FBI Director: China No. 1 Counter-Intelligence Threat to the US

The FBI has more than 1,000 investigations of U.S. intellectual property theft in all 50 states with nearly all leading back to China, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, calling China the No. 1 counter-intelligence threat to the United States.Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Wray described the threat as “more deep, more diverse, more vexing, more challenging, more comprehensive and more concerning than any counter-intelligence threat that I can think of.”The Chinese threat ranges from cyber intrusions to corruption of insiders at U.S. companies small and large, Wray said, citing a series of recent Chinese economic espionage cases investigated by the FBI.  U.S. academia, he added, remains particularly vulnerable to Chinese spying efforts to steal publicly-funded proprietary research .     “It’s an all tools approach by them,” Wray said.  “Therefore, it requires an all tools approach by us.”FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 23, 2019.Asked about the upcoming 2020 U.S. elections, Wray reiterated previous comments that Moscow remains intent on interfering in them, calling Russia the No. 2 counter- intelligence threat to the United States.The testimony comes one day before former special counsel Robert Mueller appears before two Democratic-controlled House panels to testify about his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.Wray declined to directly answer questions about the Russia investigation but reiterated that the bureau is cooperating with a Justice Department inspector general inquiry into the FBI’s use of court-authorized surveillance during the 2016 election.In April, Attorney General William Barr told Congress “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election and later assigned a federal prosecutor to examine the origins of the Russia investigation.In May, however, Wray told lawmakers he did not view court authorized surveillance as spying and that he did not believe the bureau conducted illegal spying on the Trump campaign.Wray, who took over as head of the FBI in 2017 after President Donald Trump fired then bureau director James Comey, said he’s turned virtually the entire leadership of the bureau over the past two years.

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Помер ексголова уряду Китаю, який наказав придушити протести на площі Тяньаньмень

У Пекіні на 91-му році життя помер колишній глава уряду Китаю Лі Пен. Про це повідомляє державне агентство «Сіньхуа». Під керівництвом чиновника китайські війська придушили студентські протести на площі Тяньаньмень у 1989 році.

За даними «Сіньхуа», Лі, якого називали «різник Пекіна», помер минулої ночі в Пекіні після невдалого лікування від хвороби, яку не називають.

Сотні, можливо, тисячі, людей загинули, коли до центру Пекіна в ніч із 3 на 4 червня 1989 року увійшли танки і війська. Тема придушення протестів залишається табу в Китаї, заборонена будь-яка форма вшанування загиблих, офіційна або приватна.

Лі Пен став виконувачем обов’язків прем’єра у листопаді 1987 року і залишався на посаді до своєї відставки в 1998 році.

До 2003 року колишній глава уряду очолював Постійний комітет китайського парламенту.

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US Senate Confirms Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Army Secretary Mark Esper to be secretary of defense, ending the longest period by far that the Pentagon has been without a permanent top official.As voting continued, the Senate overwhelmingly backed Esper, a former lobbyist for weapons maker Raytheon Co., to be President Donald Trump’s second confirmed leader of the Pentagon.Esper, 55, received strong bipartisan support despite some sharp questioning during his confirmation hearing by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren about his ties to Raytheon and his refusal to extend an ethics commitment he signed in 2017 to avoid decisions involving the company.Warren, a 2020 presidential hopeful, was the only member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to voice opposition to Esper’s confirmation during the hearing.Raytheon is the third-largest U.S. defense contractor.There has been no confirmed defense secretary since Jim Mattis resigned in December over policy differences with Trump.Many members of Congress from both parties have urged the Republican president to act urgently to fill the powerful position.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on members to support Esper as he opened the Senate on Tuesday morning.”The nominee is beyond qualified. His record of public service is beyond impressive. His commitment to serving our service members if beyond obvious. And the need for a Senate-confirmed secretary of defense is beyond urgent,” McConnell said.An Army veteran, Esper had served as a congressional aide and a Pentagon official under Republican President George W. Bush, before working for Raytheon. He has been Army secretary since November 2017.Trump’s previous pick to be secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan, withdrew from consideration on June 18 after reports emerged of domestic violence in his family. 

