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Army sergeant says he's the one who shot a protester dead in Austin

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 06:55

Army sergeant says he's the one who shot a protester dead in AustinDaniel Perry's lawyers assert he did it in self-defense after the demonstrator aimed a rifle at him in his car. But some accounts say the driver was the aggressor.

Florida's largest police union endorses President Trump in unanimous vote

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 06:51

Florida's largest police union endorses President Trump in unanimous voteThe Florida PBA makes its first endorsement in eight years; PBA President John Kazanjian explains ahead of his meeting with the president.

Tokyo COVID cases hit new high; city to launch its own "CDC"

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 06:04

Tokyo COVID cases hit new high; city to launch its own "CDC"A third of the infections originated in the bustling Shinjuku Ward — a district that has become practically synonymous with viral transmission.

The Portland 'Wall of Moms' movement is falling apart after a local Black Lives Matter group accused it of 'anti-Blackness'

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 05:47

The Portland 'Wall of Moms' movement is falling apart after a local Black Lives Matter group accused it of 'anti-Blackness'The Wall of Moms was started two weeks ago to protect protesters in downtown Portland after federal agents were sent to the city to quell the unrest.

Nearly a third of Poland has declared 'LGBT-free zones.' The EU is denying funds to them.

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 05:44

Nearly a third of Poland has declared 'LGBT-free zones.' The EU is denying funds to them."EU values and fundamental rights must be respected by Member States and state authorities," said Commissioner Helena Dalli in a tweet Tuesday.

What is the SpaceX Crew Dragon?

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 05:34

What is the SpaceX Crew Dragon?A guide to SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle, which carries astronauts to the space station.

Democrats reject $600 benefit extension from White House, push for more

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 05:31

Democrats reject $600 benefit extension from White House, push for moreDemocrats rejected a short-term extension of a $600 weekly unemployment benefit proposed by the White House on Thursday.

David Duke: Former KKK grand wizard and white supremacist has Twitter account permanently banned

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 05:16

 Former KKK grand wizard and white supremacist has Twitter account permanently bannedNotorious former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke has had his Twitter account permanently banned after previously being suspended – less than a month after he endorsed Donald Trump for re-election.A high-profile white supremacist campaigner and agitator who has unsuccessfully run for public office several times, Mr Duke is also known for his advocacy for outlandish conspiracy theories, including that the world is run by a Jewish cabal that controls politics, the media and even the internet.

Twitter bans ex-KKK leader David Duke

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 05:09

Twitter bans ex-KKK leader David DukeHe was permanently suspended for repeatedly violating Twitter's "hateful conduct" rules.

Police officers should not be charged with Breonna Taylor's death, criminal law experts say

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 05:05

Police officers should not be charged with Breonna Taylor's death, criminal law experts sayDefense lawyers say LMPD officers had the right to defend themselves once Breonna Taylor's boyfriend shot at them

German defense minister: Planned US withdrawal 'regrettable'

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 05:03

 Planned US withdrawal 'regrettable'Germany's defense minister on Friday described the planned withdrawal of some 12,000 U.S. troops from her country as “regrettable,” while suggesting it underlines the need for Europe to do more for its own security. American defense leaders said Wednesday that the U.S. will bring about 6,400 troops home and shift about 5,600 to other countries in Europe. The decision fulfills President Donald Trump’s announced desire to withdraw troops from Germany, largely because of what he considers its failure to spend enough on defense.

Letters to the Editor: Portland protesters, it's time to stop. You're playing into Trump's hands

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 05:00

 Portland protesters, it's time to stop. You're playing into Trump's handsGod forbid President Trump gets another four years in office because of average voters' disgust with violent protests.

