Category: Opinion

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DOWD: Bobby Mueller Sticks It to Trump…


And one’s president.

Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio says the president has been lying reflexively since he was a kid bragging about home runs he didn’t hit. He gets warped satisfaction from making up stuff, like those calls from the head of the Boy Scouts and the president of Mexico that the White House just admitted never happened.

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Back when he was a Page Six playboy, Trump even invented two P.R. guys to play on the phone with reporters, so he could boast about himself three times as much, including fictitious claims of dating Carla Bruni and being hit on by Madonna.

He is never deterred by the fact that he can be easily caught. But considering he survived the “Access Hollywood” video, it’s no wonder he has a distorted sense of what is an existential threat.

Going hammer and tong after hammer and sickle, Mueller has crossed Trump’s Red Line, using multiple grand juries and issuing subpoenas in a comprehensive inquiry covering not only possible campaign collusion but also business dealings by Trump and his associates with Russia. The Times reported Friday that Mueller’s investigators had asked the White House for documents related to Michael Flynn.

A White House adviser told me recently about how scary Mueller’s dream team is, and how Jared Kushner should be nervous. Every time Mueller adds a legal celebrity to his crew, the music gets cued for an “Ocean’s Eleven” or “Dirty Dozen” array of talent. One lawyer helped destroy the New York City mafia; another helped bring down Nixon; another tackled Enron; others are experts on foreign bribery and witness-flipping. As GQ’s Jay Willis wrote, “If these people were coming for you over a parking ticket, you’d be thinking about liquidating your life savings.”

Even before his panting, bodice-ripper of a report came out, Ken Starr was getting dismissed as a partisan Javert. He’s still risible, warning Mueller on CNN Friday that “we do not want investigators and prosecutors out on a fishing expedition.” You know you’re in trouble when Mr. Rod & Reel warns you about going fishing.

Mueller is taken seriously as Mr. Clean Marine, a Republican willing to stand on principle even against other Republicans, as when he and James Comey resisted W. on warrantless wiretapping. Mueller is seen as incorruptible, so his conclusions will most likely be seen as unimpeachable.

Trump does not yet seem to fathom that Mueller is empowered in a way no one else is to look at all sorts of things. This isn’t some tiff over a casino, where Trump can publicly berate opposing counsel and draw him into a public spat. Mueller won’t take the bait.

At a boisterous West Virginia rally Thursday night, Trump was back in fiery campaign mode, mocking the idea that he was the Siberian candidate.

“Are there any Russians here tonight?” he said. “Any Russians?”

All I can say is: Hurry up, Bobby Three Sticks. (Mueller got this moniker from F.B.I. agents because of the three Roman numerals at the end of his name.)

There may be no more bizarre, byzantine mystery in the history of American politics than Trump’s insistence on dancing with the red devil in the pale moonlight. Even for this most unlinear, illogical, uninformed president, it is flummoxing.

When I talked to Trump about the Russians in 1987, when Mikhail Gorbachev made his first visit as Soviet leader to America and invited businessmen to meet with him in New York, Trump seemed normal, saying he was willing to listen but was suspicious and we should not be overly eager to make a deal.

But something happened to give him a Blame America First attitude when it comes to the Russians. How transcendentally strange that the new president’s own party has to help the Democrats box him in both on sanctions against the Russians and on a measure preventing him from firing Mueller.

On Thursday, the president pout-tweeted that it was Congress’s fault that “our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low.” So he was blaming lawmakers who punished Russia for a cyberattack on our election rather than blaming Russia for sticking a saber in the heart of our democracy.

Hustle, Bobby Three Sticks.

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Sex swap patient to undergo gender reassignment for the THIRD time as she becomes woman AGAIN…


Like many young women, Ria Cooper dreams of one day getting married and having children.

But the 23-year-old knows the odds are stacked against her.

Not only because she was born a boy, but because she has now switched gender an astonishing three times in her short life.

Ria – who was born Brad – became ­Britain’s youngest sex-swap patient at 15. Doctors controversially backed her belief she was a girl in a boy’s body.

She was given blockers to stop her going through puberty, followed by injections of female hormones to impede face and chest hair and trigger the formation of breasts.