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Search Warrants Issued in Puerto Rican Texting Scandal

A judge in Puerto Rico has issued search warrants for the phones of the U.S. territory’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, and 11 of his political allies in connection with a texting scandal.The search warrants were issued for individuals who had not yet given up their phones as part of an investigation, a spokesperson for Puerto Rico’s Department of Justice told the Associated Press.The warrants were issued a day after protestors mobilized for a 10th straight day against embattled Governor Ricardo Rossello. Demonstrations ended late Monday with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who had gathered near the governor’s mansion in the capital, San Juan.A massive crowd estimated at 500,000 people, including pop singer Ricky Martin and other Puerto Rican-born entertainers, filled the streets of the earlier Monday demanding Rossello quit.The public fury erupted nearly two weeks ago when the island’s Center for Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of online group chats between Governor Rossello and several top aides and associates that included profane messages laced with contempt for victims of 2017’s Hurricane Maria, as well as misogynistic and homophobic slurs against Rossello’s political opponents.  The publication of the chats unleashed long-simmering anger among Puerto Ricans who were worn down by years of public corruption and mismanagement that left the U.S. territory under the control of a congressionally-mandated oversight board to guide it out of a multi-billion-dollar debt crisis.  Rossello stepped down as leader of the New Progressive Party during a televised address Sunday and said he would not seek re-election in 2020.U.S. President Donald Trump slammed Rossello Monday for his “totally grossly incompetent leadership” of Puerto Rico.  Trump clashed with Rossello and other Puerto Rican officials over the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, which killed 3,000 people and left the island without power for months. 

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USDA Rule Could Affect Food Stamp Eligibility for 3 Million

The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed tightening automatic eligibility requirements for the food stamp program, a change that could affect about 3.1 million people.The Agriculture Department said the rule would close “a loophole” that enables people receiving only minimal benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to be eligible automatically for food stamps.“For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines. Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.Under current law, states may confer eligibility for food stamps, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, if they meet income and other requirements for TANF. USDA says 43 states have expanded that to include households that the agency says “barely participate in TANF.USDA said this has resulted in people receiving food stamps who don’t need it and wouldn’t qualify under regular program rules. It estimates that in 2020, 3.1 million food stamp recipients, or 8% of the total could be affected.Under the proposal, to qualify for automatic eligibility, people would have to get at least $50 a month in benefits from TANF for a minimum of six months.Perdue said the change is necessary for “preventing abuse of a critical safety net system.”The rule is open for public comment for 60 days.

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Harris to Introduce US Senate Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana, Expunge Convictions

Democratic White House hopeful Kamala Harris will introduce a Senate bill on Tuesday to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, erase past convictions and use funds from marijuana sales to invest in communities hit by the decades-long “war on drugs.”Harris, a U.S. senator from California and the state’s former attorney general, will be joined by Democratic U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, who will introduce the bill in the House of Representatives. Both serve on the judiciary panels in their respective chambers that would hold initial hearings on the measure.A preview of the Harris-Nadler legislation was provided to Reuters by Harris’ Senate office.“Times have changed — marijuana should not be a crime,” Harris said in a statement. “We need to start regulating marijuana, and expunge marijuana convictions from the records of millions of Americans so they can get on with their lives.”Harris’ marijuana stances have evolved. In May 2018, the former prosecutor signed onto a bill by now fellow White House contender Senator Cory Booker to fully legalize it after previously supporting legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing past convictions.Nadler said in a statement that as U.S. states have legalized marijuana use, those with past criminal convictions “still face second-class citizenship” and the “racially motivated enforcement of marijuana laws has disproportionately impacted communities of color.”Harris said their legislation, if passed, would be an “important step toward racial and economic justice.”Illinois Governor Announces Plan to Legalize Marijuana Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Saturday that he’d reached an agreement with key lawmakers on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state starting next year. 
The legislation would allow adults 21 and older to legally buy cannabis for recreational use from licensed dispensaries. The introduction of the bill comes one week before Harris will participate in the second Democratic presidential debate in Detroit. At the first debate last month in Miami, Harris sparred with former Vice President Joe Biden over his record on racial issues.Harris’ marijuana positions could offer another opportunity for her to contrast herself to Biden, the front-runner in a crowded Democratic field vying to face Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.A criminal justice plan Biden released on Tuesday would decriminalize marijuana, expunge past convictions and legalize it for medical purposes, but stopped short of legalizing recreational usage, which he has said should be left up to the states. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use.In addition to decriminalizing marijuana by removing it from the list of controlled substances and enabling states to set their own policies, the Harris-Nadler “Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act” would prohibit the denial of federal public benefits, including housing, due to marijuana use and mandate it would have no impact under immigration laws.Additionally, 50% of the federal tax revenue generated by the marijuana industry would fund three grant programs. Two would aid those most adversely affected by the war on drugs by providing job-training services within and outside the marijuana industry. The third would provide financial assistance to small businesses in the marijuana industry owned and operated by economically disadvantaged individuals.

