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Italian city evacuated as World War Two-era British bomb is defusedItalian authorities ordered the biggest peacetime evacuation in the country since World War Two on Sunday to defuse a massive unexploded British bomb that was partially damaged when discovered in the southern city of Brindisi. The historic evacuation displaced some 53,000 residents  —more than half — of the coastal city on the Adriatic,  due to the high risk that the 440-pound ordnance containing 40 kilograms of dynamite could explode. The chances of detonation were increased after the munition was damaged on November 2  by a bulldozer excavating for a remodel of a cinema.. The bomb is believed to have been dropped on the city in a 1941 air raid, during the period of World War Two when Italy was still allied with Germany and Royal Air Force  bombers based in Malta were targeting Naples, Brindisi and Bari in order to disrupt Axis shipping lanes. According to the Italian defence department, it is just one of thousands of unexploded ordnances that still lie dormant and undiscovered throughout Italy. Earlier this month more than 10,000 Turin residents were evacuated for the deactivation of a similar British bomb, as were 4000 residents of the northern city of Bolzano in October.  In the month and a half since the unexploded bomb was discovered in Brindisi, city officials put into place a strict evacuation plan with a 1,617 metre “red zone” around the damaged bomb, which was reinforced with an external structure last week. The city's airport, train station, hospitals and prison were shut down as part of the operation on Sunday.   By  mid-morning the bomb had been successfully defused by a team of more than a dozen Italian army explosives experts, who used a special metal key that was carefully turned with remote-controlled technology, as the mayor and other security officials watched drone footage of the operation from a nearby situation room. The bomb is expected to be set off tomorrow in a remote location outside the city.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 7:04 pm

Decades on, Soviet bombs still killing people in AfghanistanGholam Mahaiuddin sighs softly as he thinks of his 14-year-old son, who was killed in the spring by a bomb dropped last century in the hills of Bamiyan province in central Afghanistan. "We knew the mountain was dangerous," said Mahaiuddin, who found his son's remains after he didn't come home one day. Forty years after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan -- and three decades since the conflict ended -- the war's legacy continues to claim lives across the country.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 6:54 pm

Zambia Says Ambassador Should Leave After Defending Gay Couple(Bloomberg) -- Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu said he wanted the U.S. Ambassador to leave the country after the diplomat criticized the African nation for sentencing a gay couple to 15 years of imprisonment for having a consensual relationship.“We have complained officially to the American government, and we are waiting for their response because we don’t want such people in our midst,” Lungu said Sunday in comments broadcast on state-owned ZNBC TV. “We want him gone.”U.S. Ambassador Daniel Foote said last month that he was “personally horrified” after the high court sentenced the two men and called on the government to reconsider laws that punish minority groups.Read More: From Nov. 30, U.S. Rebukes Zambia for Jailing Two Men for HomosexualityTo contact the reporter on this story: Taonga Clifford Mitimingi in Lusaka at tmitimingi@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sebastian Tong at stong41@bloomberg.net, Nathan CrooksFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 6:16 pm

US expelled two Chinese diplomats on spying claims: reportThe United States quietly expelled two Chinese embassy officials in September after they drove onto a sensitive military base in Virginia, The New York Times reported Sunday. The newspaper, which cited multiple people with knowledge of the episode, said it appeared to be the first time in more than 30 years that the US has expelled Chinese diplomats on suspicion of espionage. The incident comes as the United States and China, the world's two biggest economies, wrangle over trade.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 5:27 pm

Switzerland Plans to Send Its Old Fighter Jets Back to the U.S.(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. is expected to buy 22 aging fighter jets from Switzerland, a country that’s struggling to modernize its own air force.U.S. Navy representatives and the Swiss defense procurement agency, known as Armasuisse, discussed the deal in July, an agency spokesman said by email on Sunday. The contract is expected to be signed once U.S. lawmakers approve the fiscal 2020 defense budget, he said.President Donald Trump is seeking $718 billion in Pentagon funding for 2020, including $39.7 million for the F-5s, an aircraft first delivered to Switzerland in 1978. Nowadays, the U.S. uses the F-5 to simulate enemy planes in aerial combat training.Switzerland has been trying to buy new warplanes for years. Voters in 2014 rejected a 3.1 billion-franc ($3.2 billion) order for Saab AB Gripen fighter jets. Switzerland now plans to spend about 6 billion francs on new fighter jets, according to SonntagsZeitung newspaper and previous Swiss media reports.“If the Americans want to take over the scrap iron, they should do it,” Beat Flach, a Green Liberal lawmaker, told SonntagsZeitung, which reported on the planned sale on Sunday. “It’s better than having the Tigers rot in a parking lot.”To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Geneva at atorsoli@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Beth Mellor at bmellor@bloomberg.net, Tony Czuczka, James AmottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 4:34 pm

