Illegitimi non carborundum

Can We Call It a Coup Now?
MIKE WHITNEYMAY 20, 2018 • 3,300 WORDS

This is not a Dems vs Republicans issue, at least, it shouldn’t be. It’s about the unelected cabal that operates behind the cloak of partisan politics to exert its stranglehold on political power. As comedian George Carlin said, “The parties exist to make you think you have a choice. But you have no choice. You have owners, and they own everything.” Russiagate was merely the paper-thin pretext this secretive group settled on to launch its attack on the candidate who was never supposed to win the election.

 

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Tuesday,   May 22, 2018

Trump meets with DOJ officials to expand probe into FBI informant President Trump on Monday met with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and asked the Justice Department to expand its investigation to “include any irregularities with the FBI’s or Justice Department’s tactics concerning the Trump campaign.” On Sunday, Trump initiated an inquiry into a report that an American academic working as an FBI informant met with several members of his 2016 campaign in the early days of the agency’s investigation into Russian election meddling. Trump demanded that the Justice Department look into whether Obama administration officials coordinated surveillance of his campaign for political reasons. Reports on the matter said there was no evidence the informant was embedded in the Trump campaign, as Trump suggested. Source: The Washington Post

Syrian government regains full control of Damascus for 1st time since 2011 The Syrian military said Monday that after fighting for a month, it has captured an area of southern Damascus from the Islamic State, and the capital is now, for the first time since the country’s civil war began in 2011, under full government control. They were able to take back the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk and the Hajar al-Aswad district, and will now focus on the territory held by rebels in southern Syria. A monitoring group said that 1,600 people, including hundreds of ISIS militants, left southern Damascus on Saturday and Sunday, and went toward the eastern desert after agreeing to a deal with the Syrian government. Source: The Associated Press

Monday,  May 21, 2018

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. will impose the “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran if it does not meet various demands, including ending its nuclear program and leaving the Syrian Civil War. (Reuters)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejects Pompeo’s demands, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif accuses the U.S. of repeating past mistakes. (Al Jazeera)

Sony agrees to a $2.3 billion deal where they will buy a controlling interest in EMI Music Publishing. The deal will mean that Sony would indirectly own 90% of the record label and its two million songs. (BBC)

Paraguay opens its embassy in Jerusalem, making Paraguay the third country, after the United States and Guatemala, to transfer its diplomatic mission in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (AP via Politico)

The U.S. Supreme Court votes 5–4 to allow companies to enforce contracts which bar employees from entering class action lawsuits. (The Washington Postvia Concord Monitor)

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Continue reading “Illegitimi non carborundum”

Can We Build a Brain?

Nova Wonders Can We Build A Brain?

 

Friday,  May 18, 2018

Senate confirms Gina Haspel as CIA director The Senate on Thursday voted 54-45 to confirm Gina Haspel as the director of the CIA. Haspel had faced fierce criticism for her involvement in previous CIA torture programs, including at a “black site” in Thailand in 2002. Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who was absent from the vote as he undergoes cancer treatment away from the Senate, had urged his colleagues to vote against Haspel, calling her previous actions “disqualifying.” During her testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Haspel had declined to say the CIA’s actions were “immoral,” but in a letter released earlier this week, she said that “the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken.” Haspel will be the first woman to lead the CIA. Source: C-SPAN, NBC News

Paul Manafort’s ex-son-in-law entered plea deal with federal prosecutors Jeffrey Yohai, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law and business partner, reached a secret plea deal with federal prosecutors earlier this year that requires him to cooperate in other state and federal investigations, according to several news organizations. One of Special Counsel Robert Muller’s two criminal indictments against Manafort charges him with bank fraud for allegedly instructing an unidentified son-in-law to pretend he was living in a Manhattan apartment that was being used as a rental property. Mueller’s team interviewed Yohai last June and reportedly remains interested in what he knows about Manafort. Manafort, who invested in failed real estate deals with Yohai in California and New York, has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Source: Reuters, Politico

Trump decries Russia investigation, accuses Democrats of spying President Trump on Thursday claimed to be the victim of “the greatest witch hunt in American history,” in the wake of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s report concluding that Russia sought to swing the 2016 election specifically for Trump. The investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia’s meddling began one year ago, and Trump marked the occasion by accusing Democrats of collusion instead. He also claimed that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign using an “embedded informant,” referring to a National Review report alleging such a plot. Trump exclaimed: “If so, this is bigger than Watergate!” Source: Twitter

Poisoned ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal released from the hospital Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was released from the hospital on Friday, more than two months after he and his daughter Yulia were found slumped over on a park bench in Salisbury, England, after being exposed to a Novichok nerve agent. Yulia Skripal was released from the hospital on April 9 and moved to a secure location. The U.S. and European allies blamed Russia for the poison attack and expelled diplomats and presumed intelligence agents. Sergei Skripal, 66, was a Russian military intelligence officer who Russia jailed for passing on secrets to Britain, then released in a 2010 spy swap. Source: BBC

 

 Thursday, May 17,  2018

North Korea cancels high-level talks with South Korea in protest of United States–South Korea joint military exercises. (Bloomberg)

North Korea warns that it might cancel talks with the United States if the U.S. keeps insisting that North Korea will “unilaterally” abandon its nuclear weapons program, similar to the disarmament of Libya. The White House says it is hopeful the planned summit will still happen. (The Washington Post)(Reuters)

White House unconcerned about North Korea’s threat to cancel Trump summit North Korean state media announced Wednesday that leader Kim Jong Un may reconsider meeting with President Trump in Singapore next month if the United States continues to demand that Pyongyang give up its nuclear weapons program. The nation would refuse to make a deal based on economic rewards from the U.S. in exchange for denuclearization, North Korea’s vice minister of foreign affairs said. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the Trump administration had “fully expected” North Korea to make such threats, and said Trump was still open to the meeting. When asked about the summit, Trump said, “We’ll see what happens,” noting that North Korea had not canceled the plans. Source: Reuters, The Guardian