US election 2020: Barack Obama calls for end to voter suppression in John Lewis eulogy

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 03:44

 Barack Obama calls for end to voter suppression in John Lewis eulogyFormer US President Barack Obama used Rep. John Lewis' funeral on Thursday to issue a stark warning that the voting rights and equal opportunity the late civil rights icon championed are threatened heading into the 2020 election. Speaking from the pulpit of the church that Martin Luther King Jr. once led, Obama did not mention President Donald Trump. But the first Black president drew unmistakable contrasts with his successor, and he implicitly lambasted how Trump has handled voting procedures and ongoing civil unrest amid a national reckoning over systemic racism. Obama called on Congress to renew the Voting Rights Act, which Trump and Republican congressional leaders have left unchanged since the Supreme Court diminished the landmark law in 2012. "You want to honor John? Let's honor him by revitalising the law that he was willing to die for," Obama said, arguing that the bipartisan praise for the Georgia congressman since his death isn't enough. Obama endorsed ending the Senate filibuster if that is what's needed to pass an overhauled voting law. He called the procedural hurdle that effectively requires 60 votes to pass major legislation a "Jim Crow relic," referring to the segregation era.

Kids' mental health can struggle during online school. Here's how teachers are planning ahead.

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 03:37

Kids' mental health can struggle during online school. Here's how teachers are planning ahead.Kids miss their friends. They're stuck at home. They're sleeping erratically. Not to mention the trauma of COVID-19 and economic collapse around them.

China Says It Has Completed a Navigation Network That Could Rival the U.S. GPS

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 03:14

China Says It Has Completed a Navigation Network That Could Rival the U.S. GPSWhile China says it seeks cooperation with other satellite navigation systems, Beidou could ultimately compete against GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo networks

Biden Says He Wants to Play in Texas. His Website Makes It Impossible.

