Art News - Worldwide

Alleged American ISIS Sniper Brought Home by the Defense Department to Face Charges

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/20/2019 - 04:49

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. Asainov had been in the custody of Syrian Democratic Forces.No further information about the military's role in transporting Asainov, to the United States was immediately available.Asainov is accused of leaving Brooklyn in December 2013 to fight for ISIS in Syria, a Justice Department news release says. After becoming an ISIS sniper, he was promoted to become an "emir" in charge of training fighters how to use weapons and also tried to recruit someone else to leave the United States and become an ISIS fighter.Prosecutors claim Asainov tried to buy a scope for his rile by paying roughly $2,800 to a confidential informant, the news release says."Asainov subsequently sent the confidential informant two photographs depicting the defendant holding an assault rifle fitted with a scope," the news release says. "He messaged one associate exclaiming, in reference to ISIS, 'We are the worst terrorist organization in the world that has ever existed' and stating that he wished to die on the battlefield."

Twice-Deported Illegal Alien Charged With Three Murders — Two Were Children

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/20/2019 - 04:10

An illegal immigrant from Guatemala, who has twice been deported, was arrested Tuesday in connection to the murders of an Iowa woman and her two children.Marvin Oswaldo Escobar-Orellana, 31, was arrested after he allegedly shotthe family with which he lived in Des Moines, Iowa, and called 911 on himself. Orellana is the suspect in the murder of 29-year-old Rossibeth Flores-Rodriguez and her two children, Grecia Daniela Alvarado-Flores, 11, and Ever Jose Mejia-Flores, 5, according an Associated Press report.Orellana was deported in both 2010 and 2011, and convicted of illegal entry. He crossed the border around Laredo, Texas, was sentenced to 15 days in jail and ordered not to return — a command by which he did not abide, ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer confirmed with AP. (RELATED: ICE Released List Of Illegal Immigrants Accused of Crimes After Local Police Ignored Detainers)Orellana allegedly killed the family after an argument ensued in their shared home, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. He then dialed 911 and allegedly fabricated a story about Rodriguez killing the two children, saying he had to kill her in self-defense, the AP reports.Investigators are uncertain about why the murders occurred, but they did not buy Orellana’s story.

The 1 Way Russia Could Help China Build a Nuclear Powered Aircraft Carrier

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/20/2019 - 04:00

It appears that China is relying on Russian know-how and experience to develop the reactor for its first nuclear aircraft carrier. As the South China Morning Post reports, China appears to be studying the nuclear reactors on Russia’s largest icebreakers, an approach that the Soviet Union also took when it planned to build nuclear carriers in the 1980s. Specifically, Russia has invited China to bid on the construction of a new class of nuclear icebreaker, necessarily requiring the development of surface-ship based reactors. This approach stands in contrast to how the United States and France developed nuclear reactors for their largest carriers, but probably represents the best choice for China at this point. History: To appreciate what’s at stake in China’s pursuit of nuclear-powered surface warships, it’s important to review the experience of the United States and the USSR. After the successful development of the USS Nautilus and the Skate class nuclear attack submarines (as well as the merchant ship NS Savannah) provided proof-of-concept regarding nuclear propulsion, the USN began to evaluate nuclear power for surface warships. The first USN nuclear surface warship was the cruiser USS Long Beach, commissioned in 1961. Long Beach was powered by 2 C1WS reactors, generating around 120 MW, enough power to produce a speed of 30 knots for the 17,000-ton cruiser hull. The USN rapidly followed up with USS Enterprise, powered by 8 A2W reactors, each quite similar in construction and output to the C1W. Those reactors generated 120 MW each, translating to 280,000 SHP, driving the 100,000-ton Enterprise at up to 33 knots.

Why ‘Adversity’ Shouldn’t Be a New Advantage in College Admissions

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/20/2019 - 03:57

“It’s misleading. How do you measure an ‘adversity score’ anyway?”Martin Smith, a professor at Rowan University and an alumnus from the University of Pennsylvania, shared his thoughts over the College Board’s recent unveiling of an “overall disadvantage level”—in shorthand, an “adversity score”—to supplement students’ SAT scores.“You can’t manufacture equal outcomes when everyone isn’t given the same resources,” he said.Smith hails from a small town in rural Tennessee, a place that knows disadvantage all too well, yet he was less than optimistic about the new score supplement that’s meant to help less-privileged students stand out compared with their better-off peers during the college admissions process.On a scale of 1 and 100, a student’s adversity score will indicate several factors that colleges should take into account when considering a candidate for admission.The purpose of the adversity score is to be an indicator to college admissions officers of the socioeconomic difficulties that a particular candidate might have faced during his or her formative school years.Any setbacks that might result in a seemingly low score might actually accrue to a student’s advantage when realizing the student’s comparative disadvantage relative to other national and international candidates.An op-ed essay in the Atlantic magazine argues that despite the problems the new adversity score faces, it is a “long-overdue” innovation and a step in the right direction.

