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FBI says monitoring of ex-Trump aide should've ended sooner
Posted 1 hour 2 minutes ago

The Justice Department has concluded that it should have ended its surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser earlier than it did because it lacked “insufficient predication" to continue eavesdropping, according to an order made public Thursday by a secretive intelligence court. The FBI obtained a warrant in 2016 to eavesdrop on former Trump national security aide Carter Page on suspicions that he was secretly a Russian agent. The Justice Department renewed the warrant three times, including during the early months of the Trump administration.
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Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'
Posted 2 hours 22 minutes ago

Attorneys representing Chloe Wiegand's family say a ship visit proves it's "physically impossible" for her grandfather to hold her out of the window.
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Grassley Expands Probe into DoD Contracts Awarded to Stefan Halper over Spying Concerns
Posted 3 hours 10 minutes ago

Senator Chuck Grassley announced an expanded probe Wednesday into the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA) and its awarding of defense contracts to Stefan Halper, in order to see whether ONA illicitly authorized funds for the former professor to spy on the 2016 Trump campaign.Halper, an FBI source who met with and recorded Trump associates Carter Page, Sam Clovis, and George Papadopoulos, according to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December report, has been awarded more than $1 million in contracts by ONA since 2012.Grassley points to several contracts awarded to Halper in a letter to James Baker, the director of ONA, as examples “that clearly indicate weak or non-existent internal controls.”Evaluators raised “several weaknesses,” including a lack of substance, in a 2012 contract proposal by Halper that were ultimately ignored. For a 2015 proposal, Halper listed a Russian intelligence official as an adviser, who was then cited by Christopher Steele as source for his now-infamous dossier.Halper’s last contract, awarded in September 2016, mentions “unknown third parties” paying for Halper’s trip to Japan to interview “former high-level U.S. and foreign government officials,” but Grassley points out that the IG later found none of Halper’s 348 footnotes in the subsequent study cited any interviews.Halper also contacted Papadopoulos in September 2016 and offered $3,000 for him to write a policy paper on the natural-gas market in the Mediterranean.“Given Professor Halper’s intelligence connections and government funding, it is reasonable to ask whether he used any taxpayer money in his attempt to recruit Trump campaign officials as sources,” Grassley hypothesizes.The Iowa Senator concludes his letter by asking for a list of every contract ONA has issued over the last five years to review the consistency of its decision-making.“The fact that taxpayer money was used to support these projects calls into question ONA’s ability to be a proper steward of the people’s money and whether ONA has acted consistent with its mission and purpose,” Grassley writes.
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NYT Ed Board Member Wrote Out ‘Full Draft’ of Biden Endorsement, but Scrapped It over His ‘Normal’ Message and Lack of ‘Urgency’
Posted 3 hours 49 minutes ago

Kathleen Kingsbury, a deputy editorial page editor and member of The New York Times’s editorial board, revealed Thursday that she wrote a full 2,000-word endorsement of Joe Biden, only for the board to reject it because “it didn’t match the moment.”The Times broke new ground this cycle by conducting on-the-record interviews with nine of the top candidates and airing the interviews, which have historically been off-the-record, on their documentary show The Weekly on FX.Kingsbury explained to Times columnists on the The Argument podcast how the Times editorial board arrived at its first-ever dual endorsement of Senators Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), saying that “policy prescriptions” and the “messages” drove much of the thought-process. She also dismissed concerns about electability, calling the effort to predict which candidate would be most successful in the general election a “fool’s errand.”“What we realized is that the party needs to have that conversation amongst itself. It’s really not the role of the editorial board to determine the future of the Democratic Party,” Kingsbury said.But she revealed that, following heightened tensions with Iran after President Trump’s decision to kill Qasem Soleimani, she went ahead and drafted an endorsement of Biden, citing his opposition to the war in Afghanistan.“Right after we had the outbreak of conflict with Iran, I sat down and I wrote an entire endorsement of Joe Biden,” Klingsbury said. “I think that came from a desire on my part for the comfort of having someone who during his interviews, spoke so fluently about foreign policy, who’s been in the room in some of those more difficult decision-making [moments].”In August, Biden fabricated an Afghanistan-war story about how he resisted safety concerns to travel to “godforsaken country” and honor a war hero.“We can lose a vice president,” he recounted at a campaign event. “We can’t lose many more of these kids. Not a joke.”Klingsbury then explained why the Times ultimately did not pursue Biden’s endorsement, implying that Biden’s campaign hasn't meaningfully grappled with the conditions that gave rise to Trump's election.“Joe Biden’s message simply is ‘let’s go back to normal, whatever normal is, right?’ For a lot of Americans, ‘normal’ wasn’t working and I think that there needs to be some recognition that at least for some portion of the American public, the government and the economic systems were failing them,” she said.In an emailed statement to National Review, Kingsbury said she did not “have much to say beyond what I said on The Argument.” She declined to comment on whether the board wrote any other endorsement drafts, or when it decided to scrap Biden’s.“Once I had a draft in hand, I realized I should return to the wisdom of my board,” she explained ". . . [Biden’s] message and his proposed plans don’t feel like they match the urgency of the moment.”
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Rep. Ilhan Omar launches reelection bid with big advantages
Posted 4 hours 17 minutes ago