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 02:17

Biden Says He Wants to Play in Texas. His Website Makes It Impossible.Joe Biden’s campaign says it wants to flip Texas. To do that, they have put nominal ad money into the state and publicly emphasized the importance of it. But up through this week, their main digital organizing tool for getting volunteers coordinated there was being hampered by what was chalked up as either a technical mistake or an operational work-in-progress. Searches for campaign-sanctioned events through the Biden online organizing page in major areas like Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, Plano, Corpus Christi, and Lubbock all came up empty this week, with some results directing individuals to virtual events in nearby states like Arkansas. The issue arose between the Biden campaign and the Texas Democratic Party over which so-called “Mobilize” dashboard—a third party online search tool used by the Biden campaign—should be employed, the state party said. While there were and are virtual events being planned by the Texas Democratic Party in most of the major cities, they weren’t visible through the Biden campaign’s dashboard, only on the state party’s page,By Thursday afternoon—after The Daily Beast posed questions to the state party and the campaign about searches coming up with no results—select events did begin to appear under some cities. But many cities continued to show no current or future events even when checking on various browsers and with various users.  Dr. Jill Biden to Join Women in the World Texas and Shine a Spotlight on Military FamiliesThe general absence of information on events could potentially hurt the campaign’s efforts to bring in volunteers in one of their targeted flip states. Those hoping to get involved in the Biden campaign’s Texas operations are unable to do so through his website—a hurdle that was not apparent when looking for events in other target states like Arizona, Florida and Georgia. A Biden campaign official said that the “mobilize integration is still taking place in certain places like Texas, but the organizing events listed under the [Texas Democratic Party] are still very much our organizing events” and that “eventually, the events will populate in our mobilize [site] also.” A spokesman for the Texas Democrartic Party also downplayed the significance of the matter by saying that the party was seeing strong enthusiasm. “We're doing a lot,” said Abhi Rahman, the Texas Democratic Party’s communications director. “...And we're getting a lot of attendance at all these too. We're not worried about that.” The possibility of turning Texas blue in the general election has held a certain fascination among Democrats who saw former El Paso Rep. Beto O'Rourke come tantalizingly close to unseating Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2018. Those Democrats are now waiting for Biden to pick up where O’Rourke left off, with even his former rival speculating that the state will be in play on Nov. 3“Texas will be competitive in [the] presidential race,” Cruz said to a group of reporters on AF1 on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News. “I think the president will win Texas” he added, before acknowledging that “the hard left is angry.” The Time to Argue About Biden’s Economic Plans? After November 3.The promotional snafu around Biden’s events could complicate the already uphill battle he faces in turning Texas blue. It also could provide another signal that the campaign’s focus on the state is largely ceremonial. “My sense is Biden campaign has yet to really commit to Texas as a target,” said Keir Murray, a Democratic strategist based in Houston. “It’s big and pricey, and not necessary to win. That said, it is winnable. Maybe they’re taking a wait and see approach?”The Biden campaign official pointed to several areas where they believe they’ve made significant progress in the state, such as holding “numerous open-press virtual events focused on Texas” with surrogates in recent months, including with O’Rourke. Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, headlined a recent virtual event for Texas on home healthcare, and last week, the campaign launched their first general election ads in the state.Among Democrats in Texas, however, there is hope that Biden focuses more time and resources there. With 38 electoral votes, Texas offers an insurance policy of sorts that could help boost his pathway towards victory if he falls short in other states.“If he wants to win Texas he’s going to invest in Texas,” Gilberto Hinojosa, the chair of the Texas Democratic Party, told The Daily Beast. “He’s going to have to show a monetary presence in terms of advertisement, digital advertisement, and funding for organizers to expand what we’re doing. It’s still a close race.”Publicly, the campaign has emphasized the state’s significance. In an electoral strategy map shared with reporters in May, senior campaign officials listed only three states they were looking to “expand” in November towards the pathway to 270 delegates: Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. The campaign’s rationale to make plays for those states was “based on 2018 trends,” officials said at the time of the briefing.  But recent data on money transferred from the Democratic National Committee, Biden Victory Fund, and Biden for President filed with the Federal Election Commission suggest that other states are being more aggressively targeted than Texas. The DNC has given $802,743 to the Arizona Democratic Party, while the Biden Victory Fund contributed $10,000. In Georgia, the DNC spent $553,097, with the Biden Victory Fund giving $5,000. In Florida, where Democrats have watched the disarray around the Republican National Convention unfold before Trump eventually withdrew from the planned event, the DNC spent nearly $2 million, while the Biden Victory Fund contributed $10,000 to the state’s Democratic Executive Committee.Texas shows a smaller investment than Arizona and Florida, but slightly higher than Georgia, which is much smaller in size. Biden for President gave $2,500, Biden Victory Fund contributed $5,000, and the DNC chipped in $576,663, according to the data filed with the FEC. (The DNC has also provided voter data to Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas valued at $340,802, FEC records indicate).Hinojosa, the highest-ranking Democratic Party official in Texas, said that he has received a promise from the Biden campaign that they will be expanding their physical organizational presence in the near future, including adding a state director, deputy director, and senior advisers. But for now, national party committees, including the DNC, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are doing most of the heavy lifting as part of a “coordinated campaign” for down ballot races. “There’s already a serious commitment by the national party in Texas,” Hinojosa said. “There is no question that it reduces the amount of investment that the Biden campaign would have to make in Texas, as compared to other states where you have not seen that commitment.”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.

Did the CIA Torture an Undercover DEA Agent for a Mexican Drug Cartel?

