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A new report estimates that more than 380,000 people have died in South Sudan’s civil war

Soldiers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army prepare to head into the north of South Sudan in October 2016. Heavy fighting had broken out between government and opposition forces in Wajwok and Lalo villages, outside Malakal. (Charles Atiki Lomodong/AFP/Getty Images)

September 26

Years of brutal civil war in South Sudan have left at least 382,000 people dead, according to an estimate in a new State Department-funded study that far surpasses an earlier figure issued by the United Nations and points to the horrors of an often-overlooked conflict.

The findings of the study, conducted by a small team at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine but commissioned by the U.S. Institute for Peace in partnership with the State Department, were released Wednesday.The Washington Post obtained an advance copy of the report.

In March 2016, U.N. officials estimated that the conflict had killed about 50,000 people, and for years, a more accurate death count has been missing as a metric to measure the bloodshed, even as the conflict raged on. Experts say an accurate death toll can be a critical tool for policymakers.

Ghanaian peacekeepers with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan patrol in March in Leer, a town in South Sudan where famine has been declared since February 2017. (Stefanie Glinski/AFP/Getty Images)

But counting the dead is a challenge in war zones, where many people are displaced and crucial data is hard to come by.

By comparison, the new estimate puts the death toll from the violence in South Sudan on par with the impact of conflicts such as the war in Syria, where upward of 510,000 people are believed to have died in a significantly larger population.

Gordon Buay, deputy chief of mission at the South Sudanese Embassy in Washington, said he thinks the estimate is “not accurate.” He said he would put the death toll at fewer than 20,000 people.

“If you included disease and everything, it would be less than 20,000,” Buay said.

But Francesco Checchi, the lead epidemiologist who worked on the study, said his team’s estimate is conservative. He and other researchers at the London school statistically analyzed mortality data in the country to estimate conflict-related deaths between December 2013 and April 2018.

They compiled data from humanitarian agencies and media reports, piecing together factors including food security, presence of humanitarian groups and intensity of armed conflict to create a statistical model that predicts mortality by county. At the center of their research were around 200 surveys conducted by humanitarian groups across South Sudan.

Checchi called the process “painstaking.”

In South Sudan, a number of factors, including the dangerous nature of the conflict, have made calculating a death toll through a national survey and interviews with families nearly impossible.

The country broke away from Sudan seven years ago, after decades of deadly conflict that eventually led to shaky independence. But South Sudan soon fell back into war, after a rivalry between President Salva Kiir, from the Dinka ethnic group, and then-Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer, turned violent.

The conflict started in Juba, the capital, and spread across the country. Journalists, human rights researchers and humanitarian workers have collected evidence of mass atrocities committed by both sides in the conflict, but rights groups say most attacks on civilians have been carried out by government troops. In some areas, entire villages were said to have been razed. Women were allegedly raped and children burned alive, and some families even reported forced cannibalism.

Meet Babacho Mama, former child soldier thinking of returning to the fight

Meet Babacho Mama, former child soldier thinking of returning to the fight 

Checchi’s team took into account assumptions about what the death rate would have been without civil war to find how many excess deaths the conflict has caused. The researchers factored in the reality that many people have fled or were killed in circumstances that might have been exacerbated by the conflict, such as outbreak of disease or malnutrition, he said. South Sudan experienced a man-made famine last year.

A State Department official said the study helps fill a gap in knowledge about the scope of the war in South Sudan.

“Having good numbers and seeing exactly what the human cost was was an important factual need for us,” the official said.

A U.N. spokesman in New York said in a statement that “the U.N. cannot accurately record the conflict related death toll for a variety of reasons, including a severely curtailed access to conflict areas and hence does not have an official casualty figure for South Sudan.”

More than 14,500 U.N. peacekeepers are deployed to the country, and the mission there cost the United Nations just over $1.1 billion in the last fiscal year.

