Biphoo https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews Mon, 28 May 2018 10:13:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.3 U.S. safety agency reviewing fatal Tesla crash in Florida https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/u-s-safety-agency-reviewing-fatal-tesla-crash-in-florida.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/u-s-safety-agency-reviewing-fatal-tesla-crash-in-florida.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 07:38:27 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65341 U.S. safety agency reviewing fatal Tesla crash in Florida The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Thursday it was reviewing a Florida crash of a Tesla Inc vehicle earlier this week that killed two teenagers. NHTSA said in a statement it was “gathering information on the tragic crash in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to […]

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U.S. safety agency reviewing fatal Tesla crash in Florida

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Thursday it was reviewing a Florida crash of a Tesla Inc vehicle earlier this week that killed two teenagers.

NHTSA said in a statement it was “gathering information on the tragic crash in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to understand all of the facts. The agency will take appropriate action based on its review.”

The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday it was opening a probe into the crash and sending four investigators.

Earlier, Tesla said its autopilot system was unlikely to have been a factor in the crash. Autopilot, a form of advanced cruise control that has come under scrutiny after two crashes this year, was not engaged when the Model S car drove off the road and hit a concrete wall, catching fire, the company said, adding it had not yet seen logs from the crash.

“We have not yet been able to retrieve the logs from the vehicle, but everything we have seen thus far indicates a very high-speed collision and that autopilot was not engaged,” a Tesla spokesperson said.

The NTSB has four active investigations into crashes of the company’s electric vehicles.

While admitting that serious high-speed collisions could result in a fire, the Tesla spokesperson defended the car’s safety record, saying a gas car in the United States is five times more likely to catch fire than a Tesla vehicle.

In the event of an accident, eight airbags protect front and rear occupants, and the battery system automatically disconnects from the main power source, Tesla has said previously in promotional materials for the car.

“Should the worst happen, there is no safer car to be in than Model S,” according to a company brochure for the 2014 Model S.

NHTSA previously has said it is investigating two other Tesla crashes earlier this year, including a fatal March crash involving Autopilot in California.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-crash/u-s-safety-agency-reviewing-fatal-tesla-crash-in-florida-idUSKBN1IB1HX

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Facebook asks European users which news sources they trust https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/facebook-asks-european-users-which-news-sources-they-trust.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/facebook-asks-european-users-which-news-sources-they-trust.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 07:24:59 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65332 Facebook asks European users which news sources they trust Facebook is asking users in Europe which news sources they trust to help it gauge whether to extend a change to its News Feed that it made in the United States earlier this year, designed to filter out misinformation. In January, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg […]

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Facebook asks European users which news sources they trust

Facebook is asking users in Europe which news sources they trust to help it gauge whether to extend a change to its News Feed that it made in the United States earlier this year, designed to filter out misinformation.

In January, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said the News Feed, the social media company’s centerpiece service, would prioritize “high quality news” over less trusted sources as part of its fight against false information on the platform.

Facebook has been criticized for failing to prevent false reports – originating from alleged Russia operatives, for-profit spammers and others – spreading on its platform, notably during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign.

It has also had a stormy relationship with news organizations, especially those with strong political leanings.

Zuckerberg said in January there was too much “sensationalism, misinformation and polarization” in the world, and social media was making the problem worse.

“Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don’t specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them,” he wrote then.

The company, which has more than 2 billion monthly users, turned to its members to determine how news outlets ranked in terms of trustworthiness, using short surveys on the site.

On Thursday, it said it would start showing similar two-part surveys to users in Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, asking them if they are familiar with specific news sources, for example BBC News or the Guardian, and if they trust them.

A Facebook spokesman said the results of the survey would not currently affect the ranking or the composition of News Feed in Britain or any of the other countries yet.

The company said it would announce if it decided to implement any changes.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-media-europe/facebook-asks-european-users-which-news-sources-they-trust-idUSKBN1IB2IN

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Chipmaker Nvidia sees fewer crypto miners, more gamers in future https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/chipmaker-nvidia-sees-fewer-crypto-miners-more-gamers-in-future.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/chipmaker-nvidia-sees-fewer-crypto-miners-more-gamers-in-future.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 07:20:43 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65331 Chipmaker Nvidia sees fewer crypto miners, more gamers in future Too many cryptocurrency clients and fewer cloud computing orders than expected underwhelmed Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) investors on Thursday, although the graphics chip maker said a supply shortage that hit its core video game audience had eased. The U.S. company best known for chips that enhance […]

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Chipmaker Nvidia sees fewer crypto miners, more gamers in future

Too many cryptocurrency clients and fewer cloud computing orders than expected underwhelmed Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) investors on Thursday, although the graphics chip maker said a supply shortage that hit its core video game audience had eased.

The U.S. company best known for chips that enhance video game graphics has diversified into an array of businesses including artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and digital mining, but investors are most concerned with its inroads in the market for cloud computing.

Revenue from Nvidia’s data center business, which powers cloud-based services such as Amazon.com’s (AMZN.O) Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) Azure as well as Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google Cloud, rose 71 percent to $701 million, but missed analysts’ estimate of $703 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Santa Clara, California company for the first time disclosed that it made $289 million in sales – about 9 percent of its overall $3.2 billion in revenue – from chips for mining cryptocurrencies.

Analysts had expected $200 million and the greater reliance on the fast-growing but volatile business contributed to shares falling 3.3 percent to $251.66 in extended trading. Nvidia shares have gained 34.4 percent this year, propelling the stock to the top of the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index .SOX. They touched a record high at $260.50 on Thursday before the announcement.

Chief Financial Officer Colette Kress said that the company expects cryptocurrency-related revenue to fall 65 percent to about $100 million in the next quarter. Retail prices for Nvidia’s gaming chips surged earlier this year as miners snapped up chips, a development Nvidia addressed by releasing mining-specific chips.

“While supply was tight earlier in the quarter, the situation is now easing,” Kress told investors on a conference call. “Gamers who had been priced out of the market last quarter” were able to get their hands on new chips a reasonable price, she said.

Analyst Kevin Cassidy from Stifel said the reliance on cryptocurrency concerned some investors. Moreover, he said, Nvidia’s earnings were mostly in line with expectations, “which may not be good enough for shares trading at 40x forward earnings.”

Data center industry sales have boomed as cloud services build out new facilities. Intel Corp (INTC.O) last month said it had posted its biggest-ever quarterly jump in its data center business. For its part, Nvidia said it doubled sales of chips used by cloud companies for so-called deep learning.

Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said he was not concerned by the lower-than-expected data center revenue because the buying patterns of huge cloud customers were “lumpy.”

Revenue from Nvidia’s best-known business of gaming chips rose 68 percent to $1.72 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.65 billion.

“At the core of it, gaming is strong,” Chief Executive Jensen Huang told investors on the conference call. “The pent-up demand is quite significant and I’m expecting the gamers to be able to buy new GeForces pretty soon.”

A cryptocurrency boom has powered growth at Nvidia and rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.O), but the sector is battling volatility caused by swings in the currency’s value.

Revenue from Nvidia’s automotive business, which includes its Drive platform used in self-driving cars, rose 4 percent to $145 million, also topping analysts’ estimate of $132 million.

Nvidia in March suspended self-driving tests across the globe, a week after an Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] autonomous vehicle struck and killed a 49-year-old woman crossing a street in Arizona. But CEO Huang remained optimistic.

“I expect that driverless taxis will start going to market about 2019,” Huang told investors.

The company’s net income rose to $1.24 billion, or $1.98 per share, in the first quarter ended April 29, from $507 million, or 79 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total revenue rose to $3.21 billion from $1.94 billion.

Excluding items, Nvidia earned $2.05 per share.

Analysts on average had expected revenue of $2.91 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nvidia-results/chipmaker-nvidia-sees-fewer-crypto-miners-more-gamers-in-future-idUSKBN1IB2X8

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Cisco pulls all online ads from YouTube https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/cisco-pulls-all-online-ads-from-youtube.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/cisco-pulls-all-online-ads-from-youtube.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 07:17:20 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65330 Cisco pulls all online ads from YouTube Network gear maker Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) is pulling all online ads from YouTube due to fears of the ads appearing on sensitive content on the platform, Cisco’s chief marketing officer, Karen Walker, said in a blog on Wednesday. The blog, which seemed to have been removed from […]

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Cisco pulls all online ads from YouTube

Network gear maker Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) is pulling all online ads from YouTube due to fears of the ads appearing on sensitive content on the platform, Cisco’s chief marketing officer, Karen Walker, said in a blog on Wednesday.

The blog, which seemed to have been removed from Cisco’s website on Thursday, said the company would not like its ads to “accidentally end up in the wrong place, such as on a streaming video with sensitive content,” adding that the network gear maker will continue to use YouTube as a platform to share Cisco’s video content.

Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O), which owns YouTube, said it has partnered with advertisers to make changes.

“We have partnered with advertisers to make significant changes to how we approach monetization on YouTube with stricter policies, better controls and greater transparency. We are committed to continuing this dialogue and getting this right,” a Google spokesperson told Reuters.

Cisco’s action follows a CNN report cnnmon.ie/2jOhAXZ in April that said ads from over 300 companies, including Cisco, ran on extremist channels on YouTube.

The companies may have unknowingly helped finance some of these channels through the advertisements they paid for YouTube, according to the CNN report.

Cisco did not respond to a request seeking comment on the blog’s removal from its website.

YouTube said in a report released last month that it had deleted about 5 million videos from its platform for content policy violations in last year’s fourth quarter before any viewers saw them.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cisco-systems-youtube-advertising/cisco-pulls-all-online-ads-from-youtube-idUSKBN1IB38B

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U.S. ‘net neutrality’ rules will expire on June 11: FCC https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/u-s-net-neutrality-rules-will-expire-on-june-11-fcc.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/u-s-net-neutrality-rules-will-expire-on-june-11-fcc.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 07:13:40 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65329 U.S. ‘net neutrality’ rules will expire on June 11: FCC Landmark U.S. “net neutrality” rules will expire on June 11, and new regulations handing providers broad new power over how consumers can access the internet will take effect, the Federal Communications Commission said on Thursday in setting the date. The FCC in December repealed the […]

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U.S. ‘net neutrality’ rules will expire on June 11: FCC

Landmark U.S. “net neutrality” rules will expire on June 11, and new regulations handing providers broad new power over how consumers can access the internet will take effect, the Federal Communications Commission said on Thursday in setting the date.

The FCC in December repealed the Obama-era open-internet rules set in 2015, which bars providers from blocking or slowing down access to content or charging consumers more for certain content.

The prior rules were intended to ensure a free and open internet, give consumers equal access to web content and bar broadband service providers from favoring their own material or others.

The new rules require internet providers to tell consumers whether they will block or slow content or offer paid “fast lanes.”

Comcast Corp, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc have all pledged to not block or discriminate against legal content after the net neutrality rules expire.

Reuters first reported the June 11 effective date, disclosed in an FCC document on Thursday.

Acting New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, a Democrat, said “the repeal of net neutrality would allow internet service providers to put their profits before the consumers they serve and control what we see, do, and say online.” A spokeswoman for Underwood said the state attorneys general have not sought a stay of the FCC order yet.

A group of 22 states led by New York and others have sued to try to block the new rules from taking effect, and the U.S. Senate may vote as early as next week to reject the December repeal.

The revised rules were a win for internet service providers, whose practices faced significant government oversight and FCC investigations under the 2015 order, but are opposed by internet firms like Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc.

Some internet providers have said they could eventually offer paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritization, for some future internet traffic.

The repeal of net neutrality is the latest thread in a broader pattern of Republican Trump administration reversals of Democratic Obama administration policies or achievements, such as the Paris climate accords and the Iran nuclear agreement.

Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told reporters on Thursday the rollback of the rules would not harm consumers and would return the internet to the pre-2015 era. “The effect of this will be better, faster, cheaper internet access and the free and open internet that we have had for many, many years,” he said.

Pai said the FCC gave internet providers 30 days to comply with the new transparency rules. He said many politicians had sought to “mislead” the public about the repeal’s impact.

“Now everyone will be able to see the truth for themselves,” Pai said.

Democrats objected.

“The agency failed to listen to the American public and gave short shrift to their deeply held belief that internet openness should remain the law of the land,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said on Thursday. “The FCC is on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American people.”

The U.S. Senate is set to vote as early as next week on whether to reject the FCC repeal of the net neutrality rules, but that effort faces an uphill battle.

Proponents currently have the backing of 47 Democrats and the two independents who caucus with Democrats, as well as Republican Senator Susan Collins. With the prolonged absence of Republican Senator John McCain due to illness, proponents believe they will win on a 50-49 vote.

Senator Ed Markey said it was “likely” the vote will take place in the middle of next week. On Wednesday, senators officially filed a petition to force a net neutrality vote and 10 hours of floor debate under the Congressional Review Act.

Following Thursday’s FCC announcement, Markey wrote on Twitter: “the Senate must act NOW and pass my resolution to save the internet as we know it.”

If the Senate approves the measure, it would not likely pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. If the legislation were to pass the House, President Donald Trump would be expected to veto it.

The FCC voted in December 3-2 to reverse the Obama-era rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain online content, but said under government regulatory rules it would take months before they could legally take effect.

In February, a coalition of 22 state attorneys general refiled legal challenges intended to block the repeal of net neutrality. A number of states have adopted laws aimed at dissuading internet providers from abandoning net neutrality.

Democrats have said they believe the issue would be key in November’s midterm congressional elections, especially among younger internet-savvy voters.

Republicans have said the FCC repeal would eliminate heavy-handed government regulations and encourage investment.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-internet/u-s-net-neutrality-rules-will-expire-on-june-11-fcc-idUSKBN1IB1UN

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Malaysia’s Mahathir says king willing to grant full pardon for Anwar https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/malaysias-mahathir-says-king-willing-to-grant-full-pardon-for-anwar.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/malaysias-mahathir-says-king-willing-to-grant-full-pardon-for-anwar.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 05:49:33 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65321 Malaysia’s Mahathir says king willing to grant full pardon for Anwar Malaysia’s newly-elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday that the country’s monarch has indicated he was willing to grant a full pardon to jailed politician Anwar Ibrahim immediately. The Southeast Asian nation’s political landscape has been shaped for nearly two decades by a […]

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Malaysia’s Mahathir says king willing to grant full pardon for Anwar

Malaysia’s newly-elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday that the country’s monarch has indicated he was willing to grant a full pardon to jailed politician Anwar Ibrahim immediately.

