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China's Investments In Special Forces Are Paying Off In Deadly Ways

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 22:00

Special operations soldiers are a force multiplier.


Russian Historian Accused of Murdering His Student After Being Found Drunk in River With Bag of Severed Limbs

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 19:39

Denis Sinyakov/AFP/GettyA well-known Russian military historian and professor at St. Petersburg State University was found in a river in the center of the city early Saturday morning drunkenly trying to dispose of a woman’s severed arms, according to Russian media reports. Police reportedly soon found the woman’s decapitated head and body, along with a bloody saw, in his apartment, and divers are said to have found her legs in black plastic bags at the bottom of the Moyka River. The alleged historian-turned-murderer, identified by Russia’s Interfax news agency as 63-year-old Oleg Sokolov, has already confessed to the killing, according to his lawyer, Alexander Pochuyev. “If such a heinous crime, which my client has confessed to, did take place, it was committed under the influence of strong factors, possibly pathological intoxication or temporary insanity,” Pochuyev was quoted as saying by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   Pochuyev added “the verdict has not been passed yet, and until that moment a person is forbidden to be considered guilty” under Russia’s Criminal Code.Sokolov has reportedly entered a plea bargain for the gruesome murder of the 24-year-old victim, tentatively identified by law enforcement sources as Anastasia Eshchenko, one of his students and his co-author on research projects about the French military rule of Napoleon Bonaparte. Police have not yet confirmed a motive, but several local media reports suggest Sokolov and Eshchenko had a closer relationship than that of a teacher and student. Interfax cited sources saying the two lived together. Sokolov is said to have told detectives during his interrogation that he purchased a saw to get rid of Eshchenko’s body and drank booze during the dismemberment because he “repeatedly felt sick.” He also reportedly said he planned to commit suicide afterwards wearing the uniform of Napoleon. Sokolov is considered one of Russia’s leading experts on Napoleonic wars, and is well-known for reenacting moments of Napoleonic history. He was awarded France’s Legion d’Honneur in 2003. Sokolov was also a member of France's Institute of Social Science, Economics and Politics, but he had been stripped of his position on its scientific committee Saturday, the society said in a statement.“We could never imagine that he could commit such an odious act,” as an academic of such high standing, the ISSEP said. The battle re-enactor was also initially listed as a member of the Russian Military Historical Society, but by Saturday evening the organization insisted it had no ties to him. Russian state media reports that Sokolov is detained in a hospital and is being treated for hypothermia.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.


'Baby Trump' balloon slashed at Alabama appearance

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 19:39

A towering "Baby Trump" protest balloon was knifed and deflated by someone unhappy with its appearance during President Donald Trump's Saturday trip to Alabama, organizers said. The incident occurred during Trump's visit to watch the University of Alabama football game. Jim Girvan, the organizer of a group that "adopts" out the Trump balloons for protests, said a man charged the balloon with a knife and cut an 8-foot-long (2.4-meter-long) gash in the back.


After burying last victims, some in Mexico's breakaway Mormon community head north

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 19:29

Members of a breakaway Mormon community tucked in the hills of northern Mexico buried the last of their dead on Saturday after a devastating massacre, and some headed for safer ground in the United States. Hundreds of friends and family from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border gathered in rural Colonia LeBaron to honor Christina Langford, who died in an ambush on Monday that killed nine.


U.K. Conservatives Still Ahead of Labour in Opinion Polls

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 19:26

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K.’s Conservative Party was ahead of the opposition Labour Party as the campaign for the Dec. 12 general election picked up steam., according to several polls published over the weekend. The ruling Conservatives had 41% support compared with 29% for Labour, according to Opinium’s poll issued Saturday for the Observer newspaper. The Tories were at 42% last week and Labour at 26%.The Liberal Democrats were third, with 15%, followed by the Brexit Party at 6% and the Scottish National Party at 5%. The online survey of 2,001 U.K. adults was carried out from Nov. 6 to 8.There’s a 9-in-10 chance that the true value of a party’s support lies within 4 points of the estimates provided by the poll, and a 2-in-3 chance that they are within 2 points, according to Opinium.The YouGov poll for The Sunday Times also showed Conservatives at 41%, which was unchanged from the prior week.Labour was at 26%, Liberal Democrats at 17% and the Brexit Party at 10%. The poll surveyed 1,598 adults from Nov. 7-9 and the margin of error was not specified.The Conservatives maintained a 12 percentage points lead over the Labour Party from last week, according to Deltapoll’s national opinion survey for the Mail on Sunday newspaper.Voting intentions for the Conservatives and Labour rose by 1 percentage point to 41% and 29% while support for Liberal Democrats increased 2 percentage points to 16%.The Brexit Party saw a decline of 5 percentage points to 6%, according to Deltapoll that surveyed 1,518 people online between Nov. 6 and 9.To contact the reporter on this story: Madison Park in San Francisco at mpark197@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sebastian Tong at stong41@bloomberg.net, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Police abandon posts outside Bolivia's presidential palace

