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  • McConnell releases impeachment trial rules, sparking new outcry from Democrats news

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the rules for a Senate impeachment trial on Monday evening.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 19:40:23 -0500
  • The search for Selena Not Afraid ends with 'great sadness.' Missing girl's body found near Montana rest area news

    The body of Selena Shelley Faye Not Afraid, 16, was found near the Montana rest area where she was last seen on New Year's Day, authorities said.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 08:38:53 -0500
  • Northeastern College Student Deported to Iran Despite Judge’s Order news

    The attorneys for a 24-year-old Iranian national and Northeastern University student who inspired protests at Boston Logan International Airport over the weekend said their client was deported late Monday in spite of a federal court order.Shahab Dehghani was detained Sunday night at about 5 p.m. when he arrived to study economics at the private school on a valid F1 student visa. He was held for secondary questioning by federal agents, and more than 100 people reportedly came out to demonstrate on his behalf outside of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) area of the airport for at least three hours on Monday. Protesters chanted “let Shahab in,” “do the right thing,” “stop deporting students,” and “let him in!”Dehghani was ordered removed from the U.S. without his having access to a lawyer, WBUR reported, but his attorneys, Susan Church and Kerry Doyle, filed an emergency federal petition on his behalf Monday night. The filing claimed CBP agents violated Dehghani’s rights when they detained him at the airport in the first place.U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs granted the order, scheduled a hearing in Boston federal court at 10 a.m. on Tuesday to discuss the matter, and appeared to delay Dehghani’s removal.“It is not a total victory. It is a partial victory,” Church told a crowd of protesters on Monday night, according to that order, Church said on Twitter Tuesday morning that Shahab Dehghani was “removed from the U.S. at 10:03 p.m.” Monday after agents told “multiple attorneys” that he was taken off the plane about 30 minutes earlier.Church tweeted on Tuesday morning: “THEY LIED.”A CBP spokesperson said in a statement that the agency could not confirm or deny that Dehghani was even in custody, citing the Privacy Act.“Applicants must demonstrate they are admissible into the U.S. by overcoming all grounds of inadmissibility including health-related grounds, criminality, security reasons, public charge, labor certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds,” the statement said.Judge Richard G. Stearns reportedly dismissed the case during a Tuesday morning hearing, declaring the issue moot—since Dehghani had already been deported—and noting that he did not believe he had the authority to order CBP to allow for the student’s return, according to WBUR.During the 10 a.m. hearing in Boston federal court, CBP attorneys also disputed the timeline presented by Dehghani’s attorneys, one of whom said Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey received confirmation that the emergency stay order was granted before the flight took off, WBUR reported. In court, the agency’s attorneys reportedly claimed that Dehghani’s plane left before the order was issued.“We are aware that a Northeastern University student who is an Iranian citizen has been denied entry to the United States,” school spokeswoman Shannon Nargi said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Northeastern welcomes thousands of international students and supports them with an array of resources. We have been in touch with federal officials to learn more about this case and to provide our student with the appropriate assistance to facilitate a successful return to Northeastern.”Dehghani previously attended University of Massachusetts Boston and was in the country for more than two years before he returned to Iran to visit family in December 2018, reported.Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recently requested more information from CBP about additional security measures that may target Iranian travelers entering the country. The Guardian reported that the U.S. has deported at least 10 Iranian students with valid visas since August—despite the lengthy and intense approval process it takes to acquire that paperwork. Seven of those students had reportedly flown into Logan International Airport in Boston, and some now allege serious infractions by an individual CBP officer at the Boston airport, the newspaper reported.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.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:55:05 -0500
  • Jeff Bezos’s Phone Hacked by Saudi Crown Prince: Report news

    Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's phone was hacked by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2018, five months before the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.According to the report, Bezos and bin Salman were having a friendly discussion on Whatsapp when on May 1 bin Salman sent the Amazon CEO a video file. That file was likely infected with malware, and in a matter of hours large amounts of data were extracted from Bezos's phone.Bin Salman is currently attempting to open Saudi Arabia to western investment and wean the country's economy off its dependence on oil. However, the prince is suspected of involvement in the murder of Khashoggi, which occurred at the Saudi embassy in Turkey.Khashoggi, a columnist at the Bezos-owned Post, was critical of the Saudi regime and allied himself with an organization funded by Qatar, Saudi Arabia's rival in the Persian Gulf.If confirmed, the hack into Bezos's phone would also raise questions regarding how the National Enquirer tabloid received text messages between Bezos and his mistress in early 2019, including photos of the two in various revealing states.On February 7, Bezos published the photos online to prove that American Media Inc., the owner of the Enquirer, was attempting to blackmail him to stop the Amazon CEO's investigation into how the Enquirer obtained the text messages in the first place."Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks and corruption," Bezos wrote at the time. "I prefer to stand up, roll this log over and see what crawls out."

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:12:21 -0500
  • UK to introduce tougher jail terms for convicted terrorists after London Bridge attack news

    Britain will introduce tougher jail sentences for convicted terrorists and will end early release as part of a series of measures to strengthen its response to terrorism, the government said on Tuesday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to make changes after an attack near London Bridge in November in which Usman Khan, a convicted terrorist who had been released early from prison, killed two people. Khan had been sentenced to a minimum of eight years in prison in 2012 with a requirement that the parole board assess his danger to the public before release.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 19:12:54 -0500
  • The U.S.'s Next Aircraft Carrier Named After Doris Miller, Hero of Pearl Harbor news

    Miller heroically fought back against the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:29:00 -0500
  • Amanda Knox posts selfie in old prison uniform as her 'something old' to prepare for wedding news

    With just 40 days left until her wedding, like many a bride-to-be, Amanda Knox has a long to-do list to get through before the big day.Ms Knox revealed a unique "something old" in a post on Instagram as she knuckles down to get through the tasks at hand – her old uniform from her time in an Italian prison.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:39:45 -0500
  • US envoy say it's his mustache; South Koreans say otherwise news

    The U.S. ambassador to South Korea has some unusual explanations for the harsh criticism he's faced in his host country. Or a Japanese ancestry that raises unpleasant reminders of Japan's former colonial domination of Korea? Many South Koreans, however, have a more straight-forward explanation for Harry Harris' struggle to win hearts and minds in Seoul, and it's got more to do with an outspoken manner that they see as undiplomatic and rude.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 04:24:21 -0500
  • 4 wild stories we've learned so far from 'A Very Stable Genius,' a new book on the Trump White House news

    The book tells never-before-heard stories about the Trump White House, and confirms anecdotes that were detailed in other books and reporting.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:39:16 -0500
  • It's so cold in Florida that Disney World water park and other Orlando parks are closing

    Heads up if you're vacationing in Florida this chilly week: Several water parks in Florida are closing due to cold temperatures in the state.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:22:55 -0500
  • Iran admits it fired two Russian antiaircraft missiles at a Ukrainian jetliner news

    Iran acknowledged on Tuesday that its armed forces fired two Russian antiaircraft missiles at a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed after taking off from Tehran's main airport earlier this month, killing all 176 people onboard.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:48:32 -0500
  • China Tries to Ease Concern U.S. Trade Deal Hurts Other Nations news

