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Second British-Australian woman jailed in Iran identified as Middle East researcher Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert

Second British-Australian woman jailed in Iran identified as Middle East researcher Dr Kylie Moore-GilbertA British-Australian woman who has been sentenced to 10 years in a notorious Iranian prison has been identified as Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a Cambridge-educated academic specialising in Middle Eastern politics.  Dr Moore-Gilbert, who was working as a lecturer and researcher for Melbourne University's Asia Institute and has published work on authoritarian governance and activism in the Middle East, was jailed in October 2018. However, her detention had not been reported in case it harmed the prospects of her release.  On Saturday, the Australian government confirmed Dr Moore-Gilbert was being held in prison in Iran. A statement from the family of Dr Moore-Gilbert, who is incarcerated in Evin prison, said they were in close contact with Australian authorities on the matter.  "Our family thanks the Government and the University of Melbourne for their ongoing support at this distressing and sensitive time. "We believe that the best chance of securing Kylie's safe return is through diplomatic channels." It is not known what Dr Moore-Gilbert was charged with, but 10-year terms are routinely given in Iran for spying. She is one of two British-Australian women whose detentions in Iran have come to light in the past week. Jolie King with her partner Mark Firkin Jolie King, a travel blogger, and her Australian fiancé Mark Firkin were arrested near a military site in Jajrood near Tehran on August 9, it was revealed on Thursday. They had reportedly been using a drone to film aerial footage in the area.  They too have been sent to Evin prison, the main detention centre for Iran's political prisoners, which also houses 41-year-old Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian mother of one who is midway through a five-year sentence on spying charges. Tehran has pursued a campaign of detaining Iranian and dual nationality academics in recent years, raising fears the Islamic Republic is using them as diplomatic leverage. The Australian government has said it is lobbying Tehran to ensure all three are appropriately looked after. Iran is believed to be holding the trio captive in the hope of exchanging one of them for an Iranian imprisoned in the US on charges of evading American sanctions. Tensions between Britain and Iran escalated dramatically after it emerged the women were being held in the first recent case of Tehran arresting British citizens who do not also hold Iranian nationality.  Sources said Tehran sees the women as bargaining chips to secure the release of Negar Ghodskani, a 40-year-old Iranian woman facing jail in the US after pleading guilty to a conspiracy to export prohibited technology to Iran.  Ghodskani was arrested in Australia in 2017 at the request of US government and gave birth to a baby boy while in custody in Adelaide. She was extradited to the US and now faces five years in federal prison.   Negar Ghodskani Credit: AP While Iran has not commented publicly on any of the arrests, in April the country's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, proposed swapping Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe for Ms Ghodskani.   According to the University of Melbourne's website, Dr Moore-Gilbert "specialises in Middle Eastern politics, with a particular focus on the Arab Gulf states," and has published work on the 2011 Arab uprisings, authoritarian governance, and on the role of new media technologies in political activism. In 2018 she was awarded a grant to investigate "Iran’s relationship with Bahrain’s Shi’a after the Arab Uprisings". Dr Moore-Gilbert's LinkedIn profile shows her first degree came in Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge, where she also completed her Master of Arts. Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she has raised the cases of the three prisoners "many times" with Mr Zarif, and denied the arrests were politically motivated. "We have no reason to think that these arrests are connected to international concern over Iran's nuclear programme, United Nations sanction enforcement or maritime security concerning the safety of civilian shipping," Senator Payne said. What appears to be the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 off the coast of Tartus, Syria, Credit: Reuters News of the three prisoners has come amid a downturn in relations between Britain and Iran, sparked by issues including the Royal Marines' seizure near Gibraltar in July of an Iranian oil tanker, the Grace I. Iran responded by seizing British-flagged oil tanker the Stena Impero. While Britain released the Iranian tanker, the Stena Impero is still being held.  Australia also said in July that it would join the US and the UK in protecting shipping in the Strait of Hormuz from Iranian threats. Relations between Tehran and the West, especially the United States, have deteriorated significantly since the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions, prompting Iran to ramp up restricted enrichment.



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NASA says a new comet is likely an 'interstellar visitor' from another star system — the second ever detected

NASA says a new comet is likely an 'interstellar visitor' from another star system — the second ever detectedIf the comet-like object has interstellar origins, "it's the next best thing to sending a probe to a different solar system," one astronomer said.



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Second Amendment Foundation: Background checks policy shouldn't be decided on just Odessa

Second Amendment Foundation: Background checks policy shouldn't be decided on just OdessaAnti-gun-rights extremists are exploiting the tragic shooting in Odessa, Texas, writes Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.



