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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said any use of force by the US against Iran would lead to disaster as tensions escalate between Washington and Tehran. "The US says it does not rule out the use of force... This would be a disaster for the region," Putin said during an annual televised phone-in with screened questions posed by Russian viewers. Moscow has backed Tehran in its stand off with the United States since Washington pulled out of an international 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran last year.
A Navy SEAL charged with killing a captive militant boy in his care had told fellow troops that if they encountered a wounded enemy, he wanted medics to know how "to nurse him to death," a former comrade testified Wednesday. When a radio call announced an Islamic State prisoner was wounded on May 3, 2017, Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher replied: "Don't touch him, he's all mine," Dylan Dille told jurors in a military courtroom. The captive was on the hood of a Humvee fading in an out of consciousness with only a minor leg wound visible when Iraqi forces delivered him to a SEAL compound in Mosul.
Lou Alvarez, a 53-year-old former NYPD detective who testified alongside Jon Stewart at last week’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorizing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, says his cancer has worsened.
Meng Hongwei, the former president of Interpol, confessed to accepting more than $2 million (£1.6 million) in bribes and expressed regret for his crime, a Chinese court said Thursday. The No. 1 Intermediate Court in the northeastern port city of Tianjin said Mr Meng read a statement containing the confession at a hearing. That move assures a conviction, although it isn't immediately clear when a verdict and sentence would be handed down. Admitting guilt and expressing regret can result in slightly lighter punishment, although China has been quick to hand out life sentences as it cracks down on corruption and political disloyalty under a campaign run directly by the president and head of the ruling Communist Party, Xi Jinping. Elected president of the international police organization in 2016, Mr Meng disappeared into custody after traveling to China from France at the end of September. Interpol was not informed of Mr Meng's detention and was forced to ask China about his whereabouts. Interpol vice president Alexander Prokopchuk and and Meng Hongwei pictured in 2017 Credit: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images The Tianjin court said Mr Meng had abused his positions, including as a vice minister of public security and maritime police chief, to curry favor for others in return for bribes. Shown on television wearing a plain brown windbreaker and flanked by two bailiffs, Mr Meng appeared older and grayer than during his time as one of the nation's top law enforcement officers. He has already been fired from his positions and kicked out of the Communist Party. While serving at Interpol, Mr Meng retained his title as a vice minister of public security. There are suspicions he had fallen out of political favor with Mr Xi, who has come down hard on corruption and perceived disloyalty in what observers say is calculated to strengthen party control while bringing down potential challengers to his authority. Mr Meng's wife, Grace, has remained in France, where Mr Meng was stationed for Lyon-based Interpol, and has accused Chinese authorities of creating a "fake case" against him for political reasons.
Moments before Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered last October, two of his suspected murderers laying in wait at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate fretted about the task at hand, according to a U.N. report published on Wednesday. Will it "be possible to put the trunk in a bag?" asked Maher Mutreb, a Saudi intelligence officer who worked for a senior advisor to Saudi crown prince, according to a report from the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions. Mutreb and 10 others are now standing trial in closed hearings in Saudi Arabia for their role in the crime.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s campaign vow to get the U.S. out of costly foreign entanglements is colliding with the messy reality of America’s commitments in the Middle East, where tensions are rising between Washington and Tehran after attacks on two tankers last week.The dilemma emerged again as the administration ordered another 1,000 troops to the region on Monday in response to what Trump officials say was Iran’s role in the latest strikes. The Tehran government has rejected those accusations.So far the international response to the U.S. charges has been muted. With the rhetoric on both the American and Iranian sides rising, the relatively small deployment announced Monday appears calibrated to show the U.S. will push back on what it sees as Iran’s bad behavior without changing the balance of American power in the region.“Trump is very determined to avoid getting dragged into a military conflict if he can avoid it,” said Gary Samore, a former White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction in the Obama administration.The president seemed to reinforce that impression in a Time magazine interview published late Monday. “So far, it’s been very minor,” he said of the attacks. Asked if he was considering a military confrontation, he told Time, “I wouldn’t say that. I can’t say that at all.”A Navy explosives expert who briefed reporters on the attacks at the Pentagon on Monday said the mines attached to a Japanese tanker were above the water line, which may indicate the attackers meant to damage the ship but not destroy it. A Pentagon spokesman later said the expert wasn’t part of the U.S.’s official investigation into the attacks.Analysts say that the broader Trump approach to foreign policy -- exerting maximum pressure on adversaries to force concessions -- raises the risk of an unintended conflict and has yet to pay off. From Tehran to Caracas to Pyongyang, U.S. efforts to force hostile regimes to back down have met stubborn resistance, despite threats or demands from officials including National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.Read More: Pentagon Shares New Photos, Timeline of Gulf Oil Tanker AttacksBefore Bolton joined the Trump administration last year, he publicly advocated war with Iran to eliminate its nuclear program. And it was Pompeo who last year announced a lengthy list of demands Iran had to meet to enter talks with the U.S., only to have the president say he just wished officials in Tehran would call him to work things out.