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Trump says a President Biden would get 'no ratings'President Trump, whose halting leadership in the face of the coronavirus pandemic Americans increasingly question, boasted Monday about his one undisputed success: his ability to command media attention.

7/13/2020 9:42:49 AM

Ghislaine Maxwell Foolishly Tried to ‘Evade Detection’ by Wrapping Cell Phone in Foil: ProsecutorsGhislaine Maxwell, the longtime Jeffrey Epstein confidant accused of helping him sexually abuse underage girls, tried to hide from federal agents during her July arrest—and even wrapped her cell phone in tin foil in “a misguided effort to evade detection,” prosecutors said Monday.Federal prosecutors made the shocking disclosure about Maxwell’s July 2 arrest at her ultra-secluded New Hampshire mansion in court documents arguing against her release from federal prison on a $5 million bond. Maxwell, 58, is in custody at a federal detention facility in New York after being charged with allegedly enticing minors, some as young as 14, to engage in illegal sex acts with Epstein in the mid-1990s.On Friday, Maxwell’s lawyer argued that the 58-year-old has not been hiding from authorities since the pedophile billionaire’s jailhouse suicide in August—but from an “unrelenting and intrusive media.” Ghislaine Maxwell’s Lawyers Claim She Was Never in Hiding, Hadn’t Seen Epstein for a DecadeProsecutors hit back on Monday, stating that the socialite does not deserve any “special treatment” and that her actions over the last year prove she is an “extraordinary” flight risk. The memo also pointed to the millions Maxwell has in various bank accounts overseas.“To the extent the defendant now refuses to account for her ownership of or access to vast wealth, it is not because it does not exist—it is because she is attempting to hide it,” prosecutors wrote, noting that “there should be no question that the defendant is skilled at living in hiding.” After Epstein’s jailhouse suicide last summer, the hunt was on for the dead financier’s longtime consort, whom he once described as his “best friend” and who was complicit in the sexual trafficking of underage girls, according to his victims.Prosecutors said Monday that the morning of July 2, FBI agents arrived at her remote, 156-acre property in New Hampshire, broke her blocked gate, and announced themselves at the door. Through the window, prosecutors state, agents saw the 58-year-old socialite “ignore the direction to open the door” and instead try “to flee to another room in the house, quickly shutting the door behind her.” As a result, the agents had to forcibly enter her home, where they arrested her in an “interior room in the house.” “Moreover, as the agents conducted a security sweep of the house, they also noticed a cell phone wrapped in tin foil on top of a desk, a seemingly misguided effort to evade detection, not by the press or public, which of course would have no ability to trace her phone or intercept her communications, but by law enforcement,” prosecutors wrote. Epstein Used Database to Track ‘Numerous’ Underage Girls ‘Held Captive’ at His Virgins Islands Hideaway: SuitThe court filing states that when agents questioned a security guard on the property, they discovered that Maxwell’s brother had also hired a security company staffed with former members of the British military to guard her in “rotations.”“The guard informed the FBI that the defendant had not left the property during his time working there and that instead, the guard was sent to make purchases for the property using the credit card,” prosecutors stated in the court filing.In the six-count indictment against Maxwell, prosecutors allege that she took part “in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein.” From 1994 to at least 1997, “Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” it says. Some of the alleged victims were as young as 14.In the Friday memo, her lawyers state Maxwell “vigorously denies the charges, intends to fight them, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.” They also argue she should be granted bail because of the COVID-19 threat in jail. “Ever since Epstein’s arrest, Ms. Maxwell has been at the center of a crushing onslaught of press articles, television specials, and social media posts painting her in the most damning light possible and prejudging her guilt,” the defense lawyer stated in the Friday memo. Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell Is Behind Bars. Who's Next?Stressing that “Ghislaine Maxwell is not Jeffrey Epstein,” her lawyers argued she should be released from federal prison on a $5 million bond with travel restrictions, home confinement, and GPS monitoring. In the memo, her lawyers also stressed that Maxwell is not a flight risk and that she is as much of a victim of Epstein, with whom she had not had contact for more than a decade. But prosecutors said Monday Maxwell played an “essential role” in Epstein’s scheme, and stated that additional witnesses have come forward who are willing to provide “detailed, credible” evidence “which has the potential to make the Government’s case even stronger.” At least “one or more victims” will testify at Maxwell’s detention hearing on Tuesday in New York, the memo added.“At the heart of this case are brave women who are victims of serious crimes that demand justice,” prosecutors said in the Monday court filing. “The defendant’s motion wholly fails to appreciate the driving force behind this case: The defendant’s victims were sexually abused as minors as a direct result of Ghislaine Maxwell’s actions, and they have carried the trauma from these events for their entire adult lives.”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.

