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  • Exclusive: The inside story of how the U.S. gave up a chance to kill Soleimani in 2007

    Exclusive: The inside story of how the U.S. gave up a chance to kill Soleimani in 2007In the first years of the occupation, Qassem Soleimani had moved back and forth between Iran and Iraq ?constantly,? but had always taken the precautions to be expected from a seasoned intelligence officer, said John Maguire, a former senior CIA official stationed in Baghdad in the mid-2000s. Soleimani disguised his rank and identity, used only ground transportation and avoided speaking on the phone or the radio, preferring to give orders to proxies and subordinates in Iraq in person.


  • Graham praises Schiff on impeachment presentation: 'You're very well-spoken'

    Graham praises Schiff on impeachment presentation: 'You're very well-spoken'Walking out of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday night after the first day of opening arguments in the impeachment trial of President Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., congratulated Adam Schiff, the lead manager for House Democrats, on his presentation of the case.


  • The American Airlines flight attendant union is calling on US airlines to step up precautions for the deadly Wuhan coronavirus

    The American Airlines flight attendant union is calling on US airlines to step up precautions for the deadly Wuhan coronavirusThe Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has sickened more than 630 people and killed 18. It has spread to at least 8 countries.


  • Putin to Meet Jailed Israeli?s Mother Amid Reports of Release

    Putin to Meet Jailed Israeli?s Mother Amid Reports of Release(Bloomberg) -- President Vladimir Putin is to meet in Jerusalem with the mother of an Israeli woman imprisoned in Russia on drug-smuggling charges, the Kremlin said, amid reports Russian authorities are preparing to free her.Putin, who?ll be a guest of honor Thursday at a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Red Army?s liberation of the Nazi Auschwitz death camp, spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone last week about 26-year-old Naama Issachar. Netanyahu said after the call that he was optimistic about securing her freedom.Issachar was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in a Russian prison in October for carrying a small amount of hashish on a transit flight via Moscow. Her mother, Yaffa, asked Putin in November to pardon her daughter in a letter handed to him by Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. The plight of the U.S.-born Israeli army veteran, who was detained in April, has become a cause celebre in Israel, where she?s widely regarded as a pawn in a political game.Putin will meet Yaffa Issachar together with Netanyahu and the patriarch, Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. While Ushakov wouldn?t confirm that a release is planned, he said the president?s right to pardon a convicted person is ?an important prerogative.?Property DisputeIn another sign of a possible resolution, Ushakov said Russia and Israel are making progress in settling a dispute over the ownership of Russian Orthodox Church property in Jerusalem. Israel?s Haaretz newspaper said resolving the issue could form part of a quid pro quo with Putin for the release of Issachar.Putin will speak at the anniversary ceremony, though there won?t be time for him to meet with other leaders attending the event, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, according to Ushakov.Issachar?s case for a time became entangled with that of a Russian national, Alexei Burkov, whom Israel extradited to the U.S. in November on charges including hacking and credit card fraud. Russia had offered to swap the two, according to Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician.Putin rebuffed repeated pleas to free her by Netanyahu, who?s fighting to maintain his 13-year-rule as he battles fraud and bribery charges, with new elections due in March.\--With assistance from Gwen Ackerman and Ivan Levingston.To contact the reporters on this story: Andrey Biryukov in Moscow at abiryukov5@bloomberg.net;Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory L. White at gwhite64@bloomberg.net, Tony HalpinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 Americans

    Firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing 3 AmericansThree American firefighting airplane crew members were killed Thursday when the C-130 Hercules aerial water tanker they were in crashed while battling wildfires in southeastern Australia, officials said. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the deaths in the state's Snowy Monaro region, which came as Australia grapples with an unprecedented fire season that has left a large swath of destruction. Canada-based Coulson Aviation said in a statement that one of its Lockheed large air tankers was lost after it left Richmond in New South Wales with retardant for a firebombing mission.


  • White Nationalists Arrested ahead of Richmond Rally Planned to Kill Gun-Rights Demonstrators to Spark Civil War

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


  • Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'

    Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'Attorneys representing Chloe Wiegand's family say a ship visit proves it's "physically impossible" for her grandfather to hold her out of the window.


  • Residents paint a picture of Epstein's life on "Pedophile Island"

    Residents paint a picture of Epstein's life on "Pedophile Island"When Epstein was convicted and serving time for procuring an underage girl in Florida for sex, word of his 13 month sentence and his alleged crimes made their way to St. Thomas.


  • The brazen (and careless) Russian assassination team behind the Salisbury poisonings has been spotted in Europe, again

    The brazen (and careless) Russian assassination team behind the Salisbury poisonings has been spotted in Europe, againThey keep failing to kill their targets. And they leave lots of evidence behind them.


  • Afghanistan President: Pakistan still shelters insurgents

    Afghanistan President: Pakistan still shelters insurgentsAfghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani said on Thursday that Pakistan continued to give sanctuary to an insurgent group that helps the Taliban in its war against Kabul and the United States, directly contradicting an earlier statement by Pakistan's prime minister. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan told reporters at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the Haqqani network, which the United States has designated as a terrorist group, had no activities or bases in Pakistan.


  • Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnesses

    Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnessesIn a new poll, 63 percent of registered voters agree that the Senate should call new witnesses to testify during President Trump?s impeachment trial.


  • A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi Jingping

    A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi JingpingAccording to Chinese court documents obtained by Axios, 20-year-old Luo Daiqing was arrested after returning to Wuhan for summer break.


  • Presidential candidate Tom Steyer: ?I?m for reparations?

    Presidential candidate Tom Steyer: ?I?m for reparations?On Yahoo News? ?Hot Mic with Brittany Shepherd,? Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer spoke about race and reparations, saying that if he were elected to office, ?I would start a commission on race on day one.?


  • REI?s January Sale Offers 50% off Cold-Weather Outdoor Gear

    REI?s January Sale Offers 50% off Cold-Weather Outdoor Gear


  • Prosecutor: DNA match leads to Florida 'pillowcase rapist'

    Prosecutor: DNA match leads to Florida 'pillowcase rapist'Prosecutors announced Thursday that a sophisticated DNA match has led to the cold case arrest of a Florida man believed to be the ?pillowcase rapist" who terrorized greater Miami with a series of assaults on women in the 1980s. Robert Koehler, 60, was arrested over the weekend and was being held without bond Thursday in a Miami jail. The ?pillowcase rapist? was so named because he used a pillowcase or other fabric to cover the faces of his terrified victims, usually after he had broken into an apartment or town home, according to investigators.


  • Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of Cincinnati

    Smugglers tried to bring 3,700 invasive crabs through the Port of CincinnatiMitten crabs are a delicacy in Asia and sell for about $50 each in the United States, officials say. They are considered an invasive species.


