• US weather service issues highest tornado warnings in two years
    News
    The Independent

    US weather service issues highest tornado warnings in two years

    More than two million people in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle are in harms way after the National Weather Service's Storm Prevention Centre announced a threat level-five warning - their highest - for violent tornadoes as well as warnings for significant hail and flooding lasting into Monday night.They've also designated the storm a 'Particularly Dangerous Situation' or PDS, their most dire classification. This is the first time in two years that the National Weather Service has issued such high warnings for a storm. According to the SPC, the probability of all three weather types is 95%. The only other storm to have had such high probabilities in the SPC's history, was an Alabama storm in 2011, the centre pointed out. Marble-sized hail has already been reported in Oklahoma and baseball sized hailstones are a possibility.In anticipation of the storm Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma, closed down schools for the day, while Tinker Air force Base evacuated some of its aircraft, CNN reported. Veteran storm chaser Mike Smith cautioned others against braving the storm. "To: StormChasers, I believe I am the only one of the original, 1972, chasers still chasing. But, I will not be out today. It is too dangerous. The tornadoes will be difficult to see and too dense & flooding could cut off escapes." he wrote in a tweet.The storm comes on the 6th anniversary of the 2013 Moore tornado that killed 24, including 9 children, in the town of Moore, Oklahoma.Over the weekend 52 other tornadoes hit seven states across the country.

  • Trump Hits Biden for Minimizing China Threat to U.S. Economy
    Politics
    Bloomberg

    Trump Hits Biden for Minimizing China Threat to U.S. Economy

    “They want Biden so that China can continue to make $500 billion dollars a year and more ripping off the United States,” Trump said at rally in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, on behalf of a Republican running in a special election for the House. Biden downplayed China while campaigning in Iowa City, Iowa, on May 1, drawing criticism from some of the other Democrats challenging him for the party’s nomination.

  • Is It Cheaper To Buy A 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback From Britain?
    Lifestyle
    motorious

    Is It Cheaper To Buy A 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback From Britain?

    This immaculate 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback is estimated to sell at British auction for $95K. It’s hard not to whisper Steve McQueen’s name when presented with a Ford Mustang 390 GT Fastback, even if it isn't a 1968 model. The American classifieds may provide evidence of eye-watering sums being traded for healthy Fastback specimens, but it’s not always the case in Great Britain.

  • Accused Thief Taunted Disney World With Photo of Stolen Robot’s Mutilated Head
    News
    The Daily Beast