Rep. Ilhan Omar’s congressional career got off to a rocky start just a year ago, with her provocative remarks on Israel and Jews stirring anger across the country and raising speculation that some other Minnesota Democrat might step forward to challenge her in 2020. Omar was kicking off her reelection campaign Thursday night with a massive bank account and no challengers who pose a serious threat from either party. In an overwhelmingly Democratic district that where Omar took 78% of the vote in 2018, University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs gives her opponents no chance.
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The world is less than 2 'minutes' from doomsday, atomic scientists warn
Posted 5 hours 28 minutes ago

Apocalyptic doom is apparently closer than it's ever been before.Every year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announces the world's status on its "doomsday clock," which reveals just how close all of humanity is to certain destruction. And after putting it at a dangerous two minutes from apocalypse for the last few years in a row, scientists upped their prediction to an unprecedented 100 seconds on Thursday.The greatest threats to humanity, as outlined by the Bulletin, are "nuclear war and climate change," which are "compounded by a threat multiplier — cyber-enabled information warfare — that undercuts society's ability to respond." The scientists specifically called out how 2019 saw the end of "several major arms control treaties and negotiations," while "political conflicts regarding nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea remain unresolved and are, if anything, worsening."As for climate change, scientists acknowledged "public awareness of the climate crisis grew over the course of 2019, largely because of mass protests by young people around the world." But "government action" hasn't risen to meet that public push, and even the UN has "put forward few concrete plans to further limit the carbon dioxide emissions," the statement continued. Altogether, this puts the world closer to a metaphorical midnight than ever before in the clock's 73-year history.More stories from theweek.com Democrats walked right into Mitch McConnell's trap 5 brutally funny cartoons about Mitch McConnell's impeachment rules The Oprah's Book Club controversy, explained
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Police say Antonio Brown has locked himself in his home after an alleged battery incident involving his trainer and a moving truck driver
Posted 6 hours 36 minutes ago

Police in Hollywood, Florida, say there was a disturbance outside Antonio Brown's home on Tuesday involving the Brown, his trainer, and a mover.
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'Haters gonna hate & deniers will deny': Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defends Greta Thunberg after Steven Mnuchin dissed the activist
Posted 6 hours 46 minutes ago

"If you don't have an economics degree like Greta, they'll mock you for not having one. If you DO have one, as I do, they'll claim it's illegitimate."
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Successor to slain Iran general will be murdered if he kills Americans: U.S. envoy
Posted 7 hours 27 minutes ago

The successor to the Iranian commander killed in a U.S. drone strike would suffer the same fate if he followed a similar path by killing Americans, the U.S. special representative for Iran said, according to the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
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Islamic leaders make 'groundbreaking' visit to Auschwitz
Posted 7 hours 51 minutes ago

Muslim religious leaders joined members of a U.S. Jewish group at Auschwitz on Thursday for what organizers described as “the most senior Islamic leadership delegation" to visit the site of a Nazi German death camp. The secretary general of the Muslim World League, Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, and the CEO of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris, led the tour to the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial in Poland.
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Tennessee inmate chooses the electric chair for his scheduled execution
Posted 8 hours ago

A Tennessee inmate has chosen the electric chair for his scheduled execution next month, opting like four other inmates in little more than a year for electrocution over the state's preferred execution method of lethal injection.
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A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi Jingping
Posted 8 hours 58 minutes ago

According to Chinese court documents obtained by Axios, 20-year-old Luo Daiqing was arrested after returning to Wuhan for summer break.
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Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soon
Posted 10 hours ago

Kristin Smart's mother said she was contacted by a former FBI agent, but there is no timeline for an announcement in her case, the family later said.
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Spirit Airlines passenger: Cabin crew didn't take my groping allegation seriously
Posted 10 hours 29 minutes ago

A Michigan college student says she was sexually assaulted on a Spirit Airlines flight, but that flight attendants treated her like an annoyance.
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Alarmists Were Wrong about the Soleimani Strike
Posted 11 hours 45 minutes ago

