• Joe Biden criticizes Kim Jong Un; North Korea calls Biden 'an imbecile'
    Politics
    Reuters

    Joe Biden criticizes Kim Jong Un; North Korea calls Biden 'an imbecile'

    Kim said in April that his personal relationship with Trump was still good despite the collapse of their second summit in Vietnam in February. Biden's campaign responded to North Korea by calling the relationship between Trump and Pyongyang "antithetical to who we are." Biden, at a campaign launch in Philadelphia on Saturday, said: "Are we a nation that embraces dictators and tyrants like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and Kim Jong Un?" Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state media, responded to Biden's criticism in a commentary late on Tuesday. Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates, in a statement responding to the KCNA remarks, repeated that Kim is a dictator and a tyrant.

  • Democratic Rep. Tells Acting DHS Chief: Migrant Kid Deaths Under Your Watch Are ‘Intentional’
    News
    The Daily Beast

    Democratic Rep. Tells Acting DHS Chief: Migrant Kid Deaths Under Your Watch Are ‘Intentional’

    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/CSPANThe acting head of the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday was accused of overseeing the “intentional” deaths of five migrant children, in an aggressive line of questioning by a Democratic member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Rep. Lauren Underwood, an Illinois Democrat serving her first term, called the deaths the logical result of “a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration,” an assertion that Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan disputed as “an appalling accusation.”McAleenan, who was first tapped to replace outgoing secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April, previously served as commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, where he was an architect of the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families. That policy, Underwood said, as well as a spate of recent deaths of children in DHS custody, amounts to more than simple administrative negligence.“People keep dying, sir. People keep dying,” Underwood said at the conclusion of five minutes of aggressive questioning, disputing that overcrowding and lack of access to medical treatment at migrant detention facilities is the result of a lack of appropriations. “Congress has been more than willing to provide the resources and work with you to address the security and humanitarian concerns, but at this point, with five kids that have died, 5,000 separated from their families, I feel like—and the evidence is really clear—that this is intentional. It’s intentional.”DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Blames Migrant Girl’s Death in Border Patrol Custody on Her FamilyAs colleagues protested her characterization, Underwood continued, calling the deaths “a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration, and it’s cruel and inhumane.”McAleenan, who co-authored a memo to then-Secretary Nielsen asserting that Homeland Security could “direct the separation of parents or legal guardians and minors held in immigration detention so that the parent or legal guardian can be prosecuted,” protested Underwood’s remarks.“That’s an appalling accusation, and our men and women fight hard to protect people in our custody every single day,” said McAleenan, adding that Congress providing adequate resources “would have prevented this from happening.”Republican committee members—as well as one Democrat, Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan—voted to strike Underwood’s remarks from the congressional record.On Monday, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy became the fifth minor to die in U.S. government custody since December after being kept in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility for more than a week. Federal law requires minors to be held in Border Patrol stations, which are not equipped to house children or the infirm, for no longer than 72 hours.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.

  • Missouri: destructive tornado leaves three people dead and severe damage
    News
    The Guardian

    Missouri: destructive tornado leaves three people dead and severe damage

    The National Weather Service confirmed that the deadly tornado moved over Missouri's capital, Jefferson City, shortly before midnight. Across the state, Missouri's first responders once again responded quickly and with strong coordination as much of the state dealt with extremely dangerous conditions that left people injured, trapped in homes, and tragically led to the death of three people,” Governor Mike Parson said. Authorities said the three were killed in the Golden City area of Barton county, near Missouri's south-west corner, as the severe weather moved in from Oklahoma, where rescuers struggled to pull people from high water.

  • Iran Says It Will Hit Limit on Nuclear Stockpile in Weeks
    World
    Bloomberg

    Iran Says It Will Hit Limit on Nuclear Stockpile in Weeks

    “If we were proceeding at the previous speed, it would have taken several months,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, in an interview with Tehran’s Vatan Emrooz newspaper. The 2015 deal cut Iran’s low-enriched uranium by some 97% and capped its stockpile at 300 kilograms (661 pounds). Iran has remained well below that inventory limit for more than a year and had just 203 kilograms on hand during the first quarter, according to monitoring data.

