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HeadlinesMarch 20, 2018

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Channel 4: Cambridge Analytica Execs Boast of Entrapping Politicians, Swaying Elections

Mar 20, 2018

A Channel 4 News investigation has revealed executives from the company Cambridge Analytica boasting about entrapping politicians and launching fake news campaigns in order to sway elections around the world.

The revelations come only days after it was revealed Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of more than 50 million Facebook users without their permission in efforts to sway voters to support President Donald Trump. Cambridge Analytica was founded by billionaire Robert Mercer and Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon of Breitbart News.

On Monday, Channel 4 News broadcast videos it secretly recorded of Cambridge Analytica executives talking about entrapping politicians by sending sex workers to seduce them or sending people posing as developers to propose a bribe. This is a clip of the Channel 4 News report, in which the reporter went undercover, posing as a potential client in order to reveal Cambridge Analytica’s tactics. The video features Cambridge Analytica head Alexander Nix and executive Mark Turnbull, but it begins with narration.

Narrator: “Prepared, it seems, to ruin their clients’ opponents through handouts and honey traps.”

Alexander Nix: “We’ll send some girls around to the candidate’s house.”

Narrator: “Through sex, secrets and spies.”

Mark Turnbull: “I know people who used to work for MI5, MI6.”

Narrator: “Old-style tactics wedded to the new.”

Mark Turnbull: “We just put information into the bloodstream of the internet and then—and then watch it grow.”

The Channel 4 News exposé comes as Facebook’s stock plummeted on Monday following the revelations about how Cambridge Analytica harvested its data in order to launch targeted political ads aimed at carrying out Robert Mercer’s far-right political agenda and helping President Trump win the 2016 election. The reports have spurred calls for increased regulation of Facebook.

Top Facebook Executive Leaving Amid Dispute over Russian Propaganda

Mar 20, 2018

A top executive is leaving Facebook amid an internal dispute over how much to disclose to the public about how Russians used the platform to spread propaganda ahead of the 2016 election. Alex Stamos is Facebook’s chief information security officer. The news of his impending departure this August comes as Facebook is now confronting a new firestorm about the Cambridge Analytica data breach.

Trump Calls for Death Penalty for Drug Dealers, Blames Sanctuary City for Fentanyl

Mar 20, 2018

President Trump again called for the death penalty for drug dealers, during a speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, Monday.

President Donald Trump: “The ultimate penalty has to be the death penalty. … Unless you have really, really powerful penalties, led by the death penalty, for the really bad pushers and abusers, we are going to get nowhere. And I’m telling you, we are going to get somewhere.”

Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 67,000 people died from drug overdoses last year. During Trump’s speech, he also attacked the sanctuary city of Lawrence, Massachusetts, blaming the city for the spread of fentanyl in New Hampshire.

Package Headed for Austin Explodes at FedEx Facility

Mar 20, 2018

A package destined for Austin exploded at a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, northeast of San Antonio, overnight. The package was filled with nails and pieces of metal. Early reports indicate no FedEx workers were seriously injured in the explosion. Authorities are investigating whether the failed package bomb is related to the serial bombings across Austin, which have killed two members of prominent black families and injured six others since the first bombing on March 2. Authorities said Monday that the fourth explosion, on Sunday night, was set off by a tripwire, indicating a “higher level of sophistication.” Police are investigating whether the bombings are hate crimes.

Activists Protest Yemen War as Saudi Crown Prince Visits Trump in Washington

Mar 20, 2018

In Washington, D.C., activists have laid 5,000 flowers onto the lawn of the U.S. Capitol to symbolize the 5,000 Yemeni children who have been killed or injured in the ongoing U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. The protest comes as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is slated to arrive in Washington today to meet with President Trump. On Monday, activists called on lawmakers to support a new bipartisan resolution—Senate Joint Resolution 54—to end the U.S. military involvement in Yemen within 30 days, unless Congress formally authorizes the military action. This is activist Iram Ali.

Iram Ali: “This is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world right now, and it is still ongoing, when it can be stopped with just passing this legislation and allowing humanitarian aid in.”