Denmark announces the partial withdrawal of its special forces from Iraq following the collapse of ISIL in the country. (Channel News Asia)

The summit at Kīlauea erupts and sends a plume of ash and smoke 30,000 feet (9.1 km) into the air. (CNN) (BBC)

 

Voters in Burundi go to the polls for a referendum to amend the constitution to allow current President Pierre Nkurunziza to stay in office until 2034. (The Guardian)

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Kilauea

Tuesday,   May 8, 2018

Trump to unveil Iran nuclear deal decision; poll heavily favors keeping deal President Trump said Monday he will announce at 2 p.m. on Tuesday whether he is unilaterally pulling the U.S. out of a deal with Iran, China, Russia, and European allies that prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons at least through 2030, and Trump is widely expected to scrap the deal. Trump, a longterm critic of the 2015 deal, has until May 12 to decide whether to withdraw, which would put him at odds with all the other signatory nations. A CNN poll out Tuesday shows that to be an unpopular choice, with 63 percent of Americans preferring to stay in the deal and only 29 percent saying the U.S. should pull out.  Source: The New York Times, CNN

Jeff Sessions: Families entering U.S. illegally will be split up Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Monday that the Trump administration is splitting up all undocumented parents and children who cross the border together, with the parents immediately sent to detention centers and federal court. “If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law,” Sessions said during a law enforcement conference in Arizona. “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” The children will go to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and then either be placed with relatives in the United States or private shelters. Children and parents who seek asylum at the border will not be separated, administration officials said. Source: NBC News

Hawaii volcano eruption destroys at least 31 homes At least 31 houses and buildings have been destroyed by lava flowing from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, officials said Monday. The eruption started late Thursday afternoon, and scientists said that at one point lava was spewing more than 200 feet into the air. U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist Wendy Stovall said that new fissures have emerged in the Leilani Estates neighborhood, and that “there’s more magma in the system to be erupted. As long as that supply is there, the eruption will continue.” She also warned about toxic sulfur dioxide gas pouring from the fissures. More than 1,700 people have been evacuated from the area, and it’s unknown when they’ll be able to return to the neighborhood. Source: CBS News, Los Angeles Times

The United States Navy re-establishes the United States Second Fleet, which was disbanded in 2011, citing recent heightened tensions between NATO and Russia. (Reuters)

A Russian Sukhoi-30SM crashes after leaving an airbase in Khmeimim, Latakia, Syria. Both crew die. (The Guardian)

The head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ahmet Uzumcu says that up to 100 grams of liquid nerve agent were used in the chemical attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal – around half a cup of liquid, suggesting it was intended for use as a weapon and was not created for research purposes. (The Guardian)

Oliver North, a former Ronald Reagan aide and marine, becomes the new president of the National Rifle Association. (The Hill)

In official results, Hezbollah and allied parties win a slight majority of seats in Parliament. (Reuters)

NASA’s InSight Mars lander launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California. It is the first interplanetary mission launched from the West Coast of the United States. (CBS News)

Monday,  May 7, 2018

American superhero film Avengers: Infinity War becomes the fastest film to make US$1 billion worldwide, in just eleven days. (BGR)

Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition destroy the Presidential Palace in Sana’a, Yemen, with at least six killed and 30 injuries reported, coalition officials claim they had targeted high-ranking Houthi officials. (Yahoo! News)

Hamas has offered Israel a longterm ceasefire including prisoner exchanges, in return for reductions to the Gaza blockade, and infrastructural improvement. (The Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Latvian bank ABLV sues the European Central Bank in the Court of Justice of the European Union, saying the ECB triggered ABLV’s collapse. The bank failed following allegations by the United States that ABLV was laundering money on behalf of North Korea. (Reuters)

The United States Department of Defense says it has resumed accepting deliveries of F-35 warplanes from manufacturer Lockheed Martin after resolving a dispute over a production error which was leading to corrosion. (Reuters)

About 35 structures in Leilani Estates are destroyed during the Kīlauea eruption in Hawaii. (KFOR-TV)

The United States imposes sanctions on three Venezuelans and 20 drug entities for trafficking activity. (Yahoo! News)

Paraguay announces that it will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of May. Paraguay is the third country to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem after the United States and Guatemala. (Reuters)

Egyptian chief prosecutor Nabil Sadek refers 555 ISIL suspects suspected of 63 terror attacks to a military court, while the Giza Criminal Court in Cairo sentences nine terrorists to life imprisonment and two others to five years imprisonment each. (The Times of Israel)

The Knesset approves by 55 votes to 14 a bill designed to confiscate payments made by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists in Israel. (Arutz Sheva)

Finland says compensation payouts for wrongful convictions and imprisonments have quadrupled in ten years, with three million euros paid in 2017 versus 720,000 euros in 2007. (YLE)

Centrist opposition party Democratic Party merges with centre-right Party of Hope, forming the Democratic Party for the People. Members of both parties that disapproved of the merger choose to either join the Constitutional Democratic Party, become independents or remain in the Party of Hope. (The Asahi Shimbun)

Attorney General of New York Eric Schneiderman, whose office sued The Weinstein Company for sexual harassment and discrimination, resigns amid allegations of violence towards four women during his tenure as Attorney General. (NBC News)

Scientists discover that WASP-96b has an atmosphere that is free of clouds. (Phys.org)

 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

 Hamas releases videos showing dozens of Palestinians successfully breaching the fence and infiltrating Israel. (Israel National News)

 

French economy minister Bruno Le Maire says Air France may collapse over ongoing strike action and the state will not bail the firm out despite owning 14.3% of parent Air France-KLM. (BBC)

At Leilani Estates, 26 homes and 4 buildings were destroyed by Kīlauea, forcing 1700 people to leave their homes. (Reuters)

Malaysian authorities announce sixteen arrests connected to an international human trafficking ring. The arrests follow the seizure of modified tanker ship MV Etra in Malaysian waters on Tuesday with 127 Sri Lankan migrants on board being smuggled to New Zealand and Australia. The arrests include seven people captured aboard a fishing vessel used to transfer migrants onto MV Etra(The South China Morning Post)

