It’s Thursday August 10, 2017

10Aug

00:0000:00

North Korea on Thursday dismissed President Donald Trump's warning that the U.S. would unleash "fire and fury" on the communist-run nation if Pyongyang continued to threaten America, saying Trump's statement was a "load of nonsense." North Korea said it was finalizing a plan to fire four missiles over Japan into waters around the tiny Pacific island of Guam, a U.S. territory of 163,000 people with a military base. South Korea's military vowed a "stern and strong" response if North Korea launches the salvo, and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Pyongyang "should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on a previously scheduled visit to Guam that North Korea posed no immediate threat, and that "Americans should sleep well at night."

 

 

At least 19 migrants have died after being deliberately drowned Thursday, according to the UN's migration agency. Many of the drowned were thought to be teenagers originating from Somalia and Ethiopia. Hundreds of migrants were forced from a boat off the coast of Yemen for the second time in two days. A spokeswoman for the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) said the incidents "may be the start of a new trend. Smugglers know the situation is dangerous for them and they could be shot at, so they drop them near the shore." The UN say another 180 people were forced off a boat near the coast of Yemen on Thursday. On Wednesday the IOM uncovered bodies of 29 of migrants in shallow graves on a beach. They say survivors of the incident had tried to bury them after the smugglers had forced about 120 of them from a boat close to Shabwa, Yemen. The IOM think as many as 50 could have died in Wednesday's drowning. The UN say the migrants were a mix of men and women, and estimated their average age to just be 16.

 

 

Cuba said Wednesday it had launched an "urgent investigation" into U.S. allegations that unspecified "incidents" left several Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Havana with hearing problems and other symptoms over the past six months. U.S. officials believe some sort of sonic weapon outside the range of audible sound had been placed in or near the diplomats' homes, causing them to lose their hearing. The U.S. retaliated by expelling two Cuban diplomats from Washington in May. Washington is looking into the possibility that a third party such as Russia could have deployed the weapons without Cuba's knowledge. Cuba said it "has never, nor would it ever, allow that the Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic agents or their families."

 

 

 

President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) traded public criticism this week, starting with a statement by McConnell partly blaming Trump's "excessive expectations" for the GOP's failure to deliver promised legislative victories, such as repealing and replacing ObamaCare. Trump responded Wednesday with a tweet, saying, "Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?" Wednesday's spat wasn't the first between Trump and one of the congressional leaders he needs to advance his agenda. After Republicans failed to pass their "skinny" ObamaCare repeal plan, Trump urged Republicans to try again and called for McConnell to scrap the filibuster.

 

 

Taylor Swift testified Thursday that a former radio DJ reached under her skirt and intentionally grabbed her backside underneath her skirt during a meet-and-a-greet photo session before a 2013 concert in Denver. The pop star testified in federal court during a trial over the claim, saying,“He stayed attached to my bare ass-cheek as I lurched away from him." Mueller testified Wednesday that the photo taken before the concert was “weird and awkward,” but he insisted that he touched Swift in the ribs, not in the rear. Mueller testified his hand was touching Swift’s skirt after he put his arm around her and their arms got crossed: “My hand was at rib-cage level and apparently it went down.”The case is being tried in federal court under a law allowing the proceeding when the parties live in separate states and the dispute involves a damages claim higher than $75,000. Swift said a security guard working for her witnessed the groping. She testified guard Greg Dent saw David Mueller “lift my skirt” and grab her but that it was it was impossible for anyone to see Mueller’s hand beneath her skirt and on her buttock because they were posing for the photo with their backs to a wall. David Mueller sued Swift and others on her team, claiming they cost him his job and is seeking up to $3 million in damages. Swift countersued, alleging sexual assault, and is asking for a symbolic $1 judgment.

 

 

A black market for diesel and gasoline has rapidly spread around the United States, with organized crime gangs using fraudulent credit cards to syphon millions of dollars in fuel from gas stations into large tanks hidden inside pickup trucks and vans. Investigators and industry experts say stealing fuel can be less risky than selling drugs or other illegal endeavors, and criminals can make $1,000 or more a day re-selling the stolen fuel at construction sites and unscrupulous gas stations, or to truckers looking to cut costs. Industry experts said black market diesel started becoming a big business when credit card “skimmers” became more prevalent around 2006. Thieves install the devices at gas station pumps, where they record card information as unsuspecting customers fuel up. The information is later transferred to a magnetic strip on a counterfeit card. The problem has only grown as the devices become more sophisticated. The black market has grown quickly in part because the thefts total a few hundred dollars at a time, and prosecutors were slow to prioritize them. But as fuel thefts become more organized, they have caught the attention of state and federal authorities around the country. The U.S. Secret Service, which investigates financial crimes, is involved because the gangs use credit card skimmers. and one agents said Miami, Los Angeles and Las Vegas are hot spots, together accounting for about 20 million gallons a year in stolen diesel.