South Sudanese demonstrators await the arrival of President Salva Kiir at Juba International Airport on June 22, 2018. (Akuot Chol/AFP/Getty Images)

Yet the violence continues. There have been a number of failed peace agreements since the war began, and another deal was signed this month. But government and rebel forces have clashed since then. There is little hope among observers that the accord will result in tangible change.

The conflict has prompted a refugee crisis in the region: More than 1 million South Sudanese have fled to neighboring Uganda, and many others crossed into Sudan and Kenya. About two million are displaced within the country.

This refugee exodus became a useful indicator in Checchi’s death toll analysis because, in his experience, he said, “the extent of displacement is a good correlate of how violent things are.”

“People probably will tolerate some violence and will try to stick it out,” he said. But when mass displacement begins to occur, “it usually indicates very severe threats to life.”

Klem Ryan, a former official with the U.N. Mission in South Sudan who later served as the coordinator of the U.N. Panel of Experts on South Sudan, said in an interview that this calculation seems plausible.

“I personally saw hundreds of dead,” he said. “I attended to two major massacres. That figure feels right if you look at all the stuff we saw, which was only a fraction.”

South Sudan’s then-first vice president, Riek Machar, left, and President Salva Kiir sit to be photographed after the first meeting of a new transitional coalition government in the capital, Juba, in April 2016. (Jason Patinkin/AP)
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‘It breeds resistance’: Even among conservatives, Trump’s use of presidential power causes alarm

President Trump has rattled national security experts with his use of executive authority. (YURI GRIPAS/Reuters)

September 29 at 4:33 PM

President Trump’s exercise of his executive powers, particularly in matters of national security, is increasingly unsettling an array of legal scholars, including conservatives, who say it risks corroding the office of the presidency and has roiled relations between the White House and other agencies.

Over the past year, Trump has — without consulting the Office of the Pardon Attorney — granted clemency to a number of individuals, including his political ally Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona county sheriff convicted of criminal contempt related to his department’s targeting of undocumented immigrants.

Last month, Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, one of his harshest critics, who has called “treasonous” Trump’s validation of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the expense of U.S. intelligence agencies that concluded Moscow sought to help Trump win the White House.

And this month, Trump ordered the declassification of law enforcement material linked to the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, a move the president eventually walked back after protests from the Justice Department and foreign allies.

Constitutionally, such actions are defensible. But the president is “eviscerating precedent and procedure,” said David Rivkin, a conservative constitutional lawyer who was an attorney in the George H.W. Bush and Reagan administrations.

‘Bruce Ohr is a disgrace’: Trump threatens to revoke more security clearances

President Trump on Aug. 17 defended his action toward ex-CIA director John Brennan, warning former associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr could be next. 

“As far as the mechanics of government are concerned, it is creating anger and disharmony on both the side of the political masters and the career people,” he said. “It breeds resistance. It’s negative synergy.”

Trump’s un­or­tho­dox approach — taking actions, in many cases, without consulting key advisers — may bring a much-needed shake-up to the federal bureaucracy, some conservative scholars say. But others say it not only risks eroding the norms of government, but also may lead Congress and the courts to erect guardrails that constrain the presidency, leaching it of the flexibility integral to its effectiveness.

“If Congress inserts itself into these national security processes as a reaction to the way he’s exercising the powers of his office, then the institution of the presidency will actually be left much weaker than he found it,” said Carrie Cordero, who was a senior Justice Department national security lawyer in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

Cordero suggested that, should Democrats retake Congress after November’s elections, they may seek to put restraints on Trump by pursuing legislation that bars the president from firing a special prosecutor or requiring that the chief executive first consult the Justice Department before granting pardons.

To be sure, some national security experts defend the president’s actions as a healthy antidote to the bureaucracy, which they feel has grown too independent.

“Shouldn’t we look, every couple of administrations, at least, at the structure of the executive bureaucracy and ask ourselves, ‘Is it working the way it should work?’ ” said Charles Kesler, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College.