  • 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.

  • 14 Garage Organization Ideas That'll Give You Back Your Parking Spot
    Lifestyle
    Car and Driver

    14 Garage Organization Ideas That'll Give You Back Your Parking Spot

    It's so strangely soothing to see everything this organized in the garage.From Car and Driver

  • Business
    Reuters

    Factbox: Global tech companies shun Huawei after U.S. ban

    (Reuters) - Global technology companies, including chip suppliers, are cutting off their ties with China's Huawei Technologies Co after the Trump administration put the world's largest telecom equipment maker on a trade blacklist, citing national security concerns. The government has effectively banned U.S. firms from doing business with Huawei, escalating the ongoing trade war. However, Huawei has been allowed to buy U.S. goods until Aug. 19 to maintain existing telecoms networks and provide software updates to its smartphones. ...

  • Lawmaker's censure sought after comments about Trump Jr.
    Politics
    Associated Press

    Lawmaker's censure sought after comments about Trump Jr.

    Alabama lawmakers abruptly adjourned after one lawmaker called for the censure of another over comments that included calling the president's son "evidently retarded." Republican Rep. Arnold Mooney of Shelby County on Wednesday went to the House microphone to read a letter seeking censure of Rep. John Rogers, a Democrat. Mooney said Rogers brought "shame" on Alabama with comments he made after debate on a proposed abortion ban.

  • Stealth History: The F-35C Is Now Ready For War If the U.S. Navy Needs It
    Business
    The National Interest

    Stealth History: The F-35C Is Now Ready For War If the U.S. Navy Needs It

    By 2025, the Navy's aircraft carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft such as the Navy Osprey tiltrotor aircraft variant.As the F-35C becomes officially deemed “operational” and “ready for war," the Navy is adding weapons, sensors and software to the aircraft to expand its attack envelope --- and may even increase the F-35s ability to carry up to 6 air-to-air weapons in its internal weapons bay.Such a configuration, which would increase the stealth fighter’s internal weapons load by two missiles, has been designed and implemented by F-35-maker Lockheed Martin -- as an offering for the Air Force and Navy to consider.“Lockheed Martin has matured design concepts to integrate 6 air-to-air missiles within the internal weapons bays of the F-35A and F-35C variants,” Lockheed Martin spokesman Michael Friedman told Warrior in a written statement.While making a point to emphasize that any decision to increase the weapons capacity of the F-35 would of course need to come from the military services themselves, Lockheed engineers say the new “internally carried” firepower would massive increase attack options -- all while preserving the stealth configuration of the aircraft.

  • Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly storms
    News
    Reuters

    Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly storms

    Weather forecasters on Wednesday expected drenching rains to roll into the storm-ravaged U.S. southern and central states, where thunderstorms and tornadoes killed at least three people and triggered widespread flooding. More than 30 tornadoes struck a swath from Texas to Iowa since Monday, according to the National Weather Service, and residents in at least three Oklahoma riverfront communities were urged to evacuate due to flooding. One person was killed and another was injured when a tornado struck the rural town of Adair, Iowa, about 50 miles (80 km)west of Des Moines, at about 1:30 a.m. local time, the weather service said.

  • Outcry after Trump officials reveal sixth migrant child died in US custody
    News
    The Guardian

