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California cave depicts hallucinogenic plant, study finds


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The billionaire owner of the glitzy wine cave that Pete Buttigieg fundraised at says 'it's just not fair' to be seen as a symbol of excess

The billionaire owner of the glitzy wine cave that Pete Buttigieg fundraised at says 'it's just not fair' to be seen as a symbol of excessSen. Elizabeth Warren says 'billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president.' The owner of a wine cave in the news finds that unfair.



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Democrats Sparred Over a Wine Cave Fundraiser. The Cave's Billionaire Owners Aren't Pleased.

Democrats Sparred Over a Wine Cave Fundraiser. The Cave's Billionaire Owners Aren't Pleased.RUTHERFORD, Calif. — To reach the wine cave that set off a firestorm in this week's Democratic presidential debate, visitors must navigate a hillside shrouded in mossy oak trees and walk down a brick-and-limestone hallway lined with wine barrels. Inside the room, a strikingly long table made of wood and onyx sits below a raindrop chandelier with 1,500 Swarovski crystals.The furnishings drew the ire of Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Thursday when she chastised Pete Buttigieg for holding a recent fundraiser in a wine cave "full of crystals" where, she said, guests were served $ 900 bottles of wine."Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States," she said. Andrew Yang, a former tech executive, added that candidates should not have to "shake the money tree in the wine cave."On Friday, the billionaire couple who owns the wine cave — wine is often stored underground because of the cool, stable temperatures — said they were frustrated that their property had set off one of the fiercest back-and-forths of the debate. Watching the contentious moment on television, they grew frustrated as Warren and other candidates used their winery as a symbol of opulence and the wealthy's influence on politics."I'm just a pawn here," said Craig Hall, who owns Hall Wines, which is known for its cabernet sauvignon, with his wife, Kathryn Walt Hall. "They're making me out to be something that's not true. And they picked the wrong pawn. It's just not fair."Craig Hall said that he had not settled on a favorite Democratic candidate but that Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was a leading contender. His positions on climate change, gun safety and immigration appealed to the couple, said Craig Hall, who added that he wanted it to be easier for middle-class Americans to start successful businesses.The Halls have given at least $ 2.4 million to Democratic candidates, committees and PACs since the 1980s, according to Federal Election Commission records. They have donated to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Kamala Harris of California before she ran for president.But in this election cycle, some Democratic candidates have criticized the spending of wealthy donors like the Halls, arguing that their large contributions can lead to outsize influence on policy — or even jobs in a future administration. Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, in particular, have harped on other candidates for soliciting wealthy donors and traveling from coast to coast to attend fundraisers.For the Halls, the scrutiny has felt personal. Craig Hall said that during the debate, Kathryn Walt Hall turned to him and jokingly said she might go buy something for herself instead of contributing to another political campaign.Craig Hall, 69, made much of his fortune in the real estate industry and said he started a business at 18 with $ 4,000 from his savings account. Kathryn Walt Hall, a lawyer and businesswoman, served as the U.S. ambassador to Austria under President Bill Clinton after donating to his reelection campaign. Her family has worked in the wine industry since the 1970s.As chairman of the Hall Group, which is based in Dallas, Craig Hall oversees a financial services company, wineries, art exhibits and a luxury hotel. He said that in Texas, he is often seen as the most liberal among friends and business colleagues, part of why he felt unfairly targeted during the debate."These people don't know who they're talking about when they throw me in the class that they did," Craig Hall said of the presidential candidates. "As much as it's frustrating, it's more disappointing to me that Democrats are fighting with each other when we have a common goal, which is to get back to the White House."On the debate stage, Buttigieg responded to the attacks by arguing that the views of donors would not influence his positions and saying that his net worth was one one-hundredth of Warren's.Buttigieg said accepting the contributions of all donors was necessary to "build a campaign ready for the fight of our lives," referring to the general election faceoff against President Donald Trump.Warren's comments also did not sit well with some local residents, who are accustomed to encountering politicians and their high-end contributors. Pelosi and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California each own a valuable vineyard nearby."It connoted something snobbish, which it really isn't," said Carl Myers, a retired general contractor who lives in St. Helena, California.Wine is stored in caves around the world, and Craig Hall noted that the Romans followed the practice. Storing wine underground saves money on climate control and humidification, said Jonathan Ruppert, the general manager of Gary's Wine & Marketplace in St. Helena."Caves are a necessity," Ruppert said. "It's the green way to keep wine and preserve it for aging."Although the wine cave at Hall Wines is occasionally used for fundraising events, it typically serves as a private tasting room. But the winery was closed Friday for the employee Christmas party and, in a sign of the times, active shooter training.High-dollar donors have visited his wine cave, but Craig Hall emphasized that his wineries do not sell a $ 900 bottle of wine — or, at least, not a regularly sized one. The $ 900 bottle they do sell is 3 liters, he said, which holds as much wine as about four normal bottles. Most of the company's wines cost between $ 45 and $ 65.Craig Hall said he intended to support any Democratic nominee in the general election, but he admitted it would be hard to back Warren or Sanders."I hope I don't face that question," Craig Hall said. "It may be difficult. But I really want to support whoever the nominee is, and I plan to, but there may be some holding my nose."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company



