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  • Tropical Storm Isaias lashes US East Coast, killing at least four
    on 04/08/2020 at 11:51 pm

    The storm caused flooding and tornadoes and has resulted in at least four deaths on the East Coast.

  • Two huge Beirut explosions kill 73, injure thousands
    on 04/08/2020 at 11:44 pm

    Two enormous explosions devastated Beirut's port on Tuesday, leaving at least 73 people dead and thousands injured, shaking distant buildings and spreading panic and chaos across the Lebanese capital. Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that 2,750 tonnes of the agricultural fertiliser ammonium nitrate that had been stored for years in a portside warehouse had blown up, sparking "a disaster in every sense of the word". Bloodied and dazed wounded people stumbled among the debris, glass shards and burning buildings in central Beirut as the health ministry reported 73 dead and 3,700 injured across wide parts of the country's biggest city.

  • Lebanon PM Blames Beirut Explosions on Shipment of Ammonium Nitrate Sitting in Port Since 2013
    on 04/08/2020 at 10:59 pm

    Massive explosions that rocked the city of Beirut on Tuesday were fueled by a 2,750-ton shipment of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in port since 2013, Lebanon's prime minister announced."I will not rest until we find the person responsible for what happened, to hold him accountable and impose the most severe penalties," Prime Minister Hassan Diab told reporters on Tuesday evening. It was not immediately clear why the ammonium nitrate was stored at that location, or how it ended up there.The explosion destroyed Beirut's port and the surrounding area. At least 78 people were killed and thousands more injured in the incident, with city hospitals unable to find room for all patients. Residents of the island nation of Cyprus reported hearing the explosion, and the Beirut newsroom of CNN as well as Lebanon's Daily Star were destroyed."It's like Hiroshima," Beirut mayor Jamal Itani said at a press conference. "There is lots of destruction and the wounded are lying in the streets."The disaster hit as Lebanon continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic as well as hyperinflation and looming economic collapse.While tensions between Lebanon and Israel have increased following an attempt by militants to infiltrate Israel's Golan Heights on Monday, officials from Israel and terror group Hezbollah have denied involvement in the incident.

  • Pompeo vows to protect Hong Kong activists sought abroad
    on 04/08/2020 at 9:39 pm

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday vowed to protect Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigners who have fled the city and denounced China after Beijing said that police had ordered the arrests of overseas activists. "The Chinese Communist Party cannot tolerate the free thinking of its own people, and increasingly is trying to extend its reach outside China's borders," Pompeo said in a statement. "The United States and other free nations will continue to protect our peoples from the long arm of Beijing's authoritarianism."

  • Experts no longer expect seasonal coronavirus waves: The pandemic is like 'a forest fire looking for human wood to burn'
    on 04/08/2020 at 9:01 pm

    In April, US experts suggested there might be a second peak of coronavirus infections in the fall. But new data suggests it's not seasonal.

  • Direct-to-Consumer Furniture Brand Burrow Expands Its Offerings
    on 04/08/2020 at 9:00 pm
  • 'Hot objects' from vehicle tailpipe caused 26,850-acre Apple Fire in California, authorities say
    on 04/08/2020 at 8:56 pm

    Only 7% of the perimeter was contained in the massive California blaze. Witnesses who saw the vehicle blamed for the fire are being sought.

  • Army Special Forces Colonel Faces Court-Martial on Sexual Assault Charges
    on 04/08/2020 at 8:31 pm

    Col. Kevin M. Russell is facing five counts of violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

  • Trump security adviser warns against foreign military involvement in Libya
    on 04/08/2020 at 8:27 pm

    The United States on Tuesday condemned all foreign military involvement in Libya, including the use of mercenaries and private military contractors, and said Libyans themselves must rebuild a unified country. U.S. President Donald Trump had spoken with several world leaders about Libya in past weeks, and it was clear there was "no winning side," U.S. national security adviser Robert O'Brien said in a statement on Tuesday.

  • An Arkansas Black Lives Matter group was confronted by an armed militia. One protester carried a flamethrower as a 'deterrent.'
    on 04/08/2020 at 8:22 pm

    An organizer told Insider that he received more than 100 death threats from people who oppose the Black Lives Matter movement.