‘I Was Wrong’: Comey Admits to Fox News There Were ‘Significant Errors’ in FISA ProcessFormer FBI Director James Comey admitted he was “wrong,” noting on Fox News Sunday that the recently released Justice Department inspector general’s report on the Russia probe launch did find “significant errors” in the FISA warrant applications related to a former Trump campaign aide. Following the release of IG Michael Horowitz’s report on Monday, Comey has been doing a bit of a victory lap, pointing to the inspector general finding there was no political bias and the FBI had sufficient evidence and predicant to launch the Russia probe. Horowitz, however, told Congress last week that his report didn’t “vindicate anybody” associated with the investigation.Fox News anchor Chris Wallace’s grilling of Comey comes as President Donald Trump took to Twitter to complain about Fox News agreeing to interview the former FBI chief in the first place. The Comey interview on Fox News Sunday was booked shortly after Comey claimed Fox & Friends had canceled on him after the release of the IG report.Highlighting Horowitz’s remarks during their interview on Sunday, Wallace confronted Comey on the inspector general saying he shouldn’t feel any vindication from the report.“Maybe it turns on how we understand the word,” the ex-FBI chief replied. “What I mean is the FBI was accused of treason, of illegal spying, tapping Mr. Trump’s wires illegally, opening an investigation without justification and being a criminal conspiracy to unseat—defeat and then unseat a president. All of that was nonsense.”Comey went on to acknowledge there was “real sloppiness” in the process, prompting Wallace to explain that the "sloppiness" Comey was admitting to was how the FBI handled the FISA application of former Trump campaign official Carter Page.“17 significant errors in the FISA process and you say that it was handled in a thoughtful and appropriate way?” Wallace pressed.“He’s right, I was wrong,” Comey answered. “I was overconfident as director in our procedures.” Wallace, meanwhile, continued to hold Comey’s feet to the fire, telling the ex-FBI head that he made it “sound like you’re a bystander, an eyewitness” during the launch of the investigation, adding: “You were the director of the FBI while a lot of this was going on, sir!”Comey would go on to again admit that Horowitz was right in his findings on the FISA process, stating that if he were still FBI director he would try to get to the bottom of this.The Fox News anchor also took Comey to task over previously downplaying the role the infamous Steele dossier played in the FISA applications and probe, noting that Horowitz found that the document was more than just a “broader mosaic,” as Comey had previously claimed.“I'm not sure he and I are saying different things,” Comey insisted, adding that “it’s a long FISA application that includes Steele material and lots of other material, I don’t think we are saying different things.”“You’re saying it is part of a broader mosaic of just one element,” Wallace countered. “He’s saying it was the tipping point, it’s what brought it over. That doesn’t make it part of a broader mosaic, it makes it the centerpiece of the whole FISA application and the ability to surveil Carter Page.” “I don’t understand him to be saying that, and I could be wrong with that,” Comey shrugged.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.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 4:19 pm

Trump said China would more than double its agricultural purchases from the US. Farmers are skeptical.At a press conference Friday night in Beijing, China declined to confirm a farm purchase quota touted by the White House.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 4:13 pm

Democrats in Trump districts wrestle with ‘vote of conscience’ on impeachmentThe decision to impeach Trump rests with moderate Democrats representing districts Trump won. If enough defect, the effort will fail in the House.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 3:07 pm

Zimbabwe vice president's wife arrested for suspected fraud, money launderingZimbabwean authorities arrested the wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga on charges of money laundering, fraud and violating exchange control regulations, the country's anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) said on Sunday. Marry Mubaiwa was arrested on Saturday evening and will likely appear in court on Monday, ZACC spokesman John Makamure said. Appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa this year, ZACC is under pressure to show that it can tackle high-level graft, which watchdog Transparency International estimates is costing the country $1 billion annually.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 1:29 pm

A 29-year-old mayor is giving his city's poorest residents $500 per month. He thinks his policy could work on a national scale.Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs doesn't support a basic income program that has strings attached. That's why he is critical of Andrew Yang's plan.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 1:19 pm

Delivering the goods: Drones and robots are making their way to your doorWith companies offering free shipping to gain a competitive edge, radical new technologies are being tested to cut the cost of the supply chain's expensive "last mile"


Posted: December 15, 2019, 10:47 am

Five Italians sentenced to jail for gang rape of British tourist in popular holiday resortFive Italians have been jailed for the gang rape of a British woman in the popular resort of Meta di Sorrento, south of Naples. The men, who were all employees of a hotel where the woman was staying, set up a WhatsApp group after the rape which they called “Bad Habits”. They were accused of slipping the 50-year-old Kent woman a date rape drug and then subjecting her to multiple rapes in the Hotel Alimuri on the night of October 6 2016. They filmed and took photos of the assault and some were identified by tattoos on their bodies. The woman was on holiday with her 25-year-old daughter, who went to bed early on the night the attack happened and was not targeted by the Italians. They were sentenced on Friday to prison terms of between four and nine years by a court in the nearby town of Torre Annunziata. The rapists were named as Gennaro Davide Gargiulo, who was given the heaviest sentence of nine years; Antonino Miniero and Fabio De Virgilio, who were sentenced to eight years; Francesco D’Antonio, who will go to jail for seven years; and Raffaele Regio, who was given a four-year sentence. Sorrento is popular with British tourists Credit: Look The British victim was not in court but had been in “a state of anxiety all day” while awaiting the verdict from a panel of three judges, said Lucilla Longone, her Italian lawyer. She was “delighted” with the tough sentences handed down, her lawyer said. When the sentences were read out there was uproar in court, with the defendants’ families shouting and yelling abuse at the judges. Police officers escorted the judges out of the courthouse through a side entrance as around 30 relatives hurled threats at them. The woman was allegedly given a date-rape drug in a drink that she accepted from two of the Italians on the last night of her holiday. The two barmen then took her to a nearby swimming pool and raped her. They then passed her onto the other men, who raped her in a part of the hotel used as staff accommodation. The men photographed her and later shared the photos on a WhatsApp group that they called “Bad Habits”. The judges will deliver their “motivazione” or explanation of the guilty verdicts within 90 days, as is customary under Italian law. Meta di Sorrento is close to Sorrento, a picturesque town which commands views of the Bay of Naples and is a favoured base for exploring the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and the island of Capri. When the men were arrested, Costanzo Iaccarino, the head of the local hoteliers' association, said he was appalled by what had happened. "We treat our guests with great care and the British, for us, have always been our preferred visitors. We participate in travel fairs in London every year." Sorrento is so popular with tourists from Britain that one guidebook nicknames it “Eastbourne-on-the-Med”.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 9:30 am