  • Why Pay Off Your Student Loans if the Government Will Do It for You?

    Why Pay Off Your Student Loans if the Government Will Do It for You?America's mountain of student-loan debt keeps growing ever higher. But the factors driving the increase have changed, as detailed in a fascinating new report from Moody's.It used to be that we could blame colleges for failing to control their costs. But for the past decade or so, college costs have actually grown in line with the median household income, and the ?origination? of new student loans has slowed down a little. The reason we haven't seen a similar slowdown in overall student debt is that borrowers are making less progress on their loans. And a lot of the time they're doing it on purpose ? because they participate in programs that were dramatically expanded during the Obama years, and that forgive debt entirely so long as the borrower first makes small payments for a set period of time.Among students who graduated between 2006 and 2008, 60 percent made at least some progress on reducing their loan balances during their first five years post-graduation, despite the recession precipitated by the 2008 financial crisis. Students who left school between 2010 and 2012 faced a better job market as the economy slowly began to recover, but only 51 percent of them reduced their balances. In the aggregate, borrowers today are repaying only 3 percent of their loans each year, despite the ?baseline? student loan being one that is paid back in ten years.When someone doesn't manage to reduce his loan balance, there can be several reasons. One is that he?s not earning enough money to make significant payments. This is especially likely when a student either failed to graduate or attended a program that doesn't lead to real job opportunities ? both of which are especially likely at for-profit and two-year schools, enrollment in which was high in the aftermath of the recession. (It has fallen off since). Some borrowers also opt for longer repayment terms, meaning they pay off their loans more slowly than they otherwise would.But the report also points to another factor that would seem to have a lot of explanatory power, especially when it comes to those with the highest debts: the still-growing popularity of ?income-based repayment? (IBR) and similar programs, which were overhauled and dramatically expanded during the Obama years. Under these programs, students can make small payments for a decade or two, often not even covering the interest on their loans, and have the entire debt forgiven at the end.This is not necessarily a bad idea in principle, but ? as Jason Delisle has noted previously in this space ? the programs were structured in a way that encouraged their abuse by people with incredibly high debt levels, especially from graduate studies rather than two- or four-year degrees. As Delisle wrote,> Under current law, anyone who takes out a federal student loan today can enroll in IBR and have his payments fixed at 10 percent of his income, less an exemption of $18,700 (which increases with household size). . . . Then, after 20 years of payments (or only ten years for those working in any government or non-profit job), all of the remaining balance is forgiven, no matter how high it is.He further points out, that, using the Department of Education's own debt calculator, someone with $80,000 in debt and an income of $60,000 could receive $62,000 in debt forgiveness if he works for the government. Someone with $150,000 in debt and a $75,000 salary could pay for 20 years and still receive $82,000, more than half the initial balance. Meanwhile, as noted in the Moody's report, the median amount borrowed is just about $17?18,000.Income-based repayment is a giveaway to people who choose to spend abnormally large sums on higher education, often earning graduate degrees, but go on to make unremarkable middle-to-upper-middle-class salaries. It's far less generous to someone with a modest debt, even if that person also earns a modest income. It's simply not possible to wring $62,000 or $82,000 in debt forgiveness out of the system if you're a normal borrower and didn't take out anywhere near that much in loans to begin with.The Moody's report further demonstrates that income-based programs are, indeed, highly attractive to people with big debts: ?Only 5% of the total balances of borrowers who owe less than $5,000 are covered by [income-driven repayment programs]. Meanwhile, 53% of the balances of borrowers who owe more than $200,000 are in IDR programs.? And unsurprisingly, heavy borrowers have a disproportionate impact on student loans in general: Folks who borrow $20,000 or less represent 55 percent of borrowers but only 14 percent of the overall debt.All of this needs to be kept in mind as we ponder proposals to shovel even more money at people who carry student debt. College really does cost too much, but the costs seem to have finally stabilized. And those with incredibly high debt already have options for getting rid of it ? overly generous options that many of them are enthusiastically taking advantage of, at taxpayer expense.The concept of income-based repayment is not a bad one. Indeed, I think it would be an enormous improvement for more colleges to base the amounts they get repaid on the amounts students earn after graduating. But there's no justification for structuring such a program as a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to people with graduate degrees.


  • See This Nuke? Meet the Most Destructive Nuclear Bomb Ever Made By Man

    See This Nuke? Meet the Most Destructive Nuclear Bomb Ever Made By ManThank god the Soviets never deployed it.