  • Former Census Bureau directors warn of 'seriously incomplete' count after Trump administration cuts it short
    on 04/08/2020 at 7:19 pm

    Four former Census Bureau directors say it's a big mistake to cut counting efforts short. The Census Bureau said last week it would stop its in-person count on Sept. 30, a month earlier than its scheduled end date of Oct. 31. The move left census workers concerned a "massive undercount" is imminent. The former directors, who worked under nine past presidents, reflected that fear in a Tuesday statement, and called for the count's data delivery date to be extended to April 30, 2021, to avoid "seriously incomplete enumerations in many areas across our country."In-person census interviews are used to count people who didn't respond to a paper or online census, and are essential for counting underrepresented and hard-to-reach populations. The four former directors acknowledged the in-person count was supposed to happen from May 15 through July 31, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. This rescheduling led the Census Bureau to determine it needed four more months beyond the end of 2020 to tabulate congressional redistricting and apportionment stemming from the count, and the former directors agreed."Our expert opinion is that failing to extend the deadlines to April 30, 2021, will result in seriously incomplete enumerations in many areas across our country," the former leaders said, calling on Congress to make those necessary legal extension. In addition, they asked Congress "to require the Census Bureau to continue data collection operations through Oct. 30, 2020."More stories from Why Obama still drives Republicans nuts Trump's aides are reportedly promising him re-election if he 'nukes' his China trade deal Disney to release Mulan at home in September for $30

  • Trump news: Atlanta mayor 'disgusted' by president's comments about John Lewis, as White House rules out new lockdown
    on 04/08/2020 at 7:00 pm

    Donald Trump said US Covid-19 deaths were lower “than the world” in an interview with Axios on HBO overnight, as America’s death toll surpassed 155,000 and continued to be the world’s highest total.The president also declined to compare deaths by population with other countries, telling Axios’s Jonathan Swan that ”you can’t do that”, while downplaying the recent deaths of 1,000 Americans a day during the public health crisis and defending his administration's response to the pandemic.

  • Miner who discovered the largest tanzanite gems ever has now found a third - and it's worth millions
    on 04/08/2020 at 6:59 pm

    A Tanzanian miner, who became a millionaire off of his first findings in June 2020, discovered a third rare Tanzanite gem.

  • ‘I’m Not Supposed to Be Talking to You’: Doomsday Mom Called Hubby From Jail as FBI Searched His Home
    on 04/08/2020 at 6:41 pm