75 years on, Battle of the Bulge memories bond peopleTHIMISTER-CLERMONT, Belgium (AP) — As a schoolboy three quarters of a century ago, Marcel Schmetz would regularly see open trucks rumble past to a makeshift American cemetery — filled with bodies, some headless, some limbless, blood seeping from the vehicles onto the roads that the U.S. soldiers had given their lives to liberate. Sometimes, Schmetz said, there were over 200bodies a day, casualties of one of the bloodiest and most important battles in World War II: The Battle of the Bulge which started 75 years ago on Monday and effectively sealed the defeat of Nazi Germany. ”It gave me nightmares," Schmetz said.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 8:43 am

9 Dem candidates demand DNC toss out current debate rulesParty officials signaled Saturday that they are unlikely to budge and change the rules.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 8:07 am

Is Congress Set to Open U.S. Banks to Drug Cartels?Should we let them?


Posted: December 15, 2019, 8:04 am

New Zealand eruption death toll rises to 18The death toll from New Zealand's White Island volcano eruption rose to 18 Sunday, including two people whose bodies have not been recovered, police said. Deputy police commissioner Mike Clement said there was "every chance" the bodies had been washed into the sea from the stream where they were last seen Monday. The death toll now stands at 18 after an Australian victim who had been repatriated to Sydney died in hospital almost a week after the deadly eruption.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 7:53 am

Southern Philippines hit by 6.8 magnitude earthquakeA 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Sunday, geologists said, the same area struck by a string of deadly tremors in October. People rushed from homes and restaurants set swaying by the strong jolt south of the populous city of Davao and the Philippine Institue of Volcanology and Seismology said it was expecting damage. There was no threat of a tsunami, said the US Geological Survey, which initially reported the magnitude at 6.9.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 7:39 am

Pelosi announces U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade dealHouse Democratic leaders announced a deal on a trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 7:30 am

How Would America Fight If the Tomahawk Missile Didn't Exist?An important counterfactual.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 4:15 am

Bolivia's interim leader says arrest warrant to be issued against MoralesBolivia will issue an arrest warrant in the coming days against former leftist President Evo Morales, accusing him of sedition, interim Bolivian President Jeanine Anez said on Saturday. Morales is in Argentina, granted refugee status this week just days after the inauguration of new President Alberto Fernandez. Peronist Fernandez succeeded outgoing conservative Argentine leader Mauricio Macri, who lost his bid for re-election in October.


Posted: December 15, 2019, 3:07 am

Mortal Enemy? How Does the People's Liberation Army View the United States?Enemy or adversary?


Posted: December 15, 2019, 12:30 am

Indigenous boy stabbed to death in Amazon amid wave of rainforest racismAn indigenous 15-year-old boy has been stabbed to death in an Amazonian reserve in Brazil, the latest in a string of murders which have heightened tensions in the region.Erisvan Soares Guajajara’s body was found on Friday in the Amarante do Maranhão city, on the edge of an increasingly deforested indigenous reserve on the fringes of the Amazon rainforest.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 8:14 pm

Argentina: British tourist killed in mugging attemptAssailants shot two British tourists while trying to rob them in Argentina's capital Saturday, killing one and seriously injuring the other, authorities said Saturday. The attack occurred as the tourists approached a luxury hotel in the Puerto Madero area of Buenos Aires, the Argentine news agency Telam said. Argentine officials said in a statement that assailants on a motorcycle, apparently supported by accomplices in a car, tried to steal the belongings of the tourists, according to Telam.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 7:15 pm

‘I can see you in the bed’: Hacker uses Amazon Ring camera to shout at woman as she went to sleepA hacker exploited an Amazon-owned home-security device to yell at a woman as she slept – demanding she “wake the f*** up”.The Ring camera was designed to give users peace of mind, and was used by an Atlanta woman who has asked to remain anonymous to keep an eye on her pet dog Beau – according to local broadcaster WSB-TV2.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 7:15 pm

Lebanon counter-protesters clash with police in BeirutLate Saturday afternoon, young counter-protesters from an area of Beirut dominated by the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah and fellow Shiite movement Amal tried to raid a key anti-government protest camp in Martyrs' Square. The square, in central Beirut, has been at the epicentre of protests which flared in mid-October over perceived official corruption, poor services and economic woes. Both Amal and Hezbollah are partners in Lebanon's cross-sectarian government.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 6:05 pm

UN climate talks face failureA UN climate summit in Madrid risked failing Saturday after all-night negotiations between countries left them more divided than ever over on how to fight global warming and pay for its ravages.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 5:25 pm