Ria Cooper pictured as a boy, Bradley, before a sex-swap at the age of 15

But with her life spiralling out of control as she struggled with her new identity – and the fears of never being accepted as a woman – Ria decided to transition back and live her life instead as a gay man.

Before having crucial surgery, she ended her treatment and became Brad again soon after her 18th birthday.

It turned her into the unwitting poster boy for those who claimed teenagers were too young to be given gender reassignment.

Ria Cooper in 2012 after hormone jabs

But five years on Ria is more certain than ever that is not the real her – and is making her second attempt at becoming a woman to have the future she always dreamed of.

She said: “I’ve always known I was female – it was everyone else who was confused, not me. I was wearing make-up and heels at the age of 12, there was no question.

“But I felt under so much pressure from society that six years later I caved in. I was torn. I knew exactly who I was, but I also wanted to conform and be ‘normal’.

Ria had become the unwitting poster boy for those who claimed teenagers were too young to be given gender reassignment

“Only now I realise that made me even more unhappy. Now I’m going to be me – and I hope I will finally be happy.”

Stung by critics who accused her of “wasting” thousands of pounds of NHS cash on her abandoned transformation, Ria has vowed she will fund her own surgery.

She has paid £5,000 to get her dream 34EE breasts, and will have an op next year for her genital transformation.

But as well as finally finding peace, she hopes it will allow her to find the romance and the family she longs for.

In a bid to conform, Ria decided to live as a gay man

Ria said: “One reason I switched back to being male was because I was worried I’d never find love as Ria.

“My past was always just too much
for men to take on board when I ­transitioned the first time.

“They’d fall in love with me, knowing my background – but as soon as their friends found out, I’d be dumped. I began to doubt I would ever feel happy again.

“But I’m older and wiser now and know exactly who I am. I’m Ria and I’m a woman. There’s no turning back.

“If I can find a man who accepts that and loves me for who I am, that’s perfect. If not, I’d still like to be a mum.”

When Ria became the youngest person in the UK to be prescribed female hormones, they played havoc with her mental health, sending her into a spiral of self-destruction.

Ria has paid £5,000 to get her dream 34EE breasts, and will have an op next year for her genital transformation

By 18 she had twice attempted suicide. She had turned to drugs, gone through violent relationships and, to her regret, dabbled in prostitution.

At rock bottom, she decided to quit the hormones and go back to being Brad.

Ria knows her torment raises questions over whether she had been too young for gender reassignment. Yet despite it all, she insists that is not the case. “I wasn’t confused. But people around me confused me,” she says.

“My mum Elaine let me dress as a woman. But whenever a male ­relative came round I’d wipe off the make-up and get back into boys’ clothes – I knew they wouldn’t approve.

“Growing up on a tough estate in Hull, I had to put on a really hard act to cope.

“On the surface I was hard as nails, but underneath it hurt like hell. The puberty blockers and hormones made me moody and angry, I was all over the place. My mum supported me, but I moved out and went wild, drinking and taking drugs to cope with being different. I made so many mistakes.”

One of her biggest regrets is taking part in a Channel 4 documentary which revealed her job as a ladyboy called Lola.

The documentary, Ria says, blighted her life and was one of her biggest regrets

“I was so ashamed,” she says. “I fell in love with a guy from the Army and he even introduced me to his family.

“We didn’t talk about my past, but they knew who I was and accepted it. Then his friends found out and that was it.

“It was the same pattern every time I met someone. So I decided if the only use men had for me was sex, then I’d charge them.”

The documentary, she says, blighted her life. “Every time I met someone they’d say, ‘You’re the girl from that documentary’. I couldn’t get away from it.

“It all became too much. I decided it would just all go away if I became male again.” But her brief spell as a boy lasted just a few months.

“It just felt wrong,” she says. “I came to the realisation pretty quickly I was doing it because I wanted all the problems ­associated with being transgender to go away. I was no longer able to hide who I really am. Not for family, or friends or ­potential boyfriends. I have to be true to myself.”

By 18, she had twice attempted suicide

Ria, who has already changed her ­passport to her female identity, had her counselling and assessments as a teen at the Tavistock gender identity clinic in London.

She says: “I know some people would say it was all too much, too young. But you know your own mind. You know when you’re living life in the wrong body.

