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Iran says it arrested 17 CIA spies, some sentenced to death

Iran says it arrested 17 CIA spies, some sentenced to deathIran said Monday it has arrested 17 Iranian nationals allegedly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on the country's nuclear and military sites, and that some of them have already been sentenced to death. The arrests took place over the past months and those taken into custody worked on "sensitive sites" in the country's military and nuclear facilities, an Iranian intelligence official told a press conference in Tehran. The announcement comes as Iran's nuclear deal with world powers is unraveling and tensions have spiked in the Persian Gulf region.




POSTED JULY 22, 2019 4:59 AM

Lawmaker describes 'unacceptable' border detention conditions, meets with US citizen in Border Patrol custody

Lawmaker describes 'unacceptable' border detention conditions, meets with US citizen in Border Patrol custodyA U.S. lawmaker described 'unacceptable' border detention facilities while meeting with a U.S. citizen in Border Patrol custody.




POSTED JULY 20, 2019 3:46 PM

90% of Border Crossers Aren’t Referred for Asylum Interviews

90% of Border Crossers Aren’t Referred for Asylum InterviewsThe government is implementing a new proposal that would ban asylum for immigrants coming to the United States through Mexico. It pins the uptick in border crossers on the asylum process, but the government’s statistics reveal that 90 percent of crossers in 2019 were not referred for an asylum interview at the border, and the highest share ever referred was just 19 percent in 2018.In fact, the rate of referral was just 7 percent in March 2019. This strongly indicates that the asylum ban will not have its intended effects. Figure 1 compares the rate at which undocumented immigrants at the southwest border were referred for asylum interviews at the border—called credible fear interviews—for each year from 2010 and 2019 as well as March 2019—the most recent month available. In no year has more than one in five immigrants stopped either at or between ports of entry entered the asylum process from the border.The pattern is not significantly different for immigrants from Central America’s Northern Triangle—Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The highest percentage of credible fear claims was just 30 percent in 2016, and the rate for 2019 is 9 percent. March 2019 was actually just 6 percent. In other words, at the border at least, the asylum ban will have very little effect on most Central American crossers.




POSTED JULY 21, 2019 1:22 PM

U.S. says Venezuelan plane aggressively shadowed a U.S. military aircraft

U.S. says Venezuelan plane aggressively shadowed a U.S. military aircraftThe U.S. military on Sunday accused a Venezuelan fighter aircraft of "aggressively" shadowing a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II plane over international airspace, a fresh sign of growing hostility between the two countries. The encounter between the two planes occurred on Friday, the same day that the Trump administration announced it was imposing sanctions on four top officials in Venezuela's military counterintelligence agency. The U.S. military did not give details of the EP-3's mission nor say where the encounter took place.




POSTED JULY 21, 2019 12:45 PM

Vatican college space holds bones of dozens, expert says

Vatican college space holds bones of dozens, expert saysThe expert, Giorgio Portera, said the "enormous" size of the collection under the Teutonic College was revealed when Vatican-appointed experts began cataloguing the remains, which were discovered last week . "We didn't expect such an enormous number" of bones and other remains which "had been thrown into a cavity," Portera said. "We want to know why and how" the bones ended up there.




POSTED JULY 20, 2019 2:38 PM

10 Surprising Moon Facts! (That Were Totally Wrong)

10 Surprising Moon Facts! (That Were Totally Wrong)




POSTED JULY 21, 2019 9:00 AM

Trump: The Squad should "apologize to America'

Trump: The Squad should "apologize to America'President Donald Trump on Sunday stepped up his attacks on four liberal Democrats in Congress, all women of color who have criticized his policies, calling on them to apologize as he himself faced charges of racism.




POSTED JULY 21, 2019 4:01 PM

India counts down to new bid to launch Moon mission

India counts down to new bid to launch Moon missionThousands gathered to witness India's second attempt to send a landmark spacecraft to the Moon on Monday, a week after a fuel leak forced the launch to be postponed. Indian scientists offered ritual prayers at temples near the base, according to media reports, and said they were confident there would be no repeat of the problem that led to countdown being halted 56 minutes before last week's launch. The South Asian nation is bidding to become just the fourth nation -- after Russia, the United States and China -- to land a spacecraft on the Moon.