  • Menendez and Graham Partner Up to Craft a New Iran Deal

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


  • Rudy Giuliani Sidekick Lev Parnas Traces Part of Money Trail to Ukraine

    Rudy Giuliani Sidekick Lev Parnas Traces Part of Money Trail to Ukraine(Bloomberg) -- From fine whiskey to European flights to cigar bars, the tab for the Ukraine mission was starting to add up.Even one of President Donald Trump?s wealthiest contributors sounded peeved. ?Just becoming expensive flying u guys everywhere LEV,? wrote Harry Sargeant III, a Florida energy tycoon, in a pointed text to Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani?s advance man on the Ukraine operation.A trove of documents recently released by Parnas, including that text from April, provides some new details about the money web that helped support Giuliani?s work in Ukraine as President Trump?s personal lawyer.The group?s apparent wish list included discrediting a Trump rival, tying Ukraine to 2016 election meddling and pushing for the ouster of a U.S. ambassador -- the propriety of which is now at the heart of impeachment proceedings in Washington.Money flowed to Giuliani and his cohorts from home loans, friends, relative strangers and wealthy businessmen, some with interests in the gas and energy sector. It even came from a lawyer for an embattled Ukrainian energy tycoon fighting extradition to the U.S. on a conspiracy charge.Giuliani was working for the president without pay, and under financial strain from his public divorce proceeding. While most pro bono clients cover their lawyers? out-of-pocket expenses, the famously tight-fisted Trump doesn?t appear to have been shelling out for the travel racked up by Giuliani, Parnas and his Florida business partner, Igor Fruman.The travel arrangements could brush up against campaign finance laws. While Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman can volunteer as much of their time as they want for a campaign, any subsidy for such work by third parties would generally need to be reported as a contribution, and money from foreign individuals would be illegal. Trump kicked off his re-election campaign last June at a rally in Florida.Chris Kise, a lawyer for Sargeant, characterized the money shelled out for flights as loans to a colorful and funny acquaintance who claimed to be broke. ?Mr. Sargeant was not part of any plan to remove the U.S. ambassador and has no business interests in Ukraine,? Kise said.Giuliani didn?t respond to a request for comment, nor did attorneys for Parnas and Fruman.Ukraine Mission CostThe Ukraine mission looks to have run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel and hotel costs, including private jets and the Ritz-Carlton in Vienna, where a night costs upwards of 380 euros ($420). Another glimpse comes from New York prosecutors. Parnas spent more than $70,000 on private jet travel in September alone, according to a filing last month seeking to revoke his bail.Over the course of eight months last year, Parnas jetted to Kyiv on multiple occasions and made trips to Warsaw, Vienna, Madrid, Paris and Israel, according to his messages, many of them touching on his Ukraine work. Giuliani and Fruman accompanied him frequently.Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman also accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in travel expenses. Sargeant picked up the tab on at least a handful of trips by Parnas and Fruman, according to people familiar with the situation. Parnas ran up tens of thousands of dollars in debt to a private jet broker close to Sargeant, who covered the cost so his friend wasn?t stiffed, according to a person familiar with the situation and text messages to Parnas.Sargeant and Giuliani have known each other for years. Since 2018, Sargeant and Parnas regularly crossed paths. The three took in a Dallas Cowboys game and shuttled between New York, Washington and Florida together. Sargeant, a shipping magnate, controls potentially lucrative oil concessions in Venezuela that are currently hamstrung by U.S. sanctions. When the men?s travel coincided, Parnas and Fruman sometimes flew on Sargeant?s own plane, but that was to fill empty seats at no additional cost, according to someone familiar with the matter.Sargeant?s lawyer said he ?never chartered or paid for any private aircraft for Lev (or Igor Fruman, or Giuliani) in or to Europe.?Trump?s CircleParnas began working his way into Trump?s orbit with campaign donations in 2016, but it was two years later when he and Fruman upped the ante by giving $325,000 to America First Action, a pro-Trump political action committee. That vaulted them into Trump?s inner circle, including dinner with Donald Trump Jr.The big donation prompted prosecutors in New York to charge Parnas and Fruman with conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws and with filing false records to disguise the source of their contributions. The two have pleaded not guilty.The men reported to the Federal Election Commission that the money came from their company, but prosecutors say it came from a private loan. Fruman borrowed $3 million against a Miami condo in a private mortgage just two days before he made the $325,000 contribution. The lenders were a retired American couple who immigrated from the Soviet Union decades ago and their son-in-law, according to real estate records filed in Florida.The couple, Gregory and Lilian Abrovsky, also bought a condo in the same Miami building. They have a son who is an executive at a Russian internet company, but he was unaware of the transaction, according to a spokesman for the family.The loan, extended to a Fruman company called Seafront LLC for one year at 9%, was arranged by a mortgage broker who says his lenders and borrowers often don?t meet each other.?In the spring of 2018, we made a secured interest-bearing loan,? said the son-in-law, Daniel Chernin. ?We never met with or spoke with the borrowers.? The loan was repaid in full in August 2019.Parnas?s family got its own personal loan last year. The lawyer representing Dmitry Firtash, the gas tycoon fighting U.S. extradition from Vienna, says he extended $1 million to buy a Boca Raton, Florida, property. In addition, Parnas received $200,000 from a law firm representing Firtash, according to U.S. prosecutors.The man at the center of the mission had his own money woes. Giuliani?s income had plunged as he left a law firm job that paid him as much as $6 million a year, took the president as his primary client and headed for divorce court. He picked up cash along the way to replenish his finances.A Long Island businessman paid $500,000 to Giuliani as part of his investment into Fraud Guarantee, a company co-founded by Parnas. Marc Mukasey, a former legal partner of Giuliani, loaned his friend $100,000 last year when divorce proceedings tied up his bank accounts. One America News Network paid about $100,000 for travel and other costs for a three-part television report that Giuliani worked on in Ukraine, Charles Herring, the network?s president, told Bloomberg in an interview last month. The documentary series was intended to further Trump?s cause against Democratic political rival Joe Biden.Top-Shelf StyleWherever they went, Giuliani and his team kept a top-shelf lifestyle. That would be consistent with the spending habits chronicled in Giuliani?s divorce. His monthly expenses were about $230,000, according to his ex-wife?s lawyer.Big bills at cigar bars surfaced. Other luxuries were enticements for the Ukraine crew. Giuliani became godfather to Parnas?s son, and Parnas at one point described receiving a loan of about $100,000 for his son?s bris without saying who extended it, according to a person familiar with the matter.Parnas sent photos of bottles to Yuriy Lutsenko, then Ukraine?s prosecutor general, while in Kyiv last June. ?Igor wants to know which one?s best,? Parnas texted in Russian.?Hibiki,? Lutsenko responded, citing a Japanese whiskey that can easily run hundreds of dollars a bottle. ?Really great. In the top three worldwide.??Come join us,? Parnas urged the prosecutor.Later that summer -- after the July phone call when Trump pressed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a Biden-linked investigation -- Giuliani flew to Madrid. He was there for a client who had nothing to do with the Ukraine matter, according to his lawyer, Robert Costello. While in Spain, Giuliani also met Zelenskiy?s top adviser.For that trip, Parnas smoothed the way. ?I also arranged VIP service at Madrid,? he wrote to Giuliani ahead of time. ?When you arrive in Madrid their (sic) will be someone waiting for you with a sign that says ?NUBA? at the door of the plane. They will take you through costumes (sic).?Last April, Parnas showed some sensitivity to Sargeant?s complaint and suggested that he would be reimbursed.?We are paying you back for this we are never expecting you to pay for it my brother that?s why we wanted to do the loan so we don?t have to bother you,? he texted at one point.By August, Sargeant was pestering Parnas to repay him as well as a jet charter company operated by a family friend. Despite repeated requests, Parnas never did, according to Sargeant?s lawyer.Potential JobOne source of potential revenue for Giuliani failed to materialize. He pursued contracts last spring for what appeared to be work for Ukraine?s Prosecutor General and Justice Ministry, according to the Parnas messages. Bloomberg previously reported that Giuliani talked about representing Ukraine to help recover billions in looted assets.According to the Parnas texts, Giuliani was seeking retainers, and pro-Trump lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova were working with him to finalize them. Giuliani was negotiating with Lutsenko in February 2019, at the same time they were discussing a possible Ukrainian investigation of Biden and his son, Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian company.Giuliani never signed a retainer contract and there?s no indication he was paid. The legal duo of Toensing and diGenova went on to represent Firtash, for which they billed $1 million and for whom Parnas provided translation services.Ultimately, Ukraine did open an investigation, though not into Biden. Authorities are now examining something else mentioned in the text trove, the possibility of improper surveillance of the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who was abruptly recalled to Washington last spring.To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Farrell in New York at gregfarrell@bloomberg.net;Stephanie Baker in London at stebaker@bloomberg.net;Ben Bartenstein in New York at bbartenstei3@bloomberg.net;David Kocieniewski in New York at dkocieniewsk@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Winnie O'Kelley at wokelley@bloomberg.net, Jeffrey D GrocottFor 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.


