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|US fears Iran seized UAE-based tanker in Strait of Hormuz|
|Wed, 17 Jul 2019 05:38:05 -0400|
A small oil tanker from the United Arab Emirates traveling through the Strait of Hormuz entered Iranian waters and turned off its tracker three days ago, leading the U.S. to suspect Iran seized the vessel amid heightened tensions in the region. Iranian state media quoted its Foreign Ministry spokesman early Wednesday as saying the Islamic Republic had aided a foreign oil tanker with a malfunction, but the report didn't explain further. Oil tankers previously have been targeted in the wider region amid tensions between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.
|MS-13 Members in Los Angeles Hacked Victims to Death With Machetes: Prosecutors|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 14:57:52 -0400|
OSCAR RIVERAMembers of the notorious MS-13 gang in Los Angeles have been charged in connection with the murders of seven people over the last two years—including the dismemberment of a rival gang member whose heart was cut out, federal authorities allege in a 12-count indictment unsealed Tuesday.A total of 22 people linked to the Fulton clique, a faction of the gang based in the San Fernando Valley, have been indicted by a grand jury on several charges, including racketeering and murder, for allegedly committing 200 criminal acts in several states over nine years. Of the over two dozen accused gang members, 20 of them have been charged with murder. While the MS-13 members and associates engaged in common gang behavior—such as narcotics sales, robberies, and extortion schemes—they also used “horrific violence” to control members and intimidate their rivals in Los Angeles, the indictment alleges. Air Force Major Charged With Murder After Missing Wife’s Remains Found“We have now taken off the streets nearly two dozen people associated with the most violent arm of MS-13 in Los Angeles, where the gang is believed to have killed 24 people over the past two years,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hann said in a press release announcing the charges. “The collaborative law enforcement effort solved several murder cases and dealt a severe blow to members of the gang who engaged in acts of brutality not seen in the region for over 20 years.”The 12-count indictment, which is the culmination of a two-year, joint investigation with federal and local authorities, details seven killings, including four victims who were “hacked to death with machetes in the Angeles National Forest,” prosecutors said.Formed in the mid-1980s in Los Angeles, MS-13—or Mara Salvatrucha—has a presence in at least 10 states, including New York, and several countries abroad. The epicenter of the transnational organization, prosecutors allege, is in the San Fernando Valley, where El Salvadoran MS-13 members joined with Fulton members to carry out the slayings detailed in the indictment, the court papers allege.“MS-13 in Los Angeles was distinct from MS-13 cliques in other parts of the country, because in Los Angeles, MS-13 had to pay extortionate rent payments to the Mexican Mafia, to which MS-13 swore fealty,” the indictment states.During a March 2017 murder detailed in the indictment, several MS-13 members allegedly targeted a “rival gang member,” only identified as “J.S.,” who “crossed out MS-13 graffiti.” After abducting, choking, and driving J.S. to a remote location in the Angeles National Forest, six members fatally attacked him with a machete, the indictment says.The victim was then allegedly dismembered before one gang member “carved out J.S.’s heart,” and threw his “body parts into a canyon.” “The greatest tragedy in these cases is that these young victims likely left their homelands hopeful that in the United States they would find safety and prosperity,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said on Tuesday. “Instead, these victims had the misfortune of crossing paths with violent gang members who preyed on the vulnerabilities of their immigrant experience.”Washington Man Accused of Hurling Molotov Cocktails at ICE Detention Center Killed by PoliceA month later, another victim identified as “G.B.” was hit “in back of the head with a pistol, before he was “repeatedly” hacked with a machete, the indictment states. Prosecutors allege some of the MS-13 members believed G.B. was an informant.“Once MS-13 had evidence that someone cooperated with law enforcement, by reputation, word of mouth, or by receiving and reviewing law enforcement reports or videos of interviews, MS-13 would issue a ‘green light’ as to that person, which was an order that if any MS-13 member saw the person who was allegedly or actually cooperating with law enforcement, that person was to be killed on sight,” the indictment states. To lure G.B. to the Angeles National Forest, one gang member allegedly “created a Facebook page with the photograph of a female juvenile.”Prosecutors allege MS-13 members also used “baseball bats and knives” to murder at least four of the victims, including a man identified in the indictment as E.H. Non-gang members were also the victims of “extreme violence,” including 34-year-old Bradley Hanaway, a homeless man who was fatally shot by three men in January in Whitsett Sports Park, the indictment states. “Let’s go take out the trash,” one MS-13 gang member said to two others on Facebook messenger before going to the North Hollywood park, according to the indictment. Last month, Los Angeles police arrested several MS-13 members as part of a broader investigation into a series of violent events in North Hollywood, including Hanaway’s murder. On the Run From MS-13 With Nowhere to GoRead 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.