    Accused Thief Taunted Disney World With Photo of Stolen Robot’s Mutilated Head

    Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast/Photos GettyIf you’re accused of stealing an animatronic child from Disney World, maybe don’t make a wildly popular Disney-related Twitter account and post a picture of the stolen robot child with its eyes gouged out.“Buzzy,” an animatronic boy from an abandoned Disney World attraction, has been missing for months. Online, Disney superfans treated the disappearance like a kidnapping. But the investigation into the theft led police to someone in the online Disney fandom: a Disney blogger who taunted Disney about their security, posted conspiracy theories about Buzzy’s disappearance and, in the final days before his arrest, uploaded a picture of the robot’s decapitated and eyeball-less head.Patrick Spikes, 24, was arrested last week. He worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, until last year. But Spikes didn’t completely part ways with the theme park after he stopped working there. Instead, he started churning out videos, podcasts, and tweets under the username “BackDoorDisney.” His Twitter account, which amassed more than 17,000 followers before going dark last week, promised to give fans an inside view of Disney World. In its seven months of operation, the account uploaded pictures of Disney control rooms, secret maps, and Disney cast members pretending to have sex while dressed as characters from Toy Story.Soon, Spikes was posting about an even more salacious Disney World story. In August, Disney told police that someone had stolen clothes off Buzzy. The 300-pound animatronic child used to sit inside the “Cranium Command” exhibit, in Epcot’s Wonders of Life Pavilion. But the building, which hosted somewhat dated attractions, had been closed for years. The stolen clothes (including a miniature bomber jacket) were worth nearly $7,000, Disney claimed, according to an affidavit from Florida’s Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Later, the entire robot was stolen, an operation that required the thief to cut through electric cables.Spikes and other Disney bloggers posted about Buzzy’s rumored disappearance. But Spikes and a crowd of Disney fans who broke into the park soon came under suspicion. Spikes routinely boasted of secret trips through Disney World, including with a friend who climbed the park’s Thunder Mountain roller coaster.“Good job filling the holes under the Mk back fence this morning,” Spikes wrote in a January tweet directed at Disney. “I told you guys about this issue 2 months ago but it took somebody going in and climbing one of your coasters for you to care.”On his personal Twitter account, Spikes taunted Disney, advising them to buy a bulk box of security cameras from Best Buy. As the search for Buzzy continued, Disney fans speculated that an urban explorer might have snatched the robot.Eventually, police began narrowing in on Spikes and his scene. Investigators found an October picture of Buzzy on Spikes’ @BackDoorDisney account. The picture does not appear to have been taken inside the Cranium Command exhibit. In texts with investigators, Spikes allegedly let slip that Buzzy’s clothes were sold on the black market for $8,000.Police got a warrant for Spikes’ cellphone and called him in for questioning in December. The meeting went poorly when Spikes tried to cut it short.“The defendant stated he felt sick and felt that he was going to vomit,” police alleged in an affidavit. “A short time later, he began to make strained breathing noises, and stated he couldn’t breath. He requested water, which was given to him, and also was allowed to lay on the floor. The fire department responded and all vitals were normal.” Spikes was taken to a hospital. Police charged him with non-violently resisting arrest. He has pleaded not guilty.Spikes later made a video about a police search on his house, and professed his innocence.“I said ‘really? The entire thing got stolen?’ I didn’t really believe it,” he said in the March video. “It blew my mind. I was like, you can’t be serious right now.”Later in the video, Spikes suggested that Disney had staged Buzzy’s disappearance in order to shut down his BackDoorDisney account.“There’s a theory someone talked about that Imagineering [a Disney team] removed Buzzy and didn’t tell anyone else. So when Operations, the part of the company that runs the Pavillion noticed he was missing, they filed him as ‘stolen,’” he said. “Did Disney willingly file a report, knowing the thing wasn’t stolen, just to run me down? Because obviously I had been posting a lot of backstage photos and stuff, and information … It almost seems like they wanted my phones because they knew I had a lot of backstage photos on them.”But BackDoorDisney kept implying inside knowledge of Buzzy’s disappearance.In a May 12 tweet, he tweeted a picture of Buzzy’s fate. The tweet showed a picture of Buzzy’s decapitated head, with its eyeballs scratched off. The image was included in a screenshot of a text Spikes received, which meant someone else might have stolen the robot.TwitterFive days later, police arrested Spikes. Although Buzzy’s disappearance featured prominently in an arrest affidavit (police appear to have started investigating him over Buzzy’s theft), Spikes was actually charged for a different series of alleged thefts from Disney World. His lawyer did not return The Daily Beast’s request for comment.In July, police alleged, Spikes printed a fake Disney employee card for his cousin and snuck him into the park. The pair allegedly snuck into the Haunted Mansion, a popular ride, and stole a collection of wigs and outfits from backstage. The clothes, which were designed for the ride’s animatronic ghosts, cost between $40 (a tiara) and $1,746 (a robot’s jacket), adding up to more than $7,000.Spikes and his cousin allegedly took pictures throughout the heist, and posed in the wigs at a nearby 7-Eleven. A video from shortly after the theft allegedly shows Spikes’ cousin’s girlfriend wearing a robot’s stolen dress.Disney may have priced the clothes at just over $7,000, but they allegedly went for four times that price on the black market. Days after the alleged burglary, Spikes allegedly received a combined $29,451 payment from two people over Paypal. One of the people, whose name is redacted in the affidavit, told police he paid Spikes $8,890 for 18 items from various Disney heists, including $1,000 for a Haunted Mansion dress.Shortly before his arrest, Spikes teased a forthcoming video about the black market for stolen Disney gear.Police haven’t charged Spikes with Buzzy’s disappearance. But they say his video about the raid on his house raised questions about his involvement. In the video, he showed part of a search warrant for his house. Police say he edited the document to remove references to two pieces of evidence police sought.“The fact that Spikes altered the warrant for his video and only removed these two items indicate that he was aware these items were used in a crime,” the affidavit reads.In that same video, Spikes tells viewers he’ll keep his lips tight about Buzzy’s disappearance until the investigation is over.“If things are still under investigation, I’m not going to get on YouTube and run my mouth about it,” he said. “That would be dumb.”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.