The Southeast Asian nation’s political landscape has been shaped for nearly two decades by a bitter feud between Anwar and Mahathir, whose decision to sack Anwar as his deputy sparked an opposition movement, Reformasi, or Reform, in 1998.

But in 2016, Mahathir abandoned the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, and joined Anwar’s opposition alliance to fight against scandal-hit former premier Najib Razak.

“It is going to be a full pardon, which means not only pardoned, but he is released immediately and after that he will be free to participate fully in politics,” Mahathir told reporters a day after he was sworn to office following his alliance’s shock win in Wednesday’s election.

At 92, he is the world’s oldest elected leader.

Mahathir said the king indicated he was willing to pardon Anwar immediately. A full pardon by the king would mean Anwar can return to active politics.

Before the election, Mahathir had said he would step down and give the prime minister’s post to Anwar when he is pardoned. He has said Anwar’s wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will be the deputy prime minister in his cabinet.

Reporters and Anwar supporters were gathering outside a hospital in Kuala Lumpur where he is recovering from a shoulder surgery. His wife also arrived at the hospital and an alliance source said Mahathir was due to visit later in the day.

Anwar, 70, was due to be released on June 8 with time taken off his sentence for good behavior. He began a five-year sentence for sodomy in 2015, a charge he and his supporters say was politically motivated.

Mahathir said he will announced a cabinet on Saturday that would include himself, Wan Azizah and 10 others, including the ministers for finance, foreign affairs, defense and home affairs.

“Whether Anwar will be part of the cabinet or not will be decided when the time comes,” he said.

Mahathir said initial policies would focus on fulfilling promises made in alliance’s manifesto, including the abolition of a goods and services tax (GST).

“In the case of foreign affairs, we want to maintain good relations with all countries regardless of their policies,” he said. “We do not want to favor any country, we want to ensure that the market for Malaysia is as large as possible.”

NERVOUS INVESTORS

Mahathir has vowed to reassure financial markets and return billions of dollars lost in a graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which was a major factor in the election and in the ouster of Najib, Mahathir’s predecessor and former protege.

The new prime minister said the country’s attorney general was wrong to clear Najib in the 1MDB probe in 2016.

“He, in fact, has hidden evidence of wrongdoing, and that is wrong in law. We have to do what is permitted by the laws of this country,” Mahathir said.

Malaysian markets were closed and will reopen on Monday, but overseas investors were nervous about Najib’s ouster after a decade in office.

Mahathir said his government would look into measures to stabilize the ringgit, and talk to departments on what could be done.

Mahathir, dubbed the “Father of Modern Malaysia” during his previous 22 years in power until 2003 was known for his strong-arm, sometimes pugnacious style of rule, marked by an intolerance for dissent. But he was also credited for transforming his Southeast Asian country from a sleepy backwater into a modern industrialized nation.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-malaysia-election/election-over-new-malaysia-pm-gets-down-to-business-idUSKBN1IC09J

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Exclusive: Sanctioned Russian tycoon hands back his private jets https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/exclusive-sanctioned-russian-tycoon-hands-back-his-private-jets.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/exclusive-sanctioned-russian-tycoon-hands-back-his-private-jets.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 05:45:15 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65319 Exclusive: Sanctioned Russian tycoon hands back his private jets Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska has handed back three private jets he was leasing because U.S. sanctions imposed on him last month make it impossible to keep using the planes, the firm retained by the owners to sell the aircraft said on Thursday. The aircraft are Gulfstream […]

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Exclusive: Sanctioned Russian tycoon hands back his private jets

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska has handed back three private jets he was leasing because U.S. sanctions imposed on him last month make it impossible to keep using the planes, the firm retained by the owners to sell the aircraft said on Thursday.

The aircraft are Gulfstream executive jets, favored by jet-setting business people for their long range and plush interiors. They are now on sale, with the asking price for two of them set at $29.95 million each.

The return of the aircraft is an indication of how deeply the sanctions have affected Deripaska’s business empire, extending beyond the direct impact on his Rusal aluminum firm, whose sales and supply chains have been heavily disrupted.

Alireza Ittihadieh, director of Freestream, an aviation sales company that listed the three jets for sale, said the jets were owned by lenders Credit Suisse and Raiffeisen, and were then leased via a management company to Deripaska-controlled firms.

“Who was using it? Senior management, including Deripaska himself,” Ittihadieh told Reuters in a phone interview.

“He’s sanctioned, his companies are sanctioned, he has to return the aircraft. He has to early-terminate the leases, under sanctions rules,” he said, without specifying which sanctions rules applied in this case.

A representative of Rusal’s press service said the firm declined to comment.

A spokesman for Credit Suisse declined to comment on a specific case, but said: “Credit Suisse works with international regulators wherever it does business to ensure compliance with sanctions. This includes compliance with the recent sanctions involving Russia.”

A spokeswoman for Raiffeisen said she could not reply to Reuters questions because Thursday was a public holiday in Austria. She also said that “due to the banking secrecy law we cannot comment on potential clients.”

Deripaska was included on a U.S. sanctions blacklist on April 6 because, officials in Washington said, he and other Russian oligarchs had profited from the “malign activities” of the Kremlin around the globe.

Anyone included on the list is barred from entering the United States, and U.S. firms and citizens are barred from doing business with individuals or companies that have been blacklisted.

Non-U.S. companies can also be punished by Washington if it deems they have engaged in significant transactions with a sanctioned entity. Banking sources say that has made European banks wary of handling transactions involving Deripaska or any firms connected to him.

GREY-AND-WHITE LIVERY

According to the Isle of Man civil aircraft register, where the three jets are registered, their owners are offshore companies whose shareholders are not publicly disclosed.

All three are Gulfstream G550 aircraft, which each cost around $50 million when new. They each have the same distinctive grey-and-white livery, according to photographs accompanying the sales listings, and images posted online by amateur plane-spotters.

The G550 jets have a range of 12,500 km (7,770 miles) and can come fitted with options such as a private stateroom and hand-tailored leather seats.

Ittihadieh, the aviation sales executive, said the owners of the aircraft opted to sell once Deripaska and his businesses ended the lease.

“The bank doesn’t need the assets,” he said. “Banks take assets. Once the lease return takes place, they either sell it or they re-lease it. And in this case they have a five-year old asset and they have chosen to sell them.”

The two aircraft for sale at $29.95 million were manufactured in 2012 and carry the tail numbers M-ALAY and M-UGIC. The third aircraft, with the tail number M-SAWO, was manufactured in 2005, and no asking price was listed.

When the sanctions were imposed, the M-UGIC aircraft was in Basel, Switzerland, publicly-available flight tracking data shows. The day after the sanctions on Deripaska, April 7, the jet flew back to Moscow.

The older aircraft, with the tail number M-SAWO, was in Buffalo, New York State, the day the sanctions were imposed, according to data available on two websites that track private jets, Virtual Radar and adsbexchange.com. The following day it flew to New York City and from there on to Russia.

A week later, the aircraft made a tour of cities in Siberia where Deripaska has factories. Sources close to Rusal told Reuters that at the time Deripaska was visiting those factories.

In one past case of sanctions affecting the travel arrangements of a Russian tycoon, oil trader Gennady Timchenko told Russian state news agency Tass that Gulfstream stopped servicing his jet because he was put on a U.S. sanctions blacklist in 2014.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-sanctions-russia-rusal-jets-exclu/exclusive-sanctioned-russian-tycoon-hands-back-his-private-jets-idUSKBN1IB2JR

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Trump seeks ‘very meaningful’ summit in Singapore with North Korea https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/trump-seeks-very-meaningful-summit-in-singapore-with-north-korea.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/trump-seeks-very-meaningful-summit-in-singapore-with-north-korea.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 05:41:15 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65318 Trump seeks ‘very meaningful’ summit in Singapore with North Korea U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he had high hopes of “doing something very meaningful” to curtail North Korea’s nuclear ambitions at a summit in Singapore next month, after Pyongyang smoothed the way for talks by freeing three American prisoners. The date and location […]

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Trump seeks ‘very meaningful’ summit in Singapore with North Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he had high hopes of “doing something very meaningful” to curtail North Korea’s nuclear ambitions at a summit in Singapore next month, after Pyongyang smoothed the way for talks by freeing three American prisoners.

The date and location of the first-ever meeting of a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader were announced by Trump on Twitter.

“The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” Trump wrote.

He made the announcement after a U.S. government aircraft touched down at Joint Base Andrews near Washington carrying the Americans who were released by North Korea in a move to clear the way for the bilateral summit.

The ex-prisoners are Korean-American missionary Kim Dong-chul, who was sentenced in 2016 to 10 years’ hard labor; Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim, who taught for a month at a foreign-funded university before he was arrested in 2017; and Kim Hak-song, who also taught there and was detained last year.

North Korean state media said they were arrested for subversion or “hostile acts” against Pyongyang.

Trump faces a difficult task persuading Kim to abandon nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests that heightened U.S.-North Korean tensions throughout 2017.

The two men exchanged fiery rhetoric last year over North Korea’s attempts to build a nuclear weapon that could reach the United States.

But tensions have since eased, starting around the time of the North’s participation in the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.

Trump greeted the freed Americans in the early morning hours. He said on their arrival that he believed Kim, who has led North Korea for seven years and is believed to be in his mid-30s, wanted to bring his country “into the real world.”

“I think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful,” Trump said. “My proudest achievement will be – this is part of it – when we denuclearize that entire peninsula.”

New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has visited Pyongyang twice in recent weeks – once as head of the CIA – but there has been no sign he cleared up the central question of whether North Korea will be willing to bargain away nuclear weapons that its rulers have long seen as crucial to their survival.

Trump is embarking on the meeting with Kim after announcing on Tuesday the United States was pulling out of a 2015 accord imposing international oversight of Iran’s nuclear program.

The move raised questions over whether North Korea might now be less inclined to negotiate its own nuclear deal with Washington.

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke by telephone on Wednesday. The White House said they “affirmed” the shared goal of North Korea abandoning its nuclear weapons program.

Japan worries it could be the target of any first use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang.

White House officials, without providing specifics, said on Thursday the meeting could be scuttled if North Korea did anything unacceptable over the next month.

“We’re not under any illusions about who these people are,” National Security Council official Victoria Coates told reporters. “We know who we’re dealing with here. But we got up front our people home rather than that having been an afterthought.”

‘PHOTO OP’ WORRY

Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the U.S. Senate, warned Trump against going too far, too fast in Singapore. The Republican president, he said, should insist on strong, verifiable disarmament commitments from North Korea.

“I worry that this president, in his eagerness to strike a deal and get the acclaim and a photo op, will strike a quick one and a bad one, not a strong one, not a lasting one,” Schumer said.

During Trump’s presidency, Kim has overseen a series of weapons tests to showcase his military’s progress on medium- and long-range missiles and atomic weapons that put the world on edge.

Last year, North Korea conducted more than a dozen tests that had missiles flying over the Sea of Japan, while another led experts to believe North Korea could possibly hit the mainland United States with a missile.

Trump has credited a U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign for drawing North Korea to the negotiating table and vowed to keep economic sanctions in place until Pyongyang takes concrete steps to denuclearize.

But former spy chief Kim Yong Chul, director of North Korea’s United Front Department, said in a toast to Pompeo over lunch in Pyongyang this week: “We have perfected our nuclear capability. It is our policy to concentrate all efforts into economic progress.”

Kim recently promised to suspend missile tests and shut a nuclear bomb test site.

The choice of Singapore will put the summit on friendly turf for Trump, as the island nation is a strong U.S. ally and the U.S. Navy frequently visits its port. White House spokesman Raj Shah said Singapore was chosen because it could ensure the security of both leaders and provide neutrality.

The wealthy financial and shipping hub is seen as a gateway between Asia and the West and has been called the “Switzerland of Asia,” in contrast to North Korea’s isolated economy that its leaders now want to modernize.

Nonetheless, Human Rights Watch has described Singapore as having a “stifling” political environment with severe restrictions on “basic rights.”

Singapore said in a statement late on Thursday it was pleased to host the meeting between Trump and Kim, adding: “We hope this meeting will advance prospects for peace in the Korean Peninsula.”

U.S. officials had looked at several sites other than Singapore for the historic meeting.

Trump’s own preference was for the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, but aides argued it would look too much like Trump going to Kim’s turf.

Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a rare round of talks at their heavily fortified demilitarized zone at the end of April, pledging to pursue peace after decades of conflict.

South Korea said on Thursday: “We hope the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as well as permanent peace on the peninsula will successfully come about through this summit.”

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa/trump-seeks-very-meaningful-summit-in-singapore-with-north-korea-idUSKBN1IB240

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‘This is taking an awfully long time!’, says scientist before assisted suicide https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/this-is-taking-an-awfully-long-time-says-scientist-before-assisted-suicide.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/this-is-taking-an-awfully-long-time-says-scientist-before-assisted-suicide.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 05:34:39 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65312 ‘This is taking an awfully long time!’, says scientist before assisted suicide A 104-year-old Australian scientist killed himself in Switzerland on Thursday by lethal injection in an assisted suicide he hoped would trigger more lenient euthanasia laws in his home country. British-born David Goodall, who was not terminally ill, personally triggered a lethal dose of […]

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‘This is taking an awfully long time!’, says scientist before assisted suicide

A 104-year-old Australian scientist killed himself in Switzerland on Thursday by lethal injection in an assisted suicide he hoped would trigger more lenient euthanasia laws in his home country.

British-born David Goodall, who was not terminally ill, personally triggered a lethal dose of a barbiturate and died at 1030 GMT in a clinic near Basel, the assisted suicide group Exit International said.

Goodall, a member of the Order of Australia for work as a botanist that included publications on arid shrublands, said he had unsuccessfully tried to kill himself in Australia after his faculties including his hearing deteriorated.

He came to Switzerland for its laws that have made assisted suicide legal since the 1940s, a legal curiosity that has made the country what some call a “death tourism” magnet.

“My life has been rather poor for the past year or so, and I am very happy to end it,” Goodall told reporters on Thursday, shortly before his death. “All the publicity that this has been receiving can only, I think, help the cause of euthanasia for the elderly, which I want.”

Physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia remains illegal in many countries, including Australia, though the state of Victoria became the first to pass a euthanasia bill last November to allow terminally ill patients to end their lives. It takes effect in June 2019.

Several family members were with Goodall until his death, which was preceded by formal paperwork that visibly frustrated Goodall, who said “What are we waiting for?”

His last meal was fish and chips, and Exit International director Philip Nitschke helped organize Beethoven’s 9th Symphony to be played at his death, a spontaneous request by Goodall prompted by a reporter’s question at a news conference on Wednesday.