He cited the security clearance issue as an example.

“Security clearances are supposed to be granted to those who have a need to know in order to plan and execute foreign policy,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine that John Brennan, who is calling the president a traitor, has a need to know after he has left office. . . . I don’t think it’s irrational or unseemly to revoke his clearance.”

The president, nonetheless, has taken to the power he is afforded under Article II of the Constitution, which outlines the scope of authorities granted to the office. He has sought to ban transgender men and women from serving in the military. He fired his FBI director, James B. Comey, who had been in charge of the Russia probe, leading to Mueller’s appointment as special counsel.

“The structure of national security is one of empowering executive discretion cabined by congressional and judicial oversight,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a self-described “center-right” think tank, and a senior homeland security official in the George W. Bush administration. “When the president acts within the normal bounds of behavior, the ability of the Cabinet and Congress to look over the shoulder is enough. When he diverges from the norms, the grant of discretion creates an opportunity for mischief, if not maliciousness.”

National security experts were unnerved by Trump’s use of his pardon power. No modern president has exercised it as he has — that is, so early and frequently in a presidency and mostly without input from the Justice Department’s pardon attorney, who reviews clemency petitions and makes recommendations to the White House based on applicants’ post-conviction conduct, their character, acceptance of responsibility and remorse.

Trump pardoned Arpaio, who faced up to six months in jail for defying a court order, in August 2017 — before the former sheriff was even sentenced. The move fanned speculation that the president was signaling his willingness to look out for associates who might be charged in the Russia investigation.

“I’d be the first to say that the use of the pardon power with Sheriff Joe was obviously not within the purpose that the framers hoped,” said John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration. “It’s petty, foolish, unnecessary. But it doesn’t really harm the long-term interests of the country. If he pardoned Paul Manafort, then I would be worried.”

Manafort was Trump’s campaign chairman until August 2016 and came under investigation for past consulting work for Ukraine’s pro-Russian ruling party. In August, he was convicted of financial fraud linked to that lobbying work and has pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in Mueller’s probe. As part of his plea agreement, Manafort is cooperating with the special counsel.

Trump has declined to say whether he would pardon Manafort, though he has called the trial a “very sad day for our country” and Manafort “a very good person.”

Stripping Brennan of his security clearance was widely seen as political retaliation , a slap at a senior intelligence official who has taken to Twitter and cable news to attack the president’s agenda and discredit him. Critics of Trump’s decision, even those who feel Brennan’s antagonism toward the president has been excessive, said Trump should have consulted the CIA, which issued the clearance.

“It’s just unseemly,” Rivkin said. “You’ve got to work through the system. You cannot just say, ‘I’m going to strip clearances on my own.’ It sets up a pernicious dynamic. He absolutely can do it, constitutionally, but it is not wise.”

Trump has threatened to revoke the clearances of others who have raised his ire, including Comey, FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Each has played a role in the Russia probe.

Trump fired Comey in May 2017, a move his critics suggest was intended to end the investigation. The president celebrated McCabe’s firing earlier this year amid allegations he misled officials conducting a leak investigation. And Trump suggested that Ohr, who has been linked to a dossier suggesting a conspiracy between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, should be terminated as well.

“The common thread, of course, is that all of these people are associated in some way, in his mind at least, with what he refers to as the ‘witch hunt,’ that is, the investigation of his campaign, or him, and ties to the Russians,” said David Kris, a Justice Department official in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. “So there you see self-interest coming to the fore.”

National security experts were stunned once more when Trump ordered the declassification and public release of sensitive law enforcement documents central to the Russia probe’s origins, including the application to wiretap Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.

The wiretap application was made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs the surveillance of suspected spies and terrorists on U.S. soil. Until this year, no FISA application had ever been made public, on grounds that such documents contain details that could compromise espionage and terrorism investigations, expose informants and put them at risk.