Saudi Arabia has decided to host US troops: Saudi defence ministry

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/20/2019 - 02:23

Saudi Arabia has decided to host US troops in a joint move with Washington to boost regional security, the kingdom's defence ministry said, as tensions soar in the Gulf. "Based on mutual cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, and their desire to enhance everything that could preserve the security of the region and its stability... King Salman gave his approval to host American forces," a ministry spokesman was quoted by Saudi state news agency SPA as saying. Saudi Arabia has not hosted US forces since 2003 when they withdrew following the end of the war with Iraq.

UPDATE 7-Iran says it seized tanker after collision, UK calls move a "hostile act"

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/20/2019 - 01:54

GENEVA/LONDON, July 20 (Reuters) - Britain denounced the Iranian seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf as a "hostile act" on Saturday, rejecting Tehran's explanation that it had seized the vessel because it had been involved in an accident. Friday's action by Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the global oil trade's most important waterway has been viewed in the West as a major escalation in three months of confrontation that took Iran and the United States to the brink of war.

Iran crisis: British oil tanker seized in Strait of Hormuz as UK shipping warned to avoid area in Gulf

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/20/2019 - 01:41

Stena Impero seized in Strait of Hormu​z on Friday night A second tanker, Mesdar, was stopped before being released Jeremy Hunt says seizures "unacceptable", holding a COBR meeting Government warns UK shipping to avoid area Analysis: Boris Johnson could face early test as Iran 'exploits' political uncertainty US developing 'coalition' of navies to protect ships amid Iran tensions Two British oil tankers were seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday night, in a major escalation of tensions in the Gulf. The British-flagged Stena Impero had been en route to Saudi Arabia, but abruptly changed course and began sailing towards the Iranian island of Qeshm, data relayed by maritime tracking services showed. The 30,000-tonne ship “went dark”, meaning its transponder was turned off, at 4.29pm UK time and nothing has been heard from her or her 23 crew since. A second oil tanker, the British-operated, Liberian-flagged Mesdar, was intercepted by the Guards about 40 minutes after the course shift by Stena Impero, and was held for some time before being allowed to resume navigation.  HMS Montrose, the Type-23 frigate, was understood to have been dispatched to help the Stena, but was minutes too late.  Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, said he was “extremely concerned by the seizure of two vessels by Iranian authorities in the Strait of Hormuz”.  British oil tanker seized in the Gulf Mr Hunt said he was attending a Cobra meeting to determine the UK’s response and what could be done to secure their release, adding that the seizures were “unacceptable”. He said it was understood there were no British citizens among the two crews. "We remain deeply concerned about Iran's unacceptable actions which represent a clear challenge to international freedom of navigation," a Government spokesman said after the meeting. UK vessels have been advised to "stay out of the area" of the Strait of Hormuz for an "interim period", the spokesman said, adding: "As the Foreign Secretary has said, our response will be considered and robust and there will be serious consequences if the situation is not resolved." US President Donald Trump said Iran was showing its true colours and warned that it was in “big trouble".   Northern Marine, a Clyde-based subsidiary of the Stena Impero’s Swedish owner Stena AB, said a “hostile action” had preceded the vessel’s change of course on Friday afternoon. The company issued a statement saying it had been “approached by unidentified small craft and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters”.  Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said in a statement that they stopped the Stena Impero at the request of the maritime authority in the Iranian province of Hormozgan on suspicion that it had “violated international maritime law”, but did not elaborate.  Iran tensions | Read more The head of Iran’s port authority was quoted by Guards-affiliated Tasnim news agency as saying: “We received reports of the British oil tanker, Stena Impero, causing problems, and therefore asked the military to guide the tanker towards Bandar Abbas harbour.” They said the Mesdar, whose transponder was also turned off, was briefly held and cautioned about “environmental regulations” before it was let go. On Saturday,  Iran's Fars news agency claimed the Stena Impero was in an accident with an Iranian fishing boat and ignored its distress call. All 23 crew on the tanker were now at Bandar Abbas port and would remain on the vessel until the end of an investigation, Fars quoted an official as saying. "It got involved in an accident with an Iranian fishing boat... When the boat sent a distress call, the British-flagged ship ignored it," the head of Ports and Maritime Organisation in southern Hormozgan province, Allahmorad Afifipour, told Fars. "The tanker is now at Iran's Bandar Abbas port and all its 23 crew members will remain on the ship until the probe is over." Stena