“The infusion started to drip as he activated the process — he had to do that himself — after answering questions which said he knew who he was, where he was and what he was about to do, and he answered these questions with great clarity,” Nitschke told Reuters after Goodall’s death.

“In fact his last words were ‘This is taking an awfully long time!’ “ Nitschke said.

Goodall, a 20-year member of Exit International, was born in London in 1914 and moved to Australia in 1948, where he was a lecturer at the University of Melbourne. He also worked in Britain and held academic posts at U.S. universities, including at Utah State University in Logan.

‘I DID MY BEST’

There, news of his death prompted debate over his legacy, with some former colleagues suggesting his public suicide fit a personality that did not shy the limelight.

Others called Goodall a fine scholar who was well-liked.

“If I had been asked to provide my own comments on David Goodall, I would have said he is perceptive, brilliant and inventive,” said Robert Russon, a 30-year professor at the Logan school in a letter to the Herald Journal newspaper.

Before his death, Goodall said there were things he would have changed, had he to do it all over again.

“I’m not satisfied with what I have done, by any means,” he said. “But I did my best.”

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-euthanasia-goodall/this-is-taking-an-awfully-long-time-says-scientist-before-assisted-suicide-idUSKBN1IB2A7

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Iraqis voting in first election since Islamic State https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/iraqis-voting-in-first-election-since-islamic-state.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/iraqis-voting-in-first-election-since-islamic-state.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 05:30:32 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65311 Iraqis voting in first election since Islamic State For the first time since driving out Islamic State, Iraqis go to the polls on Saturday in an election that will shape attempts to heal the country’s deep divisions and could shift the regional balance of power. Iraq’s three main ethnic and religious groups, the majority Shi’ite […]

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Iraqis voting in first election since Islamic State

For the first time since driving out Islamic State, Iraqis go to the polls on Saturday in an election that will shape attempts to heal the country’s deep divisions and could shift the regional balance of power.

Iraq’s three main ethnic and religious groups, the majority Shi’ite Arabs and the minority Sunni Arabs and Kurds, have been at loggerheads for decades and the sectarian rifts are as apparent as ever 15 years after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The election of a new prime minister and parliament also takes place the same week U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, raising tensions between Iraq’s two main allies: Tehran and Washington.

Whoever wins the May 12 election will face the challenge of rebuilding Iraq after four years of war with Islamic State, jump-starting a flagging economy, balancing the interests of powerful foreign patrons and maintaining the country’s fragile unity in the face of sectarian and separatist tensions.

“We want security. We have killings, theft, kidnappings. We never had this before. In the past 15 years the people have been destroyed,” said 29-year-old Khalid Radi, a laborer in Baghdad.

Incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is considered by analysts to be marginally ahead but victory is far from certain.

Even though he announced Islamic State’s defeat during his first four-year term, diffused sectarian tensions enflamed by his predecessor, and maintained Iraq’s unity in the face of a Kurdish independence bid, he faces a tough battle.

THREE-WAY RACE

Abadi has faced criticism about persistent government corruption, tough economic conditions and the austerity measures his cabinet introduced after the slide in global oil prices and to help pay for the fight against Islamic State.

He also cannot rely solely on votes from his community as the majority Shi’ite voter base is unusually split this year. Instead, he is looking to draw upon support from other groups.

Many, but not all, Sunnis see Abadi as a less sectarian alternative to his two main Shi’ite rivals and credit him with liberating their areas from Islamic State.

There’s bad blood between Abadi and the Kurds, however, after Baghdad imposed sanctions on the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region following its failed independence bid last year.

Even if Abadi’s Victory Alliance list wins the most seats he still has to navigate the long-winded and complicated backroom negotiations required to form a coalition government.

His two main challengers are his predecessor Nuri al-Maliki and Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia commander Hadi al-Amiri.

Both have a more passionate voter base than Abadi, who is mostly appealing to more pragmatic voters who see him as having better relations with the outside world and a cross-sectarian appeal needed to avoid further bloodshed and attract investment.

Like Abadi, Amiri is running on a platform highlighting the victory against Islamic State, though the militia leader’s narrative is more compelling as he was a frontline commander and is viewed as war hero by many Shi’ites.

Maliki, who was sidelined after eight years in office in 2014 after losing a third of the country to Islamic State, is looking to make a political comeback.

In contrast to the cross-sectarian message of Abadi, Maliki is again posing as Iraq’s Shi’ite champion and is proposing to do away with the country’s unofficial power-sharing model in which all the main parties have cabinet representatives.

COALITION HORSE-TRADING

Ever since Saddam fell in 2003, ending decades of dominance by the Sunni minority, senior government positions have been unofficially split between the country’s main groups.

The post of prime minister has been reserved for a Shi’ite, the speaker for a Sunni, and the ceremonial presidency has gone to a Kurd – with all three being chosen by parliament.

More than 7,000 candidates in 18 provinces, or governorates, are running this year for 329 parliamentary seats.

The Iraqi constitution sets a 90-day deadline for forming a government after the election results are formally announced and the horse-trading can be protracted.

The new government will also have to cope with the simmering tension between the United States and Iran.

As prime minister, Abadi has won praise for his deft juggling of the competing and colliding interests of his two main backers. While his government maintains good relations with Iran, he is seen as balanced and Western diplomats say he would be the easiest candidate to work with.

Maliki, who pushed for U.S. troop withdrawals and Amiri, who speaks fluent Farsi and spent years in exile in Iran during the Saddam Hussein era, are both seen as much closer to Tehran.

DIVISIONS ALL ROUND

The election is also taking place in an atmosphere of division and disillusionment within Iraq’s three main groups.

The Shi’ite vote is split as many are unhappy with their leaders after 15 years in power that have only yielded violence and unemployment and left the country’s infrastructure crumbling.

But if the Shi’ites are split because they have too many leaders, Sunni Arabs are divided because they have none.

Sunnis are at their lowest point yet. Millions languish in displacement camps, many are out of pocket and trying to rebuild destroyed homes in cities reduced to rubble – and they feel collectively branded as Islamic State sympathizers.

The Sunni politicians that have held positions in government are largely discredited and there is no national Sunni leadership or party structure.

Iraq’s Kurds, meanwhile, blame their leaders for gambling away hard-won autonomy in the failed independence referendum and might punish them by voting for non-traditional parties, which in turn could undermine the historically unified Kurdish bloc’s position as kingmakers in parliament.

Voters go to the polls on Saturday, though security forces and Iraqis abroad started voting on Thursday. The electoral commission has said results will come “hours” after polls close.

Islamic State has threatened to attack polling stations amid a recent uptick in security incidents in areas retaken from the militants while many voters simply do not feel the election will bring any change.

“I propose the state just cancel parliament. Shake it and uproot it,” said 27-year-old mechanic Mustafa Tabbar using a popular Iraqi phrase meaning radical change.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-election/iraqis-voting-in-first-election-since-islamic-state-idUSKBN1IB26L

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Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria after rocket fire https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/israel-strikes-iranian-targets-in-syria-after-rocket-fire.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/israel-strikes-iranian-targets-in-syria-after-rocket-fire.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 05:26:21 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65310 Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria after rocket fire Israel said it attacked nearly all of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria on Thursday after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time in the most extensive military exchange ever between the two adversaries. It was the heaviest Israeli barrage in Syria since […]

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Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria after rocket fire

Israel said it attacked nearly all of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria on Thursday after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time in the most extensive military exchange ever between the two adversaries.

It was the heaviest Israeli barrage in Syria since the 2011 start of the civil war in which Iranians, allied Shi’ite Muslim militias and Russian troops have deployed in support of President Bashar al-Assad. The confrontation came two days after the United States announced its withdrawal, with Israel’s urging, from a nuclear accord with Iran.

Israel destroyed dozens of Iranian military sites in Syria, as well as Syrian anti-aircraft units that tried unsuccessfully to shoot down Israeli planes, Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.

Syrian state media said Israel launched dozens of missiles and hit a radar station, Syrian air defense positions and an ammunition dump, underscoring the risks of a wider escalation involving Iran and its regional allies.

The Syrian Army Command said Israel’s attack killed three people and injured two others. A Britain-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the strikes killed at least 23 military personnel, including Syrians and non-Syrians.

The White House, in a statement, condemned Iran’s “provocative rocket attacks” from Syria and said it supported Israel’s right to defend itself.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s air strikes were “appropriate” because Iran had “crossed a red line.”

“We are in the midst of a protracted battle and our policy is clear: We will not allow Iran to entrench itself militarily in Syria,” Netanyahu said in a brief video address.

Expectations of a regional flare-up, amid warnings from Israel that it was determined to prevent any Iranian military entrenchment in Syria, were stoked by U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Tuesday about the withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

The United States portrayed its rejection of that agreement as a response, in part, to Iran’s military interventions in the Middle East, underpinning Netanyahu’s tough line towards Tehran.

Israel said 20 Iranian Grad and Fajr rockets were shot down by its Iron Dome air defense system or did not reach targets in the occupied Golan Heights, territory captured from Syria in a 1967 war. The Quds Force, an external arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, carried out the rocket salvo, Israel said.

There was no immediate comment from Iran.

Iran and Israel were already drawing deeper into confrontation before Trump pulled the United States out of the deal, but his move has shaken up the region. Within Iran, it could empower hardliners while weakening the moderate camp that has sought better relations with the West.

‘EVERYONE GOT THE MESSAGE’

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Iranian rockets either fell short of their targets – military bases in the Golan – or were intercepted.

“We hit … almost all of the Iranian infrastructure in Syria,” Lieberman said at the annual Herzliya security conference near Tel Aviv. “I hope we finished this chapter and everyone got the message.”

The White House said, “The Iranian regime’s deployment into Syria of offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly dangerous development for the entire Middle East.”

The Syrian foreign ministry said the Israeli attack indicated “the start of a new phase of aggression” against Syria.

Thursday’s exchange followed a suspected Israeli rocket strike in Syria on Tuesday on a military base in Kisweh, hours after Trump’s announcement on the nuclear deal.

The Syrian Observatory for Human rights said 15 people, including eight Iranians, were killed in that attack. A commander in the pro-Syrian government regional alliance said there were no casualties. Israel, as it has typically done in similar incidents, neither confirmed nor denied a role.

France urged Iran on Thursday to refrain from all “military provocation” and cautioned it against “all temptations for regional hegemony”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the overnight attacks by Iranian forces and called on Iran to contribute to de-escalation of tensions in the region.

Russia, generally friendly to Israel but fighting in Syria’s civil war on the same side as Iran, called on both to show restraint and resolve differences through diplomatic means.

Russia’s defense ministry said Syria had shot down more than half of the missiles fired by Israel, RIA news agency reported.

Conricus, the Israeli military spokesman, said the military focused on inflicting “long-term damage on the Iranian military establishment in Syria” and assessed “it will take a substantial time to replenish”.

The Israelis fear that Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah are turning Syria into a new front against them. Israel says its occasional strikes in Syria aim to prevent such an outcome. Israel regards Iran as its biggest threat and has repeatedly targeted Iranian forces and allied militia in Syria.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-israel/israel-strikes-iranian-targets-in-syria-after-rocket-fire-idUSKBN1IA3GF

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H.R. McMaster’s father died in a Philadelphia nursing home. A nurse has been charged in his death. https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/h-r-mcmasters-father-died-in-a-philadelphia-nursing-home-a-nurse-has-been-charged-in-his-death.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/h-r-mcmasters-father-died-in-a-philadelphia-nursing-home-a-nurse-has-been-charged-in-his-death.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 05:14:46 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65292 H.R. McMaster’s father died in a Philadelphia nursing home. A nurse has been charged in his death. A nurse in Pennsylvania has been charged in the death of former Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster’s father for failing to provide proper care at the senior living facility where the 84-year-old died, authorities say. Herbert R. […]

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H.R. McMaster’s father died in a Philadelphia nursing home. A nurse has been charged in his death.

A nurse in Pennsylvania has been charged in the death of former Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster’s father for failing to provide proper care at the senior living facility where the 84-year-old died, authorities say.

Herbert R. McMaster Sr., 84, was found dead in a wheelchair around 7 a.m. April 13 in the lobby of the Cathedral Village in Upper Roxborough, outside Philadelphia, after falling and suffering a head injury, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a news release Thursday. Christann Gainey, 30, of Philadelphia, was arrested and charged with neglect of a care-dependent person, involuntary manslaughter and tampering with records stemming from the death, Shapiro said.

At about 11:30 p.m. April 12, staff found McMaster on the floor of his room after he had an “unwitnessed fall” at the facility, officials said. Shapiro’s office said that Gainey did not subsequently administer eight required neurological checks to McMaster. Those steps “could have indicated the severity of his injuries and steps could have been taken to save his life.” The facility requires frequent neurological assessments for patients who experience unwitnessed falls, which include tests of motor and verbal skills, vital signs and eye response.

“This nurse ignored her job responsibilities, falsified paperwork, lied to her supervisors and neglected Mr. McMaster,” Shapiro said in a statement.

McMaster had been admitted to the facility after suffering a stroke days before. When he was discovered in the lobby of the building April 13, an administrator asked Gainey for the paperwork that documented the neurological assessments, officials said.

But the attorney general’s office said Gainey’s paperwork indicated that the most recent check on McMaster had been after his death and that it determined that Gainey did not perform any neurological exams on McMaster after he had fallen.

“She did not perform one — not one — neurological check on Mr. McMaster, and even lied on the paperwork that she did,” Shapiro said. “The evidence shows that Gainey intentionally, knowingly and recklessly caused serious bodily injury to Mr. McMaster by failing to provide treatment or care. We will hold her — and anyone else who knowingly neglects a care-dependent person in Pennsylvania — accountable.”

Sharon Piper Donovan, Gainey’s lawyer, said in a statement that the allegations levied by Shapiro “seem more appropriate in a civil court rather than a criminal one.”

“Ms. Gainey is a single mother and was simply doing her job. She had nothing to do with causing the death of Mr. McMaster,” Donovan said. “Ms. Gainey looks forward to her day in court and having all of the facts presented. When all of the evidence is heard, we fully expect her to be exonerated.”

The Philadelphia chief medical examiner ruled that McMaster’s death was caused by blunt-impact head trauma and that untreated subdural hematoma was a contributing factor, Shapiro’s office said.

Donovan told the Associated Press that Gainey will plead not guilty to the charges.