Lebanon holds its first parliamentary election since 2009. (BBC)

Thousands rally in support of freedom of speech in London, United Kingdom amid a recent crackdown on social media. Guest speakers included former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes, and UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Gerard Batten. (The Guardian)

Saturday,  May 5, 2018

The Israeli Air Force used a “hotline” to issue an urgent warning to Khmeimim Airbase in Syria when a Russian fighter jet strayed close to Israeli airspace near the Golan Heights. Last year a Syrian warplane was shot down in a similar incident. (AMN)

Russian police detain about 1,600 anti-government protesters, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny. (RTÉ)

Thousands of people in central Paris demonstrate in an anti-Macron protest against his sweeping reforms. 2,000 security forces are deployed. (ABC)

The Federal Aviation Administration of the United States orders Boeing 787 jets using Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines to operate within one hour of an airport at all times following safety concerns with the engines worldwide which culminated in Air New Zealand and Air China grounding their fleets last week. (The Telegraph)

Pre-race favorite Justify wins the Kentucky Derby, becoming the first horse since 1882 to win the race while unraced as a two-year-old. The race was run under the wettest conditions in its history; by post time, more than 2.8 inches (7.1 cm) of rain had fallen on race day, breaking a record that had lasted since 1918. (WDRB – weather) (CBS Sports)

Friday,  May 4, 2018

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2018 is postponed to 2019 after Jean-Claude Arnault, husband of the former Swedish Academy member Katarina Frostenson, is accused of sexual assault, resulting in her resignation, and leaving the academy without a quorum. (The Guardian)

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake hits Hawaii, the strongest in over 40 years, amid ongoing seismic and volcanic activity. (LA Times)

A heap of mining waste collapses at a jade mine in Kachin State, Myanmar, causing a landslide that kills at least 17 people. Six people are also left injured and an unknown number of people are missing. (AP) (Channel News Asia)

A Turkish cargo ship collides with Greek warship Armatalos off the coast of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea. The Hellenic Navy says the ship then retreated to Turkish waters without responding to radio messages. (The Guardian)

At 23:30 local time, North Korea changes its time zone to match South Korea (UTC+09:00) – a “first practical” impetus for Korean reunification, says the official North Korean agency KCNA. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump announces that he will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on May 22. (Reuters)

Fifty juvenile crocodiles are seized at Heathrow Airport, London, after officials discover that they were being kept in inhumane conditions. (BBC)

An arson attack on a pile of hay bales in the Jordan Valley does hundreds of thousands of Shekels of damage. Local authorities describe the attack as terrorist. (Ynetnews)

A new model suggests that supervolcano eruptions occur more often in regions being pulled by tectonics. (Brinkwire)

Using recent data from the Gaia spacecraft, the value of the Hubble constant is determined to be 73.52±1.62, which confirms a disagreement with other methods of measuring the constant with a confidence of 99.993%. (Inquisitr)

In baseball, the Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols becomes the 32nd Major League Baseball player to reach 3,000 career hits. (Yahoo! Sports)

The End 

Noodle Diplomacy

Around 110 people are killed in a dust storm in northwestern India, with Uttar Pradesh being the hardest hit. (CNN)

 

NASA announces it has completed its first full-power test of the Kilopower nuclear reactor for space. NASA intends to use the technology to power exploration missions to the Moon and Mars. (The Independent)

The fossilized remains of a rhinoceros are found in the Philippines, with cut marks suggesting it was butchered with stone tools. The remains, dated to 709,000 years old by electron spin resonance, suggest a human presence earlier than expected in Southeast Asia. (CNN)

Friday,  May 4, 2018

Report: Scott Pruitt’s travel tied to wish list, lobbyists, GOP donors After Scott Pruitt was confirmed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency last year, he made a list of at least a dozen countries he wanted to visit, then asked his aides to help him come up with official reasons to travel to them, four people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post. Pruitt then recruited conservative activists, lobbyists, and GOP donors like Sheldon Adelson to help craft itineraries. Adelson assisted with the planning of a trip to Israel that Pruitt was set to take in February, the Post reports. That trip was canceled only a few days before Pruitt was scheduled to leave, after the Post reported on his very expensive, taxpayer-funded travel habits. Source: The Washington Post

 

U.S. adds 164,000 jobs in April, unemployment drops to 3.9 percent The Labor Department reported that 164,000 jobs were added in April, significantly short of the expected 193,000 jobs, but up from a weather-related slowdown the month before. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, marking the lowest rate since 2000. “We’ve continued to add jobs routinely every month for so long, and the unemployment rate we have reached is amazing,” said the chief economist of job search site ZipRecruiter, Catherine Barrera. “This is the economy doing well.” The economy only added 103,000 positions in March, but economists dismissed that as a result of a surge in hiring in February, when payrolls grew by 326,000 positions due to unseasonably mild weather. Source: The New York Times, Reuters

Nobel academy will forego literature prize this year amid scandal The Swedish Academy announced Friday that it will not award the Nobel Prize in literature this year, but rather announce the 2018 winner in 2019, citing a desire to “safeguard the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize” amid a sexual harassment scandal that has thrown the literature academy into chaos. The scandal centers around photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, a major Swedish cultural figure who is accused of sexually assaulting or harassing 18 women, leaking the name of at least seven laureates, and groping Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria. His wife, poet Katarina Frostenson, is a member of the academy. The academy has refrained from handing out a literature Nobel just seven other times, the last being in 1943, due to war and, in 1935, because no writer was deemed worthy. Source: The Washington Post, The Associated Press

 

 

Thursday, May 3,  2018

The United States Department of State freezes funding to the White Helmets humanitarian group, which conducts urban search and rescue in rebel-held areas of Syria. The U.S. provides one-third of the group’s total funding. (The Hill)

