Musk tweets he's working with Goldman Sachs, Silver Lake & others to take Tesla private

By ethan / August 14, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has tweeted news that he’s working with buyout firm Silver Lake and investment bank Goldman Sachs, among a host of other firms, in a bid to take the company private.

“I’m excited to work with Silver Lake and Goldman Sachs as financial advisors, plus Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Munger, Tolles & Olson as legal advisors, on the proposal to take Tesla private,” Musk tweeted Monday night.

While Silver Lake has been informally assisting Musk, the firm has not been hired as a financial adviser, an anonymous source told Reuters. Goldman Sachs and the other two law firms could not be reached for comment by the news agency.

Earlier on Monday, Musk revealed that the Saudi Arabian government – which holds a stake of between three and five percent in Tesla – has long been interested in taking the company private.

The news comes less than two weeks after Musk tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private, if its stock were to hit $ 420. In a blog post, the mercurial CEO explained that he wanted to go private to remove the “major distraction” of fluctuating stock prices, get away from the pressure of quarterly earnings cycles, and remove “perverse incentives for people to try to harm what we’re all trying to achieve.”

Tesla’s stock price jumped ten percent at the news, adding to gains from a few days previously, when the oil-rich Saudi Arabian government’s stake in the electric carmaker was revealed.

However, shares remained below the $ 420 price teased by Musk, and receded in the days afterwards. Several investors accused Musk of manipulating Tesla’s stock price, deliberately tweeting misinformation to hurt short-sellers.

In a lawsuit, they described Musk’s tweet as a “nuclear attack” brought on to “completely decimate” short-sellers – traders who make money by borrowing overpriced shares, selling them, and then repurchasing the shares at a lower price.

Musk has often lashed out at short-sellers, and mocked them over the weekend, joking that he would soon sell “short shorts” as Tesla merchandise.

The New York Times reported that Musk took to Twitter “impulsively” and tweeted in anger at Tesla’s critics, citing sources close to Musk.

Tesla has been publicly traded since 2010, and has seen its share price rise from just under $ 20 then to $ 360 at time of writing. The company is currently valued at just over $ 60 billion, with Musk holding an almost 20 percent stake.

Before its recent rally, Tesla’s share price had been in a downward spiral for much of the summer, as the company struggled to meet production targets for its midrange Model 3 sedan and as Musk’s erratic Twitter behavior worried investors.

On top of his trolling and ongoing feuds with journalists, Musk called a diver involved with the rescue of a Thai children’s soccer team a pedo last month; an outburst that knocked four percent off Tesla’s value.

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NDAA sought to derail Open Skies & New START treaties with Russia

By ethan / August 14, 2018

The 2019 military funding bill signed by President Donald Trump sought to limit US participation in Open Skies and New START treaties with Russia, but the provisions were watered down in talks between the House and the Senate.

Trump signed the $ 716 billion bill on Monday, meaning it would go into effect before the new fiscal year arrives in October, for the first time in years. Speaking at Fort Drum in New York, the president praised the quality of US weapons and troops and promised the continuation of Washington’s military supremacy.

In addition to the highest-ever US military budget, some lawmakers sought to insert several provisions into the NDAA that would have released Washington from nuclear arms treaties with Moscow and effectively suspended the treaty on air surveillance approved at the end of the Cold War.

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US President Donald Trump with 10th Mountain Division commander Major General Walter Piatt at Fort Drum, New York, August 13, 2018. © Carlos Barria

Section 1233 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as passed by the House, would have claimed that Russia was in material breach of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and that the US was therefore legally entitled to suspend adhering to it. The Senate amendments changed the policy statement into a “sense of the Congress” and removed the funding limitations imposed by the House, according to the conference report of the final bill.

The House would have also prohibited (Section 1240) funding for implementing the 2010 New START nuclear arms control treaty, until Trump certified he raised the issue of Russia’s new nuclear weapons systems with Moscow. It also demanded to receive written agreement from Russia that such systems would be subject to the treaty. The Senate amendments removed the funding limitation and modified the reporting requirements.

Senators also modified the House bill when it came to the 1992 Treaty on Open Skies, which went into full effect in 2002. The treaty provides for military observation flights over signatory countries.

Claiming that Russia was violating the treaty, the House prohibited (Section 1232) spending funds in 2019 for modifying any US surveillance planes for operations under the treaty, until Trump certifies the US has “imposed legal countermeasures” on Moscow. That section also sought to block US approval for Russian sensor upgrades, unless the Pentagon could certify that would not be harmful to US national security.

