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North Korea says denuclearization off negotiating table with United States

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 13:27

North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations said on Saturday that denuclearization is off the negotiating table with the United States, and discussions with Washington are not necessary.


3 Guard members killed in Minnesota Black Hawk crash identified

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 13:09

Killed were Chief Warrant Officer 2 James A. Rogers Jr., age 28; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles P. Nord, 30; and Sgt. Kort M. Plantenberg, 28.


North Korea's U.N. envoy says denuclearization off negotiating table with United States

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 11:25

UNITED NATIONS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations said on Saturday that denuclearization is off the negotiating table with the United States and lengthy talks with Washington are not needed, the starkest statement yet emphasizing the gulf between the two sides ahead of a year-end deadline set by Pyongyang. U.S. President Donald Trump sought to play down a recent surge in tensions with North Korea, stressing what he said was his good relationship with its leader Kim Jong Un and saying he thought Kim wanted a deal, not to interfere in next year's U.S. presidential election.


Strip-Searching of 8-Year-Old at Prison Leads Virginia to Halt the Practice

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 10:26

Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia on Friday ordered the suspension of a policy that allows prison officials to strip-search children after an 8-year-old girl was told to remove her clothes before being allowed to see her father, an inmate."I am deeply disturbed by these reports, not just as governor, but as a pediatrician and a dad," Northam said in a statement. "I've directed the secretary of public safety and homeland security to suspend this policy while the department conducts an immediate investigation and review of their procedures."The child had gone to Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, Virginia, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving to visit her father when officials from the state Department of Corrections told her she would need to be strip-searched, The Virginian-Pilot reported.The child had come to the prison with her father's girlfriend, Diamond Peerman, who is not the girl's legal guardian. Prison staff members asked the girl to strip after a dog trained to sniff out drugs had lingered on Peerman and the child while they waited in a line with other visitors, according to The Pilot.The girl, who was not identified, asked Peerman what strip-search means."I told her, 'That means you have to take all of your clothes off or you're not going to be able to see your dad,'" Peerman told The Pilot. "That's when she started crying."The child agreed to take off her clothes and was allowed to visit her father, who saw her and Peerman through a glass partition, according to the newspaper.Lisa Kinney, a spokeswoman for the department, confirmed that the search had taken place. She described the incident as "deeply troubling" and a breach of department protocol.The person who authorized the search of the child violated department policy stating that a minor cannot be searched without the consent of a legal guardian or parent, Kinney said."We sincerely apologize to this child and her family and will be taking immediate disciplinary action against the person responsible," she said in a statement. "We take this matter very seriously."Kinney did not identify the staff member or say what kind of action would be taken. She said strip searches of children were extremely rare.Prison visitors, including minors who are with their parents or legal guardians, cannot be searched by force but if they refuse, "they shall be denied entry into the facility," according to the state Department of Corrections' operating procedures.Even if the child is accompanied by a legal guardian, the policy is coercive, said Bill Farrar, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia."You're telling a child that you don't get to see your loved one again, potentially ever, if you don't comply with this very invasive, very humiliating, very traumatizing search," Farrar said.The searches must be done by a prison employee of the same gender. Visitors undergoing a search must remove all of their clothing, including wigs or dentures, and give them to the prison staff for inspection.Once naked, visitors have to spread their legs, bend over, spread their buttocks and squat and cough, according to the policy.Martin F. Horn, a former commissioner of corrections in New York City and secretary of corrections in Pennsylvania, said it was reasonable for prisons to have a policy of strip-searching visitors, even children, who have made prison employees suspicious."It's not unheard-of for people to take advantage of the innocence of children," said Horn, who now lectures at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "We've had drugs smuggled in the diapers of infants. Inmates and their confederates are ingenious and diabolical in terms of the lengths they will go to smuggle contraband into a prison."The mistake in Virginia, he added, was failing to first offer the option of a noncontact visit, during which the child could see her father but not touch him."If you're going to give them a noncontact visit, it does obviate the need of the strip search for the 8-year-old," Horn said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


Polyamorous 20-year-old is dating 4 men while pregnant with her first child

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 10:18

Tory Ojeda is a 20-year-old woman from Jacksonville, Fla., who is in a polyamorous relationship with four men. She is now expecting her first child with one of her partners. Ojeda told Barcroft Media that while the baby is biologically one of her partner's, the five of them plan on raising the child together as a family.


