It’s Thursday July 13, 2017

13Jul

00:0000:00

The remains of one of four young men who went missing last week have been found on a Pennsylvania farm. Officials said the grim discovery was unearthed in a "grave" along with other bodies on a 90-acre tract of land in suburban Philadelphia. Investigators said the remains belong to 19 year old Dean Finocchiaro who disappeared last Friday, along with 22 year old Mark Sturgis, and 21 year old Tom Meo. Jimi Tar Patrick, who was 19, went missing two days earlier. On Wednesday, authorities arrested the son of the owners of the Bucks County farm, 20-year-old Cosmo DiNardo. He is accused of trying to sell Meo's 1996 Nissan Maxima for $500, a day after its owner was last seen. Officials described him as dangerous and said he has schizophrenia. Prosecutors said homicide charges could follow for DiNardo, whose bail was set at the unusually high amount of $5 million in cash. District Attorney Matthew Weintraub told a press conference early on Thursday morning, "This is a homicide, make no mistake about it. We just don't know how many homicides, we have yet to know the answer to that question." The relationship between the four missing men is not clear.

 

 

A Russian court on Thursday sentenced Zaur Dadayev, a former soldier in Chechnya, to 20 years in prison for the 2015 murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, one of President Vladimir Putin's most outspoken critics. Four other men convicted as accomplices received terms between 11 and 19 years. Prosecutors said Dadayev was the one who pulled the trigger. The 55 year old Nemtsov was shot as he walked over a bridge near the Kremlin with his girlfriend. He had been working on a report on Russia's involvement in Ukraine's conflict.

 

 

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Donald Trump to Paris on Thursday with a warm handshake and smiles, a contrast to the clenched-jaw greeting they shared at their first meeting in May. Trump met Macron at the Hotel des Invalides where Napoleon Bonaparte and other French war heroes are buried. Patting Trump on the back several times, the French president smiled as they began a tour of the grand 17th century military complex. Macron and Trump were scheduled to hold talks lasting an hour and a half before dining with their wives at a restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. After a bumpy start, both have incentives to improve relations - Macron hoping to elevate France's role in global affairs, and Trump, seemingly isolated among world leaders, needing a friend overseas. Weeks after Macron hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Palace of Versailles, Trump will bask in the trappings of the Bastille Day military parade on Friday and commemorations of the entry 100 years ago of U.S. troops into World War One. A French official says Macron wants to "bring Trump back into the circle so that the United States, which remains the world's number one power, is not excluded."

 

 

Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled revised legislation to roll back the Affordable Care Act, but political support has deteriorated so dramatically it is unclear whether GOP leaders even have enough votes to formally open the debate next week. The revised bill would retain two key Obamacare taxes on the wealthy and earmark an extra $45 billion for opioid treatment. It includes a provision that would give insurers more flexibility to offer stripped-down, cheaper plans. The new bill also includes a provision to expand the ability of Americans who sock away money in tax-deferred Health Savings Accounts to pay their insurance premiums from those funds. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been meeting behind closed doors with Republicans to adjust the legislation, after he was forced to abandon a vote last month amid a revolt within his own party. The earlier version would have left 22 million more Americans uninsured and has been vehemently opposed by leading doctor, patient and other healthcare advocacy groups. But the new version may not resolve differences between the GOP’s conservative and centrist factions. And passage remains seriously in doubt.

 

 

A Brazilian judge on Wednesday found former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva guilty on corruption and money laundering charges, and sentenced him to nine and a half years in prison. Lula was found guilty of accepting $1.1 million in improvements and expenses for a beachfront apartment from a construction company, which received lucrative contracts from the state-controlled oil company Petrobras in exchange. Da Silva has called the accusations a "farce," but the conviction has severely damaged the reputation the charismatic leader built raising his South American nation's international profile while serving as president from 2003 to 2010. Christopher Sabatini, executive director of Global Americans, a research group in New York said, "This goes far beyond himself and his political career, which is seriously damaged. It's Brazil's reputation. He was a brand. Brand Brazil."

