The release Sunday of an audio recording has shed new light on the seizure of a British-flagged tanker at the hands of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as tensions flare in the strategic Strait of Hormuz. The audio released by maritime security risk firm Dryad Global shows that a British frigate was too far away from the targeted tanker to keep it from being diverted into an Iranian port despite U.K. efforts to keep it from being boarded. On the recording, a stern-voiced British naval officer insists that the U.K.-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero must be allowed to sail through the Strait of Hormuz even as Iranian paramilitary forces demand — successfully — that the vessel change course.
Private investigator Michael Fisten first started digging into financier Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex trafficking crimes more than a decade ago when attorney Brad Edwards hired him. After Epstein signed a non-prosecution deal with federal prosecutors in 2008, Edwards had sued Epstein in civil court on behalf of a number of alleged victims who had been blindsided by the plea deal (which a judge later ruled to have violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act). Fisten was tasked with finding as much incriminating information on the financier as he could.
Bill de Blasio blasted Beto O'Rourke on Saturday over the former Texas lawmaker's opposition to “Medicare for All,” accusing his fellow Democratic presidential candidate of engaging in "lazy fear mongering tactics" as the health care policy debate ratchets up. Let's leave the lazy fear mongering tactics to Trump," the mayor of New York tweeted after O'Rourke said getting rid of private health care would force a majority of Americans off their existing insurance. O'Rourke opposes the single-payer health care plan — which would eliminate private insurance — and instead advocates for a plan that preserves employment-based insurance while giving individuals the option to switch to a new Medicare-based program.
Universal Orlando went under lockdown Saturday night after police received a report of a gunman spotted in a parking garage. Police arrived shortly after 8:30 p.m. local time and, along with Universal security staff, temporarily shut down both of Universal's parking garages to guests while they assessed the area. It was later deemed safe and park activity returned to normal.
The next trip to the moon isn't supposed to happen until 2024, but NASA is now ready to put living humans on the surface. On July 20, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, NASA confirmed that work on the Orion crew vehicle is complete. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine called the new development "an opportunity to take a giant leap forward for all of humanity." The Orion capsule is supposed to carry humans to the moon in 2024 as part of the larger Artemis program.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 448-page report capped an investigation that began in July 2016 after the FBI took alarm at Russian meddling in the presidential election battle. It expanded to include obstruction of justice allegations against President Donald Trump after Trump fired FBI director James Comey, who had overseen the investigation. Mueller was then named to lead the effort in May 2017.
An American citizen who allegedly served as a sniper for ISIS and became a leader for the terrorist group is expected to appear in federal court on Friday after being returned to the United States by the Defense Department, officials said. Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, who was born in Kazakhstan and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, is charged with providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, the Justice Department announced on Friday. A U.S. official confirmed to Task & Purpose that the Defense Department had transported Asainov from Syria to the United States.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Sunday he had not yet decided on how to respond to an expected U.S. request to send its navy to join a military coalition to safeguard strategic waters off Iran and Yemen. "We've started to hear the United States' thinking on this and we want to keep listening carefully," he said on national television as votes were being counted for the upper house election. "At the same time, Japan also has friendly ties with Iran," Abe added.
Booker, a New Jersey senator, said it would be “fair” to bring up the 1994 crime bill, which Biden supported in the Senate and has called the “Biden crime bill.” Booker said the measure put “mass incarceration on steroids” for African Americans. “Yeah, it is fair,” Booker said on CBS News's “Face the Nation,” when asked by host Margaret Brennan whether he would be more aggressive on race at the forums in Detroit on July 30-31.
A genetics expert retained by the family of a girl who went missing in 1983 said Saturday that a cavernous underground space near a Vatican cemetery holds thousands of bones that appear to be from dozens of individuals, both "adult and non-adult." The expert, Giorgio Portera, said the "enormous" size of the collection under the Teutonic College was revealed when Vatican-appointed experts began cataloguing the remains, which were discovered last week . "We didn't expect such an enormous number" of bones and other remains which "had been thrown into a cavity," Portera said.
Saudi Arabia's minister of state for foreign affairs on Sunday condemned Iran's seizure of a British flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and urged the international community to take action to deter such "unacceptable" behaviour. "Any attack on the freedom of navigation is a violation of international law," Adel Aljubeir said in a Twitter post. "Iran must realise its acts of intercepting ships, including most recently the British ship, are completely unacceptable.
Central command for the joint operation sent officers to the Dominican Republic and redoubled their surveillance in New York and Sicily, launching the investigation dubbed “New Connection” that netted 19 men in raids of both crime syndicates this week in Palermo, Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey. Among those arrested in Italy was Thomas Gambino who happened to be back in Sicily for a “family vacation. The police used WhatsApp, the encrypted international messaging service, to launch the raids.
WASHINGTON – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, has joined a growing chorus of lawmakers including Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in calling for the resignation of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló over a corruption scandal involving leaked text messages between the governor and top aides. In a Twitter video sent from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Friday, Gabbard called "on all Democrats running for President to come here to Puerto Rico and show support for our fellow Americans" against corruption, and called for Rosselló's resignation.