POSTED JULY 22, 2019 2:21 AM

Booker Says He Could Confront Biden on Race at Detroit Debate

Booker Says He Could Confront Biden on Race at Detroit Debate(Bloomberg) -- Presidential Democratic candidate Cory Booker on Sunday suggested he could confront former Vice President Joe Biden on racial issues during the second round of debates next week.Booker, a New Jersey senator, said it would be “fair” to bring up the 1994 crime bill, which Biden supported in the Senate and has called the “Biden crime bill.” Booker said the measure put “mass incarceration on steroids” for African Americans.“Yeah, it is fair,” Booker said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” when asked by host Margaret Brennan whether he would be more aggressive on race at the forums in Detroit on July 30-31. “I want people like Joe Biden, which he finally did, thank God, to stand up and say, ‘I was wrong, that bill did a lot of harm.’”Booker was among Biden’s most vocal critics last month when the former vice president spoke about the “civility” in the Senate that allowed him to work with segregationist lawmakers in the 1970s. Another Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris, seized the spotlight at the first set of debates last month in Miami by confronting Biden on his opposition to busing as a senator.Biden will face off against Harris, Booker and seven other Democratic candidates on July 31, the second night of the debates in Detroit.To contact the reporter on this story: Max Berley in Washington at mberley@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley, Mark NiquetteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




POSTED JULY 21, 2019 12:41 PM

2020 Candidates Delayed Paying Staff to Look Richer on Paper

2020 Candidates Delayed Paying Staff to Look Richer on PaperDrew Angerer/GettyFor months, Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) presidential campaign made regular payments to its staff and vendors, with varying daily expenditures that never exceeded $335,000. But on April 1, 2019, the campaign’s spending exploded.Whereas Klobuchar’s campaign spent an average of about $55,000 per day through the end of June, according to FEC filings, it dropped a whopping $624,000 on the first day of April, including a $300,000 payment to the campaign’s digital vendor.  That massive uptick in expenses was likely due to the fact that April 1 marked the beginning of the new fundraising quarter. By putting off the payments until then, Klobuchar was able to put the best possible spin on her presidential campaign’s financial position during the previous three months. If those expenses had come a day earlier, Klobuchar’s cash on hand figure would have been roughly $6.35 million. Instead, the campaign was able to claim roughly $7 million in reserves—a sum that placed her among the better-positioned Democrats in the presidential race. A Daily Beast review of campaign finance records indicates that the delayed-expenses strategy has continued through the just completed cycle, and has involved payments to campaign staffers as well.Klobuchar Gets Barr to Defend Trump Over and Over AgainKlobuchar, whose campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment, is one of at least four Democratic presidential candidates who appear to have skipped a staff payday at the end of June, putting off that pay period until the beginning of the following month and hence transferring the expense to the next quarter’s balance sheets.Virtually every campaign engages in forms of accounting gimmicks in order to enhance their financial standings. Veterans of past and current races say that it is common to try and delay spending to future quarters in order to bolster cash reserves that have to reported at filing deadlines. That pressure is particularly acute in elections with crowded fields (such as the 2020 Democratic primary) when reporters, donors, and voters are ever attuned to any signs of momentum or lack thereof.For some campaigns, the ability to put off a payroll payment—whether by design or coincidence—made a substantial difference. That’s most true for the Klobuchar campaign, which reported $186,000 in salary expenditures on its last reported pay day, June 15.Federal Election Commission records indicate that the campaign was otherwise paying staffers on the 15th and last day of each month. But no paychecks went out at the end of June, according to its second quarter financial filing. Klobuchar didn’t simply eliminate those expenses by postponing the last payroll payment of the second quarter. That’s because her campaign appears to have put off its last pay period of the first quarter as well after writing salary checks on February 20, February 28, and March 15, the next payments went out on April 1. But her staff, and accompanying payroll expenses, were larger in June than in March. And at some point, she will either have to make all wage payments or simply not pay her staff. And by kicking the can down the road, she has been able to avoid taking the hit on a campaign finance filing for the time being. Three other campaigns also departed from previous payroll schedules by skipping end-of-month paychecks last month, according to a review of campaign finance records. Rep. John Delaney’s (D-MD) campaign said the change in schedule was simply a product of switching to a new payroll management service that restructured that schedule.Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO) and Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) both attributed it to the fact that June 30 was a Sunday, so checks went out the following day. But it’s common practice for employers to send out paychecks on the preceding Friday when paydays fall on a weekend. The decision to do so the following Monday served, intentionally or not, to boost apparent cash-on-hand figures at the end of the quarter in a way that shrouded the campaigns’ actual liabilities.There’s nothing improper or problematic with structuring campaign payments in order to present the best possible picture of its financial situation. But an understanding that campaigns do so, and how they do so, can give the public a better grasp of the financial standing of the various political camps vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination.Delayed payroll payments can be relatively small fractions of total cash on hand figures. But campaign staffers are not heavily compensated employees to begin with. And the absence of a regular paycheck—even by just a matter of days—can cause life complications. “I haven’t heard of this practice before but I am not surprised,” said Kim McMurray, an executive council member of the Campaign Workers Guild and a former organizer for 2020 contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). “FEC timing deadlines are such an important moment for campaigns to show enthusiasm, support, etc. so campaigns want to show the largest number possible.”“It is very disappointing if this came at the expense of the workers,” McMurray added.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




POSTED JULY 22, 2019 4:54 AM

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