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A Russian Tu-214 ON (Open Skies) reconnaissance aircraft designed © Maksim Blinov

The Senate agreed to block funding for upgrades, but removed requirements related to “Russian aggression and malign influence” that were described as unrelated to treaty violations. Senators conditioned the blocking of sensor upgrades on the Department of Defense certifying that the imagery this produced would be superior to digital imagery available commercially.

Senate amendments provided for the possibility of releasing the upgrade funding if the Pentagon submits a report on the current status of the US spy plane fleet – specifically, the Air Force’s RC-135, WC-135, TC-135, and OC-135 aircraft – by January 2019.

Attempting to “punish” Russia by crippling the Air Force may seem strange at first glance, but technical troubles with the aging US spy fleet have left Washington unable to actually carry out the full number of spy missions over Russia allowed by Open Skies. Only 13 of the 16 overflights allowed in 2017 were actually flown, according to arms control wonk Michael Krepon.

Just last month, Russia announced it was considering a major upgrade to their main Open Skies surveillance platform, the Il-22PP “Porubshchik” (Lumberjack). With the 1950s airframe approaching the end of its useful lifespan, Moscow is considering using the early 1970s Il-76 or even the more modern Tu-214 as the basis for the new spy plane.

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Utah man flies plane into his own house after argument with wife (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

By ethan / August 14, 2018

A Utah man flew a small aircraft into his own house, kamikaze-style, hours after he had been arrested for assaulting his wife during an argument, police say.

Duane Youd, 47, died in the crash, as the light-skinned Cessna disintegrated on impact and burst into flames. Youd’s wife and a child, both inside the house, survived and the house remained intact.

Youd had been arrested by police in Payson, Utah, earlier on Sunday, after witnesses reported seeing him assault his wife. The troubled couple had been drinking and had gone to a scenic local spot to talk their problems through, Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said.

After being booked on suspicion of domestic violence and released on bail, Youd was escorted home by an officer. From there, he set off for nearby Spanish Fork-Springville Airport, commandeered a plane and took off for home.

Dodging power lines and other houses, Youd plowed the plane into the front of his house at 2.30 am. Photos taken at the scene showed Youd’s front yard strewn with smoldering wreckage and the house charred and damaged from the fireball.

Investigators said that Youd was a skilled pilot and that the twin-engine Cessna 525 belonged to his employer. They don’t know if Youd was allowed to access the plane.

The 47-year-old had a turbulent marriage, and was charged with disorderly conduct after a domestic violence incident in April. Youd and his wife had agreed to attend six months of marriage counselling as part of a plea agreement.

Youd’s suicidal deathcharge was the second such incident in recent days. An airport employee who described himself as a “broken guy with a few screws loose,”stole a turboprop airplane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday night, casually chatted to ground control staff as he performed aerobatic stunts, and eventually slammed the aircraft into woodland near Seattle.

Before plunging to his death, 29-year-old Richard Russell told controllers that that he’d learned to fly by playing video games, but added that he “wasn’t really planning on landing it.”

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Abducted boy died in Islamic exorcism ceremony in New Mexico desert, prosecutor says

By ethan / August 14, 2018

A missing three-year-old boy, whose remains were discovered buried at a compound in the New Mexico desert, had died during an Islamic ritual ceremony to cast out demonic spirits, a prosecutor told a court hearing on Monday.

Prosecutor John Lovelace made his statement at the pretrial hearing of five adults accused of multiple counts of child abuse, for running an off-the-grid compound in the New Mexico desert where 11 malnourished children were found living in squalor earlier this month.

Three-year-old Abdul Ghani reportedly died during an Islamic ceremony known as a ruqya – performed by some believers to cast out evil spirits known as jinn, Lovelace claimed in court. The prosecutor said that the other children at the compound had revealed the macabre details of Ghani’s death to investigators after the compound was raided.

The boy’s body was washed several times, wrapped in a sheet, and buried near the compound, Lovelace claimed.

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Al-Wifaq mosque ©Google maps

The boy’s father, Siraj ibn Wahhaj, was arrested at the compound, where police found him heavily armed. Also arrested were Wahhaj’s wife, Jany Leveille, 35, two sisters, Hujrah, 38, and Subhannah, 35, as well as another male, identified as Lucas Morten, 40.

Siraj ibn Wahhaj is accused of abducting the boy from Georgia in November. The boy had lived there with his mother, Wahhaj’s ex-wife.  