  • These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek

    These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek


  • These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops

    These gun enthusiasts at the Virginia rally carried more firepower than many US troops"This sends a strong visual message," a man holding a .50 caliber rifle said. Attendees also came with an armored vehicle and a grenade launcher.


  • Toll rises to 20 from New Zealand volcano eruption as two declared dead

    Toll rises to 20 from New Zealand volcano eruption as two declared deadThe death toll rose to 20 on Thursday from a volcanic eruption on New Zealand's White Island last month, as two people still missing were officially confirmed dead. The two individuals were Hayden Marshall-Inman of New Zealand and Winona Langford of Australia, police said. "The chief coroner has ruled that both Winona and Hayden died on White Island," John Tims, a deputy police commissioner, said in a statement.


  • 'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?

    'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?Revealed: two years after Ledell Lee was executed, damning evidence emerges that experts say could prove his innocenceThe day before Ledell Lee was executed on 20 April 2017, he talked to the BBC from death row. He said that while he could not prevent the state of Arkansas from killing him, he had a message for his executioners: ?My dying words will always be, as it has been: ?I am an innocent man?.?Almost two years after Lee was strapped to a gurney and injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs, it looks increasingly likely he was telling the truth: he went to his death an innocent man. New evidence has emerged that suggests Lee was not guilty of the brutal murder of a woman in 1993 for which his life was taken.The deceased inmate?s sister Patricia Young lodged a lawsuit on Thursday with the circuit court of Pulaski county, Arkansas, petitioning city authorities and the local police department in Jacksonville to release crime scene materials to her family.The ACLU and the Innocence Project, who are investigating the case on the family?s behalf, believe state-of-the-art forensic examination of the materials, including DNA testing and fingerprint analysis, could definitively prove Arkansas did indeed execute an innocent man.An 81-page filing in the lawsuit provides damning new evidence that key aspects of the prosecution case against Lee were deeply flawed. The complaint includes expert opinion from a number of world-leading specialists who find glaring errors in the way forensic science and other evidence was interpreted.The lawsuit also includes a bombshell affidavit from Lee?s post-conviction attorney who admits to having struggled with substance abuse and addiction throughout the years in which he represented him.Lawyers who prepared the filing, led by Cassandra Stubbs of the ACLU and the Innocence Project?s Nina Morrison, conclude: ?It is now clear that the state?s forensic experts from trial misinterpreted the evidence in plain sight, and their flawed opinions were further distorted by the state in its zeal to convict [Lee] of the crime. The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions about the shaky evidentiary pillars on which the state executed Ledell Lee.?Innocence has always been the achilles heel of America?s death penalty: how to justify judicially killing prisoners who may have been wrongfully convicted. The question is far from academic: since 1973 no fewer than 167 death row inmates have been exonerated.The most harrowing question is whether innocent prisoners have been executed before the flawed nature of their convictions emerged. In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest that innocent men have been put to death.They include Cameron Todd Willingham executed in Texas in 2004 for allegedly having caused a fire that killed his three young daughters. After the execution, further evidence emerged that conclusively showed that he could not have set the fire.The Columbia Human Rights Law Review carried out a groundbreaking investigation in which it concluded Carlos DeLuna was innocent when he was executed ? also by Texas ? in 1989. The six-year study discovered that the convicted prisoner had almost certainly been confused with another man, a violent criminal who shared the name Carlos.Now Ledell Lee looks as though he may be added to the grim rollcall of the wrongly executed. He relentlessly insisted he was not guilty from the moment he was arrested less than two hours after the brutally beaten body of Debra Reese was discovered in her home in Jacksonville on 9 February 1993.The difficulties with the case against Lee began almost immediately. He was picked up nowhere near the crime scene and was not in possession of any possessions that could be linked to the break-in at Reese?s home.The only evidence against him was inconclusive at best. There were two eyewitnesses, but they gave conflicting reports of the suspect?s identification.> In recent years, there have been several cases that, with near certainty, suggest innocent men have been put to deathThe crime scene was shocking, with blood splattered over the walls and floor. Yet when Lee was arrested on the same day detectives could find no blood on his clothes or body including under his fingernails and nothing was found in a forensic search of his house.Given the paucity of evidence, it is not surprising that it took two trials to find Lee guilty and sentence him to death. The first trial collapsed after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.The ACLU and Innocence Project took up Lee?s case very late in the day having been asked to get involved shortly before his scheduled execution date. What they discovered when they opened the case records astounded even these experienced death penalty lawyers.Very quickly they established there were major problems with the prosecution case against Lee. One area that especially concerned them was the inadequacy of Lee?s legal representation, both during the second trial in which defense attorneys inexplicably failed to call alibi witnesses that could have placed Lee elsewhere at the time of the murder, and in terms of the help he received at the appeal stage of his case.At one post-conviction hearing, a lawyer working for the state of Arkansas approached the judge and raised concerns about Lee?s attorney, Craig Lambert. ?Your honor, I don?t do this lightly, but I?m going to ask that the court require him to submit to a drug test,? the counsel said. ?He?s just not with us ? His speech is slurred.?In an affidavit obtained since Lee?s execution, signed by Lambert in October, the lawyer admits: ?I was struggling with substance abuse and addiction in those years. I attended inpatient rehab. Ledell?s case was massive and I wasn?t in the best place personally to do what was necessary.?Partly as a result of poor legal representation, terrible errors were made in Lee?s defense ? both at trial and for years afterwards during the appeals process. The complaint goes into detail about these ?deeply troubling? shortcomings.One of the key examples relates to the marks found on the victim?s cheek. The state?s experts mistakenly interpreted the marks as having come from a pattern on a rug in Reese?s bedroom where she had been beaten to death with a wooden tire club.In fact, the filing says, the pattern on the body?s cheek did not match that on the rug. Instead it was consistent with the murderer stomping on Reese?s face directly with his shoe.That is critically significant because the shoes that Lee was wearing that day, which the state used during the trial as evidence against him, were incompatible in the composition of their soles with the injury pattern on Reese?s face.To establish this point, an affidavit is provided by Michael Baden, former chief pathologist for New York who is recognized internationally as a leading forensic pathologist. He concludes: ?The soles of Mr Lee?s sneakers have a much more closely spaced pattern than was transferred in the cheek imprint.?That inconsistency is just one of many that were uncovered when Baden and four other specialists were invited to review the case.Lee was executed in a flurry. When the state of Arkansas realized its supply of one of its three lethal drugs, the sedative midazolam, was about to expire at the end of 2017 with no hope of replacing it due to a global ban on medicines being sent to the US for use in executions, it went into overdrive.It announced plans to kill eight prisoners in 11 days.The declaration prompted revulsion from around the US and the world and accusations that the state was engaging in conveyor-belt executions. It was in that climate that attempts by the ACLU and the Innocence Project to have materials gathered at the crime scene of Reese?s murder released for DNA testing fell on deaf ears.Though the lawyers presented a strong argument that DNA testing could be crucial in casting doubt on Lee?s conviction and pointing towards the real killer, a federal district court denied the request on grounds that Lee had ?simply delayed too long? in asking for the materials.It is too late now for Lee. But his lawyers hope that it is not too late to get to the bottom of the case posthumously.The city of Jacksonville is in possession of a rich array of crime scene materials including ?Negroid? hairs collected from Reese?s bedroom and fingernail scrapings likely to contain DNA from the actual killer ? Lee or otherwise.?This evidence can now be tested with state-of-the-art methods unavailable at trial, and compared to Mr Lee?s unique DNA profile,? the filing says.After a welter of legal challenges, Arkansas succeeded in killing four prisoners in one week, including the first double execution held in the US in a single day since 2001. The first of the four to die was Ledell Lee.Should Arkansas now agree belatedly to hand over the crime scene materials for testing, he may yet be proven to have been, just as he always said he was, an innocent man.