“It’s not just playing with dolls or wearing make-up. It’s absolutely who you are.”

But life has not been easy since Ria committed to life as a woman. She spent six months in a violent relationship, but found it hard to walk away.

“I loved him,” she says simply.

Could it be Ria stuck by her abuser because she is just desperate to be loved? “Maybe,” she says sadly.

Even finding work has been difficult – she claims she lost a care home job after they found she was transgender.

“They said if I left the lid up when I went to the toilet, I’d confuse the clients. It’s just ridiculous.

“When I confronted the boss she admitted she’d seen the documentary and didn’t want me there. What can you do?” Ria now hopes to open a beauty salon for transgender people. But above all, she is desperate to have a family.

“I’d love a child of my own,” she says. “I’d love to have a baby to cuddle and love and look after as they grow up. It’s not going to happen overnight, I know that. But I can dream can’t I?”

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RISEN: THANK OBAMA…


In an interview last May, President Obama pushed back on the criticism that his administration had been engaged in a war on the press. He argued that the number of leak prosecutions his administration had brought had been small and that some of those cases were inherited from the George W. Bush administration.

“I am a strong believer in the First Amendment and the need for journalists to pursue every lead and every angle,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with the Rutgers University student newspaper. “I think that when you hear stories about us cracking down on whistle-blowers or whatnot, we’re talking about a really small sample.

“Some of them are serious,” he continued, “where you had purposeful leaks of information that could harm or threaten operations or individuals who were in the field involved with really sensitive national security issues.”

But critics say the crackdown has had a much greater chilling effect on press freedom than Mr. Obama acknowledges. In a scathing 2013 report for the Committee to Protect Journalists, Leonard Downie, a former executive editor of The Washington Post who now teaches at Arizona State University, said the war on leaks and other efforts to control information was “the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate.”

When Mr. Obama was elected in 2008, press freedom groups had high expectations for the former constitutional law professor, particularly after the press had suffered through eight years of bitter confrontation with the Bush administration. But today, many of those same groups say Mr. Obama’s record of going after both journalists and their sources has set a dangerous precedent that Mr. Trump can easily exploit. “Obama has laid all the groundwork Trump needs for an unprecedented crackdown on the press,” said Trevor Timm, executive director of the nonprofit Freedom of the Press Foundation.

Dana Priest, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Washington Post, added: “Obama’s attorney general repeatedly allowed the F.B.I. to use intrusive measures against reporters more often than any time in recent memory. The moral obstacles have been cleared for Trump’s attorney general to go even further, to forget that it’s a free press that has distinguished us from other countries, and to try to silence dissent by silencing an institution whose job is to give voice to dissent.”

The administration’s heavy-handed approach represents a sharp break with tradition. For decades, official Washington did next to nothing to stop leaks. Occasionally the C.I.A. or some other agency, nettled by an article or broadcast, would loudly proclaim that it was going to investigate a leak, but then would merely go through the motions and abandon the case.

Of course, reporters and sources still had to be careful to avoid detection by the government. But leak investigations were a low priority for the Justice Department and the F.B.I. In fact, before the George W. Bush administration, only one person was ever convicted under the Espionage Act for leaking — Samuel Morison, a Navy analyst arrested in 1984 for giving spy satellite photos of a Soviet aircraft carrier to Jane’s Defense Weekly. He was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

Things began to change in the Bush era, particularly after the Valerie Plame case. The 2003 outing of Ms. Plame as a covert C.I.A. operative led to a criminal leak investigation, which in turn led to a series of high-profile Washington journalists being subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury and name the officials who had told them about her identity. Judith Miller, then a New York Times reporter, went to jail for nearly three months before finally testifying in the case.

The Plame case began to break down the informal understanding between the government and the news media that leaks would not be taken seriously.

The Obama administration quickly ratcheted up the pressure, and made combating leaks a top priority for federal law enforcement. Large-scale leaks, by Chelsea Manning and later by Edward J. Snowden, prompted the administration to adopt a zealous, prosecutorial approach toward all leaking. Lucy Dalglish, the dean of the University of Maryland’s journalism school, recalls that, during a private 2011 meeting intended to air differences between media representatives and administration officials, “You got the impression from the tone of the government officials that they wanted to take a zero-tolerance approach to leaks.”