Bulk said the ship was "in full compliance with all navigation and international regulations." "There are 23 seafarers onboard of Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationality," said Erik Hanell, president and chief executive of Stena Bulk. He said there had been no reported injuries. Tracking data showed the Stena Impero was in the same area that a United Arab Emirates-based vessel was detained on Sunday and where a British vessel, the British Heritage, was blocked by Iranian forces earlier this month. The move appeared to be in retaliation for Britain's seizure of the Iranian Grace 1 tanker in Gibraltar earlier this month. Rising tensions between UK, US and Iran British authorities seized the Iranian Grace 1 supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4, on suspicion it was carrying crude to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. The fate of the tanker has been at the centre of escalating tensions between the UK and Iran and was seen as a pawn in the standoff between the Islamic Republic and the West. Mr Hunt had hinted that the UK would release the ship if Iran promised its cargo would not go to the Syrian regime. The Foreign Secretary said talks with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, had been productive.  However, a court in Gibraltar on Friday extended for 30 days the detention of the vessel, which was carrying two million barrels of oil. Tensions have been building for weeks in the Persian Gulf. On July 10, HMS Montrose intervened to drive three Iranian military vessels that were attempting to divert the British Heritage.  Iran seized a Panama-flagged ship on Sunday, it alleges, for “smuggling oil to foreign countries”. Mystery surrounds the capture as no country has come forward to claim the ship or its cargo. The US claimed on Thursday to have downed an Iranian drone that had been flying too close to one of its navy ships. Iran denied the claims. Oil prices rose on Friday night after the tankers were seized.   The Trump administration is trying to block Iran’s exports to put pressure on it to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal it abandoned last year. Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if it cannot export its oil.  6:41AM Boris Johnson could face early diplomatic test Iran’s seizure of a British oil tanker couldn’t have come at a worse time for the UK - and Tehran knows it.  While Theresa May has days left as Prime Minister, her foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has been in the midst of a leadership election campaign to replace her. His rival, Boris Johnson, is the favourite to win the Tory battle, but the former foreign secretary will be carrying diplomatic baggage if he enters Number 10.    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets then-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at the start of their meeting in Tehran in 2017 Credit: AP “The timing from a transition viewpoint is awful,” said Dr Euan Graham, an expert in maritime security and Executive Director of La Trobe Asia.  “It could be an instant early test of Johnson’s crisis management skills, or lack thereof, if the issue is unresolved and he becomes PM next week.” Read the full analysis.  6:37AM Oil tanker was involved in 'accident', Iran claims Iranian media claims the Stena Impero was in an accident with a fishing boat before being detained on Friday. All 23 crew seized on the tanker are now at Bandar Abbas port and will remain on the vessel until the end of an investigation, Iran's Fars news agency reported on Saturday, quoting an official.  "It got involved in an accident with an Iranian fishing boat... When the boat sent a distress call, the British-flagged ship ignored it," said the head of Ports and Maritime Organisation in southern Hormozgan province, Allahmorad Afifipour. "The tanker is now at Iran's Bandar Abbas port and all of its 23 crew members will remain on the ship until the probe is over." 5:11AM US official plays down seizure An American military official has played down the latest escalation in the region, calling it a foreseeable response to Britain's seizure of the Iranian tanker near Gibraltar.  In a discussion with journalists at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Lt. Gen Robert P. Ashley Jr., the top military intelligence officer, said: “They look for things that are proportional in nature. They aren’t looking to go to war but at the same time they are looking to project strength.” “They’re not looking to do something that is going to spiral out of control because war is not what they’re looking for,” Ashley said. “But at the same time, their decision calculus is they’ve gotta do something in response.” My story coming soon...