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U.S. Navy says mine fragments suggest Iran behind Gulf tanker attackThe United States sought on Wednesday to bolster its case for isolating Iran over its nuclear and regional activities by displaying limpet mine fragments it said came from an oil tanker damaged in an attack last week and saying the ordnance looked Iranian in origin. Separately, a senior U.S. official said U.S. intelligence had confirmed that Iranian vessels had approached the damaged tanker, the Kokuka Courageous, as well as a second one, the Front Altair, prior to explosions that damaged their hulls last week. Iran has denied involvement in explosive strikes on those two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week and on four tankers off the United Arab Emirates on May 12, both near the Strait of Hormuz, a major conduit for global oil supplies.


6/19/2019 5:14:51 AM

Investigators crack cold case murder of South Dakota womanThe murder of a pharmacist who was raped and strangled in her home in a South Dakota city more than half a century ago has been solved with the use of DNA technology and genealogy databases, police said. Investigators believe Eugene Carroll Field killed 60-year-old Gwen Miller in 1968 when he was a 25-year-old living in Rapid City, Detective Wayne Keefe said at a news conference Monday. It is "a little surreal" to finally identify the killer after 51 years and up to 5,000 hours of work, Keefe said.


6/18/2019 1:55:07 PM

Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido under pressure over alleged misappropriation of aid fundsVenezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has launched an investigation after two members of his team allegedly stole money destined to help deserting Venezuelans soldiers in Colombia. The pair, Kevin Rojas and Rossana Barrera – sister-in-law of opposition politician Sergio Vergara, Mr Guaido’s right-hand man – are accused of taking the money designated for supporting Venezuelans in the Colombian border town of Cucuta and blowing it on hotels, clubs, designer clothes and cars. A failed attempt to get humanitarian aid into the country on February 23 saw more than 40 soldiers abandon President Nicolas Maduro and swear allegiance to his rival, Mr Maduro. Within three days, that number had swollen to 270 and Mr Guaido, in Cucuta to try and push the aid into Venezuela, praised the deserting soldiers as heroes. He officially designated Mr Rojas and Ms Barrera with the task of caring for the soldiers, who had defected at enormous risk to themselves and their families. Yet Colombian police became suspicious when Mr Rojas and Ms Barrera began living a lavish lifestyle and burning through money. Colombia's President Ivan Duque, left, greets Venezuelan soldiers who defected as he visits the border area near Cucuta on February 23 In one night alone, according to the PanAm Post, they spent over three million Colombian pesos (£700) in a nightclub and hotel. Ms Barrera, the website reported, told Mr Guaido’s team in Caracas that she was paying for seven hotels in Cucuta, used to house the soldiers. Yet in reality she was only paying for two; the other five hotels were paid for by Colombia’s government and the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. She also claimed there were 1,450 soldiers in her care; in reality the figure was 700. In mid May Ms Barreras, using a false email, invited members of the Bogota diplomatic elite to a fundraiser at the exclusive Pajares Salina restaurant in the city. She said the event was organised by Mr Guaido’s appointed “ambassador” to Colombia, Humberto Calderon Berti. The fundraiser was cancelled when Mr Calderon’s team alerted other diplomatic missions in Bogota that they were not behind the event. Aerial picture showing smoke billowing from trucks which were carrying humanitarian aid and which were set ablaze on the Francisco de Paula Santander International Bridge between Cucuta in Colombia (left) and Urena (right) in Venezuela, on February 23 Colombian authorities are said to have caught on to the excessive spending and misappropriation of funds and alerted Mr Guaido and fellow Popular Will leader Leopoldo Lopez, but reportedly received no response. Finally, on May 27 Mr Calderon’s team called a meeting in Cucuta, and asked Ms Barrera to show her accounts. She informed them she had spent $100,000 (£80,000), but was unable to provide substantial receipts, the website claimed. On Monday Mr Guaido said there would be a full investigation. "Dictatorships cover up corruption," he tweeted. "We don't." Ms Barrera and Mr Rojas are believed to still be in Colombia. He announced that he was appointing Lester Toledo, coordinator of the humanitarian aid, to oversee the inquiry. Juan Guaido stands on a lorry carrying humanitarian aid in Cucuta on February 23. It failed to pass the border “We are fulfilling our promise regarding humanitarian aid with firmness and transparency,” he said. “I’ve told Lester Toledo to head an investigation into Colombia and provide a statement to all the press and international allies.” Mr Toledo on Tuesday demanded prison sentences for those found guilty of corruption, saying they had asked the Colombian attorney general to open an investigation. He also insisted that the $213 million (£169m) in aid sent by the United States was managed directly by Washington, and had never entered Mr Guaido’s hands. The scandal has dealt a serious blow to Mr Guaido’s team, however, and has been seized upon by Mr Maduro. A recent poll by opposition-aligned Datincorp found only 36 per cent of Venezuelans recognise Mr Guaido as head of state, down from 49 per cent in February. Mr Maduro, whom Mr Guaido has repeatedly vowed to remove from office, has seen his recognition increase from 34 per cent in February to 41 per cent in June. He has been quick to highlight the alleged opposition theft, saying it shows Mr Guaido's camp cannot be trusted. "Corruption isn't new in the opposition," he said. "The evidence is coming out."


