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Leader of right-wing militia arrested by FBI 'for detaining migrant families at gunpoint in New Mexico'The FBI on Saturday arrested the leader of a right-wing militia that was detaining migrant families at gunpoint near the border in southern New Mexico, as the group faced a torrent of criticism for its tactics.Hector Balderas, New Mexico’s attorney general, said federal agents had arrested the leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins, who had been operating under the alias Johnny Horton Jr. Mr Balderas said in a statement that Hopkins was arrested on charges of firearms possession by a felon.“This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” Mr Balderas said. “Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.”The firearms charge against Hopkins is relatively minor. But it is likely the start of a deeper investigation into his activities and those of the militia, and opens the way for the authorities to bring more serious charges like kidnapping and impersonating a police officer or an employee of the United States.Hopkins’ arrest comes as tensions rise over ultraconservative paramilitary groups operating along the southwestern border. Professed militias have a long history of targeting immigrants from Latin America, tracing back to the Ku Klux Klan’s creation of its own border patrol in the 1970s. Record numbers of Central American migrants apprehended by federal authorities in recent months have been accompanied by a new surge in militia activity on the border.The organisation led by Hopkins, the United Constitutional Patriots, recently uploaded videos of armed members detaining children and their parents in a stretch of the New Mexico desert near El Paso, Texas, before handing the migrants over to the Border Patrol.Political leaders in New Mexico, a state largely controlled by Democrats, responded with fury. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said that any mistreatment of asylum-seekers on the border was “unacceptable.” The state’s two Democratic senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, said in a statement that the actions of vigilante groups “cannot be tolerated.”The American Civil Liberties Union denounced the militia’s actions in a letter Thursday, saying the actions amounted to kidnapping by “racist and armed vigilantes.”Still, such denunciations were far from unanimous in the state. A prominent New Mexico Republican, Gavin Clarkson, a former Trump administration official who is now running for US Senate, met with masked members of the group in March and praised their efforts, according to a video of the encounter uploaded to Facebook.But Clarkson said Saturday on Twitter that he condemned militia activities. “Masked militiamen are the antithesis of what a free republic looks like,” he said.Jim Benvie, a spokesman for the militia, did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Hopkins’ arrest.The FBI said in a statement that the police department of Sunland Park, New Mexico, had assisted with the arrest. Hopkins, 69, is scheduled to appear Monday in US District Court in Las Cruces, New Mexico.Hopkins, whose residence is in Flora Vista in northwest New Mexico, had already come under the scrutiny of groups tracking right-wing militias around the United States. He was convicted in 2006 for impersonating an officer and for felony firearm possession, according to The Daily Beast.Despite the recent criticism over its operations in New Mexico, the militia led by Hopkins maintains a wide reach on Facebook and YouTube.Speaking to someone using a voice distorter while wearing a gas mask, Hopkins appeared on a right-wing extremist YouTube channel in November. He claimed to be in touch with President Donald Trump after a chance meeting at a Las Vegas casino.The New York Times


4/22/2019 1:00:32 AM

State Department Warns 'Terrorists' May Plot More Attacks in Sri Lanka After Deadly Easter BombingsThe State Department advises "increased caution due to terrorism" after a series of bombings Sunday killed at least 290 people


4/22/2019 3:35:24 AM

UPDATE 1-Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US "terrorist" actsIran's parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to "terrorist actions" by U.S. forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington's blacklisting of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards. President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on U.S. forces. Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the U.S. government a sponsor of terrorism.


