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Iran's Drones Are Getting Deadlier by the Day

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 08:46

What should Washington do about it?

Sexual abuse of slaves by students at Founding Father’s university revealed by historians

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 07:59

The two young, white University of Virginia students had a secret.It was September 1826, and the men, both scions of wealthy southern slaveholding families, were suffering from the same sexually transmitted disease.

Wall Street falls amid caution on U.S.-China trade dispute

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 07:38

U.S. stocks eased on Monday as reports on the U.S.-China trade front kept investors cautious ahead of scheduled talks later in the week. A report that Beijing was increasingly reluctant to agree to a broad trade deal pursued by President Donald Trump weighed on sentiment early.

FBI: Most prolific serial killer in U.S. murdered at least 50

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 07:23

A 79-year-old man murdered at least 50 people, making him the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history, the FBI said Sunday.

Here Are All the 2019 Nobel Prize Winners (So Far)

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 07:02

The first award went to a trio for their research into cellular oxygen use

The GOP is gaslighting America

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 05:55

President Trump is serious.He was serious in 2016 when he asked Russia to search for Hillary Clinton's emails. And he was serious last week when he stood in front of the White House and urged Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a possible rival for the presidency in 2020. Trump really did want Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, and he really does want foreign countries to take out Biden for him before next year's campaign.Republicans know this. The problem, though, is that they cannot defend the indefensible. They don't want to endorse the idea of inviting foreign interference in American elections, but they aren't ready to abandon the president, either. So they've decided that the best way to defend Trump from impeachment is to tell the world he cannot be taken seriously -- that the word of the president of the United States is meaningless, because he's too busy trolling the world. The president of the United States is a jokester.Consider these comments made over the weekend by various congressional Republicans:Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.): "I doubt if the China comment was serious, to tell you the truth."Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): "I don't know that that's a real request or him just needling the press, knowing that you guys are going to get outraged by it. He's pretty good at getting everybody fired up. And he's been doing that for a while and the media responded right on task."Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio): "You really think he was serious about thinking that China's going to investigate the Biden family? I think he's getting the press all spun up about this."Nonsense. Joking requires a punch line, a surprise at the end of a story. Good jokes require an audience ready to laugh. Jokes need context -- a wink, a nudge -- to land correctly. Really good jokes often involve a degree of misdirection. Most importantly, though, jokes need to be funny. The Republicans' "just joking" defense is a way to let the president have his cake and eat it too -- to ask for foreign intervention in American elections without having to be held responsible for making that request.Feminists long ago identified this kind of behavior for what it really is: gaslighting. It's a way that abusers, usually men, manipulate and control their victims by making them believe they can't trust the evidence relayed by their own senses. Trump may not be a master of gaslighting, but he is a frequent practitioner of it -- and now the broader Republican Party is taking his cue.So watch carefully the video of Trump asking Ukraine and China to investigate Biden, and ask yourself if you'd think any of this was funny -- or a put-on -- without Republicans rushing to assure you that he didn't really mean it:> President Trump says he wants both Ukraine and China to investigate Joe Biden and his son> > -- CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 3, 2019It sure looks like he means what he says. So why pretend otherwise?Trump, of course, has long sought advantage by keeping his listeners off-guard and guessing at his meaning. Selena Zito advised observers in 2016 to take Trump "seriously, but not literally," a formulation not just confusing and wrong, but also advantageous: It forced pundits to spend unnecessary time trying to interpret what was happening in plain sight. The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum got closer to the heart of the matter after the election, in a piece that asked: "How do you fight an enemy who's just kidding?"The humor deployed by Trump and his supporters during the campaign, she suggested, should properly be understood as authoritarian, cloaking their intentions in a fog of joking-not-joking memes and Pepe the Frog cartoons."The Big Lie is a propaganda technique: State false facts so outlandish that they must be true, because who would make up something so crazy?" Nussbaum wrote. "But a joke can be another kind of Big Lie, shrunk to look like a toy."Indeed, the latest invocations of the "just joking" defense are trying to persuade Americans of an easily debunked lie -- to suggest, against all available evidence, that the president's critics simply don't understand the man, that they're gullible, humorless scolds who should be embarrassed for taking his words so seriously. It's a ruse designed to foster second-guessing and help Trump elude his critics.But Trump has rather plainly stated his intentions: He wants the help of foreign governments to investigate and undermine his political opponents. There is no winking or nudging. He isn't pulling a gag. He means what he says. The only funny thing about the matter is that Republicans think they can persuade us the whole thing is just a big joke.Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.

