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AP sources: US struck Iranian military computers this weekU.S. military cyber forces launched a strike against Iranian military computer systems on Thursday as President Donald Trump backed away from plans for a more conventional military strike in response to Iran's downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, U.S. officials said Saturday. Two officials told The Associated Press that the strikes were conducted with approval from Trump. Two of the officials said the attacks, which specifically targeted Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps computer system, were provided as options after Iranian forces blew up two oil tankers earlier this month.


6/22/2019 9:38:37 PM

Bear breaks into home, locks itself in laundry room, then goes to sleep in wardrobe before being drugged and removed by policeSometimes, when life in the wild all gets a bit much, a clean cupboard in a warm home is a much more inviting place for a nap.A black bear broke into a family house, locked itself into a laundry room and then went to sleep on the wardrobe shelf, defying all efforts to lure it out.Police were unable at first to reach the furry intruder because it had managed to bolt the door from the inside as it ripped apart the homeowners’ belongings.When officers knocked on the window to wake the bear, it just yawned, they said.Eventually, they managed to unlock the door to allow wildlife experts to tranquillise the animal to get it out and return it to the wild.The homeowners, in Butler Creek in the US state of Montana, were alarmed to find the animal had barricaded itself in during the night.The Missoula County sheriff’s office posted on social media: “Wow!!! What a day!”They explained: “When deputies arrived, they discovered this black bear had opened the door to the mudroom of this residence and somehow managed to deadbolt the door from inside.“After being unable to leave, the bear began ripping the room apart but then decided he was tired and climbed up into the closet for a nap.“When deputies knocked on the window, the bear was not the least bit impressed. He slowly stretched, yawned and, unamused, looked toward the door.“Eventually, deputies were able to unlock the door in hopes he would hop down and leave. However, their attempts were only met with more big bear yawns.”Officers added: “The homeowners were glad he was removed in good health, but won’t soon forget when this intruder came looking for the bear necessities.”Residents were warned to lock up their homes as the bear had reportedly tried at least two other doors.


6/23/2019 11:04:54 AM

Motorcycle community mourns 7 killed in 'devastating' New Hampshire biker crashThe tight-knit motorcycle community was reeling Sunday after a horrific biker collision left seven people dead and three injured in New Hampshire.