  • This walking robot could soon be delivering your packages
    Business
    CNBC

    This walking robot could soon be delivering your packages

    It may be years from visiting your neighborhood, but a walking robot is part of Ford's vision for how its autonomous vehicles will deliver packages.

  • Huawei to the Danger Zone: Chinese Telecommunications Company Threatens Britain's National Security
    Business
    The National Interest

    Huawei to the Danger Zone: Chinese Telecommunications Company Threatens Britain's National Security

    The news that the United States has put Huawei on the Entities List comes as the Henry Jackson Society publishes a report on the prospect of including Huawei into the United Kingdom’s build of 5G. I coauthored this report alongside Member of Parliament Bob Seely and Professor Peter Varnish. My job was to look into claims around Huawei’s place within China’s foreign-policy strategy. We have all seen claims around it being too close to the PLA or China’s security services, but were they actually true? Were these claims just an overly-protectionist America seeking to discredit a successful Chinese tech competitor to Apple and Silicon Valley? This whole discussion took place in the wake of a UK National Security Council meeting in late April, during which time—if the Telegraph newspaper is to believed—the council decided that Huawei could take part in a limited part of the UK’s 5G network.Our findings were absolutely clear: Huawei was constrained, influenced and directed by the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese state in a multiplicity of ways.Economic Direction

  • AP Explains: How Yemen's rebels increasingly deploy drones
    World
    Associated Press

    AP Explains: How Yemen's rebels increasingly deploy drones

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In Yemen, the high-pitched whine of drones has been a part of life for over 15 years, ever since the first U.S. drone strike here targeting al-Qaida in 2002. But now, Iran-backed Houthi rebels increasingly deploy drones in Yemen's brutal civil war.

  • U.S. Supreme Court takes no action in Indiana abortion cases
    Politics
    Reuters

    U.S. Supreme Court takes no action in Indiana abortion cases

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday took no action on appeals seeking to revive two restrictive Republican-backed abortion laws from Indiana, even as debate rages over a new measure in Alabama that would prohibit the procedure almost entirely. Neither Indiana case was on the list of appeals on which the court acted on Monday morning. If the nine-justice court takes up either case, it would give the conservative majority an opportunity to chip away at the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and recognized a right under the U.S. Constitution for women to terminate pregnancies.