At Monday’s hearing, Lovelace claimed that the children were trained to use weapons and to defend the compound in the event of an FBI raid. Prosecutors have also alleged that Wahhaj was training the children to commit school shootings.

Local Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe described Wahhaj as an “extremist of the Muslim belief,” but did not elaborate on the definition. Wahhaj’s father said that the label sounded “crazy,” but did say that his son could be high-strung and “extreme” at times.

Wahhaj is the estranged son of a prominent New York Imam, Siraj Wahhaj. Wahhaj Sr. told reporters that all of the 11 children found at the compound are his grandchildren, and three of the suspects are his children.

The imam said that he tipped police off to the situation inside the compound after receiving a message from his daughter, who is among the suspects.

“She said, ‘We need some food, we’re starving,'” the imam said. His daughter then provided a location to send food, and the family turned that address over to police. Upon entering the compound, police found “unbelievable” scenes of poverty and deprivation.

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© Marcus Siebert/Global Look Press

“These children were hungry, they were thirsty, they were filthy,” said Sheriff Hogrefe. The Sheriff told reporters last week that the children had no shoes and were dressed in rags. The only food found inside the compound was a box of rice and some potatoes.

The imam said that his children disappeared in December 2017 and quickly “cut ties, not only with me, with their brothers and their sisters and their mother.” He said the family has had “no direct contact with any of them” since then.

“We have been meeting with law enforcement since day one,” Wahhaj said, describing his efforts to track down his children and grandchildren.

Wahhaj the elder has been praised for the role his Brooklyn mosque plays in the local community, and has been commended by the NYPD for his work with an anti-drug campaign in the 1980s. However, he was also included on a list of people who “may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York. Several people linked to the attack reportedly attended his mosque at the time, and the mosque has also attracted speakers who have been described as radical.

All five suspects are currently being held without bail, owing to the serious nature of their alleged crimes. All have pleaded not guilty.

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Great F-35 and super nukes: Trump lauds US weapons signing $716bn military bill

By ethan / August 13, 2018

In a speech before signing the $ 716 billion Pentagon funding bill, President Donald Trump praised the US military and the “finest” weapons anywhere in the world, but made no references to his critic after whom the bill was named.

“After years of devastating cuts, we’re now rebuilding our military like we never have before,” Trump told members of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York on Monday. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) approves pay raises for members of the military, as well as funding for new weapons, ships, planes and modernizing the US nuclear arsenal.

“America has the best equipment anywhere in the world,” Trump declared, vowing to replace the “aging tanks, aging planes and ships, with the most advanced and lethal technology ever developed.”

He then went on to single out the planned purchase of 135 M1 Abrams tanks, 60 Bradley fighting vehicles, over 3,000 new joint light tactical vehicles (JLTV), Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, and 77 new F-35 fighters.

The Army doesn’t actually operate any F-35s, though. Even if it did, the fifth-generation fighter continues to be plagued by design, performance and maintenance problems, while also being one of the most expensive weapons programs ever devised.

Oshkosh L-ATV (Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle), scheduled for delivery in 2019, are the only truly new weapons system. They are intended to give the troops more protection against roadside bombs, and will partially replace the 1980s HMMWV (Humvee).

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Naval vessels from the US, Canada, Chile, Peru and France take part in RIMPAC 2018 drills, June 2018 © Spec. Steven Robles, US Navy

Trump gave the speech in front of an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, which was introduced in 1986. The utility Blackhawk has been around since 1979. The first M1 Abrams tanks were introduced in 1980, with M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles following in 1981. All of these systems have been modernized and upgraded since, but their basic platforms are hardly new.

“We’re spending a tremendous amount of money on our nuclear arsenal” as well as missile defenses, Trump said. “We will hopefully never ever have to use it, but nobody will be close.”

The 2019 NDAA lists almost $ 6.5 billion for upgrading nuclear warheads and bombs, ground- and sea-based missiles, as well as developing new air-launched nuclear missiles and the B-21 Raider bomber capable of firing them.

According to a 2017 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate, modernizing the US nuclear arsenal would cost $ 1.2 trillion by 2046.

Both the House and the Senate passed the NDAA with overwhelming majorities last month, for the first time in nearly two decades ahead of the October start of the new fiscal year. At no time on Monday did Trump mention that the bill was named after Senator John Sidney McCain, the Arizona Republican who has chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee since 2015.

A vocal critic of Trump, McCain revealed last year that he was suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer and had only months to live. He returned to the Senate in July 2017 to cast a deciding vote against repealing Obamacare, but has mostly stayed at home in Arizona since.

