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Eugene

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston, MA
Member since: Wed May 12, 2004, 04:41 PM
Number of posts: 47,474

Journal Archives

AP FACT CHECK: Trump brings Puerto Rico fiction to Florida

Source: Associated Press

AP FACT CHECK: Trump brings Puerto Rico fiction to Florida

By CALVIN WOODWARD and HOPE YEN
May 8, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump brought his enduring fiction about hurricane aid for Puerto Rico to a rally crowd in Florida on Wednesday.

Pledging unstinting support for more hurricane recovery money for Floridians, he vastly exaggerated how much Puerto Rico has received.

Trump laced his speech in Panama City Beach with a recitation of falsehoods that never quit, touching on veterans’ health care, the economy, visas and more. A sampling:

TRUMP: “We gave to Puerto Rico $91 billion” — and that’s more, he said, than any U.S. state or entity has received for hurricane aid.

THE FACTS: His number is wrong, as is his assertion that the U.S. territory has set some record for federal disaster aid. Congress has so far distributed only about $11 billion for Puerto Rico, not $91 billion.

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Read more: https://apnews.com/587202f6106f48579a4f5406b841da26

Hungary forces 11 Afghan asylum-seekers into Serbia: rights body

Source: Reuters

WORLD NEWS MAY 8, 2019 / 3:30 PM / UPDATED 5 HOURS AGO

Hungary forces 11 Afghan asylum-seekers into Serbia: rights body

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary forced 11 Afghan nationals to cross into Serbia after rejecting their asylum requests, a rights advocate said on Wednesday, and deported a 12th convicted of people smuggling back to Kabul.

The deportation of a further five Afghans, all members of the same family, was temporarily suspended following an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights group.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said Hungary’s action to force the two families to leave the country was “a flagrant violation of international and EU law”.

Under Hungarian law, the claims of asylum-seekers arriving from a country that Hungary deems safe are rejected, the agency said in a statement, adding that the case highlighted “deep concerns” over that practice.

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Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-hungary-deportations/hungary-forces-11-afghan-asylum-seekers-into-serbia-rights-body-idUSKCN1SE2JW

White House backs Stephen Miller proposal to let Border Patrol agents to conduct asylum interviews

Source: CNN

White House backs Stephen Miller proposal to let Border Patrol agents to conduct asylum interviews

By Geneva Sands, Priscilla Alvarez and Evan Perez, CNN
Updated 1727 GMT (0127 HKT) May 8, 2019

Washington (CNN) — The Department of Homeland Security is moving to have front line Border Patrol agents assess migrants' initial claims for refuge, an aggressive step pushed by White House adviser Stephen Miller that could make the asylum claim process more difficult for migrants.

Miller has pushed for months to have Border Patrol conduct these interviews, according to a US official, despite agency concerns it adds more duties to an already overburdened force and immigration advocates' worries it will result in deportations with without the opportunity to apply for asylum.

Currently, US Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum officers conduct the credible fear interview, wherein officers will decide whether an individual has a "credible fear of persecution" that could make them eligible for asylum in the United States.

In March, then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen agreed to a pilot project, in part as a way to satisfy Miller's demands while trying to ensure it could be done effectively within legal bounds and without affecting border security operations, the official added.

Nielsen left the administration last month, as President Donald Trump and White House immigration hardliners, including Miller, deemed her insufficiently tough when it came to stemming the flow of migrants at the border.

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Read more: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/08/politics/border-patrol-credible-fear-screening/index.html

Aid sector action to tackle abuse 'completely unsatisfactory', say MPs

Source: The Guardian

Aid sector action to tackle abuse 'completely unsatisfactory', say MPs

International development committee evidence session on fighting sexual misconduct finds little has changed

Rebecca Ratcliffe
Wed 8 May 2019 13.35 BST Last modified on Wed 8 May 2019 17.08 BST

Private aid companies and charities will be asked to reappear before MPs, after evidence given on tackling sexual abuse was condemned as “completely unsatisfactory”.

Stephen Twigg, chair of the international development committee (IDC), said he intended to invite representatives of both groups back.

“We had some concerns with the evidence from Bond [the body that represents charities] but frankly, the concerns about the private sector are enormous – and nothing you have said today has served to reassure me,” said Twigg.