  • Comrade Sanders Targets Charter Schools
    Business
    National Review

    Comrade Sanders Targets Charter Schools

    Few things offend Bernie Sanders as much as people escaping from command-and-control government systems, even minority students whose parents are desperate to get their kids a decent education.The socialist wants to turn George Wallace on his head and not block black children from attending traditional public schools, but block them from exiting those schools for something better.  The New York Times wrote a long, devastating report the other day on the then-Burlington, Vt., mayor’s love affair with the Sandinistas in the 1980s. So many decades later, his reflex is the same: If the Sandinistas wouldn’t favor it, he’s not inclined to like it much either. That goes for charter schools that, yes, are publicly funded, but still too flexible and unregulated for refined socialist tastes. Over the weekend, Sanders unveiled his education plan. He wants to end for-profit charter schools (about 15 percent of all charters) and impose a moratorium on new public funding of charters, while taking steps to impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory regime on existing charters.Sanders thus seeks to kneecap what has been an astonishingly successful experiment in urban education because it doesn’t fit nicely within his ideological preconceptions.That Sanders says he wants to do this to advance the principle that “every human being has the fundamental right to a good education” is hilariously perverse. The comrades will have a good chuckle over that one.Charter schools aren’t the product of a libertarian conspiracy. They fall short of the vouchers favored by conservatives to allow parents to get access to private schools. Charters receive public money but have more leeway to develop policies outside the regulatory and union straitjacket of traditional public schools. Charters had bipartisan support before a Vermont socialist became one of the party’s thought leaders. Bill Clinton won the first-ever lifetime achievement award from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Promoting charters was a hallmark of Barack Obama’s education agenda and a signature of Cory Booker’s mayoralty in Newark, N.J.Not all charters are created equal. Some don’t serve their students well, especially online charter schools, and the performance of suburban and rural charter schools hasn’t been very impressive. It’s the charter schools in urban areas with the worst traditional public schools that have excelled. According to a well-regarded 2015 study by Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, students in urban charter schools got the equivalent of 40 additional days of math instruction and 28 additional days of reading annually. The numbers for African-American students in poverty were even better. Charters in Newark and Boston have seen enormous academic gains.In New York City, the Success Academy founded by Eva Moskowitz — one of the foremost education reformers of our time — has eliminated racial and economic achievement gaps.It’s amazing what schools can do when they impose discipline, have the highest expectations, and focus with a laser intensity on instruction. Anyone interested in the education of minority students should seek to build on these oases of excellence, rather than cut them off. But the teachers unions hate charters, and they are a much more powerful potential cadre in the Sanders “revolution” than poor black kids. Sanders suggests that charter schools somehow increase segregation. This is nonsense, as Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine points out. Urban charter schools reflect the segregation of their neighborhoods where they are located — just like traditional public schools do.The polling shows that minority parents get what Sanders (and white progressives) refuses to understand. A solid majority of black and Hispanic Democrats have a favorable view of charters, while white Democrats have an unfavorable view by a 2-1 margin. It is doubtful how much of his anti-charter agenda Sanders would be able to enact if elected, since much of the action is at the state and local level. That he’s hostile to these schools should, regardless, redound to his shame. © 2019 by King Features Syndicate

  • Marlen Ochoa-Lopez: Mother and daughter 'distracted pregnant murder victim with photo album' before strangling her
    News
    The Independent

    Marlen Ochoa-Lopez: Mother and daughter 'distracted pregnant murder victim with photo album' before strangling her

    The pregnant 19-year-old who was murdered in Chicago was allegedly distracted by a mother and daughter with a photo album before being killed, according to court documents.The details surrounding the murder were made public by prosecutors as they sought to convince a judge not to release suspects Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and Desiree Figueroa, 24, who have been accused of executing a plot to kill Marlen Ochoa-Lopez in her ninth month of pregnancy.They reportedly lured the victim into their home by offering free baby clothes and a stroller, which they posted about online. Recently released details indicate the pair first tried to kill her by strangling her with a cord from behind.Prosecutors say that Ochoa-Lopez was able to get her fingers between the cord and her neck when the elder Figueroa first attempted to kill her. The alleged murderer then called for her daughter’s help, before then continuing to strangle Ochoa-Lopez for four to five minutes.The elder Figueroa then called emergency services, and said that the child she had just delivered was not breathing. The child is now reportedly in poor health, ad with “zero brain activity”.Police did not connect the murders until May, when they were made aware of Facebook communications between Ochoa-Lopez and the women.

  • Huawei founder says US underestimates company
    Business
    AFP

    Huawei founder says US underestimates company

    Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday shrugged off US attempts to block his company's global ambitions, saying the United States underestimates the telecom giant's strength. Ren spoke to Chinese media days after President Donald Trump issued orders aimed at thwarting Huawei's business in the United States, the latest salvo in a months-long effort to stop the company's charge to the top of the leaderboard in next-generation 5G technology. "The current practice of US politicians underestimates our strength," Ren said, according to transcripts from state-run media.

