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Mueller witness bragged about access to Clintons secured with illegal campaign cash, says Justice DepartmentAn emissary for two Arab princes boasted to unnamed officials of a Middle Eastern government about his direct access to Hillary and Bill Clinton while funneling more than $3.5 million in illegal campaign contributions to the 2016 Clinton campaign and Democratic fundraising committees, according to a federal indictment.


California congressman Duncan Hunter announces resignation after corruption pleaHunter's announcement that he would step down came days after the leading California lawmaker, a former U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, entered his guilty plea in federal court in San Diego. "Shortly after the Holidays I will resign from Congress," Hunter, 42, said in a written statement released by his communications director.


Hong Kong police sound alarm over homemade explosivesHong Kong's much-maligned police force provided a rare behind-the-scenes look Friday at its bomb disposal squad to show the potentially deadly destructive force of homemade explosives seized during months of protests that have shaken the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. In July, police announced the seizure of about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of TATP, which has been used in militant attacks worldwide. Other recent seizures in Hong Kong involved far smaller amounts, just 1 gram, of TATP, or tri-acetone tri-peroxide.


Russian spies used French Alps as 'base camp' for hits on Britain and other countriesFifteen Russian spies, including those accused of the Salisbury nerve agent attack, used the French Alps as a “base camp” to conduct covert operations around Europe over a five-year period, according to reports. The revelations came as Germany expelled two Russian diplomats after prosecutors said there was “sufficient factual evidence” linking Moscow to the killing of a former Chechen rebel commander in central Berlin. According to Le Monde, British, Swiss, French, and US intelligence have drawn up a list of 15 members of the 29155 unit of Russia's GRU military spy agency who all passed through France’s Haute-Savoie mountains close to the Swiss and Italian borders. They stayed between 2015 and late 2018, notably in the towns of Evian, Annemasse and Chamonix - the scene of a ski chase in the 1999 James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough. They arrived from London, Moscow, Spain and often Geneva. The Le Monde report added five new names to those already published by online investigative outlets such as Bellingcat and The Insider. Their identities and movements were uncovered during a joint probe by allied counterespionage services in the wake of the attempted poisoning of defector Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018, said the paper. Britain and its allies accuse the Kremlin of seeking to assassinate Mr Skripal, a charge Russia vehemently denies. Those who stayed in the Haute-Savoie included Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - the cover names of the two GRU agents accused of carrying out the attack on Mr Skripal, along with Serguei Fedotov, the suspected mastermind. According to Le Monde, a fourth agent believed to be linked to the Skripal assassination attempt and who stayed in the Alps, Serguei Pavlov, was located in the UK by MI6 in 2017. Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the Russian suspects in the Skripal poisoning, are among those alleged to have used the French Alps as a base Credit: Getty Images Europe Le Mondesaid the five new names cited, all aliases, are Alxandre Koulaguiine, Evgueni Larine, Tour Nouzirov, Naman Youssoupov and Guennadi Chvets. The unit was also active in areas such as Bulgaria, Moldova, Montenegro and Ukraine. Western intelligence services involved found no material or arms left behind by the agents during their stays in France, Le Monde said, but their presence was confirmed by where they ate, stayed and shopped. "The most likely hypothesis is to consider it (Haute-Savoie) as a rear base for all the clandestine operations carried out by unit 29155 in Europe," said a senior French intelligence official, quoted by Le Monde. The paper said that one theory is that by staying in the Alps, the agents hoped to shake off any suspicion before they carried out their missions, which could explain why they conducted no covert missions on French soil. On Wednesday, Angela Merkel’s government summoned the Russian ambassador and ordered two of the embassy staff to leave the country within seven days. The two diplomats concerned are believed to be Russian intelligence officers, according to local media reports. The German foreign ministry said they had been declared persona non grata in protest at Russia’s failure to cooperate with investigations into the killing of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian national shot dead in a Berlin park in August. The suspected killer was captured by police attempting to dispose of a gun believed to be the murder weapon in the nearby river Spree. He was carrying a Russian passport which identified him as Vadim Sokolov, but German prosecutors on Wednesday confirmed that they now believe that is a false identity. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were both poisoned with Novichok, a banned chemical weapon, in Salisbury Credit: Social media/EAST2WEST NEWS Police findings indicate that it is “highly likely” the arrested man is Vadim Krasikov, a Russian national previously wanted for the murder of a businessman in Moscow in 2013, prosecutors said. A senior MP in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat party (CDU) on Thursday described the case as a “return to the days of the Cold War”. “Counterintelligence and foreign reconnaissance against Russia must be significantly expanded,” Armin Schuster told Bild newspaper. “Germany must get its act together if a foreign state can order murder on German soil.”. France denies any “laxism” by its embassy in Moscow for handing him a 90-day emergency visa on July 29 on a fictitious address. He passed through Paris before travelling on to Berlin. British and French intelligence sources told Le Monde the assassination was “ordered by the pro-Kremlin Chechen regime of Ramzan Kadyrov with logistical help of the Russian state”. According to Le Monde, French intelligence suspects the Berlin assassination was leaked to the public for “political reasons” linked to President Emmanuel Macron's apparent rapprochement with Moscow. Last week, Mr Macron said: “Has the absence of dialogue with Russia made the European continent any safer? ... I don’t think so.” “France's desire to rebuild strategic ties with Moscow has clearly prompted reactions from states who prefer direct confrontation with Russia,” said one French intelligence source, who denied any French “complacency or naivity” towards Moscow. French surveillance of foreign Russian espionage was, the source told Le Monde, “no doubt higher than any other service in Europe”.