Body of 21-year-old vet recovered from volcano island as family fight for survival in hospitalKrystal Browitt, an Australian veterinary student from Melbourne who had just turned 21, was sightseeing with her sister and father on the island of Whakaari when toxic ash clouds spewed rocks and dust high into the air. Her mother stayed on the cruise ship, safe from the hot blanket of fumes and stones that rained down on the group of tourists hoping to see inside the crater of one of the country's most active volcanoes.  The body of Ms Browitt was finally recovered from the island in a daring mission by elite military bomb squads on Friday. She was formally identified as among the 15 to have died so far on Saturday morning. The closure is likely to be little comfort for her mother Marie who was on Saturday keeping a bedside vigil for her surviving daughter, Stephanie, 23, and husband Paul fighting for their lives among the critically injured in hospital.  Fourteen people remain hospitalised in New Zealand, 10 of whom are in critical condition with horrific burns. Thirteen others have been transported to Australia for treatment. One person succumbed to their injuries on Saturday morning, officials said. Police divers prepare to search the waters near White Island off the coast of Whakatane Credit: NZ Police Some patients have burns to up to 95 per cent of their bodies. Surgeons ordered 1.2 million sq cm of donor skin from the US earlier in the week in a desperate attempt to keep victims alive. It is understood that two British women are among the injured in hospital. The nature of the gas meant that survivors were found with third-degree burns to their skin but their clothing largely intact, and many suffered burnt lungs from inhaling the superheated gas, made up of sulphur dioxide and hydrogen chloride. Dr Watson said the gases would have reacted with the eyes, skin and mucous membranes, causing agony to the victims. Two people are missing, assumed dead, on the island itself. A team of nine from the Police National Dive Squad resumed their search at 7am on Saturday for a body seen in the water. Deputy Commissioner Tims said the water around the island is contaminated, requiring the divers to take extra precautions to ensure their safety, including using specialist protective equipment. "Divers have reported seeing a number of dead fish and eels washed ashore and floating in the water," he said. "Each time they surface, the divers are decontaminated using fresh water."


Posted: December 14, 2019, 5:02 pm

Alyssa Milano’s 'facts are wrong': Andrew Yang refutes activist’s allegations of campaign staffer sexual misconductDemocratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang denied allegations made by actress Alyssa Milano that an unnamed campaign engaged in sexual misconduct, saying the matter had been looked at promptly.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 4:58 pm

Boris Johnson's victory is 'catastrophic warning' to Democrats: BloombergBoris Johnson's election victory is a 'catastrophic warning' to Democrats in the United States, presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg has warned.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 4:37 pm

Weinstein’s lawyers insist he isn’t using Zimmer frame for sympathy in court after he is seen shopping without itHarvey Weinstein’s lawyers have insisted he is not using a Zimmer frame to win public sympathy, after he was photographed walking without one.The disgraced film producer was filmed hunched over a four-legged walking frame as he slowly pushed himself into a courthouse in New York for a bail hearing on Wednesday.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 3:42 pm