Two weeks ago, the United States seemed on the brink of starting another war in the Middle East after a drone strike killed Iran’s most notorious spymaster, Qasem Soleimani, as he departed an international airport in Baghdad. The shadowy general, in charge of the Iranian equivalent of the CIA, was one of the most effective operatives in the Middle East’s history. He built a sprawling army of proxy militias throughout the region and helped expand Tehran’s dominance in nearby countries.But the dust has now settled, and none of the doomsday scenarios that so many in the media warned about has come to pass. It is true that Iran launched a missile attack into U.S. bases in Iraq, but the attack was merely symbolic. As Iraqi officials revealed the following day, Iran had informed them of an imminent attack on U.S. bases, a message that the Iraqis promptly and predictably passed on to the Americans. No fatalities were recorded, but the Iranian regime still told its followers that dozens if not hundreds of Americans were killed as a result of the retaliation.Indeed, none of the doomsday scenarios were plausible to begin with. Iran has a narrow menu of options in terms of escalation against the U.S. It is not interested in a direct war with the U.S., nor are any of its proxies or allies in the region. The regime faces increasingly crippling sanctions imposed by Washington, and domestic unrest is building up with occasional street protests. Also, its allies in Iraq and Lebanon have been under unprecedented pressure from grassroots protests, persistent since October. In Syria, the currency is collapsing on historic levels as more than one third of the country remains outside the control of the Iranian-backed government. Iran is embroiled in domestic and regional crises, and many of the gains it made in recent years are still tenuous.In the panic that followed the news of Soleimani’s killing, that essential context was overlooked. Pundits and former officials warned of a showdown, between Iran and the U.S., that Tehran would not want. When the confrontation did not pan out, critics still maintained that this was mere luck. One journalist suggested that the war was averted because the mullahs in Iran exercised “more restraint” than the U.S. did.In reality, the alarmism was never warranted. The circumstances around Soleimani’s killing exposed not just Iran’s many vulnerabilities and limited options for escalation against the U.S. but also serious myths that shape much of the American perception of the Iranian regime. Specifically, the idea that Iran can inflict damage on the U.S. is an outdated view about the situation in the region.In 2020, unlike the early years after the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. has little footprint in conflict zones such Iraq and Syria. Iran, on the other hand, has invested heavily in keeping its allies in power, almost all of them now under domestic pressure. In other words, in a reverse of the Iraq War dynamics, the U.S. can mess with Iran in many more ways than Iran can retaliate. That is a new reality to which pundits and policymakers in the U.S. still need to catch up. The policy shift toward Iran under the Trump administration — to increase military, political, and economic pressure to weaken its regional hegemony — is exposing such vulnerabilities and demonstrating that the U.S. can deter Iran with minimal costs.The apocalyptic commentary we witnessed this month has become the default response to provocations from Iran or its allies. Consider, for example, the reactions when President Obama announced he would launch punitive strikes against the Iranian-backed Syrian regime after its use of chemical weapons in 2013. The case in favor of strikes could not have been more compelling: Damascus violated an explicit red line that Obama declared against an internationally forbidden weapon — “a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”Similar scenarios of a “Third World War” were presented. Some even pointed to Syria’s (nonexistent) formidable air defenses. Obama eventually backed down and struck what can be described only as a face-saving agreement with Russia, the regime’s international patron, to end Syria’s use of chemical weapons and dismantle its arsenal. Despite the agreement, such attacks persisted.It was President Trump who launched punitive strikes against the regime of Bashar al-Assad four years later Again, none of the scenarios that many had warned about developed. The Syrians stood by as 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles, launched from the Mediterranean Sea, landed on military bases. Unlike 2013, this time Russia was present on the ground inside Syria, after its military intervention in 2015, so the stakes were even higher for the U.S. in 2017.The point is that the usual pushback against any assertive U.S. policy toward Iran has little basis in reality. It is based largely on exaggeration and fear-mongering that emboldens the regime in Iran and provides it with the space to operate throughout the region with impunity. How else would one explain that Soleimani, who was accused of having American blood on his hands, was making public appearances not far from American forces during the fight against the Islamic State? He organized the Benghazi-style storming of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Just days before he was killed, he had ordered a proxy attack, on a military base housing U.S. forces, that killed an American civilian contractor. Yet he still traveled to Iraq, probably suspecting that the U.S. would not dare to target him.Indeed, nobody had expected the U.S. would carry out such a high-level attack. Under both the Obama and the Trump administrations, the U.S. seemed to have given Iran a free hand in the region — not responding to its provocations as long as Iran acted with plausible deniability. The basis of the U.S. policy became that Iran, not the U.S., had the upper hand. Just in the six months before Soleimani’s killing, Iran was accused of being behind tanker attacks in the Persian Gulf, the downing of a U.S. drone over international waters, and the targeting of Saudi oil facilities, besides the killing of the U.S. contractor and the storming of the U.S. embassy.Iran, then, had reason to feel that it could get comfortable around the U.S. Tehran suspected that the only tools the U.S. had were economic sanctions, which it could endure or circumvent through its proxy and state networks in the region. The new policy, under the current administration, started to deploy other tools, including the frequent targeting of Iranian proxies in places such as Syria — to prevent the building of similar networks as those it established in Iraq — and an extensive and enforced sanctions regime.Those tools started to hurt the Iranian regime and its allies. The increased pressure caused Tehran to act erratically, and the uncharacteristically provocative attacks last year were in large part symptomatic of its anxiety. Then came the killing of Soleimani, which was arguably a strategic, not a tactical, decision by the Trump administration, to reestablish deterrence and disrupt the cycle of escalation and counter-escalation.Despite alarmism, the circumstances around the killing of Soleimani show that the current policy toward Iran is working as intended. The “maximum pressure” approach is tightening the economic screws on Iran and organizing regional efforts to increase pressure on the regime. The intent is not just to force Tehran to “return to the table” to negotiate its nuclear program, as it is often publicly stated, but to reduce Iran’s ability to dominate the areas around it. The pressure is working not because it was not tried before but because it follows numerous challenges — primarily popular protests and the growing nationalist sentiments that are overshadowing the sectarian tensions that once helped the regime — that the Iranian regime is facing at home and in the areas where it has built deep presence.The “maximum pressure” is exacerbating these challenges for Iran. Also, Tehran’s attempts to mobilize Iraqis to end the U.S. presence in their country has so far failed, after Washington insisted that the presence now be more vital, to keep up the pressure against ISIS. Even Iran’s attempt to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its European allies backfired: After Tehran announced that it would no longer comply with the nuclear agreement’s limitations on uranium enrichment, the Europeans put Tehran on notice and threatened to reimpose sanctions.A major part of this effort is to convince the Iranian regime that the old policies that enabled it to fill the void, after the 2003 war in Iraq and the 2011 popular uprisings in the Middle East, are over. In this sense, the U.S. targeting of Soleimani could prove to be a game-changer for Iran’s role in the Middle East, not just because Tehran lost a shrewd operative but because the operation reminded it that it should not get too comfortable with its current behavior in the region. All the U.S. needs to do now is to press on with its policy, calmly and consistently, to limit Iran’s reach.
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World airports taking precautions after China virus ourbreak
Posted 12 hours 19 minutes ago

