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From Iraq to Yemen, drones raise U.S. alarm over Iranian plans

From Iraq to Yemen, drones raise U.S. alarm over Iranian plansGENEVA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The increased use of drones by Iran and its allies for surveillance and attacks across the Middle East is raising alarms in Washington. The United States believes that Iran-linked militia in Iraq have recently increased their surveillance of American troops and bases in the country by using off-the-shelf, commercially available drones, U.S. officials say. The disclosure comes at a time of heightened tensions with Iran and underscores the many ways in which Tehran and the forces it backs are increasingly relying on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in places like Yemen, Syria, the Strait of Hormuz and Iraq.

Wed, 17 Jul 2019 11:17:34 -0400
Fox News Brian Kilmeade Complains That Calling Trump a Racist Is Personally Offensive

Fox News Brian Kilmeade Complains That Calling Trump a Racist Is Personally OffensiveThe morning after the House of Representatives voted to condemn President Donald Trumps racist comments against a group of Democratic congresswomen of color, Fox & Friends Brian Kilmeade complained that it is personally offensive to call the president a racist.Discussing Tuesdays chaos on the House floor when Republicans logged parliamentary objections against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for reading the title of the resolutionwhich labels the president a racistKilmeade sided clearly with the GOP.Noting that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) at one point abandoned the chair as speaker pro tempore during Tuesdays debate, over the lack of civility, Kilmeade then brought up Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) filing a complaint against Pelosi.Congressman Collins is going by the manual of parliamentary practice that Thomas Jefferson put into play, which is a person is not supposed to use language personally offensive to the president, the Fox & Friends co-host declared.He then offered his own personal thoughts on the matter.I believe calling the president a racist is personally offensive but thats just my judgment and the manual also said that members cannot accuse the president of having made bigoted or racist statements, Kilmeade exclaimed. So therefore, precedent set, Collins is 100 percent right.Interestingly, while the Fox News personality feels it is derogatory and insulting to call the president racist for telling women of color to go back to where they came from, Kilmeade didnt seem to have any issues when Glenn Beck said then-President Obama was a racist during a Fox & Friends appearance in 2009an appearance that featured Kilmeade on the curvy couch.Kilmeade, meanwhile, has had plenty of racially questionable moments in the past. In 2017, he asked black colleague Harris Faulkner whether she was also going to make Kool-Aid during a Fox & Friends cooking segment, resulting in Faulkner confronting him afterwards. He also groused back in 2009 that Americans dont have pure genes like people in Sweden because we keep marrying other species and other ethnics.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.

Wed, 17 Jul 2019 11:28:17 -0400
Lawyer: El Chapo was whisked away within hours of sentencing

Lawyer: El Chapo was whisked away within hours of sentencingOnly hours after receiving a life sentence, convicted Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was forced to make a sudden departure to the highest-security prison in the U.S. to serve the term, his lawyer said Thursday. A government helicopter whisked the narco, notorious for his daring jailbreaks, out of New York City on Wednesday after the sentencing in federal court in Brooklyn, said defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman. For most defendants, there's a lag between sentencing and a decision by the Bureau of Prisons on where to house them.

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 16:55:13 -0400
Marine Corps Tells Rep. Duncan Hunter He Cant Use Trademarked Corps Material for His Campaign

Marine Corps Tells Rep. Duncan Hunter He Cant Use Trademarked Corps Material for His Campaign"It is personally disappointing to Congressman Hunter that he is now being told that he cannot use this motto or image that thousands of Marines like Congressman Hunter, who went to war under this banner, have used for tattoos, coins, and multiple other items of personal sentiment," Harrison told Task & Purpose.Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) has been told to stop using the Marine Corps' emblem and the 1st Marine Division's motto in his campaign literature, Corps officials confirmed.The Marine Corps Trademark Licensing Office has sent Hunter, a Marine veteran, a cease and desist letter telling him to quit using the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblem along with the phrase, "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy," on a fundraising mailer that accuses his political opponent of having links to terrorism, NBC News first reported on Wednesday."Please be advised that you are more than welcome to simply and accurately state that you are a Marine Corps veteran, or provide other information about your service that is based on fact," according to the letter, which NBC News posted online. "As an alternative, we do offer a 'Marine Veteran' logo (Attachment B) for use by Marines to indicate their pride in service."Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Joseph Butterfield confirmed the Corps had "taken appropriate action" to address the campaign mailers cited in the NBC story.