4/23/2019 4:05:58 AM

Demoted and sidelined: Google walkout organizers say company retaliatedStaff who organized mass protests say in internal letter their roles were changed after November 2018 demonstration Workers protest against Google on 1 November 2019 in Mountain View, California. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP They helped to organize an unprecedented global protest that saw tens of thousands of Google employees walk off the job in November 2018. Now two Google employees, Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton, are alleging that Google is retaliating against them and other employee activists. “Google has a culture of retaliation, which too often works to silence women, people of color, and gender minorities,” reads a letter from Whittaker, Stapleton and 10 other employees that was published internally on Monday and seen by the Guardian. “Retaliation isn’t always obvious. It’s often confusing and drawn out, consisting of icy conversations, gaslighting, project cancellations, transition rejections, or demotions. Behavior that tells someone the problem isn’t that they stood up to the company, it’s that they’re not good enough and don’t belong.” Stapleton, a nearly 12-year veteran at Google, wrote that two months after the walkout, she was demoted, had a previously approved project cancelled, and was “told to go on medical leave, even though I’m not sick”. “Only after I hired a lawyer and had her contact Google did management conduct an investigation and walked back my demotion, at least on paper,” she wrote. “While my work has been restored, the environment remains hostile and I consider quitting nearly every day.” Whittaker, who co-founded the AI Now Institute, wrote that after Google decided to scrap its AI ethics council, she was told that her “role would be changed dramatically”. “I’m told that to remain at the company, I will have to abandon my work on AI ethics and the AI Now Institute,” she wrote. Neither Whittaker nor Stapleton responded immediately to a request for comment. The letter was first reported by Wired. A Google spokeswoman said that the company has already investigated these cases and determined there was no retaliation. “We prohibit retaliation in the workplace, and investigate all allegations,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “Employees and teams are regularly and commonly given new assignments, or reorganized, to keep pace with evolving business needs. There has been no retaliation here.” Google employees have been at the forefront of a wave of tech worker activism that has swept the industry over the past year. Employee-organized protests have taken aim both at the company’s business decisions – such as its work for a Department of Defense drone project or plans to build a censored search engine for China – and its treatment of employees and contractors. The November walkout was sparked by a New York Times report that revealed that a former executive, Andy Rubin, had received a $90m severance package despite being forced out over an allegation that he had forced a female employee to perform oral sex. The report unleashed a flood of anger and frustration among Google employees who had faced harassment or discrimination. In Monday’s letter, the organizers say that they “collected over 350 stories” during the walkout, and discovered a “sad pattern”: “People who stand up and report discrimination, abuse, and unethical conduct are punished, sidelined, and pushed out. Perpetrators often go unimpeded, or are even rewarded.” The organizers are planning to host a Retaliation Town Hall for workers on Friday. They have reserved conference rooms and plan to live stream the discussion internally. Have you experienced retaliation for workplace activism in the tech industry? Contact the author: julia.wong@theguardian.com or julia.carrie.wong@protonmail.com


4/22/2019 4:25:52 PM

California woman charged with dumping puppies in trashLOS ANGELES (AP) — A California woman could face up to seven years behind bars on a slew of charges filed Tuesday after authorities say surveillance video showed her casually tossing a bag of 3-day-old puppies into a trash can on a sweltering day.


4/23/2019 4:50:02 PM

How 11 People Are Trying to Stop Fake News in the World’s Largest ElectionOne of the operations most vital to Facebook Inc. at this moment is a world away from its Menlo Park, California, headquarters, and in more ways than one. This is Boom Live, one of seven tiny fact-checking firms at the heart of Facebook’s efforts to rebuild some of its credibility during India’s elections. Based on the early tallies, more than 60 percent of India’s 900 million eligible voters are expected to cast ballots between now and May 19, as the center-left Congress Party tries to seize power from the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party.


4/22/2019 1:20:53 AM

Turkish police hold ruling party member, five others after opposition chief attackTurkish police on Monday were holding six people, including a member of the ruling AKP party, after a mob attack on opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu that sparked widespread criticism. Kilicdaroglu, 70, of the Republican People's Party (CHP) was assaulted on Sunday in a crowd as he attended a funeral in Ankara for a soldier killed fighting Kurdish militants in the southeast. The attack came days after the opposition CHP won Ankara and Istanbul from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP in March 31 local elections, seen as a major setback for the ruling party after a decade-and-a-half in power.