— Katie Bo Williams (@KatieBoWill) July 19, 2019   3:54AM 'This is precisely how Iran negotiates' Suzanne Maloney, an Iran expert at the Brookings Institution, has told AFP that the recent events involving Tehran are "the exact opposite of odd." "This is precisely how Iran negotiates: the unctuous charm of (Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad) Zarif paired with a punch in the face from the (Revolutionary Guards). They are two sides of the same coin, complementary and coordinated." Nicholas Burns, US ambassador to NATO during President George W. Bush’s administration, suggested resurrecting a 1980s policy of having tankers accompanied by military escorts in the Gulf. “We should form an international coalition of democratic countries to escort every single commercial vessel through the gulf,” Burns told Bloomberg in an interview in Colorado. “The Iranians are an outlaw, they’re acting like an outlaw country, they’re trying to shut down one of the major waterways in the world and then hold us up on it and blackmail us.” 2:56AM Saudi Arabia to host US forces The US Defence Department has confirmed that Saudi Arabia will host US forces in the region, saying it would deploy troops and resources to the country to "provide an additional deterrent" in the face of "emergent, credible threats." The gesture comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran in the Gulf,  as well as the seizure of the British oil tanker in the region. The decision on hosting US forces aims "to increase joint cooperation in defence of regional security and stability and to preserve its peace", the state news agency (SPA) reported, quoting a Ministry of Defence official, without giving further details. US Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. (C-L), Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), shakes hands with Saudi military officers during his visit to a military base in al-Kharj in central Saudi Arabia on Thursday Credit: AFP   A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the deployment would include about 500 US military personnel in Saudi Arabia, and is part of a boost in the number of US troops in the Middle East that the Pentagon announced last month. In June, the Pentagon said it would deploy 1,000 troops to the Middle East but did not say where they were going. Saudi Arabia has not hosted US forces since 2003 when they withdrew following the end of the war with Iraq.  2:13AM What has led to this seizure? The seizure of the Stena Impero tanker in the Strait of Hormuz is the latest episode to contribute to rising tensions between the UK, US and Iran in the region. Here is a timeline of recent incidents involving the three nations: Rising tensions between UK, US and Iran   1:28AM Government warns UK shipping to avoid Strait of Hormuz After a COBR meeting this evening, the government is urging UK shipping the avoid the Strait of Hormuz region. “We remain deeply concerned about Iran's unacceptable actions which represent a clear challenge to international freedom of navigation.  We have advised UK shipping to stay out of the area for an interim period.  “As the Foreign Secretary has said, our response will be considered and robust and there will be serious consequences if the situation is not resolved. “We remain in close contact with our international partners and there will be further meetings over the weekend." 12:57AM Oil tanker was 'in full compliance of regulations' The British operator of the Stena Impero was in full compliance with all navigation and international regulations, a spokesman has said. Iran's state news agency IRNA quoted a military source as saying the vessel had turned off its tracker, ignored warnings from the Revolutionary Guards and was sailing in the wrong direction in a shipping lane. "There are 23 seafarers onboard of Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationality," said Erik Hanell, President and Chief Executive of the operator, Stena Bulk. "There have been no reported injuries and the safety and welfare of our crew remains our primary focus." The ship "is no longer under the control of the crew and remains uncontactable", he added. British oil tanker seized in the Gulf   12:45AM Corbyn says Trump fuelled risk of conflict Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, responding to the seizure of two British tankers by Iranian forces, said: "The seizure of these vessels is unacceptable, and the tanker that remains under Iranian control must be released. Escalation risks a slide into an even deeper conflict. "President Trump's decision to tear up the Iran nuclear deal fuelled the risk of full-scale conflict. "A negotiated reinstatement of the nuclear deal through the UN is essential to wind down tensions and defuse the threat of war in the Gulf." 12:12AM US sought 'coalition' of navies to protect ships amid Iran tensions Hours before the hijacking of the British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, America's special representative for Iran was explaining its position to diplomats in Washington, Josie Ensor reports.  Some 100 envoys took part in the briefing by Brian Hook, who outlined the Trump administration's initiative for maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran released footage on Friday from what it said was the "downed drone" Credit: AFP Mr Hook said tensions had risen sharply and necessitated the need for a "coalition" of navies to protect their ships through the strait. Read the full story. 11:52PM US intensifying air patrols in region US Central Command says the US has intensified air patrols over the Strait of Hormuz in response to the Iranian seizure of a British tanker. A Central Command spokesman, Lt. Col. Earl Brown, says a small number of additional patrol aircraft are flying in international airspace to monitor the situation. He also says Central Command's naval arm has been in contact with U.S. ships operating in the area to ensure their safety. 