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 05:32:00 -0400
Former police officer plans to challenge Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2020

Former police officer plans to challenge Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2020Former high school government teacher and police officer John Cummings says the Democrat's surprise primary win inspired him to make his own run for the New York House seat as a Republican.

Wed, 17 Jul 2019 07:42:15 -0400
Puerto Rico: thousands protest governor's sexist and homophobic texts

Puerto Rico: thousands protest governor's sexist and homophobic texts* Ricardo Rossell resisting calls to resign over leaked messages * Ricky Martin and other performers join crowds on streets of San JuanThousands marched in Puerto Rico to demand the resignation of Rossello. Photograph: Eric Rojas/AFP/Getty ImagesAccompanied by some of Puerto Ricos most famous performers, thousands of people marched to the governors residence in San Juan on Wednesday chanting demands for the embattled governor, Ricardo Rossell, to resign after the leak of online chats that show him making misogynistic slurs and mocking his constituents.The crowd ranged from teenagers to retirees, with some waving the islands flag printed in black and gray rather than red, white and blue to symbolize their discontent with a government they call corrupt and unresponsive to its people. Musicians Ricky Martin, Residente and Bad Bunny marched and addressed the crowd.Police erected concrete barricades and shop owners covered store windows with metal sheeting or plywood as if a hurricane were coming. The multicolored umbrellas that form a photogenic awning over the street in front of the governors mansion were taken down.The turnout filled several city blocks in colonial Old San Juan but appeared to fall short of the many tens of thousands that some Rossell opponents had predicted. Many older protesters went home before nightfall as chanting young people filled Old San Juans Totem Plaza and the first few blocks leading up to the 16th century fortress where the governor resides.Karla Villalon has three elementary-age children and an 81-year-old grandmother. Her kids have been uprooted twice in two years when first one school, then another, was closed by budget cuts under Rossell. Her grandmother, a retired teacher, is anguished over the possibility of losing her pension in future rounds of cutbacks.Villalon was outraged when Rossells former education secretary was arrested and accused of steering millions in improper contracts to politically connected contractors. Then hundreds of pages of online chats between Rossell and members of his administration leaked, revealing the men mocking women, the disabled and victims of Hurricane Maria. Villalon has had enough.Its the final straw, the homemaker said before the march. My kids classrooms have mold in them ... Theres just so much outrage thats been building over time.Demonstrators chant and wave Puerto Rican flags in San Juan. Photograph: Gabriella N Baez/ReutersThe Rossell administration has remained under siege since the weekend after leaked text messages between the governor and a number of his inner circle revealed a slew of misogynist and homophobic comments shared between the group.A number of senior members of the administration have already resigned in the wake of the scandal, but on Monday Rossell refused to tender his resignation, claiming that while the messages were inappropriate they were not illegal.Im not proud of what I did, Rossell told reporters on Tuesday. Those were merely comments but they were hurtful comments. So, I apologize for what Ive done but again, I need to move forward and continue on the work were doing for Puerto Rico.The affair only adds to sustained criticism of Rossells leadership as sweeping austerity and privatization measures imposed after Hurricane Maria decimated the island almost two years ago drew public backlash.Puerto Rico, an unincorporated US territory, is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar debt crisis now managed by an unelected oversight board appointed in Washington that oversees much of the islands economic affairs.Shortly before the text message scandal, referred to as RickyLeaks, a number of administration officials and contractors, including the former education secretary Julia Keleher, were arrested by the FBI over allegations of corruption and misappropriation of $15.5m in federal funds apportioned to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.Workers cover shop windows with wood in preparation for protests against Governor Ricardo Rossell near La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday. Photograph: Carlos Giusti/APKey figures in the movement to oust Rossell remained hopeful that the protests on Wednesday would remain peaceful.A number of high-profile Puerto Ricans, including the actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, singer Ricky Martin and trap artist Benito Martnez Ocasio, known by his stage name Bad Bunny, have also lent vocal support to the protests. Martin and Ocasio are expected to appear at the protests.San Juans firebrand mayor, Carmen Yuln Cruz, an outspoken critic of Rossell, told the Guardian by text message the demonstrations would mark a historic day in Puerto Rico.Cruz, who announced she would challenge Rossell in elections next year, became the face of resistance to the Trump administrations faltering efforts to assist during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria.Both Mayor Cruz and Ricky Martin also appeared as targets of abuse in the leaked text messages.According to the messages, Rossell referred to Cruz as off her meds while other administration officials mocked Martins sexuality.