A Mobster's Murder, and the Jockeying to Move Up the HierarchyNEW YORK -- On a quiet night in March, a mob leader was executed in New York City for the first time since 1985. The body of Francesco Cali, a reputed boss of the Gambino crime family, lay crumpled outside his Staten Island home, pierced by at least six bullets.Hours later, two soldiers in the Gambino family talked on the phone. One of them, Vincent Fiore, said he had just read a "short article" about the "news," according to prosecutors.No tears were shed for their fallen leader. The murder was "a good thing," Fiore, 57, said on the call. The vacuum at the top meant that Andrew Campos, described by authorities as the Gambino captain who ran Fiore's crew, was poised to gain more power.Cali's death was just the beginning of surprises to come for the Gambino family.Last week, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged Fiore and 11 others in a sprawling racketeering scheme linked to the Gambinos, once the country's preeminent organized crime dynasty. The charges stemmed from a yearslong investigation involving wiretapped calls, physical surveillance and even listening devices installed inside an office where mob associates worked.As part of the case, the government released a court filing that offered an extremely rare glimpse at the reactions inside a Mafia family to the murder of their boss -- a curious mix of mourning and jockeying for power. The case showed that life in the mob can be just as petty as life in a corporate cubicle."Mob guys are the biggest gossips in the world," said James J. Hunt, the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's office in New York. "You think they're tough guys, but they're all looking out for themselves. The only way they get promoted is by a guy dying or going to jail."While Fiore initially plotted how Cali's death would help him and his faction, he adopted a different tone when calling his own ex-wife a few days later, prosecutors said. He warmly referred to Cali as "Frankie" and seemed to mourn the boss as a man who "was loved." He speculated about the killer's motive, saying he had watched the surveillance tape from Cali's home that captured the murder.Vincent Fiore appeared ambitious, court documents showed, eager to reveal his connections to other gangs and organized crime families. About two weeks after Cali's death, Fiore bragged in another wiretapped conversation about how he could take revenge on students who had hit his son at school, a government filing said.Fiore talked first about sending his daughter to beat the students up.But he also had other options, he said on the call. His ex-wife's father was a Latin King, her nephews were Bloods, and her cousin was a member of the Ching-a-Lings, the South Bronx motorcycle gang.Vincent Fiore and the other defendants have each pleaded not guilty to the charges. A lawyer for Fiore did not respond to a request for comment.Despite decades of declining influence in New York City, the Gambino family, led by the notoriously flashy John J. Gotti in the 1980s, is still raking in millions of dollars, according to the government. Prosecutors said they had evidence that the family had maintained its long-standing coziness with the construction industry, infiltrating high-end Manhattan properties.The indictments accused Gambino associates of bribing a real estate executive to skim hundreds of thousands of dollars from New York City construction projects, including the XI, a luxury building with two twisting towers being built along the High Line park in West Chelsea.At the height of their power in the 1980s and early 1990s, the Gambinos and other organized crime families had a stranglehold on New York City construction, through their control of construction unions and the concrete business.Some of the defendants charged last week operated a carpentry company called CWC Contracting Corp., which prosecutors said paid kickbacks to real estate developers in exchange for contracts.Despite the scramble after Cali's death in March, the Gambino crime family continued to thrive through fraud, bribery and extortion, investigators said.The wiretaps quoted in court papers hinted at the crime family's capacity for violence. One of the defendants was recorded in April claiming that he had a fight in a diner and "stabbed the kid, I don't know, 1,000 times with a fork." Inside another defendant's home and vehicle, agents found brass knuckles and a large knife that appeared to have blood on it.Among the notable names in last week's takedown were two longtime Gambino members, Andrew Campos and Richard Martino, who were once considered by Gotti to be rising stars in the Mafia, according to former officials."John was enamored by these guys," said Philip Scala, a retired FBI agent who supervised the squad investigating the Gambino family. "He couldn't believe what they were doing. These kids were making millions of dollars as entrepreneurs."In particular, Martino has long been viewed by mob investigators as somewhat of a white-collar crime genius, former officials said. Prosecutors have previously accused him of orchestrating the largest consumer fraud of the 1990s, which netted close to $1 billion. One part of that scheme involved a fake pornography website that lured users with the promise of a free tour and then charged their credit cards without their knowledge.Campos, 50, and Martino, 60, each pleaded guilty in 2005 to their role in the fraud and served time in federal prison.But as soon as they were released, the government said, they returned to the family business.Martino is now accused of hiding his wealth from the government to avoid paying the full $9.1 million forfeiture from his earlier case.After Martino's release from prison in 2014, he still controlled companies that conducted millions of dollars in transactions, using intermediaries to obscure his involvement, the government alleged. This included investments in pizzerias on Long Island and in Westchester County, according to a person familiar with the matter.Martino's lawyer, Maurice Sercarz, said his client fully paid the required forfeiture before reporting to prison. He added, "The suggestion that Mr. Martino concealed his ownership of businesses and bank accounts to avoid this obligation ignores or misrepresents his financial circumstances."Campos, meanwhile, climbed the ranks to become a captain inside the Gambino family, according to prosecutors.Henry E. Mazurek, a lawyer for Campos, said the government's photos and surveillance footage of his client were not evidence of a crime. "The government presents a trumped-up case that substitutes old lore for actual evidence," Mazurek said.After searching Campos' home in Scarsdale, New York, a wealthy suburb north of New York City, investigators found traces of a storied mob legacy. In his closet there were photos taken during his visits with Martino to see Frank Locascio, Gotti's former consigliere, or counselor, in prison.Locascio is serving a life sentence. He was convicted in 1992 alongside Gotti by the same U.S. attorney's office that brought last week's indictment. Gotti, who died in prison in 2002, was found guilty of, among other things, ordering the killing of Paul Castellano in 1985, the last time a Gambino boss was gunned down in the street.On March 14, the day after Cali's death, Campos drove into Manhattan around 5:50 p.m. to discuss the circumstances of the murder with Gambino family members, seemingly unaware that law enforcement was tracking his every move.He parked near a pizzeria on the Upper East Side, according to a person familiar with the matter. As the night progressed, he met with Gambino family captains on the Upper East Side and near a church in Brooklyn. They stood in the street, chatting openly, but law enforcement officials could not hear the conversations.Several days later, Campos and Fiore drove to Staten Island for a secret meeting. A group of about eight high-level Gambino lieutenants gathered to discuss Cali's murder, a court filing said. In a wiretapped call the next day, Fiore complained that he had stayed out past midnight.Fiore said on the call that a woman had been at Cali's home the night of his death, pointing to her as a possible connection. Court papers do not reveal the woman's identity.Nobody within the mob family seemed to suspect the person who was charged: a 25-year-old who appeared to have no clear motive.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