    The day her two children’s remains were found gruesomely buried in her new husband’s Idaho backyard, Lori Vallow called her spouse from jail. “Are they seizing stuff again?” Vallow asked several times during the June 9, 2020 call from Madison County Jail, after Chad Daybell told her police were at his property. “What can I do for you?”Daybell, an author of apocalyptic novels for a Mormon audience, somberly told his incarcerated wife—who was being held on charges related to the disappearance of her kids J.J Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17—that although police were at his home, he was “glad” that she called. Doomsday Mom Told Me to Lie to Cops Because Grandma Wanted to ‘Kidnap’ Son: Pal“I’m not really supposed to be talking to you,” Daybell mumbled at one point, later stating that authorities were “searching for the kids.” “We’ll see what transpires.”“I’m feeling pretty calm,” he later added in the recorded call played in Fremont County Courthouse on Tuesday during a preliminary hearing in the case against Daybell.The two, who appeared unconcerned that officers were searching the home as part of a nearly nine-month investigation into Vallow’s children, said “I love you” at least half a dozen times before hanging up. Less than an hour later, Daybell was arrested after investigators found the two children’s remains—one “tightly” wrapped in plastic and the other badly burned—in his backyard. Court Docs Reveal How Police Found Bodies of Doomsday Mom’s KidsDaybell, 52, is accused of hiding evidence when authorities began to investigate the disappearance of the kids. Daybell and Vallow, who are members of a community of doomsday preppers and were married two weeks after Daybell was widowed, have not been charged in the deaths of the two children. Both, however, are facing charges related to hindering the investigation.Authorities say Vallow’s two children disappeared in September, but they weren’t registered as missing until November. Two weeks before the children disappeared, Daybell texted his ex-wife, Tammy Daybell that stood out as longer and oddly detailed compared to their other messages regarding bills and errands, FBI intelligence Benjamin Dean testified Tuesday.“Well, I’ve had an interesting morning! I felt I should burn all of the limb debris by the fire pit before it got too soaked by the coming storms,” it said. “While I did so, I spotted a big raccoon along the fence. I hurried and got my gun, and he was still walking along. I got close enough that one shot did the trick. He is now in our pet cemetery. Fun times!”A month later, Tammy Daybell had died of unknown causes. Chad Daybell ultimately declined an autopsy—a move that raised eyebrows—and married Vallow weeks later.Wedding Ring Purchase Is Latest Twist in Doomsday Couple’s SagaDavid Warwick, a friend of Daybell and Vallow, testified Tuesday that the day after J.J. was last seen on September 22, Vallow told him that the autistic 7-year-old he had been “acting like a zombie.”“She said J.J. was being a zombie [and] that he climbed up on to the cabinets,” Warwick testified Tuesday, adding that Vallow said “he was out of control” so she had her brother, Alex Cox, “come get him.”In January, after Vallow repeatedly lied about the kids’ whereabouts and then fled to Hawaii with her new husband, she was served an order instructing her to return the two minors. Idaho Doomsday Couple Found in Hawaii—Without Missing KidsVallow was eventually arrested in Hawaii after failing to produce her children. Authorities tracked the cellphone movements of her brother, Alex Cox, which showed he was on Daybell’s property on September 23, the same day Vallow told friends he had allegedly taken the 7-year-old. The cellphone data led authorities to locate the children’s remains on June 9, Rexburg Police Department Detective Ray Hermosillo testified on Monday.Cox died in his bathroom in December. The prior July, he shot Vallow’s ex-husband, Charles Vallow, dead in what he said was self-defense during a domestic dispute. While Cox and his sister were questioned by police, neither was charged. Wedding Ring Purchase Is Latest Twist in Doomsday Couple’s SagaOn Monday, Hermosillo described in graphic detail how authorities found a small child’s body in a “shallow grave” near a tree that had “three large white flat rocks” placed “in a row” with “thin wood paneling” underneath during the June 9, 2020, search of Daybell’s property.“As soon as we lifted the wood paneling out of the hole in Chad Daybell’s backyard, I could immediately smell the odor of a decomposing body,” Hermosillo said, noting that the 7-year-old was “tightly” wrapped in a black plastic bag. Idaho Attorney General Takes Over Doomsday Couple InvestigationSeveral feet away, authorities discovered “a mass of burnt flesh and charred bone” they later determined to be the remains of Tylee, in a “pet cemetery” on Daybell’s property.FBI Special Agent Steven Daniel, who was also at Daybell’s property on June 9, said that the “pet cemetery” was marked with a small dog statute and was near a fire pit. Soon after excavating the area, Daniel said that he instantly smelt decomposing flesh and investigators began to use hand tools in what he called “a mess of burned human remains.”“Eventually we're able to excavate a few pieces; the major piece ends up being a pelvic piece,” Daniel said. “At the bottom of the mass we found a melted green bucket and in the bucket a skull and mandible with teeth.”During his closing statement in Tuesday’s hearing, Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood urged Judge Faren Eddins to send Daybell’s case to a district court for trial, stating that the testimony of over a dozen witnesses show the graphic state that Tylee and J.J. were found and the mysteriousness around their disappearance. “Those bodies were concealed. One of them was destroyed. They were located on Chad Daybell’s property. Alex Cox, whose phone pinged near those locations, became his brother-in-law less than two months later,” Wood said. However, defense attorney John Prior argued that being married to Vallow was “not an overt act” and the state didn’t “come close” to having enough evidence to prove Daybell committed any wrongdoing.After less than 15 minutes of deliberation, Eddins sided with the state and ruled there was “sufficient cause” that Daybell committed the four counts against him. As Eddins gave his ruling, J.J.’s grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, high fived and embraced one another behind Daybell, who remained emotionlessRead 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.

  • Massive explosion devastates Beirut seaport
    on 04/08/2020 at 6:15 pm

    Lebanon's capital has been hit by a massive explosion and shockwave that has left the city in chaos. The huge blast in Beirut's seaport has devastated the area. People have been killed and exact casualties are still being determined, but the country's health minister tells Reuters that there is a "very high number of injured." Footage of the blast shared by residents on social media showed a column of smoke rising from the port district followed by an enormous blast. Those filming what initially appeared to be a big blaze were thrown backwards by the shock. Witnesses and security sources say the explosion flipped cars and caused apartment balconies to collapse. Lebanon's state news agency NNA and two security sources say the blast occurred where there were warehouses housing explosives. It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze that set off the blast or what kind of explosives were in the warehouses. But a the port's governor told Britain's Sky News that a team of firefighters responding to the blaze has, quote, "disappeared." Israel's foreign minister says that his country has nothing to do with the explosion.