Rory Stewart, who appeared before MPs on Tuesday for the first time as secretary of state for international development, said dramatic improvements had been made on safeguarding over the past 12 months.

-snip-

MPs were told that that last week’s meeting of a cross-sector network set up by private contractors to tackle sexual abuse was the first since the UK government’s safeguarding summit in October. MPs also heard that private sector companies had decided not to sign up to safeguarding commitments presented at the summit.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/may/08/aid-sector-action-to-tackle-abuse-completely-unsatisfactory-say-mps

Documents suggest Russian plan to sway South Africa election

Source: The Guardian

Documents suggest Russian plan to sway South Africa election

Specialists linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin appeared to promise ‘to support the ruling ANC’

Jason Burke in Johannesburg and Luke Harding
Wed 8 May 2019 15.17 BST Last modified on Wed 8 May 2019 17.19 BST

Russian specialists planned to influence South Africa’s general election in order to strengthen the ruling African National Congress party (ANC), documents seen by the Guardian and local media in South Africa suggest.

The documents were apparently prepared by an organisation linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St Petersburg businessman who is close to Vladimir Putin. They promise a campaign “to support the ruling ANC ahead of elections” and to counteract and “discredit” the pro-western Democratic Alliance party. It is unclear whether the plan was executed. The plan was first reported by the Daily Maverick newspaper.

Voting booths opened on Wednesday in South Africa’s sixth general election since the first free polls in the country in 1994. The ANC has held power ever since but faces widespread discontent among voters angered by a series of major corruption scandals, power cuts, inflation and unemployment.

There is little doubt that the ANC will obtain a majority in parliament and that the incumbent president, Cyril Ramaphosa, will get a new mandate. However, supporters say he needs to show he has reversed a steady decline in the ANC’s popularity if he is to implement an ambitious reform agenda that has stalled since he took power last year.

The plan to interfere in South Africa’s election was coordinated by a Russian political technologist, Peter Bychkov, who works for Prigozhin, according to the documents. The disinformation campaign was plotted by a Russian-owned NGO, the Association for Free Research and International Cooperation (Afric), under the guise of research.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/08/documents-suggest-russian-plan-to-sway-south-africa-election

Hungary fails to deport families to Afghanistan

Source: BBC

Hungary fails to deport families to Afghanistan

By Nick Thorpe
Eastern Europe Correspondent

8 May 2019

Hungary tried and failed to deport three Afghan families to Afghanistan on Tuesday, in a move that rights groups say is a breach of international law.

It was intended to prove the right-wing Fidesz government's resolve to fight what it calls "illegal migrants".

However, the European Court of Human Rights intervened in one family's case.

The mother of the second family fainted and was taken to hospital, while the third chose to be deported to nearby Serbia rather than Afghanistan.

The hardline stance by Fidesz comes ahead of elections to the European Parliament later this month.

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Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48198645

241m Europeans 'may have received Russian-linked disinformation'

Source: The Guardian

241m Europeans 'may have received Russian-linked disinformation'

Research says malign actors online tried to craft individual narrative for each EU state

Daniel Boffey in Brussels
Wed 8 May 2019 10.23 BST Last modified on Wed 8 May 2019 10.24 BST

Around half of all Europeans could have been exposed to disinformation promoted by social media accounts linked to Russia before the European elections, an analysis suggests.

Evidence of 6,700 so-called “bad actors” posting enough content to reach up to 241 million users was discovered by researchers examining the scale of the threat.

There was no “all-purpose” content but locally created material was being amplified to craft a narrative for each EU member state, according to the study of a 10-day period from 1 to 10 March.

The report’s authors found specific evidence of malign actors seeking to shape specific news developments in Europe, including the debate over whether the Commons should back Theresa May’s Brexit deal during which divisive content was actively spread.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/08/241m-europeans-may-have-received-russian-linked-disinformation

How Chinese Spies Got the N.S.A.'s Hacking Tools, and Used Them for Attacks

Source: New York Times

How Chinese Spies Got the N.S.A.’s Hacking Tools, and Used Them for Attacks

By Nicole Perlroth, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane
May 6, 2019

Chinese intelligence agents acquired National Security Agency hacking tools and repurposed them in 2016 to attack American allies and private companies in Europe and Asia, a leading cybersecurity firm has discovered. The episode is the latest evidence that the United States has lost control of key parts of its cybersecurity arsenal.