Wed, 17 Jul 2019 22:46:04 -0400
Satellite images show US military buildup in Saudi Arabia amid Iran tensions

Satellite images show US military buildup in Saudi Arabia amid Iran tensionsThe United States is preparing to send hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia where satellite images appear to show a build up of American forces on the ground. Up to 500 soldiers are to be sent to the Prince Sultan Airbase in the desert to the east of the capital Riyadh, two officials told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity. Preparations are also reportedly underway for a large missile installation from which Patriot surface-to-air missiles can be launched to protect the base from incoming threats. The moves would likely strengthen the US' controversial relationship with Saudi Arabia, while also responding to rising tensions with Iran which escalated dramatically in recent months. After the US unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposed tight sanctions, Iran announced in July that it had surpassed limits on enriched uranium imposed in the agreement. The country insists it is not trying to build nuclear weapons.A standoff has also ensued in the Gulf, with sabotage attacks on foreign tankers, blamed on Iran by the US. In the latest incident Tehran said it had seized a foreign-owned vessel suspected of being used for oil smuggling out of the country/ The Trump administration has long sought to base troops in the remote region, but the decision to send them to Saudi Arabia comes amid outrage over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A United Nations report concluded his death at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul was "an extrajudicial execution" sanctioned Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.The Trump administration has also been criticised for its response to the murder.Despite these issues, the US has said it is committed to helping protect Saudi Arabia from Iranian aggression, and last month said 1,000 troops were being sent to the middle east, but did not say which countries they were going to.Photographs taken by high-resolution commercial satellites, captured by satellite imagery company Planet Labs, show a deployment of US troops and support personnel who arrived at the air base in mid-June, according to Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Project at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, who has studied the new images.Pictures of the site taken in late June and early July show preparations being made for the arrival of troops, Mr Lewis told CNN.A small encampment and construction equipment appeared at the end of a runway by June 27, suggesting that improvements are already underway. The encampment to the east of the runway is typical of Air Force engineering squadrons deployed overseas, he said. The US is reportedly hoping to be able to fly stealth, fifth-generation F-22 jets and other fighter planes from the base.Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told the New York Times there was no official announcement of the deployment to the Middle East but said the American military continually works to manage our force posture in the region.Amid rising tensions between Iran and the US last month, Mr Trump said he was not seeking war with the country but warned, if pushed, the country would face obliteration like youve never seen before.

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 14:04:26 -0400
Daily Mail defends story linking Israel's Barak to Epstein

Daily Mail defends story linking Israel's Barak to EpsteinThe popular British tabloid The Daily Mail on Thursday defended a decision to publish photos in the US of one of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's election rivals entering the mansion of disgraced American financier Jeffrey Epstein in 2016. Ehud Barak's lawyers wrote to the British company's US-based website on Wednesday demanding it remove Tuesday's story and pay "substantial damages to vindicate his reputation and compensate him". The newspaper's US website ran photos of four young women separately entering Epstein's New York residence around the same time as Barak himself went in.

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 11:13:20 -0400
'Not what your mom sent you:' Teen takes legendary senior photos in a bathrobe

'Not what your mom sent you:' Teen takes legendary senior photos in a bathrobeEvan Dennison wanted to do something funny for his senior photos. No one believed he would actually do it. Now he is a "legend."

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 12:25:44 -0400
Cannonball highlights how close Napoleon came to victory at Waterloo

Cannonball highlights how close Napoleon came to victory at WaterlooA cannonball discovered this week by archaeologists provides a further indication of how close Napoleon Bonaparte came to winning the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The 3 kilogramme (6-pound), rusty cannonball was found on Monday near the site of a field hospital about 600 metres behind Anglo-Allied lines on the battlefield in Belgium. Tony Pollard, the head archaeologist at the site, told Reuters Television he believed it was fired by the French army, another sign of near Napoleon's troops came to victory in the battle described by the Duke of Wellington as a close-run thing.

Wed, 17 Jul 2019 10:24:29 -0400
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