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As the Trump administration fills board seats, critics see an alarming attempt to remake governmentFor the Trump administration, appointing board members may be an effective and little-noticed means of weakening a federal apparatus it fundamentally distrusts. His board appointments, many of which may outlast his presidency, could serve an internal Republican resistance to a future Democratic administration. 


1/15/2020 4:00:17 AM

Supreme Court Not Buying It on Bridgegate ConvictionsIt's unclear whether they'll throw the cases out.


1/15/2020 1:34:00 PM

Wealthy CEOs complain about feeling 'unsafe' because of homeless people in San FranciscoA major healthcare conference in San Francisco this week has sparked a debate about the California city’s homeless crisis as wealthy executives and investors complain of feeling 'unsafe'.The city rakes in $51m (£39m) each year from the annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference despite growing concerns about the city’s homeless population among attendees of the healthcare industry’s leading conference, according to Bloomberg News.


1/16/2020 11:01:42 AM

Disease that killed millions of China's pigs poses global threatSoon the dog's handler discovered and confiscated a ham sandwich in the purse of a passenger who had flown on a China Eastern Airlines flight from Shanghai. China has lost millions of pigs in outbreaks of the disease, pushing its pork prices to record highs, forcing purchases of costly imports and roiling global meat markets. Bettie is among an expanded team of specially trained beagles at U.S. airports, part of a larger effort to protect the nation's $23 billion pork industry from a disease that has decimated China's hog herd, the world's largest.


1/16/2020 6:05:53 AM

Officials block villagers as quakes shake Philippine volcanoA Philippine volcano that erupted last weekend belched smaller plumes of ash but shuddered frequently with earthquakes Thursday, prompting authorities to block access to nearby towns due to fears of a bigger eruption. A crater lake and nearby river on the Taal volcano dried up in signs of its continued restiveness, and officials have warned people against speculating that the five-day eruption is waning. “We have a seeming lull, but, again, as we emphasized earlier, there is something different happening beneath the volcano,” Ma.


1/15/2020 10:21:15 PM

Texts Appear to Show Former Ukraine Prosecutor Offering Info on Bidens in Exchange for Ouster of Then-Ambassador YovanovitchA trove of documents provided to House impeachment investigators by Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, appears to show former top Ukraine prosecutor Yuri Lutsenko offering Giuliani damaging information on Joe and Hunter Biden in exchange for the firing of then–U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.Lutsenko was critical of Yovanovitch due to her support for an anti-corruption institution based in Ukraine, as well as because the ambassador had been critical of Lutsenko and his office."It’s just that if you don’t make a decision about Madam — you are calling into question all my declarations. Including about B,” Lutsenko wrote to Parnas in Russian in a Whatsapp message from March 22. "Madam" likely refers to Yovanovitch, while it is unclear if "B" designates Biden or Burisma, the Ukrainian company on whose board Hunter Biden sat from 2014 to early 2019.Lutsenko, who was in the midst of an investigation into Burisma, updated Parnas four days later, writing that he had found evidence of money transfers pertaining to "B.""And here you can’t even remove one fool :(" Lutsenko told Parnas via text message."She’s not a simple fool[,] trust me," Parnas wrote back. "But she’s not getting away."The documents also reveal that Parnas's associate, Connecticut businessman and congressional candidate Robert Hyde, was in contact with some unidentified person who was surveilling Yovanovitch.During her testimony before Congress last year, Yovanovitch speculated that Giuliani and his associates were working to have her fired in order to install an ambassador who would be more amenable to their corrupt business dealings in Ukraine.The documents are likely to breath new life into the Democrat-led impeachment process against President Trump, just as the House plans to vote to transfer the impeachment articles to the Senate for trial.The contours of the trial are as yet unclear. Republicans in the Senate and the Trump administration have vacillated between calls to allow witnesses to testify at the trial and a desire to dismiss the charges without summoning witnesses at all.


