At Tuesday night’s Democratic primary debate, presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg escalated their disagreement over O’Rourke’s proposal for mandatory buybacks of assault weapons.
China said Thursday it detained two U.S. citizens on suspicion of organizing others to illegally cross the border, amid sharpening tensions between the sides over trade, technology and other sensitive issues. Police in the eastern province of Jiangsu arrested Alyssa Petersen and Jacob Harlan on Sept. 27 and Sept. 29, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. "The department handling the case has informed the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai in a timely manner, arranged U.S. diplomats to conduct consular visits and protected the legitimate rights and interests of the two," Geng said at a regular press briefing.
Three historians using film footage from Mount Suribachi identified one of the six flag-raisers as Cpl. Harold 'Pie' Keller - not Pfc. Rene Gagnon.
A Costa Cruises representative said the woman "voluntarily" jumped from the balcony in her cabin on the Costa Pacifica ship.
Photo Illustration by Kristen Hazzard/The Daily Beast/GettyWhen Rudy Giuliani logs into Twitter, he’s presented with a world where the recent California power outages were staged by military operatives rooting out cannibal-pedophiles deep in their underground bunkers. It’s a place where President Donald Trump only betrayed the Kurds because they were running black sites for a global deep-state cabal; where former Trump Russia adviser Fiona Hill ran an anti-Trump spy ring out of the White House; where former Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta eats children; and where the pope is about to seize world power, and maybe already has. It is the worst that the right-wing internet fever swamp has to offer, and it is all right there, waiting for Giuliani to consume. With the president’s personal lawyer now in hot water for helping to orchestrate an apparent pressure campaign to get the Ukrainian leadership to launch investigations beneficial to Trump’s domestic political needs, the question being routinely asked is what compelled him to act in these ways. To answer that question, it’s worth examining the dozen of hardcore conspiracy theory accounts that populate Giuliani’s Twitter timeline. Giuliani, after all, has become a fairly regular user of the platform, having posted to it more than 1,000 times and routinely favoriting content during the course of any given day. But he only follows 224 people (as of Wednesday). A good chunk of those follows are conventional Trumpworld figures, including the president himself (Trump was Giuliani’s earliest follow), Judicial Watch chief Tom Fitton, opinion writer John Solomon, and former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka.But many of those 224 dabble in far darker realms of the far-right conspiracy theory internet than the usual rantings of a Fox News primetime broadcast. For instance, Giuliani follows writer Ella Cruz—the author of an Amazon self-published book called Ring of the Cabal: The Secret Government of The Royal Papal Banking Cabal, which alleges that the New World Order will soon impose the “mark of the beast” on all humanity. In August, Cruz tweeted at Giuliani, warning him that Hillary Clinton murdered pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. Though Giuliani doesn’t often RT or even like the content produced by the people he follows his taste for conspiracy theories does occasionally shine through, such as in August, when he quote-tweeted conspiracy theorist Matt Couch, a prolific promoter of the baseless idea that former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered by Hillary Clinton. Couch has become so vocal in his attacks on the Rich family that Rich’s brother filed a defamation suit against him. Giuliani promoted a tweet from Couch questioning the police narrative about Rich’s 2016 murder, and later told The Daily Beast there are “legitimate questions” about the investigation. Giuliani follows a number of accounts that promote the QAnon conspiracy, which alleges that Trump is engaged in a secret war against cannibal-pedophiles in the Democratic Party, Hollywood, and Wall Street. Nearly 5 percent of the accounts that Giuliani follows have explicit QAnon references permanently on their Twitter pages, either in the form of pinned tweets, Twitter names, bios, or header images. Many more of them frequently tweet and retweet QAnon messages from popular promoters of the conspiracy theory. Several accounts Giuliani follows recently retweeted a video, shot in a dimly lit, anonymous living room, starring a man claiming that Navy SEALs and Marines had recently rescued “2,100 children from California Underground bases.” There is no evidence that this is actually true. Other accounts that Giuliani follows are prone to promoting a wild potpourri of various conspiracy theory claims. Among them are that Barack Obama is engineering the Trump impeachment process to install Michelle Obama in the White House, or that Hillary Clinton plans to kill off each Democratic presidential candidate so she can become president herself. Others allege that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg secretly died months ago, but that her death is being covered up. Taken together, the accounts circle around a few popular right-wing targets: the Clintons, the Obamas, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). Several accounts Giuliani follows recently claimed, without any proof, that Omar had donned a disguise to take part in a gathering of left-wing antifascist activists. Another promoted a long-discredited idea that a photograph proves Omar attended a terrorist training camp (in fact, the picture was taken years before Omar was even born).Many of the accounts Giuliani follows have just a few hundred or thousand followers, raising questions about how he became aware of them in the first place. But Giuliani also follows some of Twitter’s leading right-wing conspiracy theorists. Giuliani follows SGT Report, a sort of clearing house for anti-vaccine activists and other conspiracy theorists that has more than 500,000 subscribers on YouTube.The degree to which Rudy’s Twitter consumption informs his world view is inherently unknowable. Giuliani hasn’t favorited any of tweets from the conspiracy theory accounts. Reached for comment, he declined to say why so many obscure conspiracy theory Twitter accounts make up the relatively small number of total accounts that he follows on Twitter.