7/13/2020 3:13:02 PM

US Air Force F-16 fighter jet crashes at New Mexico base, marking service's fifth fighter jet crash since MayThe pilot was able to eject safely and is being treated for minor injuries, the base said Monday evening.

7/13/2020 10:33:13 PM

St Louis couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters 'almost always in conflict with others', report saysThe white couple who were photographed pointing guns at protesters in St Louis, have been revealed to have had several conflicts over their property in recent years, from a number of lawsuits to the smashing of children’s beehives.Personal-injury attorneys Mark and Patricia McCloskey were seen standing outside their home holding a handgun and a rifle at Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters who were walking down their street on 28 June.

7/13/2020 5:19:51 PM

Trump's bizarre COVID-19 claim: 'Biden and Obama stopped their testing'President Trump on Monday defended the nation's coronavirus testing record and rising case numbers.

7/13/2020 3:54:29 PM

Detained Chinese professor who criticised Chinese President Xi Jinping is freedA Chinese academic who penned an essay blaming the coronavirus pandemic on President Xi Jinping's authoritarianism and censorship has been released after nearly a week in detention, his friends have told AFP. Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University, was taken from his home in the capital by a group of more than 20 people on July 6, according to associates. He returned home on Sunday and was well, two friends confirmed to AFP on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity. In an essay published on overseas websites, Xu had written that the leadership system under Xi - China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong - was "destroying the structure of governance". He said the lack of openness contributed to the outbreak of the coronavirus, which first appeared in China late last year and eventually spread globally after Communist Party officials tried to suppress initial news of the contagion. It was not immediately clear whether he would face further repercussions. Beijing police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

7/13/2020 12:04:18 AM

Four more states added to New York quarantine order, Cuomo saysGovernor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday ordered those arriving in New York from an additional four states to quarantine for 14 days to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. The newly added states - Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin - were all seeing 'significant' community spread of the virus, Cuomo said in a statement. Travelers arriving in New York from a total of 22 U.S. states are now required to quarantine for 14 days, according to Cuomo's order which was first issued in June.

7/14/2020 10:12:27 AM

Nearly a century later, Tulsa is digging for evidence of mass graves in infamous race massacreMayor G.T. Bynum on 1921 slaughter of Black residents: "It should not have taken 99 years for us to be doing this investigation."