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Buttigieg to Warren on ‘Wine Cave’ Barb: ‘This Is the Problem with Issuing Purity Tests You Cannot Yourself Pass’

Buttigieg to Warren on ‘Wine Cave’ Barb: ‘This Is the Problem with Issuing Purity Tests You Cannot Yourself Pass’Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren sparred on the debate stage Thursday night over fundraising, with the South Bend, Ind., mayor telling Warren “this is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass” after she accused him of catering to wealthy donors.“The mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave full of crystals and served $ 900 a bottle wine — think about who comes to that,” Warren stated, referencing a private donor dinner in Napa Valley that Buttigieg held Sunday.“He had promised that every fundraiser that he would do would be open door, but this was one closed door,” Warren argued. “We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States. Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States.”Buttigieg responded by pointing out Warren was far wealthier than him. “According to Forbes magazine, I am literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire,” he said. “This is important — this is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass.”Buttigieg argued that “if I pledge never to be in the company of a progressive Democratic donor, I couldn’t be up here.”“Senator, your net worth is 100 times mine,” he said, asking Warren if a max donation from a wealthy individual “would that pollute my campaign?”“I would be glad to have that support,” Buttigieg argued. “We need the support from everybody who is committed to helping us beat Donald Trump.”After Warren replied “I do not sell access to my time,” saying “if you want to donate to me that’s fine, but don’t come around later expecting to be named ambassador, because that’s what goes on in these high-dollar fundraisers,” Buttigieg challenged Warren using holdover funds from past campaigning, including donations from wealthy donors.“Senator, your presidential campaign right now, as we speak, is funded in part by money you transferred, having raised it at those exact same big-ticket fundraisers you now denounce,” he said. “Did it corrupt you, Senator? Of course not . . . these purity tests shrink the stakes of the most important election upon us.”Buttigieg and Warren have clashed on the debate floor before, with Buttigieg criticizing Warren for her comments on Medicare for All in October. In November, as the South Bend mayor surged in the Iowa polls, Buttigieg told Showtime’s The Circus “I think this is getting to be a two-way” race between himself and Warren.



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Warren Bashes Mayor Pete for Raising Cash in a ‘Wine Cave’

Warren Bashes Mayor Pete for Raising Cash in a ‘Wine Cave’The first half of the sixth Democratic presidential debate started sleepily, but a blistering exchange over the role of money in politics between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg laid bare one of the few issues where many of the candidates stand in stark contrast.Warren and Buttigieg—whose campaigns have been defined, respectively, by Warren’s steadfast refusal to host fundraisers and Buttigieg’s well-tuned fundraising machine—tore into each other over Buttigieg’s willingness to host high-dollar fundraisers with wealthy donors. Warren said it made him susceptible to corruption, and Buttigieg said it was a “purity test” that Warren herself could not pass.“I made the decision when I decided to run not to do business as usual,” Warren said, detailing the 100,000 selfies she has taken with supporters at rallies. “That’s 100,000 hugs and handshakes and stories, stories of people struggling with student loan debt, stories of people that can’t pay their medical bills, stories from people that can’t find child care.”Unlike some candidates, Warren continued, who travel from coast to coast “to people who can put up $ 5,000 or more in order to have a picture taken, in order to have a conversation, and in order, maybe, to be considered to be an ambassador.”Buttigieg, whose recent appearance at a high-dollar fundraiser held in a lavish Napa Valley wine cave, remarked that he couldn’t help “but feel that might have been directed at me.”“We’re in the fight of our lives right now,” Buttigieg responded, saying that Trump and his Republican allies wouldn’t hesitate to take every dollar possible to keep the White House, and that to beat him, Democrats couldn’t fight “with one hand tied behind our back.”Bernie Sanders Falls Short of Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Second Quarter Fundraising HaulWarren responded by detailing Buttigieg’s most recent fundraiser, replete with details about crystal chandeliers and $ 900 bottles of wine.“The mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave full of crystals and served $ 900 a bottle wine. Think about who comes to that.” Unlike Buttigieg, Warren said, “we made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States.”In response, Buttigieg turned around what he called Warren’s “purity test,” accusing her of being unable to pass it herself.“Senator, your net worth is 100 times mine,” Buttigieg said, noting that Warren herself has held high-dollar fundraisers in the past and has transferred some of that money into her presidential campaign. “This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass.”Warren protested that she, unlike others onstage, does “not sell access to my time.“I don’t spend time with millionaires and billionaires. I don’t meet behind closed doors with big dollar donors,” Warren said. “This ought to be an easy step. And here’s the problem: if you can’t stand up and take the steps that are relatively easy, can’t stand up to the wealthy and well-connected when it is relatively easy when you are a candidate, then how can the American people believe you will stand up to the wealthy and well connected when you are president and it is really hard?”The exchange helped open up an issue-by-issue pile-on targeting Buttigieg on issues from political experience and race relations, an attack that many had predicted in the last debate, after Buttigieg crested at the top of the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. Warren and Buttigieg—as well as Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who later accused Buttigieg of criticizing her “track record of getting things done”—frequently compete for the same college-educated white voters.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Thai cave dive hero fights back tears as he tells court ‘life sentence with no parole’ inflicted by Elon Musk