1/15/2020 7:41:05 AM

Neda Agha-Soltan’s Blood Stained the Ground Where Iranians Protest TodayWhen politicians and pundits speak of “Iran” and “the Iranians,” they often mean just the Islamist thugs who rule that nation by institutionalized terror. But Iran and the Iranians also include the protesters who brave batons and bullets in the streets of Tehran, proving themselves as desirous of freedom as any Americans in America.The most recent protests began on Sunday at a vigil for the 176 innocents who perished when a Ukraine International Airlines passenger jet was downed by an Iranian missile. The regime had initially denied any responsibility for the tragedy, but finally admitted the truth.The people at the vigil—as much or more representative of Iran as any mullah—are so decent as to be outraged that such a lie had been told by their government. The regime responded, as often before, by battering and tear-gassing and, by several accounts, firing live ammunition at the demonstrators. One noticeable difference from the demonstrations of a decade past was that women were reported to be at the forefront, some of them holding up flowers in the face of assault rifles. A video that made it through the regime’s social media filters shows a wounded woman being assisted by fellow protesters.“They shot her with a bullet,” someone can be heard saying in Farsi.Other images that made it online are of blood-stained concrete said to be in the vicinity of Azadi Square.“The blood of our people!” someone was recorded exclaiming.The saving of that blood at the edge of a square whose name means “freedom” brought to mind a decade-old video taken a short distance away showing the final moments of 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan. She was an aspiring musician and photographer standing at the fringe of the demonstration with her piano teacher on June 20, 2009, when a militia sniper on a nearby roof shot her in the chest. An onlooker’s cellphone footage recorded her final words.“I’m  burning! I’m burning!” she said in Farsi.Her eyes rolled back as blood then gushed from her mouth and nose. The video that vividly captured it all went mega viral.“Probably the most widely witnessed death in human history,” Time magazine later said.Aerospace Chief Says He Wishes He Was Dead After Iran Admits Shooting Down Ukraine JetAt the time, Agha-Soltan had plans to spend her life with a photographer/filmmaker/journalist/poet/antiquarian/naturalist named Caspian Makan. They had met two months before, in what might be called a case of love at first sound after they chanced to board the same bus in Turkey.“There were really beautiful sights on the road,” Makan later told The Daily Beast. “I was taking pictures of a rainbow and heard a beautiful voice of a young lady from the backseat talking to me about the beauties of nature. We had more than one hour of very warm conversation without being able to see each other’s faces because of the seats’ positions.”Only when the bus arrived at Kusadasi was first sound followed by his first sight of Agha-Soltan. Even the given name was perfect for this woman whose beauty he heard before he saw.“Neda in Persian means: inner voice or spiritual voice,” Caspian later told The Daily Beast.They proved to have flown in on the same plane from Iran, he to photograph ancient artifacts, she simply on vacation.“We were together in Turkey for nine days and we were happy that we had found each other as we had many things in common,” he recalled. “We went back to Iran, and our relationship got more serious. And we started living in my apartment together.”Love at first sound was leading to two becoming one. She hoped one would then become three. “It was her wish for us to have a baby so much that we even had chosen a name for it,” he recalled. The choice was accompanied by a hunch regarding the gender.“We chose ‘Joupin’ as a boy's name, because we thought so!” he said.That June, Iran’s hardline president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ran for another term in what was widely viewed as a rigged election. Neda Agha-Soltan was one of an estimated 500,000 Iranians who took to the streets in protest despite warnings from the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.“A day before, dictator ‘Mullah Khamenei’ in his speech, had instructed the forces to crack down the protesters,” Makan recalled. Agha-Soltan was among those who vowed not to be intimidated.“She said, ‘I’ll go! Even if a bullet hit my heart,’” Makan remembered.Makan says that he ventured on his own into the crowds to take pictures even though photographers had been banned.“The [security forces] were brutally hitting everyone who were on their way, even those who were just passing through,” he later reported. “They threw an old lady on the ground who was hardly able to stand on her feet with a cane in her hand. They were breaking the windows of the houses and cars with their batons to give people fright.”The bad became dire.“The security forces started shooting at people and the clashes were intensified,” Makan later said. “I got more worried about Neda. The telephone lines were disconnected in the areas clashes were happening. There was no way to communicate.”Twelve hours later, his cellphone rang. The display said Neda was calling, but it was her sister, Hoda.