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New Mexico Border Militia Leader Allegedly Said Group Planned to Assassinate Obama, ClintonPAUL RATJEThe border militia leader who was arrested in New Mexico over the weekend on weapons charges allegedly said that his far-right group was training to kill prominent Democratic figures because of their “support of Antifa.”According to an arrest warrant for Larry Mitchell Hopkins, witnesses told authorities that he’d said the United Constitutional Patriots were training to “assassinate” liberal billionaire George Soros, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and former President Barack Obama.The 69-year-old and his armed militia, which spreads conspiracies and searches for asylum seekers on the border, have been accused of illegally detaining migrants. Hopkins was arrested Saturday on charges of possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports he could face three years probation and a $250,000 fine.Witnesses also told authorities in Oct. 2017 that the group “had its ‘base’ at Hopkins’s residence, was supported by approximately 20 members, and was armed with AK-47 rifles and other firearms,” the arrest warrant states. During a search of his property, the FBI found 10 guns in Hopkins’ “office,” which he claimed were owned by Fay Sanders Murphy, his “common law wife.” Hopkins told authorities there were two more guns in his bedroom—a shotgun and a handgun—and another handgun in his kitchen. All told, the FBI seized nine guns from Hopkins’ home as evidence, including shotguns and long rifles. Saturday’s arrest marks the third time the militia leader has been arrested on weapons charges. In 1996, he was convicted for possessing a loaded firearm in Michigan. In 2006, he was also convicted in Oregon of felony possession of a firearm and criminal impersonation of a peace officer.UCP and Hopkins claim to do work with Border Patrol, but the federal law-enforcement agency has denied having any ties to the vigilante group. A UCP spokesperson named Jim told The Daily Beast that there was “no question” about their work together, pointing to the group’s publicity videos in which Border Patrol agents can be seen in the background.“That’s all documented, and not just once. It’s documented hundreds and hundreds of times over in the videos that I post,” he said.Border Patrol, however, said it does “not endorse private groups or organizations” that take “enforcement matters into their own hands.”UCP produces a radio show that spreads conspiracy theories, QAnon beliefs, and misinformation about migrants being connected to terrorists. Hopkins has also claimed President Trump has asked him about “Muslim immigration.”According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, Hopkins made his initial court appearance Monday morning and has a detention hearing scheduled for April 29.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here

4/22/2019 1:49:13 PM

Calculating Kamala HarrisIf you want to know which way the wind is blowing in the Democratic primary, just watch Kamala Harris.Asked about impeaching President Trump on Saturday, the California senator and presidential candidate said: “I believe that there is room for that conversation, but right now what I want is, I want Mueller to come before Congress to testify. I want to be able to see the full unredacted report, and specifically also the underlying evidence.” But by the time Harris appeared on CNN Monday night for a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire, she had apparently heard enough of the conversation going on inside the Democratic party to make up her mind. “I believe that Congress should take steps towards impeachment,” Harris said, following the lead of Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, who had called for impeachment last Friday.Harris and Warren were joined by South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg in pushing the party towards impeachment during Monday night’s CNN town halls. "I think he's made it pretty clear that he deserves impeachment. I'm also going to leave the House and Senate to figure that out,” Buttigieg said. Of the five Democratic presidential candidates who appeared on CNN Monday night, only two stopped short of calling for impeachment. Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar said she wouldn’t prejudge the matter because, as a senator, she would effectively serve as a juror in any impeachment case against Trump. And Vermont senator Bernie Sanders called for a “thorough investigation” but expressed concern that if the House moves toward impeachment, the political debate will be focused on “Trump, Trump, Trump and Mueller, Mueller, Mueller” — not the progressive/socialist domestic-policy agenda.Sanders may be lagging behind his colleagues in his enthusiasm for impeachment, but make no mistake: He is driving the conversation inside the Democratic party on matters of policy. When asked about Elizabeth Warren’s proposed federal program to forgive up to $50,000 per person in student-loan debt, Sanders pointed out that he is the intellectual godfather of such plans. Sanders said that four years ago, everybody was saying: “Bernie is a little bit crazy, talking about making public colleges and universities tuition-free.”“Ain’t such a crazy idea today,” Sanders added.Indeed. And on Monday night, Sanders did more to display his power to make previously extreme ideas seem mainstream in his party. When asked specifically if the Boston Marathon bomber and those convicted of sexual assault should be able to vote while they’re incarcerated, he answered in the affirmative. Pete Buttigieg answered the same question with a simple “No.” But Kamala Harris equivocated: “I think we should have that conversation.”Asked later about lowering the voting age to 16, Harris said: “I’m really interested in having that conversation.” Some Democratic bigwigs now think it’s time to have a conversation about Kamala Harris’s interest in “having that conversation.”“At some point this could end up being a problem,” David Axelrod, a former Obama adviser, said last night on CNN. “She is an incredibly compelling personality; a very bright and accomplished person. But she’s very cautious — and that caution was pretty apparent in a lot of her answers.”The point at which Harris’s cautiousness could be a problem for her appears to be right now. Asked about the fact that Medicare for All would eliminate private insurance, Harris emphasized that there was “absolutely” still room for “supplemental insurance.” Jonathan Cohn, who covers health-care policy for the Huffington Post, pointed out that while Harris’s statement was technically correct, it was also something of an evasion because Medicare for All “would include every medically necessary service, so that doesn't really leave much for supplemental to cover.” As Bernie Sanders, the bill’s chief sponsor, has said, Medicare for All would effectively reduce supplemental insurance to covering nose jobs.Harris doesn’t want to let Bernie Sanders get to her left on matters of policy, but she avoids his forthright defense of Medicare for All because she doesn’t want to appear too extreme. The dilemma, more broadly, is that it’s Bernie’s party; Kamala is just living in it.

