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'Work with us': United States looks to other countries for help with Iran

'Work with us': United States looks to other countries for help with IranThe United States is seeking partners to patrol and escort ships in the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf as tensions with Iran escalate.




POSTED JULY 20, 2019 1:14 PM

Mueller probe witness now faces child sex trafficking charge

Mueller probe witness now faces child sex trafficking chargeA businessman who served as a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation now faces a charge of child sex trafficking in addition to transporting child pornography. An indictment made public Friday in federal court in Alexandria charges Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, 60, with transporting a 14-year-old boy from Europe to Washington, D.C., in February 2000 and engaging in sex acts with him. It details his efforts to serve as liaison between a Russian banker close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and members of President Donald Trump's transition team.




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 3:29 PM

UPDATE 1-Suspected Japan arsonist a reclusive, quarrelsome gamer, neighbour says

UPDATE 1-Suspected Japan arsonist a reclusive, quarrelsome gamer, neighbour saysThe man suspected of killing 34 people in an arson attack in Japan lived alone, hundreds of kilometres from the torched Kyoto Animation studio, where he played video games non-stop and had "terrified" his neighbour just days earlier. Police late on Saturday issued an arrest warrant for 41-year-old Shinji Aoba, suspected of causing Japan's worst mass killing in two decades on Thursday when he went to the studio in western Japan, poured fuel around the entrance and shouted "Die" as he set the building ablaze, according to public broadcaster NHK. Aoba lived alone on the ground floor of a two-floor apartment building on the outskirts of Omiya, a commuter suburb of Tokyo and some 500 km (310 miles) east of Kyoto.




POSTED JULY 20, 2019 10:34 PM

Alleged American ISIS Sniper Brought Home by the Defense Department to Face Charges

Alleged American ISIS Sniper Brought Home by the Defense Department to Face ChargesAn American citizen who allegedly served as a sniper for ISIS and became a leader for the terrorist group is expected to appear in federal court on Friday after being returned to the United States by the Defense Department, officials said.Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, who was born in Kazakhstan and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, is charged with providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, the Justice Department announced on Friday.A U.S. official confirmed to Task & Purpose that the Defense Department had transported Asainov from Syria to the United States. Asainov had been in the custody of Syrian Democratic Forces.No further information about the military's role in transporting Asainov, to the United States was immediately available.Asainov is accused of leaving Brooklyn in December 2013 to fight for ISIS in Syria, a Justice Department news release says. After becoming an ISIS sniper, he was promoted to become an "emir" in charge of training fighters how to use weapons and also tried to recruit someone else to leave the United States and become an ISIS fighter.Prosecutors claim Asainov tried to buy a scope for his rile by paying roughly $2,800 to a confidential informant, the news release says."Asainov subsequently sent the confidential informant two photographs depicting the defendant holding an assault rifle fitted with a scope," the news release says. "He messaged one associate exclaiming, in reference to ISIS, 'We are the worst terrorist organization in the world that has ever existed' and stating that he wished to die on the battlefield."




POSTED JULY 20, 2019 4:49 AM

Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's 'Rambo' ex-PM and Serbian antagonist

Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's 'Rambo' ex-PM and Serbian antagonistRamush Haradinaj, who resigned as Kosovo's prime minister on Friday, is hailed as a hero at home -- where he is nicknamed "Rambo" -- but considered a war criminal by Belgrade, which has long sought to see him behind bars. The controversial 51-year-old, who was a wartime commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), stepped down after being summoned as a suspect by a war crimes court in the Hague. It is the second time he has resigned after being called before a war crimes court over crimes allegedly committed by the ethnic Albanian KLA separatists during the 1998-99 war.