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 19:18

Police guards outside Bolivia's presidential palace abandoned their posts Saturday, increasing pressure on President Evo Morales as he seeks to curb nationwide unrest after a disputed election. Growing dissension in police ranks posed a new threat to Morales, who claimed victory after the Oct. 20 vote but has since faced protests in which three people have been killed and hundreds injured. Morales faces "the most complicated moment" in his 14 years in power and the situation could deteriorate, said Jorge Dulón, a political analyst at the Catholic University of Bolivia in La Paz.


U.K. Spending to Surge Under Labour, Javid tells Telegraph

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 19:08

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, would increase spending by 1.2 trillion pounds ($1.5 trillion) over the next five years, the Sunday Telegraph reported.Corbyn would increase spending more than three times faster than former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Telegraph cited Javid as saying, adding that he called the Labour Party’s expenditure plans “truly frightening.”Under Labour, government spending would increase 30%, compared with 10% under Brown, the Conservatives said, according to the report. The figures were drawn up by the Conservative research department in a 36-page document based on pledges made in Labour’s 2017 manifesto.Labour’s spending plans amounted to “scrapping all funding for the NHS for the next nine years,” Javid told the Telegraph, referring to the U.K.’s universal health-care system.The U.K. general election is set for Dec. 12.To contact the reporter on this story: Madison Park in San Francisco at mpark197@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sebastian Tong at stong41@bloomberg.net, Linus ChuaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Chilly down to the Gulf of Mexico: What you should know about the arctic blast

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 17:51

A record-breaking cold front is expected to sweep across the U.S. from Sunday into Tuesday thanks to the Arctic blast.


US-born IS bride appeals again to come home from Syria

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 17:43

A US-born woman who says she regrets having joined the Islamic State group has appealed again to come home from the refugee camp where she lives with her small son in Syria. The government is refusing to let Hoda Muthana return to the US, arguing that she is not an American citizen. In an interview with NBC News published Saturday, Muthana said she "regrets every single thing" done by IS, which she joined in 2014 after embracing extremist ideology while living with her family in Alabama.


Elizabeth Warren hits back at Biden 'angry' criticism: 'I am angry and I own it'

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 17:12

* Warren retorts in fundraising email * Opinion: Surprised Pressley backs Warren? Don’t beElizabeth Warren in South Carolina in October. ‘Over and over,’ she said in the email, ‘we are told that women are not allowed to be angry.’ Photograph: Sean Rayford/Getty ImagesHitting back at criticism from Joe Biden that many people said was sexist, Elizabeth Warren told supporters: “I am angry and I own it.”Warren also sought to put the Biden controversy to good use: her response came in a fundraising email she sent to supporters on Friday.“Over and over,” the email said, “we are told that women are not allowed to be angry. It makes us unattractive to powerful men who want us to be quiet.”Biden may indeed want Warren to be quiet – in Democratic primary polling he has fallen behind her in Iowa and New Hampshire, although he maintains a national lead. But he insisted his attack on the Massachusetts senator was not sexist.His initial remarks came in a Medium post entitled “I Have Fought for the Democratic Party My Whole Career”.“The other day,” wrote Biden, “I was accused by one of my opponents of running in the wrong primary. Pretty amazing. On one level, it is kind of funny.> We are told women are not allowed to be angry. It makes us unattractive to powerful men who want us to be quiet> > Elizabeth Warren“… But at another level these kinds of attacks are a serious problem. They reflect an angry unyielding viewpoint that has crept into our politics. If someone doesn’t agree with you – it’s not just that you disagree – that person must be a coward or corrupt or a small thinker.“Some call it the ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ approach to politics. But it’s worse than that. It’s condescending to the millions of Democrats who have a different view.”Biden, the leading centrist in the primary field, did not mention Warren, the leading progressive, by name. But few had much difficulty working out the former vice-president’s target and on Friday, speaking to CNN, Biden owned up.“The strong women in my life are angry,” he said. “That has nothing to do with it. It had to do with the fact that it started off and she said, you know, Biden is running in the wrong primary because I disagreed, disagree with her Medicare for All proposal.”Healthcare is a hot-button issue in the race to face Donald Trump. Earlier this month, Warren detailed a $20.5tn Medicare for All proposal, saying it would not require tax rises on middle class Americans.The plan was attacked by centrists including Biden and the mayor of South Bend, who has surged in Iowa and about whom the New York Times published a report on Saturday entitled: “Why Pete Buttigieg Annoys His Democratic Rivals.”Some wonder if Buttigieg, 37, might end up as the vice-presidential pick. On Saturday, though, Biden told a crowd in New Hampshire his running mate would be “preferably a woman” who could “make up for some of my weaknesses”.Warren’s fundraising email did not mention Biden. But in terms familiar from the senator’s fiery stump speech, it said: “It’s not just women. When we speak up against Wall Street and big tech … we are told that everyone with less power should be quiet.“…Well, I am angry and I own it. I’m angry on behalf of everyone who is hurt by Trump’s government, our rigged economy, and business as usual.”