Posted: December 14, 2019, 3:20 pm

'I'm 13': Killing in Park Yields Startling SuspectsNEW YORK -- The murder suspect walked into the courtroom Friday wearing black sweatpants, Air Jordan sneakers and a navy hoodie. He bit his bottom lip nervously as a court officer asked his name, then his age."I'm 13," he said.The deadly stabbing of an 18-year-old Barnard College student, Tessa Majors, as she walked in a park near the school's Manhattan campus has jarred New York City, recalling an era decades ago when violent street crime was far more common.But also shocking have been revelations about ages of two of the suspects: They are 13 and 14 years old."This makes what was already an excruciating tragedy even more painful," said City Councilman Mark Levine, who represents the neighborhood where Majors was stabbed. "You now have families on both sides of this horrific crime who are facing devastating loss."Majors, a first-year college student from Virginia who was interested in journalism and played in a rock band, was walking through Morningside Park in upper Manhattan on Wednesday night when three teenagers tried to rob her, police said.In court Friday, a detective laid out a chilling account of the struggle that ended with Majors' death.One of her assailants pulled a knife and stabbed her several times. As the group fled, Majors staggered up a flight of stairs, out of the park and onto the street, where a campus security guard found her.A folding knife with a blade roughly 4 inches long was found nearby and was being tested for DNA and fingerprints, a law enforcement official said.At Friday's hearing, Detective Vincent Signoretti testified that the 13-year-old boy, whom The New York Times is not naming because he is not being charged as an adult, told police that he and two other teenagers had gone to Morningside Park specifically to rob people."They followed a man with the intention of robbing him and decided not to," Signoretti said.The trio later spotted Majors in the park, he said. The boy told Signoretti that he watched his two friends grab the student, put her into a chokehold and remove items from her pockets, the officer testified.Then, shortly before 7 p.m., the boy watched as his friend slashed the young woman with a knife and feathers from the stuffing of her coat came flying out, the detective testified.The boy was arrested on trespassing charges Thursday evening in a building near the park and interviewed by detectives with his uncle present, officials said. His statements led investigators to the other suspects, one law enforcement official said.One of those suspects, who is 14, was detained and interviewed Friday, the official said. A second official said that he had a lawyer present when he was interviewed.The third suspect is believed to be the person who stabbed Majors and as of Friday evening was still being sought, the first official said.The 13-year-old, who lives in Harlem and is 5 feet 5 inches tall, has not been formally charged with a crime. A judge ordered he be held until Tuesday, when he is due back in court for another hearing. He is expected to be arraigned eventually on charges of second-degree felony murder, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon.Rachel Glantz, an attorney for New York City, said at the hearing that the allegations were "the most serious charges that can come before a family court."Under New York state law, minors charged with intentional murder can be tried as adults. But the 13-year-old will be prosecuted in family court because he is facing a charge of felony murder, meaning that he is not accused of stabbing the woman but of taking part in robbery during which Majors was killed.The boy's lawyer, Hannah Kaplan with the Legal Aid Society, said police did not have any evidence beyond the boy's statement. She added that he had never been arrested before."There is no allegation my client touched the complainant in this case," Kaplan said. "He was merely present when this took place."The skinny teenager sat at the defense table slightly hunched over as public defenders whispered into his ear during the hearing. The boy's aunt and uncle, Shaquoya Carr and Roosevelt Davis, who are his guardians, sat directly behind him. Davis appeared to wipe away tears.After the hearing ended, a court officer placed handcuffs on the 13-year-old, tightening them to fit his slender wrists.Reached by phone, another aunt, Sonia Davis, said she did not believe the boy took part in the murder."No, I don't think he did this, not at all," Sonia Davis said. Of Majors' killing, she said, "I do feel bad for her and the family."The seemingly random killing of Majors in a park of symbolic importance to the community surrounding it, rattling university students and other city residents."It's just crazy," said Tyrone Singleton, 53, a building superintendent who lives near the park. "It's sad they took that girl's life for nothing. I'm ready to get up out of here."Majors grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, and had just moved to New York for her first semester of college. She spent her weekends singing and playing punk rock. She and her band, Patient 0, had just put out their first album in the fall, and they had played their first New York City concert in October.Her father, Robert Inman Majors, who goes by his middle name, is a novelist and teaches creative writing at James Madison University in Virginia."We are devastated by the senseless loss of our beautiful and talented Tess," her family said in a statement Friday. "We are thankful for the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from across the country."The park where Tessa Majors was stabbed, near the campuses of Barnard College and Columbia University, is in a precinct in Harlem that has grown safer over the years, with major crimes declining drastically there over the last 20 years, according to police data. The precinct had only one other murder so far this year."It's terrifying to think that that could happen anywhere," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Thursday. "It's unbelievable to me that that could happen here, next to one of our great college campuses."But residents have raised concerns about persistent crime in Morningside Park, even as the neighborhood around it improves, and playgrounds and ballfields replace desolate patches once strewn with crack vials.Earlier this year, several people reported that they had been approached from behind in the park and punched by young people.As of Sunday, there had been 20 robberies reported inside Morningside Park or on its perimeter this year, compared to seven in the same period last year.Since June, five people have reported being robbed on or near the staircase at 116th Street and Morningside Drive, near the location where Majors was stabbed. Recently, police said, several teenagers had been arrested in a pattern of robberies in the area.Levine, the city councilman, said officials needed to do more to keep the park safe, including filling gaps in lighting and boosting surveillance camera coverage, which he called spotty.Tom Baker, 73, has lived on the Upper West Side and has had an affiliation with Columbia since 1964. He said he feared the killing of Majors would cause a return to a bygone mentality of fear that once divided the university from the surrounding neighborhoods. Majors, he said, "was somebody who had no idea what the old Columbia rules were.""In the old days, nobody went through Morningside Park -- at all," he said. "Ever."He said he had been pleased to see the neighborhood become safer in the last 25 years. Still, he said Wednesday's murder was deeply troubling."It makes you wonder, are we going back? Is the city on its way down?" Baker asked. "My prediction would be that they are going to revert to the old rules by instinct."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


Posted: December 14, 2019, 3:07 pm

An exclusive fundraiser reveals Pete Buttigieg is being backed by some of Silicon Valley's wealthiest familiesButtigieg has come under fire from rival Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren for his ties to big tech.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 3:05 pm

The 25 Best Survival Games


Posted: December 14, 2019, 2:00 pm

Shooting shows New Jersey's gun laws aren't stopping importsOfficials from states with strong gun restrictions have called for stricter firearm control in places with weaker laws to thwart traffickers, but the fatal attack on a Jewish market in New Jersey shows how fruitless those efforts can be. The attackers carried five firearms and a pipe bomb in the U-Haul van they drove to the Jersey City Jewish market before opening fire, officials said. Two of the weapons used by David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, were bought by Graham in Ohio last year, police said.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 1:07 pm

Kentucky's new Democratic governor hits the ground runningJust days into his term as Kentucky's governor, Democrat Andy Beshear already has checked off some big priorities from his to-do list: a new state school board installed; the education commissioner gone; more than 140,000 nonviolent felons' voting rights restored. “This week’s actions are pieces of cake compared to what he faces in terms of building a budget and getting a program through the legislature,” longtime Kentucky political commentator Al Cross said. Beshear's aggressive start as governor was possible because he did most of it with executive orders, fulfilling promises he had made during the campaign.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 1:05 pm