“If it was up to others like Bolton and Pompeo, they would advocate more aggressive action but I don’t see any sign Trump is spoiling for a fight,” Samore said.The mixed messages and a general distrust of American motives have fueled doubts about U.S. intentions toward Iran, even among allies. The situation has been exacerbated, analysts say, by Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord and his administration’s general skepticism of alliances and multilateral institutions.“Unfortunately, our great comparative advantage as a nation — building and working with alliances — has eroded, particularly with respect to Iran,” Brett McGurk, Trump’s former envoy to the global coalition to combat the Islamic State, wrote in a tweet June 14. “Key western allies warned of this very circumstance and sequence of events when the US began its maximum pressure campaign a year ago.”Trump may be even less willing to consider military force this week given he will symbolically kick off his re-election campaign on Tuesday in Florida. Though he campaigned in 2016 on promises to get out of overseas conflicts, Trump has struggled to draw down troops in Syria and Afghanistan, and now is in the position of sending more forces to the Middle East as he tries to convince voters he deserves another four years in office.Sensing inconsistencies in Trump’s strategy, leaders in Tehran may even be trying to call the president’s bluff.Limited OptionsIranian officials have indicated the country may stop abiding by some elements of the 2015 nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in days, a move experts argue is a carefully calibrated bid to exert new pressure for sanctions relief on European nations that have urged Iran to remain in the deal.Short of war, options for additional U.S. pressure include stepping up military escorts for tankers in the Gulf region or striking boats or facilities belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the U.S. has said was involved in the latest attacks.Air Force General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs, said Tuesday in Washington that the U.S. has communicated a message to Iran of “hands off -- don’t come after our forces” in public statements as well as through Iraqi and Swiss intermediaries.If Iran “comes after U.S. citizens, U.S. assets or the U.S. military we reserve the right to respond with military action -- and they need to know that,” Silva, the No. 2 U.S. military official, said at a breakfast with defense reporters.Selva, who’s retiring next month, said tanker escorts like those the U.S. organized in the 1980s, would be “ill-advised” unless the “international community” fully participates.‘Lot of Hysteria’“There’s a lot of hysteria that holding Iran accountable has to be justified as a prelude to war,” said Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “We’re already in the midst of a low-intensity conflict that has managed to regulate itself.”Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump supporter, told reporters on Tuesday that “nobody’s talking about an Iraq War, but we are talking about a military response on the the table that would cripple their ability” to disrupt oil flow and about “destroying their ability to refine oil.”Yet others among Trump’s allies, such as Republican Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, caution that the U.S. and Iran must not edge closer to conflict.McCaul said that American forces in the region are in a “defensive posture” to protect transit through the Straits of Hormuz and he warned that military action against Iran would be “very, very complicated.”“I don’t think anyone has the appetite for war, although we do have military plans, obviously, contingency plans, in the event that is to happen,” McCaul said on Bloomberg Television. “I would caution that Iran is about the size of Iraq and Afghanistan combined and it would be very, very complicated."(Updates with Senator Graham in second paragraph after ‘Lot of Hystery’ subheadline.)\--With assistance from Margaret Talev, Daniel Flatley and Tony Capaccio.To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Wadhams in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at email@example.com, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The flying branch only bought 187 operational Raptors — out of an original goal of 381. The F-22 also won’t fly into the 2060s without upgrades. Three years ago, four F-22 Raptors taking part in the second-wave of the U.S.-led coalition’s opening airstrikes on Islamic State in Syria dropped their bombs. It was the first time the stealthy fifth-generation fighters had ever engaged in combat. The coalition’s war planners also used the F-22s to leverage their low-observable profiles — and far-reaching sensors — while escorting non-stealthy fighters in case Syrian fighters or air-defense systems engaged.Fortunately, the Syrian military held its fire.Fast forward to today, and F-22 Raptors are still flying over Iraq and Syria and have shifted almost fully into that latter role, according to Air Force Magazine. “When we first got here, we were 95 percent precision strike. And now we’re probably 95 percent air superiority,” Lt. Col. “Shell” — a callsign — of the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron told the magazine.This first appeared in October 2017.