“Caspian, Neda is gone,” she said, by his account.“What do you mean Neda’s gone!?” he asked.“She got shot,” the sister said.Makan began screaming. Agha-Soltan’s mother, Zohreah, came on the line.“Caspian, they took Neda away from us,” she said.The regime forbade any memorial service for this young woman whose death was witnessed by millions.“We were not even allowed to hold a private memorial for Neda in her parents' house,” Makan reported.Only a few loved ones were permitted at the burial in grave 32 at Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery in Tehran. There came what he describes as “the most painful moments in my life.”“I was standing right next to her body,” he would remember. “I couldn’t believe that she was my Neda. Her face was strangely in pain and it looked so sad.”His love at first sound was forever silenced.“Neda had sang for me a few times, and she seriously had a nice and pleasant voice even when she was just talking!” Makan said later. “I wish I had her voice now.  We had decided to record her voice in an audio studio reading some of my poems. But she was gone before her wishes came true.”But in the days ahead, protesters came by the thousands to the grave. The security forces dispersed them again and again.“People were getting attacked, arrested, and at least one person got killed at her grave,” Makan said.The security forces even turned their guns on the grave itself.“You can’t believe the guards shot at her gravestone and disrespected her,” Makan said.Six days after Agha-Soltan’s killing, the security forces raided Makan’s home, setting up snipers on the surrounding rooftops. His archive of photographs—10,000 largely of nature and historical sites—were seized. He was thrown into Evin prison. He spent a fortnight in cell 34, often wishing he had himself been killed and buried near grave 32. Makan was blindfolded when taken to other parts of the prison, but the ears that had once thrilled at Agha-Soltan’s sweet tones were filled with the screams of protesters under interrogation. His own interrogation swung between being hit and being offered ice cream and being threatened with execution as his captors pressured him to say that  Agha-Soltan had been on a suicide mission for a subversive group. The regime in the meantime had been making the bizarre claim that she and other demonstrators had secreted vials of blood in their mouths so they could make it look like they were bleeding internally as they sprawled on the street.Thanks to pressure from Amnesty International and others, he was granted bail. Agha-Soltan had loved sunrises and and he began visiting her grave at daybreak, slipping away before the guards arrived. He did not want to leave Iran and the cause for which she died, but he understood that he would be thrown back in prison if he did not keep quiet.He finally was unable to endure the enforced silence. He went to Turkey, where he had first met Agha-Soltan, but this time continued on to Canada despite the regime’s efforts to have the Turkish authorities return him to Iran. He pledged to continue wearing black in memory of Agha-Soltan and all the other victims of the regime.In November of last year, a hike in gasoline prices was met by protests in Tehran and other cities across Iran where people stopped their cars and simply sat. The security forces responded by murdering hundreds, perhaps more than 1,500. As many as a third of them were women.“Neda planted herself in the ground like a seed!” Makan told The Daily Beast, “Now, we are seeing the other young people, especially girls, growing on Neda’s plant and bravely standing against the religious dictatorship regime... So Neda’s way has continued.”Among the dead was 14-year-old Nikta Esfandani, who loved music and theater. She was fatally shot in the head on Nov. 16. The regime decreed that due to her youth, the family would not be billed for the cost of the bullet, as was standard practice. She was buried in the same cemetery as Agha-Soltan.Thousands more protesters were reportedly jailed, many in the same prison where Makan was held.“I know very well what the hell is there!” he told The Daily Beast. “Every moment I wish I was killed like my fiancée in the street instead of being arrested!”Women were even more at the forefront of the protests that began on Sunday. A young woman’s blood was again spilled at the edge of Azadi Square.This week, Makan said he would continue to wear black so long as Iran is controlled by a regime he calls “the original version of ISIS.” A message was posted online by someone who identified herself as Agha-Soltan’s sister and speaks as an Iranian of the Iran that survives despite the regime.“I am alive but my sister was killed. She wanted the wind to blow into her hair; she wanted to be free; she wanted to hold her head high up and say: I am Iranian. My sister died because there is no life left; my sister died because there is no end to tyranny.”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.