Teenagers charged with murder of photographer after pushing six-foot log off cliff as she took pictures of class below

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 15:13

Two teenagers are facing murder charges after a six-foot log fell from a cliff and killed a photographer taking school pictures below.Victoria Schafer, 44, was killed instantly when the 74-pound log fell about 75 feet and hit her as she photographed students for their senior pictures near Old Man’s Cave at Hocking Hills State Park, in Ohio, on 2 September.


4 Syrian soldiers killed in clashes with Turkish-led forces

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 13:59

Intense clashes broke out Saturday between Syrian government troops and Turkish-led forces in northeast Syria, killing at least four Syrian soldiers, the country's state media and an opposition war monitor reported. Turkey invaded northeast Syria last month to push out Syrian Kurdish fighters near the border. The Kurdish groups called in Syrian government forces to halt Turkey's advance.


Jeffrey Epstein death memes and conspiracy theories are everywhere. This is why they're so popular.

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 13:49

The theory that Jeffrey Epstein was murdered is widespread and pervasive. Its popularity illustrates our growing distrust in public institutions.


2 Disney workers among 17 facing child porn charges after monthlong Florida probe

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 13:46

Florida authorities have arrested 17 men, including two Disney workers and a former middle school principal, on child pornography charges.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hasn't stopped blocking critics on Twitter despite settling a lawsuit charging she violated the First Amendment

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 13:14

Ocasio-Cortez recently apologized for blocking a critic on Twitter and settled a lawsuit he filed alleging she violated the First Amendment.


In the 1950s, America Almost Built Huge Nuclear Bunkers for Ever City

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 13:00

Would the fall out shelters have worked?


'Gender Reveal' Celebration in Texas Led to a Plane Crash

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 12:48

In recent years, expectant parents have gone to extreme lengths to create splashy, Instagrammable moments to announce the sex of their child. Some of the celebrations, however, have ended in calamity: a 45,000-acre forest fire, a flaming car, a deadly explosion.And now, a plane crash could be added to that list, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board filed this week.A crop-dusting plane that dumped hundreds of gallons of pink water over a field in Turkey, Texas, about 300 miles northwest of Dallas, crashed to the ground in early September, according to safety board documents. No major injuries were reported.The pilot, Raj Horan, had been "conducting a gender reveal flight for a friend" when, after releasing about 350 gallons of water, the single-seat plane "got too slow" and stalled, records show.A passenger, identified as Jennifer Harrell, sustained minor injuries, according to the incident report. The aircraft, which struck the ground and flipped on its back, sustained substantial damage.Attempts to reach Harrell and Horan on Friday were not successful.The pilot told investigators there were "no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane."Cultural researchers have traced the origins of the so-called gender reveal party to the late 2000s. But those early attempts feel almost quaint by today's standards.Despite the possibility of attracting backlash for reinforcing gender stereotypes and schadenfreude should things go wrong, some couples have felt that confetti or cake sprinkles are not flashy enough to deliver their messages.Last month, an Iowa couple trying to create a device that could shoot colored powder into the air inadvertently built a pipe bomb that killed one of their guests. A day later, authorities in the state investigated another explosion of a store-bought "gender reveal kit," according to The Associated Press.On Australia's Gold Coast, a black car was rigged to spew thick clouds of blue smoke. But after drifting slowly and spinning its wheels on the road, the car burst into flames. (The driver managed to escape.)And in 2018, a man shot a rifle at a target containing a highly explosive chemical mixed with colorful powder packets that were intended to create a pink or blue cloud. The resulting explosion, however, sparked a massive fire that took firefighters a week to extinguish and burned more than 45,000 acres in Arizona.The man who shot the rifle, a Customs and Border Protection agent, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of U.S. Forest Service regulations and agreed to pay $220,000 in restitution.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


Heirs of holocaust survivors compete to sue Lehman Foundation over $7 million watercolour