6/23/2019 1:59:53 PM

Biden’s Media Strategy: Duck The Press Unless You’re Under DuressBloomberg via GettyThe first time former Vice President Joe Biden spoke to national media reporters in nearly a week of campaigning was to address a political minicrisis of his own making.On Wednesday evening, hours after Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) had admonished him for fondly recalling the collegiality of segregationist senators of the ’70s, the former vice president was asked if he would apologize. “Apologize for what? Cory should apologize, he knows better,” Biden responded, standing outside an SUV on his way into a fundraiser. “There’s not a racist bone in my body, I’ve been involved with civil rights my whole career. Period. Period. Period.”The moment marked a new level of aggression in a still-nascent Democratic primary. It also put the spotlight on what Democratic officials say is a risky and often confusing campaign blueprint being deployed by the party’s presidential frontrunner. Increasingly, Biden seems to speak publicly or talk with reporters only when he is under duress. “It is not a tenable strategy,” said David Axelrod, who worked with Biden as the top communications adviser on the 2008 campaign, and in the Obama White House. “His message is that he’s the guy who can beat Donald Trump and he is viewed as the least risky choice. Over time, if the only interactions he has is around these screwups and gaffes, then he is going to start losing that message.” Booker, Harris, Warren Tee Off on Biden for His Nostalgia for Segregationist SenatorsOver the past few weeks, Biden has been forced to grapple with a number of minicontroversies and self-inflicted wounds. His nostalgia for former Sens. James O. Eastland (D-MS) and Herman E. Talmadge (D-GA) was preceded by a 24-hour flip-flop on a law banning federal funds from funding abortion (Biden went from supporting the Hyde amendment to opposing it). Those two instances came after Biden was criticized for not offering a full apology to Anita Hill and for humorously dismissing accusations that he made women uncomfortable by invading their space. Virtually every candidate running for president has to clean up the messes he or she makes. That’s especially true for the frontrunners and those who, like Biden, have a proclivity for speaking with limited filters. But what makes Biden’s current approach so confusing for other Democrats is that much of his public-facing campaigning has involved doing only that. Elsewhere, the former vice president has kept a notably low profile, taking little opportunity to push his larger campaign message or make proactive defenses of his political baggage.Biden hasn’t appeared on national television since the day after he officially declared his run for president. Since then, the campaign has repeatedly declined invitations from television and cable news outlets. One network source told The Daily Beast that over the past several months, Biden has been offered a number of appearances on MSNBC, including telephone interviews. And a CNN insider said the network reached out to the former vice president in the months before he even launched his campaign, inquiring whether he would be interested in participating in upcoming town hall events.In addition to missing many of the forums packed with 2020 Democratic prospects, Biden was the only 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to decline an interview by The New York Times as part of its package this week comparing the various candidates (and wouldn’t respond to questions when asked why he didn’t participate).“I think that it is never a good idea to sit on a lead. That rarely works out well, and that's what they’re doing,” said Axelrod.While in South Carolina this weekend, Biden worked the rope line well into the evening, mingling with press and voters, but his campaign has previously restricted press access, running the vice president’s press availabilities in a vastly different manner from the rest of the candidates. Biden’s campaign has at points sealed off the press at events, only allowing a single reporter to represent the campaign press pool at Biden fundraising events. Occasionally, the Biden campaign has even seemed to forget or reverse course on planned media appearances. Earlier this month, the former vice president’s staff told campaign reporters that he was going to be holding a press gaggle following an event in New Hampshire. But reporters were left hanging when Biden left the event and got into a waiting SUV without taking questions. For communications specialists, the reticence seems not just at odds with the realities of modern media, but also unwise, leaving the impression that Biden—who has a reputation for joviality—is almost afraid of the scrutiny. “If you are only interacting with the press when there is an issue of concern, you reinforce that perception that there are only problems,” said longtime Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis, who runs Park Street Strategies. “You're in a turtle mode instead of being proactive about what you’re pushing out.”Biden’s defenders argue that the reason that he appears to interact with the press during times of duress is largely because those episodes are over-emphasized by the media itself. They point to polling data showing his consistent lead in the primary as evidence that the national press corps has fundamentally different priorities than the Democratic electorate. The campaign has created its media strategy around that theory as well. Instead of doing national interviews, they have focused the vast majority of their attention on smaller local news outlets in the early primary states. Since jumping into the race in April, Biden has sat down for at least a dozen interviews with local TV and radio stations in Iowa and New Hampshire.Biden hasn’t been entirely closed off from national outlets. His campaign is the only one in the primary that allows a print pooler into his fundraising events. And on Thursday, senior Biden adviser Symone Sanders told CNN that the former VP would be sitting down for an interview this weekend. Sources told The Daily Beast that Biden would likely be one of several candidates sitting down with host Al Sharpton at an event for 2020 presidential contenders in South Carolina that MSNBC has exclusive rights to broadcast. Nevertheless, Biden’s caution when dealing with the press has stood out in a field of candidates where many others seem willing to accept any media request or live-streaming opportunity. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) has been comfortable enough with campaign reporters to invite them on jogging outings, while South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is so willing to sit for interviews he took questions while drinking brown-bagged beer in a park in New York City.Campaign veterans say it would be unwise for Biden to go to those extremes, and not just because of his history of saying things that cause him political headaches. According to their logic, the former VP is already well known to the public and instead of re-introducing himself to voters, he can afford to spend that time on other campaign functions. The question now being asked of the Biden campaign is not just whether they took that theory too far but whether he could actually maneuver through the current media landscape if he tried. “You are not in the Hyde amendment era in the Democratic Party, and you are not in the James O. Eastland era of the party,” said James Carville, a longtime Democratic operative. “How can you have the give and take [with the press] when your instinct is to get on the wrong side of two great issues of the modern Democratic Party, and that’s abortion and racial relations? The world has changed.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.