Anger erupts at U.N. climate summit as major economies resist bold actionMajor economies resisted calls for bolder climate commitments as a U.N. summit in Madrid limped toward a delayed conclusion on Saturday, dimming hopes that nations will act in time to stop rising temperatures devastating people and the natural world. With the two-week gathering spilling into the weekend, campaigners and many delegates slammed Chile, presiding over the talks, for drafting a summit text that they said risked throwing the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle global warming into reverse. "At a time when scientists are queuing up to warn about terrifying consequences if emissions keep rising, and school children are taking to the streets in their millions, what we have here in Madrid is a betrayal of people across the world," said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, a climate and energy think-tank in Nairobi.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 10:28 am

Kamala Harris flames out: Black people didn't trust her, and they were wise not toYounger blacks and black progressives took a deeper, dispassionate dive into Kamala Harris’ real-world record. They didn’t like what they found


Posted: December 14, 2019, 10:00 am

Iran Demands $6 Billion Oil Payment From South Korea: Chosun(Bloomberg) -- Iran’s Foreign Ministry called in the South Korean ambassador last month to demand payment of 7 trillion won ($6 billion) for oil it sold to the Asian country, Chosun Ilbo reported, citing officials it didn’t identify.Iran expressed “strong regret” over Seoul’s failure to complete the payment, which has been deposited at two South Korean banks without being transferred to Iran’s central bank for years due to U.S. sanctions against the Middle Eastern country, the newspaper said. It added that other Iranian authorities including the central bank also complained.South Korea sent a delegation to the Middle East late last month and explained that the country will cooperate with the U.S. to successfully complete transfer of the payment, it added.To contact the reporter on this story: Kanga Kong in Seoul at kkong50@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Sara Marley, Siraj DatooFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 8:47 am

2 children dead after being swept away in Arizona floodwatersThe bodies of two children were found about three miles from the crash scene.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 8:34 am

U.S. Launches New Missile Formerly Banned by Arms Control TreatyThe missile will not carry nuclear weapons--for now, anyway.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 8:28 am

U.S. sanctions on Iran violate international law: MahathirThe American sanctions imposed on Iran violate the United Nations charter and international law, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told a conference in Qatar on Saturday. ''Malaysia does not support the reimposition of the unilateral sanctions by the US against Iran,'' he told the Doha Forum, also attended by Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 6:52 am

Will the Navy's New LRASM Missile Change the Balance of Power?Or will it keep the status quo?


Posted: December 14, 2019, 4:00 am

Satellite evades ‘day of reckoning' to discover puzzling weather phenomenon on JupiterAt first glance, these newly released images by NASA may look like lava churning in the heart of a volcano, but they reveal otherworldly storm systems whirling in a way that surprised scientists.The swirls in the photos are cyclones around Jupiter's south pole, captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft on Nov. 3, 2019. Juno has been orbiting the solar system's largest planet since 2016 and has seen these polar cyclones before, but its latest flight over this region of the planet revealed a startling discovery - a new cyclone had formed unexpectedly. Six cyclones can be seen at Jupiter's south pole in this infrared image taken on Feb. 2, 2017, during the 3rd science pass of NASA's Juno spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM) Prior to its early November pass, Juno had photographed five windstorms arranged in a uniform, pentagonal pattern around one storm sitting stationary over the south pole."It almost appeared like the polar cyclones were part of a private club that seemed to resist new members," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.It is unclear when exactly the new cyclone formed, but it changed the arrangement of the storms from a pentagon to a hexagon.Winds in these cyclones average around 225 mph, according to NASA, wind speeds higher than any tropical cyclone ever recorded on Earth. An outline of the continental United States superimposed over the central cyclone and an outline of Texas is superimposed over the newest cyclone at Jupiter's south pole give a sense of their immense scale. The hexagonal arrangement of the cyclones is large enough to dwarf the Earth. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM) The discovery of this evolving meteorological phenomenon almost didn't happen as Jupiter itself almost caused the mission to end abruptly.Juno is a solar-powered spacecraft that relies on constant light from the sun to keep the craft alive. Flying through Jupiter's enormous shadow would take about 12 hours to complete, which would cut off the power source, drain the spacecraft's battery and potentially spell the end of the mission."Our navigators and engineers told us a day of reckoning was coming, when we would go into Jupiter's shadow for about 12 hours," said Steve Levin, Juno project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.To avoid the potential mission-ending eclipse, Juno fired up its engine (which was not initially designed for such a maneuver) and adjusted its trajectory just enough to avoid the icy grip of Jupiter's shadow. Jupiter's moon Io casts its shadow on Jupiter whenever it passes in front of the Sun as seen from Jupiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS Image processing by Tanya Oleksuik, (C) CC BY) "Thanks to our navigators and engineers, we still have a mission," said Bolton. "What they did is more than just make our cyclone discovery possible; they made possible the new insights and revelations about Jupiter that lie ahead of us."NASA scientists will continue to study these polar vortices in future flights over Jupiter's south pole to better understand the atmosphere over this part of the planet."These cyclones are new weather phenomena that have not been seen or predicted before," said Cheng Li, a Juno scientist from the University of California, Berkeley. "Nature is revealing new physics regarding fluid motions and how giant planet atmospheres work. Future Juno flybys will help us further refine our understanding by revealing how the cyclones evolve over time."


Posted: December 14, 2019, 12:51 am

Judge: 234K Wisconsin voter registrations should be tossed; victory for conservativesA Wisconsin judge on Friday ordered that the registration of up to 234,000 voters be tossed out because they may have moved, a victory for conservatives that could make it more difficult for people to vote next year in the key swing state.


Posted: December 14, 2019, 12:36 am

The Tiny, Simple Nuclear Reactor That Could Change EnergyThe next step in nuclear power is 1/100th the size of today's reactors.