“Never saw any of that,” Giuliani wrote in a text message.But there is some anecdotal evidence that Giuliani has embraced or, at a minimum, begun to echo the world that he has built for himself on that platform and it is not just because of his penchant for promoting conspiracy theories about billionaire George Soros and former Vice President Joe Biden. Earlier this month, Giuliani appeared on an internet TV radio show hosted by Bill Mitchell, a diehard Trump fan who has frequently promoted QAnon online. Asked ahead of the interview why he was going on the show, given Mitchell’s QAnon connection, Giuliani asked for proof that Mitchell supports QAnon. After The Daily Beast sent Giuliani one article proving Mitchell’s support for QAnon, the former prosecutor stopped responding to text messages.Giuliani’s own Twitter use has accelerated since he took on a starring role in Trump’s Ukraine scandal, according to social media analytics site SocialBlade. In October 2018, Giuliani had 29 average monthly tweets. A year later, he averages 132 tweets a month, according to SocialBlade.Many of the fringe accounts Giuliani follows have rallied to his defense as the Ukraine investigation heats up and echo his most conspiratorial insinuations about the Biden family. One account Giuliani follows, for example, regularly urges him and Trump to sue Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over impeachment. Several of the conspiracy theorist Twitter users that Giuliani follows have, in turn, cited their social media connection to the former New York City mayor as a way of burnishing their credibility. “It’s an honor that he follows me,” Couch, the Seth Rich conspiracy theorist, told The Daily Beast.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
(Bloomberg) -- One of Hong Kong’s most prominent protest organizers -- including a march planned for Sunday -- was recovering after being attacked on the street by men wielding hammers.Jimmy Sham -- convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front, which has organized many of the city’s largest peaceful protests -- issued a plea from his hospital bed Thursday for police to allow the march go ahead in the Tsim Tsa Tsui area as planned. Sham was assaulted by four to five men Wednesday while on his way to a meeting in nearby Mong Kok -- the second time he’s been attacked since August.“When Jimmy was at his street counter, many of the citizens expressed that they really hope there will be a safe march on Sunday,” the Civil Human Rights Front said in a statement Thursday. “Jimmy therefore urges the Police to issue Letter of No Objection, so that Hongkongers can express their views.”The Civil Human Rights Front has helped organize several of the largest protests ever held in the former British colony, including two largely peaceful marches in June that drew more than a million people. The demonstrations have since mushroomed into a broader push for greater democracy, leading to regular clashes between protesters and police and occasional incidents of mob violence.On Thursday, Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, was forced to repeatedly halt a question session in the city’s legislature as opposition lawmakers demanded her to step down and address other protester demands. The coming weekend will be the Asian financial center’s 20th-straight weekend of unrest.See also: Hong Kong Police Targeted With Remote-Controlled ExplosiveNg Tak-nam, chief police inspector for the Mong Kok area, condemned the attack on Sham, which he said appeared to have been premeditated. “The police will investigate impartially and seriously, regardless of the person’s background and identity,” Ng told reporters.Sham, who is planning to join the district council elections next month, was attacked in August by two masked men with a baseball bat and knife. Police have arrested three men in connection with that earlier case, charging two of them with conspiracy to assault causing bodily harm. The third is on bail pending further investigation.The Civil Human Rights Front said that the assailants in the latest attack appeared to be aiming for Sham’s head, elbows and knees. The group said he suffered several wounds, but had no broken bones.“The Civil Human Rights Front strongly condemns the acts of the perpetrators,” the group said. “It is not hard to link this incident to a spreading political terror in order to threaten and inhibit the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights.”