Thai cave dive hero fights back tears as he tells court ‘life sentence with no parole’ inflicted by Elon MuskA British diver who helped rescue a dozen boys trapped in a cave in Thailand fought back tears as he told a court Elon Musk's "pedo guy" slur amounted to “a life sentence with no parole”.Vernon Unsworth choked up on Wednesday as he testified against the Tesla CEO during a defamation trial in Los Angeles.



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Thai cave reopens for visitors after Wild Boars rescue

Thai cave reopens for visitors after Wild Boars rescueThe Tham Luang cave has been closed to visitors since the Wild Boars football team were rescued alive after nearly three weeks inside the grotto’s waterlogged corridors. “We have allowed visitors to see the mouth of the cave,” said Kamolchai Kotcha, director of the local conservation office that overseas the cave. Some of the rescue equipment left behind — including telephone wires, hoses and zip lines — could be exhibited inside the cave for visitors to view in the future, Kotcha said.



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Turkish Markets Cave Under U.S. Pressure as Banks Hit Over Syria

Turkish Markets Cave Under U.S. Pressure as Banks Hit Over Syria(Bloomberg) — A renewed sell-off gripped Turkish markets after the U.S. brought criminal charges against one of the nation’s largest banks, in what could be an escalation of Washington’s efforts to reprimand Ankara for its military incursion into northeast Syria.Stocks fell with government bonds and shares of Turkey’s state-run Halkbank slumped the most in a year. The lira bucked the rout as state banks were seen selling dollars to support the currency, according to three traders with knowledge of the matter.An indictment filed Tuesday in a Manhattan federal court accused Halkbank of participating in a wide-ranging plot to violate prohibitions on Iran’s access to the U.S. financial system. The looming legal standoff is raising an alarm in Turkey that the U.S. may soon mete out more severe penalties, dealing another blow to the $ 772 billion economy that’s just begun to recover from a recession and remains heavily reliant on foreign capital.“The timing of these charges would appear to be less than coincidental and is clearly highly politicized,” said Julian Rimmer, a trader at Investec Bank in London. “This is another warning shot across Turkey’s bow.”On Tuesday, Donald Trump sanctioned three senior Turkish officials and increased steel tariffs — a milder punishment than expected — but U.S. lawmakers from both parties are already pushing the president to adopt stricter measures.‘Immediate Cease-Fire’The Trump administration has been calling for “an immediate cease-fire” in Syria after the hostilities unleashed by Turkey across its border this month. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected the demand.U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will meet Erdogan on Thursday in Ankara to reiterate Trump’s commitment to sanctions, according to a White House statement. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Ambassador James Jeffrey will also be on the trip that begins Wednesday.The lira has weakened more than 4% this month as tensions percolate with the U.S. The yield on Halkbank’s dollar bond due 2021 surged more than 400 basis points.In response, the Turkish stock exchange “temporarily” banned short-selling in seven banks, or wagers that their shares will decline using borrowed securities.The banking watchdog also advised some local lenders against offering lira liquidity in the offshore money-market, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, in an apparent attempt to get in the way of betting that it will depreciate further.Turkey Advises Banks Against Offering Lira Liquidity OffshoreThe benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index was trading 1.7% lower as of 12:06 p.m in Istanbul, led by Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS and Akbank TAS. The lira edged 0.3% higher to 5.8973 per dollar while the yield on two-year government bonds jumped 48 basis points.“The Americans intend to use these charges as leverage,” Rimmer said. “And given they can impose almost unlimited fines and heavy penalties, the Turks will have to take this seriously.”To contact the reporters on this story: Tugce Ozsoy in Istanbul at tozsoy1@bloomberg.net;Asli Kandemir in Istanbul at akandemir@bloomberg.net;Constantine Courcoulas in Istanbul at ccourcoulas1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Blaise Robinson at brobinson58@bloomberg.net, Dana El BaltajiFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Elon Musk paid convicted fraudster to spread false paedophile claims about British cave rescue hero, court documents allege

Elon Musk paid convicted fraudster to spread false paedophile claims about British cave rescue hero, court documents allegeElon Musk paid a convicted fraudster to smear a British diving hero who he baselessly called a paedophile, according to court documents.The billionaire technology entrepreneur allegedly orchestrated a “malicious, false, and anonymous leak campaign” in a bid to trash the reputation of Vernon Unsworth, who helped to rescue a schoolboy football team trapped in a cave in Thailand last year.



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Police Drone Finds Fugitive Who's Been Living in a Cave for 17 Years

Police Drone Finds Fugitive Who's Been Living in a Cave for 17 YearsThe man lived in the wilderness for the past 17 years.



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