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Russians Bought Bank Accounts From California Man, Mueller Says

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>WASHINGTON — It was a lucrative business. For several years, Richard Pinedo, a Southern California computer science major, would open bank accounts in his name and sell them online to shadowy purchasers for cash. In other cases, he served as a middle man, buying accounts in other people’s names and flipping them on the internet.

>The operation was illegal, “designed to circumvent the security features of large online digital payment companies,” according to court papers. The company Mr. Pinedo set up, Auction Essistance, brought in tens of thousands of dollars between 2014 and December 2017.

>Some of that business, it now appears, was done with a Russian operation that used social media platforms to sow political discord around the 2016 presidential election.

>The connection was revealed on Friday, when the special counsel investigating Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election unsealed two new indictments related to the case. One charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations with illegally seeking to disrupt the American political process. The other laid out a case against Mr. Pinedo, a 28-year-old computer enthusiast from Santa Paula, Calif.

>Mr. Pinedo pleaded guilty this week to identity fraud, according to a statement of offense, and has been cooperating with the special counsel investigation. Other documents unsealed on Friday show that Mr. Pinedo’s plea supported the indictment of the Russian nationals.

>The connection was apparently unwitting. Mr. Pinedo’s lawyer, Jeremy I. Lessem, said in an interview that Mr. Pinedo had no knowledge of his clients’ identities or motivations and “accepted full responsibility” for his actions. Mr. Pinedo had no connection to Mr. Trump, his company or his campaign, the lawyer said.
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No.231244 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread

>BEIRUT (AP) -- Six civilians suffered breathing difficulties and other symptoms indicative of poison gas inhalation after an attack launched by Turkey on the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin, local doctors and Syria's state-run news agency reported Saturday.

>Jiwan Mohammed, a doctor at Afrin's main hospital, said the facility was treating six people who had been poisoned who arrived Friday night from the village of Arandi after it was attacked by Turkish troops. Another doctor, Nouri Qenber, said the victims suffered shortness of breath, vomiting and skin rashes. One of the victims had dilated pupils, he said, quoting one of the rescuers. Both spoke to The Associated Press via messaging service.

>State-run news agency SANA and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group also quoted local doctors in their reports.

>The claims could not be independently verified, and videos released from the hospital showed people being fitted with oxygen masks who did not otherwise show symptoms of poison gas inhalation such as twitching, foaming at the mouth or vomiting.

>State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. is aware of the reports "but we have no information that would validate them. We continue to call for restraint and protection of civilians in Afrin."

>SANA on Saturday said Turkey fired several shells containing "toxic substances" on a village in Afrin on Friday night, causing six civilians to suffer suffocation symptoms.

>The Turkish military repeated in a weekly statement published Saturday that it does not use internationally "banned ammunition" in its Afrin operation and said, "the Turkish Armed Forces does not keep such ammunition in its inventory."
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After Florida Shooting - DACA Democrats want Gun Control!

No.231026 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread
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Ants dress the wounds their mates have suffered in battle.

No.230723 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread
The African Matabele ants (Megaponera analis) tend to the wounds of their injured comrades. And they do so rather successfully: Without such attendance, 80 percent of the injured ants die; after receiving "medical" treatment, only 10 percent succumb to their injuries.

Erik T. Frank, Marten Wehrhan and Karl Eduard Linsenmair from Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Bavaria, Germany, made this astonishing discovery. Their results have been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. No other insects are known to dress the wounds of their comrades. The JMU biologists even believe that such behaviour is unique in the entire animal kingdom.

Ants go on high-risk raids

Matabele ants have a high risk of getting injured every day: The insects, which are widely distributed in Sub-Saharan Africa, set out to raid termites two to four times a day. Proceeding in long files of 200 to 600 animals, they raid termites at their foraging sites, killing many workers and hauling the prey back to their nest where they are ultimately eaten.

However, the ants meet fierce resistance from the well-armoured termite soldiers that are very adept at using their powerful jaws to fend off the attackers. Injury and mortality among the ants occur during such combats. For example, the ants frequently lose limbs that are bitten off by termite soldiers. When an ant is injured in a fight, it calls its mates for help by excreting a chemical substance which makes them carry their injured comrade back to the nest. Erik T. Frank already described this rescue service in 2017.

But the Würzburg biologists dug deeper: What happens once the injured ants are back in the nest? The ants treat the open wounds of their injured fellows by "licking" them intensively, often for several minutes.

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FCC Boss Being Investigated For Potential Corruption

No.230684 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread

FCC boss Ajit Pai is being investigated by his own agency for potential corruption. Pai is already facing multiple inquiries into his rushed repeal of net neutrality and the shady events that occurred during it. Now he's facing an additional investigation into whether he gutted decades-old media consolidation rules exclusively to benefit Sinclair Broadcasting. Pai has been dismantling said rules just as Sinclair Broadcasting is trying to gain approval for its $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media.
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What fluffy bunnies can tell us about domestication: It didn’t go the way you think

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But the researchers involved in the study don’t think this puzzle is a dead end. Instead, they believe it’s an indication that domestication happens on a continuum.

The story goes like this; rabbits were domesticated by monks in 600 A.D. after an edict from Pope Gregory declared that it was acceptable to eat fetal rabbits, known as laurices, during Lent. The problem is it isn’t true–something that archaeologists Evan Irving-Pease and Greger Larson of the University of Oxford accidentally discovered while trying to test how well the molecular clock method works for genetically dating domestication. This method compares the genomes of a domestic rabbit and a modern wild one to determine how long it took for them to diverge. Larson hoped to match the domestication date indicated by the rabbits’ genomes to the date suggested by the historical record: 600 A.D. But the molecular clock method indicated a date during the last ice age, before the very first domesticated animals.