“Look, there is absolutely an overclassification problem in the U.S. government,” said Susan Hennessey, a Brookings Institution fellow and former lawyer in the National Security Agency Office of General Counsel. “But there is information that is genuinely and appropriately classified, and when it’s disclosed, it has immediate consequences.”

Four days after issuing his latest declassification order, the president retreated. Instead, the Justice Department’s inspector general has been directed to conduct an expedited review of the documents. In a tweet, Trump said “key allies” expressed concerns about the documents’ release and that Justice Department officials told him that releasing the material without review could adversely affect the Russia probe.

The president undoubtedly has the legal authority to declassify and even shift the balance between secrecy and transparency, but doing so in this instance is inappropriate, as the records Trump wants released relate to a probe of which he is a subject, Kris said.

“It is very corrosive to the rule of law when it looks clear that the reason he is shifting is not because he has made some broad policy judgment about what lies in the national interest,” he added, “but to serve his own self-interest or for partisan political gain.”

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FBI contacts second woman who has accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct

Senators join call for FBI investigation into Kavanaugh accusations

Some lawmakers called for a brief FBI investigations on Sept. 28 into the allegations made against Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh ahead of his confirmation. 

September 29 at 10:33 PM

The FBI has begun contacting people as part of an additional background investigation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, including a second woman who alleges that the Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her.

The bureau has contacted Deborah Ramirez, a Yale University classmate of Kavanaugh’s who alleges that he shoved his genitals in her face at a party where she had been drinking and become disoriented, her attorney said Saturday.

“She has agreed to cooperate with their investigation,” Ramirez attorney John Clune said in a statement. “Out of respect for the integrity of the process, we will have no further comment at this time.”

President Trump ordered the new background investigation of his nominee on Friday under pressure from key members of his party.

Late Saturday, the president said the FBI probe would be exhaustive, but the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday afternoon said that the supplemental investigation would be limited to “current, credible allegations.” And a lawyer for one woman who has accused Kavanaugh of misconduct said his client had not been contacted.

In brief remarks to reporters before leaving for a rally in West Virginia, the president said the FBI is “all over talking to everybody. . . . They have free rein, they can do whatever they have to do, whatever it is that they do. They’ll be doing things we have never even thought of.”

‘They should be ashamed’: Orlando women react to Ford, Kavanaugh hearing

Women in Orlando shared their personal reflections on Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh’s testimonies. 

But Michael Avenatti, an attorney for Julie Swetnick, who alleged that Kavanaugh and another boy got teenage girls drunk at parties, where the girls were sexually assaulted, sometimes by groups of boys, said Saturday that Swetnick has not been contacted by the bureau.

Swetnick said in a sworn statement this past week that she knew Kavanaugh in high school and was raped by such a group at a party where Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were present. She has not accused Kavanaugh of raping her. Swetnik described Kavanaugh as a “mean drunk” in high school who was physically and verbally aggressive with girls.

“We have not heard anything from the FBI, and with each passing hour, I’m growing increasingly concerned that this is a sham of an investigation,” Avenatti said. He noted that Swetnick has had multiple security clearances and said that lying in a sworn declaration would be disastrous to her career.

“Why would Miss Ramirez be questioned but not my client?” he asked. “Donald Trump is not supposed to be determining who is credible. That’s the job of the FBI.”

Trump reiterated his defense of his nominee for the high court, calling him a “good man” and a “great judge.” The president also said the FBI investigation “will be a blessing in disguise. It will be a good thing.”

Kavanaugh has denied the accusations by Ramirez and Swetnick and has said emphatically that he never abused or assaulted anyone. He also has pointed to half a dozen other background checks the FBI conducted on him for other federal positions over the years, none of which surfaced evidence or allegations of sexual assault.

The FBI also is following up on allegations by Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, who testified to the Senate last week that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s when they were in high school in suburban Washington, D.C.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, had pressed for the FBI probe and a delay in voting on the nomination. Asked on Friday about “current, credible allegations” that should be investigated, Flake said, “We’ll leave that to the FBI.”