Airports around the world have begun taking precautions to deal with an anticipated influx of Chinese tourists taking Lunar New Year holidays, just as the outbreak of a pneumonia-like virus in China has prompted officials there to take drastic measures to prevent its spread. Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest for international travel, announced on Thursday that, following government guidance, all passengers arriving on direct flights from China will receive thermal screening at the gate upon arrival and be provided with informational brochures. The screening at the airport, home to Emirates airline, will be conducted at secured, closed gates by teams from the Dubai Health Authority and the Airport Medical Center, Dubai Airports said in a statement provided to The Associated Press.
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Ukraine in talks with Russia about release of detained Ukrainians
Posted 12 hours 27 minutes ago

Ukraine started talks with Russia on a new swap of Ukrainians detained in Russia and in eastern Ukraine, which is under separatist control, Ukraine's presidential office said on Thursday. "We have already started a conversation with the Russian Federation about the exchange of Ukrainians - all, including the Crimean Tatars, other Ukrainians who are in the territory of Russia," the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy quoted him as saying.
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Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.
Posted 17 hours 46 minutes ago

The beasts are more survivable than they seem.
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Spotted: America's Shadowy Stealth Spy Drone
Posted 20 hours 16 minutes ago

Does it have a new mission now?
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1 Killed, 7 Wounded, Including 9-Year-Old, in Shooting in Downtown Seattle. Here's What to Know
Posted 20 hours 47 minutes ago

The shooting is the third in Seattle in two days
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Impeachment trial grinds on, testing physical endurance of senators
Posted 21 hours 15 minutes ago

After keeping the august members of the U.S. Senate in their seats for roughly 18 of the previous 30 hours, Adam Schiff told the group of not-so-young lawmakers that he and a fellow impeachment manager had just over two hours more to go Wednesday night.
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Haiti pushes foster homes to counter problems in orphanages
Posted 21 hours 40 minutes ago

Port-au-Prince (AFP) - Rose Boncoeur brought two emaciated little girls to live in her modest home in Haiti as part of a reform drive aimed at keeping children out of orphanages. The government of the Americas' poorest country is pushing to deinstitutionalize children so as to avoid the darkest sides of orphanage life -- trafficking of kids or even worse abuse. Boncoeur gets no financial help to feed or clothe her two charges, and is forced to ask people for used clothing for her foster children -- sisters, aged eight months and three years.
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Police: Mom accused of killing her 3 kids said she smothered them while singing
Posted 22 hours 53 minutes ago

A probable cause document doesn’t provide a possible motive for the brutal killings that Rachel Henry is charged with.
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Warren Says Bloomberg Should Divest From His Company’s News Division
Posted 1 day 18 minutes ago

(Bloomberg) -- Elizabeth Warren called on fellow Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg to divest from the news division of his company “so there’s no question about his influence” over its coverage of 2020 candidates.“If Michael Bloomberg wants to be the Democratic nominee, he should let reporters do their jobs and report on him, and everyone else, as they see fit,” Warren said in a series of tweets on Wednesday.Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. He has said he’ll put his company in a trust or sell it if he wins the election.A spokesperson for Bloomberg News had no comment on Warren’s tweets.Warren referred to a policy that Bloomberg Editor in Chief John Micklethwait set out when Michael Bloomberg announced his candidacy. It said Bloomberg News would cover the Democratic candidates, including Bloomberg. It would continue the longstanding practice of not investigating Bloomberg or his family and foundation, and extend the same policy to his Democratic rivals. The news organization’s investigative team would continue to investigate the Trump administration as the government of the day.The Massachusetts senator said the policy “puts reporters in an impossible situation and undermines a free press” and that Bloomberg should change the policy and divest.Warren’s tweets referred to a Federal Election Commission complaint filed by Mark Green, who once ran against Bloomberg for New York mayor. Green’s complaint said the news agency’s coverage of the 2020 presidential campaign amounted to a contribution to Bloomberg’s presidential race.Bloomberg’s campaign did not respond immediately to a request for comment.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Niquette in Columbus at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at [email protected], Craig GordonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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Man in Mexico Now Ill After Visiting Coronavirus Ground Zero
Posted 1 day 51 minutes ago

(Bloomberg) -- A man who fell ill in Mexico on Monday following a December trip to Wuhan, China, is under observation as a potential case of the coronavirus, the respiratory virus that has killed at least 17 people worldwide.The 57-year-old molecular biology professor works for the Instituto Politecnico Nacional university in the city of Reynosa, which borders with the U.S. The man returned to Mexico on Jan. 10 through a Mexico City airport and then flew to the state of Tamaulipas, Mexican authorities said.Tamaulipas State Health Minister Gloria Molina said in a radio interview that the man immediately reported his situation to authorities after feeling sick. He is now in his home under monitoring to prevent any potential spread. His test results are expected on Thursday, Mexico’s chief epidemiologist Jose Luis Alomia said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.Molina said the man also had layovers at the border city of Tijuana when he left and returned to Mexico, according to journalist Joaquin Lopez Doriga’s news site.Link: China Seeks to Contain Virus as Death Toll Jumps to 17Earlier on Wednesday, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that a second possible case in Mexico had been ruled out. “The coronavirus is being looked into. If we have more information we will release it later today,” he said.Mexico plans to inform daily on the latests developments of the virus around the world. A preventive travel recommendation is in place for the country and passengers arriving from international ports will be checked for any symptoms, Alomia said.Separately, Colombian authorities are also evaluating whether a Chinese man with a respiratory illness, who traveled to Colombia from Turkey, has the same virus, according to Blu, a Bogota-based radio station. The country’s health ministry declined to comment.The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he needs to consider all evidence before deciding if the coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan is an international health emergency.(Adds Alomia comments in paragraphs 3 and 6, and WHO comments in last paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Cyntia Barrera Diaz in Mexico City at [email protected];Lorena Rios in Mexico City at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Ney Hayashi at [email protected], Dale QuinnFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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Joe Biden tells reporter to 'calm down' after repeated questions about Bernie Sanders
Posted 1 day 1 hour 46 minutes ago

Former Vice President Joe Biden seemingly doesn't want to hear about his apparent feud with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).After an Iowa campaign event on Wednesday, Biden walked off the stage in a pretty typical way: followed by reporters asking him questions. But one from CBS News' Ed O'Keefe about Sanders seemingly sent him over the edge.As Biden left the stage, O'Keefe asked why he was attacking Sanders after just accepting his apology a day earlier. "Why wasn't his apology enough, Mr. Vice President?" O'Keefe asked. Biden stopped, turned around, and peppered O'Keefe with a barrage of "why why why why why." "You're getting nervous, man! Calm down," Biden then said before briefly answering the question.> WATCH: After a campaign event in Mason City, Iowa, @joebiden reacts to @edokeefe's question about his ongoing feud with @berniesanders: "Calm down, it's okay." https://t.co/a2hmMbnjnf pic.twitter.com/ymOMWRR2zP> > — CBS News (@CBSNews) January 22, 2020O'Keefe's question stems from one of Sanders' supporters accusing Biden of having a "corruption problem" in an op-ed, and another putting together a video purportedly showing Biden opposing social security. Sanders apologized for the op-ed but not for the video, as Biden pointed out to CBS News.More stories from theweek.com Democrats walked right into Mitch McConnell's trap 5 brutally funny cartoons about Mitch McConnell's impeachment rules The Oprah's Book Club controversy, explained
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This App Is a Dangerous Invasion of Your Privacy—and the FBI Uses It
Posted 1 day 2 hours 10 minutes ago

What if you could instantly identify every stranger you ever saw?
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Fifth condemned Tennessee inmate opts for the electric chair
Posted 1 day 2 hours 34 minutes ago

A Tennessee inmate has chosen the electric chair for his scheduled execution next month, opting like four other inmates in little more than a year for electrocution over the state's preferred execution method of lethal injection. Nicholas Sutton, 58, is scheduled to be put to death Feb. 20 for the stabbing death of a fellow inmate decades ago while serving a life sentence for his grandmother's slaying. An affidavit signed on Tuesday said he waives the right to be executed by lethal injection and chooses electrocution.
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White Nationalists Arrested ahead of Richmond Rally Planned to Kill Gun-Rights Demonstrators to Spark Civil War
Posted 1 day 4 hours 11 minutes ago

Three alleged members of a white supremacist group were plotting to murder demonstrators at Monday's gun rights rally at the Virginia Capitol before they were arrested by the FBI last week, according to court documents.The men were caught discussing their plans on a hidden camera set up in their Delaware apartment by FBI agents.“We can’t let Virginia go to waste, we just can’t,” said Patrik J. Mathews, one member of the hate group "the Base" that promotes violence against African-Americans and Jews.According to authorities, the 27-year-old former Canadian Armed Forces reservist also discussed creating "instability" in Virginia by killing people, derailing trains, poisoning water, and shutting down highways in order to "kick off the economic collapse" and possibly start a "full blown civil war."Mathews also discussed the possibility of "executing" police officers and stealing their belongings and remarked that, “We could essentially be like literally hunting people.”“Virginia will be our day,” said 33-year-old Brian M. Lemley Jr., adding, “I need to claim my first victim.”“Lemley discussed using a thermal imaging scope affixed to his rifle to conduct ambush attacks,” the court filings read.The two were arrested along with a third man, 19, last Thursday. They are charged with federal firearms violations and “transporting and harboring an alien,” referring to Mathews, who is a Canadian national. Four more members of The Base have also been arrested and charged in Georgia and Wisconsin.In a search of the apartment, prosecutors said that FBI agents found propaganda fliers for The Base, communications devices, empty rifle cases, "go bags" with "numerous Meals-Ready-to-Eat," knives, and materials for building an assault rifle.Tens of thousands of gun rights advocates rallied in Richmond on Monday to protest the state’s Democratic legislature's gun-control agenda. Critics raised fears beforehand that militant white supremacists could disrupt the rally, but the day ended peacefully with no violence.
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China's New H-20 Stealth Bomber Is Going To Shake Up East Asia
Posted 1 day 4 hours 27 minutes ago

The military balance will never be the same.
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Barr appoints members of presidential law enforcement panel
Posted 1 day 5 hours 34 minutes ago

Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday named 18 law enforcement officials to a presidential commission that aims to study ways to reduce crime and increase respect for the law. The last presidential law enforcement commission was established in 1965, and one of its recommendations led to the creation of the national emergency number 911. The new commission’s members include senior federal law enforcement officials, including the FBI’s deputy director and the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and rank-and-file officers from around the country.
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This is a rare photo of a smartphone-hacking device sold by the NSO Group, the billion-dollar Israeli spyware company accused of helping hack Jeff Bezos
Posted 1 day 6 hours 53 minutes ago

A Business Insider photo from a security conference in Paris reveals the device NSO Group sells to its clients to carry out hacks.
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Macron berates Israeli security men in tussle at Jerusalem church
Posted 1 day 7 hours 10 minutes ago

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - "Go outside," French President Emmanuel Macron demanded in English in a melee with Israeli security men on Wednesday, demanding they leave a Jerusalem basilica that he visited before a Holocaust memorial conference. The French tricolor has flown over the Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem's walled Old City since it was gifted by the Ottomans to French Emperor Napoleon III in 1856. France views it as a provocation when Israeli police enter the church's sandstone complex, in a part of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
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See This Nuke? Meet the Most Destructive Nuclear Bomb Ever Made By Man
Posted 1 day 7 hours 31 minutes ago

Thank god the Soviets never deployed it.
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The brazen (and careless) Russian assassination team behind the Salisbury poisonings has been spotted in Europe, again
Posted 1 day 7 hours 41 minutes ago

They keep failing to kill their targets. And they leave lots of evidence behind them.
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Biden Holds Onto National Lead in New Poll
Posted 1 day 8 hours 1 minute ago

(Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden is holding onto his lead among Democratic voters according to a national Monmouth University poll out Wednesday.Among registered voters, Biden carried 30% followed by Bernie Sanders with 23% and Elizabeth Warren with 14% less than two weeks before the first voters weigh in. Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth University’s Polling Institute, says the national numbers have remained stagnant but there’s room for upset after the first caucus and primary.Michael Bloomberg had 9%, followed by Pete Buttigieg with 6%, Amy Klobuchar with 5% and Andrew Yang with 3%. Since the last Monmouth University poll a month ago, Biden has risen 4 percentage points, Sanders 2 and Warren has dropped 3. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.“With the exception of Bloomberg’s entry, this race looks pretty much like it did six months ago,” Murray said. “But that stability masks the potential for sizable swings once the first contests are held. Iowa and New Hampshire will play a major role in shaping national voter preferences.”A majority of Democrats, 56%, said these two states hold too much influence over the election. Only a quarter said they hold the right amount of influence. The poll was conducted from January 16 to 20 and has a margin of error of 5.1 percentage points.National polling is less predictive of who will be the Democratic nominee at this point in the race. States vote individually over a period of months and the state of the race can change from contest to contest.This post is part of Campaign Update, our live coverage from the 2020 campaign trail.To contact the author of this story: Emma Kinery in Washington at [email protected] contact the editor responsible for this story: Magan Sherzai at [email protected], Wendy BenjaminsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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The US plans to force passengers to change routes, and potentially redirect entire flights, to make sure they get screened for the Wuhan virus
Posted 1 day 8 hours 7 minutes ago