Belarus crowds rally against closer Russia ties

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 09:31

Roughly 1,000 Belarusians joined an unauthorised demonstration on Saturday against the prospect of a closer union with Russia. Long-time ruler Alexander Lukashenko was meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Russia on Saturday to discuss "key issues in our bilateral relations, including the prospects for deepening integration", according to the Kremlin. Police quickly intervened to oversee the demonstration but made no arrests.


The acting Navy secretary promises he'll fix the Ford aircraft carrier because he's tired of it being a 'whipping boy for why the Navy can't do anything right'

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 09:30

Explaining that the president is "very concerned" about the Ford, Modly said that he is making fixing this flattop a top priority for the Navy.


Trump complains about light bulbs making him look orange and people flushing toilets 15 times in rambling monologue

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 09:22

Donald Trump has complained about new light bulbs which supposedly make him look orange and flushing toilets, during a rambling monologue.At a small-business roundtable meeting, the president went off on a tangent about the bulbs and claimed people have to flush toilets 10 to 15 times because they “don’t get any water”.


Indian police investigated over killings of rape suspects

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 08:25

A top Indian rights group on Saturday launched an investigation into the police shooting of four rape-murder suspects after accusations they were gunned down in cold blood to assuage public anger. The launch of the investigation by the National Human Rights Commission comes as India also reeled from the death of another woman on Friday, set on fire on her way to a sexual assault court hearing in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.


Mike Bloomberg apologizes for calling Cory Booker "well spoken"

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 07:23

"I probably shouldn't have used the word, but I could just tell you he is a friend of mine," Bloomberg said.


Aung San Suu Kyi to fight genocide charges in the Hague

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 07:01

Once feted by the West as a human rights heroine, Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi will travel to the Hague this week to defend her regime over accusations of genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority, in one of the most-high profile international legal cases in a generation.   Myanmar rejects the allegations which stem from the military’s savage ethnic cleansing campaign in Rakhine state in 2017 that forced 740,000 people to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh, where they now live in squalid refugee camps.  Ms Suu Kyi, who will personally represent her fledgling democracy when the first hearings kick off on Tuesday at the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands, has vowed to “defend the national interest.” In doing so, she will be defending the military who once held her under house arrest for many years to keep her out of power.  The Myanmar public have rallied to support Aung San Suu Kyi as she travels to the Hague Credit: Lynn Bo/REX Her decision to brush aside concerns that backing the military’s brutality against the Rohingya will further tarnish her now sullied international reputation, has won her plaudits at home for once again championing the cause of her people. Myanmar tour companies have organised discount holiday packages to supporters who wish to attend the hearings, with Myanmar citizens in the Netherlands offering homestays and logistical support.  Daw July, responsible for the visa service at one of the companies, said it was trying to sell the tickets as cheaply as possible. “It is a way to show support for Mother Suu,” she told the Myanmar Times, using Ms Suu Kyi’s local nickname. The lawsuit charging genocide, including mass murder and rape, was lodged by Gambia, a tiny, mainly Muslim West African state backed by the 57-nation Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).  The case will be fought by a Gambian team led by Abubacarr Tambadou, the British-educated Justice Minister, who spent more than a decade prosecuting cases from Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.  Rohingya refugees live in squalor and dependent on aid in Bangladesh Credit: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters Mr Tambadou personally pushed for formal OIC support to prosecute Myanmar after visiting the overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, and listening to harrowing testimonies about rape, murder and children being burned alive. “I saw genocide written all over these stories,” he said in an interview with Reuters in Gambia’s capital, Banjul.  The minister plans to ask the judges to immediately order Myanmar to cease violence against Rohingya civilians and preserve evidence that could help the genocide case.  He said he would draw from his experience of living through Gambia’s former “brutal dictatorship” as he faces off with the Myanmar delegation.  “We know too well how it feels like to be unable to tell your story to the world, to be unable to share your pain in the hope that someone out there will hear and help,” he said.