4/23/2019 10:27:16 AM

Egypt to host African summits Tuesday on Sudan, LibyaEgyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will lead two emergency summits with other African leaders on Tuesday to address events in Sudan and Libya, his presidency said. The leaders will focus on "the evolution of the situation in Sudan" where protests continue after the military toppled president Omar al-Bashir.

4/22/2019 9:44:57 AM

Clooney urges justice for ISIS sexual violenceHuman rights lawyer and activist Amal Clooney is demanding justice for victims of sexual violence in conflicts, especially rapes and abuses by Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria. (April 23)

4/23/2019 12:40:39 PM

NASA probe records first likely 'marsquake' detected on red planetNASA's robotic probe InSight has detected and measured what scientists believe to be a "marsquake," marking the first time a likely seismological tremor has been recorded on another planet, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California reported on Tuesday. The breakthrough came five months after InSight, the first spacecraft designed specifically to study the deep interior of a distant world, touched down on the surface of Mars to begin its two-year seismological mission on the red planet. The faint rumble characterized by JPL scientists as a likely marsquake was recorded on April 6, the lander's 128th Martian day, or sol.

4/23/2019 3:31:32 PM

Elizabeth Warren’s Student Loan Relief Would Lift Black, Latino BorrowersThe policy would also help close racial wealth gaps in the U.S., according to an estimate provided to the campaign by Arizona State University assistant professor Raphael Charron-Chenier and Brandeis University law professor Thomas Shapiro. “Gains to net worth for households of color would be meaningful under the policy, increasing median wealth by roughly $6,741 for Black households as a whole and $3,280 for Latino households as a whole,” they wrote in the analysis. High levels of student debt have become a drain on the economy, said David Bergeron, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress, who worked with the U.S. Department of Education for 35 years specializing in higher education.

4/22/2019 11:24:44 AM

How Does the Geely Geometry A Measure Up to the Tesla Model 3?Is the Chinese automaker capable of making a Tesla Model 3 fighter? We do the math.

4/23/2019 8:40:00 AM

Demoted and sidelined: Google walkout organizers say company retaliatedStaff who organized mass protests say in internal letter their roles were changed after November 2018 demonstration Workers protest against Google on 1 November 2019 in Mountain View, California. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP They helped to organize an unprecedented global protest that saw tens of thousands of Google employees walk off the job in November 2018. Now two Google employees, Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton, are alleging that Google is retaliating against them and other employee activists. “Google has a culture of retaliation, which too often works to silence women, people of color, and gender minorities,” reads a letter from Whittaker, Stapleton and 10 other employees that was published internally on Monday and seen by the Guardian. “Retaliation isn’t always obvious. It’s often confusing and drawn out, consisting of icy conversations, gaslighting, project cancellations, transition rejections, or demotions. Behavior that tells someone the problem isn’t that they stood up to the company, it’s that they’re not good enough and don’t belong.” Stapleton, a nearly 12-year veteran at Google, wrote that two months after the walkout, she was demoted, had a previously approved project cancelled, and was “told to go on medical leave, even though I’m not sick”. “Only after I hired a lawyer and had her contact Google did management conduct an investigation and walked back my demotion, at least on paper,” she wrote. “While my work has been restored, the environment remains hostile and I consider quitting nearly every day.” Whittaker, who co-founded the AI Now Institute, wrote that after Google decided to scrap its AI ethics council, she was told that her “role would be changed dramatically”. “I’m told that to remain at the company, I will have to abandon my work on AI ethics and the AI Now Institute,” she wrote. Neither Whittaker nor Stapleton responded immediately to a request for comment. The letter was first reported by Wired. A Google spokeswoman said that the company has already investigated these cases and determined there was no retaliation. “We prohibit retaliation in the workplace, and investigate all allegations,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “Employees and teams are regularly and commonly given new assignments, or reorganized, to keep pace with evolving business needs. There has been no retaliation here.” Google employees have been at the forefront of a wave of tech worker activism that has swept the industry over the past year. Employee-organized protests have taken aim both at the company’s business decisions – such as its work for a Department of Defense drone project or plans to build a censored search engine for China – and its treatment of employees and contractors. The November walkout was sparked by a New York Times report that revealed that a former executive, Andy Rubin, had received a $90m severance package despite being forced out over an allegation that he had forced a female employee to perform oral sex. The report unleashed a flood of anger and frustration among Google employees who had faced harassment or discrimination. In Monday’s letter, the organizers say that they “collected over 350 stories” during the walkout, and discovered a “sad pattern”: “People who stand up and report discrimination, abuse, and unethical conduct are punished, sidelined, and pushed out. Perpetrators often go unimpeded, or are even rewarded.” The organizers are planning to host a Retaliation Town Hall for workers on Friday. They have reserved conference rooms and plan to live stream the discussion internally. Have you experienced retaliation for workplace activism in the tech industry? Contact the author: julia.wong@theguardian.com or julia.carrie.wong@protonmail.com