  • 'Nowhere for the water to go': Tornadoes, floods hit central US day after 20 tornadoes
    News
    USA TODAY

    'Nowhere for the water to go': Tornadoes, floods hit central US day after 20 tornadoes

    A tornado tore through a neighborhood near Tulsa International Airport on Tuesday as a powerful storm triggered flash flooding and washed out roads across parts of Oklahoma.

  • Secret Service Officers Are Being Sent to the Border
    News
    The Daily Beast

    Secret Service Officers Are Being Sent to the Border

    Jose Luiz Gonzalez/ReutersThe U.S. Secret Service is now participating in a not-so-secret undertaking: dealing with the influx of migrants at America’s southern border. According to a communication from the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters reviewed by The Daily Beast, the small law enforcement agency has sent personnel to the border already and is looking to send more in the coming weeks. The move came in response to a directive then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sent out earlier this spring asking each component of the department to find volunteers and dispatch them to the border. Even though it’s most closely associated with the White House, the Secret Service—along with a host of other entities and agencies—is a component of DHS. And as a result, it’s shipping people south. A DHS spokesperson did not dispute this reporting. “As we have consistently said, the Department is considering all options to address the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border,” said the spokesperson. “We will continue to work with our workforce to find dynamic solutions and funding to address this very serious problem. As part of this effort, it is our responsibility to explore fiscal mechanisms that will ensure the safety and welfare of both our workforce and the migrant population, which is also reflected in the supplemental request submitted to Congress.”The Daily Beast reported last week that the arm of DHS that handles threats to America’s cybersecurity and critical infrastructure, called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has struggled to find enough volunteers to head to the border and fulfill DHS headquarters’ request. The agency works to secure election systems, schools, and places of worship—all of which face acute threats. Besides protecting the president, the first family, and other prominent government figures, the Secret Service also conducts criminal investigations. Its focuses include financial crimes and cybersecurity threats. The diversion of law enforcement and national security personnel to the border has concerned some congressional Democrats, who say it may be a misuse of limited government resources. But pushing back against the dramatic increase in people trying to enter the U.S. through the southern border has become has become a singular priority of President Trump. In both March and April, law enforcement officials apprehended more than 100,000 people trying to enter the U.S., according to DHS statistics. During the Obama administration, the agency was beset by scandal: Washington socialites slipped past agents and crashed the president’s first state dinner; a Secret Service agent told his counterparts to stand down after a man fired a gun at the White House, thinking the sound came from a car backfiring; an agent who traveled to Amsterdam with the president to protect him got drunk and passed out in a hallway; and more, as NBC News has detailed. 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.

  • Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says
    World
    Bloomberg

    Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says

    Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives will win seven, while Labour will take 13 and the Liberal Democrats 12, Sporting Index predicted in an email in London on Tuesday. Sporting Index has had a consistently strong record in predicting some of the key twists and turns of the Brexit saga. Last month, about two hours before the latest vote on May’s Brexit deal, the spread betting firm forecast she’d lose by 60 votes.

  • Dog sitter caught walking around naked in customer's home
    U.S.
    Yahoo News Video

    Dog sitter caught walking around naked in customer's home

    A dog sitter has been caught on camera walking around her client’s house naked. Rosie Brown hired Casey Brengle to look after her two dogs, Penny and Daisy, while she went to a wedding for four days.