Based on the timing of the attacks and clues in the computer code, researchers with the firm Symantec believe the Chinese did not steal the code but captured it from an N.S.A. attack on their own computers — like a gunslinger who grabs an enemy’s rifle and starts blasting away.

The Chinese action shows how proliferating cyberconflict is creating a digital wild West with few rules or certainties, and how difficult it is for the United States to keep track of the malware it uses to break into foreign networks and attack adversaries’ infrastructure.

The losses have touched off a debate within the intelligence community over whether the United States should continue to develop some of the world’s most high-tech, stealthy cyberweapons if it is unable to keep them under lock and key.

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Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/06/us/politics/china-hacking-cyber.html

Tennessee House Speaker's Top Aide Resigns After Accusations of Framing Black Activist and Sending R

Source: The Root

Tennessee House Speaker's Top Aide Resigns After Accusations of Framing Black Activist and Sending Racist and Sexist Texts

Anne Branigin
Today 10:51am Filed to: TENNESSEE

Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada’s chief of staff, a white man who actually and truly goes by the name Cade Cothren, has resigned amid allegations that he framed a black activist, as well as sent racist and sexually explicit texts, some of which were received by his boss. Cothren announced his resignation on Monday, hours after admitting to using illegal drugs, including snorting cocaine, in his legislative offices.

Yes, it’s astoundingly messy. So, let’s take it slowly.

The first allegation to surface involves Cothren’s participation in framing Justin Jones, a Vanderbilt University divinity student who has protested at the Tennessee State House over a bust honoring a Confederate general, according to ThinkProgress. Tennessee politics being Tennessee politics, the state legislature refused to take down the statue. In February, following a protest at the Capitol, Jones was arrested for assault after a cup was thrown into Speaker Casada’s elevator.

Because elevators matter more than black lives at the State House, a condition of Jones’ bond was that he was prohibited from contacting Casada. This is where our boy Cade Cothren comes in.

Jones maintains that he’s obeyed the order, but Cothren sent a photo to Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk showing Jones emailed Casada’s office one day after the order was handed down. The problem? Jones’ email records show the email was actually sent on February 25—before his arrest.

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Read more: https://www.theroot.com/tennessee-house-speakers-top-aide-resigns-after-accusat-1834564808

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Related: Black people are idiots’ scandal rocks Tennessee legislature (ThinkProgress)

Meanwhile in LBN: Embattled TN House Speaker Calls Explicit Sexual Texts 'Locker Room Talk'

ICE provides local police a way to work around 'sanctuary' policies, act as immigration officers

Source: Washington Post

By Abigail Hauslohner May 6 at 6:19 PM

Sheriff’s offices and police departments in jurisdictions that provide “sanctuary” to undocumented immigrants will have a new way to work with federal authorities to detain and deport them, immigration authorities said Monday.

The new Warrant Service Officer program, introduced Monday in Pinellas County on Florida’s Gulf Coast, will allow participating sheriffs and police departments “the flexibility to make immigration arrests,” according to ICE. The move would allow local authorities to detain a criminal suspect beyond the point at which they would have been otherwise released if ICE has requested their detention, essentially giving ICE an extra 48 hours to take them into federal custody.

Selected sheriff’s office personnel “will be nominated, trained, and approved by ICE to perform certain limited functions of an immigration officer,” within the local jail or correctional facilities, according to a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the agency and Pinellas County on Monday.

ICE framed the new program as a countermeasure to the so-called sanctuary cities across the United States that Acting Director Matthew Albence said “undermine public safety” by adopting policies of noncooperation with federal immigration authorities. President Trump has repeatedly blasted such jurisdictions, including San Francisco and New York City, where local authorities refuse to respect ICE requests to hold people in local jails on behalf of immigration officials.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/ice-provides-local-police-a-way-to-work-around-sanctuary-policies-act-as-immigration-officers/2019/05/06/f651ff38-7029-11e9-9eb4-0828f5389013_story.html



Related: ICE launches program to strengthen immigration enforcement (ICE)
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