White House spokesman Raj Shah said on Saturday: “The scope and duration has been set by the Senate. The White House is letting the FBI agents do what they are trained to do.”

A Judiciary Committee spokesman on Saturday declined to elaborate beyond the panel’s initial statement.

Democrats were not included on a call that Republican staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee held with the White House discussing the FBI investigation, according to an official familiar with the discussion who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Trump, in his remarks to reporters, also said he wants to know who leaked a confidential letter by Ford that was sent to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and suggested it could have been the California lawmaker.

“I think frankly the FBI has a chance to reveal a lot of different things. I’d like to find out who leaked the papers,” Trump said, referring to the letter. “Was it Sen. Feinstein? Certainly her body language was not exactly very good when they asked her that question. I would like to find out as part of it who leaked the papers, which Democrat leaked the papers.”

Feinstein said at Thursday’s hearing that she did not leak the letter nor did anyone on her staff. Ryan Grim, the reporter for the Intercept who first reported on the existence of Ford’s letter, has also said neither Feinstein nor her aides were his sources.

During Thursday’s testimony, Ford recounted in detail how Kavanaugh and Judge allegedly attacked her in a bedroom during a small gathering at a house when she said the teen boys were both drunk. Ford said the alleged attack has caused her lasting trauma, and she was visibly anguished as she recalled the events Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Following Ford’s testimony, Kavanaugh vigorously denied the allegations before the committee and accused Democrats of launching a last-minute attempt to derail his nomination. He decried the confirmation process as a “circus.”

Each of the people Ford identified as being at the gathering — Judge, Leland Keyser and Patrick J. Smyth — has said they will cooperate with the FBI.

An attorney for Keyser, a friend of Ford’s, said that Keyser has no recollection of the party where Ford alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her.

“Notably, Ms. Keyser does not refute Dr. Ford’s account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford’s account,” the attorney, Howard J. Walsh III, wrote in an email to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “However, the simple and unchangeable truth is that she is unable to corroborate it because she has no recollection of the incident in question.”

Judge, the high school friend of Kavanaugh’s who Ford says was in the room during the alleged assault, also has agreed to cooperate with the FBI. His account has been particularly sought after because, unlike Kavanaugh, Judge has not denied Ford’s allegations but has said he has no memory that such an assault occurred.

Ford told the Judiciary Committee that some weeks after the alleged assault she ran into Judge at a grocery store where he was working for the summer.

“I said hello to him. His face was white and very uncomfortable saying hello back,” she said. “He was just nervous and not really wanting to speak with me, and he looked a little bit ill.”

According to Ford, a boy named “PJ” was also at the gathering but not in the room where the alleged assault occurred.

Last week, Smyth, who attended Georgetown Prep high school with Kavanaugh, told the Judiciary Committee that he had no knowledge of the gathering or of any improper conduct by Kavanaugh. On Friday, Smyth said through his lawyer that he was “happy” to cooperate with the investigation.

On Friday, Republicans on the committee voted to proceed to a full Senate vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, but back-room negotiations led to a surprise twist in what has already been a wrenching confirmation process for a Supreme Court nominee, among the most polarizing in recent memory.

Flake, a key swing vote to confirm Kavanaugh, said he would vote to proceed to a full Senate vote, but that the Senate vote should be preceded by a new, expanded FBI investigation of the allegations against Kavanaugh.

Recognizing that Flake and a handful of other senators’ votes appeared contingent upon the investigation, Republican leaders and the White House relented. Later that day, Trump ordered the investigation and that it be limited in scope and completed by Friday.

Lawmakers and Trump administration officials had few expectations that the FBI would settle Ford and Kavanaugh’s dueling accounts. A background investigation is, by its nature, more limited than a criminal probe, and FBI agents will not be able to obtain search warrants or issue subpoenas to compel testimony from potential witnesses. The FBI’s interviews, which will take a few days to conduct, won’t turn into a sprawling inquest of everyone Kavanaugh went to a party with in high school, said a person familiar with the investigation.