13 Mythical Creatures, Ranked

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 07:01


Iranian and American freed in apparent prisoner swap

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 06:59

An Iranian held in the US and an American held in Iran have been freed, the two sides said Saturday, in an apparent prisoner swap at a time of heightened tensions. Tehran announced the release of Iranian scientist Massoud Soleimani from the United States shortly before Washington declared American researcher Xiyue Wang was returning home. "Glad that Professor Massoud Soleimani and Mr. Xiyue Wang will be joining their families shortly," Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.


China's top diplomat tells Pompeo U.S. should stop interfering in China's internal affairs

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 06:57

China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call on Saturday that the United States should stop interfering in China's internal affairs, according to a report by state TV. Citing the passing of the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, Yang said the United States had seriously violated international relations, and urged Washington to "correct its mistakes" and "immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs".


How robocalls became America's most prevalent crime

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 06:35

Today, half of all phone calls are automated scams. Is there any way to stop this incessant bombardment? Here's everything you need to know:Why so many robocalls? Automated telephone calls might be America's most prevalent form of lawbreaking, with more than 180 million such calls every day. A 2009 law that banned unsolicited, prerecorded telemarketing has failed to stem the explosion of calls seeking to steal information or scare people into scams. In 2017, about 4 percent of U.S. phone calls were spam. But now, thanks to cheap software allowing crooks to blast millions of calls from disguised numbers, roughly 50 percent of all calls are junk. Just the time wasted dealing with robocalls costs Americans $3 billion per year, the FCC estimates, on top of untold billions lost from businesses that depend on real phone calls; 70 percent of Americans don't answer calls from unfamiliar numbers anymore, according to Consumer Reports. October was the worst month on record, with an estimated 5.7 billion robocalls. Hunting robocallers is like playing Whack-a-Mole, said Janice Kopec, a staff attorney for the Federal Trade Commission. "We shut down an operation, and another one springs up almost instantaneously."How do robocallers work? Two inventions are behind the robocall scourge. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) dialing — the technology used by apps like Skype — lets scammers place millions of calls a day, costing just $0.006 per minute if a call is answered. The other breakthrough is "neighborhood spoofing," which disguises robocalls to appear on caller ID with the same area code as the number being dialed, instead of an 800 number or distant area code. By one estimate, 90 percent of scam calls from abroad now show up as U.S. numbers. Robocalls home in on targets by asking consumers to press a button if they'd like to stop receiving calls, which actually lets callers identify "live" numbers. Some robocalls simply trick people into agreeing to speak with a human telemarketer about a legitimate, if inadvisable, product such as a car warranty or timeshare. In "enterprise spoofing," hackers use personal information stolen through big data breaches to impersonate a big, familiar company and ask customers for Social Security numbers or birth dates to make identity theft easier.What are common scams? Many Americans have been called by a fake Social Security Administration representative, who claims that the recipient's Social Security number is compromised, asks for the number, and then uses it to commit identity theft. (In reality, the IRS and SSA don't make unrequested telephone calls.) Other scams offer 0 percent interest