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Новим прем’єр-міністром Британії стане Боріс Джонсон

Лідером Консервативної партії Великої Британії обрано колишнього мера Лондона та ексміністра закордонних справ Боріса Джонсона.

За результатами голосування серед членів партії Джонсон отримав 92153 голоси, а його суперник Джеремі Гант – 46,656 голосів.

На посаді очільника торі та прем’єра країни Джонсон змінить Терезу Мей.

Одразу ж після цього оголошення новообраний лідер британських консерваторів і прем’єр-міністр Боріс Джонсон виступив зі стислою промовою, у якій визначив його налаштованість на те, аби втілити у життя план виходу Сполученого Королівства з Європейського Союзу до 31 жовтня поточного року.

Прем’єр Джонсон також пообіцяв здійснити невідкладні кроки з метою розв’язати кризу, пов’язану із системою соціальної допомоги Великої Британії. Разом з тим Боріс Джонсон заприсягся здійснити готівкові вливання до британської системи шкільництва і вирівняти фінансування навчальних закладів на цілому обсязі Британії.

На пост прем’єра нового лідера торі має офіційно призначити королева Єлизавета ІІ 24 липня.

Джонсон раніше заявляв, що Британія має покинути Євросоюз до 31 жовтня, навіть якщо доведеться зробити це без угоди, повідомляє ВВС. «Зроби або помри, будь що буде», зазначав він.

Боріс Джонсон неодноразово наголошував на його симпатіях до України, підтримуючи протидію Києва російській агресії, а також вітаючи поступ України на шляху здійснення реформ. Новий прем’єр-міністр Великої Британії розглядається як надійний друг України, який завжди заявляв на всіх рівнях, що Крим – це Україна, надто коли Джонсон обіймав посаду міністра закордонних справ, неодноразово відвідуючи Київ.

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У наметовому таборі в Росії в пожежі загинули 4 дітей

Унаслідок пожежі в дитячому наметовому таборі в Хабаровському краї в Росії загинули четверо дітей, ще дев’ятеро постраждали. У перших повідомленнях про трагедію йшлося про одну загиблу дівчинку, згодом ще дві дівчинки та хлопчик померли в реанімації.

Слідчий комітет порушив кримінальну справу за фактом пожежі. За повідомленнями, персонал табору намагався загасити вогонь самостійно і пізно викликав пожежників. За попередньою інформацією, згоріли 20 наметів. Всього в таборі перебували 189 дітей віком від 7 до 15 років.

Уповноважена з прав дитини Хабаровського краю Вікторія Трегубенко стверджує, що адміністрація табору приховала від перевірок факт перебування дітей у наметах.

Влада обіцяє виділити родинам загиблих по одному мільйону рублів. У Хабаровському краї оголосили триденну жалобу.