Tesla changed the release dates for the most and least expensive versions of the Cybertruck by a yearTesla said the three-motor Cybertruck would enter production in late 2021, while production for the single-motor Cybertruck would begin in late 2022.


Two school shootings a day apart: Wisconsin reckons with impact of armed guardsShootings involving resource officers renew debate over the role of armed teachers or police in schools Shootings a day apart at two high schools in Wisconsin have shaken the state and sparked a renewed debate over how to combat violence in American schools.An Oshkosh police department resource officer shot a 16-year-old student Tuesday after the boy stabbed him in the officer’s office at Oshkosh West high school. A day earlier, a resource officer at Waukesha South high school helped clear students out of a classroom after a 17-year-old student pointed a pellet gun at another student’s head. Another police officer entered the room and shot the student.Neither of the students who were shot suffered life-threatening injuries. The Democratic governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, called the shootings “breathtaking and tragic”.“The trauma that happens because of this just ripples through the community,” Evers added. “It will take time for people to recover from this. Trauma is a significant issue. We have to be patient.”The debate about the role of armed teachers or police in schools has been a constant in the wake of school shootings across the country. But rarely have armed resource officers been able to prevent a shooting.An estimated 43% of public schools have armed officers on campus, according to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics. The survey covered the 2015-2016 school year, the most recent year surveyed. That figure doesn’t include schools with armed private security guards or teachers and administrators who carry guns.The US Department of Justice has adopted best practices for resource officers from the National Association of School Resources. Those guidelines call for resource officers to serve as police officers as well as teachers and mentors.Nasro recommends such officers have three years of experience and says they should be willing to engage with students and have excellent communication skills. They should complete a school-based policing course before being assigned to the beat and complete an advanced school policing course Nasro provides within a year of completing the basic course. They also should complete biannual training on how lone officers should handle threats and assailants.No Wisconsin laws spell out any special requirements for resource officers or restrictions on their weapons. But the state department of justice has adopted best practices similar to Nasro’s recommendations, calling for officers to work with schools on the extent of their duties, the skills they need, and where school discipline ends and illegal conduct begins. The state guidelines also suggest officers receive training in child development, restraint policies and de-escalation strategies.It’s not clear what led to Tuesday’s stabbing at Oshkosh West high school, which has 1,700 students. The police chief, Dean Smith, said that the officer and the student got into an “altercation” in the officer’s office, the student stabbed the officer with an edged weapon – Smith declined to elaborate – and the officer opened fire with his 9mm pistol, hitting the student once. It’s unclear how many times the officer may have fired. Officials said the officer has 21 years of experience with the Oshkosh police department and has served as a school resource officer since 2017.At Waukesha South high school, 80 miles (130km) south of Oshkosh in suburban Milwaukee, a 17-year-old student apparently grew angry with another student and pointed a pellet gun at the other student. The school’s resource officer helped clear students from the classroom.Linda Ager told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Waukesha shooting happened in the classroom of her husband, Brett Hart, a special education teacher at Waukesha South. Ager said her husband restrained the student until the resource officer arrived.At some point, another officer entered the room and shot the student who refused to drop the weapon. Police said the boy pointed the gun at officers as they confronted him.Police said the student with the pellet gun underwent surgery and was in stable condition.“Today’s tragic event shows that trained school resource officers can save lives,” Vickie Cartwright, the Oshkosh superintendent, said at a news conference on Tuesday.As school shootings have become more frequent, gun rights advocates and gun control advocates have sparred over how best to respond to them. Supporters of gun restrictions have argued that putting more guns in schools does little to prevent shootings and just puts students at greater risk.Last year armed guards at three high-profile school shootings – Marshall county high school in Benton, Kentucky; Majory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida; and Santa Fe high school in Texas – were unable to stop those shootings. In Parkland, the school’s resource officer remained outside rather than enter the building to engage the shooter and try to stop it.But gun-rights advocates believe having more armed educators and law enforcement in schools will help stop a shooter from going on a rampage.“This confirms that action can, and should, be taken to mitigate harm and limit casualties when weapons are brought into school,” Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, said on Tuesday.Evers, the Wisconsin governor, said he is committed to working with Republicans who control the legislature on increasing mental health funding for schools.Evers said on WTMJ-Radio that he thinks Republicans will work with him on that, even though they did not provide as much funding for mental health programs as Evers requested in the state budget approved this summer. Republicans also refused to take up a pair of gun safety bills earlier this year that Evers said were part of the solution to combating violence in schools.Evers, a former state superintendent of schools who worked as a principal, school superintendent and administrator before he was elected governor, said the issue is particularly striking for him, given his background and the fact that has three grown children and nine grandchildren. Two of his children attended the high school in Oshkosh where the shooting occurred.“Our kids need help,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough to see how this has amplified over time. The time is now to take it on.”