|Investigators 'discover mysterious 200lb load' on board MH370 after take-off|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 12:55:40 -0400|
Investigators looking into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have discovered a “mysterious 200lb load” added to the flight list after take-off, according to an engineer whose wife and two children were on board. Ghyslain Wattrelos said the cargo was revealed in a report on the passengers and baggage by French investigators. Mr Wattrelos, who believes the flight was deliberately downed, told Le Parisien newspaper: “It was also learned that a mysterious load of 89 kilos was added to the flight list after take-off. A container was also overloaded, without anyone knowing why. It may be incompetence or manipulation. Everything is possible. This will be part of the questions for the Malaysians.” MH370 became one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries when it vanished with 239 people on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. French investigators who examined flight data at Boeing’s headquarters in Seattle believe that the pilot was in control of the airliner “right up to the end”. A modern mystery | Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mr Wattrelos said the investigators told him the data “lends weight” to the theory that the pilot crashed into the sea in a murder-suicide, although they stressed that there was no proof. The investigators expect it to take up to a year to examine the data fully. However, some experts believe a hijack by a stowaway is a possibility and the mysterious load could lend credence to the theory. Tim Termini, an aviation security specialist, told Channel 5 earlier this month: “It’s highly likely that a hijack took place and again, there’s four options for the hijack. "One is the hijack of the aircraft through a crew member. The second is a hijack coming from a passenger. A third option, which is a fairly unusual one, would be a stowaway. And then of course the fourth option is an electrical takeover of the aircraft from a ground-based station.” Mr Wattrelos, 54, who has led a campaign to find out what happened to the flight, acknowledged that “there is a risk that I may never learn the full truth.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
|An Air Force Pilot Tells Us What Flying a B-2 Stealth Bomber Is Like|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 03:02:00 -0400|
(Washington, D.C.) When B-2 stealth bombers attacked Serbia on the opening night of Operation Allied Force in 1999, destroyed Iraqi air defenses during 2003’s “Shock and Awe” and eliminated the Libyan fighter force in 2011 -- the attacks were all guided by highly-specialized pilots trained in stealth attack tactics.Given the dangers of these kinds of missions, such as flying into heavy enemy ground fire from air defenses, confronting the prospect of air attacks and preparing for electronic warfare over hostile territory, B-2 pilots need to be ready.“We prepare and train every single day in case we get called up tomorrow,” Lt. Col. Nicola Polidor, Commander of Detachment 5 of the 29th Training Systems Squadron, told Warrior in an interview.While performing missions, B-2 pilots need to maintain the correct flight path, align with specific targeting intelligence and load and prepare weapons, all while manning a digital cockpit to control a wide range of additional variables at one time. Polidor, who trains future B-2 pilots at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, says Air Force pilot trainees have adjusted well to learning a seemingly overwhelming amount of new information.“The biggest challenge for pilots is being able to manage flying for long periods of time at the same time as managing a communications suite and robust weapons package,” Polidor said.Polidor is only the 10th female B-2 pilot in history.Training is broken down into an academic phase and a flight phase, with classroom training as the first step. Trainees, Polidor explained, typically spend about two months working on a simulator, before taking their first flight.
|17 seemingly suspicious cases of tourists getting sick, assaulted, and dying in the Dominican Republic since June 2018|
|Mon, 15 Jul 2019 14:51:00 -0400|
|Australia calls on China to let Uighur mother and son leave|
|Wed, 17 Jul 2019 05:31:30 -0400|
Australia's government on Wednesday called on China to allow an Australian child and his Uighur mother to leave the country, days after co-signing a letter denouncing Beijing's treatment of the Muslim minority. China has rounded up an estimated one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking minorities into re-education camps in tightly controlled Xinjiang region, in the country's northwest. Sadam Abdusalam has campaigned for months for his Uighur wife, Nadila Wumaier, and their son Lutifeier, whom he has never met, to be allowed to come to Australia.