  • Mexico purges security agencies of those tied to ex-chief
    on 04/08/2020 at 4:30 pm

    Top directors in Mexico’s National Guard and elsewhere in the state security apparatus have been purged due to their ties with a former security secretary now held on drug trafficking charges in the United States. Current Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo said Tuesday that two general directors from the National Guard, as well as officials from the penitentiary system and the National Intelligence Center had been relieved of their duties.

  • Trump Adm Bails Out Charter Jet Firm That Helps Deport Migrants
    on 04/08/2020 at 4:01 pm

    The Trump administration’s efforts to deport undocumented immigrants en masse just got more expensive. And the agency charged with loading people onto planes and flying them back to their home countries is blaming the coronavirus pandemic for the price hike.In April, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, increased its payments under a contract awarded in 2017 to Classic Air Charter, a company that subcontracts chartered deportation flights out of the country, primarily to Mexico and Central and South America, but also, more recently to other regions.ICE attributed the price hike to the novel coronavirus. The increase swells the already high cost that the federal government pays to fly undocumented immigrants out of the country. The two awards to Classic Air under its ICE contract since the pandemic began, each for $50.7 million, were the largest it’s received under the contract since it was inked three years ago. The next largest, for $46.6 million, came in May 2019, but prior to the coronavirus pandemic, ICE awards under the contract averaged just $12.7 million.Trump Deportations Helped Spread COVID 'Disaster' to Central AmericaICE would not provide a comment on the record for this story. Classic Air did not respond to inquiries. But in federal procurement notices beginning in April, ICE said the new contract’s “guaranteed minimum values have been temporarily adjusted to maintain vendor operability during COVID19 pandemic."Classic Air has brokered deportation flights for ICE for years, primarily by way of two subcontractors that have charged extremely high rates for the service, due largely to the lack of air carriers willing to work with the controversial immigration enforcement agency.According to internal Classic Air records reported by Quartz last year, ICE was paying Classic Air and its subcontractors as much as $33,000 per flight-hour to deport migrants from Arizona to Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam. It’s unclear if those same rates apply to other countries. “Many carriers are discouraged by the potential of public backlash or negative media attention,” Classic Air wrote. “As a result, our carrier selection pool has been reduced to a single operator,” the Oklahoma-based Omni Air International.Under an indefinite delivery vehicle, which is the type of contract that ICE awarded to Classic Air in 2017, the government agency sets a price range for the goods or services it’s purchasing, explained Jim Nagle, of counsel at the law firm Oles Morrison and an expert in federal procurement law. “The government decides that it will need a particular product or service but doesn’t know exactly how many,” he wrote in an email. “So it gives a minimum which is the only amount that is guaranteed to the contractor and a maximum which should be large enough to cover the amount the government might very well have to order.”The federal procurement records noting the increase in minimum awards to Classic Air did not provide details on why or how its fee structure has changed. But additional public records indicate that the company has sought federal assistance to maintain its operations as a result of the coronavirus and the resulting economic downturn.According to data released by the Treasury Department last month, Classic Air received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program worth between $150,000 and $350,000. The loan helped the company retain 18 jobs, according to Treasury records. Omni Air also got a PPP loan worth between $350,000 and $1 million.Nagle said the hike in ICE payments to the company could provide additional financial benefits for Classic Air. “The only amount that the contractor can reliably count on and show its bankers or creditors is the guaranteed minimum,” he wrote. “So sometimes the government, to assist its contractor, will raise the guaranteed minimums  to a higher number to reflect the government's increased demand for a particular item or service but also to enable the contractor, especially a needed contractor, to be able to get necessary financing from his bankers.”Classic Air has received $322 million from ICE through its deportation contract since 2017, according to federal procurement records. Nearly a third of that, more than than $100 million, has come since March.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.