The United Arab Emirates deploys troops on the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea, taking over key installations such as Socotra Airport from Yemeni soldiers. Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr denounces the Emirati ground incursion and hundreds protest demanding their immediate withdrawal. Local media reports the UAE claims to have “leased” the island. (Al Jazeera)

After over 600 earthquakes, including a magnitude 5.0 at Kīlauea, parts of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park have struck, causing the nearby Puʻu ʻŌʻō, to close due to fears of an eruption. The volcano erupted and evacuations were issued. (Big Island Now) (ABC7)

 

Wednesday,  May 2,  2018

A fire started by an incendiary device attached to a kite by Palestinian protestors and flown into Israel burns for six hours. It is the largest fire so far after a string of firebombing attacks. (The Times of Israel)

 

Cambridge Analytica announces that it is closing down as a result of the scandal. (BBC)

North Korea has released the three remaining American detainees ahead of the upcoming summit meeting with Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. The news came after National Security Adviser John R. Bolton stated that they should be released as a way for North Korea to demonstrate its sincerity in talks. (Business Insider)

Helium has been detected for the first time in the atmosphere of an exoplanet by scientists observing WASP-107b. (News Atlas)

Noodle diplomacy: S. Korea’s Blue House serves up dish hailed by Kim Jong-un

 

Peeing in trash cans, constant surveillance, and asthma attacks on the job: Amazon workers tell us their warehouse horror stories

 

THE END

 

De-extinction

Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush in 2008, will run for Iraqi parliament. (BuzzFeed News)

Minimum alcohol pricingcomes into effect in Scotland, mandating prices of at least 50p per unit. Scotland becomes the first country to introduce such a scheme. (The Independent)

Biologists at the University of Melbourne announce plans to clone the extinct thylacine (Tasmanian tiger). (News Corp Australia)

“That’s something that’s not science fiction any more, it’s science fact,” Prof Pask said. “They will be able to bring something mammoth-like back to life.” And it could one day open the floodgates for resurrecting other lost species.

Bone remains of more than 140 children and about 200 young llamas were found in the Peruvian city of Trujillo, near the Chan Chan citadel, according to a National Geographic publication. This discovery, which would date from the time of the little-known Chimú pre-Columbian civilization (about 550 years ago), would be, for researchers, the largest mass sacrifice of children in the American continent. (El Comercio) (National Geographic)

Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant, the Akademik Lomonosov, sets sail across the Baltic Sea from St. Petersburg. (Alphr)

What could go wrong?

The world’s oldest known spider, a trapdoor spider known as “Number 16”, dies of a wasp sting at the age of 43. (Yahoo! News via AFP)

A communal toilet collapses in Bhandup, Mumbai, India. Several people are trapped and require rescue, with two dying en route to hospital. (First Post)

Scientific studies have offered evidence that a geothermal plant may have caused the earthquake in South Korea. (Phys.org)

Marathon Oil purchases Andeavor for $23.3 billion, creating the biggest oil refining firm in the United States. (Bloomberg)

T-Mobile US and Sprint agree to merge in a deal valued at US$146 billion. The merger is subject to approval from regulators. (USA Today)

 

Tuesday,   May 1, 2018

American actress Ashley Judd sues Harvey Weinstein for defamation and sexual harassment, and claimed that he “torpedoed” her chance to be cast in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Herald Courier)

A Russian Su-27 fighter jet intercepts a United States P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, with the US claiming the procedure was unprofessional and the aircraft came within 20 feet of each other. (KFDI)

ISIL releases an execution video showing a prisoner being killed by explosives in Yarmouk Camp, Damascus. (Metro)

Pro-Hadi forces capture the Al Bareh Triangle and seize Houthi arms. (Gulf News)

Several independent MPs urge Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to withdraw troops from Yemen where they are supporting a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels. (AllAfrica)

Iraqi police and al-Hashd al-Shaabi troops raid ISIL locations in Hawija, Kirkuk, and seize tunnels and arms caches. (Iraqi News)

The Supreme Court of India orders the government to seek international help after examining photos submitted by environmentalists showing a change in colour of the Taj Mahal. (BBC)

Minimum alcohol pricing comes into effect in Scotland, mandating prices of at least 50p per unit. Scotland becomes the first country to introduce such a scheme. (The Independent)

 

The Dominican Republic severs ties with Taiwan and establishes diplomatic relations with China. (CNN)

The African Land Forces Summit opens in Abuja, Nigeria. Present are military delegations from 30 African nations plus representatives from Europe and the United States. (AllAfrica)

Far-left anarchists clash with riot police in central Paris, France. Several businesses are looted and set on fire, including a McDonald’s restaurant and Renault garage. Hundreds are arrested. (Reuters)

Iran bans the Telegram messenger app, citing national security concerns. (BBC)

NYT: Mueller has 4 dozen questions he wants to ask Trump The New York Times has obtained a list of more than four dozen questions that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to ask President Trump as part of his investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia and possible obstruction of justice. The questions focus primarily on Trump’s firings of former FBI Director James Comey and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a Trump Tower meeting in the summer of 2016 between several top campaign officials and Russians promising compromising information on Hillary Clinton, and discussions Trump had with personal lawyer Michael Cohen regarding a Moscow real estate deal. Trump’s lawyers wrote down the questions from Mueller’s team, with that list provided to the Times by someone not on Trump’s legal team. Source: The New York Times

 

Monday,  Apr 30, 2018

 A Syrian military source cited by pro-Syrian government news outlet Al-Masdar News says that an Israeli F-35 killed more than 30 soldiers yesterday in an attack that completely destroyed the Syrian government’s Brigade 47 missile base in Hama. (Al-Masdar News)

Iran’s Tasnim News Agency denies reports that yesterday’s missile attack in Hama and Aleppo Governorate hit an Iranian military base and says that no Iranian soldiers were killed in the attack. (Reuters)

The U.S. State Department confirms the U.S. has completed a delivery of FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine. (RFE/RL)

The Israel Defense Forces say they shot dead three Palestinians in two incidents yesterday. The IDF says one was killed trying to breach the Israeli-Gazan border fence while a second was wounded and arrested. They say the second incident saw two men shot dead after bypassing the fence and throwing explosives at IDF soldiers. (The Wire)