|Susan Rice Calls Chinese Diplomat a ‘Racist Disgrace’ on Twitter|
|Mon, 15 Jul 2019 22:44:28 -0400|
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.Former U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice sparred with a senior Chinese diplomat on Twitter in an unusual and heated dispute over race in Washington.In a series of Tweets apparently aimed at making a broader point about diplomatic divisions over the mass detention of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province, Lijian Zhao, a diplomat posted in Islamabad, said on Sunday that if “you’re in Washington, D.C., you know the white never go” to the southeastern part of the U.S. capital.“You are a racist disgrace. And shockingly ignorant too,” Rice told Zhao on Twitter. Likely assuming that Zhao was posted in China’s mission in Washington, she then addressed her next comment to China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai. “Ambassador Cui, I expect better of you and your team. Please do the right thing and send him home.”Zhao, who is deputy chief of mission at the Chinese embassy in Pakistan’s capital, is often vocal on Twitter against critics of China’s infrastructure-building projects in Pakistan and other parts of Asia. Beijing has invested tens of billions of dollars in Pakistan, whose leader Imran Khan has previously dodged questions about the issue.‘Shockingly Ignorant’“You are such a disgrace, too. And shockingly ignorant, too. I am based in Islamabad. Truth hurts. I am simply telling the truth,” Zhao fired back at Rice on Monday. “To label someone who speak the truth that you don’t want to hear a racist, is disgraceful & disgusting.”Read More: How China Is Defending Its Detention of Muslims to the WorldZhao didn’t immediately respond to phone calls, an email and a direct message on Twitter seeking comment.In a string of messages that appeared aimed at highlighting U.S. hypocrisy on human rights, Zhao referred to everything from income inequality and school shootings in the U.S. to immigration officers separating children from parents.He tweeted a list of mostly-Western nations that condemned China for its actions in Xinjiang as well as a separate list of other countries -- including Pakistan, Cuba, Tajikistan and Nigeria -- that wrote a joint letter to the United Nations supporting Beijing, which Zhao called “a big slap on the face of U.S. & its western cohorts.”Outspoken DiplomatsChina’s diplomats have become increasingly vocal and outspoken. This month, China’s ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, gave a rare televised statement accusing the British government of meddling in Hong Kong, the scene of mass protests against Beijing’s rule.Earlier this year, China’s envoy to Canada publicly accused his hosts of “white supremacy,” while the country’s chief envoy in South Africa said President Donald Trump’s policies were making the U.S. “the enemy of the whole world.”Asked about the Twitter dispute on Monday, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang didn’t comment directly.“I don’t know the specific situation,” he said. However, he added, “we resolutely oppose the interference of the U.S. and individual Western countries in interfering in China’s internal affairs with the Xinjiang issue.”To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in New Delhi at email@example.com;Dandan Li in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at email@example.com, Chris Kay, Gregory TurkFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
|How Kim Jong Un Got Mercedes-Benz Pullman Limos Home to North Korea|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 18:30:00 -0400|
|Prehistoric city offers glimpse of ancient living near Jerusalem|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 08:02:47 -0400|
The 9,000-year-old metropolis, uncovered during a survey before the construction of a new highway, is one of the biggest ever found, the Israel Antiquities Authority said on Tuesday. It covered dozens of acres near what is today the town of Motza, some five km (three miles) west of Jerusalem. "This is most probably the largest excavation of this time period in the Middle East, which will allow the research to advance leaps and bounds ahead of where we are today, just by the amount of material that we are able to save and preserve from this site," Lauren Davis, an archaeologist with Israel's antiquities authority, told Reuters.
|Ingraham: The Democrats' new AOC plus 3 agenda|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 22:45:42 -0400|
|Prosecco Grapes, Kiwi Pops, and More Easy Fruit Desserts|
|Mon, 15 Jul 2019 17:31:00 -0400|
|European sites where US nuclear weapons held inadvertently revealed in Nato-linked document|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 15:34:41 -0400|
The European sites where America's nuclear weapons are stored has been inadvertently revealed in a document published by a Nato-linked body, according to Belgian media reports. The document written by for the Defense and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly made passing reference to the roughly 150 US nuclear weapons being stored in Europe. “These bombs are stored at six US and European bases - Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel in Germany, Aviano and Ghedi-Torre in Italy, Volkel in The Netherlands, and Incirlik in Turkey,” one line read, according to the Belgian newspaper De Morgen. The reference was reportedly contained in the original version of the document which was published in April but has since been removed in a final version which went out last week. The document, titled “A new era for nuclear deterrence? Modernisation, arms control and allied nuclear forces,” was written by a Canadian senator. A Nato official told The Washington Post the document was not from Nato itself - it was published by the group’s parliamentary assembly and added: “We do not comment on the details of Nato’s nuclear posture.” The presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe acted as a deterrent to the Soviet Union during the Cold War and also meant European countries would not need to develop their own versions. However for years the exact locations of the weapons have been a secret - though experts said their presence was widely known in the international community. The faux pas was picked up by the European press. Dutch broadcaster RTL News ran an article headlined: “Nato reveals the Netherlands’s worst-kept secret.” The reporting from De Morgen read: “Finally in black and white: There are American nuclear weapons in Belgium.”