7/14/2020 10:27:00 AM

I'm from Florida. Our coronavirus crisis doesn't surprise me‘America’s weirdest state’ offers an extreme case of the country’s broader failure to take the pandemic seriouslyI have spent the past three months in my home state of Florida, during which time I’ve watched it become the hottest of coronavirus hotspots on the planet. This week began with the announcement that the state registered over 15,000 new infections in a single day, which was almost 3,000 more daily cases than any state previously had recorded since the pandemic began. If Florida was a country, according to Reuters, it would have the world’s fourth-highest tally of new Covid-19 cases over that 24-hour span, trailing only the US, Brazil and India.Florida has a well-deserved reputation as America’s weirdest state, so perhaps the pandemic punishment being meted out to us right now shouldn’t come as a shock. A 1948 Fortune magazine study observed: “Florida is a study in abnormal psychology, useful in signaling the … hidden derangements of the national mood.” A lot of bad trends in American life find their most bizarre and refined forms in the Sunshine state, which is why “Florida Man” has become shorthand for the bad behavior of too many state residents. As far as the present pandemic is concerned, the simplest and most convincing explanation for why Florida is experiencing an explosion of Covid-19 cases it that it is an extreme case of the broader American failure to take the pandemic seriously.Considerable blame rests with the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis. A former member of the House Freedom Caucus, the most slavishly pro-Trump faction in Congress, he won election as governor in 2018 largely on the strength of the president’s endorsement as well as campaign ads that showed him teaching his children how to build walls and recite “Make America Great Again”.Unsurprisingly, he followed Trump’s lead in minimizing the seriousness of the pandemic. Florida was one of the last states to impose a stay-at-home order, in early April, and began reopening little more than a month later. A state data scientist responsible for tracking the spread of the virus was fired when, she claimed, she wouldn’t manipulate the data to show sufficient recovery from the pandemic to justify further easing of restrictions.Even now, DeSantis is aggressively pushing for schools to reopen next month, on the grounds that if big-box stores like Walmart and Home Depot can resume operations successfully, then so can schools. Teachers object that schools are smaller and more crowded spaces, and that few customers spend eight hours a day in the stores. But perhaps DeSantis is channeling the dystopian future vision of the film Idiocracy, in which higher education has been taken over by stores like Costco.DeSantis, to his credit, allowed some of the hardest-hit cities and counties to delay reopening and require masks in some public settings – unlike the Republican governors of Texas and Arizona, who blocked any pandemic restrictions more stringent than those imposed by the state (both governors have backtracked). He also seems, in hindsight, to have been unfairly pilloried by the media for allowing beaches to stay open, in view of current opinions on the lower risk of outdoor transmission.> Florida’s subtropical climate is an irresistible inducement to hedonismIt’s also clear that Florida, like the country as a whole, failed to shut down to the extent and duration necessary to contain the spread of the virus, or to wear masks and practice social distancing to the extent that was routine in most societies where the virus was successfully brought under control. During the first two months I was down here, I rarely saw as many as half of the customers (and in some cases staff) in supermarkets and drugstores wearing masks. Groups of teenagers thronged the shopping malls as if the pandemic was a thing of the past.Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, gyms, massage parlors, nail salons and a host of other transmission-friendly environments reopened in early June, with distancing restrictions more or less ignored. Floridians who chafed at weeks of restrictions made up for lost time by partying down with a kind of feral intensity, to judge by local social media, at any rate. Florida’s subtropical climate is an irresistible inducement to hedonism, and many of the young people who crowded into bars and nightclubs believed that they had nothing to fear from the virus. Health officials have linked more than 150 Covid-19 cases to a single bar in Orlando. (DeSantis subsequently banned on-premise alcohol consumption at establishments that derive more than half of their income from alcohol sales.)There could be some other factors peculiar to Florida that explain the virulence of the pandemic’s spread here. Partisanship is hard-edged here, and not wearing a mask has become a mark of Republican tribal identity. Many conservatives I know (particularly men) consider mask-wearing to be an infringement upon their constitutional freedom. Skepticism of science and experts, along with ingrained contrarianism – some otherwise sane Floridians I know resolutely maintain that the virus is a hoax, or no worse than seasonal flu – surely plays a role in some cases as well.The state government’s handling of the pandemic has proved shockingly inadequate, largely because the previous Republican administration sabotaged its institutional capacities. It took weeks and even months for laid-off Floridians to get unemployment relief, largely because the online system was designed to make it harder for workers to receive benefits so that the previous governor (now a senator), Rick Scott, could claim lower jobless numbers.Floridians historically have shown a ferocious individualism and an unwillingness to abide by state government restrictions. In addition, the severe economic damage inflicted by the shutdown surely has made people more willing to engage in magical thinking about how the dangers of the virus have been inflated by the media and the establishment, including the mistaken belief that hot weather prevents virus spread.> The inability of too many Floridians to distinguish between reality and fantasy is part of what’s frustrating about this placeTwo-thirds of Florida’s residents (and nearly all of its tourists) come here from somewhere else, which may cut against the collective sense of social responsibility that’s more widespread in more settled communities and societies. And masks are indeed uncomfortable in Florida’s heat and humidity, as visitors to a reopened Disney World are finding out.The pandemic laid bare the incompetence of the Trump administration, which took much too long to put widespread testing in place and has yet to implement contact tracing on the scale that’s needed. But the pandemic has also shown the weakness of America’s federal structure and its insufficient state capacity relative to other developed countries, where governments have implemented more uniform and effective national responses. Perhaps one of the pandemic’s legacies will be greater citizen insistence on competent government.I’ve spent most of my adult life outside Florida, but I share the affectionate exasperation that many Floridians feel for their state. It’s not like anywhere else, for both good and ill. The New York Times recently interviewed a couple who visited the reopened Disney World and shared their belief that the park’s reopening “was the first thing that made us feel like we could leave our house and still feel safe”. Why? Because “it’s Disney”. The inability of too many Floridians to distinguish between reality and fantasy is part of what’s frustrating about this place, but their irrepressible optimism makes me hope we will get through this pandemic without losing too many more of them.

7/14/2020 5:37:48 AM

Trump identifies another hoax: The coronavirus“The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19,” wrote game show host Chuck Woolery in a tweet promoted by the president.

7/13/2020 10:26:49 AM
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