The Justice Department, facing mounting criticism from media organizations, has issued new guidelines setting restrictions on when the government could subpoena reporters to try to force them to reveal their sources. But those guidelines include a loophole allowing the Justice Department to continue to aggressively pursue investigations into news reports on national security, which covers most leak investigations. In addition, the guidelines aren’t codified in law and can be changed by the next attorney general.

More significantly, the Obama administration won a ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in my case that determined that there was no such thing as a “reporter’s privilege” — the right of journalists not to testify about their confidential sources in criminal cases. The Fourth Circuit covers Virginia and Maryland, home to the C.I.A., the Pentagon and the National Security Agency, and thus has jurisdiction over most leak cases involving classified information. That court ruling could result, for example, in a reporter’s being quickly jailed for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Trump administration’s Justice Department to reveal the C.I.A. sources used for articles on the agency’s investigation into Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential election.

Press freedom advocates already fear that under Senator Jeff Sessions, Mr. Trump’s choice to be attorney general, the Justice Department will pursue journalists and their sources at least as aggressively as Mr. Obama did. If Mr. Sessions does that, Ms. Dalglish said, “Obama handed him a road map.”

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Snakes, Parrots Among THOUSANDS of Animals Seized from Feces-Filled Warehouse…






Between 1,000 and 3,000 animals — alive and dead, ranging from exotic fish to parrots and snakes — were seized Friday from a Montclair warehouse that was covered in feces and filled with trash, according to the Inland Valley Humane Society in Pomona.

“I can’t imagine what it’s going to take to make this (presentable) again,” said James Edward, of the Humane Society.

Peggy King, who owns Hometown Electric in the business park at 4650 East Arrow Highway about a block from the Montclair Police Department, said she’s heard birds in the warehouse and last week she saw a delivery of crates of baby chicks.

“We started hearing more animals inside,” she said.

Montclair police, code enforcement and the Humane Society were involved in the ongoing animal-abuse investigation.

A notice to vacate was posted on the door of the warehouse.

Police activity began earlier this week, King said.

The suspect, a man in his 50s, was arrested Wednesday for a warrant in an unrelated case out of Los Angeles County, said Montclair police Sgt. John Minook. Booking records show the warrant was for making criminal threats.

Business owners and Humane Society authorities identify the owner as Gregory Bowman, 52.

When he was arrested, the Humane Society was asked to take possession of Bowman’s two dogs, Edward said. The group is typically called to take in people’s pets if there is no one else who can care for the animals.

The Humane Society and police arrived and found evidence of other animals, including what Minook described as a strong odor of decay.

But because the owner was jailed, they couldn’t enter the property.

The group returned Thursday — this time with a warrant — and began removing the animals. The effort continued Friday.

Once inside, Minook said, police and the Humane Society found boxes and debris “piled to the ceiling” and “literally thousands of chickens and exotic birds loose.”

As they further examined the inside of the space, they found fish and reptiles — many had perished.

“The snakes were just left inside their boxes and they were dead,” Edward said.

There was very little ventilation in the warehouse and rescue officers could find no food or water for the birds, according to a Humane Society news release.

The birds are being evaluated and cared for by the Humane Society and the Boys Republic in Chino, the Humane Society said. They are part of the ongoing investigation, so their adoption availability is pending.


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On Friday, it wasn’t clear whether the owner was selling the animals. There was no nameplate over the warehouse that he was renting.

Montclair Councilman Bill Ruh said the news broke his heart.

“Such inhumanity,” he said,” is beyond belief.”



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MILLER TIME!



BY: Conor Beck

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller found himself clashing with CNN correspondent Jim Acosta at Wednesday’s White House press briefing.

“What the president is proposing here does not sound like it’s in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration. The Statue of Liberty says, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,'” Acosta said, quoting from the poem The New Colossus, which was inscribed on the statue after its erection.

“It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or be a computer programmer,” Acosta continued. “Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you are telling them you have  to speak English? Can’t people learn to speak English when they get here?”

Miller pointed out that English is already a requirement of naturalization.

“The notion that speaking English wouldn’t be a part of an immigration system would actually be very ahistorical,” he said.

Miller further rejected Acosta’s reference to the Statue of Liberty, noting that the poem Acosta had cited was added later.

Acosta and Miller then began to speak loudly over each other, with Acosta accusing Miller of “national park revisionism.”

“The Statue of Liberty has always been a beacon of hope to the world for people to send people to this country, and they’re not always going to speak English, Stephen, they’re not always going to be highly skilled,” Acosta said.

But Miller pointed out that historical immigration levels, from the early to late 20th century, were in conflict with Acosta’s criticism.

“If you look at the history of immigration, it’s actually ebbed and flowed,” he said.

“Do you really at CNN not know the difference between green card policy and illegal immigration?” he asked.

Acosta is known for his sometimes adversarial relationship with the White House, including new White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.



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Residents fuming over sex-crazed hotel guests…


Who said the New York peep show is dead?

Grannies and other residents of a Lower East Side public-housing building say they’ve been getting an X-rated eyeful since Ian Schrager’s fancy Public hotel opened next door in June — because its guests keep having sex in view of their homes.


Leonor Fernandez sits with her granddaughter.Gregory P. Mango

“Guys are together, girls and girls are together. They don’t even pull the shades down,” fumed Leonor Fernandez, 68, who said her grandkids visit her at her 10 Stanton St. apartment several times a week.

The randy guests don’t just get down in beds with the blinds open, either — they’re doing it right up against the windows, residents said.

“You see them having sex all the time, hands on the window,” said Melissa Santos, a 26-year-old dental assistant who lives in Fernandez’s building. “Not like I’m a peeping Tom, but from the corner of my eye, you can see this going on four times a week.”

Schrager’s slick, 28-story, 376-room Chrystie Street inn promotes itself as “luxury for all” — although rooms start at around $225 a night — with a rooftop bar that transforms into a late-night hot spot.

“A hotel is supposed to be more than just a place to sleep — it’s supposed to make your heart beat faster,” Schrager says in an artsy promo video for the hotel. From what neighbors have witnessed, his patrons’ pulses are racing — with one telling other tenants that she saw a guy pleasuring himself in the window.


Ian SchragerAP

“He got up, and he was standing there” masturbating, said tenant leader Debbie Gonzales, 64, recounting the story from the resident.

Fernandez’s daughter, Chrisanta, said she is worried that her mom’s ticker won’t survive the bawdy scenes playing outside her window — along with the ruckus created by revelers who line up down the street to get into the bar.

“She doesn’t even sleep. My mom is very, very upset — she has heart problems,” she said.

At least 47 noise complaints have been lodged with 311 against the hotel since it opened, city records show.

The neighbors said they can’t always pull down their shades or blinds because their window air conditioners are running during the summer.

And the city can’t do much about their complaints, according to regulations and a legal expert. “The whole question is whether it’s going on in pubic: If you’re in your house or something [such as a hotel], you’re safe,” said Manhattan lawyer Lance Fletcher, whose firm handles public-lewdness cases.

“[The neighbors] have gotta close the blinds or look away.”

But Fernandez said hotel mangement should be the one to block out the indecent views.

“Maybe they should put in tinted windows,” she said.

The Public isn’t the only Big Apple hotel whose frisky guests put on free shows — visitors to the High Line were stunned when The Standard hotel opened up in 2009, offering views of racy in-room romps.

The Public hotel did not return a request for comment.



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COAST GUARD TO DEFY TRANS BAN?



Adm. Paul F. Zukunft (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

As military services await guidance following President Donald Trump’s announcement last week via Twitter of a ban on transgender service members, the commandant of the Coast Guard is speaking out, saying he has no intention of leaving transgender Coast Guardsmen out in the cold.

Speaking on the topic for the first time at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Tuesday morning, Adm. Paul Zukunft said his first action upon becoming aware of Trump’s tweets was to have his office reach out to all 13 members of the Coast Guard who have self-identified as transgender.

“I reached out personally to Lt. Taylor Miller, who was featured on the cover of The Washington Post last week,” Zukunft said. “If you read that story, Taylor’s family has disowned her. Her family is the United States Coast Guard. And I told Taylor, ‘I will not turn my back. We have made an investment in you, and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard, and I will not break faith.’ “

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Miller, 27, is reportedly the first openly transitioning member of the Coast Guard, a process she began in 2016 after the Pentagon removed its standing ban on openly transgender service members and then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered all services to draft policies to allow for transgender recruits and transgender medical care within the military.

The Coast Guard is the only military service to fall under the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the Department of Defense. But how Trump’s tweeted ban will affect the service is just as unclear as with any of the others.

In a series of three tweets July 26, Trump said that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

To date, no further guidance has been provided.

The Palm Center, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that promotes the study of gay and transgender people in the armed forces, on Tuesday released a letter signed by 56 retired generals and admirals who oppose Trump’s transgender ban.

The document also notes that two other four-stars and former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — retired Army Gen. Martin Dempsey and retired Navy Adm. Mike Mullen — have publicly supported transgender service members.

“Transgender troops have been serving honorably and openly for the past year, and have been widely praised by commanders,” the letter states. “Eighteen foreign nations, including the UK and Israel, allow transgender troops to serve, and none has reported any detriment to readiness.”

The Family Research Council, a Christian public policy ministry in Washington D.C., has praised Trump’s decision to rescind the Obama-era policy.

“As our nation faces serious national security threats, our troops shouldn’t be forced to endure hours of transgender ‘sensitivity’ classes and politically-correct distractions like this one,” the group’s president, Tony Perkins, a Marine veteran, said in a statement last week after the president’s announcement.

After contacting his transgender troops, Zukunft said he reached out to then-DHS Secretary John Kelly, who was sworn in as White House Chief of Staff on Monday as part of a series of administration shake-ups. Kelly reached out to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Zukunft said.

“We stood up a tiger team of our JAG officers,” Zukunft said.

The next steps remain to be seen, as does how Coast Guard leadership plans to shield its troops in the face of an administration mandate.

Neither Kelly nor Mattis have publicly offered insights into how Trump’s tweets will apply to the military. But Zukunft’s remarks send a clear message to transgender Coast Guardsmen in uniform, whether or not they are serving openly.

“That is the commitment to our people right now,” Zukunft said. “Very small numbers, but all of them are doing meaningful Coast Guard work today.”

— Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.


© Copyright 2017 
Military.com
. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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GERMANY TESTS FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY AT RAIL STATION…



GERMANY TESTS FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY AT RAIL STATION...

(Second column, 10th story, link)


Related stories:
Immigrant population hits new high…





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Russian Seizes 2 American Properties, Orders Embassy to Cut Staff…


“The White House said that the bill could be toughened, so it doesn’t change the essence of the situation,” Mr. Peskov said.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump will sign the legislation. Given the congressional investigations into possible collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, and considering that the Republican Party has majorities in the House and the Senate, he is under considerable pressure not to use his veto.

But the White House has been ambivalent about whether Mr. Trump will give his approval. During his campaign for the presidency, Mr. Trump pledged to improve ties with Russia.

The United States Embassy in Moscow issued a short statement confirming only that it had received the notification from the Russian Foreign Ministry and that it was sending the orders to Washington for review. The American ambassador, John F. Tefft, had expressed “his strong disappointment and protest,” the statement said.

The statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the United States Embassy was asked to reduce its diplomatic and technical staff members in Russia to 455 by Sept. 1, matching the number of Russian diplomats in the United States.

In addition to the main embassy in Moscow, the United States maintains consulates in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg.

It was not immediately clear how many American workers would have to leave, because the Kremlin’s announcement did not detail which employees were to be included in the count. There are hundreds of staff members in Russia, including workers constructing an embassy building in Moscow.

Starting on Aug. 1, Russia will also block access to a warehouse in Moscow and to a bucolic site along the Moscow River where staff members walk their dogs and hold barbecues.

In December, President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and seized two estates, one on Long Island, N.Y., and one on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, in response to Russia’s meddling in the United States presidential election.

Moscow did not respond at that time, with President Vladimir V. Putin signaling that he was hoping for better relations under the future President Trump. Those hopes have largely evaporated.

On Thursday, while expressing annoyance, Mr. Putin said at a news conference in Finland that he would wait to see the final law on the new American sanctions before deciding on a response. But the Senate vote tipped the balance, Mr. Peskov said.

The announcement from the Russian Foreign Ministry said that if the United States responded to the latest measure with any further expulsions, Russia would match them.

The White House has lobbied against the law containing the extra measures, calling it a curb on presidential power, because it would effectively force Mr. Trump to seek congressional approval before lifting any sanctions. The fact that it passed a Republican-controlled Congress underscores the unease in Mr. Trump’s own party about his repeated praise of Mr. Putin and of Russia.

The new law would strengthen sanctions first directed against Russia in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea and the destabilizing of Ukraine. Those sanctions curbed American involvement in the oil industry and limited Russian access to Western financial markets. Russia responded with a broad ban on Western food imports.

The new legislation would expand some of the measures, particularly in the energy market. Various European nations have expressed concern about the law’s potential impact on the energy market on the Continent, because it might affect the expansion of the Nord Stream pipeline that carries Russian natural gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

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World's most lifelike sex doll can speak, smile and even SING…


A SEX doll company is making a Terminator-style robot head which can speak, smile and even sing – but only in Chinese.

The prototype of the DS Doll Robotic Head, which is coated in silicone “skin” and is controlled by a smartphone and a PlayStation controller, is the world’s most lifelike mechanical sex servant.

The new robot head can speak, smile and even sing

SWNS:South West News Service

The new robot head can speak, smile and even sing

The model, made by Doll Sweet Dolls and EX Doll, has a “stunningly beautiful” face and can listen and answer questions using sophisticated voice recognition software.

The company is hoping to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help produce an English and Japanese version.

Despite not having a rotatable neck, the robot head will fit all the company’s other doll bodies, which have flexible limbs allowing them to “move as a real person.”

Paul Lumb, head of Cloud Climax, says the prototype is the “Bugatti Veyron of VR” and comes with a similarly hefty price tag of around £4,500.

The company is Europe’s only authorised EX Doll retailer and the makers are hoping to bring the robotic head to the UK at the end of next year.

Paul says the futuristic technology is at the “forefront” of sex tech, but insists we are still decades away from “sex robots.”

Named the DS Doll Robotic Head, the new model is controlled using a smartphone and a Playstation controller

SWNS:South West News Service

Named the DS Doll Robotic Head, the new model is controlled using a smartphone and a Playstation controller

The company are striving to create a Terminator-style robot

SWNS:South West News Service

The company are striving to create a Terminator-style robot

The new singing head can attach onto any of the company’s saucy robot bodies

SWNS:South West News Service

The new singing head can attach onto any of the company’s saucy robot bodies

He said: “EX Dolls have been working on a robotics head since 2014, but we’re generations away from a Terminator-style cyborg.

“What they’ve been doing is developing app control for the robot head, but currently with the prototype it’s only got Chinese dialect, which is their core market.

“They will have an element of natural conversation, so they won’t sound too robotic, but they will take time – languages are massive.

“The voice recognition is no different to a smart phone, but this model also has facial expressions, unlike standard silicone heads.


“Over the last two years we’ve been moving towards real touch, real feel silicon dolls, enhancing the skeleton to make it lighter – these adult-sized dolls have a combined head and body weight of five stone.

“It’s an opportunity to take this to the next level of where doll development is going, and it’s been happening quietly behind the scenes for ten to 15 years.

“This is revolutionary, it’s a game-changer – from a gamer’s perspective, it’d be like a new console being released.

“This is the next step of teledildonics reality, it’s at the forefront of adult tech and is really the Bugatti Veyron of VR.”

The new robot model has been branded the Bugatti Veyron of virtual reality

SWNS:South West News Service

The new robot model has been branded the Bugatti Veyron of virtual reality

The new model head comes with a hefty price tag of around £4,500

SWNS:South West News Service

The new model head comes with a hefty price tag of around £4,500

Paul says it is unlikely we will see “actual sex robots” any time soon, as they would be too heavy and expensive.

But he claims this prototype is the latest step to the “next level of very natural realism.”

He added: “This is the ultimate, really – I’d be very surprised if we see a fully autonomous body soon, it’s too future tech and that’ll be 15 to 20 years down the line.”

Paul says the dolls are part of promoting a healthy sex life – something he compares to healthy eating or going to the gym.

Scientist designs sex dolls with artificial intelligence that may be used to combat sex trafficking

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