|Air Force Major Charged With Murder After Missing Wife’s Remains Found|
|Mon, 15 Jul 2019 14:14:34 -0400|
Bexar County Sheriff’s OfficeA San Antonio Air Force Reserve major who reported his wife missing in March has been arrested and charged with murder, authorities said. Andre McDonald, 40, was charged with first-degree murder Sunday in the death of his wife, 29-year-old Andreen McDonald, on March 1. After three months of countless countywide searches, authorities found the businesswoman’s body on a ranch east of Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis.McDonald is being held at Bexar County Jail on a $2 million bond, police confirmed to The Daily Beast. “Any ounce of understanding that we had for Andy is gone,” her cousin, Cheryl Spencer, told KSAT during a Sunday vigil. “You do not have the right to do this to any human being. Andreen was far from perfect. She had her flaws, but you do not have the right to do this to anybody’s child.”Did Missing Texas Woman Andreen McDonald’s 6-Year-Old Autistic Daughter Witness Her Murder?While many details of the March murder remain unknown, authorities believe the couple’s 7-year-old daughter, who is autistic and nonverbal, may have seen the crime and subsequent cleanup. “At this point, I don’t know how much the little girl knows,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said during a press conference Saturday. “I’m still of the belief that the little girl witnessed at least some things with the death of her mom.”Authorities say Andreen McDonald, the owner of Starlight Homes Assisted Living, was last seen with her daughter around 6:20 p.m. on February 28. According to an arrest warrant obtained by The Daily Beast, phone records indicate both McDonald and his wife were home the entire evening.The next day, deputies went to the couple’s home to conduct a welfare check after the 29-year-old’s mother and several friends said they had not heard from her since the previous evening. According to the arrest warrant, two of Andreen McDonald’s friends told authorities that before her disappearance she had said that “if she ever went missing or was found dead, Andre had killed her.” A Bexar County Sheriff spokesperson confirmed officers had been called to their home “numerous times” for domestic disturbances. According to public records, McDonald filed for divorce in February 2017 but later dismissed the petition. In their backyard, deputies “noticed a burn pile,” where “it appeared something had recently been burned.” All of Andreen McDonald’s personal belongings were still in the house and her car was parked in the driveway.Cops: NYPD Officer Ordered Hit on Estranged Husband, Boyfriend’s KidWhen McDonald arrived home, he told deputies his wife was being treated at a local hospital. Police quickly suspected he was lying.He “claimed he did not know where Andreen McDonald was,” the warrant states, but “revealed he had an argument with his wife the night before and asked for an attorney.”Authorities also found blood and hair on the bathroom’s light switch, floor, and door handle—though initial DNA tests could not determine if the samples belonged to Andreen McDonald.Andre McDonald was first charged on March 3 with tampering with evidence after investigators discovered that he had purchased cans of gasoline, heavy duty trash bags, work gloves, a portable burn barrel, a shovel, and an ax around the time he reported his wife missing. The Air Force officer then tried to destroy the receipt and throw them away in the kitchen trash can, authorities allege.“He went to great lengths to destroy that receipt. We were able to recover it but that’s what led to the tampering with evidence charge,” Salazar said. “So, I think a lot of his behavior up to this point, along with some of the evidence that I won’t go too much into detail on, are what led to this charge.”According to the arrest warrant, McDonald had “cuts and injuries” on his hands when he was arrested and gave conflicting accounts about how the wounds occurred.Inside another trash can, the warrant states, investigators found a blood-stained hammer and a man’s sweater and jeans, which had the couple’s blood on it. The daughter, who has not been publicly named, suggested to one family friend that her mother had been burned, according to court documents, and made comments about “Andre hurting Mommy.” In one attempt to explain what she saw, the daughter took a doll, put it in a circle over rocks, and covered it with sticks before asking for “the fire.” Wife Kills Husband, Admits It in a Bar BathroomSince his initial arrest, McDonald “has not once asked” about the ongoing search for his wife and has never tried to assist in the investigation, the warrant said. On July 11, a friend of the ranch’s owner discovered Andreen McDonald’s body while removing two cow skulls on the 50-acre property. According to the warrant, when authorities arrived they “noticed the human remains appeared to have been covered with wood and bones from a nearby deceased cow and set on fire.” Melted plastic or synthetic material was also found among the remains. The Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the remains belonged to Andreen McDonald on Friday night using her dental records. The next day, McDonald was arrested at home and appeared “quiet” and “fully cooperative,” Salazar said on Saturday.“I actually enjoyed him being arrested,” Andreen McDonald's cousin Cheryl Spencer said. “That was nice. I like that little public shaming.”A Bexar County Sheriff spokesperson declined to provide a motive on Monday, but added that there is “substantial” evidence to prove McDonald killed his wife and disposed of her body. “The next step is to prepare this case to go to trial with the DA’s office,” the spokesperson said. “Our department is dedicated to getting justice for Andreen and her family.”McDonald’s attorney, John Convery, declined The Daily Beast’s request for comment. Andreen McDonald’s immediate family did not respond to multiple attempts for comment. 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.