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Drastic falls & nosebleed victories of inaugural multi-sport European championship (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

By ethan / August 13, 2018

The first ever European multi-sport championship concluded on Sunday with some of the athletes leaving the tournament in total frustration after their gold medals chances were destroyed by unexpected falls and failures.

1. Germany’s catastrophic changeover in the men’s 4x100m relay

German sprinters, who were leading the men’s 4×100 men relay, ruined their chances to clinch the European title after the two runners crashed on the track at the final exchange.

Julian Reus and Lucas Jakubczyk both needed medical assistance following their horrible falls which denied their team a chance to be among podium finishers.

In the absence of the German squad Great Britain took the title, while Turkey and Holland won silver and bronze respectively.

2. Disastrous performance in diving by Georgian athlete

Georgian diver Tornike Onikashvili was probably the most unfortunate athlete competing in aquatics events in Glasgow as he displayed catastrophic performances in both events he took part in.

Onikashvili committed noticeable mistakes in the individual 3m springboard event when he fell into the pool underestimating his dive.

The similar error was demonstrated again when he performed together with his teammate in the men’s 3m synchro competition.

3. Israeli runner long-distance runner who thought she crossed the finish line with one lap to go

Kenyan-born runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter who represented Israel at the European championship was running shoulder to shoulder with the leader Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands when she suddenly stopped mistakenly thinking the race as over though there was still one lap to go.

The halt cost the runner a potential medal in the women’s 5000m event, as she failed to regain her previously held second-place position in the race finishing in fourth place.

4. Belarusian marathon runner who overcome excessive nosebleed

Belarusian athlete Volha Mazuronak claimed European championship title running a quarter of the distance with excessive nosebleed which started 30 minutes after the start.

READ MORE: ‘It looked awful, but what could I do?’– Belarusian runner won marathon despite excessive nosebleed

The 29-year-old said she didn’t want to stop to receive medical help fearing she would lose a chance to win the coveted medal.

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‘This state and constitution aren't made for us’: RT doco follows African-American activists

By ethan / August 13, 2018

With racial tensions in the USA back in the spotlight over the last few years, a gripping new RT documentary series visits African-American communities and the activists fighting against a history of racial injustice and poverty.

Like many cities across America, St. Louis, Missouri still sees its urban divide drawn along racial lines, where its black activists continue to fight battles old and new be it against systemic poverty, inequality in education and employment, or extrajudicial police killings.

In ‘Black Lives: Struggle’ interviewees do just that – they struggle. From the assault rifle-toting Ferguson protester, to the “peace-walking” priests operating in some of the city’s most violent areas, to the mother trying to get justice for her son killed in a police raid. Each describes the bleak reality of living in America’s black neighborhoods.

“The state isn’t for us. This country doesn’t work for us. It doesn’t function for us,” says activist Dhoruba Shakur, as he stands armed outside the courthouse steps awaiting the verdict of the trial of an ex-police officer accused of killing a black man.

Referring to the governing system as a “machine” or “robot,” Shakur says: “You can only destroy a robot. It’s got to be taken down and abolished.”

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A protester shouts at police officers guarding the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, US, August 12, 2018 © James Lawler Duggan / Reuters

“Cause when they made the Constitution and all this b******t, it really wasn’t made for me.”

Aside from the palpable anger at the increasing number of black deaths, either at the hands of police or through other homicides, others have found ways to denounce violence.

Reverend Kenneth McCoy, who took to the streets to engage in “peace walks” through some of the city’s most violent neighbourhoods after a string of deaths of young black men and women in his “sphere of influence.”

“I decided that it just made sense for me to go out where the violence is and interact and engage the best way I could,” he said.

Walking through the night streets handing out sandwiches and bottles of water to passing residents, Reverend McCoy and Fr Jay Kanzler, are calling for an end to violence in troubled neighborhoods saying: “Most of the people out here are not bad people – they are in bad situation.”

Summing up his outreach philosophy, Rev McCoy states: “That’s what we believe. One person at a time, one street at a time, one neighborhood at a time.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s bad and you should feel bad’: NPR blasted for interviewing white nationalist Jason Kessler

Gina Torres is still fighting for justice for her son, Isaiah Hammett, a young white man who was killed in a raid on their home by a SWAT team. Activists familiar with the shooting attest that Hammett’s friendship with black people resulted in police giving him “the treatment of black people.”