  • PHOTOS: Gun attack at bar in Brazil
    World
    Yahoo News Photo Staff

    PHOTOS: Gun attack at bar in Brazil

    A gang of gunmen reportedly attacked a bar in the capital of Brazil's northern Pará state Sunday afternoon, and authorities said 11 people were killed.The state security agency confirmed late Sunday only that six women and five men died in the incident in the Guamá neighborhood of the Pará state capital, Belém.The G1 news website said police reported that seven gunmen were involved in the attack, which also wounded one person. The news outlet said the attackers arrived at the bar on one motorcycle and in three cars.In late March, the federal government sent National Guard troops to Belém to reinforce security in the city for 90 days.Brazil hit a record high of 64,000 homicides in 2017, 70% of which were due to firearms, according to official statistics.Much of Brazil's violence is gang related. In January, gangs attacked across Fortaleza, bringing that city to a standstill with as commerce, buses and taxis shut down. (AP)See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Twitter and Tumblr.

  • Trump: U.S. will respond with 'great force' if Iran attacks interests
    Politics
    Reuters

    Trump: U.S. will respond with 'great force' if Iran attacks interests

    "I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will." His comments came as two U.S. government sources said the United States strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to, and possibly encouragement from, Iran fired a rocket on Sunday into Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone. The sources, who are familiar with U.S. national security assessments and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United States was still trying to establish which militia fired the Katyusha rocket on Sunday and the extent, if any, of Iranian involvement.

  • Could One of America's Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?
    Business
    The National Interest

    Could One of America's Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?

    What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter?Turkey, that’s what.Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently warned that the multinational F-35 program, of which Turkey is a member, would fail if Turkey were excluded. Turkey is facing sanctions, including being dropped from the F-35 program if it goes ahead with purchasing Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, which has raised Washington’s fears that F-35 secrets might be leaked to Russia. The U.S. has stopped shipping equipment to Turkey for that nation’s planned purchase of 100 F-35s, while the first two aircraft officially delivered to Turkey are still in the United States.For its part, Ankara is adamant that it has a right to purchase both American stealth fighters and Russian anti-aircraft missiles, despite the fact that the S-400 is one of the most likely Russian weapons to be used against the F-35. “We were surely not going to remain silent against our right to self-defense being disregarded and attempts to hit us where it hurts,” Erdogan said at a Turkish defense trade show. “This is the kind of process that is behind the S-400 agreement we reached with Russia.”“Nowadays, we are being subject to a similar injustice - or rather an imposition - on the F-35s ... Let me be frank: An F-35 project from which Turkey is excluded is bound to collapse completely.”

  • Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder: Baby boy cut from mother's womb opens eyes for the first time
    News
    The Independent

    Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder: Baby boy cut from mother's womb opens eyes for the first time

    A baby boy, cut from his mother's womb after her murder last month, opened his eyes for the first time on Tuesday as he fights for his life in a Chicago hospital.The mother, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, was nine months pregnant when she was killed last month. Clarisa Figueroa and her daughter Desiree Figueroa have been arrested as suspects.According to police, the pair had lured Ochoa-Lopez to their home under the pretext of offering her baby clothes.After strangling Ochoa-Lopez, the two allegedly cut the unborn baby out of her womb. Police said that they believe the elder Figuaroa had hoped to raise the child as her own after the recent death of her own son. Both Figueroas have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Clarissa's boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, has also been arrested and charged with concealing a homicide.The baby, who was removed from the womb almost two months premature, has been fighting for his life ever since.Sunday however, a picture emerged of the little boy in the arms of his father, Yovany Lopez, apparently taken shortly after he had opened his eyes for the first time, CNN reported."We were just praying and praying and he opened his eyes, and his dad said, 'Oh my God, he opened his eyes!'" Cecilia Garcia, a student pastor who is assisting the family and is the one who took the photo, told CNN.Garcia, said she was horrified when she first heard about the killing, but believes that the country has united in support of the family."She's evoked the whole nation of people, pouring their love out for this family," Garcia said in reference to Marlen. "He's a single dad now, and we're praying this baby makes it."

  • Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war
    Business
    AFP

    Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war

    The US has hit China where it hurts by going after its telecom champion Huawei, but Beijing's control of the global supply of rare earths used in smartphones and electric cars gives it a powerful weapon in their escalating tech war. A seemingly routine visit by President Xi Jinping to a Chinese rare earths company this week is being widely read as an obvious threat that Beijing is standing ready for action. Xi's inspection tour "is no accident, this didn't happen by chance," said Li Mingjiang, China programme coordinator at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore.

  • Ukraine’s New President Volodomyr Zelenskiy Vows Reform. Or Is It Revenge?
    World
    The Daily Beast

    Ukraine’s New President Volodomyr Zelenskiy Vows Reform. Or Is It Revenge?

    Maxym Marusenko/GettyVolodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s comedian turned politician, was sworn in as president on Monday in front of a parliament that was mostly hostile to his agenda. So Zelenskiy simply announced he would dissolve the parliament, calling snap elections. “Glory to Ukraine!” he said. In his inaugural speech, President Zelenskiy said that his main responsibility is to end the war against pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. After five years of fighting and thousands of lives lost, that certainly is his biggest challenge. But the solutions he offers are neither dramatic nor even very clear.When it comes to fighting corruption, however, an issue on which the vast majority of Ukrainians agree, Zelenskiy announced some bold strokes.Ukraine’s Funny New First Lady Is Dead Serious, Just Like Her HusbandHe wants to take away legal immunity from future parliament members. He wants to punish bureaucrats for corruption and fire the top military and law enforcement officials, including Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, and Vasily Gritsak, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service. Each name to be purged got an ovation.“The President delivered a brilliant speech. Brave. Powerful. I want to believe what he said,” Galina Odnorog, leader of a volunteer movement in eastern Ukraine, wrote in a Facebook post. “I had tears in my eyes when I listened to him.”But is Zelenskiy vowing reform, or revenge?Already there are signs that Ukraine's elites will use the change of leadership for a wide-ranging and destabilizing settling of scores.The national police have moved to stop some 180 top officials from the outgoing government of President Petro Poroshenko from leaving the country. The list includes Poroshenko, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy. Prosecutions are expected.Millions of Ukrainians welcome Zelenskiy’s revolutionary style, hoping he will stick to his word and become a radical corruption fighter during the five years of his presidential term. (Zelenskiy has promised not to run for a second term.)According to a poll by the Democratic Initiatives foundation, 91 percent of Ukrainians consider corruption the key issue, and will welcome arrests. Zelenskiy blamed his predecessor for impoverishing Ukraine and many people agree. Poroshenko’s slogan in the last elections was “to live in a new way,” Zelenskiy said at a recent news conference, noting that for average Ukrainians it should have been “to survive.”Zelenskiy’s electorate more than agrees.  “I want to see Poroshenko in prison for making us dirt poor,” Svitlana Maslova, a teacher in Cherkasy region told The Daily Beast. “I am a single mother, a teacher at an elementary school, I am surviving on $100 a month, let Poroshenko try to live on that salary with his children.” The risk of vendetta seems to be rising. The change of power opened the door for the return of powerful figures who were in exile under Poroshenko, including one of the senior officials who fled after street protests in 2014 that ousted President Victor Yanukovych. On Sunday, Yanukovych’s administrator Andrei Portnov returned to Ukraine, saying he intends now to sue Poroshenko and a number of other prominent Ukrainian politicians.Jailing political opponents, or targeting them in the judicial system, hardly counts as fighting corruption. Mustafa Nayyem, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, is blaming the current prosecutor general for the increased politicization of law enforcement:  Portnov’s return is “a symbolic result of Petro Poroshenko’s presidency,” a legacy of his final days, Nayyem wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday. Zelenskiy’s long time business partner, Ihor Kolomoisky, who has lived in self-imposed exile since 2017, also returned days before the change of leadership . Ukrainians know Kolomoisky, former governor of the Dnipro region in eastern Ukraine, as a defender of the east from pro-Russian forces. His business dealings are less straightforward. The FBI is investigating him for money laundering. Kolomoisky denied his crimes, insisting that the FBI probe “will result in nothing,” and blaming political vendettas for his legal problems.  As foreign delegations arrived in Kiev over the weekend, much attention fell on somebody who will not be present: President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has tried to mine Ukraine's turmoil for advantage in U.S. politics. Giuliani has been promoting the idea that Ukrainian officials assisted the Democratic Party in the 2016 election in the United States, trying to suggest a counterbalance to what the Mueller report called “sweeping and systematic” Russian interference helping to elect Trump.Giuliani had planned to visit Kiev this month but cancelled his trip at the last minute. He has continued to press for investigations on the Ukrainian collusion idea, and suggested that if they are not pursued it is only because "enemies of President Trump" are advising Zelenskiy. Whatever plans President Trump and his allies had for vendetta in Ukraine, it will be difficult to fulfil them now, since their ally Prosecutor General Lutsenko has been fired.Meanwhile, the Ukrainian political elite is on the move. In the past few days, several top government officials quit one after another, including the deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Pavel Demchin. Other senior officials were detained on corruption charges. Billionaire Ukrainian Oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky Under Investigation by FBIOn Friday, military prosecutors arrested Valery Yaroshenko, the head of the State Employment Service for receiving alleged kickbacks of up to $800,000. Ukraine’s new First Lady, Olena Zelenska, told The Daily Beast last month that her husband’s priorities were reforms and the fight against corruption and that continues to be his strongest theme. “Our priority is a victory over corruption; de-monopolization, de-oligarchization in the media,” Zelenskiy told E.U. Commissioner Johannes Hahn at a recent meeting. But Ukrainian oligarchs,are still powerful. They still control influential political parties and television channels–including Kolomoisky’s “1+1” television channel, which made Zelenskiy a star. If Zelenskiy manages to change all that, not just shuffle the deck, will he fulfill his promise and actually break the corrupt system in Ukraine. 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.