Amnesty International and Justice for Iran accuse Iran of building at least seven mass graves in six provinces containing thousands of bodies from executions of suspected Mujahedeen-e Khalq towards the end of the 1980-88 war. (RFE/RL)

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq declares an end to major combat operations against ISIL in Iraq and closes the Coalition Forces Land Component Command headquarters. The U.S.-led coalition says in a statement that it would transition “from supporting and enabling combat operations to the training and development of self-sufficient Iraqi security-related capabilities”. (Reuters)

South Korea president Moon Jae-in suggests that Donald Trump should receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to help denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. (The Washington Post)

The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that last year’s visit of the Vietnamese public security minister and his entourage to Slovakia was used to cover for the abduction of a dissident Vietnamese entrepreneur Trịnh Xuân Thanh who had previously emigrated to Germany. (The Slovak Spectator)

Sajid Javid becomes the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary following the resignation of Amber Rudd over the Windrush scandal. He is the first Home Secretary from an ethnic minority background. (BBC)

The Palestinian National Council, the legislative arm of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, convenes for the first time in nine years in Ramallah. The agenda includes voting in a new eighteen-member PLO Executive Committee, transforming the Palestinian Authority into a state with its own institutions and monetary system, and cessation of ties with Israel. Gazan rivals Hamas are not invited. (al-Jazeera)

 

Sunday, Apr 29, 2018

 The Syrian Army, along with what is believed to be Iranian-backed militias, took control villages east of the Euphrates river near the city of Deir ez-Zor that were under the control by Kurdish-led forces in a rare clash with the Syrian Democratic Forces. The territory was later recaptured by U.S.-backed forces in a counter-attack spearheaded by the YPG with help from U.S.-led coalition jets that took off from American bases in northern Syria. The U.S. military says in a statement that the “coalition used established deconfliction channels to de-escalate the situation”. (Reuters)

 

Syrian state media, Syrian Arab News Agency, reports missile strikes have targeted military sites in the Hama Governorate and Aleppo Governorate. It is unclear who carried out the strikes. (Xinhuanet)

 An Israeli military officer states IDF snipers are targeting the legs of protestors and deaths are largely the unintentional result of protestors bending over, missing shots, and the subsequent rounds ricocheting from intended targets. (Haaretz)

In response to a Yesh Din petition to the Israeli High Court calling for a ban on the use of live rounds to prevent protestors breaching the border fence, the Israeli government says its rules of engagement meet local and international law, that intelligence used to justify decisions will be submitted to the court, and that the protests are considered part of the ongoing conflict with Hamas. (Ynetnews)

South Korean officials say that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stated during his summit meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he would close the country’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site in May. (SCMP)

The leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany and France agree on their support for the Iran nuclear deal as the best way to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons. (The Hill)

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States will quit the agreement if its “flaws” can’t be fixed. (Bloomberg)

The Central Criminal Court in Baghdad, Iraq, sentences nineteen Russian women, six Azerbaijani women, and four Tajikistani women to life in prison for membership to ISIL. (The Sunday Times)

Brazil surfer Rodrigo Koxa breaks the record for the largest wave ever surfed. The wave occured off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal and measured 24.4 meters (80 feet). (BBC)

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Skin In The Game

Doctors at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, perform the world’s first successful transplant of a penis and scrotum from a deceased donor to a U.S. soldier injured in Afghanistan. The testicles are not transplanted. (BBC)

Scientists using infrared spectroscopy data from the Gemini North telescope have established the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the clouds of your anus. (Time)

Actress Natalie Portman, who was born in Jerusalem, pulls out of the upcoming Genesis Prize (worth 1 million USD) ceremony in Israel over “recent events in Israel”. The Genesis Prize Foundation says it is worried the event will become politicised. (CBS News)

A British man reported last month to be suffering what doctors called the “worst-ever” super-gonorrhoea is said by Public Health England to have been cured. (BBC)

Prosecutors in Minnesota say nobody will be charged over the death of Prince, who accidentally overdosed on counterfeit fentanyl pills. (BBC)

 

A Chernobyl ‘suicide squad’

 

Horrifying Details Emerge About Alleged Sex-Cult Recruiter Allison Mack at Bail Hearing
‘Slaves’ in the NXIVM cult were allegedly forced to starve themselves, not remove their pubic hair, not masturbate, and were directed by Mack to have sex with leader Keith Raniere.

 

Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded

 

Facebook? It’s the Government I Don’t Trust
by Bunky Mortimer III
April 20, 2018

The assumption behind last week’s congressional hearing was simple: that people—in the words of the greatest prophet of any age, Alexis de Tocqueville—have “neglected their chief business, which is to remain their own masters.” How shallow has man’s political conviction become that it can be swayed by a few memes? I long for the curt rejoinder of Margaret Thatcher—whom I met, of course—that “each person must make up their own mind.” Yet the basis of the modern political campaign—as gestated by those asses, the Democrats—is that we don’t really have minds. This was as much as I gleaned from the Clinton postmortem Shattered before throwing it overboard: that the electorate is a kind of barren womb, waiting for the precious seed of political intelligence to be implanted from above. In this grand fertilization, Facebook plays the role of the turkey baster. All this was tickety-boo when it was loaded with the saccharine drip of Obama’s emo-Marxism. But when Donald Trump’s tiny hands found their way to the same lever? Oh, no!

