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  • 2020 Vision Monday: Polls show a 17-point swing toward impeaching Trump, which could drag down his reelection bid

    Golocal247.com news

    A rapid 17-point shift means a majority of Americans may soon support impeachment, or, taking margin of error into account, might already. And that’s terrible news for Trump.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 11:57:23 -0400
  • What's causing record rates of STDs?

    Golocal247.com news

    After decades of decline, rates of certain STDs have spiked to record levels, according to the CDC. What's causing the increase?

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 11:25:46 -0400
  • Pope's bodyguard resigns over new financial leaks scandal

    Golocal247.com news

    The Vatican's latest scandal claimed its first victim Monday as Pope Francis' chief bodyguard resigned over the leak of a Vatican police flyer identifying five employees who were suspended as part of a financial investigation. The Vatican said its police chief, Domenico Giani, bore no responsibility for the leaked flyer but resigned to avoid disrupting the investigation and "out of love for the church and faithfulness" to the pope. Giani, a 20-year veteran of the Vatican's security services, has stood by Francis' side and jogged alongside his popemobile during hundreds of public appearances and foreign trips.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 17:44:53 -0400
  • Booze run from behind bars: Inmates escape from Texas federal prison, return with whiskey

    Golocal247.com news

    The men left the prison grounds and cut through a neighboring ranch before getting caught by authorities.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:11:36 -0400
  • China Built a Flying Saucer

    Golocal247.com news

    The UFO is still on the ground—for now.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 09:55:00 -0400
  • France warns of 'endless soap opera' on EU membership talks with Balkans

    France stuck to its hardline position against European Union membership talks for North Macedonia and Albania on Tuesday, warning it could not approve negotiations until the bloc reformed the "endless soap opera" of admitting new members. Europe ministers, making a third attempt since June 2018 to approve membership talks for the Balkan hopefuls, are set to discuss in Luxembourg opening a path for Skopje and Tirana, with broad EU support and backing from the United States.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 05:42:01 -0400
  • In Jamal Khashoggi's death, Saudi money is talking louder than murder

    Golocal247.com news

    Donald Trump praises Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Jared Kushner is among those flocking to the Saudi 'Davos in the Desert': Our view

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 17:35:22 -0400
  • India blocks SMS services in Kashmir after trucker killed

    Golocal247.com news

    Text messaging services were blocked in Indian Kashmir just hours after being restored when a truck driver was killed by suspected militants and his vehicle set ablaze, authorities said Tuesday. Separately, Indian officials said a 24-year-old woman died in the latest exchange of artillery fire with Pakistan over their de-facto border dividing the blood-soaked Himalayan region.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 10:53:02 -0400
  • Jeep Gladiator Gets Even More Rugged as a Military-Spec Vehicle

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    Jeep and AM General could re-enlist with the U.S. Army as soon as next year.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 10:07:00 -0400
  • Assad troops enter north-east Syria after Russia-backed deal with Kurds

    Golocal247.com news

    Bashar al-Assad’s forces swept into cities across northeast Syria for the first time in seven years on Monday after the West’s former Kurdish allies agreed to a Russian-brokered deal to try to hold off a Turkish attack.  The Syrian regime’s black-and-red flag went up across the region as Russia seized on Donald Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds to restore Assad’s rule over swathes of territory he has not controlled since 2012.  Assad’s troops clashed with Turkish-backed Syrian rebels outside Manbij, a key city on the Turkey-Syria border where US forces are evacuating on Mr Trump’s orders.  Western officials are watching closely to see if the skirmishes escalate into a direct confrontation between Turkey and the Syrian regime, or whether Russia can broker another deal to keep the two countries from clashing. Several European countries joined France and Germany in halting arms sales to Turkey, as the EU put out a joint statement condemning the offensive.  A Syrian regime soldier waves the national flag a street on the western entrance of the town of Tal Tamr in the countryside of Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province on October 14, 2019 Credit: AFP Fears were also rising over an Islamic State (Isil) resurgence as it emerged that US forces had failed to secure dozens of the most hardened jihadist fighters, and Isil prisoners once again rioted against their Kurdish guards.  Mr Trump suggested the Kurds were deliberately freeing Isil prisoners in a bid to get the West’s attention, a talking point that has been repeatedly used by Turkey’s government to discredit its Kurdish enemies.    Assad’s re-entry into northeastern Syria marks a dramatic redrawing of the lines of control in the war-torn country and likely signals the beginning of the end of seven years of Kurdish autonomy in the area.  Regime fighters began entering the provinces of Hasakah and Raqqa and were moving quickly to consolidate their control over long swathes of the Turkish-Syrian border with the permission of Kurdish troops.  The exact details of the agreement between Damascus and the Kurds remains unclear. Kurdish authorities insisted that they would maintain their political autonomy and that the deal was focused solely on military issues.  Syrian regime forces are pictured as they patrol a street on the western entrance of the town of Tal Tamr in the countryside of Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province on October 14, 2019 Credit: AFP But other reports suggested that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Western-backed Kurdish units who led the fight against Isil, would be folded into Assad’s army and that northeast Syria would come back under direct rule from Damascus.     The immediate focus of the newly-aligned SDF and Assad regime is to repel Turkish-backed rebels from seizing control of Manbij, a border city west of the Euphrates River which is currently in Kurdish hands.  The Syrian rebels, known as the National Army, said Monday night they had launched an operation to “liberate Manbij and its surroundings from the terrorist gangs”. The National Army claimed to have engaged Assad’s forces and captured a tank in a first round of fighting. The battle for Manbij will pose a test for Turkey, which must decide whether to back its Syrian rebel allies with airstrikes at the risk of sparking a confrontation with the Syrian regime. Turkey - Syria map Russia is believed to be relaying messages between the two sides to try to avert conflict.  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish president, said he was determined to put the city under the control “our Arabic brothers” in the National Army. But while Turkish warplanes thundered overhead there were no reports they were striking Assad’s forces in support of the rebels.  US forces have been ordered to evacuate northern Syria but many troops remained caught up in the chaos as different armed groups maneuvered and the roads remained clogged with refugees.  Sen. Lindsey Graham Credit: AP The situation in northeast Syria collapsed into disorder so quickly that US special forces did not have time to carry out a plan to seize around 60 of the top Isil fighters in Kurdish custody, according to the New York Times.  US commandos had planned to take the prisoners from the Kurds and move them to Iraq but were unable to reach a key road in time.  It is not known if any British fighters were among the 60 men on the US list. America has already taken custody of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, the two surviving members of the “Beatles” group of alleged British executioners.      The report appeared to drastically undercut Mr Trump’s claim that “the US has the worst of the Isil prisoners”.  Mr Trump also said the “Kurds may be releasing some [Isil prisoners] to get us involved” in trying to stop Turkey’s offensive. Mr Erdoğan and other Turkish officials have made the same claim repeatedly in recent days.  The Turkish military released a video which it claimed showed its commandos entering a Kurdish prison only to find that the guards had released all the inmates. But Kurdish officials suggested the video was staged at an empty facility never used as a prison.  SDF guards at a prison were wounded during a riot by Isil prisoners at Ain Issa, according to Kurdish media. The Isil suspects still in Kurdish custody are panicked at the prospect they could be handed over to the Assad regime, which has a long history of torturing detainees.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 13:20:45 -0400
  • Anthony Scaramucci is desperately trying to recruit Mitt Romney for a 2020 run