Gloria Vanderbilt’s ancestors had an impressive real estate portfolio
A top Iranian official on Wednesday predicted that no military conflict with the U.S. was coming, despite the Trump administration's decision to send more troops to the Middle East amid tensions with Tehran.“There will not be a military confrontation between Iran and America since there is no reason for a war,” said Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, according to state media outlet IRNA.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Iran of being behind last week's attacks on two oil tankers — laden with “Japan-related cargo,” according to Japan’s Trade Ministry — in the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. Navy responded to the attacks, offering assistance after a series of explosions that partially destroyed the tankers and injured their crew members.Iranian defense minister Amir Hatami on Wednesday doubled down on his denial that Iran was responsible for the attacks, saying, “the accusation against Iran is totally a lie and I dismiss it firmly,” according to the Iranian Fars news agency.Shamkhani echoed Hatami's rhetoric, pointing the finger back at the U.S. "Accusing other countries has turned into a common practice among U.S. officials as they try to pressure other counties," he said.On Monday, the Pentagon announced the U.S. will send 1,000 more troops as well as additional military resources to the Middle East "for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats."“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said.The same day, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization announced that the country plans to flout the restrictions on uranium stockpiling under the the nuclear deal signed with the Obama administration in 2015, which the Trump administration backed out of in May of last year.Earlier this month, Iran’s supreme leader said the U.S. would be powerless to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons should it desire to develop them, adding that no further negotiations with American leaders are forthcoming.
The murder of a pharmacist who was raped and strangled in her home in a South Dakota city more than half a century ago has been solved with the use of DNA technology and genealogy databases, police said. Investigators believe Eugene Carroll Field killed 60-year-old Gwen Miller in 1968 when he was a 25-year-old living in Rapid City, Detective Wayne Keefe said at a news conference Monday. It is "a little surreal" to finally identify the killer after 51 years and up to 5,000 hours of work, Keefe said.
The vegetable oil spilled out of one of the 22 derailed cars after the train went off the tracks shortly before 11 a.m. local time, the Elko County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook, citing Union Pacific Railroad officials. "We had some vegetable oil and some diesel spill. There was nothing hazardous that was released or in the derailed cars," Union Pacific spokeswoman Kristen South said.
A party of fishermen about 30 miles southeast of the Manasquan Inlet got a shocking visitor: a huge great white shark.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says it's the fair, smart and safe thing to do.
With a 2020 campaign launch painting opponents in almost apocalyptic terms, President Donald Trump showed Democrats the scorched earth treatment they can expect in his fight for reelection. "He excited the base and it sends a pretty strong message to the Democrats that this is going to be a pretty tough race," Committee to Defend the President chairman Ted Harvey said on Trump's go-to TV channel Fox News.