|Afghanistan Isn't Worth Dying For|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 13:13:00 -0400|
Army Sgt. Maj. James Sartor was killed in action in Afghanistan’s Faryab Province on Saturday. He was “only” the twelfth soldier to die there this year. That makes his death no less inexcusable, no less an unacceptable sacrifice for Washington’s failed foreign policy.What do we tell Sartor’s family? That he heroically “gave the last full measure” for the defense of our nation? In some conflicts in American history, that might have been true. But in Afghanistan, it is a trite and insulting bromide.This man, like the eleven that preceded him this year, sacrificed his life in an operation that provided no benefit to our country. America is not safer because of this supreme, excruciatingly painful sacrifice. The truth is that hardly any Americans pay any attention to our war in Afghanistan and fewer still genuinely care that another trooper has tragically been killed.Instead, the entire burden of the grief—the unquenchable, searing pain of loss—falls to a tiny number of family members and close friends of those who died. My blood boils in anger when I hear—as I have many times—some callously claim, “Hey man, nobody forced them to sign up. They volunteered and knew what they were getting themselves into.” This implies that we service members forfeit the value of our life once we raise our right hand.
|Taliban close Afghan health facilities run by Swedish group|
|Wed, 17 Jul 2019 07:30:15 -0400|
The Taliban forced a Swedish non-profit group to close 42 health facilities it runs in eastern Afghanistan, the organization said Wednesday, the latest attempt by the insurgents to show strength amid negotiations to end the country's nearly 18-year war. In Sweden, the group's director called the closures "an obvious violation of human rights and international humanitarian law" and demanded the facilities be allowed to reopen right away. The Taliban currently control nearly half of Afghanistan and are more powerful than at any time since the October 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
|At least 1 dead, 15 injured — including 3 firefighters — in California house explosion|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 12:05:52 -0400|
|Iran says it came to help of disabled foreign oil tanker in the Gulf|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 15:13:44 -0400|
Iranian navy vessels came to the assistance of a disabled foreign oil tanker in the Gulf that needed repairs, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying on Tuesday by the semi-official news agency ISNA. "(Spokesman) Abbas Mousavi said... that an international oil tanker was in trouble due to a technical fault in the Persian Gulf... After receiving a request for assistance, Iranian forces approached it and used a tugboat to pull it towards Iranian waters for the necessary repairs to be carried out," ISNA said. A CNN reporter tweeted earlier that U.S. intelligence increasingly believed that the UAE tanker MT Riah had been forced into Iranian waters by Iran's Revolutionary Guards naval forces.
|The Military Has a Warning for Anyone Interested In Raiding Area 51 In An Attempt To Free Aliens|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 11:18:09 -0400|
|Fed's Powell doubles down on rate cut signal|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 13:16:24 -0400|
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell added more weight to expectations the central bank will cut interest rates later this month, stressing Tuesday that the US inflation outlook is near historic lows. Economists and investors see it as a certainty that the Fed will lower the key borrowing rate at the policy meeting July 30-31, and Powell in recent statements has moved to solidify those predictions by pointing to some concerns about economic growth and persistent weak inflation. Central bankers have "raised concerns about a more prolonged shortfall in inflation below our 2 percent target," Powell said in a prepared speech at a Bank of France event.
|Peter Thiel, Trump's biggest fan in Silicon Valley, says he is 'most scared' of Elizabeth Warren in the presidential race|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 07:38:13 -0400|