6/22/2019 8:14:37 PM

Mahathir Says He Underestimated Challenge of Governing Malaysia(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he underestimated the challenges of governing the country before his shock election victory last year.“I underestimated because we were on the outside and we didn’t get any information on what was happening on the inside,” Mahathir said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin in Bangkok at the 5th Bloomberg Asean Business Summit. “We are having a very tough time dealing with damages in the finances as well as the crimes that were committed.”Here are some key comments from the interview:1MDBGoldman Sachs offered “a little compensation” versus the “huge killing” it made, Mahathir said, noting he was unsure where the money lost from the 1MDB scandal has gone.The scandal surrounding 1MDB sprawls from the U.S. to Switzerland, reaching the highest levels of Malaysian politics while ensnaring Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in its first criminal case. Mahathir has raised the amount he wants to recoup from 1MDB to $7 billion after previously saying he sought $4.5 billion that U.S. prosecutors estimated went missing from the state fund. So far, the Southeast Asian country has brought back less than $500 million.Mahathir said in May he was awaiting a response from Goldman Sachs before deciding whether to take legal action against the bank over “too high” fees on 1MDB bond sales. Malaysia had already announced criminal charges against Goldman in December, accusing the lender of misleading investors when it knew that funds raised from the $6.5 billion bond offer it arranged would be misappropriated. The bank said it will defend against the allegations.ChinaMahathir disagreed he was sending a message to the U.S. by taking China’s side on certain issues. It’s “free speech,” he said. “I don’t like the old idea of cooking something up in the West and then asking us to accept them. China is a bit more sensitive to our feelings.”On the resumed multi-billion dollar rail project, he said: “We were able to renegotiate the terms of the contract. It is quite obvious that the contract was overpriced.,” he said. The government considered dropping the project altogether “but did not want to pay huge compensation on it.”The project will now cost 44 billion ringgit ($10.7 billion) instead of the original 65.5 billion ringgit, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office in April.SuccessionLast May, Mahathir led Malaysia to its first change in government since its independence from Britain in 1957. The country is set for another political shift as he is expected to hand over power to Anwar Ibrahim, who said Mahathir had made it “very clear” that Anwar would get the top seat by May next year.Mahathir said he will hand over to Anwar in “a year or so.” He doesn’t want to leave Malaysia in shambles, he said, pointing to the state of the country when his predecessor Najib Razak was ousted.“I made a promise, I keep my promise,” Mahathir said. When asked why he was reluctant to set a date for the handover, Mahathir said it was because “there may be something I need to do before I step down,” noting he wanted to fix Malaysia’s debt.When asked whether he had changed, Mahathir replied: “I don’t know, I’m still myself. Well I want to work for the country. I don’t have much of a future so the last thing I want to do is to go away leaving the country in shambles, like the previous one.”EconomyMahathir has trimmed state spending to narrow the budget deficit to 3.4% of gross domestic product this year, from a five-year high of 3.7% last year. Fiscal recovery remains fragile as the government spends billions rescuing troubled institutions from the Hajj fund to an agency overseeing farmers. His administration replaced a sweeping goods-and-services tax with a more targeted consumption tax last year, and is now counting on state oil company dividends to support revenue.The government would be careful in choosing buyers for beleaguered national carrier Malaysian Airlines Bhd, he said Friday, noting: “If there is a good offer, we will consider.”(Updates with Mahathir comment in 14th paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected a quote in 3rd and 11th paragraphs from story that moved on Friday.)To contact the reporters on this story: Yudith Ho in Kuala Lumpur at yho35@bloomberg.net;Anisah Shukry in Kuala Lumpur at ashukry2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


6/23/2019 11:50:38 PM

UPDATE 1-Iran, Venezuela may complicate global oil deal talks - KazakhstanTalks between OPEC and its allies next month about whether to extend their pact on cutting oil supplies "won't be easy" and may be complicated by the situation facing Iran and Venezuela, Kazakh Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev said. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other large oil producers, including Russia and Kazakhstan, meet in Vienna on July 1-2 to discuss whether the oil output deal, which expires after June 30, should be continued. Kazakhstan wanted the deal extended into the second half of the year, he said, describing the oil price in a range of $60-$70 per barrel as "suitable".