    Outcry after Trump officials reveal sixth migrant child died in US custody

    Ten-year-old girl from El Salvador died on 29 September ‘due to fever and respiratory distress’ after complications with surgery Children and workers at a tent encampment near the Tornillo port of entry in Tornillo, Texas, on 19 June 2018. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images The Trump administration has been forced to reveal that a 10-year-old migrant girl died in its custody more than seven months ago, sparking further outcry after a spate of recent migrant child deaths while detained by the US government. The 10 year-old girl from El Salvador is the sixth child to die in custody in the past eight months. Her death was not previously reported by authorities and was only made public late on Wednesday after a report by CBS News. The child’s name and how she entered the US has not been made public by authorities, but a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which administers the care of unaccompanied minors, told CBS the child had a history of congenital heart defects. The spokesman said the child was taken into the custody of an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facility in Texas on 4 March last year in a “medically fragile” state. The girl underwent surgery and was left in a coma after complications with the procedure. She was eventually transferred to a children’s hospital in Nebraska and died on 29 September “due to fever and respiratory distress”. The revelations follow the announcement of another child death in custody earlier in the week. Carlos Hernández Vásquez, 16, an unaccompanied minor from Guatemala, was found dead in immigration custody in south Texas. The teenager had been held in custody by US border patrol for a week, twice the time that is legally allowable. Reports indicate the teenager had been diagnosed with flu before his death but it remains unclear what, if any, treatment he received for his illness from authorities. Carlos is the fifth child from Guatemala to die in immigration custody over the past eight months. Wilmer Josué Ramírez Vásquez, two, died earlier this month after being taken into custody in April and falling sick. Juan de León Gutiérrez, 16, an unaccompanied minor, died on 30 April after falling ill in detention in south Texas. Felipe Gómez Alonzo, eight, died in December 2018 in New Mexico after falling sick in custody. And Jakelin Caal Maquin, seven, died the same month after contracting sepsis in custody. Jess Morales Rocketto, chair of Families Belong Together, a group that campaigns against the forced separation of migrant families after crossing the US-Mexico border, said: “Yet another tragedy on our watch.” She added, about the latest report: “It is simply outrageous. It is unacceptable that the nation is hearing about this tragedy for the first time eight months after her death, and it raises serious questions about how many other migrant children’s deaths the Trump administration either doesn’t know about, doesn’t care about or is sweeping under the rug.” Congressional Democrats are calling for an investigation into the death of the 10-year-old girl as US border agents temporarily closed the primary migrant processing facility in south Texas due to an outbreak of poor health conditions. Although HHS was not legally required to make the death of the 10 year-old public, a number of Democrats have accused the Trump administration of a cover-up. the former US housing secretary and Democratic candidate for president Julián Castro‏ described the administration as “morally bankrupt” for withholding the details.

  • Major Texas border station closed for flu outbreak after teen death
    News
    AFP

    Major Texas border station closed for flu outbreak after teen death

    A major Texas border station has been temporarily closed due to a fever outbreak, officials said, one day after a Guatemalan teenager diagnosed with flu at the facility died in immigration custody. Medical staff imposed the quarantine at the McAllen processing center after a "large number" of detainees were found to have high fevers and symptoms of a flu-related illness. "To avoid the spread of illness, the Rio Grande Valley Sector has temporarily suspended intake operations at the CPC," Customs and Border Protection said in a statement late Tuesday, referring to the Central Processing Center.

  • Surprise: The ‘AI bot’ people talk to on Google Duplex calls is sometimes actually a person
    Business
    BGR News

    Surprise: The ‘AI bot’ people talk to on Google Duplex calls is sometimes actually a person