  • Boeing dismissed chance of 'bird strike' that may have caused second 737 Max crash
    Business
    The Guardian

    Boeing dismissed chance of 'bird strike' that may have caused second 737 Max crash

    * US investigators believe bird collision may have triggered crash * Ethiopian Airlines crash occurred months after Lion Air disasterTwo local boys examine debris gathered by workers during the continuing recovery efforts at the crash site in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, in March. Photograph: Jemal Countess/Getty ImagesBoeing officials, shortly after the first fatal crash of its 737 Max jet, played down the likelihood that a bird strike could impair the plane’s sensor equipment. Now investigators are exploring whether such a situation led to a second deadly accident just five months later.According to the Wall Street Journal, US aviation authorities believe a bird collision may have set off the sequence of events that led to the downing of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max in March, in which 157 people died.American Airlines pilots called a meeting with Boeing last November after a Lion Air Max crashed in Indonesia, killing all 189 passengers and crew.The Journal reviewed a recording of the meeting in which Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s vice-president of product strategy, raised and dismissed the possibility that a bird strike could trigger a second crash by affecting the Max’s controversial sensor system.Sinnett told the pilots he was “absolutely” confident that heightened pilot awareness following the Lion Air disaster had further reduced the chances of another accident.Ethiopian Airlines has been facing criticism of its pilots’ conduct in the wake of the crash. At a House hearing into the accidents last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator, Daniel Elwell, said pilot error contributed to the crash.In both crashes, the Max’s anti-stall system, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (Mcas), appears to have forced the planes’ noses down shortly after takeoff, leaving the pilots struggling unsuccessfully to right the jets before they crashed.The Mcas system may have been reacting to faulty information from sensors that could have been damaged by a bird strike.Ethiopian Airlines has rejected accusations that its pilots contributed to the crash. Officials have said Boeing failed to provide cockpit alerts that would have warned the pilots about sensor errors.Last week, the airline said its pilots followed procedures set out by the FAA and Boeing but “none of the expected warnings appeared in the cockpit, which deprived the pilots of necessary and timely information”.Nine countries and the US justice department are currently investigating the crashes.