(Bloomberg) -- The Philippine government has fallen in with Beijing’s explanation that a Chinese vessel didn’t intentionally hit a Filipino boat in the South China Sea on June 9.Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday described the incident as "just an accident," adding the Chinese vessel may have left after hitting and sinking a Philippine boat with 22 fishermen out of fear of being “besieged” by other boats near Reed Bank.“Maybe the other side didn’t mean to brush against our boat,” Lorenzana said at a televised briefing in Manila on Wednesday.The Philippines’ Navy chief earlier said the Chinese vessel "rammed" the Filipino boat which was anchored when it was hit, while the spokesman of the military unit in charge of the disputed waters said the incident was "far from accidental." Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin also protested the incident, which he said he’d call a "hit and run."Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is not favoring China after the incident, said Lorenzana, who has also called for an apology and compensation from the Chinese vessel’s captain for damaging the Philippine boat.China’s Foreign Ministry earlier described the incident as an “accidental collision,” while Beijing’s embassy in Manila said the Chinese vessel’s crew was “afraid” of other Philippine boats in the area, prompting the captain to leave the Filipino fishermen.The sunken Philippine boat’s crew wants Duterte to ask China to hold the Chinese vessel’s captain criminally liable for abandoning them at sea, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said at a separate briefing after meeting the fishermen.“There is no justification to the act of the Chinese vessel to abandon the Filipino fishermen. Under international maritime laws, that is illegal. Under human laws, that is immoral,” Pinol said.To contact the reporter on this story: Andreo Calonzo in Manila at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecilia Yap at email@example.com, Ruth PollardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The aviation capability of the Russian navy is dangling by a thread. Kuznetsov is old and in poor condition, and no carrier is even close to be laid down. Historically a land power, the Soviet Union grappled with the idea of a large naval aviation arm for most of its history, eventually settling on a series of hybrid aircraft carriers. Big plans for additional ships died with the Soviet collapse, but Russia inherited one large aircraft carrier at the end of the Cold War—that remains in service today. Although many of the problems that wracked the naval aviation projects of the Soviet Union remain today, the Russian navy nevertheless sports one of the more active aircraft carriers in the world.Recommended: Air War: Stealth F-22 Raptor vs. F-14 Tomcat (That Iran Still Flies)Recommended: A New Report Reveals Why There Won't Be Any 'New' F-22 RaptorsRecommended: How an ‘Old’ F-15 Might Kill Russia’s New Stealth FighterHistory of Russian Naval Aviation
Mars, like any other rocky world, has its fair share of craters. These scars of ancient impacts give the dusty surface of the planet some serious personality, and sometimes it's easy to forget that new craters can happen right before our eyes. That's exactly what seems to have occurred, and a new image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals a brand new impact site that might only be a few months old.The image, which was captured by the HiRISE camera built into the orbiter, shows a bold dark patch of material surrounding a circular crater on the Martian surface. Researchers believe it might have been created as recently as February 2019.The University of Arizona posted the photo, along with the following caption:> An impressionist painting? No, it's a new impact crater that has appeared on the surface of Mars, formed at most between September 2016 and February 2019. What makes this stand out is the darker material exposed beneath the reddish dust.The photo itself was captured in April and is only just now getting the attention it deserves. However, because the orbiter can't be looking at the entire planet at all times, it's unclear when exactly the crater formed, and researchers can only narrow it down to sometime between September 2016 and February 2019.This is yet another great reminder of the fantastic work NASA's Mars orbiter has been doing for years now. The spacecraft originally launched way back in 2005 and arrived at Mars in March of the following year. When it did, its primary mission was only scheduled to last for two years, but it has since put in over 13 years of faithful service for scientists. As long as it keeps producing images like this one, we hope it keeps going for a long time to come.
The freshman Democrat sharply criticized the Trump administration's handling of migrants seeking asylum in the United States with rhetoric that drew the ire of some Republicans.
Sacramento Police Ofc. Tara O'Sullivan was shot and killed while trying to help a woman connected to a domestic violence call. The 26-year-old East Bay native was described as a person with a bubbly personality, big dreams and a big heart.
A Connecticut judge has imposed sanctions on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for an outburst on his web show against a lawyer for relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting. Judge Barbara Bellis on Tuesday ordered the Infowars host to pay some of the relatives' legal fees and prohibited him from filing motions to dismiss their defamation lawsuit against him. The families of several of the 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 shooting are suing Jones, Infowars and others for promoting a theory that the massacre was a hoax.