4/22/2019 10:52:26 AM

The foldable Mate X, which doesn’t appear to be junk like the Galaxy Fold, will launch on scheduleWhen I wrote earlier this week that the Galaxy Fold turned out to be exactly the piece of junk that I predicted it would be more than 7 months ago, angry Android fans flooded my inbox with complaints. By coincidence I'm sure, those emails then completely stopped arriving when Samsung basically confirmed that the Galaxy Fold is indeed a piece of junk. Oops.I'm not a fortune teller. I can't see the future. I can see the writing on the wall, however. As I explained 7 months ago and then again earlier this week, Samsung is awful at building first-generation products. Even when it launches them on its own schedule, the company's first-gen mobile offerings are never solid offerings. Add in the fact that Samsung decided to rush to launch its Galaxy Fold so that it would be the first widely available smartphone in the world with a foldable display, and you have an obvious recipe for disaster. The company excels in refinement, which is why the Galaxy S was a flimsy plastic mess with horrible software and even worse performance, but the Galaxy S10 is one of the sleekest and most powerful smartphones the world has ever seen.Now, in an unprecedented move, Samsung has delayed the release of the Galaxy Fold and decided to collect all review samples since so many of those phones failed catastrophically.I lost count of how many Galaxy Fold review units broke while they were being tested. Some had displays that just malfunctioned on their own, which is obviously horrible news for a device that has one and only one selling point: its display. Other review units failed when bloggers peeled off the flimsy plastic screen protector that turned out to actually be part of the display. That's right, a $2,000 smartphone was going to ship with an essential layer of the screen that was completely exposed, and that looked exactly like the cheap screen protector films that ship on many Android phones. You really can't make this stuff up.Samsung has now confirmed that the Galaxy Fold's release has been cancelled for the time being. The company will collect all review samples to investigate the various failures, and it says it will release the phone once various issues have been addressed. Considering how many units have already been produced -- many hundreds of thousands, most likely -- it's unclear exactly how Samsung plans to fix them, or even if the company plans to fix them.Want my advice? Even when Samsung announces that it has addressed the Galaxy Fold's issues, you should definitely still pass it. Unless Samsung scraps all of the units that have already been manufactured and makes several major design changes, the Galaxy Fold will still have serious problems when the "fixed" version is finally released in the coming weeks or months. Beyond that, the phone's design is still going to be terrible either way. It's too thick when folded closed, the inner and outer displays have big unsightly bezels, and the main display has a hideous notch in the top corner that completely ruins the viewing experience.If you have your heart set on getting a foldable smartphone sometime soon, there is a bit a good news.Following Samsung's Galaxy Fold disaster, rumors began circulating almost immediately that Huawei would also have to delay its first foldable phone, the Mate X. This was horrible news for a few reasons, but mainly because the Mate X design is infinitely better than Samsung's Galaxy Fold design. The phone as a whole feels much sturdier and more premium, the display doesn't have massive bezels or an unsightly notch, and it's nice and thin whether it's folded or unfolded. As you can see in the GIF above, it looks fantastic. In our brief time checkout out the phone firsthand, we found that it's just as good as it looks.So, the good news is that those rumors are completely bogus. Unnamed insiders at Huawei have confirmed to Chinese-language industry news site MyDrivers that rumors suggesting the Mate X release had been pushed back to September are baseless. The phone will launch in June, just as Huawei announced. Will it face any of the same issues as the Galaxy Fold? There's no way to know for sure at this point, but the good news is that Huawei has a much better track record than Samsung when it comes to first-generation products.


4/23/2019 6:17:37 AM

Tiger attacks zookeeper in front of visitors: 'He is a wild animal and was acting on instinct'A beautiful spring morning at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas turned tragic when a male Sumatran tiger attacked a keeper, inflicting wounds that sent her to a hospital.Although keepers are never supposed to be in the same space as the tigers, they found themselves together in the outdoor habitat that morning for reasons under investigation."There's some sort of error that occurred here," said Brendan Wiley, the zoo's director, told a news conference. He confirmed that several visitors to the zoo had witnessed the attack.The employee is the zoo's primary tiger keeper and had worked there for years, according to Mr Wiley, who noted that part of her job is to clean and maintain the enclosure. He said that the keeper was in stable condition and that the zoo was reviewing its safety protocols.The zookeeper, whom Mr Wiley declined to name, citing her family's need for privacy, suffered "lacerations and punctures" to the back of the head, neck, back and arm. She was awake and alert when she was transported to a hospital.The attack occurred about 9:15 am and the zoo's safety protocols immediately went into effect, Mr Wiley said. A radio call alerted the staff that there was an emergency, and the zoo called 911. Nearby staff members responded to the scene to secure the tigers, and an official made the decision to temporarily close the zoo. A firearms response team also was dispatched to the tiger exhibit, but zookeepers had successfully lured the tiger away by the time it arrived."Some of our staff witnessed some things that you hope you go through a career without witnessing," Mr Wiley said.The zoo has two adult Sumatran tigers: Jingga, a female, and Sanjiv, who was brought to the zoo in August 2017. Shanna Simpson, animal care supervisor, told the Topeka Capital-Journal then that Sanjiv "is the sweetest cat I have ever met."In October, Jingga gave birth to four cubs - three males and one female.The Topeka Zoo allowed Jingga and her cubs back into their enclosures Saturday afternoon, but Sanjiv would remain in holding overnight, Mr Wiley said.City spokeswoman Molly Hadfield said in an email that "nothing will happen to the tiger; he is a wild animal and was acting on instinct."Sanjiv is too valuable to conservation efforts to euthanise. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, and only about 400 remain in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They are native to Indonesia, where deforestation, human encroachment and poaching have whittled their numbers to the brink of extinction.Some zoos participate in Sumatran tiger conservation programs designed to save the species, but these efforts are not always successful. In February, a male tiger brought to the London Zoo to mate attacked and killed its prospective female partner.The Washington Post


4/22/2019 2:13:52 AM

Should Catholics keep their faith? Sex abuse scandals prompt more to personally question ties to church, poll findsAmid the latest spate of allegations of sexual abuse by priests, an increasing percentage of Catholics are re-examining their commitment to the religion, new poll shows.


4/22/2019 11:44:01 AM

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