 

 

President Trump told Reuters Wednesday that he "didn't know until a couple of days ago" that his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had met with a Russian lawyer in June 2016, during the presidential campaign. Trump said he did not fault his son for meeting with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, saying his son made the decision in the heat of a non-traditional campaign. The president said, "I think many people would have held the meeting." Trump Jr.'s emails indicated that he readily accepted the invitation to talk with Veselnitskaya after he was told she might have damaging information on Hillary Clinton, then Trump's Democratic opponent, that came from Moscow's effort to help Trump beat Clinton. But Trump Jr. said no information on Clinton was exchanged.

 

 

Chinese Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, a prominent dissident since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, died on Thursday from multiple organ failure, having not been allowed to leave the country for treatment for late-stage liver cancer. The 61 year old was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for "inciting subversion of state power" after he helped write a petition known as "Charter 08" calling for sweeping political reforms. Already seriously ill, he was moved last month from prison to a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang to be treated. The Shenyang Bureau of Justice said in a brief statement on its website that Liu had suffered multiple organ failure and efforts to save him had failed. Despite being given multiple forms of treatment his illness had continued to worsen, it added. The hospital treating him confirmed in a separate statement the cause of death. The leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee which, to Beijing's ire, awarded Liu the peace prize in 2010, said the Chinese government bore a heavy responsibility for his death.

 

 

A New Zealand woman has died on the Caribbean territory of St. Maarten after the blast from a powerful jet engine knocked her to the ground. The incident happened at the famous Princess Juliana International Airport, which is just 50 meters from the beach. Police said the 57-year-old woman had been holding on to the fence before the force of the jet engines threw her backwards, causing serious injury. She was taken to hospital for treatment, but died later. The particular stretch of beach on the Dutch territory is popular with tourists, partly because the planes fly extremely low over the sand before landing. The plane taking off was a Boeing 737 and number of local media reports said the woman struck her head on concrete when she was blown back from the fence line.There are prominent warning signs in the area instructing beachgoers not to stand near the fence because of the dangerous air blasts. Despite the danger, a number of videos circulating online show tourists clinging to the fence to prevent being swept away - and in some cases, almost being lifted off the ground.

 

 

A 59 year old Canadian fisherman was killed trying to disentangle a North Atlantic Right Whale off the coast of New Brunswick. A statement from Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the whale was trapped in commercial fishing gear. The victim, Joe Howlett, is being remembered as an "irreplaceable member of the whale rescue community" by the Canadian government. Minister Dominic LeBlanc said "taking part in whale rescue operations requires immense bravery and a passion for the welfare of marine animals." Howlett was a co-founder of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team, which uses high speed inflatable boats to reach an ensnared whale, then bladed extension poles are used to cut a fishing line. The vessels pull up right alongside the whale, then back off once it's freed. The whale can react instantly -- often rolling over. Rescuers could get entangled or dragged over the side of the boat. The cause of Howlett's death has not been confirmed, but one of his friends told CBC News, that he "was hit by the whale just after it was cut free and started swimming away."

 

 

An iceberg, larger than the state of Delaware, broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula on Wednesday. The trillion-ton mass of ice is one of the largest on record, covering 2,240 square miles, compared to Delaware's 1,954 square miles. Scientists at the British research team Project Midas confirmed the break using data from NASA satellites, saying they had been monitoring a rift in the Larsen 'C' ice shelf for years, before it began growing quickly in January. It is normal for ice shelves to accumulate ice from snowfall and shed it through melting and the breaking or calving of ice bergs, but the massive Larsen 'C' break is so big, reducing Larsen 'C' by 12 percent, that it has raised fears that it could destabilize the remainder of the shelf.

 

 

The Homeland Security Department has approved a request for visas to allow six Afghan teenage girls and their chaperone to participate in an international robotics competition in Washington, after their applications were denied twice. The earlier denials had sparked criticism over the Trump administration's treatment of Muslims trying to enter the U.S., and accusations that the U.S. was pulling back from efforts to support young women in Afghanistan, where they have limited educational opportunities. Politico reported that President Trump personally intervened, asking the National Security Council to address the matter. Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter, tweeted her support and said she looked forward to welcoming "this brilliant team of Afghan girls" to Washington next week.