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng told the World Economic Forum that the country’s trade deal with the U.S. won’t hurt rival exporting nations as complaints mount from governments that were left out of the agreement.In the most high-profile remarks on the country’s economic policy since the accord was signed last week, Han said that its commitment to buy more from the U.S. is in line with its World Trade Organization obligations and won’t squeeze out other imports. Han also pledged to lower barriers for foreign investors as he set out the case for China’s engagement with the global economy.“China will open its door wider,” Han told an audience in Davos, Switzerland. “Though facing some protectionism from some countries, the determination to open up will not waver.”The speech comes less than a week after Chinese President Xi Jinping sealed a “phase one” deal intended to de-escalate a trade war with U.S. President Donald Trump. The accord saw China commit to crack down on the theft of American technology and corporate secrets by its companies and state entities, while outlining a $200 billion spending spree to try to close its trade imbalance with the U.S.“The phase-one trade deal is good for U.S., China and the world,” Han said. “China’s increasing purchases of U.S. goods are in accordance with WTO guidelines and will not impact its imports from other countries.”Han made the comments just as Trump gave his own speech in Davos, in which the U.S. president claimed credit for overseeing an economy enjoying its longest expansion yet, with an unemployment rate that fell to a five-decade low after tax cuts, deregulation and improved trade deals. He also spoke of his close relationship with Xi.“He’s for China and I’m for the U.S., but other than that, we love each other,” he said.Under the agreement, China will boost purchases of U.S. manufactured goods, agricultural products, energy and services over the next two years. Critics say such pre-determined demand can have adverse consequences elsewhere.‘Managed Trade’”The real problem with managed trade is that it may divert, rather than expand, international commerce,” Chad Bown, a senior fellow and trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in a report released Tuesday. “For example, China could purchase more American soybeans by cutting back on imports of oilseeds from Brazil.”Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy said China’s pledge to boost American imports could end up costing the European Union about $11 billion next year. “If trade costs and hence relative prices do not change, Chinese imports from the U.S. must come at the expense of third countries,” the institute said in a study published this week.Last week, EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan said his team will scrutinize whether China’s pledge is allowed under the WTO.“We haven’t analyzed the document in detail, but we will and if there’s a WTO-compliance issue of course we will take the case,” Hogan told a conference on Thursday in Washington.Separately, Australia is pushing China for the same dairy concessions that the U.S. received, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. As part of phase one of the deal, the U.S. secured regulatory breaks on dairy products shipped to China, barriers that have hampered Australian exporters, the newspaper reported last week.To contact the reporters on this story: Dandan Li in Beijing at;Crystal Chui in Zurich at;Bryce Baschuk in Geneva at bbaschuk2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at, Ben Sills, Brendan MurrayFor 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.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:53:10 -0500
  • AOC Compares Baltimore Riots to Peaceful Richmond Gun-Rights Demonstration news

    Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) on Monday contrasted the annual gun rights rally in Richmond, Va. with the riots after the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray and protests following the killing of Eric Garner by New York police."When we go out and march for the dignity…of the lives of people like Freddie Gray and Eric Garner, the whole place is surrounded by police in riot gear without a gun in sight [among protesters]," Ocasio-Cortez said at a Monday event. "And here are all of these people [in Richmond], flying Confederate flags with semiautomatic weapons, and there are almost no police officers at that protest."Following the death of Freddie Gray in the back of a police van in Baltimore in 2015, the city saw riots so extensive that Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, while national-guard units deployed to quell the violence. While the officers who arrested Gray were initially charged with murder, all charges were eventually dropped by the prosecution.During the Second Amendment rally in Richmond, Va. officers arrested one person for covering her face in public, which is banned under Virginia law. The individual was later released, and the rally continued without violence.On Thursday the New York Times reported that three suspected white nationalists had been arrested, with investigators alleging the three would try to ignite violence at the rally. Governor Ralph Northam, who has voiced support for more restrictive gun laws, declared a state of emergency in response to the threat.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 17:03:04 -0500
  • You Should Get an Electric Fireplace

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 12:00:00 -0500
  • Sending back climate refugees may violate right to life: U.N. body

    Governments need to take into account the climate crisis when considering the deportation of asylum seekers, the United Nations said in a landmark ruling that could pave the way for future climate refugees. The ruling by the U.N. Human Rights Committee was given in the case of Ioane Teitiota, from the Pacific nation of Kiribati, who brought a case against New Zealand in 2016 after authorities denied his claim of asylum as a climate refugee. Teitiota migrated to New Zealand in 2007 and applied for refugee status after his visa expired in 2010.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 01:15:34 -0500
  • Hurricane Rudy Strikes Back: Giuliani Hints At Tapes Exposing Parnas 'Lies' news

    Will the potential Trump impeachment witness hit back?

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 06:18:00 -0500
  • New Hampshire man chokes to death coyote who attacked toddler news

    * Ian O’Reilly says he was forced to act after animal bit child * Police say O’Reilly ‘suffocated the coyote until it succumbed’A New Hampshire man fought and killed a coyote on Monday, police said, bringing a spate of attacks to an end.Ian O’Reilly, from Kensington, choked the coyote to death after it attacked his two-year-old child. The same coyote is believed to have bitten a woman in the buttocks earlier in the day, and attacked a car.The coyote targeted O’Reilly’s family while they were walking on a trail near Kensington. It bit one of O’Reilly’s three children, prompting the father to kick it. O’Reilly then throttled the animal.“There was no interest in it going away,” O’Reilly told Boston 25 News. “[I] ultimately had to make the decision to become the aggressor and jumped on it, attacked it and [got] it to the ground.“When I was able to get on top of it, I put my hand on its snout so it wasn’t able to attack me. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground, so I shoved the face into the snow and then eventually was able [to] put my hand on its snout and expire it through suffocation.“Ultimately one hand on its windpipe and one hand on its snout did the trick.”O’Reilly was reportedly bitten in the arm and chest. His child was wearing a bulky snowsuit and was unharmed.“The coyote attacked a young child, and the child’s dad went into protection mode and suffocated the coyote until it succumbed,” police said.New Hampshire’s fish and game department was testing the coyote for rabies, according to 25 News. O’Reilly received shots for the virus.Police believe the same coyote earlier attacked a car in the same vicinity, before targeting Kensington resident Pat Lee and her dogs. The coyote bit one of the dogs and bit Lee in the buttocks.“Thank God the plumber was here, because the plumber was standing at the door screaming, ‘Get in! Get in!’” Lee told NBC Boston. The coyote managed to get into Lee’s home.“I was running behind the dogs to get them in, and just as I was here, literally, the coyote bit me. In the butt.”Coyote attacks are rare. According to the Humane Society of the United States, “more people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes”.The Kensington police chief, Scott Cain, said O’Reilly may have saved others from being attacked by the coyote.“The chances are it was sick and the pack kicked it out of the pack,” Cain said.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:17:50 -0500
  • AP FACT CHECK: Distortion in Trump's impeachment defense news

    In his first formal response to impeachment charges, President Donald Trump misrepresented the testimony of a key witness who described an exchange of favors in the Ukraine matter. The claim marked a week of frequent exaggeration and distortion by the president heading into the opening statements of his impeachment trial. Just as his tax cuts are far from the biggest in history, the economy isn't the best ever and his election victory in 2016 was no landslide of historic proportions, Trump's two trade deals don't stand atop the field of presidential endeavors.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 00:42:38 -0500
  • A Michigan state senator who said boys could 'have a lot of fun' with a female reporter has now been accused of sexual harassment news

