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Buttigieg, surging in Iowa, has a plan to win it all. Here it is.

Buttigieg, surging in Iowa, has a plan to win it all. Here it is.Reminder: There are 105 days until the Iowa caucuses and 379 days until the 2020 election. It happened to Kamala Harris during the summer. Now it’s starting to happen to South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was widely proclaimed one of the “winners” of last week’s Democratic primary debate in Westerville, Ohio.



Trump blames Constitution's ‘phony Emoluments Clause’ for G-7 debacle

Trump blames Constitution's ‘phony Emoluments Clause’ for G-7 debaclePresident Trump on Monday defended his initial plan to host next year’s summit of world leaders at his golf resort near Miami, dismissing concerns that he would have personally profited from the decision.



An Air France flight was forced to turn back in midair when staff found an unattended cellphone that wasn't claimed by any of the passengers

An Air France flight was forced to turn back in midair when staff found an unattended cellphone that wasn't claimed by any of the passengersAir France flight 136 to Chicago from Paris landed at Ireland's Shannon Airport, where the police scanned a cellphone found on board.



Correction: Crane Demolition story

Correction: Crane Demolition storyIn a story Oct. 20 about the demolition of two construction cranes at the site of a partially collapsed building in New Orleans, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the cranes weighed thousands of tons. NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Thundering explosions toppled two cranes Sunday that had loomed precariously for days over a partially collapsed hotel in New Orleans, in what city officials hailed as a success and said efforts now would focus on retrieving two bodies still inside the ruined building.



A West Point cadet and his M4 rifle have been missing for three days

A West Point cadet and his M4 rifle have been missing for three daysOfficials said that the cadet, member of the class of 2021, is not believed to be a threat to the public, but could be a threat to himself.



US far-right activists get four years in jail for attacking leftists

US far-right activists get four years in jail for attacking leftistsTwo members of a US far-right group were each sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday for brawling with anti-fascist demonstrators in New York, prosecutors said. The sentencing comes as tensions between white supremacists and leftists simmer in the United States. Maxwell Hare and John Kinsman, members of the Proud Boys group, were found guilty in August by a state court of several counts of attempted assault and rioting.



The U.S. Army Has Big Plans to Smash Enemy Drones in a War

The U.S. Army Has Big Plans to Smash Enemy Drones in a WarThe U.S. Army is fast-tracking what could be called an entire sphere of counter-drone weapons



There's a reasonable explanation why this mom saw a 'ghost baby' in her sleeping son's crib

There's a reasonable explanation why this mom saw a 'ghost baby' in her sleeping son's cribThis mom's 'ghost baby' baby monitor mix-up has us all laughing. Maritza Elizabeth's post on Facebook has gone viral.



'Lost' Road Built by Christ's Executioner Unearthed

'Lost' Road Built by Christ's Executioner UnearthedPontius Pilate likely commissioned the street during or after 31 AD.



For Syrian Kurds, a leader's killing deepens sense of U.S. betrayal

For Syrian Kurds, a leader's killing deepens sense of U.S. betrayalKurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf spent the final months of her life building a political party that she hoped would help shape Syria's future, drawing the attention of U.S. officials who said it would have a say in what happened once the war ended. To her colleagues in the Future Syria Party and Kurdish communities in Syria's northeast more broadly, her killing became a symbol of betrayal by the United States. As recently as Oct. 3, State Department officials reassured her at a meeting that Washington would safeguard northern Syria from a threatened Turkish assault by mediating between Kurdish-led forces and Ankara, according to a colleague who was present.