    When Google unveiled Google Duplex last year at I/O 2018, the brand new Assistant feature looked terrific. It was the kind of futuristic technology nobody else had. With a simple voice command, you could instruct the Assistant to make restaurant reservations for you by placing a phone call using an AI bot. But soon after that keynote, it became clear that Duplex is somewhat creepy, as Google failed to identify the robocall to the other person. It was also kind of disingenuous, since the entire demo wasn't live.Google dealt with those issues at the time and Google Duplex deployment continued, culminating with this year's I/O announcement that the feature will be available in 44 states. Also, Google said that Duplex is getting similar functionality for booking reservations on the web. But a brand new report reveals additional details that were previously not known about Duplex, which brings the creepy back. It turns out that Google employees are actively involved in making many of these Duplex calls.A report from The New York Times reveals that about 25% of calls placed through Duplex started with a human. Beyond that, 15% of calls that started off with the Duplex AI bot had a human intervene at some point.The whole point of using the Assistant to make restaurant reservation is to eliminate the human side of things. That's why Google Duplex appeared to be so amazing in the first place. Having humans involved in the whole thing is where things get strange. Yes, maybe Duplex needs human oversight and the best way to train AI is by having it work with a lot of examples to learn from. But Google never really mentioned this human aspect of Google Duplex, which sort of ruins the magic of it all. Yet again, it's somewhat disingenuous.Also, there's user privacy to take into account. A human interacting with a restaurant on your behalf is different from a computer doing it, as the human is also let in on the booking information. It may seem trivial, but where does one agree to involve a Googler in setting up one's dinner plans?Google does say on its support pages that Duplex calls are recorded for quality assurance, which means someone may listen to your reservations: If the customer wants to book an appointment, the Assistant will confirm specific details like the customer's preferred time, type of service, or size of party. Once this information is confirmed, the Assistant will try to book an appointment with your business by using an online booking partner (if available) or by calling your business using the automated voice-calling technology Duplex (calls are recorded for quality assurance).Also, Google has a tiny note that a manual operator might start calls in the frequently asked questions section, although it's hardly enough (emphasis ours): At the start of the call, you'll hear the reason for the call and that the call is from Google. You can expect the call to come from an automated system or, in some cases, a manual operator.Google Duplex is clearly a far less polished product that Google led us to believe a year ago. Also, considering its renewed interest in protecting the user's privacy, Google should do a much better job explaining what goes on behind the scenes of a Google Duplex call when it comes to your privacy. The full Times report, complete with examples that explain what a human-made Google Duplex call looks like, is available at this link.

  • Ford presents home-delivery robot
    Technology
    AFP Relax News

    Ford presents home-delivery robot

    The American automaker Ford has unveiled "Digit," a two-legged, almost human-like robot capable of making home deliveries. Designed in collaboration with Agility Robotics, Digit can walk, go up and down stairs, and carry packages of up to 40 pounds (just over 18kg), like a human. Ford's technology, research and development department is full of surprises.

  • Biden blasts Trump for saying he 'deserted' Pennsylvania: 'I was 10'
    Politics
    Yahoo News

    Biden blasts Trump for saying he 'deserted' Pennsylvania: 'I was 10'

    The former vice president blasted President Trump for telling the crowd at a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this week that he “deserted” them.

  • Teen arrested in attack on off-duty firefighter defending elderly couple on Upper East Side
    U.S.
    WABC – NY

    Teen arrested in attack on off-duty firefighter defending elderly couple on Upper East Side

    The 17-year-old suspect told reporters that he was "defending his friend." He's charged with second-degree assault.

  • Congress leader Rahul Gandhi loses his home seat in humiliating election defeat
    World
    The Telegraph

    Congress leader Rahul Gandhi loses his home seat in humiliating election defeat

    The Indian National Congress Party went from understated optimism to shellshocked defeat within the space of a few hours on Thursday as Narendra Modi and his party celebrated another landslide victory. For the Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, the performance by his party was nothing short of a humiliation, with several members of his own party demanding he step down and lay the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to rest for good. Mr Gandhi suffered the sting of losing the iconic seat of his family homestead in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, which he had held since 2004  and was controlled by his father before him. He won in his second constituency – candidates can run from two in India – but the symbolism of the defeat was one from which he may never recover. Modi vowed to build an 'inclusive' India after a first term marred by accusations of fomenting religious hatred Credit: AFP At a brief press conference as the results were still coming in, Mr Gandhi congratulated Mr Modi and said “the people are king and they have directed that the BJP and Modi have won this election”. He added: “I don't want to get into what went wrong today, this is not the time for that. I fully respect the Indian people's decision.” During the briefing he also conceded defeat in the Amethi election and congratulated his opponent Smriti Irani, of the BJP, who was more than 28,000 votes ahead at the time. Congress party officials did not return calls by The Telegraph but there were widespread reports in Indian media that the party had wildly miscalculated the margin of any potential loss with its internal polling, and now all that was left was to call for its talisman's head. “If they want to change anything, change the leadership,” a Congress official in Rajasthan told Reuters, referring to Mr Gandhi and the party's high command. “You need to give young people a chance.” However Mr Gandhi, 48, will probably not face an immediate leadership challenge as India's establishment party does some soul searching after an inglorious defeat. Some reports claimed Mr Gandhi had offered to resign. “According to sources, Sonia Gandhi and senior Congress leaders advised him to bring up the matter before the party forum,” reported India Today TV. “The CWC (Congress Working Committee) will meet in a week in which the proposal will be discussed,” it added. Ironically the youthful pretender had grown into his role as leader in the past 18 months after previously being seen as a reluctant heir to his political lineage which stretched back to India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. He campaigned vigorously and was not shy on calling out Mr Modi on the economy, national security, Hindu nationalism and women's rights. After a while the media started to take notice. However behind the scenes his inability to foster good relations with a host of regional party leaders that could have generated a tenable anti-Modi alliance may have damaged his chances. "The BJP fought these elections on the basis of social and religious divisive policies and the agenda was set by them on this basis," said Atul Kumar Anjaan, national secretary of the Communist Party of India, a potential ally.  "But more significant is the fact that the unity of the opposition has been damaged by the Congress. The policies and decisions of Rahul Gandhi has weakened opposition unity, led to divisions and opened the doors for Modi's victory.” Congress has ruled India for most of its history since independence from Britain in 1947, and boasts three prime ministers from the Nehru-Gandhi clan. But its weak performance in the last two elections seems to suggest it needs a drastic change of direction to take on someone with Mr Modi's political savvy.