rates or predatory health-care deals, timing these calls for tax season and ObamaCare sign-up periods.Does anyone fall for them? Only a small number of people do, but a lousy yield is still highly profitable. For all the millions of New Yorkers who hung up on the Social Security scam this year, by October, 523 suckers had lost $5.8 million, police said. Robocalls are often menacing, threatening prison or deportation; these tactics intimidate some vulnerable seniors and immigrants into cooperating. Nina Belis, a New York nurse in her 60s, was told on the phone last year that her Social Security number had been stolen and she needed to transfer her assets to the government to protect them, or face arrest. "I was terrified, of course," she said. The scammer posed as an FBI agent, and over the course of two weeks coached her on withdrawing and transferring her retirement funds, costing her $337,105.Are robocalls policed? The FTC blocked more than a billion illegal robocalls in June, but meaningful enforcement can still seem hopeless. Robocallers now place calls from a huge volume of numbers to avoid detection. Since 2009, when the legal ban on most robocalls went into effect, the FTC has brought just 33 cases, ordering defendants to pay nearly $300 million to victims. Perpetrators often claimed they were broke, and they paid just $18 million in relief. Only a sweeping reform of phone industry rules will solve the problem, says FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. "Going after a single bad actor is like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon," she said. "And right now we're all wet."Can robocalls be stopped? Adding your number to the federal Do Not Call registry is moderately effective for avoiding traditional telemarketers but useless for escaping fraudulent robocalls. There are several commercial products, such as YouMail, Hiya, and RoboKiller, designed to work like spam blockers; Nomorobo, for example, automatically blocks calls from numbers on its blacklist. But since all these tools have failed to stem the tsunami of junk calls, the House and Senate have passed their own bills, and agreed last month to reconcile them into joint legislation that would require phone companies to verify incoming calls and block robocalls without charging consumers. The bill, which will go to President Trump in January, also expands the FCC's prosecutorial leeway and authorizes penalties of up to $10,000 for each robocall that intentionally defies telemarketing rules. Will it help? Yes, says bill co-sponsor Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) — but only to an extent. "All of these scams are different," Pallone says, "and there is no silver bullet to fix them all."The king of the robocall Adrian Abramovich lived in one of Miami's gated oceanside communities in a house filled with art and posters from Scar­face and Good­fellas. The house doubled as the office from which Abram­o­vich, an Ar­gen­tine immigrant, allegedly made 96,758,223 illegal robocalls over three months in 2016. The FCC claims his scheme used "neighbor spoofing" to make the calls appear to be originating near their targets. They purported to be from companies such as Mar­riott, Ex­pe­dia, and ­TripAdvisor offering "exclusive" vacation deals. If people pressed "1," they were transferred to Mex­i­can call centers that pitched totally unrelated packages like timeshares. The FCC fined Abram­o­vich a record $120 mil­lion last year, which he claimed he couldn't possibly pay, and the Sen­ate subpoenaed him. "The efficiency and the magnitude of your robocall campaign is truly historic," Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told him. "Do you under­stand why it irritates people?" Abram­o­vich insisted he was a legitimate bus­i­nessman, claiming he, too, was a robocall victim. "I receive four or five robocalls a day," he said. "I never answer the phone."More stories from theweek.com Trump's pathological obsession with being laughed at The most important day of the impeachment inquiry Jerry Falwell Jr.'s false gospel of memes