    Golocal247.com news

    Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is running for president again -- at least in Anthony Scaramucci's dreams.The famously short-lived White House communications director has since turned on the president who appointed him, and has publicly said he's trying to knock President Trump off the 2020 ticket. Now, it seems Scaramucci has decided on his dream candidate, and has launched a website and line of T-shirts to persuade him to run.Scaramucci started making his support for Romney known earlier this month, tweeting a poll that showed the 2012 GOP nominee beating the presumptive 2020 nominee in a hypothetical primary. He then revealed last week he'd launched Mitt2020.org, and on Sunday night, showed off that the site was offering "commit to Mitt" campaign T-shirts. They are being sold at $20.20 each to "test demand," and so far Scaramucci has seen an "overwhelming" response, he told ABC News.> You may be proud of your "Where's Hunter?" T-shirt...but we're really proud of ours...You see, we know where Mitt is...he's listening, he's hearing, he's seeing, he's reading and he's coming.... https://t.co/sCUTWW6IHA committomitt mitt2020 @MittRomney MittRomney pic.twitter.com/gpgTdL33UY> > -- Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) October 12, 2019While Romney hasn't even hinted at granting Scaramucci's wishes, the "Mitt Happens" shirt is sure to be a collector's item in a few years.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:02:37 -0400
  • Nigerian police raid frees scores of beaten, starved boys

    For the second time in a month, police in northern Nigeria have raided a building where hundreds of boys were held in dehumanizing conditions, officials said Tuesday. This time, the building was discovered in President Muhammadu Buhari's hometown, putting pressure on him to act against the practice of sending children to institutions run by Islamic scholars rather than conventional schools. More than 300 boys had been held in the building raided on Monday in Daura, Katsina state police spokesman Gambo Isa told The Associated Press.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 12:45:02 -0400
  • When police misconduct occurs, records often stay secret. One mom's fight to change that.

    Golocal247.com news

    A police officer is accused of playing with her dead son's body after he was shot. An angry California mother wants secret cop records to go public.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 20:27:02 -0400
  • Son of sheriff who called immigrants ‘drunks’ at White House event arrested for public intoxication

    Golocal247.com news

    The son of a Texas sheriff who used a White House press conference to describe immigrant offenders as “drunks” likely to repeatedly break the law has been arrested for public intoxication.Sergei Waybourn, 24, faces a count of indecent exposure as well as public drunkenness just days after his father, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn, was criticised for the comments.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 08:04:35 -0400
  • What Did America Offer North Korea at Working-Level Talks? One Report Claims To Know.

    Golocal247.com news

    And it makes absolutely no sense at all.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 08:05:00 -0400
  • Target Cuts Workers’ Hours after Vowing to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 By 2020

    Golocal247.com news

    Workers at Target stores are struggling to pay their bills after the company cut the total amount of employee working hours in preparation for raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, according to a report from CNN."I got that dollar raise but I'm getting $200 less in my paycheck," said Heather, who works at a Florida branch. She began working 40 hours per week but is now offered less than 20."I have no idea how I'm going to pay rent or buy food," she continued.Target committed to raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 in a statement on September 25, 2017.Senator Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.) has made the $15 minimum wage a tenet of his campaign. He has blasted large companies such as McDonald's and Walmart for refusing to pay their employees $15 per hour.Last year was Target's best business year since 2005. Sales were up five percent and company stocks were up four percent since 2017, prompting Target CEO Brian Cornell to laud the company's "successful, durable model."Meanwhile, cuts in worker hours have affected employees' eligibility for health benefits. Employees who work less than 30 hours per week are deemed ineligible for company health benefits at the start of Target's spring enrollment period."Target worked me hard from mid-July of 2018 to February 2019, right before my medical coverage was about to kick in," said former employee Caren Morales of Diamond Bar, California, who worked between 35-40 hours per week. Once the enrollment date approached, she said, "They cut my hours right then."Morales quit several months later, saying she couldn't afford to pay for her daughter's day care.It was not immediately clear why many workers have seen their hours cut, although the trend may partially be attributable to the introduction of new store management methods."We needed to change the way we operate in the store to create a better, more inviting experience for our guests," commented Target COO John Mulligan. The changes include elimination of some backroom shifts and the introduction of self-checkout machines, along with specialization of some jobs to cover a specific department instead of an entire store.Several other giant retail stores have also recently decreased working hours, according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 15:57:00 -0400
  • Everything Google Revealed at Its NYC Pixel Event

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    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:44:00 -0400
  • Dutch police discover family locked away for years in isolated farmhouse

    Golocal247.com news

    Dutch police acting on a tip-off discovered six young adult siblings who had apparently spent years locked away in a secret room in an isolated farmhouse "waiting for the end of time," local broadcasters reported on Tuesday.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:46:34 -0400
  • Trump suggested the Kurds were releasing ISIS prisoners, but US officials say Turkish-backed forces are actually doing this

    Golocal247.com news

    Trump had no evidence to back up the suggestion the Kurds released ISIS detainees, and US officials said it was actually Turkish-backed forces.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 17:30:00 -0400
  • Mass raids target Russian opposition chief

    Golocal247.com news

    Russian investigators raided opposition offices across the country on Tuesday, in the latest move to increase pressure on top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his allies. The early morning raids targeted more than 100 offices and homes in 30 cities, the opposition said, including the headquarters of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) in Moscow. Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner who has emerged as President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic, denounced the raids as an attempt to intimidate the opposition after a summer of protests and significant losses suffered by Kremlin allies in local elections in September.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 06:10:08 -0400
  • Wildfires spread through parts of Lebanon, Syria

    Golocal247.com news

    Wildfires spread through parts of Lebanon on Tuesday after forcing some residents to flee their homes in the middle of the night, while others were stuck inside as the flames reached villages south of Beirut, authorities said. There were no reports of fatalities from the fires — among the worst to hit Lebanon in years. Fire crews were overwhelmed by the flames in the Mount Lebanon region early Tuesday, forcing the Interior Ministry to send riot police with engines equipped with water cannons to help.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:25:17 -0400
  • We found 85,000 cops who’ve been investigated for misconduct. Now you can read their records.