  • Business
    Reuters

    U.S. judge approves PG&E $105 million wildfire assistance fund

    PG&E Corp may set up a $105 million housing fund for victims of 2017 and 2018 wildfires in California, which set records for devastation and were blamed on the utility's equipment, the judge overseeing the investor-owned power producer's bankruptcy ruled on Wednesday. Creditors, which include wildfire victims, are fighting for funds as PG&E navigates bankruptcy stemming from the blazes and as the state plans for increasingly long and dangerous fire seasons its officials attribute to climate change. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali at a hearing approved a motion by PG&E seeking permission to establish the fund for people who lost homes in the fires and were uninsured or have used up or will exhaust their insurance.

  • Tale of suicidal 'Handmaid' in New York goes viral
    News
    AFP

    Tale of suicidal 'Handmaid' in New York goes viral

    A red-cloaked "Handmaid" ready to hurl herself off a Manhattan building, possibly unhinged by recent legislative assaults on the right to abortion? For months now, amid the #MeToo movement and challenges to the right to abortion in the United States and elsewhere, demonstrations by women dressed in costumes inspired by "The Handmaid's Tale" have multiplied. The hit television series based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel evokes a world in which the United States has become a religious dictatorship where fertile women are enslaved and their rape is institutionalized.

  • Booker Vows to Create ‘Office of Reproductive Freedom’ If Elected
    Politics
    National Review

    Booker Vows to Create ‘Office of Reproductive Freedom’ If Elected

    Senator Cory Booker (D., N.J.) announced on Wednesday that he will create a “White House Office of Reproductive Freedom” if he triumphs in the expansive Democratic primary field and is elected president in 2020.According to a plan released by Booker's campaign, the office would coordinate with officials from multiple agencies to ensure the fulfillment of his administration's reproductive-health priorities, including, among other things, access to abortion, contraception, paid family leave, and pregnancy care.“Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country are mounting a coordinated attack on abortion access and reproductive rights,” Booker said in a statement. “A coordinated attack requires a coordinated response. That’s why on day one of my presidency, I will immediately and decisively take executive action to respond to these relentless efforts to erode Americans’ rights to control their own bodies. I will also pursue a legislative response, including legislation to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law.”As part of this effort, Booker also vowed to reinstate funding for the United Nations Population Fund, which focuses on promoting global reproductive health. He also would reverse the Trump administration's Mexico City policy, which prohibits clinics that receive federal funding under Title X from providing or promoting abortion overseas.The announcement comes just days after Alabama governor Kay Ivey signed the nation's most restrictive abortion bill into law. The bill, which prohibits virtually all abortions at any stage of pregnancy, is currently unenforceable but was advanced by the state's Republican legislature in order to prompt a challenge to Roe v. Wade.Booker and a number of his fellow presidential aspirants have vowed to advance federal legislation to codify the federal abortion policy created by the Supreme Court decision in Roe.