6/19/2019 4:15:57 AM

Echoing Beijing, Duterte’s Government Now Calls Boat Collision an ‘Accident’(Bloomberg) -- The Philippine government has fallen in with Beijing’s explanation that a Chinese vessel didn’t intentionally hit a Filipino boat in the South China Sea on June 9.Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday described the incident as "just an accident," adding the Chinese vessel may have left after hitting and sinking a Philippine boat with 22 fishermen out of fear of being “besieged” by other boats near Reed Bank.“Maybe the other side didn’t mean to brush against our boat,” Lorenzana said at a televised briefing in Manila on Wednesday.The Philippines’ Navy chief earlier said the Chinese vessel "rammed" the Filipino boat which was anchored when it was hit, while the spokesman of the military unit in charge of the disputed waters said the incident was "far from accidental." Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin also protested the incident, which he said he’d call a "hit and run."Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is not favoring China after the incident, said Lorenzana, who has also called for an apology and compensation from the Chinese vessel’s captain for damaging the Philippine boat.China’s Foreign Ministry earlier described the incident as an “accidental collision,” while Beijing’s embassy in Manila said the Chinese vessel’s crew was “afraid” of other Philippine boats in the area, prompting the captain to leave the Filipino fishermen.The sunken Philippine boat’s crew wants Duterte to ask China to hold the Chinese vessel’s captain criminally liable for abandoning them at sea, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said at a separate briefing after meeting the fishermen.“There is no justification to the act of the Chinese vessel to abandon the Filipino fishermen. Under international maritime laws, that is illegal. Under human laws, that is immoral,” Pinol said.To contact the reporter on this story: Andreo Calonzo in Manila at acalonzo1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecilia Yap at cyap19@bloomberg.net, Ruth PollardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


6/19/2019 1:26:36 AM

Mars has a brand new crater, and it sure is prettyMars, like any other rocky world, has its fair share of craters. These scars of ancient impacts give the dusty surface of the planet some serious personality, and sometimes it's easy to forget that new craters can happen right before our eyes. That's exactly what seems to have occurred, and a new image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals a brand new impact site that might only be a few months old.The image, which was captured by the HiRISE camera built into the orbiter, shows a bold dark patch of material surrounding a circular crater on the Martian surface. Researchers believe it might have been created as recently as February 2019.The University of Arizona posted the photo, along with the following caption:> An impressionist painting? No, it's a new impact crater that has appeared on the surface of Mars, formed at most between September 2016 and February 2019. What makes this stand out is the darker material exposed beneath the reddish dust.The photo itself was captured in April and is only just now getting the attention it deserves. However, because the orbiter can't be looking at the entire planet at all times, it's unclear when exactly the crater formed, and researchers can only narrow it down to sometime between September 2016 and February 2019.This is yet another great reminder of the fantastic work NASA's Mars orbiter has been doing for years now. The spacecraft originally launched way back in 2005 and arrived at Mars in March of the following year. When it did, its primary mission was only scheduled to last for two years, but it has since put in over 13 years of faithful service for scientists. As long as it keeps producing images like this one, we hope it keeps going for a long time to come.


6/18/2019 9:07:37 PM

Biden under fire for recalling 'civility' with racist senatorsJoe Biden drew strong condemnation Wednesday from fellow Democratic presidential contenders and demands for an apology after he defended his old-fashioned political style by recalling the "civility" with which he treated two segregationist US senators. Biden, who spent more than three decades in the US Senate, named late senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, both southern Democrats who fiercely opposed desegregation, as opponents who were in his own party when he entered the chamber in 1973. Eastland "never called me 'boy,' he always called me 'son,'" Biden said of the former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, according to a press pool report.


6/19/2019 5:31:31 PM

The Latest: Alex Jones sanctioned in Sandy Hook lawsuitA Connecticut judge has imposed sanctions on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for an outburst on his web show against a lawyer for relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting. Judge Barbara Bellis on Tuesday ordered the Infowars host to pay some of the relatives' legal fees and prohibited him from filing motions to dismiss their defamation lawsuit against him. The families of several of the 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 shooting are suing Jones, Infowars and others for promoting a theory that the massacre was a hoax.


6/18/2019 3:21:45 PM

High school graduates fall ill during trip to Dominican RepublicA group of high school graduates are the latest to fall ill in the Dominican Republic.


6/19/2019 9:06:03 AM

Has 'the sacrificial lamb' arrived?: U.N. cites new recordings in Khashoggi murderMoments before Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered last October, two of his suspected murderers waiting at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate fretted about the task at hand, according to a U.N. report published on Wednesday. Will it "be possible to put the trunk in a bag?" asked Maher Mutreb, a Saudi intelligence officer who worked for a senior advisor to the crown prince, according to the report from the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions. Mutreb and 10 others are now on trial in closed hearings in Saudi Arabia for their role.


6/19/2019 8:48:54 AM

To Deter Iran, Give War a ChanceIn April, Iran’s theocratic rulers vowed to disrupt shipping in the vitally important Persian Gulf. Last week, they made good on that promise, attacking two oil tankers owned by U.S. treaty allies Japan and Norway. And now the regime is vowing to stockpile enriched uranium in its latest act of nuclear blackmail.Tehran is counting on its long record of getting away with attacks on the free world. But sooner or later we must draw a line and give war a chance against the government that has always seen itself as being at war with us.The coordinated attacks on the oil tankers are only the latest in a long line of Iranian military actions, both directly and through proxies it controls. In early May, Tehran attacked four commercial ships. A few days later, its surrogates launched a rocket at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, mounted an attack in Afghanistan that wounded four U.S. soldiers. The Iranians also fired on a U.S. drone.


6/19/2019 6:50:00 AM

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