Justice Department Distances Itself From Giuliani

Justice Department Distances Itself From GiulianiThe Justice Department distanced itself Sunday from Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, declaring that department officials would not have met with Giuliani to discuss one of his clients had they known that federal prosecutors in New York were investigating two of his associates.Several weeks ago, Brian A. Benczkowski, the head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, and lawyers from the division's Fraud Section met with Giuliani to discuss a bribery case in which he and other attorneys were representing the defendants.That meeting took place before the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan publicly charged the two Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, with breaking campaign finance laws and trying to unlawfully influence politicians, including former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. Parnas and Fruman were part of Giuliani's effort to push Ukraine for an inquiry into Democrats."When Mr. Benczkowski and fraud section lawyers met with Mr. Giuliani, they were not aware of any investigation of Mr. Giuliani's associates in the Southern District of New York and would not have met with him had they known," said Peter Carr, a department spokesman.The Justice Department's public statement Sunday illustrates the unusual and broad set of roles that the president's personal lawyer has played in the scandal that has engulfed the White House and imperiled Trump's presidency.Even as Giuliani ran a shadow foreign policy campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate the president's political enemies -- which is now at the heart of an impeachment inquiry against Trump -- he and his business associates were under criminal investigation for unlawfully wielding political influence. And while all of this was happening, Giuliani still served as a lawyer to clients with cases to plead before the Justice Department.In distancing itself from Giuliani and trying to draw bright lines around how the Justice Department will and will not engage with him, the department has also undercut the perception that Giuliani can influence some of Washington's most important lawyers and decision-makers. That could make it harder for Giuliani to represent clients who are under Justice Department scrutiny in the future."This is an incredibly unusual statement from the Justice Department, which does not comment on ongoing investigations or even acknowledge them, and it's the kind of statement that would give clients pause about who is representing them," said Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor.Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment.While the Southern District of New York has been investigating Giuliani's associates -- an inquiry that may be tied to a broader investigation of Giuliani himself -- prosecutors there had not told Benczkowski of the Criminal Division of the case, as he does not oversee or supervise their work. The U.S. attorney's offices report to the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen.Prosecutors in Manhattan informed Attorney General William Barr about the investigation of Parnas and Fruman soon after he was confirmed in February, according to a Justice Department official. They were required to do so under the department's rule that requires prosecutors to notify the attorney general of any cases that could generate national news media or congressional attention.When Giuliani and other lawyers requested the meeting with the Justice Department to discuss a foreign bribery case, Benczkowski and the lawyers in the Fraud Section had not been informed of the Manhattan case and agreed to meet.Last week, Giuliani told The New York Times that he was being unfairly attacked by reporters and lawmakers and that questions about his behavior would "destroy" his business."I can't publicly defend everything I do because I'm presumed guilty," Giuliani said in a text message. "If I did, my business and firm would be unable to have any clients."Foreign business leaders and politicians have long hired those with ties to the White House as consultants, paid back channels to the administration who could plead their cases and present their interests to U.S. decision-makers.Trump, however, was not connected to the usual array of Washington power brokers who had built lucrative businesses off their ties to U.S. leaders, and Giuliani was perceived as the rare figure who could provide a direct line to the president.Now that tie to the Justice Department seems to be gone, and Giuliani himself is a person of interest in at least two federal investigations.While The Times and other publications have reported that Giuliani is being investigated by prosecutors in Manhattan, the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York have declined to confirm or deny an investigation into him. But any such inquiry would make it difficult for the department to work with him on any of his clients' cases."Giuliani can continue to represent clients before the department because people are innocent until proven guilty, but it's unclear whether a client would want to have a lawyer who is being scrutinized in so many investigations," Vance said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company