    Michigan Sen. Peter Lucido who came under fire for sexist comments made to a female reporter faces sexual harassment accusations from a fellow senator.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:30:58 -0500
  • 2 inmates were killed Monday night at an understaffed Mississippi prison news

    Two inmates were killed Monday night at an understaffed Mississippi prison that has been shaken by other deadly violence in recent weeks. The state Department of Corrections confirmed the deaths Tuesday but did not immediately release the names of the latest inmates killed at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. The department said it is investigating the deaths.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:32:51 -0500
  • Obama was right, Alito was wrong: Citizens United has corrupted American politics news

    The Supreme Court's naive view of our electoral process has allowed money to dictate national policy on everything from climate to guns to drug costs.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 13:12:23 -0500
  • Twisted Christians Sentenced a Man to 12 Years in Prison Over a Cell Phone Charge in Mississippi news

    Brian K. Burns was sworn in as a Mississippi Circuit Court judge in early January, one of the last appointments made by outgoing hardline Republican Governor Phil Bryant. Before becoming a judge, Burns had prosecuted just 11 cases in the entirety of his legal career, leading fellow attorneys from his district to register “grave concerns about Burns’s lack of trial experience,” according to his hometown newspaper. In one of those cases, he’d succeeded in sending an African-American man to jail for 12 years merely for possessing a cellphone in a local jail—a sentence so extreme that Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Leslie King wrote that it “seems to demonstrate a failure of our criminal justice system on multiple levels.” The defendant, Willie Nash, is a 39-year-old father of three currently serving his decade-plus sentence in one of Mississippi’s worst prisons. By any reasonable reading of the trial court record, Nash’s real crime seems to have been a lack of detailed knowledge about Mississippi’s lengthy list of codes and statutes. While in the custody of the Newton County jail after a misdemeanor arrest in August 2017, Nash asked a guard to charge his cellphone. The officer’s testimony later affirmed that Nash handed over his smartphone “voluntarily,” as if he “wasn’t trying to hide anything,” and even “said thank you”—unlikely behavior for someone knowingly committing a felony—before also providing his phone’s passcode. Officers later discovered, according to court records, that Nash’s last outgoing text had been to his wife, informing her that he was “in jail.” Nash was then charged with violating a law prohibiting possession of any “unauthorized electronic device, cell phone or any of its components or accessories” in correctional facilities, a statute that carries a penalty of three to 15 years.The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the 2018 decision last week, noting that while the lower court’s sentence against Nash’s is “obviously harsh,” it still “falls within the statutory range.” Presiding Justice King wrote a special concurring opinion “to voice [his] concern over this case as a whole.” In it, the jurist notes that “Nash’s behavior was that of a person who did not know” he was not supposed to have the phone, “as he voluntarily showed the officer his phone and asked the officer to charge it for him.” He goes on to point out that it is likely the jail’s “booking procedure was not followed”—Nash’s intake officer was never called to testify—which explains how Nash entered the jail with a “large smartphone that would have likely been impossible to hide during a strip search.” The jurist responds to the lower court’s citation of Nash’s two previous burglary convictions by noting that Nash had remained out of trouble for a decade after he’d served seven years for the most recent conviction in 2001, which “evinces a change in behavior.” While King makes clear he agrees with the state Supreme Court’s decision establishing the legality of Nash’s sentence, his opinion questions the morality of Judge Mark Sheldon Duncan harsh sentence and prosecutor Burns’s pursuit of it. “[Nash] has a wife and three children who depend on him,” King writes. “Combining this fact with the seemingly innocuous, victimless nature of his crime, it seems it would have been prudent for the prosecutor to exercise prosecutorial discretion and decline to prosecute or to seek a plea deal. In that same vein, it would have been prudent for the judge to use his judicial discretion in sentencing to sentence Nash to a lesser sentence than that of twelve years. Cases like Nash’s are exactly why prosecutors and judges are given wide discretion.”That’s not how prosecutors and judges in Mississippi have used that discretion.A Justice Department report ranks the state’s incarceration rate as the third highest in the country, after Louisiana and Oklahoma. Even as the national prison population has been on the decline, the number of people imprisoned  in Mississippi has increased over the last five years, and currently stands at roughly 19,000. One reason for that rise may be the number of former prosecutors who then ascend to Mississippi’s bench—from which they continue to prosecute. Like Burns, Nash’s sentencing judge, Mark Duncan, is a former prosecutor, who served as District Attorney for Mississippi’s Eighth District for nearly 15 years. Additionally, while 38 percent of Mississippi’s population is black—the largest share of any state—its prosecutors and judges are white and male, as in the rest of the country. Today, the state that lynched the most African-Americans now locks up its black citizens. According to a 2018 ACLU report, 1 in 30 black men in Mississippi is in jail, while a 2019 report from finds that “1 in 7 black Mississippians has a felony conviction.” “This is a guy who has no history of violence,”  said Robert McDuff, director of the Mississippi Center for Justice’s Impact Litigation Project. “His only prior criminal convictions were burglary convictions that were nearly 20 years old or older. I mean this guy's obviously not a career criminal. He was in jail on a misdemeanor charge when this cellphone was found…. So, yeah, clearly he's not a violent person—he’s not a danger if he's on the streets. It's just ridiculous to be sentencing him to 12 years in prison,”. McDuff was also a defense lawyer for Curtis Flowers, a black Mississippi man who has been prosecuted six times for the same crime by Doug Evans, a white district attorney. In December, after 23 years in prison, Flowers’s most recent conviction was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, which found that Evans and his team had undertaken a “relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of black individuals.”“In Mississippi we are facing a crisis of overcrowding in the prisons,” McDuff told me. “There are not enough guards to supervise the prisoners. This recently has broken out in violence, in chaos, and conditions that are unsafe both for prisoners and for staff. And a large part of the reason for this is because the judges are sending nonviolent people like Mr. Nash to prison when they just don't need to be there.”Nash has been imprisoned since December 2019 in the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, which ProPublica described in a 2019 report as “a violent tinderbox.” One inmate set another on fire last August, leaving him with second-degree burns. Another inmate described a separate incident in which prisoners begged guards to stop a fight that ultimately ended in the death of an inmate. “We had beat on the cell doors for hours, trying to summon help… all the officer in the tower would do is yell over the P.A. speaker for us to ‘shut the hell up.’” The report went on to describe a place where danger is a constant threat, as “the prison struggles to meet the fundamental duties of a correctional facility, with surging violence and, now, a lockdown barring visits entering its seventh month. Rather than counting inmates, as required, some guards are reportedly falsifying those counts, an internal prison memo says. The state has sharply cut its spending on prisons over the last few years. Along the way, the number of guards at the three state-run prisons has plummeted, from 905 in July 2017 to 627 two years later, even as the number of inmates has remained the same. Vacancies abound, largely because the pay is so low. South Mississippi Correctional Institution, known as SMCI, now has an inmate-to-correctional officer ratio of 23 to 1, far higher than that of other states or the federal prison system.”On January 3, Burns was officially sworn in as a judge for Mississippi’s Eighth Judicial District. The new judge told a local news outlet that in his new job, he planned to rely on one idea above all others. “Prayer,” Burns said. “Lean on the lord. Cast all your burdens upon him. Pray, pray, pray. He will provide the answer.”It was Duncan—the sentencing judge who told Nash he should “consider himself fortunate” he’d only been sentenced to 12 years, given his long-ago non-violent convictions—who administered the oath to Burns, Nash’s zealous prosecutor. At the ceremony, Duncan deemed Burns a “highly intelligent, sharp lawyer” who will make an “outstanding circuit judge.” Duncan said that he and Burns had spoken about their shared Christian faith, and how God had “put us there to use the gifts he has given us to administer to those who are around us. Brian and I talked and he agreed with that assessment. He told me he trusted God to put him wherever he was supposed to be.” The judge added, “We’ve enjoyed a lot of great conversations about golf and time on the golf course as well. Golfers will tell you that you can find out a lot about a person on the golf course. Golf has a way of exposing a person’s true character. As much as legal skills are required to do the job of judge, a person’s character may be even more important.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 04:42:28 -0500
  • Signs of life at 'no-man's land' around Philippine volcano news