  • Bodies Strewn on the Ground After Apocalyptic Blast in Beirut
    on 04/08/2020 at 3:46 pm

    A huge explosion rocked Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday destroying entire blocks of high-rise buildings and leaving at least 73 people confirmed dead, more than 3,700 wounded, and scores more feared buried under rubble and ash. The country’s interior minister said early indications were that highly explosive materials, seized and stored at Beirut’s port, had detonated. Footage of the blast showed a large plume of dark red flames and smoke before a massive explosion threw up a mushroom cloud. Powerful shock waves shattered glass, collapsed ceilings and pulled down balconies—even residents on the island nation of Cyprus, 110 miles away, heard the blast.A witness on the ground who works for the United Nations, but does not speak on their behalf, was near the port when the explosion happened. She told The Daily Beast that bodies were scattered from the blast. “There was dark smoke from a fire and then a massive blast and everyone fell to the ground,” she said. “A lot of people didn’t get up.”Entire buildings collapsed, streets glistened under blankets of shattered glass, and injured residents wandered the city covered in blood. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble. Residents rushed the injured to hospital any way they could, carrying them on their shoulders, on the trunks of cars and on ash-covered pieces of debris.“What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe,” George Kettani, head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, told local TV network Mayadeen. “There are victims and casualties everywhere.”Abbas Ibrahim, director of General Security, told Lebanese media at a press conference that Israel was not to blame for the explosion. He pointed the finger at a depot at the port where highly explosive materials were stored after being confiscated.Local media reports also indicated that the blast may have ripped through a fireworks warehouse. It was not yet clear what ignited a fire that could be seen shortly before the main explosion.CNN’s Ben Wedeman, who is based in Beirut, was in the bureau about a kilometer away before the blast. He reported on CNN that people were tweeting photos of a fire in the port about 15 minutes before a massive blast shook the building, destroying the bureau. He described a large red cloud hanging low over the city. “The city is in a state of panic,” he said on CNN. “The city is in a state of shock.”France 24 correspondent Leila Molana-Allen wrote on Twitter that her apartment was blown apart. “All the buildings in my block are destroyed. Huge explosion in Beirut. Everyone covered in glass and blood,” she wrote.Hours after the blast at 6 p.m. local time, fires were still burning in the port district. Hospitals, already buckling under the coronavirus pandemic, were overwhelmed with patients.The blast came as the city braces for the verdict in a long-awaited trial over the assassination of former Sunni prime minister Rafik al-Hariri who was killed in a truck bomb 15 years ago. The defendants, from the Iran-backed group Hezbollah, are being tried in absentia. That verdict is expected Friday. Beirut has been under siege by angry protesters demonstrating against economic strife and alleged corruption since the October Revolution kicked off in the fall of 2019. Daily demonstrations and widespread resignations have crippled the government. Before that, the city buckled under the a civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990. Tuesday’s blast was by far the biggest explosion to hit the city since the 2006 war with Israel. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.

  • Governor Cuomo begs wealthy New Yorkers to come home to save ailing city
    on 04/08/2020 at 3:09 pm

    The governor of New York has begged the city’s wealthy, who fled the coronavirus outbreak, to return and help it recover. Andrew Cuomo said he was extremely worried about New York City weathering the Covid-19 aftermath if too many of the well-heeled taxpayers who fled to second homes decide there is no need to move back. “They are in their Hamptons homes, or Hudson Valley or Connecticut. I talk to them literally every day. I say. ‘When are you coming back? I’ll buy you a drink. I’ll cook,’ “ Mr Cuomo told MSNBC, naming popular getaways for the rich. “They’re not coming back right now. And you know what else they’re thinking, if I stay there, they pay a lower income tax because they don’t pay the New York City surcharge. So, that would be a bad place if we had to go there.” Lawmakers have proposed a wealth tax targeting the city's 100 billionaires to help fill a $30 billion (£23bn) budget shortfall created by the Covid-19 crisis.

  • Court OKs extradition of man linked to Venezuela's Maduro
    on 04/08/2020 at 1:44 pm

    A court in the West African nation of Cape Verde has approved the extradition to the United States of a Colombian businessman wanted on suspicion of money laundering on behalf of Venezuela's socialist government, his lawyers said Tuesday. The court made the decision to extradite Alex Saab on Friday, but his legal team said in a statement it was informed about the decision only on Monday. Saab was arrested in June when his private jet stopped to refuel in the former Portuguese colony on the way to Iran.

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