(Updates with recovery in headline and first paragraph)\--With assistance from Justin Chin.To contact the reporter on this story: Shelly Banjo in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at email@example.com, Ben SharplesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the world’s worst aviation safety records, so reports that an aircraft had tumbled into a remote forest last week caused few international ripples. Since then, however, a deepening mystery over the nature of the cargo and the identity of those on board has left the Congolese government facing awkward questions. The fate of the stricken plane, a mysterious Antonov-72 so far only identified by its former registration number, EK-72903, may also provide a glimpse into the murkier side of Russia’s attempts to reassert its influence in Africa. The details remain scant. Last Thursday, the plane crashed 59 minutes after taking off from the eastern city of Goma bound for the capital Kinshasa. None of the eight people on board survived, officials said. The passengers were identified as the personal chauffeur of Felix Tshisekedi, Congo’s president, and three of his bodyguards. An armoured vehicle used by the president was also on board. A more troubling disclosure followed when two of the four-strong crew were identified. Vitaly Shumkov and Vladimir Sadovnichy, the plane’s pilots, were not only Russian nationals, they both appeared to have a background in gun running. The plane, too, has a murky past. EK-72903 was once owned by an Armenian company whose proprietor has been linked to arms smuggling elsewhere in Africa. Whether the crew were somehow furthering Kremlin interests remains unknown. However, there is no secret that Russia hopes to regain the influence the Soviet Union once wielded in Africa by wooing its leaders with arms sales, private security and “political technologists” adept at winning elections. Such attempts have often been linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of Vladimir Putin who has been accused of masterminding attempts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election. Mr Prigozhin allegedly had Congo in his sights after Russia announced in May that it was sending a team of army specialists to the country. Some Russia media outlets speculated that Mr Prigozhin, was on board the plane ahead of a meeting with President Tshisekedi. That is almost certainly untrue. Slumming it on an Antonov is generally not Mr Progozhin’s style. “He wouldn’t get into a plane like that,” a Congolese government official said. “This gentleman is an oligarch and if he travels then he travels on his own plane.” The official said that while Mr Prigozhin had not been scheduled to meet President Tshisekedi, other Russian government representatives had requested a meeting to discuss the upcoming summit. It is unclear if any were on board. At least two people described as being “of eastern European origin” were also on the plane. They have not yet been identified, adding to the intrigue surrounding the flight. For the moment, whoever else was on board the plane remains unknown. With some sources saying there may have been 11 people rather than eight on board, UN officials were attempting to identify the remains of the dead — some of whom had been hastily buried — last night. Even that might not put an end to the intrigue of what happened aboard EK-72903. Congo rarely gives up its mysteries. In 1961, a plane departing the country with then UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld on board crashed. Three inquiries failed to determined the cause of the crash and Hammarskjöld’s death remains a mystery to this day.
The U.K. and the E.U. have come to a new agreement on Brexit, just two weeks before Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union.
Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah) was sharply critical of the Trump administration’s handling Turkey's invasion of Northern Syria during a press conference with reporters Wednesday afternoon, questioning why the president did not make “a clear agreement with Turkey as to what they would do, and what they would not do” before ordering a withdrawal of American troops from the region.> Sen. Romney on US troop withdrawal from northern Syria: > > "Turkey let us know what they were going to do. This is not a surprise. Everybody told the administration what would happen … The reality is what's happening in Syria is a result of our decision." pic.twitter.com/8sy3yhFeDq> > -- NBC News (@NBCNews) October 16, 2019“This is not a surprise. Everybody told the administration what would happen if we pulled our troops out precipitously,” Romney said. “Instead, there should have been a negotiation beforehand, we should’ve sat down with Turkey and said, ‘Alright, look: We’re willing to talk to you about your concerns, let’s see if we can negotiate a program here where we protect the Kurds, where we can make sure the ISIS prisoners are kept in place, and where we honor our commitments to our friends the Kurds, as well as our alliance with you, Turkey.’”“At this stage, it’s trying to cover ourselves as well as we can and look like we’re being tough and we’re putting sanctions on Turkey and so forth, but the reality is the decision was made by this administration which has led to the Turks going into Syria and wiping out our friends, the Kurds. That’s what’s unacceptable,” Romney added.The chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism went on to say that neither he nor the subcommittee's ranking member, Senator Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) were briefed on the decision to withdraw troops ahead of time, and to voice hope that the White House would provide the subcommittee a transparent explanation of the process that led to the move.Romney and Murphy released a statement October 7 that called the Syria withdrawal “a betrayal that will have grave humanitarian and national security consequences.”Turkey’s invasion of Northern Syria entered its eighth day Wednesday, amid heavy fighting that has displaced over 130,000 people and attracted Russian and Syrian troops to the region.Romney’s comments marked the latest twist in an often-testy relationship with Trump that has publicly soured amid disagreements over the House's impeachment inquiry and the Syria withdrawal. On Wednesday, the Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy group, released a 30-second ad which paints Romney as a “Democrat secret asset” who is “plotting to take down President Trump with impeachment.”