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(75 replies)

Pregnant Woman Shot Dead by Police After Calling Them for Help

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(31 replies)

YouTube Star Austin Jones Allegedly Urged 14-Year-Old Fans to Send Him Sexual Videos

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>Newly released federal documents, obtained by PEOPLE, reveal the lengths YouTube singer Austin Jones allegedly went to in coaxing underage female fans to send him sexual videos of themselves.

>Jones, 24, allegedly solicited two 14-year-old fans — one last August and one in May — instructing them on what to wear, what to say and what to do in the videos deemed child pornography, the court documents state.

>The counts against him come approximately two years after he faced controversy online for allegedly similar behavior with female fans, which he dismissed at the time (and was not charged).

>The criminal complaint, filed Tuesday in Illinois federal court, alleges Jones “used Facebook and Apple’s iMessage service to request and receive videos depicting the genitalia of minor females, knowing that they were only 14 or 15 years old.”

>In the videos, which were sent through Facebook messenger, Jones allegedly told the victims to twerk — a kind of dancing — and expose their butts and repeat how old they were, in the course of which they also showed their genitals.

>“You need an intro to the video,” he allegedly told Victim A. “At the beginning, get super close and say these lines: hey Austin, it’s [name] and this butt is [age] years old and then make it clap for 30 seconds. Got it?”

>“Hey Austin, my name is [Victim A’s first name] and my butt is 14 years old,” she began one video, allegedly sent to Jones, before she danced against a wall, the complaint states.
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(19 replies)

Explosion at Brussels Central Station

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(5 replies)

FEC Dem eyes widening Russia probe to Facebook, Drudge, foreign companies

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A new proposal by an anti-Trump Democrat on the Federal Election Commission would expand the federal government's probe into alleged Russian influence to foreign companies and internet sites that take political ads, like Facebook or the Drudge Report, while giving the FEC an unprecedented role that some say oversteps its authority.

Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, citing petitions from leftist groups demanding a wider investigation, on Thursday plans to push for commission support for her idea.

"This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for our democracy," she wrote

She is urging the FEC to look into political spending by foreign sources on the internet, including Facebook, and presumably any other site that runs political ads, like the Drudge Report or Huffington Post. As part of that she called for open- and closed-door briefings by Justice and Treasury financial officials on the issue.
(5 replies)

Mexican government spies journalists

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>An Israeli company's software has been used to infiltrate mobile devices held by human rights lawyers, journalists and activists fighting government corruption in Mexico, according to a report published in the New York Times on Monday
>The highly-advanced software, known as Pegasus, is only sold to governments by the Israeli firm NSO Group on condition that the cyber technology be used in anti-terror or anti-criminal intelligence efforts. The company is known for its cyber expertise and according to the report, "charges $650,000 on top of a flat $500,000 installation fee," to spy on 10 iPhone holders. The NSO Group has also run operations under different names like OSY Technologies, which paid former U.S. national security adviser Michal Flynn over $40,000 as an advisory board member for nearly a year, until last January

Here's where it gets fun

>The targets include lawyers looking into the mass disappearance of 43 students, a highly respected academic who helped write anti-corruption legislation, two of Mexico’s most influential journalists and an American representing victims of sexual abuse by the police. The spying even swept up family members, including a teenage boy

How long before México goes into a civil war?
(16 replies)

Putin Claims the CIA Created Al Qaeda and Funded Terror

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In a series of interviews conducted over the course of two years, airing this month on Showtime, Russian President Vladimir Putin told documentary filmmaker Oliver Stone in July 2015 that he believes the CIA was instrumental in the creation of Al Qaeda, and have used Islamic terrorist groups to destabilize Russia.

>STONE: Bill Casey, Director of the CIA under [President] Ronald Reagan [1981-1987], made it a special effort to excite the Muslims in the Caucasus’ in Central Asia against the Soviet Union. His plan was bigger than just to defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, his plan was basically regime change in Soviet Union [sic].

>PUTIN: You see, those ideas are still alive. And when those problems in Chechnya and the Caucasus emerged, the Americans, unfortunately, supported those processes. We assumed the Cold War was over, that we had transparent relations, with the rest of the world, with Europe and the U.S. And we certainly counted on support, but instead, we witnessed the American Intelligence Services support terrorists. I’m going to say something very important, I believe. We had a very confident opinion back then, that our American partners in words were talking about support to Russia, the need to cooperate, including fighting terrorism, but in reality they were using those terrorists to destabilize the internal political situation in Russia.