1/15/2020 3:28:41 AM

United Airlines flight makes emergency landing in Newark due to engine problemUnited Airlines says a flight heading to Los Angeles ad to return to Newark to make an emergency landing Wednesday night because of an engine issue.


1/16/2020 6:50:04 AM

The Navy cryptically says it has top-secret UFO briefings that would cause 'exceptionally grave damage' to US national security if publishedThe Navy previously confirmed it was treating objects that baffled pilots in Department of Defense videos as UFOs.


1/15/2020 4:47:25 AM

Who won the Democratic debate? Our panelists' verdictIn the last Democratic debate before the Iowa caucus, the rift between Warren and Sanders grew – to Biden’s delight ‘So boring – save for a gross exchange between Sanders and Warren’This was a debate where people talked about “literal tornadoes made of fire” and it was so utterly lacking in charisma that billionaire Tom Steyer was able to add a little flair to the proceedings by dressing like a human tape dispenser. His tie, as awful as it was, was the most interesting thing up there on that stage. It’s almost fascinating how boring it all was, given how we almost went to war with Iran just a week ago, and how close we are to procedurally removing a president from office.Look. We’re all tired of this. Every time they broadcast one of these debates the viewership drops by a lot. The candidates are tired of this, of being asked to explain within 40 seconds complicated policy and ideology. The viewership is clearly tired of being asked to decide the future of our country based on 40 seconds of information. The only people who are excited are the moderators, who get to have their big moment on cable television. What fun it must be for them to talk over someone explaining how we might lower insulin prices enough so that people don’t have to ration lifesaving treatment to ask how they feel about the latest Trump tweet.The only real energy of the night was unfortunate. Once CNN moderator Abby Phillip got the opportunity to ask Bernie Sanders whether or not he said, as dubiously reported this week, a woman could not be elected president – which he strongly denied – she immediately turned to Elizabeth Warren to ask how it felt to be told by Bernie Sanders that a woman could not be president.It was gross, like something from a new West Wing script. All that was missing were the stringed instruments bringing a sentimental surge to Warren’s answer. It was also the only part of the evening where anyone felt present. Biden might as well have been wandering the stage aimlessly, Buttigieg was vacant and hesitant, and Sanders never does well when asked to pander with diversity language. We’ll have to wait and see if the moment landed with the electorate, or if it played as cheap to voters as it did in my living room.We all thought that with fewer candidates on a smaller stage, we might be able to hash out some real topics with some real seriousness. Tonight proved it’s just electioneering all the way down. * Jessa Crispin is the host of the Public Intellectual podcast ‘Joe Biden has reason to smile’The Democrats’ seventh debate won’t likely move the needle but Joe Biden has reason to smile. At the end of the night he was untouched.Overall, the debate was an exercise in somnolence. Once again, Elizabeth Warren was forced to defend the practicability of her version of Medicare for All, Pete Buttigieg sounded like the smartest kid in the room, and the former vice-president showed his discomfort standing behind a lectern.As for Bernie Sanders, he was evasive when it came to addressing the cost of his plan to turn the economy on its head. Socialism is expensive. Most telling, was the post-debate awkwardness between Sanders and Warren. There are definitely hurt feelings on the left.Amy Klobuchar’s discussion of education and the job market was illuminating. Her take showed a concern for realities larger than political orthodoxies, and was a reminder of why she is one of the Senate’s most popular members.Watching the debate one could almost forget that by the end of the week the Senate will be in the midst of an impeachment trial, a fact that the Democratic presidential field did not appear overly eager to discuss even as the president seethes, rages and tweets. * Lloyd Green was opposition research counsel to George HW Bush’s 1988 campaign and served in the Department of Justice from 1990 to 1992 ‘Elizabeth Warren held a command of the stage’Elizabeth Warren masterfully handled her dust-up with Bernie Sanders over the electability of a woman at the close of the first hour of the debate, as she has over the past couple days. She pointed out that the men on the stage had lost 10 elections among them, while she and Amy Klobuchar never lost. For her part, the Klobuchar Dutch aunt routine begins to wear. Just saying no is no way to ignite a fire with despairing Iowa Democrats.Biden maintained his position, as did Sanders (who sits atop the latest Iowa Poll). You could feel the spotlight dimming on Pete Buttigieg. Steyer moved no needle. Warren regained some traction in the final debate before the 3 February caucuses. She was able to explain her moderated healthcare plans in detail, called for removing all combat troops from the Middle East amid a flare-up in tensions, and held a command of the stage over the other candidates. * Art Cullen is the editor of the Storm Lake Times in north-west Iowa, where he won the Pulitzer prize for editorial writing. He is a columnist for Guardian US, and is author of the book Storm Lake: Change, Resilience and Hope in America Warren probably won, while Biden sat above the frayAll the candidates, but in particular Bernie Sanders, were peppered with leading questions, and the most potentially interesting moment of the entire debate was confusingly mishandled.Sanders was asked about a conversation that allegedly happened between him and Elizabeth Warren about whether a woman could beat Trump. He responded by saying that he did not, and would not, tell Warren that a woman was unelectable. Warren was then asked how she responded to being told by Sanders that a woman could not be elected president. The discrepancy between the two accounts was not addressed. And clearly not all is well, judging by what appeared to be an argument between the two, caught on tape right after the debate ended.The foreign policy and trade focus of the debate was welcomed, but all the candidates were allowed to vaguely posture as anti-war and skeptical of free trade without any specifics.The night’s bigger winner is probably Warren for avoiding a big gaffe after a difficult week. And Bernie didn’t do anything to disillusion his stalwart base. But I imagine that Biden is happy to be avoiding the fray and sitting comfortably with his lead and his reliable base of older Democrats.As for Trump, he must be looking at the field and thinking that each and every one of them are beatable. * Bhaskar Sunkara is the founding editor of Jacobin magazine and a Guardian US columnist. He is the author of The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality ‘Discord between Sanders and Warren benefits Biden’Viewers waited all day for clarity surrounding Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2018 conversation. Rather than ask for veracity or context, CNN’s moderator asked Sanders whether he said that a woman could not win this presidential bid. After Sanders vehemently denied that he did, the moderator asked Warren what she thought when Sanders made the comment – the one he just denied making. Both candidates received applause after they affirmed their support for women candidates during elections.This controversy is troublesome because it sows unnecessary discord between two relatively progressive campaigns. Sanders’ comments, if made at all, were likely about the sexist voting habits of people who refuse to support women candidates, and not about whether individual women could successfully win an electoral race.The biggest threat to both campaigns is Vice-President Joe Biden, who intervened to acknowledge his diverse voter base. He reminded us again that he was President Obama’s vice-president, even when his former political commitments clash with his current talking points. For example, he condemned Trump’s assassination of Gen Qassem Soleimani, but couldn’t quite reconcile that with President Obama’s multiple military killings without specific congressional approval.All of that may be irrelevant for Biden. In some polls he is leading, even with black voters. That’s despite being called out for siding with racist politicians against school integration. And after tonight’s performance, neither Warren nor Sanders did anything to dent his lead. * Derecka Purnell is a social movement lawyer and writer based in Washington, DC