4/22/2019 4:25:52 PM

Isil claims Sri Lanka attack as prime minister says there are militants with explosives on the runSri Lanka's prime minister has warned there are more explosives and militants "out there" after the Easter suicide bombings that killed 321 people. Ranil Wickremesinghe made the comment Tuesday at a news conference, and said some officials will likely lose their jobs over intelligence lapses surrounding the attack. His warning came as Islamic State claimed responsibility for the terror attack on its official Amaq news agency. The group posted an image of seven masked attackers and the unmasked ringleader, Zahran Hashim, in front of its black flag. In a statement the men were named as Abu Ubaida - thought to refer to Hashim - Abu Khalil, Abu Hamza, Abu al-Baraa, Abu Muhammad, Abu Abdulla and Abu al-Mukhtar. Isis's official news agency, Amaq, posted this image of eight attackers, including the previously identified Zahran Hashim (centre) Sri Lanka's defence minister on Tuesday declared the attacks were retaliation for a recent attack on mosques in New Zealand, adding that two domestic Islamist groups were believed to be responsible. Ruwan Wijewardene’s comments were made as the South Asian island held its first mass funeral for about 30 of the victims of Sunday’s serial suicide bombings in three high profile churches and three luxury hotels. Sri Lankan intelligence has named the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday attacks as Moulvi Zahran Hashim, an extremist local cleric who incited his followers to violence with fiery sermons on his social media channels. CCTV video shows suspected suicide bomber entering St Sebastian's Church in Negombo Isil's brief statement said they targeted “nationals of the Crusader alliance and Christians”, but made no specific reference to the New Zealand mosque attacks. At the same time, AFP agency reported that two Muslim brothers carried out two of the hotel suicide blasts. The brothers, sons of a wealthy Colombo spice trader, blew themselves up as guests queued for breakfast at the Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the capital Colombo. The brothers, whose names have not been revealed, were in their late twenties and operated their own "family cell", an investigation officer said. A suspected suicide bomber carries a backpack on a street in Negombo, Sri Lanka The Sri Lankan government revealed in 2016 that 32 Sri Lanka Muslims had travelled to Syria to join Isil. “All these (Muslims) are not from ordinary families. These people are from the families which are considered as well-educated and elite,” Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, the country’s Justice Minister told parliament. said, adding that the government was aware of some foreigners coming to Sri Lanka to spread what he called Islamic extremism. A Syrian national was also arrested on Tuesday. It was not yet clear if he played a role in the attacks. Read more | Sri Lanka attacks Mr Wijewardene told the Sri Lankan parliament the massacre was carried out by the obscure local National Thawheed Jamaath group along with another group called the JMI, an apparent reference to a little-known radical Islamist group in India called the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen. Some experts have pointed out that the sophisticated nature of the attacks suggest that they would have required preparation that began before the Christchurch atrocity. Little is known about JMI, other than reports it was established last year and is affiliated to a similarly named group in Bangladesh. "The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch," said Mr Wijewardene. A suspected suicide bomber carries a backpack on a street in Negombo, Sri Lanka Fifty people were killed in shooting attacks on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on March 15, and horrific footage of the bloodbath was livestreamed on social media channels. The Sri Lankan authorities are still investigating how local militants gained the training and equipment to carry out an assault that is now considered to be one of the worst global terrorist atrocities since the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. One theory is that Sri Lankan extremists could have been assisted by returning fighters from Iraq and Syria. It also emerged on Tuesday that Sri Lankan police are holding a Syrian national in custody for questioning over the Easter Sunday attacks. "The terrorist investigation division of the police arrested a Syrian national following the attacks for interrogation," a source told Reuters. Two other officials with knowledge of the investigation confirmed the detention. "He was arrested after interrogation of local suspects," a second source said. Police have now detained 40 suspects in connection with the attack. Sri Lanka attacks - Locator map The first mass funeral took place at St Sebastian church in Negombo, north of Colombo, which was one of the places targeted in Sunday's blasts. A moment of silence was observed at 08:30, to mark the timing of the first bomb on Sunday morning. Flags were lowered to half-mast and people, many of them in tears, bowed their heads in respect.

4/23/2019 9:35:39 AM
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