Cathedral Village said in a statement Thursday that Gainey was employed by an outside staffing agency and had been removed “from our community” immediately following McMaster’s death.

McMaster’s family released a statement from the sister of the former national security adviser, Letitia McMaster.

“Our family is grateful for the work that the dedicated professionals of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and Philadelphia Police Department have done to investigate our father’s death and prosecute those responsible,” she said. “Our father, Lieutenant Colonel Herbert R. McMaster (U.S. Army, retired), was a tough and compassionate soldier and public servant. He was committed to his neighbors, his fellow soldiers, his community and his country.”

Source:- https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/05/10/h-r-mcmasters-father-died-in-a-philadelphia-nursing-home-a-nurse-has-been-charged-in-his-death/?utm_term=.09e1180cb346

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A former NFL player was arrested after he said police mistook a phone for a gun. The officer has been fired. https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/a-former-nfl-player-was-arrested-after-he-said-police-mistook-a-phone-for-a-gun-the-officer-has-been-fired.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/a-former-nfl-player-was-arrested-after-he-said-police-mistook-a-phone-for-a-gun-the-officer-has-been-fired.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 05:05:52 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65300 A former NFL player was arrested after he said police mistook a phone for a gun. The officer has been fired. A police officer in the Atlanta suburbs has been fired after an internal investigation found he used unnecessary force in the arrest of a black man for possessing a firearm — which in reality, […]

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A former NFL player was arrested after he said police mistook a phone for a gun. The officer has been fired.

A police officer in the Atlanta suburbs has been fired after an internal investigation found he used unnecessary force in the arrest of a black man for possessing a firearm — which in reality, the man said, was his cellphone.

Henry County police officer David Rose was administratively charged with maltreatment or unnecessary force during the Dec. 2 arrest of Desmond Marrow, a 30-year-old former NFL player, as well as conduct violations. Chief Mark Amerman said in a statement posted to Facebook Thursday that he agreed with the investigation’s findings and fired Rose.

“The Henry County Police Department upholds its mission to serve and protect and does not tolerate this type of conduct from its officers,” the statement said.

Henry County District Attorney Darius Pattillo also said in a statement Thursday that no felony charges would be brought against Marrow. Marrow had been arrested on charges of terroristic threats, felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer, reckless driving and aggressive driving.

A magistrate judge already dismissed the terroristic-threats charges, and the misdemeanor charges will be turned over to a county solicitor general for review, Pattillo said.

Rose could not immediately be reached for comment.

Marrow on April 26 posted a video to Facebook showing what appeared to him to be three white Henry County police officers taking him to the ground and pinning him down as he cried and screamed, telling them that he was not resisting. He said officers slammed him to the ground and choked him until he passed out.

“During the arrest the police knocked my teeth out, slammed me on my head and choked me out until I was unconscious,” he wrote in the Facebook post.

It’s unclear in the video whether Marrow lost consciousness. He said he also suffered a shoulder strain and a concussion.

“This has affected me mentally and impacted my life in a way I can’t even humanly describe,” Marrow wrote. “This isn’t a cry for sympathy, I just need it to be known . . . My cry is for JUSTICE.”

In the Facebook post, Marrow asked social-media users to help give him a voice, writing, “PLEASE HELP ME GET MY VOICE HEARD!!!” Marrow’s past as a professional football player might help him do just that.

Marrow was listed on the preseason roster of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012, according to NFL.com.

Amerman said in the statement that the department had “promised to find the truth for Desmond Marrow,” no matter what that truth was. The investigation found that Rose was recorded on his in-car video camera system saying he choked Marrow but that he was not going to include that information in his report, Amerson said.

The investigation found that another officer, Matt Donaldson, acted within departmental policy, he said.

“It is important to note what the brief cellphone video doesn’t show — which is the level of resistance by Mr. Marrow while officers were arresting him, and the struggle officers encountered while trying to get control of the situation while Mr. Marrow was fighting with those officers,” Amerson wrote.

“This is what police officers are trained to do when they cannot get control of a suspect,” he wrote.

WXIA reported that the arrest may have been in response to an altercation between Marrow and another driver. The station described a Dec. 2 police report, which stated that someone in another vehicle had tossed coffee at Marrow’s car and he chased the car into a shopping center outside Atlanta.

The report said that a police officer witnessed the incident and responded to the scene, where a witness said he overheard Marrow threatening to “shoot them,” according to the station.

It said that officers asked Marrow whether he had a gun and he said no, and that the officers could not find one in his possession.

Still, the station reported, officers arrested him on the allegation that he threatened harm.

It’s unclear when the video was filmed, but in it, a police officer can be heard warning Marrow that he has a stun gun.

“I’m not even doing nothing. I’m not even fighting back,” Marrow, who appeared to be handcuffed, shouted as two officers slammed him against a white pickup truck. One of the officers held Marrow’s arms behind his back and the other officer pulled his legs out from under him, swiftly taking him to the ground.

Marrow cried out as his body hit the concrete.

“Oh, my God,” he said, weeping. “I didn’t even do nothing.”

A bystander who appeared to be filming the scene said, “That’s unbelievable, man.”

As Marrow continued to struggle and scream at the officers, one of them pressed down on his throat. Marrow made choking sounds and told the officers in a panicked, high-pitched voice, “I can’t breathe.”

A third officer then knelt down and told him to “settle down.”

Following the incident, one of the police officers patted him on the chest, saying, “You okay?”

Marrow wrote on Facebook that he showed “ZERO resistance” during the arrest:

“I thought I was going to die. I was sure I was passing out or dying when Officer #D. Rose was choking me as my breath kept slipping away. Henry county police dept. was trying to keep me quiet, but once they found out I was a former #NFLplayer & there was a video of the incident did they then try to drop my charges. They were basically trying to get me to sell my soul in exchange for the video not being posted and they would drop all the felonies and clear my record. They said I was resisting arrest, being out of control, spitting and assaulting the Officers by head butting them. But GOD recorded it and I have PROOF! You know the truth take a lil longer to make it around lies travel faster.”

Marrow did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Washington Post on Thursday.

The case is still being reviewed by the district attorney’s office, Amerson wrote.

“The Henry County Police Department is confident that this is an isolated incident, and is not a reflection of the many dedicated officers who perform the duties of their office every day, often putting their lives on the line to keep our community safe,” he wrote. “Moving forward, we will continue to conduct necessary training to ensure that our officers uphold the high standards set by the Henry County Police Department in serving the public.”

Source:- https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/05/10/a-former-nfl-player-was-arrested-after-he-said-police-mistook-a-phone-for-a-gun-the-officer-has-been-fired/?utm_term=.7b2face3b048

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Thousands of Facebook ads bought by Russians to fool U.S. voters released by Congress https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/thousands-of-facebook-ads-bought-by-russians-to-fool-u-s-voters-released-by-congress.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/thousands-of-facebook-ads-bought-by-russians-to-fool-u-s-voters-released-by-congress.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 04:59:30 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65299 Thousands of Facebook ads bought by Russians to fool U.S. voters released by Congress Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released thousands of Russian Facebook ads on Thursday, offering the public its first in-depth look at the troubling messages used to heighten tensions among Americans during and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The release […]

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Thousands of Facebook ads bought by Russians to fool U.S. voters released by Congress

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released thousands of Russian Facebook ads on Thursday, offering the public its first in-depth look at the troubling messages used to heighten tensions among Americans during and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The release of the ads, which Facebook says were purchased by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency to sway public sentiment, comes as the giant social network races to tighten restrictions on political ads to head off manipulation of upcoming elections, including this fall’s hotly contested midterms.

Pressure has intensified since the Justice Department charged 13 Russians and three companies in February, exposing a wide-ranging effort to subvert the election and to support the Trump campaign.

Facebook pages with points of view that span the political spectrum from “Blacktivist” to “Heart of Texas” bought ads. Some of the more than 3,000 ads denounced Donald Trump, others his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.

Many of the ads, placed by Russians posing as Americans, didn’t endorse a specific candidate but spread inflammatory messages on sensitive subjects such as immigration and race to amplify fault lines in American life, targeting users from specific backgrounds and tight races in key states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Virginia.

These negative appeals included a group called Fit Black, which urged people to attend “Black Fist Free Self-Defense Classes.” Another from the Army of Jesus encouraged voters to pick a president with “godly morals” with a picture of Jesus arm-wrestling Satan.

The Facebook ads varied in their effectiveness and reach, with some only being shared a few hundred times, others seen hundreds of thousands or more than 1 million times. They ran just over two years starting in June 2015, increasing in volume in October and November 2016, just before and after the presidential election, but also showing spikes in April and May of 2016 and also April and May of 2017.

Patterns quickly emerge in sampling the ads. Many of the hundreds of ads placed in April 2016 targeted racial divisions in American society, encouraging African-American political activism by imitating the language and messaging of the Black Lives Matter movement with posts highlighting racist incidents and others the resilience and beauty of the African-American community.

A smaller contingent that month targeted conservative Facebook users. Festooned with American flags, they sounded patriotic themes including reverence for the constitution. Still others contained calls for Americans to “take care of our vets, not illegals.”

Facebook says it has taken a much more aggressive stance on political and issue ads, forcing people who buy them to verify their identity and location and to reveal publicly who they are.

Until September, when it identified 470 accounts that purchased 3,000 ads for more than $100,000 over a two-year period, Facebook repeatedly denied the Russians exploited its platform. In fact, Russian operatives availed themselves of the precise nature of the ad targeting offered by Facebook, zeroing in on categories of Facebook users, such as gun lovers, Trump supporters, residents of certain places, and more. They also took advantage of Facebook’s computer algorithms, which at the time favored sensationalist posts that drive more reaction.

Ten million Americans saw the ads, Facebook estimates, and 146 million Americans, or nearly half of the U.S. population, may have been reached by content from Russian operatives such as status updates and videos on Facebook and Instagram, also owned by Facebook.

The extent of election meddling put Facebook on the defensive and served as a wake-up call for Facebook users, who for years allowed the culling of their personal information in exchange for the free service without much thought to what happens to that data, let alone whether an adversarial foreign power could exploit it to provoke outrage over polarizing issues from gay rights to gun rights.

After Facebook handed over the ads to Congress, lawmakers made dozens of them available to the public. House Intelligence Committee leaders pledged at the time to provide all of the ads to the public to increase awareness of the Russian manipulation.

With the spotlight on upcoming midterms in the U.S. and other key elections around the globe, Facebook says it’s moved aggressively to prevent foreign interference and anticipate new tactics to undermine the integrity of the electoral process.

Political ads will be labeled and Facebook users will be provided more information about them, such as who paid for them. Facebook users will be able to see who placed an ad and some information about those users who saw the ad, as well as view other ads run by the same page. That includes the hot-button social issue ads.

Facebook also reduced the ad targeting capability, removing nearly one-third of the terms used by the IRA, some because they weren’t often used, others because Facebook says they didn’t reflect Facebook’s “principles.”

It’s a major turnabout for Facebook, which for years resisted complying with federal ad disclosure rules that apply to other types of media. Pressured by lawmakers, Zuckerberg promised last year to take steps to deter foreign governments from using Facebook to manipulate elections and to increase disclosure in political ads. Zuckerberg now says he supports a bipartisan Senate bill, the Honest Ads Act, which would bring political advertising on social media more in line with what is required on television and radio.

Since the 2012 presidential election, political campaigns are increasingly using Facebook to target particular voters in a more precise, cost-effective way. Yet the social network is not currently required to follow any of the campaign finance laws that apply to other media.

“Going forward, we’re going to address this by verifying the identity of every single advertiser who’s running political or issue-oriented ads to make it so that foreign actors or people trying to spoof their identity or say that they’re someone that they’re not cannot run political ads or run large pages,” Zuckerberg said during last month’s testimony on Capitol Hill.

Ridding Facebook of election meddling is part of a widening campaign to rebuild consumer trust after the personal information of 87 million users was harvested by Cambridge Analytica without their permission.

Cambridge Analytica capped a tumultuous period for Facebook, which has been dragged down by one damaging revelation after another, from the proliferation of fabricated news and hoaxes to violence on its Live streaming service.

In February, special counsel Robert Mueller filed criminal charges against 13 Russian nationals and three businesses for a wide-ranging effort to undermine the presidential election, including actions aimed at boosting Trump’s campaign. Federal law bars foreign interests from making campaign contributions or otherwise working to influence U.S. elections.

The charges included conspiracy, identity theft, failing to register as foreign agents, and violating laws that limit the use of foreign money in U.S. elections. One of the companies that was charged was the Internet Research Agency, which prosecutors accuse of waging “information warfare” against the United States with the goal of “spreading distrust toward the candidates and the political system.”

Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, and possible obstruction of justice by the president. In addition to Mueller’s probe, three congressional committees have been conducting their own Russia investigations.

Both the House and Senate intelligence committees have investigated Russia’s manipulation of social media, which the Kremlin continued even after the 2016 election.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is continuing its investigation, and the Senate Judiciary Committee has been conducting a more limited probe.

Republicans on the House Intelligence committee recently concluded their investigation, finding no signs that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. The panel’s Democrats are continuing to investigate on their own.

Last fall, representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google appeared before two intelligence committees to talk about Russia’s manipulation of their platforms. A sampling of Facebook ads paid for by the Internet Research Agency were released at those hearings, but the bulk of the ads had to be scrubbed of personally identifiable information before they could be publicly released.

The Democrats said they decided to release the Facebook ads Thursday because they had promised to make them public over the objections of Republicans.

Late last year, Zuckerberg told USA TODAY he was not sure if Facebook could prevent the problems of the 2016 presidential campaign from recurring in this year’s elections.

“We have a pretty good track record as a company of — once we set our mind to doing something, we eventually get it done,” the Facebook CEO said in November. But, he conceded, “I don’t know how long it will take to address this.”

In April, Zuckerberg, who initially dismissed the idea that misinformation on Facebook played a role in the outcome of the presidential election, said: “We’re committed to getting this done in time for the critical months before the 2018 elections.”

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/05/10/thousands-russian-bought-facebook-social-media-ads-released-congress/849959001/

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Cohen’s $600,000 deal with AT&T specified he would advise on Time Warner merger, internal company records show https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/cohens-600000-deal-with-att-specified-he-would-advise-on-time-warner-merger-internal-company-records-show.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/cohens-600000-deal-with-att-specified-he-would-advise-on-time-warner-merger-internal-company-records-show.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 04:52:28 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65291 Cohen’s $600,000 deal with AT&T specified he would advise on Time Warner merger, internal company records show Three days after President Trump was sworn into office, the telecom giant AT&T turned to his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for help on a wide portfolio of issues pending before the federal government — including the company’s proposed […]

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Cohen’s $600,000 deal with AT&T specified he would advise on Time Warner merger, internal company records show

Three days after President Trump was sworn into office, the telecom giant AT&T turned to his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for help on a wide portfolio of issues pending before the federal government — including the company’s proposed merger with Time Warner, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

The documents detail the full scope of Cohen’s $600,000 deal with AT&T and how his contract specified that he would provide advice on the $85 billion merger, which required the approval of federal antitrust regulators.