    Golocal247.com news

    USA TODAY is leading a national effort to obtain and publish disciplinary and misconduct records for thousands of police officers.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 20:25:41 -0400
  • British paedophile who operated in Malaysia, Cambodia found dead in prison

    Golocal247.com news

    One of Britain's most prolific child sex offenders, Richard Huckle, has died three years into a life sentence for abusing Malaysian and Cambodian children, Britain's Ministry of Justice said on Monday, with media saying he had been stabbed to death. Huckle, 33, who abused children and babies during a nine year period, was sentenced to life in prison in 2016 after pleading guilty to 71 offences. Dubbed the country's worst paedophile by Britain's media, he was found stabbed to death in prison on Sunday after being attacked with a makeshift knife, the BBC reported.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 08:29:41 -0400
  • Iran's Mad Max Navy Could Give Donald Trump a Giant Headache in a War

    Golocal247.com news

    It might not look like much but it can kill.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 22:00:00 -0400
  • Court Ruling Extends Vote Protest of Philippine Marcos’ Son

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    (Bloomberg) -- The Philippines’ top court on Tuesday decided to release the initial results of the vice-presidential vote recount, which the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ son said will delay his chance to assume the post.Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he is “frustrated” by the court’s decision not to resolve his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo victory in the 2016 polls. Robredo is already halfway through her six-year term.The court instead decided to make public the result of the recount covering three provinces that will serve as basis for any further action on Marcos’ challenge. It also asked the two camps to comment on Marcos’ plea to nullify votes in three other provinces due to supposed irregularities in the 2016 elections.“The proper vice president -- myself -- is being robbed of years of service,” Marcos said in a televised interview. President Rodrigo Duterte, who has faced questions on his health, has repeatedly said Marcos is his preferred successor if he had to leave office before his single term expires in 2022.Robredo, leader of the opposition party, said she welcomes the court decision, as she urged the court to already junk Marcos’ protest. “The mere fact that this has been dragging on for so long only provides Marcos a platform for his lies,” she said in a separate televised briefing.(Updates with comments from Marcos and Robredo from fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Andreo Calonzo in Manila at acalonzo1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecilia Yap at cyap19@bloomberg.net, Muneeza NaqviFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 05:50:20 -0400
  • Google Maps Banned on Sardinia? Mayor Wants Service Blocked After Putting Tourists in Danger

    Golocal247.com news

    GettyROME–Salvatore Corrias, the mayor of the Sardinian hamlet of Baunei, is fed up. Emergency services in his island town have been called out 144 times over the last 18 months to rescue tourists who nearly followed Google map directions to their deaths. The last straw was last week when the owners of a Porsche were trying to reach a secluded white sand beach but ended up being directed to a steep cliff several hundred feet above it. “There was no way down to the beach on foot for them,” Corrias told The Daily Beast. “There wasn’t even a way to turn their expensive car around. But even worse, if they had followed the directions at night, Google would have sent them right off the cliff.”In the end, Baunei first responders had to turn the car around by physically lifting it up and pointing it back down the mountain range after rescuers reached them on foot (knowing they could not actually drive on the road they were called to). Now Corrias has put up signage all over the island to warn visitors “no Google maps.” The rescues are depleting the tiny town’s coffers so Corrias has filed a complaint to the ministry that oversees internet matters to try to block the Google Map signal on the island. “We wrote to Google hundreds of times, so we have no choice but to file a legal complaint to block it,” he says. In the meantime, he’s asked managers of hotels, museums, and restaurants on the island to warn tourists in cars and hikers exploring the island on foot not to rely on the popular service, urging them to use paper maps instead.Baunei is not the only town that has a problem thanks to bad directions by GPS navigation services. Several hamlets in the Alps have also signed petitions to try to block the signals because of the number of skiers trying to reach remote mountain areas who end up on service roads traversable only with heavy equipment. Last year alone, four parties had to be airlifted out of remote areas they reached entirely by bad directions. Google Maps also notoriously sends drivers into Venice despite the fact that the city is car-free.Comune di BauneiIt should be noted that Google is not the only provider with a GPS app that leads people astray. Waze, which is widely used in Europe, bills itself as a real-time traffic-beating app, but there have been plenty of complaints that the app sends people to road construction sites, which is why they seem like less congested routes. Near-death by GPS is not just about sending drivers off cliffs or into rivers. In 2016, 52-year-old Italian tourist Roberto Bardella died in Brazil when he and a friend were on motorcycles touring the city. They followed Google Map directions to the beach from the Christ the Redeemer statue, which sent them into the dangerous Rio de Janeiro favela of Morro dos Prazeres where they were accosted and killed. Bardella was wearing a helmet cam, which the thugs thought was a police camera, authorities said at a time. Had they asked directions to a real person, they would have never been sent through the dangerous area. Google does know it has a problem. When asked for a comment, Google public affairs sent a blanket statement that has been printed widely since the news of the ban broke. “We’re aware of an issue in Sardinia where Google Maps is routing some drivers down roads that can be difficult to navigate due to their terrain,” the statement reads. “We’re currently investigating ways that we can better alert drivers about these types of roads.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 13:31:49 -0400
  • States are cutting university budgets. Taxpayers aren't interested in funding campus kooks

    Golocal247.com news

    University campuses have abandoned their central mission in their pursuit of utopia. The American public has had enough.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:22:08 -0400
  • Trump-Ukraine: John Bolton 'sounded alarm about Rudy Giuliani's actions'