Russian village's last teacher stays on for her one remaining pupil

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 03:53

Uminur Kuchukova, 61, could have retired years ago, but she continues to teach at this dying Russian village's once bustling school for the sake of its last pupil, a 9-year-old boy. Like thousands of villages dotted across Russia, the remote Siberian village of Sibilyakovo emptied after the closure of its state-run collective farm following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet planned economy. Kuchukova has taught at the school for 42 years.

Disney World visitors left dangling for hours after cable car gondolas break down

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 03:32

Holidaymakers riding a new aerial gondola system at Walt Disney World in Florida on Saturday night were stranded in the air for several hours after an unknown problem caused some of the gondolas to come to a halt.The Disney Skyliner gondola system launched on 29 September.

Gandhi memorial defaced, ashes allegedly stolen on his 150th birthday

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 22:15

Police confirm they're investigating the destruction of a portrait of the Indian icon, but they aren't yet taking seriously claims that his remains were stolen

A 97-year-old California woman with dementia went missing. Four 'junior detectives' helped police find her

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 20:29

Police in California are thanking a group of "junior detectives" who recently helped locate a missing 97-year-old woman with dementia.

China's Xi and India's Modi to hold summit this week amid strains

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 20:04

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China's President Xi Jinping will hold an informal summit in southern India on Friday, officials said, amid strains in their relationship. India's foreign ministry has not formally announced the meeting in the Tamil Nadu town of Mamallapuram, known for its historic temples and architecture. Indian media reports said Xi and Modi will visit Mamallapuram's attractions on the follow up to their first informal summit in Wuhan, China, in April last year.

Astronauts replace old batteries in 1st of 5 spacewalks

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 19:41

Astronauts hustled through the first of five spacewalks to replace old batteries at the International Space Station on Sunday. Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan removed three old batteries and installed two new ones delivered just a week ago, getting a jump on future work. Koch and Morgan will venture back out Friday for more battery work 250 miles (400 kilometers) up.

APNewsBreak: Evers issuing 1st Wisconsin pardons in 9 years

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 19:03

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will issue Wisconsin's first pardons in nine years, invoking his constitutional power to grant clemency to four people. Evers plans to issue the pardons Monday, the first he's making as governor after he re-started the pardons board in June. Evers' predecessor, Republican Scott Walker, never issued a single pardon over his eight years as governor.

Ohio University suspended all 15 fraternities on-campus after National Hazing Prevention Week was followed by 7 hazing allegations

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 17:49

After OU sororities and fraternities held National Hazing Prevention Week events, 7 allegations against separate fraternities were brought forward.