The FBI’s findings will not necessarily become public. When investigators have completed their work, anything they’ve discovered will be turned over to the White House as an update to Kavanaugh’s background check file. The White House would then likely share the material with the Senate committee.

At that point, all senators, as well as a very small group of aides, would have access to it.

The White House or the Senate would decide what, if anything, should be released publicly. The bureau’s work will probably consist mostly of reports of interviews with witnesses and accusers. The bureau will not come to a conclusion on whether the accusations are credible and will not make a recommendation on what should become of Kavanaugh’s nomination.

On Saturday, the Judiciary Committee said it referred for criminal investigation apparent false statements made to the panel’s investigators about Kavanaugh. Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray that he was seeking a criminal review of the actions of one individual whom he did not identify.

Aaron Blake, Emma Brown and Alex Horton contributed to this report.

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Indonesia tsunami and earthquake kill 384, leave hundreds injured

indonesia earthquake tsunami palu orig mg_00000711

Now PlayingTsunami hits Indonesian…
Tsunami hits Indonesian beaches after quake 01:05

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN)Rescue workers are hunting for survivors after a powerful earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and triggered a tsunami, killing at least 384 people.

After the 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Friday, water smashed into buildings and swept away homes in the coastal city of Palu, home to 350,000 people.
More than 540 people are being treated in several local hospitals amid the massive destruction in Palu and 29 people are missing.
The death toll could climb in the coming days, Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho warned.
Electricity and communications have been cut off, making it difficult to assess the damage in Palu and nearby fishing community of Donggala, Sutopo said.
“It is not just the people in the large urban areas. There are a lot of people also living in remote communities who are hard to reach” Jan Gelfand, head of the International Red Cross in Indonesia, told CNN.
With Palu airport closed, relief workers have to make their way to Palu by road. Sulawesi is one of the biggest islands in the world and the drive from the nearest airport is around 10-12 hours. “We already have people en route but you never know what damage there is to the road infrastructure.”
In Palu, authorities are still urging residents to not go inside their homes and sleep away from buildings – fields, roads or yards because of the danger from aftershocks.

Scores wounded, hospital calls for help

After a local hospital was damaged, medical staff opted to treat dozens of wounded residents just outside the building, Sutopo said.
Medical team help wounded residents outside a hospital in on Saturday.

Dr. Komang Adi Sujendra, Director of Undata Hospital in Palu was seeking help from the public following the quake.
“At the moment, in our hospital, electricity is out all over Palu, roads are cracked, the phone network doesn’t work,” he said in a video posted on Twitter. “We are hoping for any help.”
“We need tents, medicine, canvas, nurses …”

Air traffic controller dies after trying to escape

An air traffic controller who stayed behind to make sure a passenger airplane took off was among the dozens of victims.
Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, died in the hospital after he jumped off the traffic control tower at the Palu airport when he thought the tower was collapsing.
His colleagues had evacuated the tower when they felt the earthquakes but he stayed behind to ensure that a Batik airplane safely took off, Air Nav Indonesia, the agency that oversees aircraft navigation, said in a statement.
“We felt a deep heartbreak, may God gives Anthonius the best place beside him, along with other victims of Donggala earthquake,” Air Nav spokesperson Yohanes Sirait said.