11:22PM Stena Impero 'surrounded by four vessels and helicopter' Mr Hunt said the Stena Impero was surrounded by four vessels and a helicopter, and is heading into Iranian waters. The second ship - the Mesdar - was surrounded by 10 speedboats, Mr Hunt told Sky, though said it was "not clear yet" whether it had changed course. He said he had spoken to US secretary of state Mike Pompeo this evening about the situation and had tried to speak to Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif but he is on a plane. "I will speak to him as soon as I can", Mr Hunt said. 11:21PM Hunt warns of  'serious consequences' Mr Hunt warned there would be "serious consequences" if the situation is not resolved quickly. He told Sky News: "We will respond in a way that is considered but robust and we are absolutely clear that if this situation is not resolved quickly there will be serious consequences." Asked if he could rule out military intervention, Mr Hunt said: "We're not looking at military options - we're looking at a diplomatic way to resolve the situation - but we are very clear that it must be resolved. "Freedom of navigation in the Gulf is absolutely essential. If that freedom of navigation is restricted, Iran is the biggest loser and so it is in their interest to resolve this situation as quickly as possible and we will do everything we can to do that." 10:31PM Tanker released? Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency said Iran's Revolutionary Guards had not captured the Mesdar. "Despite reports, the ship has not been seized...and was allowed to continue its course after being warned about safety issues by Iranian forces," the report said. A spokesman for Norbulk Shipping UK confirmed the crew of the Mesdar are "safe and well" and the vessel has been "allowed" to continue its voyage. 9:16PM Is it rash to sail through the Strait? Sir Richard Dalton, former British ambassador to Iran, suggested the owners of the Stena Impero had been "rash" in sailing the tanker through the Strait of Hormuz. Speaking to Sky News, he said Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had promised retaliation following the detention of Iran's Grace 1 tanker in Gibraltar. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waving to the crowd during a ceremony attended by Iranian clerics in the Iranian capital Tehran, on July 16 Sir Richard said: "With hindsight, it's easy to say that this was a somewhat reckless act by the owners, given that there was no British naval vessel in the vicinity." He said the Iranians had "lost their cool" despite recent "constructive discussions" over the Grace 1. Sir Richard added: "I don't think the Iranians will continue to try to seize British vessels given they have got what they want, which is something to hold in a negotiation with Britain about their cargo held, they consider illegally, in Gibraltar." 9:07PM UK Chamber of Shipping calls for increased protection for vessels Bob Sanguinetti, the CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping, says:  “We condemn unreservedly the capture of Stena Impero as she transited  the Strait of Hormuz earlier today.  The action by those involved is in violation of international regulations which protect ships and their crews as they go about their legitimate business in international waters. “Our priority is for the safety and welfare of the crew.  We call on the UK Government to do whatever is necessary to ensure their safe and swift return. An Iranian navy boat trying to control fire from the Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker, said to have been attacked in the waters of the Gulf of Oman in June “This incident represents an escalation.  Whilst we call for measured response, it is also clear that further protection for merchant vessels must be forthcoming to ensure enhanced security to guarantee free flow of trade in the region.” 9:03PM Donald Trump being kept informed President Donald Trump said he would "talk to the UK" about the incident. “We heard about it,” he said. "We don’t have many tankers going in.”  Donald Trump said he is being kept abreast of developments "This only goes to show what I'm saying about Iran: Trouble, nothing but trouble," he said. Trump said "Iran is showing their colors" and "in big trouble right now" because its economy has been crippled by U.S. economic sanctions. The U.S. has asked Mideast allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in past weeks to contribute financially and militarily to a Trump administration proposal called the Sentinel Program - a coalition of nations working with the U.S. to preserve maritime security in the Persian Gulf and keep eyes on Iran. 8:54PM Foreign Secretary responds Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said: “I’m extremely concerned by the seizure of two vessels by Iranian authorities in the Strait of Hormuz. “I will shortly attend a COBR meeting to review what we know and what we can do to swiftly secure the release of the two vessels - a British-flagged vessel and a Liberian-flagged vessel. “Their crews comprise a range of nationalities, but we understand there are no British citizens on board either ship. Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary “Our Ambassador in Tehran is in contact with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to resolve the situation and we are working closely with international partners. “These seizures are unacceptable. It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region.” 8:50PM Crew from multiple countries Our Political Editor, Gordon Rayner, writes: A Government source said the crews on board the two ships are “a range of nationalities” but no Britons are among the crews of either ship.  A Conta meeting due to start at 10.30 tonight will be chaired by either Jeremy Hunt or David Lidington.