    A desolate landscape of ash dunes and bare trees left by the eruption of the Philippines' Taal volcano lay in contrast with a few signs of life at ground zero of the disaster on Tuesday. The island site was buried by massive deposits of ash when Taal erupted last week and remains under a mandatory evacuation order due to a feared bigger blast. Authorities have said any outward signs of an imminent eruption have been weak over the past several days.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 02:48:52 -0500
  • Erdogan says Somalia has invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas: NTV news

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Somalia had invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas, after Ankara signed a maritime agreement with Libya last year, broadcaster NTV reported. Turkey has been a major source of aid to Somalia following a famine in 2011 as Ankara seeks to increase its influence in the Horn of Africa to counter Gulf rivals like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 07:54:31 -0500
  • The Navy Has a Plan to Stop Ship-Killer Missiles news

    The threat keeps building from nations like Russia, China, Iran and many others.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 02:28:00 -0500
  • Jess Phillips Quits Race to Replace Corbyn as U.K. Labour Leader

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Jess Phillips quit the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the U.K. Labour Party, saying she was unable to unite the divided movement.Phillips failed to win the necessary backing from trade unions and local parties to get on the final ballot. There are now four candidates left in the contest to succeed Corbyn, who last month led the party to its worst election defeat since the 1930s.Life After Corbyn? The Politicians Vying to Become Labour Leader“The Labour Party will need to select a candidate that can unite all parts of our movement -- the union movement, the members and elected representatives,” Phillips said in a video on YouTube Tuesday. “I have to be honest that at this time, that person isn’t me.”The new leader will have the task of reviving the U.K.’s main opposition party. Under Corbyn, the party became bitterly divided over his socialist policies, accusations of antisemitism, and an ambiguous policy on Brexit.Corbyn CriticPhillips, 38, was a vocal critic of Corbyn, making her a divisive candidate unpopular with his supporters, who saw her as undermining his efforts. She didn’t say which of the four remaining candidates she would support.The backbench member of Parliament had already said her campaign was not going well, and on Monday she failed to gain the support of retail trade union Usdaw, which instead backed front-runner Keir Starmer. As Labour’s fourth-largest affiliate, Usdaw would have helped get Phillips over the line, but instead assured Starmer of a place in the final ballot.Under the complex rules of the contest, candidates need to secure the backing of either 33 constituency Labour parties, or three affiliates, two of which must be unions and make up at least 5% of affiliated membership.Starmer’s main rival, Rebecca Long-Bailey, hopes to win the support of Unite or the Communication Workers Union. On Wednesday, the GMB union backed Lisa Nandy, calling her “a breath of fresh air in the debate over Labour’s future.”Four RemainThe fourth candidate remaining is Emily Thornberry. Labour’s foreign affairs spokeswoman just scraped through the first phase of the contest, which required candidates to secure the backing of 22 MPs and Members of the European Parliament.Writing in the Guardian newspaper on Monday, Phillips said her first hustings had been “awful” and it was highly unlikely anyone except Starmer or Long-Bailey would win the race.“I was awful because I was trying to hit a million different lines and messages in 40 seconds,” she wrote. “Some were my lines, some were other people’s and it fell flat.”\--With assistance from Thomas Penny.To contact the reporter on this story: Jessica Shankleman in London at jshankleman@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at, Alex Morales, Stuart BiggsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:29:28 -0500
  • More US troops under medical evaluation after missile attack news

    Additional U.S. troops have been flown out of Iraq for closer evaluation of potential concussion injuries from the Iranian missile attack of Jan. 8, U.S. defense officials said Tuesday. The exact number of troops flown to Germany was not immediately clear, but officials said it was a small number. Last week, 11 U.S. service members were flown from Iraq to U.S. medical facilities in Germany and Kuwait for further evaluation of concussion-like symptoms.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 18:37:09 -0500
  • Russia admits its deadly Zircon hypersonic missile is suffering from 'childhood diseases' news

    The weapon which is expected to eventually arm the country's newer frigates is apparently experiencing developmental challenges.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:11:36 -0500
  • U.S. set to deport Honduran family with sick kids to Guatemala news

    Advocates, citing the children's recent hospitalization, mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge to stop the deportation — which is slated to take place Tuesday.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 23:27:42 -0500
  • AOC criticises Democratic Party: ‘We don’t have a left party in the United States’ news

    New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explained that the Democratic party does not represent the political left in the United States, calling the organisation a “centre or centre-conservative” party that “can’t even get a floor vote” on nationalising health care.She said: “We can’t even get a floor vote on Medicare for All — not even a floor vote that might get doubled down.”

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:32:14 -0500
  • California Man Accused of Killing 3 Teens After 'Intentionally' Ramming Them With His Car news

    Anurag Chandra, 42, is facing 3 murder charges

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:39:02 -0500
  • Photos surface showing convicted Nazi guard Demjanjuk at Sobibor news

    New photos have emerged which for the first time show convicted Nazi guard John Demjanjuk at the Sobibor death camp, a Berlin archive confirmed Monday, although he always denied ever being there. Ukrainian-American Demjanjuk was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of nearly 30,000 Jews at Sobibor by a German court in 2011. According to the Berlin-based Topography of Terror archive, photos of Demjanjuk are among a newly discovered collection of more than 350 snaps which give "detailed insight" into the camp in German-occupied Poland.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 06:36:42 -0500
  • 30 Doormats That Will Wow Visitors

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:30:26 -0500
  • World needs to prepare for 'millions' of climate displaced: U.N. news

    The world needs to prepare for millions of people being driven from their homes by the impact of climate change, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said on Tuesday. Speaking to Reuters at the World Economic Forum, Filippo Grandi said a U.N. ruling this week meant those fleeing as a result of climate change deserved international protection, and that it had broad implications for governments. The U.N. Human Rights Committee made the landmark ruling on Monday in relation to Ioane Teitiota, from the Pacific nation of Kiribati, who brought a case against New Zealand after authorities denied his claim of asylum.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:27:42 -0500
  • Why Did North Korea Sink the South Korean Warship Cheonan in 2010? news

    What was the point of this terrible act?

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 04:50:00 -0500
  • Silent Senators, No Photographers: Inside the Impeachment Trial news

    (Bloomberg) -- Elizabeth Warren scratched out copious notes and Bernie Sanders watched intently as House impeachment managers began arguing their case against President Donald Trump.But almost nobody could see what two of the leading Democratic presidential candidates or the other 98 members of the Senate were doing as the historic impeachment trial opened on Tuesday, with photographers barred and Senate-controlled TV cameras focused solely on the House impeachment managers and the president’s defense team.A Senate chamber that is normally mostly empty except for during votes instead had all 100 senators forced to sit at their desks with a pile of impeachment documents and a pad of paper, pencils and cups of water, while a gallery packed with journalists and spectators looked on.With their phones and other electronics stowed in the cloakroom, and ordered to stay silent under pain of imprisonment by the sergeant-at-arms, the senators paid rapt attention as the case got underway.Still, it wasn’t long before they started whispering to their seat-mates or writing each other notes. Some struggled to stay awake as the hours passed with short breaks. As the night dragged on, many stood and walked around.The unusually intense chamber was eerily quiet other than the sounds of pens scratching on paper, the shuffling of Senate pages bringing water to senators, or the rustle of members of the public quietly filing in an out of the chamber’s galleries. A lone courtroom sketch artist sat in the balcony drawing the scene after Chief Justice John Roberts opened the proceeding at 1:18 p.m.Campaigns on HoldAll four of the senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination have to be off the campaign trail while the trial is going on, even though the Iowa caucuses are less than two weeks away.Warren and Michael Bennet appeared to be intently reading through the House’s impeachment documents -- given to each senator in a large binder. At times, Warren and other Democratic senators flipped through pocket copies of the Constitution. Amy Klobuchar was also paying close attention and occasionally taking notes.White House Counsel Pat Cipollone at one point offered a sort of false sympathy for them.“Some of you are upset you should be in Iowa right now,” he said. “It’s long past time that we should start, so we can end this ridiculous charade and go have an election.”That remark caused Klobuchar to fold her arms, while Sanders showed no outward emotion, continuing to lean back in his seat.Klobuchar later told reporters that her family is in Iowa campaigning on her behalf, and “the people in these early states are going to understand that I have to do my job.”She said wonders how her Republican Senate colleagues, especially the ones with whom she has worked closely, can oppose calls for the testimony of Trump’s closest aides with firsthand knowledge of the facts.”I keep looking over at them thinking, come on now, you know we should at least hear from Mick Mulvaney, you know we should at least hear from John Bolton,” Klobuchar said. “You can’t have all these smoking gun emails out there and not get to the facts. And if the president believes that somehow this information is going to exonerate him, what is he afraid of?”A number of Senate Republicans appeared glum or even irritated at times, resting their heads on their hands. Some seemed especially irritated during House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s opening excoriation of the president and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resolution setting the rules for the trial.Two Republicans were paying especially close attention: Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who could be critical swing votes later in the trial on whether to call witnesses. Collins was taking diligent notes; Murkowski was staring intently almost throughout.They voted with the rest of the GOP, however, to block a move by Democrats to subpoena documents withheld by Trump related to his order to hold up aid to Ukraine while he sought to have that country announce an investigation of Joe Biden, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination, and his son. Collins issued a statement saying she’s inclined to back witnesses later in the trial, but not now.As they waited for the trial to get under way, senators milled around chatting. House attorneys shook hands with Cipollone and other lawyers defending Trump. Cipollone also shook hands in a friendly manner with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats.There was an animated discussion before the proceedings among John Thune, the Republican whip, Collins and Murkowski.Hushed ChamberAfter Roberts opened the trial, the room hushed. The glad-handing and smiles turned to serious and sober looks on both sides of the aisle.As the debate over trial rules dragged into the night, some senators stood up to stretch and stand in the back of the chamber. Eight hours after the session began, House managers and Trump’s defense team were still discussing Schumer’s fourth amendment to McConnell’s resolution.Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said he wanted to keep pressing amendments because it might be the last opportunity to weigh in on the trial rules.Among those visiting the Senate on Tuesday was former Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican who before his retirement from Congress had sharply criticized the president.Flake said he was at the Capitol for other business and decided to watch because “it’s a momentous day.” He said he talked to some of his former colleagues but would not say what they told him.“You can make a good argument on both sides whether this rises to the level where the president needs to be removed,” said Flake. “I’ve always said I would like to see the voters remove the president, not necessarily the Senate because you don’t want to get in a cycle of trying to disqualify each other.”But Flake said “it pains me” to see what he says some House Republicans do, insisting “that the president did no wrong, this is somehow normal. It is not. It ought to be taken seriously.”(Updates with Klobuchar quotes beginning in the 12th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Daniel Flatley.To contact the reporters on this story: Steven T. Dennis in Washington at;Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at, Anna EdgertonFor 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.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 21:18:36 -0500
  • Indonesia says 5 citizens kidnapped by Philippine militants news

    Indonesian authorities said Tuesday that five of the country's citizens have been kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 00:31:08 -0500
  • The US Air Force recently acquired a new $64 million Gulfstream private jet for VIP government officials — see inside news

    The US president isn't the only government official that flies in a VIP plane operated by the US Air Force.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 08:53:00 -0500
  • Meet the General Who Ran Soleimani’s Spies, Guns and Assassins news

    They're the Quds Force officers who tracked and killed Iraqis working with the U.S.-led coalition, hunted those deemed hostile to Iranian influence through a council of assassins, and smuggled the spies, money, weapons, and secrets into Iraq that sowed chaos across the country during the American occupation. Qassem Soleimani first gained the attention of Western media through his role in instigating a campaign of covert violence against the U.S. in Iraq which cost the lives of over 600 American troops. But underneath the now famous Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps icon, other officers managed the war that first made Soleimani notorious. For a period during the mid-2000s, one of those officers was Brigadier General Ahmed Foruzandeh, who rose to command the Ramazan Corps, part of the Guard’s elite Quds Force, after cutting his teeth in the unit running guerrilla warfare operations during the Iran-Iraq war.‘OK, Now What?’: Inside Team Trump’s Scramble to Sell the Soleimani Hit to America“Although Qassem Soleimani was the architect of that broader strategy, it was his lesser known lieutenants who ran and oversaw the operations,” Dr. Afshon Ostovar, a scholar at the Naval Postgraduate School, said. “Foruzandeh was one of the top Quds Force operatives in the field in Iraq, yet his name was hardly known at the time.” Declassified documents obtained by The Daily Beast through the Freedom of Information Act offer new details of Foruzandeh’s campaign of violence in Iraq during the latter 2000s. They show how Foruzandeh and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) funneled guns, money, and spies into Iraq and assassinated both Americans and Iraqis. And they offer hints that the man who helped Iran kill hundreds of Americans throughout the Iraq war may not have actually retired years ago as he let on, but continued to consult for his former boss long after the war ended.Iranian and American media alike have treated Foruzandeh’s old boss, the former Quds Force commander Soleimani, with something approaching hagiography. In profiles and obituaries, he’s cast as a legendary “shadow commander” possessed of superhuman abilities and cunning, a judgment not entirely supported by Soleimani’s colleagues. By contrast, declassified documents obtained by The Daily Beast and other sources paint a more prosaic picture of Foruzandeh. Like a number of Quds Force personnel, Foruzandeh’s career in Iraq drew on nothing more mystical than relationships and experience. His first brush with the world of covert operations in the Iran-Iraq war met with middling success and the guerrilla warfare effort he supported barely moved the needle in the conflict. But by the time the U.S. showed up on Iran’s doorstep, Foruzandeh had been carrying out guerrilla warfare and covert operations across the Iran-Iraq border for nearly 20 years with some of the same people and organizations. “They clearly have, one, home court advantage. Two, these guys have been doing special operations in the region for their entire adult life and they’re veterans of the brutal Iran-Iraq war,” Doug Wise, a former CIA officer and station chief in Baghdad, told The Daily Beast of Iranian Quds Force officers who worked on Iraq. “These guys are worthy adversaries. They’re not 10 feet tall. They have human and physical limitations but extraordinary experience in conducting the operations that they were required to conduct,” Wise said. * * *“Big picture,” Col. Donald Bacon, then the chief of special operations and intelligence information for the coalition, said in a 2007 press conference, “the Ramazan Corps is the organization that does operations here in Iraq to—they use it to—they're the ones who transit in the weapons, the funding and help coordinate Iraqi militia extremists into Iran to get them training and then get them back into Iraq.”Ramazan was the Quds Force unit in charge of causing chaos in Iraq and, at least for a time, Foruzandeh was its commander. The unit, which dated back to the Iran-Iraq war, divided its forces between a handful of sub-commands along the Iraqi border. Foruzandeh had worked in Fajr command, based in Ahwaz, Iran, which handled operations in Basra and southern Iraq, working his way up to deputy commander of Ramazan.By 2007, as violence in Iraq peaked, intelligence reports surveyed Iranian covert operations in Iraq as the U.S. turned its attention away from the Sunni jihadist insurgency and towards the violence instigated by Iran and its proxies. The documents include raw reporting marked as "not finally evaluated intelligence" from sources whose motivations are described as "based on favorable experiences with U.S. forces and desire to rid Iraq of destructive foreign influences" but they track broadly with what U.S. officials have said about Ramazan Corps and its personnel.Taken together, they show a sprawling campaign of covert violence with Foruzandeh and the Ramazan Corps in charge.The documents spend considerable space detailing the elaborate process by which the Iranian-overseen “Golden Death Squad” targeted, approved, and carried out assassinations against Iraqis they viewed as obstacles. The unit, the report wrote, “consists of Iranian intelligence leadership that provide guidance and funding to Iraqis that are recruited from [Jaish al-Mahdi], Badr Corps, the Al-Fadilah Party, and other Shia Iraqi parties and militias that conduct assassination operations against former Ba'ath party members, Iraqis that are working with the [Coalition Forces], and Iraqis that are not supporting Iranian influence in Iraq.”Iranian officers shuttled Iraqi members of the assassination teams to Ahwaz, Iran, the headquarters of Ramazan’s Fajr command, for training. The 10-day long course included instruction from Iranian officers on “information collection to support the targeting of coalition forces in Iraq, assassinations, and the use of indirect fire systems such as Katyusha rockets and mortars.” Iran also trained its proxies in the use of “what is described as very sophisticated explosives that can penetrate [Coalition Forces'] armor,” an apparent reference to the notorious Iranian-made explosively formed projectiles which killed and maimed hundreds of American troops. When it came time to decide who would be killed, Quds Force officers set up a process for adjudicating assassination targets, giving Iraqi allies a role in the process, according to the documents. “Iraqis that are agents of the Iranians are allowed to produce lists of Iraqis that are to be assassinated,” it notes. “Most of these Iraqis that are authorized to make decisions regarding who is to be killed by the Golden Death Squad are members of the Iraqi government and security forces.” Meetings of the hit squad reportedly took place at the Basra governor’s office where members of Basra police intelligence would "routinely attend.”Iranian intelligence officers also nominated their own targets for assassination. Their names were handed to a member of the Iranian-backed Badr militia. The Iranian officer who passed the targets along—his name is redacted in the report—is described as “a Persian Iranian that is fluent in Iraqi Arabic and has a southern Iraqi accent due to the years he has spent in Iraq."Those slated for assassination included not just former Baathists but Iraqis who worked with the U.S.-backed coalition. The documents recount how one Quds Force officer, assigned to Ramazan’s Fajr command in southern Iraq, ran an Iraqi agent who photographed coalition informants for the IRGC. The unnamed Quds Force officer then “passe[d] the pictures to Iraqis that he tasks and funds to kill those identified by [redacted's] reporting and pictures."In at least one case, Foruzandeh reportedly intervened to help one of his militia allies after coalition officials arrested them. Mehdi Abdmehd al-Khalisi allegedly ran the Muntada al-Wilaya militia, a small, Iranian-backed Shiite militia implicated in the murder of a number of former Baathist officials and an attack on coalition troops. When coalition officials arrested al-Khalisi in 2005, senior Iraqi officials began pressuring the coalition to release him. A classified cable leaked by WikiLeaks show that informants told the U.S. that al-Khalisi had been communicating with Foruzandeh about attacks on British forces in Iraq’s Maysan governorate via encrypted telegrams as early as 2003. After his arrest, the cable says that an informant of “unknown reliability” reported that Foruzandeh “has authorized an expenditure of up to $500,000 for operations to secure Mr. al-Khalisi's release, and that senior [Iraqi Transitional Government] officials have received telephone calls from the Brigadier requesting assistance.” Along with the assassinations came Iranian weapons and trainers. Reporting by the Long War Journal first sketched out Ramazan’s “rat lines” in Iraq and documents obtained by The Daily Beast note that the unit oversaw a “complex smuggling apparatus from Ahwaz, Iran into Iraq" that included "weapons, information, financial support, and Iranian intelligence officers." The money, guns, and Iranian personnel began their journey in Ahwaz and were handed off to smugglers at the border with Iraq.Iranian intelligence officers would vet smugglers for loyalty and to ensure that they had a "pre-existing relationship with the [Iraqi border police] because of their tribal relationship"—a relationship that nonetheless "usually involves a pre-arranged bribe." Once across the border, smugglers toting money, guns, and Iranian personnel were “typically met by a reception element that represents a Shia militia group that the operation support package was built for."In the ports of southern Iraq, Ramazan agents smuggled weapons via hidden compartments in the fuel tanks of fishing boats, according to the documents. As violent as Foruzandeh’s tenure in occupation-era Iraq war was, he wasn’t entirely averse to covert diplomacy. Ahmed Chalabi, the exiled Iraqi lobbyist who helped push the Bush administration to war in Iraq, met with Foruzandeh in the spring of 2004, according to a 2008 biography of Chalabi by journalist and former Daily Beast senior correspondent Aram Roston. At the time, Chalabi had transitioned from pro-war lobbyist to an Iraqi member of parliament and was seeking to accommodate himself to Iran’s newfound influence in Iranian politics.  Some time after the meeting, the U.S. learned that Iranian intelligence had suddenly realized American spies were reading their cable traffic and had broken their codes. A few months later, American intelligence officials told The New York Times they believed Chalabi had walked into the Iranian embassy in Baghdad and blown the operation to the station chief of Iranian intelligence at the embassy. Chalabi denied any involvement in the leak but the incident led the Bush administration to end its relationship with him.* * *Foruzandeh’s father worked for the Abadan oil company and when he left the company, his family of 13 sons and daughters moved to Khorramshahr, just across the border from Basra in Iraq. His son Ahmed was an early supporter of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, a stance which earned him a stint in prison at university—thanks to the ruling Shah’s secret police—and the revolutionary bonafides that came with it when the Shah’s government was ousted.In the early days of the Islamic Revolution, Foruzandeh worked with the IRGC to identify and arrest Arab dissidents in Khorramshahr opposed to the new government. His knowledge of the area, proven commitment to the regime, and background in underground work made him a natural fit for intelligence when the Iran-Iraq war started.“After Iraq's invasion, he was the intelligence chief of the Khorramshahr unit that later played a key role in re-taking the city from the Baathists in 1982,” Amir Toumaj, an Iran researcher who’s written extensively on the Quds Force, explained of Foruzandeh. “His biography states that he started developing a relationship with Hassan Bagheri around the time of Khorramshahr's fall and sent him reports,” Toumaj says. Bagheri, the founder of the Islamic Republic’s intelligence service, was killed during the war but went on to become one of Iran’s most famous “martyrs.” His brother, Mohammad, is now Iran’s highest-ranking military officer and it was those kinds of connections that would help pave Foruzandeh’s ascent to the highest ranks of the IRGC.Trump, Iran, and Where ‘The Forever War’ Was Always HeadedLater in the war, Foruzandeh left his position in Khorramshahr’s 22nd Badr Brigade and joined the Ramazan Corps. The unit was designed to work with dissident groups in Iraq and carry out guerrilla operations behind enemy lines while the otherwise static style of trench warfare that characterized the Iran-Iraq conflict played out. At Ramazan’s Fajr headquarters, where Foruzandeh first worked, the unit carried out operations with Iraqi Shiite groups like the Badr Brigade, a group of exiled dissidents and former prisoners of war. The militia was originally “conceived by the Iranians as an adjunct to the IRGC-QF Ramazan Corps,” according to a 2005 State Department cable, and drew support from their political arm, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. During the Iran-Iraq war, radio broadcasts from Tehran hailed operations by the “Ramazan Headquarters” which claimed assassination attempts with “Iraqi mujahidin” on Saddam’s interior minister Samir al-Shaykhali in Baghdad, the “revolutionary execution” of a Ba’ath Party official in Baghdad’s Mansur neighborhood, and having set fire to one of Saddam’s Baghdad palaces "used for pleasure by Ba'ath party officials and senior officers of that regime.”Ramazan’s Fajr headquarters and the Badr Brigade didn’t do much to change the tide of the war. It ended in a bloody stalemate in 1988, more of exhaustion than because of guerrilla daring. One of the Ramazan Corps’s most valuable relationships actually lay farther north with Kurdish forces from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The group carried out strikes deep into Iraqi Kurdish territory with Ramazan’s backing, including a 1986 raid on Iraqi oil infrastructure in Kirkuk (later memorialized in a cheesy Iranian action flick, Kirkuk Operation).But the relationships forged by Ramazan with Iraqi Shia militants would prove useful to both the Revolutionary Guards and Iran years down the road when groups like Badr took on an important role in Iraqi politics and security. When the war ended, both Ramazan Corps and Foruzandeh remained focused on Iraq, particularly during the Shia uprising against Saddam at the end of the Persian Gulf War. One Iranian news account put Foruzandeh in charge of working with Iranian-backed militias to support the uprising “in order to speed up the support of the Iraqi Mujahideen” because his unit, Ramazan’s Fajr headquarters, was closest to the revolt in Basra.There’s not much evidence about how Foruzandeh spent his time in the interim between America’s first two wars in Iraq. The most evidence available is a fragmentary report from Saddam-era intelligence documents captured by the U.S. after the war that shows Foruzandeh running an agent inside a camp for the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, an Iranian dissident cult group which fought on behalf of Iraq during the war and carried out a series of terrorist attacks in Iran.* * *Not many senior Ramazan Corps veterans appear to have retired. Iraj Masjedi, another Quds Force Iraq veteran, took over as Iran’s ambassador in Baghdad in 2017. Abdul Reza Shahlai, who served in Iraq during the occupation alongside Foruzandeh, is now at 63 years old reportedly the top Quds Force officer in Yemen and was unsuccessfully targeted in a U.S. airstrike there the same night that special operations forces killed Soleimani.After the U.S. wound down its occupation in Iraq, Foruzandeh, gray-haired and portly, gave every impression of having retired and contented himself with the hobbies of old age, despite a U.S. sanctions designation on him during the war. He told an Iranian news outlet that he’d retired from the Quds Force in 2008, and was working on an oral history project about his hometown. In public, he spent his spent time shuffling between memorial ceremonies for fallen comrades. It doesn’t appear to be true.Another declassified intelligence document obtained by The Daily Beast offers hints that Foruzandeh may not have retired after all. The report, an account of senior Iranian officials’ participation in a museum project "documenting lessons learned from the Iran-Iraq war," suggests he kept at least a consulting role in Quds Force operations. In describing the background of officials present at the meeting, the report says Foruzandeh still dabbled in "management of personnel and logistic support to IRGC-QF external activities." Iran’s Khorasan province “has been recently added to his portfolio." Iran’s Khorasan province borders northwest Afghanistan and by 2013, the Obama administration had already been arguing for years that Quds Force officers were secretly supporting the Taliban in order to weaken U.S. and NATO forces in the country. There are some reasons to be skeptical of the declassified report. The sources claim that Foruzandeh was appointed a director of Iran’s Iran-Iraq war museum, but he’s not listed by the museum as an official or referred to as such in news accounts. It’s also dated around the same time Foruzandeh gave an interview to an Iranian news outlet announcing that he was working on a history project about his hometown’s role in the Iran-Iraq war.Still, other evidence suggests Foruzandeh was still in the irregular warfare business.In 2014, one of Foruzandeh’s closest colleagues in the Quds Force, fellow brigadier general and Ramazan Corps veteran Hamid Taghavi, was killed by ISIS in Iraq. The death came as a surprise, not least because Taghavi was one of the highest-ranking IRGC officers killed in Iraq since the Iran-Iraq war. Like Foruzandeh, Taghavi was also supposed to have left active duty. Instead, he was in Iraq supporting a Shiite militia loyal to Iran, Sayara al-Khorasani, and organizing Iran’s fight against ISIS.“Commander Taghavi was retired. No one thought he’d go to Iraq and be able to play a role in the mobilization and organization of the [Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units militia],” Foruzandeh told a meeting of Ahwaz city officials after his death. Taghavi’s death hit Foruzandeh hard and he would break down in tears recounting his comrade’s life when talking to reporters. In one interview, Foruzandeh suggested he’d been in contact with Taghavi by phone shortly before his death and offered advice for his work standing up pro-Iranian militias after ISIS took Mosul“He came to the place where we were stationed,” Foruzandeh said without elaborating. “We told him about the situation in Iraq, the characteristics of the conflict, the various Iraqi groups, and the challenges that existed. The Iraqi forces had deficiencies that needed to be addressed.” Taghavi was concerned about Iranian-backed militias’ performance during operations in Jurf al-Sakhar, an Iraqi town captured by ISIS and taken back during a brutal operation coordinated by the Quds Force. “He believed that unless these forces received better training they would suffer severe casualties. The casualties these forces suffered were generally due to a lack of proper military training. They didn’t know how to move, what to do when they’re under fire from the enemy, how to provide cover when attacking, or even how to clear traps and contaminants from an infected area,” Foruzandeh recalled.One of the last public glimpses of Foruzandeh comes from an unlikely source: Facebook. Foruzandeh doesn’t appear to have a profile, but his acquaintances identified him in pictures during a 2016 visit to meet with Iraqi officials from Maysan Province. The photos show a grandfatherly Quds Force officer with his trademark scowl described as an “advisor” to Iran’s Supreme Leader, a tailored visiting dignitary in a place where decades before he was once a spry, hunted guerrilla in hand-me-down fatigues.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 04:51:31 -0500
  • Mothers who occupied vacant Oakland house will be allowed to buy it news

    Intervention of California governor helps Moms 4 Housing group score victory in fight against state’s homeless crisisThe homeless mothers who took over a vacant house in Oakland, California, and occupied it for almost two months will be allowed to purchase the property – a major victory in a movement working to keep such homes out of the possession of speculators.The group Moms 4 Housing entered the house on Magnolia Street on 18 November with the intent to stay. The house had sat vacant for more than two years before it was purchased in July at a foreclosure auction for $501,078 by Wedgewood Properties, a real estate investment company with a history of buying up foreclosed-upon houses cheaply, evicting the tenants, renovating the homes and then putting them back on the market at much higher prices.Housing advocates say companies such as Wedgewood fueled the housing crisis that now grips the state, which needs anywhere between 1.8m and 3.5m new housing units by 2025. More than 15,500 units remain vacant in Oakland alone, according to the latest US Census Bureau data, while 4,071 people are homeless. House-flipping has led to rapid gentrification, which then in turn led to the widespread displacement of black residents.In Oakland, 78% of the homeless population reported that their last place of residence before becoming homeless was within county limits. Seventy per cent were black.Moms 4 Housing chose the Magnolia Street house in part to try to force Wedgewood to negotiate the sale of the home back to the community.“This is what happens when we organize, when people come together to build the beloved community,” Dominique Walker, one of the mothers who lived in the house with her two children, said in a statement, on the day that America marked Martin Luther King Day. “Today we honor Dr King’s radical legacy by taking Oakland back from banks and corporations.”With the housing and homelessness crisis worsening each day, the mothers received widespread support for their cause, from local lawmakers to California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, who praised the activists.Moms 4 Housing had brought the issue to court, but a judge ruled in favor of Wedgewood. Sheriff deputies arrived in the early hours of 15 January to evict them, arresting two of the mothers and two of their supporters.Wedgewood has maintained that the mothers had committed a criminal act in breaking into the house, and the house legally belonged to the company.“Wedgewood has always been and continues to be open to thoughtful and purposeful discussions,” spokesman Sam Singer said in a statement.“After regaining possession of Magnolia Street, we engaged in discussions with governor Gavin Newsom, mayor Libby Schaaf and councilman Larry Reid. These led to progress that everyone should agree is a step in the right direction in helping to address Oakland’s homelessness and housing crisis.”