His team’s analysis of these results suggested that the wild rabbits they used simply don’t share a recent ancestor with the domestic ones we know and love. But archaeological records, which look for changes in the skeletal structure of the domesticated rabbit, point to the 17th or 18th century, when modern pet-keeping began. And upon closer examination of historical records, the 600 A.D. story of the laurices fell apart.
I had cited it, colleagues of mine had cited it, it’s all over Wikipedia, it’s all over the web… but it turns out that the modern story is a complete house of cards, Larson says.
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A Westminster wow: Bichon frise becomes America's top dog

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Flynn the bichon frise won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club on Tuesday night, a choice that seemed to surprise almost everyone in the crowd at Madison Square Garden.
Fans who had been loudly shouting for their favorites fell into stunned silence when judge Betty-Anne Stenmark announced her decision.

No matter, the white powder puff was picked and walked off as America's top dog.
Guided by expert handler Bill McFadden, Flynn beat out Ty the giant schnauzer, Biggie the pug, Bean the Sussex spaniel, Lucy the borzoi, Slick the border collie and Winston the Norfolk terrier.
"It feels a little unreal," McFadden said. "I came in expecting nothing except hoping for a good performance, and I think I got it."

Underdogs and upsets are way more than norm on the green carpet of the Garden — inside dog fanciers indeed fancied Flynn, but the people sitting in the stands was obviously pulling for other dogs.

Ty came into this competition as the nation's No. 1 show dog last year and finished as the runner-up. He endeared himself to the crowd by jumping up and putting his front paws around handler Katie Bernardin after winning the working group earlier in the evening. Slick and Lucy also drew applause.

Cheers of "Let's go, Biggie!" bounced all around the arena for the popular pug. And Bean was a clear crowd favorite, the way he sat up straight on his hind legs and begged judges for the biggest treat in dogdom.

Almost 6, Flynn posted his 42nd career best in show victory in what is almost certainly his last show before retiring.
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No veteran-no problem! Good help!

No.230826 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread
84-year-old veteran killed in police-involved shooting.
Officers say man was threatening to kill himself.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating an officer-involved shooting Monday in southwest Miami-Dade County that left an 84-year-old military veteran dead.

Detective Argemis Colome, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department, said four officers were called to a report of an armed man who was threatening to kill himself about 1 p.m. near Southwest 138th Avenue and Southwest 270th Street.

A confrontation ensued and one officer was forced to shoot the man, Colome said.

The veteran, who was not identified by police, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The view from Sky 10 showed yellow police markers on the ground outside building 12 of the Hidden Grove Apartments.

A man who lives nearby told Local 10 News that he heard a commotion and came outside.

"Well, I heard about three shots. Bam, bam, bam. It sounded like gunshots, but I don't know. But then, I saw a whole lot of police," the man said.

Residents of the community said they were shocked that something like this would happen so close to them.

"It's crazy because it's very quiet over here, and my friend was just here yesterday and she told me the same thing -- 'Oh, it's so peaceful and quiet over here,' and I'm like, 'I know,' and then all of a sudden this happened," Kelsey Fain said. "And, like, nobody knows what's going on so it's just -- it's really weird."

The identities of the officer involved in the shooting have not been released. However, police said one the officers has been with the department for 23 years. The other officer involved have been on the force for 10 months, police said.

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Trump rearranges NASA's priorities; cuts funding for space station, earth science

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>NASA Budgets for a Trip to the Moon, but Not While Trump Is President

>Sending astronauts back to the moon is one of the top space priorities of President Trump. But his administration wants to accomplish that without giving NASA additional money, and it won’t occur until after he leaves office, even if he wins re-election.

>Instead, it aims to give the private sector a greater role, according to a budget proposal to be released on Monday.

>The administration is also looking to end American payments for the International Space Station by 2025. The space station is currently scheduled to operate through 2024, but the expectation was that it would be extended through at least 2028.

>According to excerpts from NASA documents obtained by The New York Times before the budget’s release, the administration will propose $19.9 billion in spending for the space agency in fiscal year 2019, which begins on Oct. 1. That is a $370 million increase from the current year, the result of the budget deal reached in Congress last week and signed by Mr. Trump.

>The budget numbers were confirmed by a person who was not authorized to talk publicly about them.

>In future years, the administration would like NASA’s spending to drop to $19.6 billion and stay flat through 2023. With inflation, NASA’s buying power would erode, effectively a budget cut each year.
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Third White House official resigns after being told he wouldn’t qualify for full clearance

No.229998 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread
National Economic Council official George David Banks departed amid increasing scrutiny of the Trump administration's decision to let multiple staffers work on interim clearances.

A senior official on the National Economic Council says he resigned on Tuesday after being informed that he would not receive a permanent security clearance, as the White House faces increasing scrutiny over the number of high-ranking officials allowed to work on interim clearances.

George David Banks, who had served since February 2017 as special assistant to the president for international energy and environmental policy, told POLITICO that he was informed by the White House counsel’s office Tuesday that his application for a permanent clearance would not be granted over his past marijuana use.

Like an estimated three dozen others in the White House, Banks had been working on an interim security clearance while the administration determined the status of his full clearance.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Banks is the third White House official to leave the administration over the last week. White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned last Wednesday amid allegations of verbally and physically abusing his two ex-wives. Speechwriter David Sorensen, who worked at the Council on Environmental Quality, stepped down on Friday over domestic abuse allegations. Both Porter and Sorensen deny the allegations.

The administration has tried to crack down on the use of interim clearances in recent months. POLITICO reported Tuesday that the White House imposed a ban on new interim security clearances for anyone in the executive office of the president last fall, but let existing employees with interim clearances stay on.
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