Trump had voiced opposition to the merger during the presidential campaign, and his administration ultimately opposed the AT&T effort. The Justice Department filed suit in November to block the deal, and that case is pending.

Cohen’s deals with AT&T and other corporate clients were first revealed this week by an attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, but the new documents obtained by The Post offered greater detail about his arrangement with the telecom company and the type of work he had been hired to perform.

It is unclear what insight Cohen — a longtime real estate attorney and former taxicab operator — could have provided AT&T on complex telecom matters.

At the same time that he was collecting $50,000 a month from AT&T, Cohen was being paid large sums to advise other companies on a broad variety of issues, including the Affordable Care Act, accounting practices and real estate.

In the wake of Trump’s election, corporate clients paid Cohen at least $2.95 million through a company called Essential Consultants, according to figures confirmed by the companies.

Essential Consultants was the same company Cohen used in October 2016 to route money to Daniels in exchange for her agreement not to disclose an alleged affair with Trump.

The corporate payments he received demonstrate how Cohen was able to turn his ties with the new president into moneymaking opportunities, despite Trump’s campaign pledges to “drain the swamp.”

AT&T and the pharmaceutical company Novartis, another Cohen client, said this week that they provided information about their dealings with Trump’s lawyer to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III last year. Cohen is also under investigation by prosecutors in New York for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

The $600,000 that flowed to Cohen from AT&T was about 3.5 percent of the $16.8 million the company spent on lobbying in 2017, according to disclosure forms.

A “scope of work” describing Cohen’s contract in an internal AT&T document shows that he was hired to “focus on specific long-term planning initiatives as well as the immediate issue of corporate tax reform and the acquisition of Time Warner.”

He was also directed to “creatively address political and communications issues” facing the company and advise the company on matters before the Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T declined to comment on the documents, which were provided to The Post anonymously, but it did not challenge their authenticity.

Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, declined to comment. Cohen did not respond to requests for comment.

The internal AT&T documents show that Cohen was supposed to spend half his time on “legislative policy development” and the other half on “regulatory policy development.” Payments to Cohen were approved by two executives in AT&T’s public affairs office in Washington.

The New York Times first reported that Cohen offered advice on how AT&T should approach the administration about the Time Warner merger.

The documents specified that Cohen, who was not a registered lobbyist, was to spend none of his time engaged in lobbying. They described his work as advising the company, not contacting federal officials.

Under federal rules, individuals must register as lobbyists if they spend 20 percent of their time working for a client on legislative and executive branch issues and if they have had contact with at least two government officials related to that client, according to Larry Noble, a former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission and an expert on lobbying law.

Cohen’s work for AT&T did not appear to meet that definition, Noble said. However, he noted that hiring the president’s lawyer could trigger ethical questions.

“It is an ethical concern if you have a lawyer who appears to be selling access to a current client, who is president,” Noble said.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, said Wednesday that the president was unaware of Cohen’s consulting agreements.

AT&T has declined to comment on the specific amount it paid to Essential Consultants. Under the one-year contract, the company has said, Cohen was hired to provide “insights into understanding the new administration.”

In an internal email to employees obtained by The Post, AT&T said Cohen was among “several consultants” the company hired in early 2017 “to help us understand how the President and his administration might approach a wide range of policy issues important to the company, including regulatory reform at the FCC, corporate tax reform and antitrust enforcement.”

At the time the contract was signed, AT&T was trying to build ties to the new administration. Months earlier, Trump had come out strongly against the proposed AT&T merger with Time Warner, which owns CNN — a network he often berates as producing “fake news.”

“As an example of the power structure I’m fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” Trump said during a speech in Gettysburg, Pa., in October 2016.

On Jan. 12, 2017, Cohen and AT&T’s chief executive, Randall Stephenson, were both seen visiting Trump Tower in New York, days before the contract with Essential Consultants was signed.

But although the two men arrived within minutes of each other, they did not meet that day and have never met, AT&T said this week.

At the time, AT&T said that Stephenson had “a very good meeting” with Trump but that the Time Warner merger “was not a topic of discussion.”

“The conversation focused on how AT&T can work with the Trump administration to increase investment in the U.S., stimulate job creation in America, and make American companies more competitive globally,” the company said.

After the revelation of Cohen’s link to AT&T, ranking Democrats on antitrust subcommittees in the House and Senate sent a joint letter to the Justice Department’s top competition enforcer, Makan Delrahim, asking whether he knew of the company’s payments to Cohen during his agency’s independent review of the Time Warner merger.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

According to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe ongoing litigation, Delrahim was not aware of AT&T’s payments to Cohen.

Meanwhile, Novartis chief executive Vasant Narasimhan sent an email to employees Thursday calling the company’s $1.2 million contract with Cohen a “mistake” and acknowledging that the revelation “was not a good day for Novartis.”

“We made a mistake in entering into this engagement and, as a consequence, are being criticized by a world that expects more from us,” Narasimhan wrote.

Narasimhan joined the company in 2005 but did not take the helm of the global drug company until this February. “I was not involved with any aspect of this situation,” Narasimhan wrote to employees, adding that it had been a difficult day for him and his family.

Source:- https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/cohens-600000-deal-with-atandt-specified-he-would-advise-on-time-warner-merger-internal-company-records-show/2018/05/10/cd541ae0-5468-11e8-a551-5b648abe29ef_story.html?utm_term=.23e5c790cd12

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Military investigation of Niger disaster finds numerous failures in planning https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/military-investigation-of-niger-disaster-finds-numerous-failures-in-planning.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/military-investigation-of-niger-disaster-finds-numerous-failures-in-planning.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 04:45:50 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65290 Military investigation of Niger disaster finds numerous failures in planning A months-long military investigation of a disastrous 2017 mission in Niger found that multiple individual and institutional failures contributed to a chain of events culminating in a militant ambush that left four Americans dead. Senior officials, in a summary of their report, cited two lower-level […]

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Military investigation of Niger disaster finds numerous failures in planning

A months-long military investigation of a disastrous 2017 mission in Niger found that multiple individual and institutional failures contributed to a chain of events culminating in a militant ambush that left four Americans dead.

Senior officials, in a summary of their report, cited two lower-level officers for poorly planning operations with Nigerien forces but did not recommend disciplinary action. A separate, ongoing review will make that determination.

Marine Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, who heads U.S. Africa Command, said the team of 11 Americans involved in the firefight was inadequately trained and prepared even before it stepped off its base for the ill-fated mission near the village of Tongo Tongo.

Waldhauser said he had taken steps to better ensure service members’ safety, including increased force protection firepower and clarified systems for mission approval.

“We are now far more prudent,” Waldhauser told reporters at the Pentagon. “The missions we actually accompany on have to have some type of strategic value in terms of the enemy we’re going against. Do they have a strategic threat to the United States?”

The four Americans killed were Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright and Sgt. La David T. Johnson. Black and Wright were Special Forces soldiers, while both Johnsons were conventional soldiers assigned to the same 3rd Special Forces Group team.

The report follows months of conflicting media accounts about what happened the day of the battle, particularly regarding the fate of La David Johnson, who remained missing and was feared captured for about 36 hours before his bullet-ridden body was recovered by villagers.

Contrary to some of those reports, the summary said Johnson was killed while returning militant fire after getting separated from other troops.

Missing from the report’s presentation was mention of the political controversy generated by the incident, which in an unusual turn pitted President Trump and his chief of staff against one of the fallen men’s widows and a Democratic congresswoman, both of whom accused the president of insensitivity as he offered condolences to the family.

According to Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has concluded that systemic problems “must be addressed immediately,” suggesting that more far-reaching changes will be made to the way U.S. forces train and operate.

In releasing an eight-page summary report Thursday, the Pentagon withheld thousands of pages of witness statements, maps and other documents and a longer report of about 180 pages. The U.S. military often releases those materials at the conclusion of an investigation, but said it is still working to declassify additional information.

Waldhauser said a review of any potential disciplinary action or valor awards will be carried out by U.S. Special Operations Command. Navy Capt. Jason Salata, a SOCOM spokesman, said after the news briefing that the command has received the report and “initiated a line-by-line review.” No disciplinary steps have been taken.

Don Christensen, a former chief prosecutor for the Air Force, said the decision to publicly assign blame to junior officers for planning failures — actions that the chief investigator, Maj. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier Jr., said had no bearing on the ambush or its results — rather than senior officers was noteworthy.

In addition to citing the two captains, including the team leader, for failing to appropriately secure approval for their initial mission, the report laid out additional missteps. Those included insufficient predeployment training, inadequate pre-mission rehearsal and a failure to use protective gear. The problems were further compounded by communications issues between the United States and its partners and the remoteness of the area where the attack took place.

“These two captains were not the ones who created all these issues,” Christensen said. “They may have made horrible decisions. But they were put into those positions by people who knew the shortcomings of what they were doing.”
At least five Nigerien soldiers also were killed in the ambush, and others were wounded, including two Americans. They were identified in December as Capt. Michael Perozeni, the team commander, and Sgt. 1st Class Brent Bartels.

U.S. officials focused much of their investigation on how the unit, called Team Ouallam, after the location of a base it used, secured approval for its operations.

According to the Pentagon, the unit set out on Oct. 3 from Niamey on a mission that was initially identified by Perozeni and another captain as a routine reconnaissance mission near Mali’s border. No one higher in the chain of command was “aware of the true nature of the mission,” the report summary said.

In fact, the unit was searching for Doundoun Cheffou, an Islamic State leader who U.S. officials believed may have been linked to the kidnapping of an American. Later, the men were tasked on two different missions, both of which did have approval from more-senior officers.

Late the following morning, the unit was on its way back to base after an impromptu stop in Tongo Tongo when it started receiving fire from behind.

Soon, the gunfire intensified. Although the soldiers did not know it at the time, they were facing attack from about 100 militants linked with the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), the summary said. The team quickly reported contact with the enemy to U.S. soldiers at their base nearby.

Believing they were facing a small enemy force, a handful of soldiers attempted to launch a counterattack on foot, but soon discovered a larger group of militants on motorcycles and in trucks mounted with machine guns. Assessing the severity of the situation, the Americans began to load their vehicles.

A small group of soldiers — Black, Wright and Jeremiah Johnson — prepared to move out. But Black, trying to shield himself as he walked along the protected side of his vehicle, was quickly shot and fell, the investigation found. Wright and Johnson stopped the vehicle to assess Black’s wounds but were forced to withdraw as the attack continued. Shortly afterward, Johnson was shot, then Wright. All three died quickly about noon.
Unaware of what had befallen their comrades, other U.S. and Nigerien soldiers drove about 700 meters south, establishing a defensive position they hoped would allow them to fend off the advancing militant force. Perozeni, facing intensifying mortar and machine-gun fire, ordered a withdrawal.

Survivors told investigators that they saw one of the Americans on the scene, La David Johnson, preparing to get into a vehicle and depart. The sergeant fought back using an M240 machine gun and sniper rifle, but ultimately was forced amid heavy fire to escape on foot.

U.S. military investigators estimated that Johnson ran 450 meters southwest on his own. He sought refuge behind a thorny tree and fired at the advancing militants, who wounded him with machine-gun fire and then, approaching by foot, killed him with small-arms fire. His death was said to occur about an hour after the ambush began.

Investigators found that Johnson was not captured alive by militants or executed, but was “killed in action while actively engaging the enemy,” the report said. That assessment disputes an account provided to The Post in November by Nigerien villagers. They said that Johnson’s hands appeared to have been tied behind his back, suggesting that he had been executed after being captured.

Reached by phone Thursday, the two villagers , Mounkaila Allassane and Adamou Boubacar, said they stood by their story but both declined to comment further.

The Pentagon released no further details on Johnson’s death.

The bodies of Black, Wright and Jeremiah Johnson were retrieved a few hours after the firefight, on the evening of Oct. 4. But the military was unable to recover La David Johnson’s remains until the evening of Oct. 6, an unusual amount of time to be missing on a modern battlefield.

The other soldiers, meanwhile, were being pursued by militant forces as they tried to flee. Five of seven men in the car were shot, including Perozeni. After getting stuck in the mud, the troops radioed for assistance and then disabled that equipment. They fled enemy fire to the west through a swampy area, establishing a defensive position until the militants were forced to retreat when French aircraft arrived at the scene.

It’s unclear how inadequate aerial surveillance may have contributed to the incident or how a force of 100 militants could have massed quickly enough to surprise the unit. Investigators said they were not able to determine whether villagers tipped off the attackers or were coerced into withholding warnings.

The events around Tongo Tongo generated an immediate outcry from lawmakers, who said they had not been properly informed about activities in Niger, and potentially beyond.

The episode ignited a larger political controversy after a Democratic congresswoman reported that President Trump had upset La David Johnson’s widow in a condolence call, saying that the president had stumbled over the soldier’s nameand that he suggested that the soldier “must have known what he signed up for.”

Trump denied the account, and his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, blasted the lawmaker, Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.). Kelly, whose son was killed in the war in Afghanistan, called Wilson an “empty barrel” and made a subsequently disproved claim that she had improperly taken credit for funding an FBI facility in Florida.

The controversy was a departure from how previous administrations handled military casualties, and provided another illustration of how Trump has been willing to feud publicly, even with individuals typically seen as beyond reproach.

Johnson’s mother later corroborated Wilson’s account of the conversation and said the president “did disrespect my son.”

Source:- https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/military-investigation-of-niger-disaster-finds-numerous-failures-in-planning/2018/05/10/4a43cddc-4359-11e8-ad8f-27a8c409298b_story.html?utm_term=.ed528eb8e462

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Trump unloads on Homeland Security secretary in lengthy immigration tirade https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/trump-unloads-on-homeland-security-secretary-in-lengthy-immigration-tirade.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/trump-unloads-on-homeland-security-secretary-in-lengthy-immigration-tirade.html#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 04:38:24 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65287 Trump unloads on Homeland Security secretary in lengthy immigration tirade President Trump berated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a dispiriting Cabinet meeting on immigration Wednesday, according to three administration officials, but her colleagues denied reports that she has threatened to quit. Trump lashed out at his Cabinet, and Nielsen in particular, when told that […]

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Trump unloads on Homeland Security secretary in lengthy immigration tirade

President Trump berated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a dispiriting Cabinet meeting on immigration Wednesday, according to three administration officials, but her colleagues denied reports that she has threatened to quit.