US officials described an ambitious 'funnel' system to make sure every passenger from Wuhan, China, to the US gets screened — no matter their route.
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Trump retweets attack on AOC calling her an 'embarrassing, barely literate moron'
Posted 1 day 8 hours 8 minutes ago

Donald Trump has retweeted an attack on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, calling the New York Democrat “an embarrassing, barely literate moron” after she claimed that billionaires are a product of “modern day slave wages”.Ms Ocasio-Cortez made the comment during an interview on Martin Luther King, Jr, Day, saying that billionaires do not make themselves, because they rely on thousands of low-wage workers to build their fortunes.
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Putin to Meet Jailed Israeli’s Mother Amid Reports of Release
Posted 1 day 9 hours 46 minutes ago

(Bloomberg) -- President Vladimir Putin is to meet in Jerusalem with the mother of an Israeli woman imprisoned in Russia on drug-smuggling charges, the Kremlin said, amid reports Russian authorities are preparing to free her.Putin, who’ll be a guest of honor Thursday at a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Red Army’s liberation of the Nazi Auschwitz death camp, spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone last week about 26-year-old Naama Issachar. Netanyahu said after the call that he was optimistic about securing her freedom.Issachar was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in a Russian prison in October for carrying a small amount of hashish on a transit flight via Moscow. Her mother, Yaffa, asked Putin in November to pardon her daughter in a letter handed to him by Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. The plight of the U.S.-born Israeli army veteran, who was detained in April, has become a cause celebre in Israel, where she’s widely regarded as a pawn in a political game.Putin will meet Yaffa Issachar together with Netanyahu and the patriarch, Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. While Ushakov wouldn’t confirm that a release is planned, he said the president’s right to pardon a convicted person is “an important prerogative.”Property DisputeIn another sign of a possible resolution, Ushakov said Russia and Israel are making progress in settling a dispute over the ownership of Russian Orthodox Church property in Jerusalem. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said resolving the issue could form part of a quid pro quo with Putin for the release of Issachar.Putin will speak at the anniversary ceremony, though there won’t be time for him to meet with other leaders attending the event, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, according to Ushakov.Issachar’s case for a time became entangled with that of a Russian national, Alexei Burkov, whom Israel extradited to the U.S. in November on charges including hacking and credit card fraud. Russia had offered to swap the two, according to Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician.Putin rebuffed repeated pleas to free her by Netanyahu, who’s fighting to maintain his 13-year-rule as he battles fraud and bribery charges, with new elections due in March.\--With assistance from Gwen Ackerman and Ivan Levingston.To contact the reporters on this story: Andrey Biryukov in Moscow at [email protected];Henry Meyer in Moscow at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory L. White at [email protected], Tony HalpinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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Iraq happy with U.S. troops, Trump says at talks over mission's future
Posted 1 day 11 hours 1 minute ago

Iraq likes what U.S. troops are doing there, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday at talks with the Iraqi president about the future of the mission, which has been in doubt since a U.S. drone strike killed an Iranian commander in Baghdad. Iraqi President Barham Salih's office said he and Trump had discussed reducing the number of foreign troops in Iraq at a meeting on the sidelines of an economic summit in Davos, Switzerland.
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Judge upholds mom charged for being topless at home
Posted 1 day 11 hours 16 minutes ago

A judge refused to overturn part of Utah’s lewdness law Tuesday in a blow to a woman who's fighting criminal charges after her stepchildren saw her topless in her own home.
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Exclusive: Giuliani told U.S. his client deserves leniency for financing Venezuela's opposition - Parnas
Posted 1 day 12 hours 13 minutes ago

At a lavish August gathering at a private estate in Spain, a wealthy Venezuelan businessman under criminal investigation in the United States introduced Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, to the father of Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido. The affair was part of a campaign for leniency for the businessman, Alejandro Betancourt, who sought to demonstrate his close ties to opposition figures looking to oust Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro - a key objective of the Trump administration. Betancourt told Giuliani he secretly helped bankroll Guaido’s efforts to take over the leadership of Venezuela, according to four people familiar with the situation, two of whom provided  details about the meeting in Spain.
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Menendez and Graham Partner Up to Craft a New Iran Deal
Posted 1 day 13 hours 1 minute ago