  • Saudi crown prince's WhatsApp linked to Bezos phone hack

    Saudi crown prince's WhatsApp linked to Bezos phone hackThe cellphone of Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was hacked in what appeared to be an attempt by Saudi Arabia's crown prince to "influence, if not silence" the newspaper's reporting on the kingdom, two U.N. human rights experts said Wednesday. The U.N. experts called for an ?immediate investigation? by the United States into a report commissioned by Bezos that showed the billionaire technology mogul's phone was likely hacked after he received an MP4 video file sent from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's WhatsApp account after the two men exchanged phone numbers during a dinner in Los Angeles in 2018.


  • Graph shows how fast the coronavirus is spreading

    Graph shows how fast the coronavirus is spreadingAn alarming graph shows how fast the Wuhan coronavirus has spread in the past two weeks alone and highlights how soon it could become a pandemic.


  • The Attacks on Bernie Are Further Proof That ?Victim? Hillary Is Not Good at This

    The Attacks on Bernie Are Further Proof That ?Victim? Hillary Is Not Good at ThisA Hillary Clinton hot take is in the headlines again: According to her, ?nobody likes? presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders.Earlier this week, The Hollywood Reporter published an interview with Clinton, a promotional piece for the upcoming Hulu documentary about her political career, in which the former secretary of state was asked about a statement she?d made during the documentary.The interviewer, Lacey Rose, asked:> In the doc, you?re brutally honest on Sanders: ?He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It?s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.? That assessment still hold?Hillary replied, simply: ?Yes, it does.?Next, Rose asked Clinton whether or not she would support Sanders if he were to become the Democratic nominee. Clinton said: ?I?m not going to go there yet? ? and then proceeded to attack Sanders?s supporters for what she calls their ?relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women,? accusing Bernie himself of having ?not only permitted? ?this culture,? but also seeming ?to really be very much supporting it.?Later, continuing the discussion about what Clinton sees as Bernie?s ?pattern? of sexism, Clinton offered as evidence the fact that Sanders had told her that she was ?unqualified? when they were both running for the Democratic nomination in 2016. (Note: This ?unqualified? comment, made during an April 2016 debate, was in response to Clinton questioning Sanders?s own qualifications. It is more than worth noting that, in making this criticism, Sanders stuck to questioning her on her past policy only, pointing out blunders such as her vote in favor of the Iraq War.)So, what came of all of Clinton?s brutal attacks on Sanders? Did his supporters flee? Did people express their deepest sympathies that Clinton had to encounter him?Nope; far from it. In fact, ILikeBernie started trending on Twitter. Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson shared a screenshot showing that he?d just donated to Sanders, telling Clinton: ?Every time you trash him, I will give more.? Bernie?s competitors for the nomination, Representative Tulsi Gabbard and billionaire Tom Steyer, weighed in to say that they also ?like? him.The backlash was so bad, in fact, that Clinton took to her own Twitter account to backtrack, clarifying that she would, in fact, support whomever became the Democratic nominee.Personally, I am left thinking one thing: Hillary Clinton is not good at this.Despite the fact that Clinton has been in politics for decades, it seems that her political instincts are actually quite terrible. This is not the first time during the primary that Clinton has helped a candidate she?d intended to bring down.In October, Clinton made the absurd, baseless allegation that Tulsi Gabbard was being ?groomed? by the Russians. (Note: She offered no proof.) When Gabbard responded harshly ? which I can?t say I wouldn?t do if someone were making those accusations about me ? a Clinton spokesman went after her for doing so, slamming her for her ?[d]ivisive language filled with vitriol.?And what happened then? Well, first, Gabbard got a bump in the polls ? a significant enough one, in fact, to earn her a spot at the November Democratic primary debate. This week, it?s also been announced that Gabbard is suing Clinton for defamation over the ?Russian asset? remarks.Like I said: Hillary Clinton is not good at this. Now, I can?t help but notice a common theme when it comes to the way Clinton and her team seem to approach the political arena. All too often, they can?t resist the urge to make things about her.To Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders is bad because she and her buddies in Congress don?t ?like? him. He?s sexist because he told her that she wasn?t ?qualified.? After Tulsi Gabbard defended herself against Clinton?s brutal, objectively unfair attacks, Clinton?s spokesperson wasted no time aiming to get sympathy for Clinton over them -- pointing out how Clinton had had to endure Tulsi?s supposed ?vitriol.?This is, unfortunately for Clinton, more of the exact same thing that we saw throughout her failed 2016 election campaign. The most obvious example, of course, would be that campaign slogan: ?I?m With Her.? Rather than choose something that even so much as hinted to the American people what she would do for them, she chose instead to make the focus on them needing to be there for her. She was calling on voters to be there for her against sexism, there for her against the brutal attacks from that evil orange monster, Donald J. Trump. In fact, many people struggled to find any sort of message in Clinton?s campaign ? except, of course, for the fact that Trump is mean to her, and that, in order to be a decent person, you had to help her deal with that by being with her, against Trump.Of course, I?m not saying that women in politics don?t face sexism. They do. In fact, women in anything have to face sexism ? and if you don?t believe me, then I?d suggest you try asking one.What?s more, I?m also not denying the fact that Donald Trump has his own brand of self-absorption. He does, and that?s obvious ? whether the septuagenarian is calling himself a ?young, vibrant man? or talking about his ?beautiful head of hair,? it?s really no secret that Donald Trump spends a decent amount of time thinking about how fond he is of, well, Donald Trump.Hillary?s self-obsession, however, is different. Unlike Trump, she is quite clearly particularly obsessed with feeling sorry for herself ? and she wants, more than anything, for other people to feel sorry for her, too. She has a pattern of blatantly seeking sympathy even when it?s outright ridiculous for her to do so. Hillary Clinton had the backing of the entire DNC during her 2016 run, and yet, after she lost, all she could do was whine incessantly about how many people had wronged her throughout the process and made it so unfair. You know, like James Comey. Or the media. Or white women. Or Russia. Hell, at one point, she even had the nerve to call herself ?a victim of . . . the assumption? that she ?was going to win.?In her memoir ? which is, in all honesty, nothing more than a glorified pity party on paper -- she whines that ?