Trump lashed out at his Cabinet, and Nielsen in particular, when told that the number of people arrested for illegally crossing the Mexico border topped 50,000 for the second consecutive month. The blowup lasted more than 30 minutes, according to a person with knowledge of what transpired, as Trump’s face reddened and he raised his voice, saying Nielsen needed to “close down” the border.

“Why don’t you have solutions? How is this still happening?” he said, adding later, “We need to shut it down. We’re closed.”

Administration officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to provide a candid account of the private meeting.

Trump’s tirade went on so long that many present began fidgeting in their seats and flashing grimaces, White House aides said. Eventually, the topic moved on to health care, bringing relief to many in the room.

Trump’s outburst at Nielsen was first reported Thursday by the New York Times.

The president’s eruption was witnessed by Cabinet members plus a number of senior White House officials — including counselor Kellyanne Conway, advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, immigration adviser Stephen Miller and chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Nielsen’s top ally who recommended her to Trump for the Homeland Security job, also was present.

Nielsen battled back, one person said, telling Trump that laws limit some of what she could do to block the flow of undocumented immigrants. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended her, saying the administration was looking for new ways to deter illegal crossings.

Mostly, though, Nielsen struggled to get a word in, said one senior official.

The New York Times and Politico reported that Nielsen, who began the job in December, drafted a resignation letter. In a statement Thursday, a spokesman for the agency said that was false. Two senior White House officials described Nielsen as upset after the meeting, but said they were unaware of such a letter or threats to resign.

One White House official said Nielsen was in the building again Thursday. Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, did not respond to emails and phone calls seeking comment.

One person close to Nielsen said she is unlikely to resign. “She feels like she’s doing the best she can and doing a good job on immigration, but she also has to follow the law,” this person said. “It’s frustrating to have your boss unhappy about that.”

Homeland Security’s deputy secretary position is vacant, so there would be no immediate replacement if Nielsen were to step down.

Trump has never viewed Nielsen favorably, and complains to colleagues that she is “not tough enough,” according to a senior White House official. He reminds staff that she was a “George W. Bush person” because of her previous tenure as a White House Homeland Security adviser.

In recent weeks, Nielsen has announced measures aimed at deterring illegal migration, including criminal prosecutions for parents who cross the border illegally with their children. Families are typically broken up in those circumstances, as federal immigration agents send children to government shelters while their mothers and fathers remain in custody awaiting court dates.

Trump has asked for frequent updates about the number of people attempting to cross the border illegally and has grown increasingly irritated at the recent trends.

A caravan of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico seized the president’s attention this spring, and in the weeks that followed he frequently asked Homeland Security for updates, administration officials said.

Illegal crossings plunged in the early phase of Trump’s presidency, but have since returned to levels consistent with the last several years of the Obama administration. Arrests along the border with Mexico typically rise during springtime, when migrants seeking jobs on U.S. farms and ranches return for the summer growing season.

Source:- https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-unloads-on-homeland-security-secretary-in-lengthy-immigration-tirade/2018/05/10/f0ded152-54a0-11e8-9c91-7dab596e8252_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a98416e1ce94

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Mets bat out of order in first inning against Reds, go on to lose 2-1 in 10 innings https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/mets-bat-out-of-order-in-first-inning-against-reds-go-on-to-lose-2-1-in-10-innings.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/mets-bat-out-of-order-in-first-inning-against-reds-go-on-to-lose-2-1-in-10-innings.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 07:55:05 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65284 Mets bat out of order in first inning against Reds, go on to lose 2-1 in 10 innings The New York Mets’ downward spiral continued with a Little League blunder Wednesday afternoon in Cincinnati when they batted out of order in the first inning against the Reds. The lineup handed to the umpires had Asdrubal […]

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Mets bat out of order in first inning against Reds, go on to lose 2-1 in 10 innings

The New York Mets’ downward spiral continued with a Little League blunder Wednesday afternoon in Cincinnati when they batted out of order in the first inning against the Reds.

The lineup handed to the umpires had Asdrubal Cabrera hitting second and Wilmer Flores batting third. The team’s intended lineup, though, had Flores hitting second and Cabrera batting third. That lineup was even on the scoreboard.

Flores struck out and Cabrera doubled to left, but Cabrera did not get to enjoy his hit for long as Reds manager Jim Riggleman showed home plate umpire Gabe Morales the lineup card that featured Flores hitting in front of Cabrera.

Jay Bruce was then ruled out on a putout to the catcher.

The gaffe certainly had some impact on the result: The Mets went on to lose 2-1 in 10 innings, their 15th loss in 21 games.

“It probably cost us the game,” says Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who took responsibility for the error.

Baseball rules place the onus on the opposing manager, not the umpires, to point out lineup discrepancies. It’s in the best interest of the team in the field to wait until the opposing club has gained an advantage from the illegal lineup to point out the error.

Thus, Riggleman wisely waited for a positive event – Cabrera’s double, in this case – to play that card.

There was also confusion in the second inning after Adrian Gonzalez singled to start the inning since the Reds seemingly thought Bruce should have led off the inning. Riggleman met with the managers, but Gonzalez did bat in the right spot.

In the third inning, Cabrera hit second and Flores batted third in accordance with the official lineup. Cabrera drove in a run with an RBI groundout.

The Milwaukee Brewers were the last team to bat out of order, doing so in the first inning on July 4, 2016 against the Washington Nationals, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2018/05/09/mets-bat-out-order/594837002/

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Tiger Woods says there’s no faking it on Pete Dye’s tough Stadium Course https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/tiger-woods-says-theres-no-faking-it-on-pete-dyes-tough-stadium-course.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/tiger-woods-says-theres-no-faking-it-on-pete-dyes-tough-stadium-course.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 07:49:07 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65281 Tiger Woods says there’s no faking it on Pete Dye’s tough Stadium Course PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Having not played in The Players Championship since 2015, Tiger Woods saw the redesigned 12th hole on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for the first time on Wednesday and spent a few minutes on the tee […]

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Tiger Woods says there’s no faking it on Pete Dye’s tough Stadium Course

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Having not played in The Players Championship since 2015, Tiger Woods saw the redesigned 12th hole on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for the first time on Wednesday and spent a few minutes on the tee talking strategy with his caddie, Joe LaCava.

The scene was repeated when the two got to the new tee box on the 15th hole, which adds 25 yards to an already difficult hole. And on Tuesday, the two saw the new look at the 6th and 7th holes, which run parallel to each other but now share a large lake instead of a little-used spectator mound.

Woods also putted on the resurfaced greens for the first time, the surfaces now featuring a different type of Bermuda grass.

Quite a few new wrinkles, in other words, to adapt to on a course that was already flat-out demanding and tiring.

“The overall layout is the same, so that’s a good thing,” Woods said of the changes to the Pete Dye course. “And as always, you need to hit the golf ball well. Pete likes to, one, try and intimidate you visually, and then, two, tries to really punish you for making a mistake.

“Pete really puts it on you on the misses. If you’re hitting it well, then the golf course, you can be aggressive, you can shoot low scores, but if you’re not playing well, Pete will definitely punish you.”

Woods has had mixed results on Dye’s creation in the PGA Tour’s flagship event that features the strongest field in golf year in and year out. He won the 1994 U.S. Amateur here, finished second in The Players in 2000, and is the only player to win The Players in March and May, his 2001 victory coming in March, his 2013 win in May.

But the best player of his generation, who has 79 PGA Tour titles and 14 major championship victories, has only five top-10s in 16 starts. He went six years starting in 2002 without a top 10. In his last start here, he tied for 69th.

“I just haven’t played well here at times,” Woods said. “And you can’t get away with anything when you’re not playing well here. You can’t fake it around here. There’s only a few holes in which you can be aggressive off the tee length-wise and have an advantage. But generally, we’re all kind of playing from the same spot, and that just opens up the field.

“In 2000, I hit it great that week but Hal (Sutton) just hit it a little bit better than I did. In 2001, I didn’t really miss a whole lot of shots. And then in 13, I put a 5-wood in that week just for that golf course, hadn’t used it all year except for that one venue, and it worked out perfectly.”

Woods is coming off two of his worst tournaments since he came back from spinal fusion surgery. He was disappointed with his tie for 32nd in the Masters and frustrated throughout his tie for 55th in last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, where he needed 126 putts to finish his four rounds.

He said the speed of the greens threw him all week. But after doing some putting drills Monday at his Florida compound, and putting in long work on the greens since he got here on Tuesday, Woods feels better with the putter in his hands. Especially on the faster greens here. And he’s pleased with his ball-striking from tee to green.

“It’s good to be back here, good to be playing in the tournament again,” Woods said. “I feel good. I’m looking forward to the week.”

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/golf/2018/05/09/tiger-woods-mixed-results-players-championship-tpc-sawgrass/595456002/

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NCAA rules are ‘incomprehensible,’ says Condoleezza Rice https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/ncaa-rules-are-incomprehensible-says-condoleezza-rice.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/ncaa-rules-are-incomprehensible-says-condoleezza-rice.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 07:39:19 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65277 NCAA rules are ‘incomprehensible,’ says Condoleezza Rice Two weeks after the Commission on College Basketball’s findings on the scandal-ridden men’s game were met with criticism in the news media, Commission chair Condoleezza Rice defended the group’s work in a telephone interview Wednesday while making a strong case that student-athletes in all NCAA sports should be […]

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NCAA rules are ‘incomprehensible,’ says Condoleezza Rice

Two weeks after the Commission on College Basketball’s findings on the scandal-ridden men’s game were met with criticism in the news media, Commission chair Condoleezza Rice defended the group’s work in a telephone interview Wednesday while making a strong case that student-athletes in all NCAA sports should be able to make money from their names, images and likenesses.

“We believe that students ought to be able to benefit from name, image and likeness but you can’t decide a program until you know the legal parameters,” Rice told USA TODAY Sports. “That was the point. I think some of the commentary suggested that we didn’t really speak on this issue. I think we did speak on this issue, it’s just that we understand there’s a legal framework that has to be developed first.”

Rice said she thought the commission’s report was “pretty clear” in its support of athletes being able to cash in once the various legal issues are resolved. But she maintains that the NCAA cannot do this while a pair of ongoing cases are pending.

“I think people may have looked at the fact that we said there’s a legal framework to be developed and said, ‘Oh, well, maybe they’re punting on this.’ Nobody was intending to punt on it.”

Rice strongly encouraged the NCAA to act as soon as it is legally able. This has been an ongoing conversation since the cases brought on behalf of former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon and former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller. The Keller case settled, but in the O’Bannon case, a district court judge ruled that the NCAA had violated antitrust law by limiting college athletes’ compensation basically to tuition, fees, room, board and books. She said the NCAA should be required to allow schools to pay athletes additional deferred money as compensation for the use of their names, images and likenesses. However, an appeals court vacated that part of her ruling.

“There is a legal framework that has to be determined, but name, image and likeness –athletes are going to have to be able to benefit from it,” she said. “I think everybody can see that. Exactly what that’s going to look like, I don’t think that we could design it. I don’t think that today the NCAA could design it because the legal framework still has to be developed. But when I see policies that are as confused as the NCAA’s policies on this, I think, ‘Why haven’t you gone and looked at this before?’ It’s really time to come to terms with name, image and likeness.”

The current NCAA rules, she said, “(are) just incomprehensible. And sometimes when something’s incomprehensible, you have to go ahead and say, ‘This is incomprehensible,’ which means it probably isn’t right. And I thought that in the report, we were pretty clear, that we think the framework doesn’t work.”

Rice is not alone. There are currently mixed signals about who can get paid as an athlete and who cannot. While Olympic swimming star Katie Ledecky of Stanford is one of the most recent to have to stop competing collegiately in order to start earning money, Notre Dame basketball star Arike Ogunbowale recently received a waiver from the NCAA that allowed her to make money as a participant on Dancing with the Stars. The NCAA said it was granting the waiver because the show was unrelated to her basketball abilities.

Rice isn’t buying it.

“I couldn’t for the life of me understand the explanation,” she said, “because obviously she’s there because she hit two winning shots in two basketball games (in the women’s Final Four), so that’s the connection.”

It’s time to clear this up, Rice said.

“I would hope that what the NCAA is going to do is they’re going to take this moment, once they know what the legal framework is, and they are going to recognize that this has got to benefit athletes. Here I really stand with the athletes on this. It makes sense for the NCAA to have a legally justifiable framework that works, and currently the framework doesn’t work.”

Among the commission’s other recommendations is that the controversial one-and-done rule be eliminated and basketball players who are talented enough be allowed to go to the pros directly from high school. Rice said this won’t be implemented this year because teams have already recruited players under the current system for the upcoming 2018-19 season.

But she said she hopes it is instituted for the 2019-20 school year.

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2018/05/09/ncaa-mens-basketball-rules-incomprehensible-condoleezza-rice/596549002/

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Goalie Alex Lyon makes 94 saves in helping team win longest game in AHL history https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/goalie-alex-lyon-makes-94-saves-in-helping-team-win-longest-game-in-ahl-history.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/goalie-alex-lyon-makes-94-saves-in-helping-team-win-longest-game-in-ahl-history.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 07:33:12 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65275 Goalie Alex Lyon makes 94 saves in helping team win longest game in AHL history The Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Charlotte Checkers played the longest game in American Hockey League history on Wednesday night, so it was appropriate that there was a historic performance to go along with it. Phantoms goalie Alex Lyon obliterated the […]

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Goalie Alex Lyon makes 94 saves in helping team win longest game in AHL history

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Charlotte Checkers played the longest game in American Hockey League history on Wednesday night, so it was appropriate that there was a historic performance to go along with it.

Phantoms goalie Alex Lyon obliterated the team record with 94 saves in a 2-1 quintuple-overtime win in Game 4 of the Calder Cup playoff series between the AHL affiliates of the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes.

The five-overtime win saw 86:48 played in extra time, making it the longest game in AHL history. The Phantoms took a 3-1 lead in the second-round series as Alex Krushelnyski provided the game-winner.

Lyon had surpassed Scott Munroe’s previous Phantoms record when he recorded his 66th save of the game. The 2008 game in which Munroe set the team record also saw what is believed to be the AHL record for saves when Michael Leighton of the Albany River Rats stopped 98 shots. That contest was the longest game in AHL history until Wednesday night.