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 02:11

Did the CIA Torture an Undercover DEA Agent for a Mexican Drug Cartel?Narcos: Mexico’s first two seasons revolve around the 1985 murder of undercover DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was abducted, tortured and slain by the Guadalajara Cartel he was investigating. Mining thrilling drama from reality, the Netflix series is a true story about bravery and villainy that’s overflowing with larger-than-life figures, be it the bold Camarena, the ruthless cartel kingpins Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo and Rafael Caro Quintero, or the resolute DEA agents intent on bringing to justice those responsible for their comrade’s killing—the latter group led by Walt Breslin, a take-no-prisoners American tasked with leading the retaliatory mission against the drug lords.Unlike most of those featured in Netflix’s hit, Walt Breslin isn’t a real person but a composite character based largely on DEA agent Hector Berrellez, the supervisor of the inquiry into Camarena’s assassination. And in Amazon’s new The Last Narc, Berrellez tells his own harrowing tale of taking on Guadalajara’s kingpins—and in the process delivers revelations about the U.S. government’s own culpability in the death of one of their own.Netflix Exposes Trump’s Shady Mob Ties in ‘Fear City: New York vs. The Mafia’The Nazi Hunter Taking On Mark ZuckerbergDirected by Tiller Russell, The Last Narc is a four-part docuseries (premiering July 31) about the vast conspiracy that fatally ensnared Camarena. In a dim, empty bar illuminated only by light streaming through a background doorway and window, the candid Berrellez recounts his own involvement in the War on Drugs. Brought up by a tarot card-reading mom (here seen plying her supernatural trade), and compelled to pursue a law-enforcement career after his brother became hooked on heroin at age 12, Berrellez is a bearded, weathered cowboy with a glint in his eyes that says he means business. Forthrightly reminiscing about pulling guns on suspects—and shooting down one dealer during an undercover bust gone awry—he instantly comes across as the real deal, and thus a fascinating tour guide into this sordid cartel milieu.Berrellez’s career took off once he joined the DEA, and he was soon ordered to figure out who had done in Camarena. According to wife Geneva “Mika” Camarena and colleagues Mike Holm and Phil Jordan, Camarena was a daring and driven agent determined to take down the mighty Guadalajara Cartel, and he certainly put a dent in their empire when he discovered (and, with the help of pilot Alfredo Zavala, photographed from the sky) Rancho Búfalo, a sprawling marijuana plantation that was subsequently torched by Mexican soldiers, thereby costing the cartel billions. On its own, that blow was enough to put Camarena in Gallardo, Quintero and Carrillo’s crosshairs. But worse still, it indicated that he was closing in on them, even though they had virtually everyone on their payroll, from local cops and politicians to Miguel de la Madrid, the then-current president of Mexico, as well as his predecessor, Jose Lopez Portillo.On February 7, 1985, the cartel struck, seizing Camarena as he left the office to meet Mika for lunch. At 881 Lope de Vega—a residence owned by Ruben Zuno Arce, a dealer and associate of Quintero—Camarena was horribly tortured, and kept alive (so he could suffer more) by doctor Humberto Álvarez Machaín. After 36 hours, he fell into a coma and was lethally bludgeoned with a piece of rebar by one of Quintero’s gunmen. He was then buried in Arce’s La Primavera forest (a de facto cartel graveyard), only to later be dug up so he could be “found” by authorities.Berrellez’s knowledge of cartel culture and operations is extensive and compelling, as is his explanation of the investigative hurdles he faced while trying to take down his targets. His insights alone make The Last Narc an eye-opening non-fiction account of underworld mayhem. Russell’s series, however, also benefits from the input of three cartel henchmen—Jalisco State Police officers Jorge Godoy and Rene Lopez, and their boss Ramon Lira—who relay their experiences as bodyguards for Gallardo, Quintero and Carrillo, as well as their direct participation in Camarena’s kidnapping and murder, all before they switched sides and became informants for Berrellez. From describing that broad-daylight snatching of Camarena, to revealing how Carrillo and Quintero argued about how to deal with their prisoner (the former wanted him released; the latter wanted him offed), their commentary affords a window onto a clandestine world fueled by greed, mercilessness, substance abuse and a sense of invulnerability.Stunning first-person details abound in The Last Narc, provided by colorful characters led by Berrellez—a no-nonsense crime fighter who seems tailor-made for a big-screen action franchise, even in older age—and Godoy, who behaves in such a weird manner during his interview that it’s not clear if he’s drunk, mad, or some combination of the two. In a late scene, Godoy closes his eyes and brushes at his shoulders to dispel the spirits (of Camarena, and others) that haunt him. It’s a sight that’s all the more transfixing for being so weird, and it’s in keeping with the general gonzo nature of the proceedings, which (as in Narcos: Mexico) eventually implicate the CIA and DEA as complicit in Camarena’s execution. Led by Berrellez and others’ testimony, the series contends that Cuban-born CIA agent Felix Rodriguez partially conducted Camarena’s interrogation and torture, because the U.S. government feared that he had stumbled upon a much larger conspiracy—namely, that the CIA was in bed with the cartels, moving guns, drugs and cash through them in order to covertly fund Nicaragua’s anti-communist Contras.That theory might not be new, but Berrellez’s discussion about his primary role in exposing the scheme—and the personal and professional ramifications he suffered as a result—lends it persuasive credence. The Last Narc thus transforms from a simple murder-mystery into a wide-ranging expose about the entangled relationship between the CIA, the Mexican government, the DFS (Mexico’s secret police, created by the CIA) and the cartels. In doing so, it renders Camarena a casualty of a war that was fundamentally unwinnable, since all interested parties had a stake in maintaining the status quo, regardless of the harm it caused the Mexican and American populations. Consequently, the lasting impression left by Russell’s series isn’t shock or outrage, but despair over a plague supported by a greedy many, and combated by a courageous few who, for their heroic efforts, received nothing but disgrace and death.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.