    Golocal247.com news

    * Fiona Hill testifies that Bolton called Giuliani a ‘hand grenade’ * Hill says Bolton likened lawyer’s operation to a ‘drug deal’ * Trump renews call for whistleblower to be unmasked - as it happenedFormer national security adviser John Bolton described Rudy Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine as a ‘drug deal’. Photograph: Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty ImagesThe former US national security adviser, John Bolton, was reportedly so alarmed at a back-channel effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate Donald Trump’s political rivals that he told a senior aide to report it to White House lawyers.The revelation of Bolton’s involvement in the effort to block a shadow foreign policy aimed at Trump’s political benefit emerged from congressional testimony given by his former aide, Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert in the White House.Hill, the British-born former senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council, spoke to three House committees for 10 hours.According to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Hill described a sharp exchange on 10 July between Bolton and the US ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, about the role played by Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to persuade the Ukrainian government to open investigations into Democrats, including former vice president Joe Biden.Hill said Bolton instructed her to tell the National Security Council’s attorney that Giuliani was acting in concert with White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, in a rogue operation with legal implications.“I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton instructed Hill to tell the NSC lawyer, according to her testimony.She said that Bolton had told her on an earlier occasion: “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”Hill also testified on Monday morning before three congressional committees about Trump’s decision, taken despite strenuous objections from aides including herself, to recall the US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.The Washington Post reported that she had confronted Sondland over the Giuliani’s activities, which were not coordinated with officials charged with carrying out US foreign policy. Sondland is due to give his version of events on Thursday.According to Fox News, Hill told congressional investigators that she and other officials went to the national security council lawyer with their concerns that the White House was seeking to prompt Ukraine to open investigations into Trump’s rivals.Hill’s lawyer had earlier rejected arguments from the president’s attorneys that her testimony on Ukraine was covered by executive privilege.Former White House adviser on Russia Fiona Hill leaves Capitol Hill after testifying before congressional lawmakers. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/APIn a letter to the White House, the lawyer, Lee Wolosky, said much of the material was already in the public domain and that “deliberative process privilege “disappears altogether when there is any reason to believe government misconduct occurred.”The week could deteriorate rapidly for Trump, whose effort to rally defenders in his own party has been damaged by concerns about a growing disaster in northern Syria, following Trump’s abrupt pullback there, and a sense that major secrets attached to the Ukraine scandal are yet to come out.Sondland’s testimony on Thursday comes after a previous attempt by the hotelier-turned-diplomat to testify was blocked by the state department, as part of a blanket White House defiance of the impeachment inquiry. Congress is also due this week to receive relevant documents from an array of the most powerful figures in the administration, including the vice-president, the defense secretary and the White House chief of staff.Out of the flow of new information, congressional investigators hope to fill in the picture of the Trump administration’s dealings in Ukraine, and answer the question of whether Trump’s conduct rises to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” cited in the constitution as grounds for impeachment.The impeachment inquiry was sparked by a whistleblower complaint filed in August that in part described a 25 July phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump requested the “favor” of an investigation into a potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden.Trump and Republicans have repeated unproven allegations of corruption against Hunter Biden, the former vice-president’s son who was on the board of a gas company in the eastern European country while his father was involved in international efforts to curb corruption in its government.The stark nature of Trump’s request to Zelenskiy has boosted support for Trump’s impeachment, according to polling averages.The administration has struggled to find a message to rebut the perception of its own corruption, with the president, at times seemingly alone in his own defense, lashing out on Twitter against Democrats, the whistleblower, the media, Biden and more.Hill’s testimony could significantly add to allegations of wrongdoing by Trump and Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor commonly described as the president’s personal lawyer, who headed up the president’s personal agenda in Ukraine while working on behalf of local clients of his own. Trump and Giuliani have denied wrongdoing.A good deal of Hill’s testimony focused on Yovanovitch, a widely respected diplomat who worked under six presidents and who defied the state department gag order to testify herself last Friday.Yovanovitch said she had been the target of a smear campaign inside the administration fueled by Giuliani.“I do not know Mr Giuliani’s motives for attacking me,” Yovanovitch said in an opening statement released to the press. “But individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”Two Giuliani business associates from the former Soviet Union, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested at a Washington DC-area airport last week on suspected campaign finance violations regarding a large check they wrote to a political committee supporting Trump and donations to at least one Republican congressman, Pete Sessions of Texas.On Monday, Giuliani told Reuters he was paid $500,000 for work he did for a company co-founded by Parnas. Giuliani said he was hired to consult and provide legal advice to company Fraud Guarantee’s technologies.After a May 2018 meeting between Parnas and Sessions, Sessions sent a letter to the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, urging Yovanovitch’s dismissal because she had “spoken privately and repeatedly about her disdain for the current administration’”.Yovanovitch denied the charge but she was dismissed nevertheless, in a move potentially driven by Ukrainians elements she was ostensibly charged with confronting and helping to dismantle.It was also reported last week that Giuliani himself is the subject of an investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 23:56:00 -0400
  • Turkey slams 'dirty deal' between Syria's Assad and Kurdish forces

    Golocal247.com news

    Turkey dismissed global opposition to its military operation in Syria on Tuesday and slammed a "dirty deal" between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and Kurdish forces as US troops began their withdrawal from the battle zone. Turkey's operation against Kurdish militants in Syria, launched a week ago, has been widely criticised by the international community, with the US, a NATO ally, slapping sanctions on Ankara. "We will continue to combat all terrorist groups, including Daesh (the Islamic State group), whether or not the world agrees to support our efforts," Fahrettin Altun, communications director at the Turkish presidency, told AFP.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:01:14 -0400
  • The Latest: 2nd crane in danger of collapse

    Golocal247.com news

    The second of two cranes towering over the site where a New Orleans hotel construction project partially collapsed two days ago is now considered in danger of toppling. Two other workers are known dead at the project site, which sits on the edge of the historic French Quarter. The coroner's office in New Orleans has identified one of two workers known to have died when a hotel under construction partially collapsed.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 18:09:54 -0400
  • A 75-year-old cruise ship passenger jumped overboard a Carnival-owned ship between Portugal and Spain (CCL)

    Golocal247.com news

    A Costa Cruises representative said the woman "voluntarily" jumped from the balcony in her cabin on the Costa Pacifica ship.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:14:47 -0400
  • Woman will spend 60 years in prison for first-degree murder of boyfriend

    Golocal247.com news

    A woman who poured gasoline on the couch where her sleeping boyfriend lay and then shut the door after seeing him jump up and yell "hot, hot" will spend 60 years in prison for first-degree murder.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 09:46:41 -0400
  • Hundreds of police officers have been labeled liars. Some still help send people to prison.

    Golocal247.com news

    Across the USA, prosecutors aren't tracking officer misconduct, skirting Supreme Court "Brady" rules and sometimes leading to wrongful convictions.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 08:26:43 -0400
  • View 2021 Genesis GV70 Spy Photos

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    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 12:28:00 -0400
  • Russian reporters receive threats after investigating secret military group -editor

    A group of Russian journalists who investigated the activities of a secretive group of Russian mercenaries in Africa and the Middle East have been subject to a campaign of physical threats and harassment, their editor-in-chief said. Around the same time, Roman Badanin, its editor-in-chief, said his journalists began to get emailed threats promising physical retribution for their work. Badanin said he could not prove who was behind the harassment campaign, which he said peaked last month when Proekt ran an investigation into Wagner's alleged activities in Libya.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 10:44:19 -0400
  • Trump's Botched Attempt to Hire Gowdy