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 12:03

The heirs of two Holocaust victims have sued the Lehman Foundation in New York over a multi-million dollar painting, both claiming their families owned the painting before the Nazi era.  The 1917 painting by Egon Schiele, Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, was purchased by Robin Owen Lehman – the son of late the banker Robert Lehman – from the Marlborough Gallery in London in 1964. It is now estimated to be worth between $5 and $7 million.  In 2016, Mr Lehman tried to sell the painting through Christie’s auction house to raise money for his charity foundation. However, the move notified the two rival claimants to the painting’s whereabouts and all three parties have been stuck in a legal stalemate ever since. According to the heirs of Karl Mayländer, a Jewish businessman in Vienna who was killed in Auschwitz, he owned the watercolour before he was deported to the death camp. His family trust now cites a long distant relative, 98-year-old Eva Zirkl who lives in New York, as the rightful owner of the painting. But the family of another Holocaust victim, Heinrich Rieger, who was Egon Schiele’s dentist, believe the watercolour belonged to Mr Reiger before he was killed.  The Lehman Foundation now faces two separate claims from the Rieger and Zirkl families’ respective trusts in New York.  Lawyers representing Mr Lehman tried to settle the dispute in “good faith” outside of the courts, but claim that neither parties were willing to meet in person to discuss their positions.   Thaddeus Stauber, a lawyer in Los Angeles who is representing Mr Lehman in the case, told the Daily Telegraph: “We are trying to establish whether either of these claimants have a legitimate claim. Based on what they have submitted at the moment, we don’t believe either of them do. “I reached out to all the parties individually and invited everyone to New York to try and reach an agreement in good faith. But for the past three years they have refused to talk to each other.” The painting is currently being held in Christie’s in New York and cannot be sold until the dispute is settled.  The case is due to be heard in the coming month at Monroe County Supreme Court in Rochester, New York state, where a judge is expected to decide who the rightful owner of the piece is.  Raymond Dowd, a lawyer in New York representing the Rieger family trust, accused the Lehman Foundation of “procedural lawfare” by insisting that the case be heard outside of New York City.  “When you are a large, rich plaintiff you can afford to engage in procedural lawfare,” he said, adding that the Reiger family trust have been willing to “engage in good faith discussions”.  The legal action was originally started by the Lehman Foundation in September, when its lawyers filed court papers in an attempt to establish whether either family was telling the truth.  The Robert Rieger Trust in New York have since filed a claim on the watercolour, which they say “was always regarded as a special piece of the Rieger collection”. But The Susan Zirkl Memorial Foundation Trust, representing 98-year-old Ms Zirkl, claim that she is the rightful owner.   The case comes after Ms Zirkl was returned two other Schiele paintings from an Austrian museum three years ago, after reportedly spending two decades trying to reclaim the drawings.  Vienna's famous Leopold Museum agreed to return two watercolours, including a self-portrait of Schiele, to the New York-based heiress of Mayländer in 2016. Lawyers representing Ms Zirkl on Saturday denied the “blatantly false” allegation that they have not engaged in good faith discussions, adding: “Mr. Lehman’s counsel is soliciting publicity to manufacture a narrative, and we will not engage in that process.”


US man convicted of murder says life term completed when he briefly 'died'

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 11:25

Benjamin Schreiber says 2015 ‘death’ when heart stopped means life sentence should be considered served – but judges disagreeBenjamin Schreiber. The judges concluded: ‘Schreiber is either still alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is actually dead, in which case this appeal is moot.’ Photograph: APAn Iowa prisoner serving a life sentence argued he had paid his debt to society – after “dying” momentarily in hospital.Benjamin Schreiber was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 1996, after he clubbed a man to death with the handle of a pickax and left his body outside a trailer, the Des Moines Register reported. He had conspired with the man’s girlfriend to murder him.In March 2015, Schreiber developed severe complications from kidney stones and went into septic shock. He lost consciousness in his cell and was taken to hospital.Once there, he momentarily “died” in doctors’ care. He was revived using a combination of epinephrine and adrenaline, his sepsis was treated and he was sent back to jail.According to his attorneys, his momentary “death” meant he had completed his life sentence and his return to prison was therefore illegal. Schreiber also said he was revived against his wishes.A lower court found the argument “unpersuasive and without merit”. Schreiber took the matter further but appeals court judges were also not convinced.For the three-judge panel, justice Amanda Potterfield wrote: “We do not believe the legislature intended this provision, which defines the sentences for the most serious class of felonies under Iowa law and imposes its ‘harshest penalty’... to set criminal defendants free whenever medical procedures during their incarceration lead to their resuscitation by medical professionals.”The judges concluded: “Schreiber is either still alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is actually dead, in which case this appeal is moot.”Schreiber, 66, is still in prison in Iowa.


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