Erratic Trump struggles to control message as impeachment threat grows

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 17:29

Republican defenders mostly silent, with two vivid exceptions, as at least one additional whistleblower steps forward Trump’s course of self-defense, meanwhile, appeared to be increasingly erratic. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty ImagesAs Donald Trump strived to enforce message discipline among Republicans in the face of a building threat that he will be impeached, new forces beyond the US president’s control appeared likely to accelerate the congressional impeachment inquiry further in the coming week.At least one additional whistleblower has stepped forward to describe an alleged scheme by Trump to extort Ukraine for dirt on Democratic 2020 presidential rival Joe Biden, the individual’s lawyer announced.Congress is preparing to take testimony on Tuesday from a major figure in the Ukraine scandal, Gordon Sondland, a wealthy hotelier and major Trump donor who was made US ambassador to the European Union.Similar testimony last week by former US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker led to the disclosure of a damaging series of text messages further implicating Trump in the scandal.And Trump’s would-be defenders in the Republican ranks, with the notable exception of two figures who themselves are deeply implicated in the Ukraine affair – secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani – have fallen mostly silent. No Trump defender from the White House appeared on the US Sunday morning news shows, nor did any members of the congressional Republican political leadership.Trump’s course of self-defense, meanwhile, appeared to be increasingly erratic. The president told House Republicans that his reportedly outgoing energy secretary, Rick Perry, was the secret Machiavelli behind a phone call Trump held with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, central to the scandal, Axios reported.“Not a lot of people know this but, I didn’t even want to make the call,” Trump was quoted as saying. “The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to.”Article 1 of the United States constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to initiate impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" – although the constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are.The process starts with the House of Representatives passing articles of impeachment. A simple majority of members need to vote in favour of impeachment for it to pass to the next stage. Democrats currently control the house, with 235 representatives.The chief justice of the US supreme court then presides over the proceedings in the Senate, where the president is tried, with senators acting as the jury. For the president to be found guilty two-thirds of senators must vote to convict. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 of the 100 senators.Two presidents have previously been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868, though neither was removed from office as a result. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before there was a formal vote to impeach him.Martin BelamA spokesperson said that Perry had urged Trump to speak with Ukraine about natural gas but not about Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, or a conspiracy theory about Ukrainian election tampering, which were the topics Trump raised on the July call.“Lesson to all of you Trump aides,” tweeted Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress, “he’s taking you all down with him so you might as well get off the boat while you can.”After a week in which his campaign seemed to dither over Trump’s constant attacks, Biden published a pugilistic op-ed in the Washington Post declaring “enough is enough”. “You won’t destroy me, and you won’t destroy my family,” the piece concluded. “And come November 2020, I intend to beat you like a drum.”On Sunday afternoon, Biden criticized Trump on Twitter.> In my experience, asking a foreign government to manufacture lies about your domestic political opponent is not “done all the time.”> > — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 6, 2019News of at least one more whistleblower with direct knowledge of Trump administration interactions with Ukraine emerged Sunday. “I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying 12 August disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” tweeted Andrew Bakaj. “No further comment at this time.”Trump spent Sunday morning tweeting outrage at Democrats and at Mitt Romney, who has been the only GOP senator to condemn Trump’s Ukraine dealings in strong, clear terms.At the weekend, Maine Republican senator Susan Collins said of Trump’s comments last week saying China should investigate the Bidens, that: “I thought the president made a big mistake by asking China to get involved in investigating a political opponent. It’s completely inappropriate.”But the efficacy of Trump’s efforts to keep Republicans onside in his defense was also visible at the weekend, with Pompeo telling reporters in Athens that it was the government’s “duty” to investigate a conservative conspiracy theory placing Ukraine instead of Russia at the heart of 2016 election tampering. That conspiracy theory has been debunked thoroughly.Another Republican senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, scrambled on Sunday to make amends for his admission on Friday that he had heard the state department was trying to put together a deal in which military aid for Ukraine would be tied to Zelenskiy’s cooperation in Trump’s alleged conspiracy against Biden.Johnson used an appearance on NBC News’ Meet the Press to become adamant about how Trump had personally told him there was no such linkage, and then, to the intense frustration of host Chuck Todd, Johnson peddled the Ukraine election tampering conspiracy. “What happened in 2016?” said Johnson. “Who set him up? Did things spring from Ukraine?”But Colin Powell, the former secretary of state under George W Bush, called the whistleblower a “patriot” in an appearance on CNN.“The Republican party has got to get a grip on itself,” Powell said. “Republican leaders and members of the Congress … are holding back because they’re terrified of what will happen [to] any one of them if they speak out.”Meanwhile the former Republican congressman Joe Walsh, who has mounted a primary run against Trump, accused Trump of betrayal.“This president deserves to be impeached,” Walsh said on CNN’s State of the Union. “This president betrayed his country again this week … He stood on the White House lawn and told two foreign governments to interfere in our election. Donald Trump is a traitor.”Minnesota senator and Democratic 2020 election candidate Amy Klobuchar amplified that message, comparing the Ukraine scandal to Watergate.“This is impeachable,” Klobuchar told CNN. “He’s acting like a global gangster, going to one leader after another trying to get dirt on his political opponent. I consider that a violation of our laws.”

Republicans should be ashamed of their silence on Trump's call for China to go after Biden

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 17:01

Republicans continue to make excuse after excuse for Trump, even as the president makes his corruption a public affair.

Ecuador arrests shopkeepers for price rises, protests rage

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 16:19

Ecuadorean authorities have begun arresting shopkeepers for raising food prices as indigenous groups clashed with security forces on Sunday in a fourth day of protests against President Lenin Moreno's austerity measures. Ecuadoreans complain consumer prices have risen sharply as a knock-on effect of Moreno's abolition of fuel subsidies, which has also triggered the nation's worst unrest in more than a decade. The government said 20 people were detained over the weekend for over-charging for products including corn, onions, carrots and potatoes, which are all subject to price controls.

Israel unveils remains of 5,000-year-old city

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 15:51

Israeli archaeologists on Sunday unveiled the remains of a 5,000-year-old city they said was among the biggest from its era in the region, including fortifications, a ritual temple and a cemetery. "We have here an immense urban construction, planned with streets that separate neighbourhoods and public spaces," Yitzhak Paz of the Israel Antiquities Authority told AFP at the site near the Mediterranean in the country's centre. The archaeological site known as En Esur "is the largest site and the most important from that era" in the region, said Itai Elad, another archaeologist overseeing the excavation.

Teachers suspended after unsupervised toddlers escape preschool, wander into traffic

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 15:08

A woman reported seeing a group of toddlers wandering the streets near Little Sunshine's Playhouse & Preschool in Gilbert, Arizona, on Friday morning.