    Golocal247.com news

    For 24 hours last week, Trey Gowdy, the former South Carolina congressman best known for leading congressional investigations of Hillary Clinton, was the new face of President Donald Trump's outside legal defense and a symbol of a streamlined effort to respond to a fast-moving impeachment inquiry.A day later, the arrangement fell apart, with lobbying rules prohibiting Gowdy from starting until January, possibly after the inquiry is over. Now, according to two people familiar with events, Gowdy is never expected to join the team. And Trump advisers are back to square one, searching for a different lawyer.How a celebrated announcement quickly ended in disarray offers a rare public glimpse into the internal posturing -- and undercutting of colleagues -- that has been playing out in the West Wing on a daily basis since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry last month. Even as the White House confronts a deepening threat to Trump's presidency, it has struggled to decide how to respond, and who should lead that response.This article is based on interviews with a half-dozen aides and other people close to Trump.The official story, circulated by senior administration aides to a handful of reporters, was that Gowdy, who retired from Congress last year, had agreed to reenter the fray Tuesday. Gowdy's name began circulating on Twitter as the new Trump defender, prompting a number of aides to the president to claim credit privately for the idea of bringing him on board.But by Wednesday evening, aides were distancing themselves from the bungled personnel maneuver, which was made public before all the usual procedural boxes had been checked. Several pointed fingers at Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, suggesting he had botched the rollout.For weeks, aides had been pushing Trump to add another lawyer to the outside team, and Mulvaney had suggested Gowdy, a former prosecutor. Trump needed another voice on television defending him, and Mulvaney wanted someone who understood how Congress works.Some White House officials checked whether Emmet T. Flood, the lawyer who oversaw the administration's response to the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, would get involved. He was not available.As Mulvaney pushed for Gowdy, a former House colleague and fellow South Carolinian, he swatted away questions from several aides about whether Gowdy would be curtailed in his role by lobbying regulations. Both men assured people that there would be no problem, according to the people briefed on what took place.Not everyone was on board with the idea. Among those generally concerned about someone working specifically on impeachment outside the White House Counsel's Office was the White House counsel himself, Pat Cipollone, according to three people involved in the discussions. Mulvaney and Cipollone have repeatedly been at odds since the impeachment inquiry began, with one disagreement about hiring an additional lawyer taking place in front of Trump, according to a person familiar with the discussion.Trump told the two aides to work it out on their own. A person close to Cipollone denied that there was concern about bringing aboard another outside lawyer.Before Gowdy could be added, however, Trump needed to meet with him. So the two sat down for lunch at the White House on Tuesday; Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, joined them for part of the meal.It went pleasantly enough, people briefed on what took place said, despite Trump's skepticism of Gowdy, who has often tried to distance himself from the president. But by late in the day, Trump signed off on hiring Gowdy. Still, there were procedural issues to be dealt with before he could formally be announced, and some advisers to the president wanted to wait to make the move public. Those advisers were stunned to see the news emerge from the White House on Tuesday night.But for Mulvaney -- who has never been fully empowered in the Trump administration, with "acting" always part of his title -- it was a rare internal victory. And the announcement that a well-known fighter like Gowdy was joining the team hinted that the Trump operation was finally organizing around an impeachment strategy.On Wednesday, Trump's personal lawyers worked on a letter for Gowdy to sign to cement their agreement. Around 8 p.m. they released a statement announcing that Gowdy was formally on board."Trey's command of the law is well known, and his service on Capitol Hill will be a great asset as a member of our team," Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow said in the statement.But within 30 minutes of that statement's going public, Gowdy alerted Trump's lawyers to a problem. His law firm, Nelson Mullins, had concerns that his work would involve lobbying activity. There was a discussion about whether Nelson Mullins could still be used, but a Trump adviser said that decision had been put off until January, when Gowdy's lobbying ban concludes."Trey Gowdy is a terrific guy," Trump told reporters on Thursday, on his way to a campaign rally in Minneapolis, breaking the news himself. "He can't start for another couple of months because of lobbying rules and regulations. So you'll have to ask about that."In the meantime, Trump's team is searching, again, for help.Without Gowdy, who lost his paid contributorship at Fox News after the announcement, and with another of Trump's lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, sidelined from appearing on television for the moment as he is drawn increasingly into the Ukraine matter at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, the president's team remains outgunned in the fight for public opinion.Even Trump -- who for the most part has been operating as a one-man war room, setting the tone of grievance from the top -- appears confused about which of his staff members is in charge.The president, at one point, asked Mulvaney who was leading the effort. Mulvaney, who often invokes Kushner's name around Trump to show that he has a good relationship with the family, passed the buck to Kushner.Kushner, who aides said had been spending many hours on impeachment as part of his broader portfolio of defending the president, has told some people he is running the inquiry response and played down that idea with others.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 09:36:41 -0400
  • China inflation surges as pork prices soar

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    China's consumer inflation accelerated at its fastest pace in almost six years in September as African swine fever sent pork prices soaring nearly 70 percent, official data showed Tuesday. Authorities have gone as far as tapping the nation's pork reserve to control prices of the staple meat, as the swine fever crisis could become a political and economic liability for the state. The consumer price index (CPI) -- a key gauge of retail inflation -- hit 3.0 percent last month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said, up from 2.8 percent in August and the highest since since November 2013.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 00:48:29 -0400
  • Flooded bullet trains show Japan's risks from disasters

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    The typhoon that ravaged Japan last week hit with unusual speed and ferocity, leaving homes buried in mud and people stranded on rooftops. Japan's technological prowess and meticulous attention to detail are sometimes no match for rising risks in a precarious era of climate change. "Weather conditions in Japan up to now have been relatively moderate," said Toshitaka Katada, a disaster expert and professor at the University of Tokyo.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 03:20:31 -0400
  • Climate change researchers recommend banning all frequent flyer reward programs to cut carbon emissions by targeting jet-setters

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    A report commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change says that just 15% of the entire British population take 70% of all flights from the country.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 07:20:55 -0400
  • Hong Kong Protesters Rage Against Corporate China's Growing Control