1/15/2020 12:57:47 AM

Top News Stories

Wired

Tardigrades are known for their ability to survive extreme temperatures. But new research suggests they might be more sensitive than previously thought.

1/16/2020 1:12:07 PM

He sees pools of data as raw material for visualizations that he calls a new kind of “sculpture.”

1/16/2020 12:03:46 PM

Sam Mendes’ war epic is presented as one continuous shot. Making the illusion work was no small feat. 

1/16/2020 9:00:00 AM

Meanwhile, Netflix is about to unleash Miss Americana, its documentary about Taylor Swift .

1/16/2020 8:15:47 AM

The school's investigation shows that two separate scandals—over Jeffrey Epstein and OpenAg—were closely linked. 

1/16/2020 8:00:00 AM

Mojo Vision's prototypes can enhance your vision or show you your schedule—right from the surface of your eyes.

1/16/2020 7:00:00 AM

The city is rich in opportunity for African Americans, who are largely underrepresented in the industry. It's also poised to become a hotbed for AI innovation.

1/16/2020 6:00:00 AM

In 2016, the iPhone encryption debate ended in a draw. Don't count on 2020's scuffle over the Pensacola shooter's devices to play out the same way.

1/16/2020 6:00:00 AM

There’s no guarantee he won’t still get notifications from that green owl.

1/16/2020 6:00:00 AM

How Washington went to war against the Chinese smartphone giant, and how the runaway conflict could spell the end of a single, global internet. 

1/16/2020 5:00:00 AM

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