affairs with the Xinjiang issue.”To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in New Delhi at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Dandan Li in Beijing at dli395@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Chris Kay, Gregory TurkFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




POSTED JULY 15, 2019 10:44 PM

Anti-Semitism event at Justice Department turns into pro-Israel rally

Anti-Semitism event at Justice Department turns into pro-Israel rallyAs the public grappled with President Trump’s latest insulting tweetstorm, widely condemned as racist, the Department of Justice held a Monday event billed as a summit on combating anti-Semitism.




POSTED JULY 15, 2019 5:29 PM

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