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    (Bloomberg) -- The black-clad protesters pushing back against China’s influence in Hong Kong aren’t just focusing on Carrie Lam and the police. They’re also targeting mainland-based brands such as Bank of China Ltd., China Mobile Ltd. and Huawei Technologies Co. with fire bombs, metal bars and spray paint.A walk down the primary route used by Hong Kong’s anti-government marchers shows how big a chunk of the city China owns. Mainland-affiliated supermarkets, drugstores, hotels, Pacific Coffee stores and McDonald’s outlets -- both franchises are operated by state-owned firms -- pepper the vicinity of skyscraper-lined Hennessy Road, the downtown artery connecting the Causeway Bay shopping district with government headquarters in Admiralty. Some of the businesses also occupy property owned by Chinese developers.These perceived outposts of President Xi Jinping’s government expanded their operations after the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, adding heft to Beijing’s political goal of integrating the semi-autonomous territory with the motherland. Their deepening presence stokes fears among protesters that Hong Kong soon will become just another Chinese city, deprived of the autonomy former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping guaranteed until 2047.“Mainland Chinese companies are forming a group of entities which can be both economically and politically influential,” said Heidi Wang-Kaeding, who’s done research on mainland investment in Hong Kong and now teaches international relations at Keele University in Staffordshire, England. “That’s why this is shaking the local interest very much.”Hong Kong police said Monday a radio-controlled improvised explosive device was detonated near a police car on Sunday evening, the first time the use of such a device has been reported during months of unrest.The use of explosives marks a significant escalation in pro-democracy protests that started out peacefully in June, with hundreds of thousands of residents marching in the streets in opposition to a bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.In recent weeks, protesters have set fires near police stations, hurled makeshift petrol bombs at riot police, and bashed in glass kiosks at train stations and storefronts tied to mainland Chinese businesses.As Chinese Communist Party leaders focus on solidifying control over the rebellious city, companies taking direction from the state likely will play an even bigger role in Hong Kong’s $363 billion economy. The city is sinking into a recession amid the riots, and Lam, the chief executive, may propose remedies during her annual policy address on Wednesday.In the past decade, the total amount of loans given by the Hong Kong-based unit of state-owned Bank of China in the special administrative region has more than doubled to $175 billion, and so have deposits to $257 billion.China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier by subscribers, is among the four operators in the city, having cemented its position since buying a local provider more than a decade ago to gain entry into the market.Mainland-based developers such as Poly Property Group Co. and China Overseas Land and Investment Ltd. successfully bid for 11% of the land for sale last year in the world’s most-expensive real estate market, compared with about 5% in 2013. They bought almost 60% of residential land sold by the local government in the first six months of this year.In one high-profile deal, state-owned Poly Property and China Resources Land Ltd. successfully bid HK$12.9 billion ($1.6 billion) in June for a 9,500-square-meter parcel at Kai Tak, the former airport in the Kowloon district.Beijing-based Citic Ltd., a state-owned conglomerate, is part of a consortium that runs McDonald’s outlets in the city, and unit Dah Chong Hong Holdings operates car dealerships and Food Mart stores.With forays into retail, telecommunications and property development, mainland-based companies are also altering the city’s traditional business landscape. Homegrown tycoons such as Li Ka-shing and Lee Shau Kee, who built their empires by forging close ties with authorities in Beijing, may see that influence erode. Li, for instance, saw the writing on the wall some time ago and has been steadily reducing exposure to his home base.Over time, the economic balance of power will tilt more in favor of state enterprises and away from the local billionaires, said Michael Tien, a pro-Beijing member of Hong Kong’s legislature and a deputy to China’s National People’s Congress.“It will be very difficult for Hong Kong Chinese companies to fight mainland Chinese companies,” he said. “They are capital-rich and powerful.”But it isn’t just state-owned companies that are building a bigger presence in Hong Kong. In 2015, billionaire Jack Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. agreed to buy the South China Morning Post newspaper and related assets for HK$2.06 billion. Prominent Chinese smart-phone makers such as Huawei, Lenovo, Xiaomi and electronics retailer Suning have retail stores in the city.Mainland-based companies with consumer-facing businesses have been particular targets in the latest phase of the four-month-long protests, which were sparked by opposition to a proposed law allowing extraditions to China.Bank of China branches and ATMs have been firebombed and vandalized, including this past weekend and on the Oct. 1 anniversary of Communist Party rule in the mainland. Huawei and Lenovo stores also were ransacked during the weekend at a mall in suburban Sha Tin.At least two China Mobile stores were attacked Oct. 1 and 2, and a Xiaomi outlet had anti-China graffiti spray-painted on its walls. The local unit of China Construction Bank, which has more than 50 locations, suspended service at two branches because of protest-related damage, including smashed glass doors.At least one local-run business has lost its immunity. Maxim’s Caterers Ltd., which operates bakeries and some Starbucks outlets, is seeing stores vandalized after the founder’s daughter called the protests “riots” and supported the Hong Kong government in comments at the U.N. Human Rights Council last month.Maxim’s tried to distance itself from the comments and a spokeswoman said the group has never taken any political stance. Representatives for China Resources, Citic, the local units of Bank of China and China Construction Bank didn’t respond to requests seeking comments, while a spokesperson for China Mobile said the carrier is focusing on resuming services at the damaged stores.“Anything with a star on it is vulnerable,” Gavin Greenwood, an analyst with A2 Global Risk, a Hong Kong-based political-risk consultancy, said of mainland-affiliated businesses. He was referring to the Chinese flag.“They are extremely soft targets.”(Updates with report on radio-controlled explosive from fifth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Chloe Whiteaker, Demetrios Pogkas and Alfred Liu.To contact the reporters on this story: Bruce Einhorn in Hong Kong at beinhorn1@bloomberg.net;Shirley Zhao in Hong Kong at xzhao306@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Emma O'Brien at eobrien6@bloomberg.net, Sam Nagarajan, Michael TigheFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 06:57:15 -0400
  • 'Gaetz-crasher': Here's why a Republican lawmaker was barred from Fiona Hill testimony

    Golocal247.com news

    When Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz tried to attend an impeachment inquiry deposition Monday morning at the U.S. Capitol, he ran smack into the often arcane and confusing rules of Congress.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 19:05:56 -0400
  • When Cops Create Their Own Risk, Innocent People Die for Their Mistakes