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 12:50 PM

Ex-NRA Ad Firm: Um, Wayne LaPierre is Lying

Ex-NRA Ad Firm: Um, Wayne LaPierre is LyingLucas Jackson/ReutersIn a new filing against the National Rifle Association, lawyers for ad agency Ackerman McQueen suggest that longtime NRA executive Wayne LaPierre is lying about a critical moment in the gun rights group’s recent leadership shake up. At issue is multi-million-dollar litigation between the NRA and its ex-ad firm. In court filings of its own, the NRA has alleged that Oliver North, the groups's former president, was ousted in part because he withheld information from the NRA about payments he took from Ackerman McQueen, which had served as the gun rights group’s primary ad contractor until just months ago. The NRA claims North kept the nature of his deal with Ackerman McQueen a secret from LaPierre and the gun group’s leadership. But in a July 16 filing that was reviewed by The Daily Beast, Ackerman McQueen alleges that LaPierre himself helped negotiate the deal between their firm and North. And they hint that they have documentation to prove it. In a statement, the NRA denied the suggestions. “The facts are clear – Mr. LaPierre and the NRA had no idea that Col. North was negotiating to become an employee of Ackerman McQueen,” said Andrew Arulanandam, managing director of NRA Public Affairs. “And to the extent Col. North was pushing a contrived narrative about Mr. LaPierre and the NRA, he was conflicted. He was an employee of Ackerman at the time he was allegedly scheming with the agency to unseat Mr. LaPierre.”  It’s a messy new chapter in the months-long legal battle between the NRA and the ad firm it used for more than three decades. And it comes as the gun group has jettisoned senior staff and faced revolts from grassroots activists and donors. “LaPierre negotiated the terms of the North Contract directly with Lt. Col. North and a detailed term sheet was sent to AMc [Ackerman McQueen] for completion of the formal agreement,” the filing reads. The NRA’s then-treasurer, Wilson “Woody” Phillips, also reviewed and approved North’s contract with the firm, according to the filing, and the NRA board’s audit committee green-lit the contract as well. “On at least two occasions, counsel for the NRA has reviewed the North Contract,” the filing adds. NRA Pulls the Plug on NRATVAckerman McQueen’s insistence that NRA officials were aware of the contract with North is directly at odds with the contention the NRA made in a suit it filed against the ad agency in April. North was ousted from the NRA that month during the group’s annual meeting and has since accused LaPierre of gross mismanagement and making highly questionable expenditures. The NRA, meanwhile, has alleged that North tried to oust LaPierre in a coup. And in a separate suit in May, it accused Ackerman McQueen of breach of contract by leaking information about both LaPierre and the NRA’s finances. Ackerman McQueen had been a central force behind the NRA’s evolution from a gun rights group to a conservative cultural institution. As part of that mission, the ad firm helped launch and manage NRATV, the NRA’s recently shuttered internet-video arm. The NRA has alleged in court that Ackerman McQueen had refused to share its analytics with the gun group. But In its July 16 filing, Ackerman McQueen claims that the opposite is true. “Two days before the lawsuit was filed, LaPierre was in AMc’s office and was in attendance for the presentation of the NRATV analytics,” it reads. “LaPierre walked out of the meeting.” A spokesperson for the NRA’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The filing indicates that the fight between the NRA and Ackerman shows no signs of losing steam. Earlier this week, longtime NRA director of public affairs Jennifer Baker left the group. And a month ago, the group parted ways with its longtime top lobbyist, Chris Cox. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 1:46 PM

A Passenger Was Fined $105,000 and Banned for Life for 'Extremely Disruptive Behavior' on an Airplane

A Passenger Was Fined $105,000 and Banned for Life for 'Extremely Disruptive Behavior' on an AirplaneShe was also banned for life by British budget carrier Jet2




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 4:09 PM

El Chapo: Drug lord immediately taken to 'Alcatraz' supermax jail by authorities determined to prevent him breaking out again