The bipartisan legislation could be voted on as early as today.

Erdogan Vows to Continue Military Offensive Against Kurdish Areas in Northern Syria

Mar 20, 2018

In Syria, residents are continuing to flee the northwestern city of Afrin, amid reports of widespread looting by Turkish and Turkish-backed troops who seized control of the Syrian Kurdish city on Sunday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has now vowed to continue the Turkish military offensive against other Kurdish-controlled areas in northwestern Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “After controlling the city center of Afrin yesterday, we completed the most important phase of Operation Olive Branch. Now we will continue this process with Manbij, Ayn al-Arab and Ras al-Ayn and Qamishli, until we remove all of this corridor.”

Nicolas Sarkozy Questioned by Police over Charges of Illegal Campaign Funds from Gaddafi

Mar 20, 2018

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been taken into police custody for questioning amid an investigation into whether he received millions of euros in illegal campaign financing from the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2007. Sarkozy has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Bernie Sanders & Elizabeth Warren Host Live-Streamed Town Hall on Inequality

Mar 20, 2018

Back in the United States, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and other experts hosted a live-streamed town hall Monday night on “Inequality in America: The Rise of Oligarchy and Collapse of the Middle Class.” During the discussion, economist Darrick Hamilton spoke about the intersections of race, education and class.

Darrick Hamilton: “We know that if you are a head of household and you’re black and you graduated from college, your family’s wealth position is lower than that of a white family with a head dropped out of high school. So this feeds into the narrative of: Can we simply work hard, study hard and address inequality? The answer is no. Those things are important. Education is important in its own right. So, when Senator Sanders proposes that we should have tuition-free public education? Absolutely. But as an end unto itself, we exaggerate the economic returns to education, particularly for marginalized groups. And when we start getting into these narratives of a post-racial society, we’re not there. Now, we can come up with comprehensive programs that include everybody, but we need to do it differently this way so that we make sure nobody is left behind.”

Landmark Study Shows Deep Effects of Racism, Even for Black Boys in Rich Families

Mar 20, 2018

Monday night’s town hall came as a landmark new study shows that rich white boys are likely to remain rich as adults, but that rich black boys are more likely to become poor or middle-class as adults. The study, led by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau, debunks widely held ideas about income inequality and race. It shows how racism still deeply affects African-American men’s lives, even if they grow up in the country’s richest neighborhoods and have high levels of education. The study also reveals the disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system, showing how black men who were raised by millionaires are just as likely to be incarcerated as white men who were raised in poor households.

Supreme Court Upholds Redrawn Pennsylvania Congressional Map

Mar 20, 2018

The Supreme Court has rejected a Republican appeal to block the redrawing of Pennsylvania’s congressional map. The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court ruled the congressional map unconstitutionally favored Republican candidates, and ordered it redrawn. The new, more equitable map is expected to offer a boost to Democratic candidates during the 2018 midterm elections.

Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona

Mar 20, 2018

In Arizona, a self-driving Uber car killed a pedestrian on Sunday night in Tempe, leading Uber to quickly suspend its self-driving tests in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. Sunday night’s fatal crash occurred despite the fact that there was an emergency back-up driver—a human—sitting behind the wheel. The woman is believed to be the first pedestrian to be killed in association with new self-driving technology.


Actress Cynthia Nixon Enters NY Gubernatorial Race, Challenging Cuomo

Mar 20, 2018

The actress Cynthia Nixon has officially entered the race for governor of New York on Monday. She will be challenging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary later this year.


Mississippi Gov. Signs into Law Abortion Ban After 15 Weeks, Sparking Lawsuit

Mar 20, 2018

And Mississippi Republican Governor Phil Bryant has signed into law one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country, banning abortions after 15 weeks, even in the case of rape or incest. The Center for Reproductive Rights has sued Mississippi over the ban, calling it unconstitutional. Lawsuits by the Center for Reproductive Rights have blocked similar laws in Arizona, North Dakota and Arkansas in recent years.

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