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    The video is puzzling and shocking. After receiving a call to a non-emergency number requesting that police check on a neighbor’s house that had its doors open and its lights on, police approach silently. They look into an open door and into a brightly lit room, but they don’t say anything. They then creep around the house, moving from light to dark. They use a flashlight. They keep moving around the edges of the house.Suddenly, in a mere moment, one of them spots movement in a window. The officer yells for the shadowy figure to put up her hands and then immediately fires a shot. Atatiana Jefferson was dead. She was 28 years old. According to her family’s lawyer, she was playing video games with her young nephew when they heard “rustling” outside and “saw flashlights.” There was a gun in the house, but there’s no indication (yet) that she was holding it in her hand.But what if she was? Does a homeowner not have a right to investigate someone lurking on her property? Can she not arm herself at 2:30 a.m. when she hears a strange sound in the darkness?I’ve been looking closely at the police-shooting issue for many years, and I’m noticing a trend in many of the worst and most controversial shootings. The police make mistakes that heighten their own sense of danger, and then they “resolve” their own error by opening fire.The examples are easy to find. The worst and most recent is that of Dallas officer Amber Guyger, who made the dreadful mistake of entering the wrong house and then immediately dealt with the perceived “threat” by shooting the innocent man inside.But Guyger is hardly the only offender. Who can forget the terrible shooting of Philando Castile, gunned down as he tried to comply with conflicting commands from an obviously panicked officer — the officer told Castile to hand over his license and proof of insurance, but also to not reach for his gun. He shot Castile to death even as Castile was calmly telling him that he wasn’t reaching for his gun.Then there’s the extraordinarily gut-wrenching video of a cop killing Daniel Shaver as he sobbed and begged for his life. The officer’s instructions were utterly incomprehensible. He told Shaver to not put his hands down for any reason. He also told him to crawl down the hall..No one should forget Andrew Scott. Police seeking a suspect showed up at the wrong house (without a warrant), did not turn on their lights, did not identify themselves as police, and pounded violently on the door late at night. When Scott answered his own door with a firearm in his hand, he was instantly shot dead.It wasn’t until the tragic death of Willie McCoy that the trend truly became obvious. McCoy was sleeping in his car, blocking a drive-through window, with a gun in his lap. When he began to move, cops clustered around his car started screaming at him so loudly that the transcript of the video has to explain that the shouts weren’t gunshots. Then, within three seconds, the officers riddled him with bullets. They startled him awake, and then killed him.In response, I wrote this:> When we evaluate police shootings, we wrongly tend to limit our analysis to the very instant of the shooting itself. The question of a cop’s reasonable fear at that instant is allowed to trump all other concerns, and becomes the deciding factor at trial. I would argue, however, that officers act unreasonably when they don’t give a citizen a reasonable chance to live — and giving a citizen a reasonable chance to live involves properly handling the situation so no weapon need be fired.Would Atatiana Jefferson still be alive if the cops had parked in front of her house and clearly identified themselves by shouting into the open door? Would they still be alive had they not lurked around a person’s home without permission -- exactly like a person who was trespassing, perhaps with malign intent?There is absolutely no question that police have a difficult job. There is no question that even routine encounters and wellness checks can — on rare occasions — escalate to deadly violence. But there is also no question that time and again police have enhanced the risk to the public through their own mistakes. Poor tactics can yield terrible results, and police should not be able to use the “split-second decision” defense when they created the crisis.There is no greater violation of liberty than the loss of your own life in your own home at the hands of misguided, panicky, or poorly trained agents of the state. Absent compelling evidence not yet revealed to the public, it appears that the man who killed Atatiana Jefferson committed a criminal act. He deserves to face criminal justice.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 16:21:55 -0400
  • Meet the Massive Ordnance Penetrator: The Air Force's Newest Bunker Buster Bomb

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    Huge and very powerful.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 22:00:00 -0400
  • 'Do the right thing,' family of UK teen killed in crash tells U.S. diplomat's wife

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    Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn spoke to media in New York during a visit intended put pressure on the Trump administration to have Anne Sacoolas to be sent back to face British investigators. Harry Dunn, 19, died after a car driven by Sacoolas crashed into his motorbike near RAF Croughton, an air force base in Northamptonshire in central England used by the U.S. military. Vehicles drive on the left in the United Kingdom, and the American woman was driving on the wrong side of the road when the accident happened, Dunn's family said.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 13:19:02 -0400
  • Syrian government forces regain control of towns along northern border

    Moving up from the south, Syrian government troops seized several towns in the northeastern part of the country on Monday, one day after reaching an agreement with the Kurdish-led militia that has held control of the area for several years.The Kurds and Syria reached the deal after President Trump pulled back U.S. troops from the border, giving Turkey the opportunity to invade Syria and launch an assault on the Kurds. The Kurds and United States worked together to fight the Islamic State in Syria, and the Kurds took control over territory lost by ISIS. After the U.S. retreat, the Kurds turned to the Syrian government for added protection against Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers the Kurds terrorists.Syrian government forces were able to take control of multiple towns from the Kurds, including Taqba, which has a hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates. Kurdish fighters spent Monday battling Turkish troops and allied Syrian militias in the border towns of Ras al Ain and Tal Abyad. The recent developments are viewed as victories for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who counts Russia and Iran as his allies.Complicating matters is the fact that the U.S. has about 50 tactical nuclear weapons stored at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, 250 miles from the Syrian border. Two U.S. officials told The New York Times that over the weekend, State and Energy Department employees were reviewing plans for getting the weapons out of Turkey. They are "essentially Erdogan's hostages," the Times says, and moving them from Turkey would basically end the alliance between the United States and Turkey. Leaving them is just as problematic, as it puts the weapons and U.S. in a vulnerable position. Read more at The New York Times.

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 00:33:00 -0400
  • Pullback Leaves Green Berets Feeling 'Ashamed,' and Kurdish Allies Describing 'Betrayal'