>STONE: The U.S. support was covert, you say you have evidence they that were supporting the Chechen’s?

>PUTIN: Of course. But as to information and political support, that was evident to everyone, no proof is necessary. It was done publicly.
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(12 replies)

Catholics have gone insane.

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(23 replies)

U.S. Senate votes near unanimously for Russia, Iran sanctions

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>The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday for legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran and Russia, and force President Donald Trump to get Congress' approval before easing any existing sanctions on Russia.

>The 100-member Senate backed the measure by a margin of 98-2.

>Republican Senator Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, were the only two "no" votes.

>The bill includes new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and other activities not related to the international nuclear agreement reached with the United States and other world powers.

>The Senate this week also added new sanctions punishing Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and support for Syria's government in that country's six-year-long civil war.

>Lawmakers also voted overwhelmingly earlier on Thursday to add provision to the bill allowing the U.S. space agency NASA to continue using Russian-made rocket engines and reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance.

>To become law, the legislation still must pass the House of Representatives and be signed by Trump. House aides said they expected the chamber would begin to debate the measure in the coming weeks, although they could not predict when it might face a final vote.

>Trump's secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, had questioned the legislation in testimony in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

>"I would urge Congress to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation," he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
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Dried lizard penises from India sold as good luck charms

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Wildlife investigators from India and Britain said Tuesday they have uncovered an international fraud in which dried penises of endangered monitor lizards are being sold as a plant root regarded as a good luck charm and used in religious rituals.

The London-based group World Animal Protection said the dried penises of Bengal monitor lizards and yellow monitor lizards look similar to a rare plant root sought by people who believe it brings good luck.

Wildlife authorities conducted raids in five Indian states last month and some raids are continuing, said Neil D'Cruze of WAP.

While the plant has all but disappeared from the Indian countryside, wildlife traffickers have been buying the dried lizard penises and fraudulently selling them online, said the Wildlife Trust of India in New Delhi.

The two lizard species are on India's list of endangered animals, said Jose Louies, who investigates wildlife crime control at WTI.

During raids in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, several dozen hemipenis, or paired male reproductive organs of the lizards, were recovered, he said.

"The dried lizard hemipenis looks like two hands joined in prayer and is similar to the "hatha jodi" root that people believe can ward off evil," Louies said. "There is a widespread belief that it saves you from court cases."

Scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University in England have confirmed that various specimens of the "magical" root were actually the dried hemipenis of monitor lizards, WAP said in a statement.
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Black college must pay white professor nearly $5 million for racial discrimination

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Retaliation by ‘black power’ dean, evidence destroyed

A state appeals court upheld a jury verdict of nearly $5 million – three-quarters of that punitive damages – against an historically black college for discriminating against a white employee.

One of its many sins that were meticulously laid out by the court? Deleting incriminating emails from the senior official who targeted the white employee.

Beverly Wilkins, a white woman from a poor family, steadily rose through the ranks of Missouri’s Harris-Stowe State University, from adjunct to full-time instructor (off the tenure track). She had regular contract renewals for eight years and “excellent reviews” within her majority-black Teacher Education Department, according to the appeals court’s summary.

When Latisha Smith was temporarily made co-chair of the department, “a faculty member” complained to top university officials that Smith had “repeatedly proclaimed her belief in ‘black power'” and her “flagrant prejudice should not be tolerated or accepted.” One of those officials told the complainer to drop it or any chance at tenure “would be jeopardized.”

Smith was later made dean, becoming Wilkins’ supervisor, and she apparently exacted her revenge by putting Wilkins’ name on a termination list as part of a budget-neutral “reorganization” that saw two faculty members dumped and their positions rehired later.

Harris-Stowe is required by its own policies to terminate non-adjunct instructors with less seniority – two of which, both African Americans, had less than Wilkins – yet the university refused to tell her why she was dumped. Despite acknowledging that Wilkins had accused them of race discrimination, the university never investigated her claims, which also violated its own rules.

Though Wilkins was initially allowed to finish teaching her summer course, her students asked if she was getting fired, and she acknowledged to them her daughter was an attorney.
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