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США створять коаліцію для патрулювання Ормузької протоки – Помпео

США створять міжнародну коаліцію для охорони та супроводу танкерів в Ормузькій протоці. Про це повідомив держсекретар США Майк Помпео в інтерв’ю телеканалу WFTV 9.

За його словами, метою патрулювання стане збереження торговельних шляхів у регіоні відкритими. Помпео наголосив, що США не хочуть війни з Іраном. «Ми просто хочемо, щоб вони припинили терористичну діяльність по всьому світу», – заявив держсекретар.

Вашингтон раніше заявляв про необхідність коаліції і про те, що США ведуть переговори про співпрацю в цьому напрямку з низкою країн.

Напруженість у відносинах між Тегераном і Вашингтоном зросла після відмови Ірану виконувати частину зобов’язань за ядерною угодою. Тегеран вдався до цих кроків після того, як США в односторонньому порядку вийшли з угоди, звинувативши іранську владу в розробці ядерної зброї. Слідом за цим Вашингтон відновив дію деяких санкцій проти Ірану.

Після цього загострилася ситуація біля берегів Ірану. США і Саудівська Аравія звинуватили Тегеран у атаках на танкери в Оманській і Перській затоках.

У липні Тегеран був звинувачений у спробі захоплення британського нафтового танкера в Перській затоці, що йшов у супроводі фрегата Montrose, і в захопленні саудівського танкера. В Ірані всі звинувачення заперечують.

19 липня іранські військові затримали в Ормузькій протоці танкер Великобританії. Влада Ірану заявила, що затримала судно через порушення ним міжнародного морського права.

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Most Republicans Plan to Tune Out Mueller Probe-Reuters/Ipsos Poll

When Robert Mueller testifies before Congress on Wednesday about his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, a key part of the U.S. public appears likely to tune out Republicans.According to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday, only 18% of Republicans said they planned on watching the former special counsel’s testimony when it is broadcast live on the major U.S. television networks. Sixty percent of Republicans said they would not watch and the rest were not sure.The poll also found that while 70% of Republicans said they knew Mueller was scheduled to be questioned in front of two Democratic-led House of Representatives committees this week, only 31% said it was “very” or “somewhat” important.Trump’s fellow Republicans have consistently backed him throughout his presidency, and their support has remained strong as Mueller’s team racked up convictions and guilty pleas from former members of Trump’s inner circle.On Monday, Trump said he himself was probably “not going to be watching,” but added: “Maybe I’ll see a little bit of it.”Trump has attacked the Mueller investigation and the FBI inquiry that preceded it as a politically motivated “witch hunt” and repeated the words “No Collusion! No obstruction” in Twitter posts.Mueller’s report said the investigation found insufficient evidence to prove Trump and his campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia despite numerous contacts. The report did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice, but did not exonerate him.In a separate Reuters/Ipsos poll this month, 61% of Republicans said they did not believe Trump tried to obstruct the Mueller investigation. About 85% said they approved of the job he was doing, and the same number said he should not be impeached.Mueller has said little publicly since he wrapped up his investigation four months ago. In May, he delivered a short statement to reporters in which he indicated that it was up to Congress to decide if the president should be impeached. Democrats, who control the U.S. House, remain divided over whether to begin the impeachment process against Trump.DEMOCRATS, INDEPENDENTS MORE INTERESTED
Tuesday’s poll found that the rest of the American population appeared more interested in Mueller’s testimony, although even many Democrats did not plan to see it for themselves.Overall, the poll found that 55% of the public said they viewed Mueller’s congressional testimony as important, including 81% of Democrats and more than half of independents.A smaller number, however, appeared interested in watching the former special prosecutor testify.Among all U.S. adults, 28% said they planned to watch Mueller’s testimony on TV, including 44% of Democrats. About two in 10 independents said they would watch.The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States from Friday to Monday. It gathered responses from 1,112 adults in the United States, including 487 Democrats and 414 Republicans. It had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 6 percentage points. 

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