Driving the renewed radicalism is expressed by rapper and activist T-Dubb-O explains that “this country has been built off of black oppressions and black pain.”

“We want our freedom and we want it now. and we’re not asking.”

Watch the full first episode of Black Lives for more stories of people fighting for justice in St. Louis. 

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4 hospitalized as women’s football match descends into chaotic brawl in Argentina (VIDEO)

By ethan / August 13, 2018

The football match between Argentina’s Universitario and Libertad turned ugly as several players required medical attention after a brawl erupted following the sending off of a coach who protested a referee’s decision.

Emeteiro Farias, president of the league in which the two teams compete, has promised “very harsh” sanctions for the players involved in the mass brawl.

READ MORE: ‘It looked awful, but what could I do?’– Belarusian runner won marathon despite excessive nosebleed

The incident began after the referee awarded Universitario a penalty, after which a Libertad coach was sent off for arguing the decision.

The situation became heated when a Universitario player began shouting at one of the opposing coaches on the sideline, prompting a Libertad player to push her.

Moments later, players from both teams were involved in a brawl, which left several players injured on the ground.

“Five of them threw me to the ground,” Celeste Racca, who was hospitalized, told La Nacion.

“I told my friend ‘make yourself small because they are trying to kill us.’

“It’s shameful, the support was nowhere to be seen. So much work is done for women’s football and then these events happen, it’s very painful.”

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Trump feuds with former ‘apprentice’ Omarosa in White House drama fit for reality TV

By ethan / August 13, 2018

Donald Trump has taken time out of his busy presidential schedule to tweet insults at ex-White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, amid a rapidly-escalating feud between the two estranged reality television prima donnas.

“Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on The Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard really bad things. Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work.”

The tweet comes hours after Newman, who starred in Trump’s reality television series “The Apprentice” before joining the White House, told NBC’s “Today” show that Trump was a puppet who was unfit to hold the nation’s highest office.

When asked by Today host Savannah Guthrie if she thought Trump had the mental faculties needed to be president, Newman answered: “No, I don’t think he’s fit.” She added that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly – who allegedly fired her without Trump’s knowledge – was “running” the White House while Trump remained clueless about daily operations. “He’s being puppeted, and that’s very dangerous for this nation,” Newman said.

In an audio recording provided by Newman, Trump appears to be unaware that the former combative “Apprentice” contestant had been fired.

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Omarosa Onee Manigault-Newman © Drew Angerer

“Omarosa? Omarosa what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving? What happened?” Trump says in the recording, which Newman claims was made a day after she lost her job at the White House in December 2017.

After Newman tells the president that Kelly had fired her, Trump insists that nobody ever told him about it, adding: “You know they run a big operation, but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that. I don’t love you leaving at all.”

Her appearance on the morning program is part of a press tour for her new book, “Unhinged: An Insider Account of the Trump White House.” In it, Newman accuses Trump of regularly dropping N-bombs during tapings of the “The Apprentice.” She also claims she was offered hush money in exchange for her silence about her tenure at the White House.

When asked over the weekend by a report if he felt betrayed by Newman, Trump shot back: “Lowlife. She’s a lowlife.”

Newman made waves in the media after releasing a secret audio recording of Kelly firing her during a meeting inside the Situation Room – a secure conference room in the White House basement billed as impervious to surveillance.

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Mo Salah is yet again praised by fans for a class act

By ethan / August 13, 2018

Liverpool football star Mohamed Salah has made the headlines again after he hugged a young pitch invader during Sunday’s Premier League opener, but that wasn’t the first time the Egyptian has been praised by the fans.

READ MORE: ‘Ramadan affected us badly’ – Egypt FA chief on World Cup failure

Liverpool was leading 4-0 in the match against West Ham when a boy climbed over the advertising hoardings and ran onto the pitch straight to the Egyptian forward who reacted with class and dignity by hugging the youngster.

The 26-year-old player, who scored a goal for his side on Sunday chatted with the boy, before kindly escorting him off the field.

This however was not the first time when the forward’s behavior has been warmly met by the huge army of his fans.

At the end of July Salah met a Syrian fan during Liverpool’s pre-season tour in the USA.

The 16-year-old boy who suffers from muscular dystrophy was overwhelmed with emotions when his idol came to visit his family in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Also in July, Salah’s Cairo home was mobbed by hundreds of fans after his address was leaked on social media.
Instead of being angry or irritated by privacy intrusion the footballer came out to sign autographs and take pictures with fans who had flocked the area outside his house.

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