A Maryland man visiting Alaska with his family was killed and one of his three children was critically injured Friday after their floatplane's takeoff was aborted. Alaska State Troopers identified the deceased man as Joseph Patenella, 57. The critically hurt child was flown to Anchorage for treatment, along with two other family members.
"The EP-3 aircraft, flying a mission in approved international airspace, was approached in an unprofessional manner by the SU-30... The US routinely conducts multi-nationally recognized and approved detection and monitoring missions in the region to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and those of our partners," it added. It also revealed Maduro's "recklessness & irresponsible behavior, which undermines int'l rule of law & efforts to counter illicit trafficking," it added.
Chuck Ross Politics, Problems ahead? The Democratic National Committee raised $8.5 million in June and has $9.3 million in the bank, according to campaign finance records released Friday. Both figures are far behind what the Republican National Committee said it has raised.
The man suspected of killing 34 people in an arson attack in Japan lived alone, hundreds of kilometres from the torched Kyoto Animation studio, where he played video games non-stop and had "terrified" his neighbour just days earlier. Police late on Saturday issued an arrest warrant for 41-year-old Shinji Aoba, suspected of causing Japan's worst mass killing in two decades on Thursday when he went to the studio in western Japan, poured fuel around the entrance and shouted "Die" as he set the building ablaze, according to public broadcaster NHK. They plan to arrest Aoba, who suffered serious burns and on Saturday was airlifted to a university hospital for treatment, once he recovers, NHK said.
As France braces for its second heatwave this summer, with air pollution expected to spike again, Marseille has imposed speed limits on ships entering its port in an effort to curb emissions. Cruise liners cause more nitrogen dioxide pollution in the Mediterranean city than cars, according to a recent survey by a government-approved air quality monitoring organisation. Marseille has lowered the speed limit for ships entering its port from 10 to 8 knots.
The number of people who died in Florida with oxycodone or another prescription opioid in their system hit 4,282 in 2010, a four-fold increase from 2000, with 2,710 of the deaths deemed overdoses, according to a state medical examiners' report. Even today, Florida struggles with opioid addiction. The state was second only to Ohio in the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017, the most recent year for which official figures are available.
A top British representative to the United Nations has declared in a letter to the Security Council that Iran's seizure of a British-flagged tanker amounted to "illegal interference," and he rejected Tehran's version of events. Iranian authorities impounded the Stena Impero with 23 crew members aboard after patrol boats of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized it Friday in the highly sensitive Strait of Hormuz. Iranian officials said the tanker had turned off its transponder after hitting an Iranian fishing boat and was detained after failing to respond to distress calls.
But since Greg Abbott signed the measure into law in June, county prosecutors around Texas have been dropping some marijuana possession charges and declining to file new ones, saying they do not have the time or the laboratory equipment needed to distinguish between legal hemp and illegal marijuana. Collectively, the prosecutors' jurisdictions cover more than 9 million people — about a third of Texas' population — including in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. The accidental leniency represents one of the unintended consequences states may face as they race to cash in on the popularity of products made with or from hemp.
WASHINGTON – A U.S. lawmaker described 'unacceptable' border detention facilities while meeting with a U.S. citizen who was in Customs and Border Patrol custody for hours on Friday. Rep. Nannette Barragán, D-Calif. had been on a congressional tour of facilities on the southern U.S. border when the delegation stopped at the Ursula Detention Center, a Border Patrol processing and detention center near McAllen, Texas.
“We remain bullish on peso and we would like to sell the dollar-peso on rallies,” said Qi Gao, a Singapore-based currency strategist at Scotiabank. On the day of the president's speech, the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange Index retreated about two-thirds of the time, and posted an average loss of 0.4%. Philippine peso bonds are outperforming peers in emerging-markets as the central bank embarks on interest-rate cuts.
WASHINGTON – Democrats in the Virginia state legislature say they'll boycott an event at Jamestown, Virginia, commemorating the 400th anniversary of representative democracy in America if President Donald Trump comes. The event had been planned as part of "American Evolution," a series of events at Jamestown, the site of the first permanent English colony, to celebrate key events in American and Virginia history that took place in 1619, according to the event's website. A July 30 gathering had planned to commemorate the first legislative meeting and would feature members of Congress, the Virginia legislature and other state legislatures.
The Iranian nuclear nonproliferation agreement has been the top foreign policy issue throughout Washington for the past two months. Approving or disapproving the deal was the first order of business for the U.S. Congress until the very last day of congressional action under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (September 17). Hours of debate have been conducted on the floors of the House and Senate, both chambers have held roll call votes, and Senate Democrats bonded together to filibuster a motion of disapproval — a resolution that would have prevented President Obama from providing the Iranians sanctions relief. The Obama administration's main selling point for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is based on the theory that forcing Tehran to downgrade its nuclear program will make the threat of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East — the world's most frenetic and violent region even without nuclear weapons— far less urgent. Yet we should remember that there is in fact a state in the region that already possesses nuclear weapons.