The 25-year-old Lyon saw a brief run in the NHL this season, the first time in his career he’s appeared at the top level. He appeared in 11 games for the Flyers, going 4-2-1 with a .905 save percentage.

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/hockey/ahl/2018/05/09/alex-lyon-94-saves-lehigh-valley-phantoms-charlotte-checkers/597293002/

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Celtics knock out 76ers, will meet Cavs in Eastern Conference finals for second straight year https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/celtics-knock-out-76ers-will-meet-cavs-in-eastern-conference-finals-for-second-straight-year.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/celtics-knock-out-76ers-will-meet-cavs-in-eastern-conference-finals-for-second-straight-year.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 07:23:16 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65272 Celtics knock out 76ers, will meet Cavs in Eastern Conference finals for second straight year Boston and Philadelphia may add chapters to their storied rivalry in the coming years, but it wasn’t going to happen this season. No team had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit and after dropping Game 4, the Celtics finished […]

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Celtics knock out 76ers, will meet Cavs in Eastern Conference finals for second straight year

Boston and Philadelphia may add chapters to their storied rivalry in the coming years, but it wasn’t going to happen this season.

No team had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit and after dropping Game 4, the Celtics finished the job on Wednesday night, defeating the 76ers 114-112 to reach their second consecutive Eastern Conference finals. They’ll also meet the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second consecutive season, though neither team looks much the same after swapping point guards Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas last summer.

Game 1 is Sunday in Boston.

In a testament to Brad Stevens’ coaching acumen, the Celtics are back in the East finals despite just one overlapping starter (Al Horford) from last postseason to this playoff run.

This semifinals series highlighted the maturity of rookie Jayson Tatum (25 points), the progress of second-year guard Jaylen Brown (24) and the emergence of point guard Terry Rozier (17). Along with Aron Baynes (13) and Horford (15), all five Celtics starters reached double figures. The Celtics shot 44% from the field and turned the ball over just 10 times compared to 16 from the Sixers.

Their next task? Keeping LeBron James from his eighth consecutive NBA Finals. And just how do the Celtics go about doing that?

“It’s my first year, so I don’t know,” Tatum told TNT in the walkoff interview. “I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. We’re going to enjoy this tonight. And then we’re gonna get into practice tomorrow, talk about it. We’re going to try and figure it out.”

Backup guard Marcus Smart proved invaluable once again, his defense and hustle making a major impact on both ends of the court. He came up with several clutch plays down the stretch, including a pivotal tip-in and assist as time was winding down in the fourth quarter.

“He’s made for this,” Stevens said. “He’s made for these moments.”

The Celtics reeled off an 8-0 run just before halftime to stake a nine-point lead after two quarters. The Sixers chipped away at the margin throughout the third quarter, eventually leading multiple times in the fourth quarter.

The Sixers got 27 points each from Joel Embiid and Dario Saric while Ben Simmons had 18, including two late buckets that had the Celtics on their heels. A Horford alley-oop swung momentum back in favor of the Celtics during the frenetic ending before J.J. Redick’s three-pointer got it to within one with just seconds left.

Smart, after missing the first free throw, unintentionally hit the second one, but Boston stole the ball on the inbounds to clinch it.

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2018/05/09/celtics-knock-out-76-ers-game-5-face-cavs-east-finals-again/597070002/

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Galaxy Note 9 Leak Exposes Samsung’s Nasty Surprise https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/galaxy-note-9-leak-exposes-samsungs-nasty-surprise.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/galaxy-note-9-leak-exposes-samsungs-nasty-surprise.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 07:09:03 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65268 Galaxy Note 9 Leak Exposes Samsung’s Nasty Surprise We know almost everything about the Galaxy Note 9, especially after a major leak exposed Samsung’s most significant upgrades last week. Unfortunately, however, we now have an update from the source of that leak which reveals the headline feature has been dropped… Speaking on Twitter, the ever-mysterious […]

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Galaxy Note 9 Leak Exposes Samsung’s Nasty Surprise

We know almost everything about the Galaxy Note 9, especially after a major leak exposed Samsung’s most significant upgrades last week. Unfortunately, however, we now have an update from the source of that leak which reveals the headline feature has been dropped…

Speaking on Twitter, the ever-mysterious Ice Universe stated it is now “almost certain” the Galaxy Note 9 will not have a fingerprint reader integrated into the display. Instead, it will just be a regular reader on the back of the phone like last year.

For those in denial, Ice Universe has a strong Samsung track record. He/she previously broke the Galaxy Note 8 design, attained the first real-world photos of the Galaxy S8 and nailed every single detail of the Galaxy S9.

Ice Universe didn’t specify what caused Samsung to ditch the in-display reader so late in development, but given performance issues scuppered its inclusion on the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9 it wouldn’t be a wild guess to assume the same thing has happened again.

Of course, the argument that will be thrown at Samsung is why can’t it get this technology right when Vivo, a much smaller manufacturer, already has a smartphone with it (the X20 Plus UD) on sale? In short, because Vivo is not producing the X20 Plus UD in massive quantities like the Galaxy Note 9 so it doesn’t have to stress test its production at scale.

Consequently, the recently leaked Galaxy S10 looks set to be the Samsung smartphone which finally debuts this technology – and that may be apt given it will be the range’s 10th-anniversary model.

On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 9’s well publicised early release date now looks a lot less like a proactive attack on Apple’s upcoming supersized iPhone X, and instead more like a move of self-preservation…

Source:- https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2018/05/09/samsung-galaxy-note-9-fingerprint-sensor-specs-camera-release-date-price/#280adb2c3d11

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You can soon stream your Steam PC games to Android, iPhone, Apple TV https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/can-soon-stream-steam-pc-games-android-iphone-apple-tv.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/can-soon-stream-steam-pc-games-android-iphone-apple-tv.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 07:00:53 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65265 You can soon stream your Steam PC games to Android, iPhone, Apple TV Valve Software is getting ready to launch a Steam Link app for Android, Apple iOS, and tvOS that allows PC gamers to stream their library of Steam games directly to compatible devices. But don’t too excited just yet: Steam streaming is still […]

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You can soon stream your Steam PC games to Android, iPhone, Apple TV

Valve Software is getting ready to launch a Steam Link app for Android, Apple iOS, and tvOS that allows PC gamers to stream their library of Steam games directly to compatible devices. But don’t too excited just yet: Steam streaming is still locked to your local network and won’t enable out-of-the-home game streaming like the PlayStation 4, despite supporting mobile devices.

Slated to launch on May 21, Valve’s Steam Link app will presumably be served up through Google Play for Android-based phones, tablets, TVs and set-top boxes, and through Apple’s App Store for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV (tvOS). The company did not mention a possible Steam Link app for MacOS.

Right now, Steam’s in-home streaming component works two ways, both of which require a PC that can simultaneously handle high-definition graphics and the stream output itself. Ideally, this PC is wired to the local network through one or two Ethernet connections although a good 5GHz wireless connection works, too. Meanwhile, the recipient device can be wired or wireless: A desktop or laptop logged into your Steam account (Windows, Linux, or MacOS), or Valve’s dedicated Steam Link set-top box.

For the Steam Link app, Valve specifically lists a wired or a 5GHz wireless connection. The company doesn’t say if the app will provide on-screen controls for touch-based input on smartphones and tablets, but what’s interesting here is that Valve is seemingly re-entering console territory without the Steam Machine. After all, you can stream the PlayStation 4 to a PlayStation Vita or compatible Sony-made mobile device.

As for input, Valve says the upcoming app will support the Steam Controller, MFi-based controllers, and “more across both platforms.” Never heard of MFi? That’s an Apple platform, meaning the controller is made specifically for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. For instance, Apple lists the SteelSeries Nimbus and the Horipad Ultimate as the ideal wireless controllers for Apple TV, both of which are $50.

Finally, the Android, iOS, and tvOS versions will launch on May 21, but the Android variant will initially be offered as a beta given the multitude of Android-based devices on the market.

After Valve’s Steam Link app hits the scene later in May, the company will then introduce the Steam Video app later this summer. Rather than stream your library of PC games locally to Android and iOS devices, this app will stream all movies and TV shows purchased on Valve’s platform. Even more, customers won’t be locked down to their local network: Steam Video will support video streaming over an LTE mobile connection. You can also download video to your device for offline viewing.

Steam began offering movie rentals at the end of April 2016. The library has since grown to offer options to purchase movies, single TV episodes and full seasons. But the platform currently doesn’t have a large enough arsenal to compete with Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, and other digital media platforms. The current top sellers on Steam include Bleach season 3, Jigsaw, Saw, My Little Pony, and The Walking Dead season 7.

Source:- https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/steam-link-app-streams-pc-games-to-mobile-devices/

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Amazon rolls out model ‘smart’ homes for U.S. shoppers to try out Alexa https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/amazon-rolls-out-model-smart-homes-for-u-s-shoppers-to-try-out-alexa.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/amazon-rolls-out-model-smart-homes-for-u-s-shoppers-to-try-out-alexa.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 06:50:52 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65262 Amazon rolls out model ‘smart’ homes for U.S. shoppers to try out Alexa Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday said it has set up model “smart” homes across the United States for shoppers to experience what it’s like for voice aide Alexa to dim the lights, turn on the TV or order more laundry detergent. The rollout […]

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Amazon rolls out model ‘smart’ homes for U.S. shoppers to try out Alexa

Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday said it has set up model “smart” homes across the United States for shoppers to experience what it’s like for voice aide Alexa to dim the lights, turn on the TV or order more laundry detergent.

The rollout underscores how Amazon aims to make Alexa and the company’s growing list of services, from shopping and entertainment to home security, an everyday part of consumers’ lives. It also steps up competition with retailers such as Best Buy Co Inc that focus on showcasing technology and advising shoppers.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, said it has partnered with Lennar Corp to convert some of the home construction company’s model homes into showrooms for Alexa. The so-called “Amazon Experience Centers” are now open near 15 cities including Los Angeles, Dallas and Washington, with more to come.

“Today, the choices open to customers are, you can go to a brick-and-mortar store and you can see devices on demo tables. You go online and do your research. But you fundamentally are left to imagine what an integrated home would look like,” said Nish Lathia, general manager of Amazon Services, in the company’s Vallejo, California experience center outside San Francisco.

The centers are “intended to educate and inspire. On the secondary benefit, yes, if it drives sales, we’re not complaining,” he said.

David Kaiserman, president of Lennar Ventures, said the centers should increase traffic to Lennar’s model homes and spark ideas for potential home buyers. Lennar will get a standard commission for Amazon sales to customers it helped acquire, too.

The global smart home market is expected to reach an estimated $107.4 billion by 2023, according to market research firm ReportLinker.

Best Buy is betting big on this trend. It has expanded its In-Home Advisor program to all major U.S. markets and employs more than 350 advisors under the initiative, its most recent annual report said.

Experts visit customers’ homes and consult on issues from increasing appliance efficiency to setting up connected gadgets – similar in nature to Amazon’s 1.5-year-old “Smart Home Services,” which is poised to gain from the new experience centers.

“We’re excited about Best Buy’s program,” said Amazon’s Lathia. “The more customers that get educated about smart home, the better it is for everybody.”

Philippe Ferrey, an Amazon Expert present at the Vallejo center, previously worked five years for Best Buy as a Geek Squad agent, he said.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-smart-home/amazon-rolls-out-model-smart-homes-for-u-s-shoppers-to-try-out-alexa-idUSKBN1IA1ZZ

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Uber opens up international contest for a third flying taxi city https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/uber-opens-up-international-contest-for-a-third-flying-taxi-city.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/uber-opens-up-international-contest-for-a-third-flying-taxi-city.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 06:42:26 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65259 Uber opens up international contest for a third flying taxi city Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] on Wednesday re-opened a contest to select the first international city to launch its proposed flying taxi project, following apparent delays in getting the service off the ground in Dubai, a previously proposed market. UberAIR, as the service will be […]

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Uber opens up international contest for a third flying taxi city

Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] on Wednesday re-opened a contest to select the first international city to launch its proposed flying taxi project, following apparent delays in getting the service off the ground in Dubai, a previously proposed market.

UberAIR, as the service will be known, aims to launch demonstrator flights starting in 2020 and begin paid, intra-city operations in 2023, the company said.

Last year, Uber named Dallas and Los Angeles as its first launch cities and is now looking for a third, international metropolis to take part, Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden announced at its annual Elevate Summit in Los Angeles.

The company said it will consider cities with a metropolitan population of greater than 2 million people, with dispersed population hubs, an airport at least an hour away from the city centre and which is willing to back pooled ridesharing services.

Uber previously named Dubai as its third launch city but said on Tuesday it had reopened its selection process to include other cities which fit more of its criteria for showcasing how flying taxis can help to relieve urban congestion.

“Dubai has previously expressed an interest in (Uber’s) vision but we are broadening the pool given interest from other cities which is why we have launched this criteria and process,” a spokeswoman said, adding that discussions with Dubai continue.

Uber aims to speed development of a new industry of electric, on-demand, urban air taxis, which customers might order up via smartphone much the way it has popularised ground-based taxi alternatives since it first launched in 2011.

It envisions a fleet of electric jet-powered vehicles – part helicopter, part drone and part fixed-wing aircraft – running multiple small rotors capable of both vertical take off and landing and rapid horizontal flight.

The San Francisco-based company is working with aviation regulators around the world to win up-front approvals, marking a break from past practices that put it at odds with authorities.

Cities interested in taking part can apply here (uber.com/air). Uber said it was not looking for tax breaks or local incentives, but was keen to work with cities which can work to bring the project to market as quickly as possible.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-elevate/uber-opens-up-international-contest-for-a-third-flying-taxi-city-idUSKBN1IA2TQ

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U.S. drone program taps Apple, passes over Amazon, China’s DJI https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/u-s-drone-program-taps-apple-passes-over-amazon-chinas-dji.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/u-s-drone-program-taps-apple-passes-over-amazon-chinas-dji.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 06:36:28 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65256 U.S. drone program taps Apple, passes over Amazon, China’s DJI Apple Inc soon will be capturing images of North Carolina by drone; a 1,500-pound, unmanned aircraft will look for mosquitoes in Florida; and startup Flirtey will fly medical equipment on drones to heart-attack victims in Nevada. The projects are among 10 announced by the U.S. […]

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U.S. drone program taps Apple, passes over Amazon, China’s DJI

Apple Inc soon will be capturing images of North Carolina by drone; a 1,500-pound, unmanned aircraft will look for mosquitoes in Florida; and startup Flirtey will fly medical equipment on drones to heart-attack victims in Nevada.