Aliens, 10,000-year-old UFOs and gravity waves: What do we actually know about Area 51?

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/20/2019 - 01:28

More than 1.5 million people have now signed a Facebook page calling for a "storming" of Area 51, the secretive US military base in the Nevada desert on September 20. If all goes according to plan those who turn up will run ninja-style into the facility, which has no fences around it, looking for signs of alien life being hidden by the US government. If they don't all get shot what they might find is anyone's guess. What is Area 51 really? Area 51 is an assembly of buildings and an airstrip built around a salt flat called Groom Lake. It is part of the Nevada Test and Training Range, which is the biggest air and ground military testing area in the Western world, stretching over nearly three million acres. That's about twice the size of Devon. According to the US military it is excellent for simulating a "flexible, realistic and multidimensional battlespace". They won't say much else about it. In the mid-1950s the CIA began using the area to test U-2 spy planes, and later the development of the B-2 stealth bomber. A historic landmark sign indicate that the area was the Nevada test site for nuclear weapons near the Area 51, near Amargosa Valley, Nevada Credit: Rex It was only in 2013 that the existence of Area 51 within the testing range was officially acknowledged. The CIA was forced to release documents about it when Dr Jeffrey T. Richelson, an academic at George Washington University, successfully applied for information on the U-2 programme under the Freedom if Information Act. Dr Richelson died in 2017. But at the time he told the New York Times there was an "overlap" between U-2 testing and UFO sightings. "You had these high-flying aircraft in the air being the cause of some of the sightings,” he said. How did Area 52 become synonymous with UFO sightings? People in Nevada have reported them since the 1950s. In June 1959 a local newspaper, the Reno Evening Gazette, interviewed a police officer who had seen something "bright green in colour, and descending toward the Earth at a speed too great to be an airplane." Many more were to follow. Then, the conspiracy theorists found a champion. In a 1989 television interview Bob Lazar claimed to have been a physicist working on “reverse engineering” of alien spaceships. Lazar claimed to have worked at S4, a place just south of Area 51. The only reason any of us know anything about Area51 is because of Bob Lazar. Thank you Bob for everything you've done. So happy to see Area 51 trending right now.— jon.bonomo (@thefootgeneral) July 12, 2019 He claimed there were nine UFOs of differing types.  One was like a “jello mould” and another like a flat disc. They were allegedly fuelled by a substance called moscovium, which was used to create a gravity wave. Aliens had been visiting Earth for thousands of years and came from a star system called Zeta Reticuli, he claimed. Lazar has continued his claims. Speaking last year he described the inside of one of the UFOs thus: “It’s a very ominous feeling because everything is one colour. It’s like a dark pewter colour. “There are no right angles anywhere. It’s as if somebody took a model and fashioned it out of wax and then heated it just for a short time so everything melted. "Everything looks like it’s fused together. Everything has a radius, a curvature where two items meet. It’s a really weird looking thing." He said one of them was "ancient” - perhaps 10,000 years old - and had been recovered from an archaeological dig. Then Hollywood ran with it... Hollywood became obsessed with UFOs. From Simon Pegg and Nick Frost meeting an alien called Paul, to Will Smith learning to fly an alien spaceship at Area 51 - and punching an alien in the face. Mulder and Scully from the X-Files witnessed strange goings on at Area 51 too. It has all led to a booming local alien tourism industry. The “Extraterrestrial Highway” runs nearby and Rachel, Nevada has styled itself the  “UFO Capital of the World”. A vehicle moves along the Extraterrestrial Highway near Rachel, Nevada, the closest town to Area 51 Credit: AP How did the plan to storm it come about? It was a joke. But now some people are taking it seriously. The Facebook page says: “They can't stop all of us. Let's see them aliens. We can move faster than their bullets.” According to Jackson Barns, who started it: “Then the Rock Throwers will throw pebbles at the inevitable resistance (we don’t want to hurt them, we just want to annoy them enough to not shoot). “P.S. Hello US government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan. I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the internet.” View this post on Instagram You guys ready?!?! ������������ (US government, dis is a joke) astrology astrologymemes aries taurus gemini cancer leo virgo libra scorpio sagittarius capricorn aquarius pisces area51 area51memes area51meme stormarea51 stormarea51theycantstopallofus A post shared by Astrologeez (@capricornyio) on Jul 15, 2019 at 10:48am PDT Two nearby hotels are already booked up. What is the military saying? They are not amused. A US Air Force spokesman said: "The United States Air Force is aware of the Facebook post. Any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous.” “We would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces. “The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.” Thornton T. Barnes, a former intelligence officer who worked at Area 51, said: “In the real world, Area 51 is a remote rectangular no-fly area. A sign indicates the entrance of the Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada Credit: Rex “The possibility of one million or more people storming Area 51 will require the participants to brave and survive trespass through an aerial gunnery and bombing range heavily utilised for electronic combat ranges, aircraft control and warning. “In doing so, they must traverse ordnance impact areas in addition to the Air Force’s live-fire activities.” He added: “There are no, and have never been, aliens or extraterrestrial craft at Area 51, period!” Even Bob Lazar thinks it’s a bad idea. He wrote on Instagram: “I do not support this movement. “The only place there was ever any alien technology was at Site S4, south of Area 51 proper. That was 30 years ago. S4 may have moved decades ago or it’s possible it’s no longer being used for the project."