 

Thursday, Apr 26,  2018

Ronny Jackson withdraws VA secretary nomination Embattled White House physician Ronny Jackson said Thursday that he is “regretfully withdrawing” his name to be veterans affairs secretary, saying that while he had expected tough questions about the Department of Veterans Affairs, “I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity.” He called the allegations against him “completely false and fabricated.” The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee had indefinitely suspended confirmation hearings this week as lawmakers received allegations from current and former colleagues that Jackson had crashed a government vehicle while drunk, drank on the job, and handed out prescription drugs “like candy.”Source: Reuters

Michael Cohen to plead the Fifth in Stormy Daniels case On Wednesday, President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen told a federal judge he will assert his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in the Stormy Daniels case, The Washington Post reports. Daniels, who said she had an affair with Trump in 2006, was paid $130,000 by Cohen right before the 2016 presidential election, and is suing to get out of a non-disclosure agreement she signed with him. Cohen’s home, hotel room, and office were raided by FBI agents earlier this month, and Cohen, who is requesting to pause proceedings in the case, said they seized electronic devices and documents containing information relating to the payment to Daniels. Lawyers for Cohen, Trump, and the Trump Organization are asking to see the material before it goes to prosecutors, and Trump’s attorney said he would be available “as needed” to review the documents.Source: The Washington Post

Wednesday,  Apr 25,  2018

Scientists from the University of Science and Technology of China state that North Korea’s nuclear test site, the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site at Mount Mantap, would have collapsed just minutes after the country performed its sixth nuclear test and opened up a hole of up to 656 feet (200 m) in diameter. It has been one of the possible reasons given for North Korea agreement to suspend nuclear and missile tests. (Fortune)

Around 500 experts from over 70 countries meet in Paris to start a two-day counterterror conference discussing methods of cutting financing to Al-Qaeda and ISIL. (The Tampa Bay Times)

The President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, resigns after the discovery of a video of her stealing anti-aging cream in a supermarket and after several weeks of controversy after it came to light that she obtained her master’s degree fraudulently. (BBC)

Danish inventor and submariner Peter Madsen is convicted of the murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall and sentenced to life in prison. (BBC)

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department arrest Joseph James DeAngelo in connection to the Golden State Killer case. (The Week)

Texas senator Ted Cruz said he will support Donald Trump in the 2020 elections. (Arutz Sheva)

A flaw, called the “Ghost in the Locks” exploit, is reported with hotel keycard systems created by the Swedish lock company Assa Abloy. The company states that they began deploying a patch in February. (BBC)

The European Space Agency releases the largest-ever 3D map of stars in our galaxy from the Gaia spacecraft. (Le Monde)

Astronomers detect light from fourteen colliding galaxies. Due to the distances involved, the light comes from events 12 billion years ago. (BBC)

 Tuesday,   Apr 24, 2018

Donald Trump meets with French president Emmanuel Macron to discuss the Iran nuclear deal along with economics and trading. (i24) (USA Today)

An alleged arson attack kills 18 in a karaoke lounge in Qingyuan, China. A suspect is arrested. (The Guardian)

Thailand expresses its interest in hosting the planned summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (ABC News)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fines Altaba US$35 million for failing to disclose its 2014 data breach in a timely manner. (CNET)

A former MP from Poland’s Samoobrona party is charged with spying for Russia and China. (Radio Poland)

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Take Out The Gunman

 

Wednesday,  Apr 18,  2018

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant opens its doors to tourism. (TASS)

 CIA Director Pompeo secretly met with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un President Trump confirmed Wednesday that over Easter weekend, CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a covert visit to North Korea on behalf of the administration and met with Kim Jong Un. Trump told reporters that Pompeo “had a great meeting with Kim Jong Un and got along with him really well, really great.” Pompeo’s visit was an effort to lay the groundwork for a summit between Trump and Kim regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, per The Washington Post. The meeting was held soon after Trump nominated Pompeo to be secretary of state, and about a week later, U.S. officials said the government had directly confirmed Kim was willing to discuss possible denuclearization. Source: The Washington Post

Trump administration reportedly decides against new Russia sanctions The Trump administration has apparently decided not to levy new sanctions on Russia. The White House informed the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., that no additional sanctions are coming, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told CNN. The decision comes after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday that new sanctions would be coming to “send a strong message” to Russia about its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Other administration figures rushed to backpedal Haley’s statement, with National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow saying that Haley’s announcement was the result of “momentary confusion.” Kudlow later clarified that Haley wasn’t confused, but rather was following “what she thought was policy. The policy was changed and she wasn’t told about it.” Source: The New York Times

Miguel Díaz-Canel expected to succeed Raúl Castro as Cuban president Cuban President Raúl Castro is expected to step down this week, with Miguel Díaz-Canel the lone candidate to be his successor. The move comes less than two years after the death of Fidel Castro, who was the brother of 86-year-old Raúl. Díaz-Canel, 57, is described by The Washington Post as “a consensus builder unlikely to push for quick or radical change.” He will be the first new leader of the communist island nation after almost 60 years of rule by the Castro brothers. “This is about institutionalizing the regime,” explained Jorge Domínguez, a Cuba expert at Harvard University, adding: “If you are someone who really wants the regime to endure, it’s what Raúl needs to do.” Source: The Washington Post

 

Tuesday,   Apr 17, 2018

In Los Angeles, SpaceX announced that they will build a massive rocket named BFR capable of sending humans to Mars. (PC Magazine)

A passenger jet suffers an uncontained engine failure during a flight from LaGuardia Airport in New York City to Dallas Love Field in Dallas, Texas. One passenger is killed. The aircraft diverts to Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration are considering replacing the U.S. military forces in Syria with a regional Arab force. (Haaretz)

Israel holds services remembering 23,646 Israeli soldiers and 3,134 civilians killed in the conflict. (The Times of Israel)

Egypt invites rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas to meet in Cairo in a bid to halt violent protests at the Israeli-Gazan border. (i24 News)

The names of 3,607 employees of Unit 731, a Japanese military medical experimentation unit associated with war crimes during World War II, are released. Prosecutors in the United States had kept their identities secret following the war in exchange for access to data gleaned from the project. (Newsweek)

North Korea and South Korea announce that they are planning to officially end the Korean War by writing a peace agreement. An armistice agreement was reached, ending armed conflict, in 1953. U.S. President Donald Trump called the decision to end the war a blessing. (Business Insider)

United States officials state that Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo met with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. (WBIR-TV)

The European Commission announces plans to force tech companies worldwide that provide services within the European Union to supply data on their users in counterterror investigations. (The Guardian)