The projects are among 10 announced by the U.S. Transportation Department on Wednesday that will help it assess how to regulate drones and integrate them safely into U.S. air space. The United States has lagged other countries in experimentation with drones, something the program hopes to correct.

Missing from the projects are Amazon.com Inc, the world’s largest online retailer, and China’s DJI, the world’s largest maker of non-military drones. About a dozen applications that included DJI were rejected. An application that would have seen Amazon deliver goods by drone to shoppers in New York City was also declined, a person familiar with the matter said.

Among the winners were microchip maker Intel Corp, plane maker Airbus SE, ride services company Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], delivery company FedEx Corp and software maker Microsoft Corp.

The contest drew 149 bids from locales looking to host flights at night, flights over people and other drone operations that U.S. rules prohibit. The applicants listed companies they would partner with in the experiments, and the winners may have a head start at the billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs the young industry expects to create.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said dozens more projects could be approved in coming months, either with new waivers or under existing rules. Asked about Amazon’s absence, Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeff Rosen cited a rigorous process and said there were “no losers.”

The wide interest in the U.S. initiative, launched by President Donald Trump last year, underscores the desire of a broad range of companies to have a say in how the fledgling industry is regulated and ultimately win authority to operate drones for purposes ranging from package delivery to crop inspection.

FLYING BURGERS

One clear winner was Nevada-based Flirtey, a drone delivery startup. It said it was a partner on four of the winning applications and expects the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration programs to jump-start growth.

“This gives it the ability to move into any geography in the United States and move out of test mode into full operation,” said Mark Siegel, a partner at Menlo Ventures, an investor in Flirtey.

The startup will have to hire more people, ramp up its testing and add more features to its drones — all of which will require more money, and Flirtey will complete another financing round this year, Siegel said.

AirMap, an airspace management company for drones, said it was on six winning applications.

Winner Virginia Tech said that Alphabet’s Project Wing, AT&T Inc, Intel, Airbus and Dominion Energy Inc are among the partners for its pilot program that will explore emergency management, package delivery and infrastructure inspection.

Despite being sidelined for now, Amazon and China’s SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd both offered support for the program. DJI’s widely used products may play a role in some projects, even if the company does not formally take part.

Amazon, which has worked with the FAA on policy as it has tested drone technology around the world, said the fate of its applications was unfortunate, but it was focused on developing safe operations for drones.

Uber is working on air-taxi technology and will deliver food by drone in San Diego, California.

“We need flying burgers,” Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi joked at a conference.

FedEx will use drones to inspect aircraft at its hub in Tennessee, as well as for aircraft parts shipments and some package deliveries between the airport and other Memphis locations, Memphis Airport Authority Chief Executive Scott Brockman told Reuters. General Electric Co is also a partner, he said.

The FAA has said regulations are necessary to protect the public and the National Airspace System from bad actors or errant hobbyists. Several incidents around major airports have involved drones getting close to aircraft.

Earlier, the agency confirmed it had sent two planned rules to the White House to regulate the increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

One would allow drones to fly over people while another proposal submitted would allow for remote identification and tracking of unmanned aircraft in flight. After both are formally proposed, it could take months before they are finalized.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-drones-companies/u-s-drone-program-taps-apple-passes-over-amazon-chinas-dji-idUSKBN1IA2WC

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Pompeo to immediately pursue talks with allies on Iran: U.S. officials https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/pompeo-to-immediately-pursue-talks-with-allies-on-iran-u-s-officials.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/pompeo-to-immediately-pursue-talks-with-allies-on-iran-u-s-officials.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 06:29:15 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65253 Pompeo to immediately pursue talks with allies on Iran: U.S. officials Immediately on returning from North Korea on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will embark on talks with allies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia to try to persuade them to press Iran to curb its nuclear and missile programs, U.S. officials said. […]

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Pompeo to immediately pursue talks with allies on Iran: U.S. officials

Immediately on returning from North Korea on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will embark on talks with allies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia to try to persuade them to press Iran to curb its nuclear and missile programs, U.S. officials said.

The open question is whether the allies, and above all Iran, will agree to resume full-fledged talks having just seen the United States withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and renege on its promises under the landmark arms control accord.

The U.S. hope is that Iran will be dragged to the table by the resumption of U.S. sanctions – and possibly the imposition of more – which would penalize European and other companies and likely cripple Iran’s oil-driven economy.

A senior State Department official said discussions with Britain, France and Germany, as well as Japan, Iraq and Israel on next steps had already taken place since U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday pulled out of the nuclear pact.

“There will be an effort to go out globally and talk to our partners around the world who share our interests. That is the first stage,” a senior State Department official said of plans for talks by Pompeo and his chief Iran negotiator, Brian Hook.

“The composition of what happens when we sit down with the Iranians is several stages out,” the official said, adding that talks would focus on how to raise pressure on Iran “in a way that is constructive and conducive to bringing them to the negotiating table.”

Trump’s decision opens the door to greater U.S. confrontation with Tehran and strains relations with America’s closest allies, current and former diplomats said.

Washington has given grace periods of 90 days to six months for companies to wind down their trade with Iran. Some allies, like France, will push for exemptions from U.S. sanctions to protect their companies.

Even though companies can seek U.S. Treasury licenses to continue operating in Iran beyond the deadlines, the threat of U.S. sanctions will likely force them out, experts say.

NEW DEAL?

Companies will also have to assess whether they could face revived secondary sanctions, which would target sectors of the Iranian economy, including energy, petrochemicals, shipping, financial and banking, experts say.

“The goal is ultimately to reach a point where we sit down with the Iranians and negotiate a new deal, but I don’t think we’re at that point today, or will be tomorrow,” the State Department official said.

“The ultimate goal is to lay the groundwork for getting everyone back to the table and negotiating a new deal.”

Several U.S. officials have acknowledged there is no “Plan B” if Washington cannot win the support of allies – and Iran – to negotiate a new expanded agreement, which would end Iran’s nuclear program, restrain its ballistic missiles program, and curb its support for groups in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

“The goal is to prevent Iran from ever developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon and the detail beyond that is something we are going to have to flesh out,” the official added.

William Peek, deputy U.S. assistant secretary for the bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department, denied the pressure campaign aimed to force regime change in Iran.

“No, we are trying to change the regime’s behavior,” he told reporters on a conference call, adding that Washington would use diplomacy to convince allies to follow the U.S. sanctions lead.

Peek acknowledged there are some “diplomatically tactical disagreements” with Europeans, but said those differences could be overcome. “This is something where we cajole, we urge, we prod, which have proven effective,” he added.

While the parties were unable to agree on a supplemental pact to the 2015 nuclear deal, the senior official said a new round of talks would “pick up all of the work” done so far.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-diplomacy/pompeo-to-immediately-pursue-talks-with-allies-on-iran-u-s-officials-idUSKBN1IB0EP

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Indonesia police say hostage crisis at high-security jail over https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/indonesia-police-say-hostage-crisis-at-high-security-jail-over.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/indonesia-police-say-hostage-crisis-at-high-security-jail-over.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 06:21:14 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65250 Indonesia police say hostage crisis at high-security jail over A hostage crisis at a high-security jail in Indonesia ended on Thursday after Islamist militant prisoners who killed five police surrendered and released an officer they were holding, police said. The five members of an elite counter-terrorism force had been “sadistically” killed by prisoners during the […]

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Indonesia police say hostage crisis at high-security jail over

A hostage crisis at a high-security jail in Indonesia ended on Thursday after Islamist militant prisoners who killed five police surrendered and released an officer they were holding, police said.

The five members of an elite counter-terrorism force had been “sadistically” killed by prisoners during the standoff at the jail on the outskirts of the capital Jakarta, police said.

“We have minimized the number of victims. The operation ended at 7:15,” Police Commissioner General Syafruddin told reporters.

Four police were injured and one inmate killed in the incident which began at the jail late on Tuesday.

It was the highest death toll suffered by the counter-terrorism police force, known as Detachment, or ‘Densus’, 88, which was set up in 2003 and received training and funding from Australia and the United States.

Syafruddin said the crisis was resolved with a “very soft approach”, though earlier on Thursday a Reuters witness had heard several blasts at the jail.

Indonesia’s chief security minister Wiranto later told a news conference that all the prisoners had surrendered after a police “ambush” forced the last 10 convicts to give up.

He said 155 convicted militants were involved in what he called “an act of terror in the prison”.

“We can’t let our guard down in facing terrorism action and radicalism. This country needs stability,” Wiranto said.

The prisoners are suspected of having taken weapons from the police who were killed.

The deputy police chief Syafruddin said that during the trouble “five of the officers were killed sadistically”. A police spokesman said earlier most were found with deep wounds on their necks, as well as on other parts of their bodies, and one with a gunshot wound to the head

The counter-terrorism squad has been credited for breaking up militant cells in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

But a recent spate of attacks inspired by Islamic State prompted authorities to more than double its force to 1,300 late last year.

In a message carried on its Amaq news agency, Islamic State claimed responsibility and said 10 counter-terrorism officers had been killed.

Police had denied that Islamic State was involved and said a dispute had broken out over checks by prison authorities of prisoners’ food.

But police also said some of the prisoners had recently met Aman Abdurrahman, who is believed to be the ideological leader of IS sympathizers in Indonesia. He is on trial for terrorism and is being held at the same prison.

Last year, an attack by two suicide bombers, using pressure cookers packed with explosives, killed three police and wounded 12 people at a Jakarta bus terminal.

In January 2016, four Islamic State-linked militants mounted a gun-and-bomb attack at an intersection outside a Starbucks cafe in central Jakarta, killing themselves and four others.

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-security/indonesia-police-say-hostage-crisis-at-high-security-jail-over-idUSKBN1IB046

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Trump’s Iran move reminds some of run-up to Iraq war https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/trumps-iran-move-reminds-some-of-run-up-to-iraq-war.html https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/trumps-iran-move-reminds-some-of-run-up-to-iraq-war.html#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 06:16:47 +0000 https://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=65247 Trump’s Iran move reminds some of run-up to Iraq war Fifteen years after invading Iraq over weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda that both proved non-existent, the United States is again steering toward a possible confrontation with a Middle East power for suspected work on nuclear weapons and support for terrorism. U.S. […]

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Trump’s Iran move reminds some of run-up to Iraq war

Fifteen years after invading Iraq over weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda that both proved non-existent, the United States is again steering toward a possible confrontation with a Middle East power for suspected work on nuclear weapons and support for terrorism.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s Iran policy sounds hauntingly familiar to some current and former U.S. officials who witnessed the buildup to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, where sectarian and ethnic fractures and some 5,000 U.S. troops still remain.

More than 4,400 U.S. troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died in the conflict, which many analysts have called one of the major U.S. foreign policy debacles of modern times.

“There are disturbing and eerie similarities” in the misuse of intelligence then and now, said Paul Pillar, who was the top U.S. intelligence analyst for the Middle East from 2001 to 2005.

“The basic thing that is going on is a highly tendentious, cherry-picked, ‘we know what the conclusion is’” use of intelligence, Pillar said.

Trump on Tuesday withdrew the United States from a six-nation agreement with Tehran that limits Iran’s nuclear work in return for relief from economic sanctions.

The president charged that the deal, negotiated under his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 or its role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

Trump made no mention of assessments by the U.S. intelligence community and the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, which has nuclear inspectors in Iran, that Tehran is complying with the 2015 deal.

Instead, he cited a cache of Iranian documents made public by Israel on April 30 that he said showed Iran’s leaders lied when they denied ever pursuing a nuclear weapons project.

While the documents’ authenticity has not been challenged by Western governments and intelligence experts, critics said they added little to previous assessments that concluded that Iran mothballed its effort to develop nuclear weapons in 2003. Iran called Israel’s allegations “childish and ridiculous.”

Beginning shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, President George W. Bush and top aides made the case for invading Iraq by citing intelligence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda and was secretly developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Both claims were proved false. Bush and his aides had exaggerated the available intelligence, relied on dubious claims from Iraqi exiles and ignored contradictory information. On some points, the CIA and its sister intelligence agencies were just wrong.

WHY IRAN IS NOT IRAQ

U.S. officials, as well as analysts in Washington and the Middle East, cautioned that there were key differences between Bush’s Iraq policy and Trump’s approach to Iran.

While Trump’s move on Tuesday ratcheted up regional tensions and widened a rift with U.S. allies in Europe, no one is predicting an American invasion of Iran.

“The question is are we facing the same scenario that happened in Iraq with regards to the WMD, and will the region be dragged to war?” said Faysal Abdul Sater, a Lebanese analyst close to the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah.

“In my view, the situation is different, even if the degree of hostility has increased” between Gulf countries and Israel on one hand and Iran on the other, Sater said. “As for a direct attack on Iran, it is unlikely because it would lead by necessity to a comprehensive war that none of the parties could bear.”

Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, said the war in Iraq resulted partly from a perception that economic sanctions on Saddam, imposed after his 1990 invasion of Kuwait, were rapidly losing effectiveness.

“I think the opposite is true now,” Dubowitz said, noting that Trump appeared to favor tougher economic pressure on Iran, not military action.

Despite the different tools, two U.S. officials familiar with Iran policy said they believed Trump’s ultimate goal in Iran was similar to the Bush administration’s in Iraq: replacing an anti-American government with a friendly one.

But if the Bush administration’s belief that grateful Iraqis would greet invading U.S. troops with flowers was fanciful, it

is “at least equally naive” to believe that “democracy will take root in Iran” if the Islamic Republic collapses, one of the officials said.

Neither Trump nor his hawkish new national security adviser, John Bolton, has publicly called in recent days for the overthrow of Iran’s theocracy.

Two current and one former U.S. official said America’s intelligence agencies were not being pressured to provide evidence to support the White House’s policy but instead were being ignored.

Retired General Michael Hayden, a former director of both the CIA and the National Security Agency, called it “remarkable” that Trump made no mention of U.S. intelligence assessments in his speech announcing withdrawal from the Iran deal.

Trump’s director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, told Congress in February that the Iran deal had extended the amount of time Iran would need to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon and enhanced the transparency of Iran’s nuclear activities.

“It’s not that they’re being leaned on to provide justifications,” Hayden said of U.S. intelligence analysts. Trump “neither needs nor wants justification.”

Source:- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-intelligence/trumps-iran-move-reminds-some-of-run-up-to-iraq-war-idUSKBN1IB0HD

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