North Korea slams Japan over its trade spat with Seoul

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/20/2019 - 01:04

North Korea's state media has slammed Japan for its recent trade restrictions against Seoul over wartime slavery disputes, accusing Tokyo of "destroying the trend of peace" on the Korean peninsula. After South Korea's high court ordered Japanese firms that used forced labour to compensate Korean victims, Tokyo earlier this month restricted the export of several chemicals to South Korea that are crucial to its world-leading chip and smartphone companies. South Korea's left-leaning President Moon Jae-in, who favours engagement with Pyongyang, has said Tokyo's actions are "politically motivated" and have caused an "unprecedented emergency" for Seoul's export-driven economy.

Oliver Stone Asks Vladimir Putin to Be His Daughter’s Godfather

Yahoo - Art News - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 23:13

Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/GettyFilmmaker and conspiracy theorist Oliver Stone has made no secret of his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, but now he has taken it to a whole new level by trying to make him his 22-year-old daughter’s godfather. “Does she want to become an Orthodox Christian?” Putin asked when Stone floated the idea during a sit-down in the Kremlin. “We’ll make her that [Orthodox],” Stone replied, according to a transcript of the interview put out by the Kremlin Friday. Putin appeared to wriggle his way out of the proposal (“You have to ask her,” he said) before Stone went on to complain about “American culture,” taking particular issue with what he described as a focus on gender identity and people labeling themselves as “transgender” and “cisgender.” Stone quickly steered the conversation toward a controversial 2013 Russian law banning “homosexual propaganda” among minors, a law which experts say has prompted a surge of homophobic violence in the country. “It seems like maybe that’s a sensible law,” Stone said. The interview, transcripts of which were released Friday, took place in mid-June, shortly before Stone announced the upcoming premiere of his new documentary Revealing Ukraine, which purports to “investigate” the “ongoing Ukrainian crisis” but seems instead to serve as a promotional spot for pro-Russian Ukrainian politician and Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk. The “documentary” has been hyped up by Russian state media, where it premiered on Friday.  It was also due to air on Ukraine’s 112 TV channel, which Medvedchuk reportedly took control of late last year, but the station said it was forced to cancel the broadcast after protests. Stone has claimed his dabblings in Ukraine offer viewers a new perspective on the 2014 Maidan revolution and war in Donbass that he says “Western media has largely ignored,” but that “perspective” has relied solely on claims fed to him by pro-Russia politicians, Putin allies, and Putin himself. In his sit-down with the Russian president, Stone vacillated between spouting off common Kremlin propaganda on Ukraine and fawning over Putin as a “peacemaker.” After echoing the Kremlin conspiracy theory that the pro-Russian leaders in Kyiv accused of gunning down innocent protesters in the 2014 revolution were actually framed in some vast conspiracy that may or may not have involved former U.S. President Barack Obama, and that Ukraine, not Russia was to blame for interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Stone expressed concerns about Putin’s emotional well-being. “You sound very depressed, much more depressed than last time,” he said, later adding, “I am very worried about you.” The two ended the interview by taking a parting picture together. Oliver Stone’s Latest Piece of Pro-Putin Propaganda May Be His Most Shameless Move YetRead more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.