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    WASHINGTON -- U.S. commandos were working alongside Kurdish forces at an outpost in eastern Syria last year when they were attacked by columns of Syrian government tanks and hundreds of troops, including Russian mercenaries. In the next hours, the Americans threw the Pentagon's arsenal at them, including B-52 strategic bombers. The attack was stopped.That operation, in the middle of the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria, showed the extent to which the U.S. military was willing to protect the Syrian Kurds, its main ally on the ground.But now, with the White House revoking protection for these Kurdish fighters, some of the Special Forces officers who battled alongside the Kurds say they feel deep remorse at orders to abandon their allies."They trusted us and we broke that trust," one Army officer who has worked alongside the Kurds in northern Syria said last week in a telephone interview. "It's a stain on the American conscience.""I'm ashamed," said another officer who had also served in northern Syria. Both officers spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals from their chains of command.And the response from the Kurds themselves was just as stark. "The worst thing in military logic and comrades in the trench is betrayal," said Shervan Darwish, an official allied with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.The next flurry of orders from Washington, as some troops had feared, will pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria altogether. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Sunday that President Donald Trump had ordered the roughly 1,000 U.S. troops in the country's northeast to conduct a "deliberate withdrawal" out of the country in the coming days and weeks.The defense secretary's statement came after comments Friday pushing back on complaints that the United States was betraying allies in Syria -- "We have not abandoned the Kurds" -- even as he acknowledged that his Turkish counterpart had ignored his plea to stop the offensive.Army Special Forces soldiers -- mostly members of the 3rd Special Forces Group -- moved last week to consolidate their positions in the confines of their outposts miles away from the Syrian border, a quiet withdrawal that all but confirmed the United States' capitulation to the Turkish military's offensive to clear Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.But as the Americans pulled back, the Kurds moved north to try to reinforce their comrades fighting the offensive. The U.S. soldiers could only watch from their sandbag-lined walls. Orders from Washington were simple: Hands off. Let the Kurds fight for themselves.The orders contradicted the U.S. military's strategy in Syria over the last four years, especially when it came to the Kurdish fighters, known as the YPG, who were integral to routing the Islamic State group from northeastern Syria. The Kurds had fought in Manbij, Raqqa and deep into the Euphrates River Valley, hunting the last Islamic State fighters in the group's now defunct physical caliphate. But the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, as the Kurdish and their allied Arab fighters on the ground are called, are being left behind.U.S. Special Forces and other troops had built close ties with their Kurdish allies, living on the same dusty compounds, sharing meals and common dangers. They fought side by side, and helped evacuate Kurdish dead and wounded from the battlefield."When they mourn, we mourn with them," Gen. Joseph L. Votel, a former head of the military's Central Command, said Thursday at the Middle East Institute.The Kurdish forces and U.S. military have survived previous strains, including Trump's sudden decision in December to withdraw all U.S. troops from northern Syria, a decision that was later walked back somewhat.This time may be different, and irreversible. "It would seem at this particular point, we've made it very, very hard for them to have a partnership relationship with us because of this recent policy decision," Votel said.As part of security measures the United States brokered to tamp down tensions with Turkish troops, Kurdish forces agreed to pull back from the border, destroy fortifications and return some heavy weapons -- steps meant to show that they posed no threat to Turkish territory, but that later made them more vulnerable when Turkey launched its offensive.Special Forces officers described another recent operation with Kurds that underscored the tenacity of the group. The Americans and the Kurdish troops were searching for a low-level Islamic State leader in northern Syria. It was a difficult mission and unlikely they would find the commander.From his operations center, one U.S. officer watched the Kurds work alongside the Americans on the ground in an almost indistinguishable symmetry. They captured the Islamic State fighter."The SDF's elite counterterrorism units are hardened veterans of the war against ISIS whom the U.S. has seen in action and trust completely," said Nicholas A. Heras, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, who visited the SDF in July to advise them on the Islamic State group, or ISIS.During the battle against ISIS, coordination between the U.S. military and the Syrian Democratic Forces has extended from the highest levels to rank-and-file fighters, according to multiple interviews with SDF fighters and commanders in Syria over the course of the campaign.SDF commanders worked side by side with U.S. military officers in a joint command center in a defunct cement factory near the northern Syrian town of Kobani, where they discussed strategy and planned future operations.The battle of Kobani that began in 2014 gave birth to the United States' ties to the Kurds in northeastern Syria. ISIS fighters, armed with heavy American-made artillery captured from retreating Iraqi army units, surrounded Kobani, a Kurdish city, and entered parts of it.Despite the Obama administration's initial reluctance to offer help, the United States carried out airstrikes against advancing ISIS militants, and its military aircraft dropped ammunition, small arms and medical supplies to replenish the Kurdish combatants.That aid helped turn the tide, the Kurds defeated ISIS, and U.S. commanders realized they had discovered a valuable ally in the fight against the terrorist group.Thousands of SDF fighters received training from the United States in battlefield tactics, reconnaissance and first aid. Reconnaissance teams learned to identify Islamic State locations and transmit them to the command center for the U.S.-led military coalition to plan airstrikes.Visitors to front-line SDF positions often saw Syrian officers with iPads and laptops they used to communicate information to their U.S. colleagues."For the last two years, the coordination was pretty deep," said Mutlu Civiroglu, a Washington-based Kurdish affairs analyst who has spent time in northeastern Syria. "The mutual trust was very high, the mutual confidence, because this collaboration brought enormous results.""They completed each other," he said of the SDF and U.S.-led coalition. "The coalition didn't have boots on the ground, and fighters didn't have air support, so they needed each other."That coordination was critical in many of the big battles against the Islamic State group.To open the battle in one town, SDF fighters were deposited by coalition aircraft behind the Islamic State group's lines. At the start of another battle, U.S. Special Operations forces helped the SDF plot and execute an attack across the Euphrates River.Even after the Islamic State group had lost most of its territory, the United States trained counterterrorism units to do tactical raids on ISIS hideouts and provided them with intelligence needed to plan them.Even in territory far from the front lines with the Islamic State, SDF vehicles often drove before and after U.S. convoys through Syrian towns and SDF fighters provided perimeter security at facilities where U.S. personnel were based.The torturous part of America's on-again, off-again alliance with the Kurds -- one in which the United States has routinely armed the Kurds to fight various regimes it viewed as adversaries -- emerged in 1974, as the Kurds were rebelling against Iraq. Iran and the United States were allies, and the Shah of Iran and Henry Kissinger encouraged the Kurdish rebellion against the Iraqi government. CIA agents were sent to the Iraq-Iran border to help the Kurds.The Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani did not trust the Shah of Iran, but believed Kissinger when he said that the Kurds would receive help from the Americans.But a year later, the Shah of Iran made a deal with Saddam Hussein on the sidelines of an OPEC meeting: In return for some territorial adjustments along the Iran-Iraq border, the shah agreed to stop support for the Kurds.Kissinger signed off on the plan, the Iraqi military slaughtered thousands of Kurds and the United States stood by. When questioned, Kissinger delivered his now famous explanation: "Covert action," he said, "should not be confused with missionary work."In the fight against ISIS in Syria, Kurdish fighters followed their hard-fought triumph in Kobani by liberating other Kurdish towns. Then the Americans asked their newfound Kurdish allies to go into Arab areas, team up with local militias and reclaim those areas from the Islamic State group.The U.S. military implored the SDF to fight in the Arab areas, and so they advanced, seizing Raqqa and Deir el-Zour, winning but suffering large numbers of casualties.The American-Kurdish military alliance against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq "began with us helping them," said Peter W. Galbraith, the former U.S. diplomat who has for years also been a senior adviser to the Kurds in both Syria and Iraq. "But by the end, it was them helping us. They are the ones who recovered the territory that ISIS had taken."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 09:46:31 -0400
  • Sleep Soundly Outdoors by Saving on Klymit Sleeping Pads

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

    Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:26:00 -0400
  • Some states celebrate indigenous people instead of Columbus

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    A handful of states are celebrating their first Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday as part of a trend to move away from a day honoring Christopher Columbus. New Mexico, Vermont and Maine are among the latest to pass measures doing away with Columbus Day celebrations in deference to Native Americans. In all, around 10 states observe some version of Indigenous Peoples Day, along with more than 100 U.S. cities.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 20:04:04 -0400
  • Russia's submarines are getting harder to find, and the Navy is sending more people to keep an eye on them

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    Russian naval activity around Europe is a growing concern, and the US Navy is reactivating command units to help manage its own forces in the region.

    Mon, 14 Oct 2019 13:51:23 -0400
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