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have teamed up to work on drafting potential contours for negotiations with Tehran over the country’s nuclear programming and a roadmap for a new deal, according to Graham and two other congressional aides familiar with the matter.“I’ve been working with Senator Menendez on this for some time,” Graham told The Daily Beast in an interview last week. “We need a new way forward. And I’ve been trying to think of alternatives.”Graham told The Daily Beast in an interview in August that he was working with senior Trump administration officials on an alternative to the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal. Part of that effort included fielding ideas from outside actors, including foreign officials. Since then, Graham has met with Menendez—although only a few times—on how to kickstart a bipartisan congressional effort to reform the administration’s Iran policy.According to sources individuals familiar with the Graham-Menendez partnership, the two senators have largely talked about constructing an actionable plan to present to other lawmakers and to the White House. But the two sides have yet to agree on exactly how to get the ball rolling, according to those sources. One individual said Menendez wanted to work with Graham because the South Carolina lawmaker had gained the president’s ear on Iran over the last year.Although the duo has spoken about teaming up for some time, sources say the lawmakers are focused now more than ever on crafting a new deal following the killing of Iran’s top military leader, Qassem Soleimani. Following the strike, Democrats in the Senate, including Menendez, called out senior officials in the Trump administration for not offering proper intelligence briefings to Congress on what led to the strike. Menendez told MSNBC earlier this month that the administration suggested in briefings there was an imminent threat to American interests but that there was “no clear definition of what they consider imminent.”The senator also called on the administration to declassify the official notification provided to Congress about the Soleimani strike.Graham, on the other hand, applauded President Trump and told The Daily Beast that the administration should continue to keep the military option on the table if Iran were to continue to threaten American interests in the Middle East. Graham suggested the U.S. strike Iranian oil assets in the country, pointing to refineries in particular. Menendez, on the other hand, has urged the administration to up its diplomatic outreach following the strike rather than continue to rely on its military might.Despite their division on Trump’s decision to strike Soleimani, both lawmakers opposed the Obama administration’s 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.“I have looked into my own soul, and my devotion to principle may once again lead me to an unpopular course, but if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it,” Menendez said in a 2015 speech. “It is for these reasons that I will vote to disapprove the agreement and, if called upon, would vote to override a veto.”At the time of the deal’s proposal in 2015, Menendez advocated that the Obama administration continue to levy sanctions on Iran in order to change Tehran’s behavior and keep it from eventually obtaining a nuclear weapon. Although Graham’s and Menendez’s public statements on Iran have varied, both lawmakers seem to agree on one point: The Trump administration’s strategy isn’t working.Since Trump took office, Menendez has criticized the Trump administration’s Iran strategy as only emboldening Tehran. And while Graham tends to support Trump publicly, the South Carolina lawmaker has been openly critical of how the White House responds to Iran’s malign activities in the region.In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Graham said the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign—meant to cripple Iran’s economy with sanctions—was working but needed to be harsher and combined with military deterrence. Team Trump Thought It Could Contain Iran With ‘Maximum Pressure.’ The Attacks Got Worse.Before the Soleimani strike, Iran policy experts, some of whom worked with the Obama administration, said Tehran would not engage in talks about a revised nuclear deal unless the U.S. rolled back at least some of its sanctions on the country. Now those experts say Tehran, having rolled back its commitments under the former deal, is not likely to engage in any meaningful conversation with the U.S. on nuclear power, at least in the short term.Meanwhile, two officials in the Treasury Department say their unit is continuously drawing up additional sanctions for Iran on the chance Trump wants to hit the country with additional punishments in the near future.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
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Greek Lawmakers Elect Country’s First Female Head of State
Posted 1 day 13 hours 32 minutes ago

(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Greek lawmakers elected Wednesday Aikaterini Sakellaropoulou as the country’s next president of the republic after only a single round of voting.While the role is largely ceremonial, it’s the first time that a woman has been elected to the position.Sakellaropoulou’s election signals Greece’s progression into a new era, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said after the vote. “I’m happy we can agree on the big issues,” he said, commenting on the wide support that Sakellaropoulou secured in parliament.The 63-year-old president of the council of state, Greece’s highest court, and also the first woman in that post, got 261 votes, more than the 200 needed in Greece’s 300-seat parliament to be elected after a first ballot.Her nomination for the post by the Greek premier “honors both justice and the modern Greek woman,” Sakellaropoulou said after Mitsotakis announced his nominee last week.Sakellaropoulou will assume her new duties in March when the term of current President Prokopios Pavlopoulos comes to en end.(Adds PM Mitsotakis comment in third paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Tugwell in Athens at [email protected] contact the editor responsible for this story: Sotiris Nikas at [email protected] more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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The U.S. Navy Plans On Turning This Littoral Combat Ship Into the Ultimate Naval Weapon
Posted 1 day 18 hours 46 minutes ago

Russia and China should be on notice.
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Authorities say Oklahoma man was eaten by mountain lions in Arizona
Posted 1 day 20 hours 28 minutes ago

Steven Brashear, 66, was reported missing in December. Three mountain lions were euthanized after being found eating his body.
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Schiff mauls Cipollone on impeachment trial's first day
Posted 1 day 23 hours 39 minutes ago

President Trump’s lawyers were caught off-guard as the lead House impeachment manager, Rep. Adam Schiff, launched into a passionate and comprehensive set of arguments about why the House impeached Trump.
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