[t]here are times when all I want to do is scream into a pillow.? Elsewhere, she complains about how hard it was for her to write the book (which, by the way, broke sales records and made her millions):?Literally, at times when I was writing it, I had to go lie down,? she said. ?I just couldn?t bear to relive it.?Make no mistake: Hillary Clinton?s attempts to seek sympathy in recent years are endless. Worse, this ?strategy? also isn?t new: When she was running against President Obama in 2008, her performance in one of the debates was so drenched in her woe-is-me-attitude that Politico published a piece declaring: ?Hillary Clinton as the inevitable Democratic nominee didn?t work. Hillary Clinton as the front-runner didn?t work. So how about Hillary Clinton as the victim??Yes: Hillary Clinton is consumed by feeling sorry for herself. What?s more, she has obviously been operating under the false notion that all she needs to do is get others to share in this obsession, and then that will translate into political support. She must feel this way; there?s no other reason she?d keep doing it.Here, though, is the problem: Expecting support simply because of the ways you say you?ve been wronged is just as bad as expecting support simply because you say you are, shall we say, ?a very stable genius.?Actually? In some ways, it?s kind of worse.Now, it?s important to point out that Trump, unlike Clinton, has managed to pause his self-obsession long enough to communicate his vision for the country. Yes, he may change his mind at times ? but he?s at least attempted to maintain his focus on what he wants to do for the country. You may disagree with what he says he wants to do (and I, for one, certainly have disagreed at times) but at least Trump talks about his message enough for people to have some understanding of what the hell it is.Even if he hadn?t been able to do this though, I think I?d still find his brand of self-obsession less obnoxious than Clinton?s. Trump may consistently be trying to paint himself as a rich, attractive, unparalleled savior of the world, but Clinton is consistently trying to paint herself as some kind of sick, flea-infested, three-legged street puppy ? and, I?ve got to say, I have a pretty hard time feeling sorry for her.When we talk about Hillary Clinton, after all, we are hardly talking about someone who is struggling to make it in the world. We?re not talking about someone on the streets or in a shelter; we?re talking about an Ivy League-educated former secretary of state who is worth tens of millions of dollars. We are talking about someone who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech. (In other words? For an hour of talking.) Given all that, I have to admit that I do find it kind of hard to spend any time feeling bad for such a rich, influential person -- especially while I?m sitting here in my rental apartment.Now, I certainly wouldn?t say that Trump necessarily handles any attacks ?better? than Clinton does. He, after all, has a tendency to lash out and insult people, and he?s said a lot of things in response to criticism with which I?ve definitely had a problem. What?s more, he also certainly does his own fair share of complaining. (Have you ever hear him talk about the media?)The difference, though, is that he seems to aim to do so from a position of toughness. I?ve heard him call many things ?unfair,? and yet I?ve never once felt as though he wanted me to feel sorry for him. If Trump loses this election, I don?t doubt that he will take as little responsibility for his own loss as Hillary Clinton did hers, but I also don?t anticipate him expecting an international pity party because of it.Maybe by that time, no matter who wins, Clinton will have finally decided to end her own pity party. I, at least, certainly would hope so. After all (as someone who had to ask a friend what I was looking at in an Instagram photo of the interior of a private jet yesterday), I?ve really have a pretty hard time feeling too bad for either one of them -- and I don?t think I?m alone.


  • Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soon

    Family of Kristin Smart, who went missing in 1996, now says there's no news coming soonKristin Smart's mother said she was contacted by a former FBI agent, but there is no timeline for an announcement in her case, the family later said.


  • Lindsey Graham is offering unsolicited legal advice to Trump's team

    Lindsey Graham is offering unsolicited legal advice to Trump's teamSen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a juror in President Trump's impeachment trial, is offering free legal advice to his counsel, if they want to accept it.So far, the House impeachment managers have "done a good job" of "painting ... a tapestry, taking a series of events and telling a story," Graham told reporters on Thursday. When Trump's legal team starts delivering his defense on Saturday, they will "start pulling on the threads."Graham also thinks Trump's attorneys will need to shift the focus to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, and is in the center of a debunked conspiracy theory being peddled by Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani. Graham said Trump's team needs to "really go hard at the idea that when they tell you there's not a scintilla of evidence, groundless, baseless, phony accusations regarding the Bidens, I would challenge that very hard."More stories from theweek.com Democrats walked right into Mitch McConnell's trap GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn questions patriotism of Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman Saturday's impeachment session could start bright and early


  • Iran Has A Lot Of Missiles And The U.S. Navy's Carriers Look Like Juicy Targets

    Iran Has A Lot Of Missiles And The U.S. Navy's Carriers Look Like Juicy TargetsCould Iran sink a carrier?


  • Senators struggle without their phones at Trump's impeachment trial, where all electronics are banned

    Senators struggle without their phones at Trump's impeachment trial, where all electronics are bannedSenators had a hard time following the strict no-phone policy while listening in on 12-hour days of arguments during Trump's impeachment trial.