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 19:07:24 -0500
  • Photos of starving lions in Sudan spark campaign to save them news

    One of the five lions at Khartoum's Al-Qureshi Park is believed to have died.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 22:35:34 -0500
  • What you need to know about China's Wuhan coronavirus and how it could affect you news

    A virus in China has killed six people, infected more than 200, and spread to the US. Here's what you need to know about the disease.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:46:00 -0500
  • French workers turn to sabotage as transport strike flags news

    French energy workers protesting against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform plans cut power to Paris' wholesale food market on Tuesday in the latest of a series of sabotage and wildcat actions as a weeks-long transport strike loses momentum. The deliberate sabotage of power supplies underlines the determination of left-wing unions after a wave of strikes and street protests since early December failed to force Macron to back down. The hard-left CGT union's energy branch said it was responsible for an early-morning power outage at Rungis, the world's largest wholesale fresh food market.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 04:09:01 -0500
  • Why America Stores 50 B61 Nuclear Bombs in Turkey news

    Seems like a questionable idea.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 05:00:00 -0500
  • Xi Vowed Not to Turn the Screws on Hong Kong, Carrie Lam Says news

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered personal assurances that he won’t use the protests in Hong Kong as an excuse to tighten Beijing’s controls on the region, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said.Speaking in a Bloomberg Television interview at the World Economic Forum Tuesday, Lam pushed back against the widespread assumption that Xi is tightening controls on Hong Kong as she sought to reassure global investors that the Asian financial center will remain stable despite months of historic and increasingly violent protests.“There is no truth in the allegation that the central government is tightening the grip on Hong Kong,” Lam said. “The central government has time and again made it very clear that they want Hong Kong to succeed under ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and a high degree of autonomy.”“It was made very clear to me by President Xi Jinping on the three occasions that I met him” in recent months, she added.Lam arrived in Davos after a fresh bout of protest violence in downtown Hong Kong, with four police officers injured in clashes with demonstrators Sunday following an otherwise peaceful rally. More than seven months of pro-democracy protests have battered the former British colony’s economy, undermined its reputation for political stability and increased geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China.China has governed Hong Kong since 1997 under a “one country, two systems” framework that preserves its freedom of expression, independent courts and capitalist financial system. The city’s pro-democracy opposition has accused Beijing of eroding that autonomy and stonewalling calls for meaningful direct elections of the chief executive, who’s currently selected by a 1,200-member committee.While Lam withdrew legislation allowing extraditions to China that initially prompted the unrest, she has so far refused to consider other key protester demands including an independent probe of the police. Nevertheless, in Davos, Lam hinted that there may be other motivations behind the protests.“One has to wonder what are the underlying factors that caused the sustained social unrest in the last few months,” she said.The protests have been more subdued since mid-November, when pro-democracy candidates swept elections for local district councils though the city of 7.4 million people remains bitterly divided, with widespread distrust of Beijing and the local government. The main political event this year will be elections for the more powerful Legislative Council in September.Rumors have persisted for months that Beijing may replace Lam, whose approval rating is hovering near a record low of 14%, according to a Hong Kong Public Opinion Program survey released earlier this month. So far, President Xi Jinping has reaffirmed China’s support for Lam, although Beijing replaced its main representative in Hong Kong earlier this month with an official some analysts described as a hardliner.Lam herself insisted she wouldn’t quit.“I will do my utmost to stay in this position and arrest the current situation,” she said.To contact the reporters on this story: Haslinda Amin in Singapore at;Dandan Li in Davos, Switzerland, at;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at, Daniel Ten KateFor 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.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:29:13 -0500
  • Hamas official threatens more explosive balloons into Israel

    Incendiary balloons Palestinians launched from the Gaza Strip recently were a signal to Israel to accelerate unofficial “understandings” meant to ease the crippling blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory, a senior official from the Islamic militant group said Tuesday.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:48:52 -0500
  • Mitch McConnell pulled a 'Machiavellian' move to swing Trump's impeachment trial in his favor news

    Constitutional scholars told Insider McConnell's maneuver was "cynically Machiavellian" and a "hyperpartisan" manipulation of Senate norms.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:34:00 -0500
  • Poland calls on Putin to tell truth at WWII event in Israel news

    Poland appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to refrain from using World War II and Holocaust victims for current political goals and pointed to wartime documents in which the Polish government called on the Allies to save Jews. Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek made the appeal before a conference in Israel this week to mark 75 years since Soviet troops liberated the German Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Putin, who will be one of the key speakers, recently alleged that Poland bears some blame for the war and accused Poland's government of the time of anti-Semitism.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:37:57 -0500
  • Panamanian village sleepless with fear after ritual killings news

    Altos del Terrón (Panamá) (AFP) - A week after six children and a pregnant woman were sacrificed in a brutal religious ritual, the inhabitants of a remote village in northwestern Panama fear they might be next. Blanco lives in Altos del Terron, an isolated indigenous community where the victims of the ritualistic killings were found last week in a mass grave. Police raided the church on January 15, arresting 10 people and rescuing 15 captives, including children, they believe were being prepared for sacrifice.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:42:03 -0500
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