A massive quake

The horrific scene began Friday when the first in a series of tremors was felt at 3 p.m. (3 a.m. ET) 35 miles (56 km) north of Palu, according to the United States Geological Survey.
Three quakes of 4.9 and larger magnitudes were recorded up to three hours before the tremor near Palu, the USGS said.
The tremor triggered a tsunami that hit beaches in the cities of Palu and Donggala, officials said.
The tsunami was “about three meters high,” Nugroho said.
Map data ©2018 GBRMPA, Google

The shaking of the 7.5-magnitude tremor was “severe” and the likely damage following the quake was considered “moderate to heavy,” the USGS said.
A series of aftershock quakes were reported in the aftermath of the quake, including a 5.8 magnitude tremor just 12 minutes later.
An early tsunami warning had been issued by the Indonesian meteorological agency, but was later lifted after the agency ascertained that the water had receded.
A resident is seen beside the collapsed brick wall of her house at Tobadak village in Central Mamuju, western Sulawesi province, on September 28 after a strong earthquake hit the area.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo said the military was being called in to the disaster-struck region to help search-and-rescue teams get to victims and find bodies.
Writing on his official Twitter account Friday, Widodo said he was monitoring the situation and preparing for any post-earthquake eventualities.
“May our brothers and sisters remain calm and be safe,” he wrote.
The quakes come a month after a trio of earthquakes hit several islands in the South Pacific and Indonesia, including Lombok, which is still recovering from the effects of an August 5 earthquake that killed more than 430 people.

Elon Musk agrees to pay $20 million and quit as Tesla chairman in deal with SEC

Elon Musk neutral expression

Elon Musk agreed Saturday to step down as chairman of Tesla and pay a $20 million fine in a deal to settle charges brought this week by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Under the settlement, which requires court approval, Musk will be allowed to stay as CEO but must leave his role as chairman of the board within 45 days. He cannot seek reelection for three years, according to court filings.

He accepted the deal with the SEC “without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint,” according to a court document.

Separately, Tesla agreed Saturday to pay $20 million to settle claims it failed to adequately police Musk’s tweet.

“The $40 million in penalties will be distributed to harmed investors under a court-approved process,” the SEC said in a press release.

The company also agreed to appoint two new independent directors to its board and establish a board committee to oversee Musk’s communications.

Tesla declined to comment. A spokesperson confirmed Musk will be permitted to remain a member of the board.

The announcement from the SEC comes two days after the agency filed a lawsuit against Musk, claiming he misled investors. The suit centers on tweets Musk sent on August 7 in which he said he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share, causing the company’s stock to soar. He had not secured the funding, the SEC said.

The lawsuit sought to ban Musk from serving as an officer or director of any publicly traded company.

Musk called the SEC’s suit “unjustified.”

“I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency and investors,” he said. “Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way.”

CNBC, citing unnamed sources, reported that the agency filed the suit on Thursday after Musk refused an earlier settlement offer. Under that deal, Musk would have had to pay a “nominal fine” and leave his role as chairman for two years. He chose not to accept the terms because “because he felt that by settling he would not be truthful to himself,” according to the outlet.

A representative for Musk did not immediately reply to CNN’s request for comment Saturday.

Jay Dubow, a partner at Pepper Hamilton and a veteran of the SEC’s enforcement division, said it was “unusual” that the SEC agreed to let Musk stay on as chief executive but exit the chairman role.

It’s surprising considering “the conduct at issue, if [the SEC] really thought it was egregious,” Dubow said. “The CEO is certainly more involved than the chairman in day-to-day operations.”

He suggested the SEC may have determined that removing Musk as CEO would cause more harm to Tesla’s share price, and thus harm investors.

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson estimated in a recent note that Tesla’s stock has a $130 “Musk premium,” which could disappear if he leaves.

Still unclear is whether or not the Department of Justice will file criminal charges against Musk.

Tesla confirmed earlier this month that the DOJ was investigating whether Musk’s comments about taking his company private constituted criminal activity.

Dubow, the former SEC official, said he suspects nothing will come of it.

“My guess is that it’s still possible the DOJ will pursue something, but…it’s more likely than not that the DOJ chooses not to pursue this,” he said.

The settlement has likely assuaged the SEC, mitigating the DOJ’s incentive to act.