  • China Will Keep Buying Our Palm Oil, Malaysia?s Trade Chief Says

    China Will Keep Buying Our Palm Oil, Malaysia?s Trade Chief Says(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Malaysia is unlikely to suffer any loss in its palm oil business from China, despite Beijing pledging to boost soybean purchases from the U.S. amid the trade war, according to the Southeast Asian nation?s trade chief.?I don?t think so,? Malaysia?s Minister of International Trade and Industry Darell Leiking said Wednesday in a Bloomberg Television interview with Haslinda Amin at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, when asked about the impact on its critical palm oil exports.?China and Malaysia have had a long relationship,? and Kuala Lumpur has offered diplomatic and economic help to Beijing amid ?challenges? with the U.S., he said. ?The Chinese have continued to be a good friend.?The initial U.S.-China trade deal signed last week has a potential downside for Malaysia, as it?s expected to depress palm oil prices. China has sought to reassure other trading partners that things will remain business as usual even as the government pledged, under that agreement with the U.S., to significantly increase purchases of American soybeans.Friction between the U.S. and China isn?t the only trade spat impacting Malaysia, as it grapples with India?s move to reduce imports of Malaysian palm oil. That means $1.4 billion of processed palm products may need to find new buyers, said Khor Yu Leng, an independent economist with Segi Enam Advisors.Leiking aimed to damp worries around the India-Malaysia spat, saying the two governments are engaged on the issue and that Malaysia hasn?t been singled out by India, an ?important partner? of theirs.Pockets of the Malaysian economy have benefited from trade diversions driven by U.S.-China tensions, with an investment surge seen in industry centers like Penang. However, overall trade has declined, with the contraction in the exports worsening toward the end of 2019.?We?re glad that America and China have at least tried to take some global responsibility over the challenges that the whole world had faced because of their tariff disagreements,? Leiking said of the phase-one deal. ?From our side, the Asean side will continue, I think, having a continuous relationship with China as well as America.?\--With assistance from Anuradha Raghu.To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Jamrisko in Singapore at mjamrisko@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net, Michael S. Arnold, Karthikeyan SundaramFor 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.


  • Macron berates Israeli security men in tussle at Jerusalem church

    Macron berates Israeli security men in tussle at Jerusalem churchJERUSALEM (Reuters) - "Go outside," French President Emmanuel Macron demanded in English in a melee with Israeli security men on Wednesday, demanding they leave a Jerusalem basilica that he visited before a Holocaust memorial conference. The French tricolor has flown over the Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem's walled Old City since it was gifted by the Ottomans to French Emperor Napoleon III in 1856. France views it as a provocation when Israeli police enter the church's sandstone complex, in a part of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.


  • Nevada man sentenced for trafficking in endangered species

    Nevada man sentenced for trafficking in endangered speciesA 51-year-old Nevada man who admitted illegally trafficking endangered African lion and leopard parts has been ordered to serve a total of 60 days in federal custody and complete 100 hours of community service for a wildlife conservation group. U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones sentenced Robert Barkman of Reno on Wednesday immediately after he pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal to one count of wildlife trafficking in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Federal prosecutors say Barkman admitted selling and shipping a lion skull and leopard claws in 2016 to a New York City man who was sentenced in August 2018 to nine months in prison for exporting scores of protected animal parts to Thailand.


  • Apple Wanted the iPhone to Have End-to-End Encryption. Then the FBI Stepped In

    Apple Wanted the iPhone to Have End-to-End Encryption. Then the FBI Stepped InLaw enforcement says that kind of encryption would stall investigations. iPhone owners just want protection from hackers.


  • Grassley Expands Probe into DoD Contracts Awarded to Stefan Halper over Spying Concerns

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


  • Spirit Airlines passenger: Cabin crew didn't take my groping allegation seriously

    Spirit Airlines passenger: Cabin crew didn't take my groping allegation seriouslyA Michigan college student says she was sexually assaulted on a Spirit Airlines flight, but that flight attendants treated her like an annoyance.


  • Senators reportedly laugh as Democrats play clip of former Trump official calling out Rudy Giuliani

    Senators reportedly laugh as Democrats play clip of former Trump official calling out Rudy GiulianiDemocrats are continuing to make their impeachment argument by citing President Trump's allies and officials, this time getting in a dig at Rudy Giuliani in the process. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), one of the impeachment managers who spoke Thursday in Democrats' second day of opening arguments in the Senate's trial, took apart the conspiracy theory pushed by Trump that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election by hacking the Democratic National Committee.To make her point that this theory has no basis in reality, Garcia referred to the words of Trump's former Homeland Security adviser, Tom Bossert, who told ABC News last year this "conspiracy theory" has been "completely debunked." Bossert in the clip played in the Senate went on to voice frustrations with Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, for pushing this conspiracy theory, quoting a former senator's magazine article as saying that one of the "ways to impeach oneself" is "hiring Rudy Giuliani."Previously, Garcia played a clip of FBI Director Christopher Wray stating in an interview, "We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election." This was another example during Democrats' impeachment arguments of using clips from Trump allies and officials to make their argument after House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) made strategic use of 1990s-era quotes from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump's impeachment defense team, to argue abuse of power is impeachable. HuffPost's Ryan Reilly reports that when Bossert in the clip quipped that hiring Giuliani is a way to self-impeach, there were "a lot of laughs on both sides of the Senate chamber." > A portion of ex-Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert's interview with @GStephanopoulos last summer on the debunked theory of 2016 election meddling was played by House impeachment managers during the Senate trial.> > Watch his exchange on @ThisWeekABC. https://t.co/jfWy6wWWqf pic.twitter.com/ze8hQfg2is> > -- This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 23, 2020More stories from theweek.com Democrats walked right into Mitch McConnell's trap GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn questions patriotism of Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman Saturday's impeachment session could start bright and early


  • Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.

    Russia, China, and Iran Would Love to Take Out a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. Here's Why They Can't.The beasts are more survivable than they seem.


  • The US plans to force passengers to change routes, and potentially redirect entire flights, to make sure they get screened for the Wuhan virus

    The US plans to force passengers to change routes, and potentially redirect entire flights, to make sure they get screened for the Wuhan virusUS officials described an ambitious 'funnel' system to make sure every passenger from Wuhan, China, to the US gets screened ? no matter their route.