Russia’s Troll Farm Is Kind of Sh*tting the Bed on Facebook

Russia’s Troll Farm Is Kind of Sh*tting the Bed on FacebookPhoto Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyFacebook on Monday removed nearly 200 newly discovered fake accounts linked separately to Iran and to Russia’s Internet Research Agency. The takedowns demonstrate that foreign influence operations are already targeting the 2020 election, but provide evidence that Russia’s notorious troll farm is struggling to regain anything close to the influence in held in 2016.The new wave of takedowns targeted separate networks of deceptive accounts created by Iran and Russia, including dozens of fake Facebook organization pages. In a press call, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the takedowns show the company has come far since getting caught flat-footed in 2016. “The fact that we’ve identified them proactively should provide some confidence that our systems here are working,” Zuckerberg said.The Russian accounts were far more focused on U.S. domestic issues, but in terms of sheer numbers and longevity, the Iranian effort outstripped Russia. The Iranian accounts included 21 Instagram accounts and 135 fake Facebook accounts propping up 26 phony organization pages and four Facebook groups. More than 90 of the accounts were primarily focused on U.S. readers, with the others mostly targeting Latin America. The accounts largely pushed links to Iranian propaganda on state-run news outlets, according to Facebook.As with past takedowns, the company’s announcement only identified a handful of the Iranian personas. Of those, though, one stands out as eerily reminiscent of Russia’s 2016 efforts—a Facebook page called “BLMnews” that purported to be a news site covering the Black Lives Matters movement. The page had a meager 45 followers, and, according to Facebook, was devoted to driving traffic to an associated website that’s been operating since August 2016, according to Internet registration records.Russia’s Internet Research Agency ran similar sites and Facebook pages during and after the 2016 election season, some with sizable followings. But so far the Saint Petersburg troll farm appears to have a long way to go. Of the 50 accounts banned by Facebook on Monday, all but one were on Instagram alone, with no Facebook presence at all. The Russian operation appears to be in the early stages, Facebook said. “They're still trying to build their audience, and they put significant operation security into concealing who they were,” said company cybersecurity chief Nathaniel Gleicher in Monday’s press call.One sign of that improved op-sec is the dearth of text on the troll’s posts—perhaps a sign that Russia is seeking to avoid the linguistic giveaways that marred some of its 2016 content. According to social network analysis tool Graphika, which had inside access to Facebook’s data, the accounts generally pushed screenshots of other people’s tweets and memes with no commentary. “Some posts gained hundreds of likes but typically obtained orders of magnitude fewer than the American personalities they copied,” reads Graphika’s report on the Russian accounts. “The ‘conservative’ accounts in the set had a particular fondness for the conservative partisan group Turning Point USA, often sharing its memes and comments.”That may be a factor in the relatively limited reach of Russia’s identified personas. The 50 accounts together had a total of 246,000 followers, according to Facebook’s figures. “It seems they are getting stuck at the mimicry phase of infiltration,” said Clint Watts, a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.As tallied by Graphika, the personas are the usual Russian mix of accounts pretending to be arch-conservatives in the heartland, and a roughly equal number pretending to be African American activists. A smattering of accounts were focused on more specific issues, like gun rights on the right or LGBTQ rights on the left.The accounts were largely devoted to sowing division, but when they directly addressed the 2020 election, they followed the IRA’s 2016 playbook to the letter. The “conservative” accounts attacked liberals and heaped praise on Donald Trump, while “liberal” accounts derided the president while vocally supporting Bernie Sanders over Democratic frontrunners. Joe Biden is singled out for criticism in much the same way as Clinton in 2016.Notably, Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, a favorite of Russia’s state-owned media, isn’t featured at all in the posts shared by Graphika and Facebook, despite recently being labeled a “Russian asset” by Hillary Clinton.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.



Judge asked to stop student suspension over note about rape

Judge asked to stop student suspension over note about rapeA high school activist's comment about rape posted on a bathroom mirror represents constitutionally protected free speech — and punishing her would discourage young victims from coming forward, an attorney said Monday. The sticky note that proclaimed "There's a rapist in our school and you know who it is" aimed to call attention to the unaddressed problem of sexual assaults, said Emma Bond from the American Civil Liberties of Maine. U.S. District Judge Lance Walker, who listened to the arguments on Monday, said he'll rule soon on Aela Mansmann's request to intervene to stop a three-day suspension imposed by school administrators.



These rats learned how to drive tiny little cars so they could eat Froot Loops, and it's so precious

These rats learned how to drive tiny little cars so they could eat Froot Loops, and it's so preciousIf you think you can’t get your driver’s license, these rats did.



Hong Kong leader visits mosque struck by blue water-cannon dye

Hong Kong leader visits mosque struck by blue water-cannon dyeHong Kong's pro-Beijing leader and the city's police chief apologised Monday as they visited a mosque that was struck with blue dye from a water cannon during the latest bout of violent protests. The entrance to the Kowloon Mosque, the international hub's largest, was sprayed by a water cannon truck on Sunday, causing anger among both local Muslims and protesters. Police use the dye -- often mixed with an irritant -- as a way to identify protesters but it has frequently left streets and buildings daubed in a garish blue.




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