An Alaskan teenager has been charged with conspiring to murder her friend after a man she met online offered her $9 million (£7m) to commit the crime. Denali Brehmer, 18, struck up a friendship with a man she believed to be “Tyler”, a wealthy businessman from Kansas. The man was in fact 21-year-old Darin Schilmiller of Indiana. The pair spoke online about a plan to rape and murder someone in Alaska, sending Schilmiller videos and photos of the act in exchange for the money. Brehmer then recruited a group of friends, and they chose their victim – Cynthia Hoffman, 19, described as one of Brehmer’s best friends, who her father said had a learning disability and the mental age of a 12 year-old. Police said the teenagers agreed to help carry out the murder and in exchange, “all of them would receive a significant sum of money for their part in the planning and/or execution of the murder.” Tim Hoffman, father of Cynthia Hoffman, in court on June 18 On June 2 Hoffman was lured to a hiking trail, Thunderbird Falls, northeast of Anchorage, where she was bound with duct tape and shot once in the back of the head by Brehmer’s accomplice Kayden McIntosh, a homeless 16-year-old boy. Hoffman’s body was then pushed into a river. “I put out search parties,” said Hoffman’s father Tim. He sent Brehmer a text message asking where his daughter was, and Brehmer replied that she would be home soon. “I drove my motorcycle through woods and bike paths. I floored it all over town doing speed limits I should not have been doing looking for my kid,” he said. “When she didn’t come home the first day, I knew something was wrong. When she didn’t come home the second day, I knew something was wrong. And then all I could think about was the knock on the door.” Hoffman’s body was discovered near the waterfall two days later. Authorities say Brehmer communicated with Schilmiller throughout the murder, sending him "Snapchat photographs and videos of Hoffman tied up and of the body afterward." Both Brehmer and McIntosh have been arrested and charged in relation to the murder. Kayden McIntosh, 16, in court in Alaska on June 18 "I know what I did was wrong. I know I could have probably done something different," said Brehmer, during her arraignment. Schilmiller has also been arrested along with three others accused of assisting in the planning or execution of the killing. All six have pleaded not guilty. Schilmiller and Brehmer were also indicted on Tuesday on federal child pornography and child exploitation charges. Police said that a search on Brehmer's phone during their investigation into Hoffman's death revealed that the teen - at Schilmiller's direction - had produced videos depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a minor and sent them to Schilmiller. Court documents say Schilmiller admitted to attempting to blackmail Brehmer after the murder into sexually assaulting young girls. Both face up to life in prison on the child pornography charges. They also face up to 99 years in prison for each of the murder charges, the conspiracy to commit murder charge, and the solicitation to commit murder charge. "All I know is my daughter didn't deserve all this,” said Mr Hoffman. “She should have the friends that she wanted. "I have one thing in my mind right now. And that's to send all six of them to Hell. "And I ain't gonna rest until it's done. And then after it's done I'll show my emotions." Bryan Schroder, US attorney for Alaska, advised parents to keep an eye on how their children were using the internet. “For all of the good the internet can do, it can be a dark place and parents would be wise to monitor the activity of their children online.”
A group of high school graduates are the latest to fall ill in the Dominican Republic.
The United States sought on Wednesday to bolster its case for isolating Iran over its nuclear and regional activities by displaying limpet mine fragments it said came from an oil tanker damaged in an attack last week and saying the ordnance looked Iranian in origin. Separately, a senior U.S. official said U.S. intelligence had confirmed that Iranian vessels had approached the damaged tanker, the Kokuka Courageous, as well as a second one, the Front Altair, prior to explosions that damaged their hulls last week. Iran has denied involvement in explosive strikes on those two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week and on four tankers off the United Arab Emirates on May 12, both near the Strait of Hormuz, a major conduit for global oil supplies.
US aircraft giant Boeing got a welcome vote of confidence in its beleaguered 737 MAX plane on Tuesday when International Airlines Group, owner of British Airways, said it wanted to buy 200 of the planes. It was a coup for Boeing since up to now IAG has been a longtime client of Airbus for its single-aisle jets, used on some of its most popular routes. "We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from the regulators," IAG's chief Willie Walsh said in a statement.
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