  • U.S., China Must Adjust for Stable World, Singapore Leader Says

    U.S., China Must Adjust for Stable World, Singapore Leader Says(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.Both the U.S. and China must make adjustments if they are going to reach a lasting phase-two trade deal that benefits the rest of the world, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg?s Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait, Lee said ?both sides have to make quite basic adjustments.? The U.S., he said, must decide whether to create rules that allow ?the best man? to win or only let America come out on top.?America First means you do the best for the United States,? Lee said in Davos, Switzerland, while attending the World Economic Forum. ?So do you do the best by prospering in the world and there are other countries who are doing well, or do your best by being a big country in a troubled world? And I?m not sure that the second is a very good answer.?The U.S.-China War Over Trade and Tariffs, Explained: QuickTakeChina, on the other hand, must decide whether they are going to be ?constructive players? in world affairs and accept that ?rules which were acceptable to other countries when they were smaller and less dominant now have to be revised and renegotiated,? Lee said.?It?s not so easy for them to concede and voluntarily step back from what they feel they can hold on to for a while longer,? he said. But if they make that adjustment, ?there?s some possibility of working out a modus vivendi which will be stable and constructive for the world,? he said.Huawei ConcernsSingapore, a city-state heavily dependent on trade, had been one of the most outspoken countries in Asia calling for the U.S. and China to reach a trade deal. Lee has warned that Southeast Asian nations might one day be forced to choose if the world economy gets pulled apart into different blocs.The Trump administration has sought to convince countries around the world to avoid using equipment from Huawei Technologies Co., China?s biggest tech firm, for 5G networks, arguing it poses a national security threat. Singapore?s government so far has left the decision up to its telecommunications operators.How Huawei Landed at the Center of Global Tech Tussle: QuickTakeLee reiterated that Singapore hasn?t ?banned Huawei? but will evaluate it based on operational requirements. Any system will have weaknesses, he said, and governments must try to keep them secure.?We have to make our own assessments, and the assessments have to be based on facts and risks,? Lee said. ?And having made those assessments, well we may come to a conclusion which is different from what the Americans have come to, but it doesn?t mean that we?re not concerned about similar issues.?Lee added that differences of opinion on Huawei don?t necessarily signal a loss of U.S. influence. ?If you ask us on security cooperations, certainly we are closer to the U.S. than to China,? Lee said. ?But in terms of our trade, the Chinese are our biggest trading partner. In terms of our overall relationship, we have deep relationships with both.?March SummitPresident Donald Trump last November invited countries in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, to a special summit in the U.S. after he skipped the bloc?s meeting in Bangkok. At the time, most leaders in the region snubbed the group?s meeting with Trump?s representative, National Security Adviser Robert O?Brien.Lee said he would join other Asean leaders for a meeting with Trump in Las Vegas on March 14.?I?m sure we?ll be discussing areas where we can cooperate and do more together,? Lee said. ?I hope that Mr. Trump, amidst his many domestic preoccupations, will send a message that Asia is important to him and Southeast Asia has its part in the Americanscheme of things.?China has recently stepped up efforts to assert its territorial claims in the South China Sea, prompting fellow claimants like Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia to resist those advances in the energy-rich waters. The Asean bloc has been negotiating a legally binding code of conduct in the waters for more than two decades, and aim to complete it in the next few years.?It?s not an easy thing to do,? Lee said of the code of conduct. ?We?re working at it and we?ve made some progress in the negotiating process, but I think it?s better to be talking and working toward this rather than abandoning this and actually coming to blows on the ground.?\--With assistance from Joyce Koh, Faris Mokhtar, Michelle Jamrisko and Ruth Pollard.To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Philip J. Heijmans in Singapore at pheijmans1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Ten Kate at dtenkate@bloomberg.net, Nasreen SeriaFor 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.


  • Utah bans LGBTQ conversion therapy for minors

    Utah bans LGBTQ conversion therapy for minors"It simply will save lives," said GOP State Representative Craig Hall, who originally sponsored the proposal.


  • 26 Coffee Makers for Every Type of Coffee Drinker

    26 Coffee Makers for Every Type of Coffee Drinker


  • One man arrested, two more sought in deadly Seattle rush-hour shootout

    One man arrested, two more sought in deadly Seattle rush-hour shootoutThe arrest of Jamel Jackson, 21, who was himself wounded, came as Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best pledged an all-out effort to curb gun violence in Seattle, which has long prided itself as one of the nation's safest large cities. "While we are better than many cities when it comes to gun violence, we are not immune to gun violence," Durkan told reporters a day after the shooting, which unfolded in the heart of a busy shopping district near Pike Place Market at the peak of Wednesday's evening rush hour. An altercation outside a fast-food restaurant escalated into gun violence among three men, Chief Best recounted at the news conference.


  • Tennessee inmate chooses the electric chair for his scheduled execution

    Tennessee inmate chooses the electric chair for his scheduled executionA Tennessee inmate has chosen the electric chair for his scheduled execution next month, opting like four other inmates in little more than a year for electrocution over the state's preferred execution method of lethal injection.


  • Canada's TSB says Iran has invited it to examine black boxes

    Canada's TSB says Iran has invited it to examine black boxesCanada's Transportation Safety Board said Thursday it has been invited by Iran to participate in the download and analysis of the flight recorders from the downing of a Ukraine International Airlines jet ?whenever and wherever? that takes place. Iran has acknowledged that its armed forces fired two Russian anti-aircraft missiles at the jetliner that crashed after taking off from Tehran's main airport earlier this month, killing all 176 people on board. Fifty-seven Canadians died and 138 of the passengers were headed to Canada.


  • NYT Ed Board Member Wrote Out ?Full Draft? of Biden Endorsement, but Scrapped It over His ?Normal? Message and Lack of ?Urgency?

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


  • Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'

    Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'Experts are seeing shocking similarities between the coronavirus that has now spread beyond China and the SARS outbreak of 2003.Like the infectious pneumonia that has killed at least 17 people, SARS was caused by a coronavirus that originated in China. But when one of the virologists who helped identify the SARS virus visited Wuhan, where this virus originated, he didn't see nearly enough being done to fight it. People were out at markets without masks, "preparing to ring in the New Year in peace and had no sense about the epidemic," Guan Yi of the University of Hong Kong's State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases told Caixin. Airports were hardly being disinfected, Guan continued, saying the local government hasn't "even been handing out quarantine guides to people who were leaving the city."The city did disinfect the market where the virus has been traced to, but Guan criticized Wuhan for that, saying it hurts researchers' abilities to track down the virus's source. "I've never felt scared," Guan told Caixin. "This time I'm scared."A case involving the coronavirus was identified in Washington state on Wednesday, and cases have also been identified in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. A total of 639 cases were confirmed in China.More stories from theweek.com Democrats walked right into Mitch McConnell's trap GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn questions patriotism of Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman Saturday's impeachment session could start bright and early


  • Pakistani leader Imran Khan said Osama bin Laden was able to hide in his country because his guerrilla fighters were once regarded as 'heroes'

    Pakistani leader Imran Khan said Osama bin Laden was able to hide in his country because his guerrilla fighters were once regarded as 'heroes'Osama bin Laden was able to find refuge in Pakistan because mujahideen groups were viewed as "heroes," the country's leader, Imran Khan, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday.


  • Ok, 'Boomer': This Is the Deadliest Submarine Monster Lurking the Deep

    Ok, 'Boomer': This Is the Deadliest Submarine Monster Lurking the DeepBallistic missile submarines?or as sailors call them, 'boomers.'