6/24/2019 1:29:28 AM

Italy holds Netherlands, EU 'responsible' for migrant boatItaly's hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said he would hold the Netherlands and the European Union "responsible" for the fate of 42 migrants that Rome has blocked from disembarking at Italian ports for over a week. The Dutch-flagged rescue boat Sea-Watch 3 has been stuck in the Mediterranean since rescuing 53 migrants drifting in an inflatable raft off the coast of Libya on June 12. While 11 of those on board the Sea-Watch have been allowed to disembark -- including two pregnant women -- the vessel has been denied permission to dock in Italy.


6/23/2019 10:00:56 AM

Syria says sabotage damaged underwater oil pipelinesFive underwater pipelines have been damaged and put out of order after a sabotage attack off the coastal town of Banias, Syria's oil ministry said Sunday. The damage was discovered after divers checked to see what was behind an oil leakage, the ministry said. Banias is home to one of Syria's two oil refineries.


6/23/2019 12:40:59 PM

Iran executes 'CIA spy' amid Gulf tensionsIran has hanged a CIA informer said to be a former member of the military unit that downed the US drone on Thursday. Iran’s Judiciary Unit for Armed Forces confirmed an earlier report by Iran Human Rights organisation (IRH) that Seyyed Jamal Haji-Zavareh was executed last week on charges of "spying for an enemy state and the CIA”. Hajizavareh was reportedly executed at the Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, west of Tehran. The justice department has denied Haji-Zavareh had been a senior member of the military unit and has referred to him as “a subcontracted former employee of the Ministry of Defence who had left his job nine years ago”. However, according to the rights group, prior to his arrest in September 2017, Seyed Jamal (also known as Siavash) Haji-Zavareh was an employee of the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). He had been arrested along with his wife, Leila Tajik.  Iran said earlier this week it had dismantled a 'new' US spy network in the country linked to the CIA The force was established in the late 1980s after the end of Iran-Iraq war as part of theIRGC’s air force and is currently in charge of Iran’s strategic missile forces. Pictures on Iranian national TV today showed the commander of the Guards’ aerospace division General Amirali Hajizadeh inspecting the retrieved sections of the US surveillance drone and admitting that his force’s missile had downed it on Thursday. Iran has accused US of violating its national sovereignty by flying the drone over the waters of the Strait of Hormuz, but Washington has maintained that the spying unmanned plane had been in international airspace when hit by a missile. “A well-informed source told IHR Jamal was held in a place called the death cell. He was tortured severely”, the rights group said, adding that Jamal’s wife, Leila Tajik, has been sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment and is held at Kachouei prison of Tehran. “They could not have a lawyer of their own choice,” the source said, “Siavash (Seyed Jamal) was in solitary confinement at an unknown place owned by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.” The report comes days after Iran said it had dismantled a "new" US spy network in the country linked to the CIA, amid escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington. In what it termed a "wide-reaching blow" to US intelligence, state news agency IRNA said on Tuesday that Tehran had carried out the operation in cooperation with "foreign allies", without naming any state. President Donald Trump said Friday the United States was "cocked & loaded" to strike Iran but pulled back at the last minute as it would not have been a "proportionate" response to Tehran's shooting down of the unmanned drone. The downing of the drone came after tensions spiked between the two countries following a series of attacks on oil tankers the US has blamed on Iran.


6/22/2019 10:42:47 AM

Sentencing looms in Charlottesville attack; man seeks mercyThe avowed white supremacist who plowed his car into counterdemonstrators opposing a white nationalist rally in Virginia two years ago, killing one person and injuring dozens, has asked a judge for mercy and a sentence shorter than life in prison. Lawyers for James Alex Fields Jr., 22, said in a sentencing memo submitted in court documents Friday that the defendant should not spend his entire life in prison because of his age, a traumatic childhood and a history of mental illness.


6/23/2019 8:47:50 AM

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