Australian senator banned on social media for criticizing Islam – Australians are outraged




The official page of Senator Fraser Anning has been removed from Facebook for criticizing Islam, the Koran and Muslims.
He is known for his strong opinion against radical Islam and against Islamic terrorism.
He has called several times to ban Muslim immigration to Australia, ban the burqa, ban the sharia laws and adopt Trump’s Travel Ban.
On a post on Twitter he declared war against the censorship on social media:

“…Facebook has just taken the unprecedented step in unpublishing a Commonwealth Politicians page. Free speech is under attack, and communication is being regulated by foreign companies with tendencies of political bias. This is completely unacceptable and we will fight this….”

Senator Fraser Anning@fraser_anning

Facebook has just taken the unprecedented step in unpublishing a Commonwealth Politicians page. Free speech is under attack, and communication is being regulated by foreign companies with tendencies of political bias. This is completely unacceptable and we will fight this.

Liberals and leftists in the West use the made up term “Islamophobia” to portray anyone who criticizes Islam as a racist.
Terrorists all over the world carry out terror attacks “in the name of Allah”.
They justify their violence by quoting verses from the Quran.
Islamophobia is a made up word created specifically to silence debate.
Liberals and leftists ignore the fact that it is an ideology that has nothing to do with race.

Islamophobia is a neologism created to silence any possible debate about the problems Islamic extremism has got with modernity, with the intention of using the collective post-colonial “guilt” to exempt a particular set of beliefs from scrutiny, analysis and criticism.It’s a buzzword used in an attempt to silence anyone, whenever had legit questions or criticisms about the religion.
It is not a race. It’s a religion.
There is an attempt in the West to impose a sharia-blasphemy law to criminalize criticism of Islam.

It started when Saudi Arabia and Muslim countries tried to pass a UN resolution to force Western states to criminalize criticism of Islam.
The Parliament in Canada passed “Motion-103” to condemn the so-called “Islamophobia (Fear of Islam)” in a preparation for a blasphemy law in Canada.
If you think Sharia blasphemy law has no place in the West, share this post!


Watch: UN stunned as Trump ends his speech by mentioning God, not Allah




The UN General Assembly was shocked when Trump chose to end his speech by mentioning God.
This powerful and patriotic speech by President Trump provoked outrage among Liberals and Atheists who claim it was not “inclusive” enough.
He did not mention “Allah” he did not mention “atheism” he only referred to the Judeo-Christian values on which his great nation was founded.
Please watch the video and leave a comment below down: What do you think about this?, the US and Australia should stop funding the UN.
The U.N. General Assembly elected Qatar, Congo and Pakistan to its top human rights body, joining existing members such as Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba and Venezuela.

Countries that practice Sharia laws have been chosen to be human rights watchdogs.
Even a country like Iran has been given a seat in the UN Human Rights Council.
Iran Where women are stoned to death, where gays are executed in a public square.
Christians are brutally persecuted in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Pastors are jailed for no reason, no reason other than for being Christian leaders. Christians have been lashed for sipping wine during prayer services; Christians have been brutally tortured for doing nothing more than practicing their faith.

Saudi Arabia is the head of the Human Rights Council, a country where there are no Christian citizens, even Christian migrant workers are persecuted by the authorities if they practice their religion.No religion is allowed to exist in Saudi Arabia except Islam, anyone who leaves Islam is executed.

Pakistan is the worst country for Christians to live in.
Under sharia blasphemy law Muslims murder Christians on false charges of insulting the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran.

These countries are kidnapping the UN bodies to push the anti-Israel and anti-Western agenda.
They use the United Nations to attack Israel which is the only democratic state in the Middle East where Christians are free and women are not considered citizens in rank.

In the last two years Benjamin Netanyahu cut 90% of Israeli aid to the UN after U.N.’s Cultural Agency passed a resolution denying the Jewish and Christian connection to Jerusalem.
Western countries should follow Israel – Cut all funding & Announce Withdrawal From U.N.

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