Posted: December 13, 2019, 11:31 pm

Sanders retracts controversial endorsement less than 24 hours after making itSen. Bernie Sanders retracted his endorsement of congressional candidate Cenk Uygur on Friday, less than 24 hours after making it, as allegations of sexism hit the former online talk show host.


Posted: December 13, 2019, 10:03 pm

Biden, Warren, Sanders, Yang, and Buttigieg are threatening to skip the next Democratic debate amid a labor disputeThe Democratic candidates say they stand in solidarity with campus food service workers who are on strike as they demand better wages and healthcare.


Posted: December 13, 2019, 8:55 pm

Challenge to immigration law is tossed on eve of enactmentA law that will allow New Yorkers to get driver’s licenses without having to prove they are in the country legally weathered a second court challenge Friday, days before its enactment. A federal district judge ruled against Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola, saying he lacked the legal capacity to bring the lawsuit. Merola, a Republican, had argued that the state law conflicts with federal immigration law.


Posted: December 13, 2019, 8:47 pm

Kentucky: outgoing governor pardons killer whose brother hosted fundraiserPardons of violent offenders, including a child rapist and a man who beheaded a female victim, provoke widespread backlashDays after leaving office, the former Kentucky governor Matt Bevin is facing widespread backlash and calls for an investigation following a number of controversial pardons of violent offenders on his way out the door.Pardons are traditional at the end of a governor’s term – and most of the Republican’s more than 400 pardons were for drug offenses. But a number of the pardons were for particularly violent crimes, like a woman who gave birth in a flea market porta-potty and dumped her newborn into the toilet’s septic tank; a man who hired a hitman to murder his business partner in front of his family; a man convicted of beheading a woman and stuffing her body in a 55-gallon drum; a man convicted last year of raping a nine-year-old child; and a man convicted in a home invasion homicide whose brother hosted a fundraiser for the governor last year.In that last case, Patrick Baker was pardoned just two years into his 19-year sentence for an incident in which he and several others impersonated law enforcement officers to gain entry to a home before shooting and killing a man inside. Two others imprisoned for the crime were not pardoned, despite prosecutors saying that Baker was the one who pulled the trigger.In announcing the pardon, Bevin questioned the evidence presented in the case and the jury’s decision to convict Baker.“The evidence supporting his conviction is sketchy at best,” wrote Bevin in the pardon. “I am not convinced that justice has been served on the death of Donald Mills, nor am I convinced that the evidence has proven the involvement of Patrick Baker as murderer.”Bevin’s conclusion is starkly at odds with the judge who sentenced Baker, David Williams, who according to the Louisville Courier-Journal said: “I’ve never seen a more compelling or complete case … the evidence was just overwhelming.”Baker’s brother Eric hosted Bevin at a fundraiser for the then governor at his home last year, raising $21,500, according to the paper, which has sparked accusations that the pardon was a favor, not the righting of a wrongful conviction.In a letter to the Republican attorney general-elect, Daniel Cameron, on Friday, the Democratic senate minority leader, Morgan McGarvey, and the state representative Chris Harris asked for a special prosecutor or bipartisan special prosecuting team to investigate Bevin’s pardons, particularly the Baker pardon.The power to pardon “was granted to serve justice and hold public officeholders accountable, not to grant political favors to powerful friends and campaign donors”, they wrote. “The appearance of corruption in this instance is overwhelming and cannot be overlooked or brushed aside.”In the case of Micah Schoettle, who was found guilty last year of raping a nine-year-old girl, Bevin also lashed out against the evidence and the jury’s decision.“Micah Schoettle was tried and convicted of a heinous crime based only on testimony that was not supported by any physical evidence,” wrote Bevin in his pardon. “This case was investigated and prosecuted in a manner that was sloppy at best. I do not believe that the charges against Mr Schoettle are true.”Rob Sanders, the commonwealth’s attorney who prosecuted the case, told the Courier-Journal that Bevin’s pardon was an “irresponsible manipulation of the justice system”.“I guess Matt Bevin thinks he’s smarter than 12 citizens that heard the actual evidence,” he said. “I’ve got news for him: child molesting rarely happens in front of witnesses or leaves physical evidence. If we don’t pursue those cases, 99% of child rapists would never be prosecuted.”On Friday evening, Bevin responded to the controversy with a Twitter thread, defending the pardons by saying that he had spent “hundreds of hours” reviewing applications for pardons and saying that he would welcome anybody he pardoned as a “co-worker, neighbor, or to sit beside me or any member of my family in a church pew or at a public event”.He also appeared to lash out at those who accused him of corruption in pardoning Baker, whose brother hosted a fundraiser for him.“The myriad of statements and suggestions that financial or political considerations played a part in the decision making process, are both highly offensive and entirely false,” he said. “To repeat such uncorroborated rumors and lies is reprehensible.”But Bevin was finding few defenders, even within his own party.On Friday, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said Bevin’s pardons were “completely inappropriate”.“I expect he had the power to do it, but looking at the examples of people who were incarcerated as a result of heinous crimes – no, I don’t approve of it,” the Republican senator told reporters in Kentucky’s capital of Frankfort.Bevin did not leave office quietly following his narrow loss to the Democrat Andy Beshear in last month’s election. Known as a pugnacious governor, Bevin, who campaigned with Donald Trump in the days leading up to the vote, disputed the election results and, without evidence, charged that widespread voter fraud occurred, a move that stoked rightwing conspiracy theories about the election.Beshear was sworn into office just after midnight on Tuesday, but his first days in office have been overshadowed by his predecessor’s pardons.On Thursday, Bevin told the Washington Post he was “a big believer in second chances” after the paper asked about the pardons.


Posted: December 13, 2019, 8:40 pm

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