World's oceans are losing oxygen at a dangerous rate, study says

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 06:29

Scientists warn that ocean deoxygenation will have widespread global effects on marine ecosystems and the people that rely on them.


Indian border officials on lookout for fugitive cosmic guru

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 05:17

Indian border officials and embassies have issued an alert for a fugitive guru accused of rape, the government said, days after the holy man announced the creation of his own "cosmic" country. Swami Nithyananda -- one of many self-styled Indian "godmen" with thousands of followers and a chequered past -- is wanted by police for alleged rape, sexual abuse, and abduction of children. Earlier this week, he announced online that he has created his own new country -- reportedly off Ecuador's coast -- complete with cabinet, golden passports, and even a department of homeland security.


Democrats Must Not Have an All-White Debate—and the White Candidates Should Say So

Top Stories - Sat, 12/07/2019 - 05:15

The news that Senator Kamala Harris has dropped out of the race highlights the fact that the Democratic field is growing less diverse with each passing month. It's now reached the point where a field that showed such promising diversity at first has been whittled down essentially to four people with first-tier status, and they're all white. There is diversity within than foursome--a gay man, a Jewish man, a woman. But in a party so dependent on voters of color, this is striking--and not in a good way. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Democrats selecting a white presidential candidate to represent the party. But that should be up to the voters, and not the DNC by means of their debate inclusion practices.Those candidates can, however strike a blow for diversity. They should band together and threaten to boycott the December Democratic debate unless the DNC and media partners agree to not exclude candidates who have shown measurable public support before the voting begins. That includes, at the very least, Cory Booker and Julian Castro, and could also include Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard, who have managed to make the most recent debate stage despite long odds.Although Harris had qualified for the December debate, her exit could create an unacceptable scenario on December 19 when the candidates gather in Los Angeles. Booker and Castro’s exclusion, coupled with the probable exclusion of other candidates of color including Yang and Gabbard, means the December debate could very well include only six candidates, all of them white. (Booker, Castro, Yang, and Gabbard have all hit the fundraising threshold, but not the polling one.)Kamala Harris Quits 2020 Race: ‘She Didn’t Know What She Was About’Democrats and the DNC should be asking themselves if they really want to eliminate all the candidates of color before the first states even get to vote. And the leading candidates, all of whom are white, should do something about it.There is precedent for the top-tier candidates banding together to protect the integrity of the debate process. Back in January 2016, NBC News, as a DNC debate sponsor, tried to bar former governor Martin O’Malley from its debate, citing his poor polling numbers compared to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. While it was apparent that O’Malley’s campaign was going nowhere, it was obvious to any objective observer that eliminating him was a choice for voters in Iowa and the other primary states to make—not NBC News.On January 8, 2016 shortly after noon, Sanders tweeted that O’Malley should be allowed on the next debate stage. Literally one minute later, the Clinton campaign tweeted out similar support for O’Malley’s inclusion. And a few hours later, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted that the DNC was also demanding that NBC News include O’Malley.This joint public pressure ensured O’Malley’s inclusion. It turned out to be his final debate, but it was the voters, and not outside organizations, who chose O’Malley’s fate.Dear Debate Moderators, You Are Working Up Democrats About the Wrong IssueNow, it is the DNC itself that is the culprit of such unfair practices. The party has established criteria for the December debate, which will mean that Booker and Castro could both be possibly excluded from the stage.Booker and Castro have been able to organically secure more than 200,000 unique donors each, and both have shown measurable poll support, especially with African-Americans and Latinos respectively. Excluding these two candidates of color, who represent crucial aspects of the Democratic base, from debates before Iowa could be a mistake with lasting implications for the party and country.I personally like some of these candidates, such as Booker and Castro, while I am not fond of Gabbard. But whether I like them isn’t the point. It is not my place nor anyone else’s place to deny a candidate an equal opportunity to make their case.Maybe there is an argument to be made for a smaller debate stage at some point, but the DNC has set up criteria that allows a billionaire to buy his spot while excluding serious candidates with a following and something to say.And while we’re on the subject of Tom Steyer, he has spent $47 million of his own money in what amounts to a scam. Since he needs donors only to meet the DNC’s bizarre debate criteria, he has essentially purchased his donor base, through tactics such as selling $1 swag with free shipping—usually items worth far more than $1—that has nothing to do with him or his presidential campaign. Why should he be allowed to “sell” a button about climate change or opposing Donald Trump for $1 and use that as some kind of indicia of popular support? He has also blanketed early states with enough TV ads and fancy mail to get his name identification up to the point that just enough people might utter it to a pollster because they recognize it.Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg is eschewing debates thus far, but with his $52 billion in net worth it’s not hard to imagine clever ways for him to meet future DNC debate thresholds.A debate stage that lets a white billionaire like Steyer buy his spot but excludes substantive candidates of color like Booker and Castro is neither democratic nor representative of the Democratic Party.As a person of color, I hope the DNC and the frontrunners are listening. It isn’t the DNC’s place to eliminate viable candidates before voters are allowed a say. I hope Biden, Sanders, Warren, and others will step up to tell the DNC that the Democratic Party is stronger when all viable candidates are allowed to be heard.David de la Fuente is a senior political analyst at Third Way.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.


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