North Carolina GOP Rep Says He Won’t Seek Reelection After District RedrawingRepresentative George Holding (R., N.C.) announced Friday that he will not seek reelection in 2020 after a North Carolina district reconfiguration put his seat in danger.“I should add, candidly, that yes, the newly redrawn Congressional Districts were part of the reason I have decided not to seek reelection,” he said in a statement. “But, in addition, this is also a good time for me to step back and reflect on all that I have learned.”Holding, a former federal prosecutor who is wrapping up his fourth-term on Capitol Hill, added that he hoped to return to public office at some point in the future.> JUST IN: George Holding (R-NC) announces he's leaving Congress after redrawn map leaves him with a heavily Democratic district. pic.twitter.com/yX3tfxK1Sg> > -- Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 6, 2019Holding’s announcement comes after a North Carolina panel of judges confirmed a GOP redrawing of Congressional Districts which likely cedes Holding’s Wake-County seat to a Democratic challenge.According to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, Holding’s seat has changed from leaning Republican to likely Democrat.Republicans currently hold 10 of 13 congressional seats in North Carolina, but were forced to redesign the map after state judges blocked the existing district layout for the 2020 elections, citing excessive partisan bias. Despite picking up two seats, Democrats remain opposed the new map over allegations it did not do enough to reverse gerrymandering.Holding is the 18th House Republican not to seek reelection, and the second in two days, after Georgia Republican Tom Graves announced Thursday that he would no longer run for office.


Trump Administration Authorizes 'Cyanide Bombs' to Kill Predators Again, Months After BacklashThe devices have been used to poison thousands of coyotes, foxes and feral dogs to protect wildlife


Why care about the Trump impeachment? Your right to vote in free elections is at stake.The Trump impeachment is about protecting our freedom and right to vote from lawless foreign election manipulation invited by a dangerous president.


Indiana judge grants stay of execution for federal inmateA convicted murderer set to become the first federal inmate to be executed in 16 years was granted a stay of execution on Thursday by a judge in Indiana. Daniel Lewis Lee, a white supremacist convicted in Arkansas of murdering a family of three, was granted the stay by U.S. District Judge James Patrick Hanlon. Lee's execution had been set for Monday, but a separate ruling by a judge in Washington last month put his execution and that of three other federal inmates on hold.


Germany's Merkel voices 'shame' during 1st Auschwitz visitGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced a feeling of "deep shame” during her first-ever visit on Friday to the hallowed grounds of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Adolf Hitler's regime murdered more than a million people. Merkel noted that her visit comes amid rising anti-Semitism and historical revisionism and vowed that Germany would not tolerate anti-Semitism.


Police Officer Under Investigation After Footage Said to Show Him Groping Dead WomanA Los Angeles police officer has been placed under investigation, a police spokesman said Wednesday.Body camera footage was said to show him groping a deceased woman's breasts, according to a person familiar with the case.The unidentified male officer was not working while the case was under investigation, Josh Rubenstein, the department spokesman, said.The officer had been assigned to the Central Division and was responding to an overdose call, he said. Rubenstein declined to provide specific information about the incident, including when it occurred, because it is part of a personnel investigation.Supervisors throughout the jurisdiction conduct random reviews of video on a monthly basis, Rubenstein said.All uniformed officers assigned to patrol the Los Angeles area have cameras, he said, and roughly 7,000 cameras are issued."If this allegation is true, then the behavior exhibited by this officer is not only wrong, but extremely disturbing, and does not align with the values we, as police officers, hold dear and these values include respect and reverence for the deceased," the board of directors for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the police officers' union, said in a statement on Wednesday. "This behavior has no place in law enforcement."Police departments around the country have increasingly used body cameras after several high-profile shootings. In 2015, about 95% of large police departments started using body cameras or said they would use them in the future, a national survey said.A 2017 study of more than 2,000 Washington, D.C. officers conducted over 18 months showed officers with body cameras used force and prompted civilian complaints at nearly the same rate as officers without the equipment.A Baltimore police officer was suspended and charges against a man were dropped after a body-camera recording appeared to show an officer planting a bag of drugs at the scene of an arrest in January 2017. In that case, the camera retained recordings beginning 30 seconds before it was activated.In November 2018, The New York Times published body-camera recordings of an arrest in Staten Island that raised questions regarding police behavior. In this case, lawyers for the defendant claimed the footage contained possible proof that an officer planted a marijuana cigarette. The officer and the Police Department denied any wrongdoing.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


Employee shot at a Virginia post officeAuthorities say a postal worker has been shot at a northern Virginia post office by an agent for the Postal Service's Inspector General's office. News outlets report that it happened Wednesday morning at the parking lot of the Lovettsville post office in Loudoun County.


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