Amid anti-government protests, Armenia’s National Assembly swears in former President Serzh Sargsyan as Prime Minister. The opposition call the move a “power grab”. (BBC)

Former U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush dies at age 92. (Reuters)

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World’s Oldest Man

Thursday, Apr 12,  2018

Japanese supercentenarian Masazo Nonaka is confirmed as the world’s oldest living man. (Sky News)

http://www.businessinsider.com/most-violent-cities-in-the-world-2018-3

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/musta-israel-agents-pose-palestinians-171218061118857.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-instragram-spacex-mars-ship-2018-4

 

 

Trump backpedals threats against Russia, Syria President Trump appeared to backpedal his threats against Russia and Syria on Thursday after warning a day earlier that missiles “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!'” The White House has spent the week debating a response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria last weekend that left dozens dead and hundreds affected. Trump, who frequently lamented former President Barack Obama foregoing “the element of surprise,” said Thursday that he “never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!” The president added, “In any event, the United States, under my administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our ‘Thank you America?'” Source: Donald J. Trump, HuffPost

Report: FBI raid on Trump lawyer sought Access Hollywood tape records The FBI was reportedly looking for documents concerning the infamous Access Hollywood tape when they raided the office and residences of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on Monday. The tape, recorded in 2005 and made public just before the 2016 election, caught Trump bragging into a hot mic about kissing and grabbing women by their genitals. While it wasn’t immediately clear what Cohen’s relation might be to the tape, the news “reveals a new front in the investigation into Mr. Cohen that is being led by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan,” The New York Times writes. The FBI agents are also thought to be investigating “hush” payments Cohen might have made to women on Trump’s behalf as well as other possible financial crimes. Source: The New York Times

 

Wednesday,  Apr 11,  2018

 The International Criminal Court finds radical nationalist Serb Vojislav Seselj guilty of war crimes against Bosnians during the Balkans war and sentences him to ten years in prison. He is immediately released as he served more than eleven years in the court’s custody, and takes to Twitter to declare himself “proud of my war crimes”. (al-Jazeera)

The family of a man killed in California when his Tesla Model X crashed with the Autopilot engaged says they intend to sue the carmaker. His wife further says he had complained of flaws in the vehicle’s behaviour and predicted his death in a collision with the barrier his car ultimately hit. (Electrek)

The death toll from tainted alcohol in Jakarta and West Java, Indonesia, reaches at least 82. (Reuters)

The Royal Saudi Air Defense intercepts a ballistic missile fired from Yemen over the Saudi capital Riyadh that caused panic among residents. Houthis say they fired several Burkan-2 missiles at targets in Saudi Arabia, including Saudi Aramco oil facilities. Separately, Saudi Air Defenses shoot down two Houthi-operated Qasef-1 drones near the border. (Reuters)

Spain’s Audiencia Nacional sentences ten Islamic extremists to between eight and twelve years in prison for a plot to launch attacks against Barcelona landmarks and behead a hostage on camera. The cell was convicted yesterday. (El País)

The Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court jails two Egyptians and a Saudi for fifteen years each and fines them for promoting terrorist ideologies online. The court orders them deported after release, their computer equipment seized, and their social media presences deleted. (Gulf News)

An Ilyushin Il-76 military plane crashes shortly after take-off from Boufarik Military Airport in Algeria, killing all 257 passengers on board. (BBC)

Poland releases a new report on the disaster, which killed 96 including then-President Lech Kaczyński, rejecting previous findings and claiming instead air traffic controllers in Smolensk, Russia, gave the jet erroneous information prior to two explosions destroying the jet in midair. (Radio Poland)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bans future offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand, leaving existing permits untouched. (The New Zealand Herald)

Elmira Medynska, the partner of Russian whistleblower Alexander Perepilichnyy, tells his inquest at the Central Criminal Court in London he seemed nervous and had been unwell prior to his death. The inquest is attempting to determine if Perepilichnyy had been murdered. (BBC)

South Korean politician Ahn Hee-jung is indicted on accusations he repeatedly raped his aide Kim Ji-eun, who previously accused him publicly of sexual abuse. (Gulf News)

South Korea national security adviser Chung Eui-yong visits Washington, D.C. and meets with his U.S. counterpart John R. Bolton. (Yonhap News Agency)

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The Titanic

Monday,  Apr 9, 2018

 MV Symphony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship at 206,912 tonnes, begins her first voyage with paying passengers. (Stuff)

Tesla’s Q1 Numbers Have A Dark Side

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/state-of-failure/

Syrian Showdown: Trump vs. the Generals
by Patrick J. Buchanan

April 06, 2018

 

Trump vows decision after ‘barbaric’ Syrian chemical attack President Trump said Monday that he will decide within the next 24 to 48 hours how to respond to a “heinous,” “barbaric” chemical weapon attack in Syria over the weekend that left as many as 70 people dead. “We’re talking about humanity and it can’t be allowed to happen,” Trump said. He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin “may” bear some responsibility for the attack, which was perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Putin ally, saying that if Putin was involved, “it’s going to be very tough.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized Trump for apparently walking back his stated desire to pull troops from Syria, saying the U.S. appears to be “[establishing] a foothold there for a very long time.” Source: The New York Times

North Korea reportedly told U.S. Kim Jong Un ready to talk denuclearization North Korean officials have directly notified the United States that leader Kim Jong Un is prepared to discuss his country’s nuclear weapons program when he meets with President Trump, The Associated Press reports. Two members of the Trump administration confirmed with AP on Sunday that Pyongyang directly communicated with the U.S., but would not say when or how this contact occurred. Last month, South Korean leaders visiting Washington passed along an invitation from Kim to Trump to hold a summit, with Trump immediately accepting the offer. They have not yet set a date for their meeting. Source: The Associated Press

China has started ranking citizens with a creepy ‘social credit’ system

In a new apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis mentions Satan or the Devil twelve times. Warning against Catholic media transgressing the eighth commandment, he calls to “see how the unguarded tongue, set on fire by hell, sets all things ablaze.” (Reuters)