El Chapo: Drug lord immediately taken to 'Alcatraz' supermax jail by authorities determined to prevent him breaking out againJoaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious Mexican drug lord found guilty of running a murderous criminal enterprise, has been taken to a top security jail after being sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison.A helicopter whisked the drug kingpin, who has twice escaped from Mexican prisons, to a supermax jail in Colorado just hours after his sentencing.El Chapo joins the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Terry Nichols from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing who are also housed in the USP Florence Admax.Typically, there is a gap between sentencing and allocation of prison place for guilty defendants. However, in light of Guzman’s history of jailbreaks, he was immediately taken to the high-security facility known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies”.The 62-year-old drug lord had been protected in Mexico by an army of gangsters who were part of the notorious Sinaloa cartel he founded in 1989.Under Guzman, the Sinaloa cartel smuggled hundreds of thousands of tons of cocaine, heroin and marijuana to the US.It picked up where Colombia’s Pablo Escobar left off in dominating international narcotics trafficking, carrying out acts of intimidation, bribery, torture or execution as a matter of course.Guzman was first arrested in Guatemala in 1993, extradited to Mexico and sentenced to 20 years in prison.While inside, he bribed guards to ensure favourable conditions and was able to dispatch orders to his brother who was running the Sinaloa cartel in his absence.The crime boss even held lavish Christmas parties with his entire family in his cell and enjoyed conjugal visits with his mistress.In January 2001, Guzman escaped from the maximum-security Puente Grande prison in Jalisco, reportedly in a laundry basket.But according to Anabel Hernandez, one of Mexico’s leading writers on the mafia, he escaped in a police uniform with a police escort.Guzman evaded capture for 13 years despite a manhunt instigated by US and Mexican authorities bringing together the FBI, CIA, DEA and the Mexican army.The drug kingpin’s second prison escape came after he was arrested at the Pacific beach resort of Mazatlan in Mexico in February 2014.Enrique Pena Nieto, the president of Mexico at the time, refused to transfer him to US custody, saying: “It would be unforgivable for the government not to take the precautions to ensure that what happened last time would not be repeated.”But in July 2015, he escaped again through a tunnel running 30ft beneath the Toluca prison showers to a house under construction a mile away.It was widely reported at the time that Guzman used a specially-adapted motorcycle mounted on a rail to ride through the tunnel, which was also equipped with lighting and ventilation.But during El Chapo’s trial, it emerged that the motorcycle was driven by his wife’s brother and the vehicle was towed by a pulley system.The drug lord was finally rearrested in January 2016 after a shoot-out in the Mexican city of Los Mochis.He was then extradited to the US last January where he pleaded “not guilty” to a 17-count indictment.El Chapo was subject to extreme security measures in an effort to prevent a repeat of his notorious jailbreaks in Mexico.He was put in solitary confinement in a high-security wing of the Manhattan jail that has housed terrorists and mobsters. Guzman has lodged frequent complaints about the conditions of his detention in the US, describing it as “torture”.“I drink unsanitary water, no air or sunlight, and the air pumped in makes my ears and throat hurt,” he said at his sentencing. “This has been psychological, emotional and mental torture 24 hours a day.” Additional reporting by AP




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 7:45 AM

Vatican college space holds bones of dozens, expert says

Vatican college space holds bones of dozens, expert saysThe expert, Giorgio Portera, said the "enormous" size of the collection under the Teutonic College was revealed when Vatican-appointed experts began cataloguing the remains, which were discovered last week . "We didn't expect such an enormous number" of bones and other remains which "had been thrown into a cavity," Portera said. "We want to know why and how" the bones ended up there.




POSTED JULY 20, 2019 2:38 PM

'Horrific for all': Pentagon intelligence chief says Iran does not want war

'Horrific for all': Pentagon intelligence chief says Iran does not want warA U.S. Marines helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the USS Boxer during its transit through Strait of Hormuz. ASPEN, Colo. — As tensions in the Persian Gulf continued to ramp up on Friday afternoon amid news that Iran had seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, concluded that Iran does not want to start a war with the U.S. or its allies. Answering a question posed by CNN national security correspondent Jim Sciutto in Aspen, Colo., about the latest incident, Ashley declined to give a specific response to the news, but later said that none of the United States’ major adversaries or competitors, including Iran, China and Russia, wants to start a war.




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 7:19 PM

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