Ex-jihadist Tania Joya now fights to 'reprogram' extremists

Yahoo - Art News - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 23:09

Tania Joya has devoted her life to "reprogramming" extremists and reintroducing them into society -- a process she understands well as a "former Islamic jihadist" herself. "My aim is for them to feel a sense of remorse and to train them so that they can be good citizens once they are released from prison, so they can adjust to society," Joya said during a visit to Washington, to present a project on preventing extremist violence. Born in 1984 near London to a Muslim Bangladeshi family, Joya grew up confronted by racism and the struggles of integration.

Taiwan says it will treat Hong Kong asylum seekers humanely

Yahoo - Art News - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 22:19

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said she would follow "humanitarian principles" in dealing with asylum seekers from Hong Kong, which has been roiled by pro-democracy protests. Tsai made the comments after Radio Free Asia reported that more than a dozen protesters from Hong Kong have fled to Taiwan.

1 killed, 4 injured when Alaska flight aborted on takeoff

Yahoo - Art News - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 21:53

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.

Hannity: If Trump acts on Iran it will be over quickly and Iran will lose

Yahoo - Art News - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 21:47

U.S. deploying 500 troops to Saudi Arabia amid increasing tensions with Iran.

Florida sheriff to investigate Epstein's work release

Yahoo - Art News - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 21:28

A Florida sheriff launched an investigation Friday into whether his department properly monitored the wealthy financer Jeffrey Epstein while he was serving a sentence for soliciting prostitution from underage girls. The inquiry will focus on whether deputies assigned to monitor Epstein in a work-release program violated any rules or regulations, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said in a statement. Under a 2008 plea deal, Epstein was allowed to spend most of his days at the office of his now-defunct Florida Science Foundation, which doled out research grants, rather than in the county jail.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren takes to Twitter to announce her preferred pronouns

Yahoo - Art News - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 21:08

Is this Warren's attempt at appearing 'woke'? Reaction from journalist Chadwick Moore on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'

Biden's son Hunter makes his 1st 2020 campaign appearance

Yahoo - Art News - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 20:11

Joe Biden's son Hunter made his 2020 presidential campaign trail debut with his father Friday, two weeks after the former vice president praised him for battling through "tough times," including years of drug and alcohol abuse. The younger Biden's appearance at a fundraiser in Southern California on Friday was a sign the former vice president and his campaign see him as an asset to the campaign despite a series of personal problems that had kept him in the background. Hunter Biden, 49, attended the event with his new wife, Melissa Cohen, and his daughter Finnegan at the home of Pasadena City Councilmember John Kennedy.

Power station fires knock out service on hot day in Madison

Yahoo - Art News - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 20:04

Fires at two transmission substations in Wisconsin's capital on Friday knocked out power to thousands of customers on the hottest day of the year to-date, sending dual plumes of thick, black smoke into the air and shutting down government buildings, courtrooms and businesses, and leading the governor to declare a state of emergency. The city said it's not clear whether the foam actually contained PFAS, but it is being tested and steps were taken to lessen the spread of water and foam.

Army Recruiters Signed Off On Hundreds of Recruits Who Hadn't Passed a Required Fitness Test

Yahoo - Art News - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 20:00

Over 300 soldiers were found to have enlisted after either failing a required fitness test, or never taking it at all, according to documents obtained by Army Times.In 2017, the Army was straining to meet its goal of 476,000 active-duty soldiers, meaning the service had to bring in 68,000 recruits. The Occupational Physical Assessment Test was new, and Army Times reports that recruiters implicated in the investigation — 297 of them — "figured the recruits would sort out their fitness levels at basic."According to the report obtained by Army Times, recruiters "perceived that they were under pressure by the mission increase and the requirement to fill training seats during a historically low period of accessions into the Army to ship recruits as quickly as possible."The investigators who looked into the issue also wrote in their report that many of the recruiters "did not fully grasp how to administer the OPAT or the significance of the testing requirements."The investigation involved 38 of the Army's recruiting battalions, excluding only New York City and Richmond, Virginia. Per Army Times, the worst offender was Dallas, Texas, passing through 38 untested recruits who never took the fitness test.Overall there were 318 soldiers who said they either never took the test, or that they failed it; 228 allegations were substantiated, and U.S. Army Recruiting Command spokeswoman Lisa Ferguson told Army Times that "appropriate action was taken in each case."

Iran seizes 2 British oil tankers for 'violating international maritime law' as tensions escalate in Gulf

Yahoo - Art News - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 19:46

Two British oil tankers were seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Friday night, in a major escalation of tensions in the Gulf.


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