The New Zealand Overseas Investment Office approves the sale of clothing company Icebreaker to US retail conglomerate VF Corporation, revealing the sale price as NZ$288 million. (Stuff)

US entertainer Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial begins. As he enters the court a topless woman with the words Women’s Lives Matter written on her body charges him and is arrested. (AP via Fredricksburg.com)

Around 2,500 police armed with tear gas launch a raid in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, France, in a bid to force the removal of 250 activists who have occupied the site of the proposed Aéroport du Grand Ouest for ten years to prevent its construction. The proposed airport is abandoned but the activists refuse to leave their community. (The Guardian)

Reich’s Laboratory
by Steve Sailer

March 28, 2018

Sunday, Apr 8, 2018

The death toll from yesterday’s suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, rises to at least 70, according to the White Helmets group. The Syrian government and Russia deny the allegations of a chemical attack. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump warns Russia and Iran for backing Bashar al-Assad and calls him “Animal Assad”. (Sky News)

8 missiles are launched at the Syrian T4 air base, reportedly by Israeli F-15s. 5 of the missiles are shot down by the Syrian Air Defense Force.  (BBC) (Reuters)

Israeli Defence Forces fire shells at Palestinians on foot near the border fence, saying the men had crossed the fence before reentering the Gaza Strip near Gaza City. (Haaretz)

Gazan hospitals declare a state of emergency owing to the thousands injured. (al-Jazeera)

 

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American Stalinism

Friday,  Apr 6, 2018

Saudi Arabia plans to build a Hyperloop

 

Trump considering hitting China with an additional $100 billion in tariffs President Trump announced Thursday that he is contemplating imposing an additional $100 billion in tariffs against China, piling on to the $50 billion already authorized by the White House. Trump said the increase is in response to China’s decision to raise import duties on U.S. products, including soybeans and pork, by up to 25 percent, which he called an “unfair retaliation” against the U.S. “Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers,” Trump said. Source: The New York Times

Ex-South Korean President Park Geun-hye sentenced to 24 years for corruption A court in Seoul convicted former South Korean President Park Geun-hye of bribery, extortion, abuse of power, and other corruption-related charges on Friday and sentenced her to 24 years in prison and a $16.8 million fine. Park, who maintains her innocence, was not in court to hear the verdict. She has a week to appeal the verdict. Park was impeached in December 2016 and removed from office in March 2017 by the Constitutional Court, and the scandal has also taken down longtime ally Choi Soon-sil, who is serving 20 years, and dozens of other government and business leaders, most prominently Samsung heir apparent Lee Jae-yong, whose five-year sentence was cut in half and suspended. Source: The Associated Press

 

Thursday, Apr 5,  2018

The Israeli Defence Forces releases footage of a man fatally shot yesterday during an apparent attempt to breach the Gazan border fence. Israel says he was carrying an AK-47 and explosive devices including grenades, and accused Hamas of “playing with fire”. (Ynet News)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko holds a press conference in Vinnytsia announcing the end of the Anti Terror Operation in Donbass in May. It will be replaced with a military force. (UNIAN)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calls 15 peaceful anti-war protestors arrested last month at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul terrorists and says they will not be allowed to complete their education. (Times Higher Education)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he is willing to resume six-party talks. (Yahoo! News)

Vasily Nebenzya, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, tells the UN Security Council the United Kingdom has created a “fake story” and says Russia has “told our British colleagues that you are playing with fire and you will be sorry.” UK UN representative Karen Pierce tells the Security Council UK actions “stand up to any scrutiny” and compares Russian requests to join the investigation to an arsonist investigating their own fire. (BBC)

Brazilian federal judge Sérgio Moro orders the arrest of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by late Friday to begin serving a 12-year sentence for corruption. (Reuters)

Newly released documentation reveals Benjamin Morrow, a man killed by an explosion on March 5 in his home in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, possessed white supremacist literature, five guns with ammunition, boxes of binary explosives, jars of explosive TATP, and a small explosives manufacturing laboratory. (Wisc News)

An arrest warrant is issued for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Conor McGregor after he was involved in a melee at a press conference at the Barclays Center in New York City ahead of UFC 223. Video footage appears to show McGregor throwing a guard rail through a window of the Khabib Nurmagomedov team bus. (The Guardian)

White House: U.S. involvement in Syria coming to ‘rapid end’ The White House on Wednesday said that U.S. military involvement in Syria is “coming to a rapid end.” Roughly 2,000 American troops are still in the country, assisting in the fight against the Islamic State. In a statement, the White House said that ISIS is “almost completely destroyed,” and as such, the U.S. will seek to wind down its combat presence. “The United States and our partners remain committed to eliminating the small ISIS presence in Syria that our forces have not already eradicated,” the statement read. “We will continue to consult with our allies and friends regarding future plans.” No timetable was offered for withdrawal. Source: NBC News, The Associated Press

Mueller’s team is reportedly questioning Russian oligarchs In recent weeks, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has questioned Russian oligarchs traveling in the United States, and in at least one case searched a man’s electronic devices after he disembarked from his private jet in the New York City area, several people familiar with the matter told CNN on Wednesday. Mueller is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and by showing interest in Russian oligarchs, it reveals his team is focusing on the possible flow of foreign money to President Trump’s campaign and inauguration fund, CNN reports. Under campaign finance laws, foreign nationals are not allowed to donate to U.S. political campaigns. Source: CNN

Facebook says Cambridge Analytica breach affected up to 87 million users Personal information from up to 87 million Facebook users was improperly shared with data firm Cambridge Analytica, Facebook revealed Wednesday — significantly more than the company’s previous estimate of 50 million. Most of the 87 million users were Americans, the social media company explained in a blog post. Facebook will start notifying users next week if their information was improperly obtained. Facebook has been under intense scrutiny since reports found that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm with ties to President Trump, had harvested user information without permission. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee to address the “breach of trust.” Source: Facebook

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