Nasa: Mars spacecraft is experiencing technical problems and has gone into hibernation, space agency says

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 01:51

 Mars spacecraft is experiencing technical problems and has gone into hibernation, space agency saysNasa's Mars spacecraft is experiencing technical problems and has sent itself into hibernation, the space agency has said.The spacecraft was sent to space Thursday in a launch that had no technical problems – even despite an earthquake that struck just before liftoff, and a preparation period that came during the coronavirus outbreak. Shortly after it was launched, Nasa announced that it had received its first signal from the spacecraft.

Rodrigo Duterte: 'I'm not joking - clean masks with petrol'

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 01:03

 'I'm not joking - clean masks with petrol'The Philippines' leader doubled down on earlier claims - despite officials saying he was wrong.

EU sanctions Russian intelligence, North Korean and Chinese firms over alleged cyberattacks

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 00:43

EU sanctions Russian intelligence, North Korean and Chinese firms over alleged cyberattacksThe European Union on Thursday imposed travel and financial sanctions on a department of Russia’s military intelligence service and on firms from North Korea and China over their suspected participation in major cyberattacks across the world. In its first ever sanctions related to cybercrime, the EU targeted the department for special technologies of the Russian military intelligence service, known as Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, it said in a statement. The bloc accused the Russian service of having carried out two cyberattacks in June 2017, which hit several companies in Europe resulting in large financial losses. The service is also accused of two cyberattacks against Ukraine’s power grid in 2015 and 2016. Four individuals working for the Russian military intelligence service were also sanctioned for allegedly participating in an attempted cyberattack against the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Netherlands in April 2018. North Korean company Chosun Expo was also sanctioned on suspicion of having supported the Lazarus Group, which is deemed responsible for a series of major attacks worldwide, including an $81 million (£61.74 million) heist against Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2016, the world’s biggest cyber fraud. The company is also allegedly linked to an attack against Hollywood film studio Sony Pictures to prevent the release of a satirical movie about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2014. The U.S. Treasury last year imposed sanctions on the Lazarus Group and two other North Korean hacking groups for their alleged participation in the attacks on Sony Pictures and the central bank of Bangladesh, among others. It said North Korea’s main intelligence service was behind the hacking groups. North Korea has denied any involvement in cyberattacks. The EU sanctions also hit Chinese firm Haitai Technology Development, which is accused of having supported cyberattacks - known as Operation Cloud Hopper - aimed at stealing commercially sensitive data from multinationals across the world. Two Chinese individuals allegedly involved in the attacks were also sanctioned. Sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes. EU individuals, companies and other entities are forbidden from making funds available to those blacklisted. China’s diplomatic mission to the European Union said in a statement early on Friday that China “is a staunch defender of network security and one of the biggest victims of hacker attacks.” China wants global cyberspace security to be maintained through “dialogue and cooperation” and not by unilateral sanctions, the statement added.

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