 

 

A popular singer has been arrested for "dabbing" during a concert in south-west Saudi Arabia. Abdallah Al Shahani, a TV host, actor, and Saudi national, was performing the dance move, which involves a person tucking their head into the crook of their arm, at a music festival in the city of Taif at the weekend. Dabbing is banned in the conservative country where authorities consider it a reference to narcotics culture. A video of Mr Al Shahani's dab became popular on social media and thousands have tweeted about the incident. It is thought that dabbing originated in the hip-hop scene in Atlanta, Georgia, around two years ago, but gained a global following when celebrities, athletes and politicians including Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan began performing the move. The Saudi Interior Ministry's National Commission for Combating Drugs recently banned the move because they consider it to refer to marijuana use.

 

 

Walmart issued an apology Wednesday for a display marketing guns as back-to-school items, and said it was trying to identify the store behind the sign. A photo spread quickly on social media showing a sign reading "Own the school year like a hero" placed over a glass case containing guns. After a torrent of criticism on Twitter, Walmart said the display was "truly awful" and "horrible." A company spokesperson, Charles Crowson, said Walmart was "not happy" about the controversy, and was "working diligently" to get to the bottom of it.

 

 

What is thought to be an unexploded military bomb has been found at the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Officials believe the 3 foot device is a U.S. bomb dropped during WW2. It was found by workers building a car park at the site where a four-decade-long decommissioning process is under way. Tepco said construction work was immediately suspended after the object was found and a temporary exclusion zone put in place while bomb disposal experts were deployed. It is not uncommon for unexploded WW2 devices to be found in Japan over 70 years on from the end of the war. Tens of thousands of residents had to evacuate the area after a reactor meltdown in 2011 following an earthquake and tsunami. The incident at the Tokyo Electric Power Co -TEPCO - site was the world's most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. No-one died directly in the meltdown but three former TEPCO executives are facing trial on charges of negligence because of deaths related to the area's evacuation. The Fukushima area was previously home to a Japanese military base.

 

 

Ruth Pfau, a German doctor and nun who dedicated her life to eradicating leprosy in Pakistan, and has been described as the country's Mother Teresa, has died in Karachi aged 87. Her order said she died in a hospital after being admitted on Friday. Dr Pfau witnessed leprosy in Pakistan for the first time in 1960 and returned to set up clinics across the country. Her efforts paid off and in 1996 the disease was declared to have been brought under control. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Dr Pfau "may have been born in Germany, but her heart was always in Pakistan". Harald Meyer-Porzky from the Ruth Pfau Foundation in Würzburg said Dr Pfau had "given hundreds of thousands of people a life of dignity". She was born in Leipzig in 1929 and saw her home destroyed by bombing during World War Two. She studied medicine and was later sent to southern India by her order, the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, but a visa issue meant she became stuck in Karachi, where she first became aware of leprosy.

 

 

Social media giant Facebook has made a move into dedicated video, pitting it against YouTube and TV networks. Users will soon see a new Watch tab that will offer a range of shows, some of which have been funded by the social network. Watch will be personalised so that users can discover new shows, based on what their friends are watching. Viewers will also be able to see comments and connect with friends and dedicated groups for shows. Video has been available on Facebook for some time, but until now, it has mostly been dominated by amateur clips or short segments from news organisations. The world's largest social network added a video tab last year, and has hinted for some time that it might make the move to producing original content. Watch could open up new revenue potential for both Facebook and program makers, while users can expect to see targeted advertising before and during the shows.

 

Tesla is developing a self-driving electric semi-truck that will be capable of driving in "platoons," with several of the vehicles automatically following a lead truck, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing emails exchanged between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. The emails were about potential road tests of the autonomous trucks. In California, state officials met with Tesla "to talk about Tesla's efforts with autonomous trucks," state DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters.