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October 2017

President Trump: RT @realDonaldTrump: In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!



Donald Trump: In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!



Was Papadopoulos a ‘Low-Level Volunteer’?

A day after the FBI announced that George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign, had pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, the president tweeted: “Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar.”

In a press briefing on Oct. 30, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was similarly dismissive, calling Papadopoulos’ role in the campaign “extremely limited.” Ten times, Sanders noted that Papadopoulos was a volunteer on the campaign, and that he served on an advisory council that only met once.

Asked about his activities, Sanders said she could not “speak on behalf of the thousands of people that may have volunteered on the campaign.”

Those descriptions might conjure images of someone whose role amounted to little more than putting up lawn signs and licking envelopes, but there was more to Papadopoulos’ position than that.

Court documents released on Oct. 30 indicate that Papadopoulos, as a foreign policy adviser, was in communications with senior members of the Trump campaign. The documents did not name the campaign officials, identifying them only as “the High-Ranking Campaign Official,” “the Senior Policy Advisor,” and “the Campaign Supervisor.”

He also met with Trump at least once in a foreign policy meeting, as evidenced by a picture of Trump meeting with his “national security team” on March 31, 2016, that was posted to Trump’s own Instagram account. Papadopoulos is pictured (third from the left) sitting at the table for that meeting.

Meeting with my national security team in #WashingtonDC. #Trump2016

A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

When he met with the Washington Post editorial board on March 21, 2016, Trump named Papadopoulos as one of only a few members of the campaign’s foreign policy team. “George Papadopoulos. He’s an oil and energy consultant. Excellent guy,” Trump said.

It’s true that Papadopoulos was a volunteer for the campaign. But that doesn’t always indicate a diminished role. As CNN notes: “According to previous reporting, [campaign manager Paul] Manafort, [deputy campaign manager Rick] Gates, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and senior strategist Steve Bannon were all unpaid ‘volunteers’ while doing extensive, high-level work for the campaign.”

Papadopoulos wasn’t that kind of volunteer, either. But he had contacts with Trump’s senior campaign aides, court documents show.

Papadopoulos and the 2016 Campaign

Who is George Papadopoulos?

He started the 2016 campaign as a foreign policy adviser to Ben Carson, one of Trump’s vanquished rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. The Carson campaign named Papadopoulos to its foreign policy team in December 2015, describing him as an energy consultant who had worked as an analyst and researcher at the conservative Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.

According to his LinkedIn page, Papadopoulos earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from DePaul University in 2009, and a master’s degree from University College London in 2010.

Shortly after Carson dropped out of the race in early March, Papadopoulos became a Trump campaign adviser. He first came into contact with a Russian intermediary on March 14, 2016, while traveling in Italy, according to the Justice Department. In a chance meeting, Papadopoulos met a professor who he “understood to have substantial connections to Russian government officials,” the department said.

The professor, whose name has been withheld by the Justice Department, took an interest in Papadopoulos because of his role in the Trump campaign. He would soon introduce Papadopoulos to two others: a “Female Russian National,” who Papadopoulos believed had “connections to Russian government officials,” and “an individual in Moscow … who told defendant Papadopoulos he had connections to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” the Justice Department said.

Joseph Mifsud, an academic at the University of Stirling in Scotland, has since confirmed to the Telegraph that he is the “professor” named in the court documents, though he contests Papadopoulos’ account.

What contacts did Papadopoulos have with Russians and the Trump campaign?

In announcing the guilty plea, the Department of Justice released a “Statement of the Offense” that lays out some — not all — of Papadopoulos’ work on behalf of the campaign and the contacts he had with “the Russians” and Trump campaign officials.

The statement does not “constitute all of the facts known to the parties concerning the charged offense,” but rather provides “selected events” to demonstrate that “sufficient facts exist” for the defendant’s guilty plea, the Justice Department said. Both sides “stipulate and agree” that the facts contained in the statement “are true and accurate.”

In the statement, Papadopoulos was identified as having contacts with senior members of the Trump campaign on at least a dozen occasions from March through August of 2016 — including the March 31, 2016, national security meeting. At that meeting, Papadopoulos “introduced himself to the group” as someone who “had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin,” according to the Justice Department statement.

Seven days earlier, Papadopoulos met with two Russian intermediaries in London and discussed the possibility of arranging a meeting between Trump and Putin. After his March 24, 2016, meeting in London, Papadopoulos sent an email to “the Campaign Supervisor and several members of Campaign’s foreign policy team,” explaining that his Russian contacts wanted “to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump.”

“The Campaign Supervisor responded that he would ‘work it through the campaign,’ but that no commitments should be made at that point,” the Justice Department statement says. “The Campaign Supervisor added: ‘Great Work.’ ”

The Department of Justice did not name any of the campaign aides referenced in its statement. However, the Washington Post has since reported that an attorney for Sam Clovis confirmed that “the Campaign Supervisor” in court documents refers to Clovis, who served as Trump’s national campaign co-chairman.

Here are some of the other contacts that Papadopoulos had with senior campaign officials about Russia during this time, according to the Justice Department statement:

April 2016 –– Papadopoulos “sent multiple emails to other members of the Campaign’s foreign policy team regarding his contacts with ‘the Russians’ and his ‘outreach to Russia.’”

April 25, 2016 — Papadopoulos sent an email to “a senior policy adviser for the Campaign” that said: “The Russian government has an open invitation by Putin for Mr. Trump to meet him when he is ready.”

April 26, 2016 — During a meeting in London, “the professor” told Papadopoulos “that he had just returned from a trip to Moscow where he had met with high-level Russian government officials” who told him that the Russian government had “dirt” on Clinton “in the form of ‘thousands of emails,’” the Justice Department said. Following the meeting, Papadopoulos “continued to correspond with Campaign officials” and his Russian contacts “in an effort to arrange a meeting between the Campaign and the Russian government.”

April 27, 2016 — Papadopoulos emailed “a high-ranking official of the campaign” to discuss “Russia’s interest in hosting Mr. Trump … when the time is right.” According to the Post, “Emails previously described to The Post indicate that the ‘high-ranking campaign official’” described in court documents is Corey Lewandowski, who at the time was Trump’s campaign manager.

May 4, 2016 —  Papadopoulos received an email from his contact at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that said: “I have just talked to my colleagues from the MFA. The[y] are open for cooperation.” Papadopoulos forwarded that email to the “high-ranking campaign official” who since has been identified by the Post as Lewandowski.

May 5, 2016 — Papadopoulos also forwarded that email to “the Campaign Supervisor,” who we now know is Clovis, after the two had a phone conservation. The subject of the email read, “Russia updates.”

May 14, 2016 — Papadopoulos emailed the “high-ranking campaign official” with a message that “the Russian government ha[s] also relayed to me that they are interested in hosting Mr. Trump.”

May 21, 2016 — Papadopoulos emailed “another high-ranking Campaign official” with the subject line, “Request from Russia to meet Mr. Trump.” The Post has since identified Paul Manafort as “another high-ranking campaign official.” At the time, Manafort was Trump’s campaign convention manager. The Post reported earlier this year that Manafort forwarded Papadopoulos’ email to his deputy, Rick Gates, with a note saying: “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips.” Gates said he would ask the campaign’s correspondence coordinator — “the person responding to all mail of non-importance” — to respond, rather than a senior campaign aide, the Post said.

June 1, 2016 — Papadopoulos emailed the “high-ranking campaign official” about Russia, but he was told to contact “the Campaign Supervisor because ‘[h]e is running point.” Papadopoulos emailed “the Campaign Supervisor” — Clovis — with the subject line, “Re: Messages from Russia.” Papadopoulos wanted to know if Trump was interested in visiting Russia.

June 19, 2016 — Papadopoulos emailed the “high-ranking campaign official” with the subject line, “New Message from Russia.” He offered to travel to Russia to meet with Russian government officials, if Trump was not interested or unable to visit Russia.

Aug. 15, 2016 — “The Campaign Supervisor” told Papadopoulos “that ‘I would encourage you’ and another foreign policy advisor to the Campaign to ‘make the trip, if it is feasible.’” The Justice Department said the trip proposed by Papadopoulos did not take place.

The department’s statement did not provide any specific information about Papadopoulos’ campaign contacts beyond Aug. 15, 2016. But, as we mentioned, the Justice Department statement is a partial account of Papadopoulos’ contacts with the Russians and the Trump campaign.

What we do know is that during this time — from late March to mid-August — Papadopoulos was in regular contact with senior Trump campaign officials and attended a national security meeting with Trump. We will let readers decide if this constitutes a “low-level volunteer.”

The post Was Papadopoulos a ‘Low-Level Volunteer’? appeared first on FactCheck.org.

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Scott Pruitt just blocked expert scientists from EPA advisory boards.

Citing the risk of conflicts of interest, the EPA administrator instituted a sweeping change to the agency’s core system of advisory panels on Tuesday, restricting membership to scientists who don’t receive EPA grants.

In practice, the move represents “a major purge of independent scientists,” Terry F. Yosie, chair of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board during the Reagan administration, told the Washington Post. Their removal paves the way for a fresh influx of industry experts and state government officials pushing for lax regulations.

The advisory boards are meant to ensure that health regulations are based on sound science, but that role may be changing. As of Tuesday, the new chair of the Clean Air Safety Advisory Committee is Tony Cox, an independent consultant, who has argued that reductions in ozone pollution have “no causal relation” to public health.

The new head of the Science Advisory Board is Michael Honeycutt, the head toxicologist at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, who has said that air pollution doesn’t matter because “most people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors.”

The figureheads of science denial were on hand to celebrate Pruitt’s announcement. Representative Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, called the move a “special occasion.”

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Scott Pruitt just blocked expert scientists from EPA advisory boards. on Oct 31, 2017.

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Do you Dare Enter the 13th Floor in Fanta’s new VR Experience

You may be bored with Halloween already – or maybe looking forward to going trick or treating later – but if you’re not then there’s plenty of virtual reality (VR) scares available to keep you entertained. Even Fanta is getting in on the act with a new 360-degree experience called The 13th Floor.

Available for free, the immersive video puts viewers in a seemingly ordinary elevator as they head to a party on the 13 floor. Things start to take a turn for the worst when the floor is reached but the doors don’t open, and the floor numbers begin to skip all over the place.

As this is a horror video you can expect all sorts of jump scares – nothing too terrifying – as the elevator visits various floors at will, revealing all sorts of weird and wonderful characters behind each door. Beware though, as not everything is located outside the elevator, and as everyone knows all the best jump scares happen right behind you.

The video can be viewed below, or via the YouTube app if you’re on a mobile. Obviously to get the best experience – and to make it as scary as possible – you’ll want to use a VR head-mounted display like Google Cardboard or Google Daydream along with some headphones.

For those after some more scares there are plenty of VR videogames available. How about checking out VRFocus’ Halloween Fright Night: 5 Screamingly Good VR Horror Titles, covering PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Or if you’re quick and own the latter headset there’s still a sale going on for some terrifying titles.

As ever, keep reading VRFocus for all your latest new and updates on the VR world.

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This climate denier has a starring role in the Russia investigation.

Sam Clovis — the man slated to become the USDA’s chief scientist — encouraged an advisor to the Trump campaign to meet with a Russian woman connected to Vladimir Putin.

The Washington Post reports that in August of last year, Clovis encouraged a Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, to attend an off-the-record meeting with Russian officials. “I would encourage you … make the trip, if it is feasible,” Clovis wrote.

Clovis was the campaign’s chief policy adviser and national co-chairman. He was responsible for recruiting Carter Page, another campaign advisor under scrutiny. Clovis is reportedly a “cooperative witness” in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

As a talk-radio host, Clovis claimed that climate change is unproven junk science. He has called progressives “liars, race traders, and race ‘traitors,’” and wrote that “LGBT behavior” is a choice.

Congress is set to begin confirmation hearings for Clovis’ USDA position on Nov. 9.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline This climate denier has a starring role in the Russia investigation. on Oct 31, 2017.

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Apple to Accept iPhone X Reservations Starting November 4 Outside of United States

http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk In addition to pre-orders and limited in-store availability for walk-in customers starting Friday, Apple will also begin accepting reservations for the iPhone X starting this weekend in several countries outside the United States.



Reserve and Pickup will open Saturday, November 4 at 6:00 a.m. local time in Australia, Belgium, and the United Kingdom, and at 8:00 a.m. local time on the same day in Canada, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

In those countries, customers should be able to select the iPhone X color and storage capacity they want and reserve that model for pickup at the Apple retail store they specify. The models available, if any, will vary by location.

Other countries where Apple retail stores operate may be included, but we couldn’t find other region-specific links yet.

Unlike the standard in-store pickup option offered during the checkout process on Apple’s website, which requires paying upfront for the device, the Reserve and Pickup system lets customers pay for the device in store upon pickup.

The pickup generally must be completed within a 30-minute window selected, or else the reservation may be canceled. A valid government-issued photo ID must be shown at the store, and there’s a max of two reservations per customer.

The availability of SIM-free iPhone X models for reservations will vary on a country-by-country basis. Last year, for example, SIM-free iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models could be reserved in Canada.

Reserve and Pickup page for iPhone 7 Plus last year in Canada


Apple confirmed to us that Reserve and Pickup will not be available in the United States, but standard, pay-ahead in-store pickup is available.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer’s Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

Discuss this article in our forums

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4 Things You Need to Know About Forming a Success Mindset

Before you even start seeing results in real life, there’s a particular transformation that happens on the inside. Success exists internally, long before you begin reaching goals, getting to the next stage of your life, excelling in your career, or becoming a role model for those around you by taking brave actions in the right direction.

Your mindset, your attitude towards life, your determination and hustle, your dedication and ambition, are what drive you towards success. There are qualities you form without any help first, and things you come to realize over time, which then become your ultimate truths and life values.

Once such processes in your mind begin, you suddenly see what the next step on your journey is and take it without hesitation. You’re also ready to take responsibility for all that’s gone wrong so far and be motivated to do better next time. Without this mindset, however, long-term success is not an option.

Let’s now go through some concepts about forming this way of thinking which are what every successful person you’ve ever heard of has understood and worked on early on:

1. It takes a single decision to turn your whole life around

There are 2 types of people when it comes down to how they look at change. Some are scared of it and avoid it at any cost. On the other hand, the others seek novelty which they find by leaving their comfort zone which challenges themselves. All this begins by taking a firm decision today to be okay with change and to try until you reach your goal.

Doing this will make you a man of your word, which is a key trait in business and any other aspect of life that you want to improve. If you say something, you should actually sit down and think it through, prepare for failure in advance, make a plan on what needs to be accomplished the next few days, weeks and months in order to get there, and write down the steps you’ll begin with, starting today.

The world is full of examples of people who transformed their life after being so fed up with their previous lifestyle, that a single decision to turn over a new leaf was enough to get them started. Once you begin, each next step will make you feel good about yourself so you’ll find meaning and purpose.

2. The learning never stops

A success mindset is never completed, and that’s actually great because it means there’s always more you can achieve. The goal is to accept this as a journey, and love it for what it is. If you’re in it for the end destination, you might end up being disappointed.

It takes patience to wait for results, willpower to try again after failure, and mindfulness to accept each defeat as a lesson in order to achieve success. Once you do have that attitude towards making mistakes, you’ll become unstoppable. At this point, failure won’t be an obstacle, and you won’t doubt your abilities. You’ll simply know it’s a matter of trial and error till you get what you want.

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

3. You’ll be your biggest supporter

Don’t worry if you don’t have anyone in your surroundings doing the same, or encouraging you enough. It’s your path to walk and you have all it takes to do this. You need to stay strong in the face of hopelessness, find a purpose and keep it in mind 24/7, and to trust the natural flow of events knowing it will work out eventually.

There are many like you doing the same, and you can find a mentor if you want to as they can help guide your life. You can wake up with determination day after day, take action following your strict plan, consume motivational information to develop your mindset and learn from those who already succeeded.

4. Look back only for one reason

If you constantly go back to the past, you risk losing focus as it also brings regrets. You start wondering what you could have done better, and that’s of no use in the present moment.

The solution to setting yourself free from this negative influence is to let go of anything you’ve done wrong so far, and accept it as something that was necessary in order for you to make the decision to change.

Only look back to analyze your mistakes, learn from them, and do it smarter next time. A success mindset is something which will let you unleash your potential, live your destiny and make the world a better place by setting a good example for others. Are you ready to develop it?

“There’s an important difference between giving up and letting go.” – Jessica Hatchigan

How are you formulating your mindset for success? Please let us know in the comments below!

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How to win at evolution and survive a mass extinction | Lauren Sallan

Congratulations! By being here, alive, you are one of history’s winners — the culmination of a success story four billion years in the making. The other 99 percent of species who have ever lived are dead — killed by fire, flood, asteroids, ice, heat and the cold math of natural selection. How did we get so lucky, and will we continue to win? In this short, funny talk, paleobiologist and TED Fellow Lauren Sallan shares insights on how your ancestors’ survival through mass extinction made you who you are today. http://ift.tt/2yiDL2k Source: http://ift.tt/1c2EilT



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