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Specter of 'Storm Area 51' leads second Nevada county to OK emergency order

Specter of 'Storm Area 51' leads second Nevada county to OK emergency orderThe "Storm Area 51" event has drawn more than 2 million RSVPs on Facebook. Officials in Nye County, Nevada, OK'd an emergency order in preparation.



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Larry Kudlow on Trump’s ‘Second Thoughts’ Remarks: ‘He Didn’t Exactly Hear the Question’

Larry Kudlow on Trump’s ‘Second Thoughts’ Remarks: ‘He Didn’t Exactly Hear the Question’White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow attempted to spin President Trump’s remarks Sunday morning in which he expressed regret over his escalating trade war with China, claiming that the president didn’t “hear the question” when asked if he had second thoughts.During a breakfast meeting with British prime minister Boris Johnson at the G7 on Sunday morning, Trump told reporters that he had “second thoughts about everything” when asked if he had second thoughts on ordering American companies to no longer do business with China.Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union later in the morning, Kudlow was immediately confronted with Trump’s comments by guest host Brianna Keilar. The Trump adviser, however, insisted that the president was being misinterpreted.“Well, look, if I can reinterpret that,” Kudlow noted, “I mean, he spoke to us, he didn’t exactly hear the question. Actually, what he was intending to say, he always has second thoughts and actually had second thoughts about possibly a higher tariff response to China.”He added: “So it was not to remove the tariff. He was thinking about a higher tariff response. Having said that, we’re staying with the policy that was announced on Friday, I believe, a five percent increase on the two tariffs.”Looking for clarification, Keilar asked Kudlow if Trump was saying that he may want to further increase tariffs on China, but wasnt currently going to do so. Kudlow agreed that was the case.“That is absolutely correct,” he stated. “That was his thought, it somehow got misinterpreted. I’m not sure he heard the question altogether. It was a very crowded room.”Kudlow’s attempts at clarifying Trump’s “second thoughts” remarks came on the heels of White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham’s own spin.“The President was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China.’ His answer has been greatly misinterpreted,” she said in a statement. “President Trump responded in the affirmative—because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”Elsewhere in the CNN interview, Kudlow clashed with Keilar, repeatedly insisting that she was taking Johnson out of context when he said at the G7 that he does not like tariffs as a whole.“Larry, what’s out of context?” Keilar pushed back at one point. “We just rolled video. What is out of context with that quote?”Kudlow said he was in the meeting with Johnson and that it “all depends on context,” prompting the CNN host to point out that the British prime minister’s comments came directly from that meeting.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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Suspect in Utah student Mackenzie Lueck's death is charged in a second case

Suspect in Utah student Mackenzie Lueck's death is charged in a second caseThe man suspected of killing University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck was charged Tuesday with sexual abuse and kidnapping of another woman.



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'Sorry for the inconvenience': Hong Kong protesters apologized to furious passengers after the city's airport was paralyzed for a second day

'Sorry for the inconvenience': Hong Kong protesters apologized to furious passengers after the city's airport was paralyzed for a second dayHong Kong protesters used carts to block departure gates, sending a message to the government and drawing attention to alleged police brutality.



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Blockade, beating, pepper spray on second day of Hong Kong airport chaos

Blockade, beating, pepper spray on second day of Hong Kong airport chaosChaos gripped Hong Kong’s airport for a second day Tuesday as pro-democracy protesters staged a disruptive sit-in that paralysed hundreds of flights, saw police fire pepper spray, and a mainland journalist beaten. Demonstrators defied warnings from the city’s leader, who said they were heading down a “path of no return”, and US President Donald Trump called for calm, saying his intelligence had confirmed Chinese troop movements toward the Hong Kong border. The latest protest led to ugly scenes at one of the world’s busiest airports, where small groups of hardcore demonstrators turned on two men they accused of being spies or undercover police — and as desperate travellers pleaded in vain to be allowed onto flights.



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Kamala Harris Stumbles at Second Democratic Debate

Kamala Harris Stumbles at Second Democratic DebateThere were only two candidates on stage at Wednesday night’s Democratic debate who really mattered: Joe Biden, the front-runner, and Kamala Harris, who’d skewered Biden in the first debate and was polling within striking distance in some early states. No one else on stage was hitting 2 percent in the national polling average. With that in mind, the takeaway is clear: Harris lost, and Biden won.Harris’s troubles began with her lackluster opening statement, a recitation of some lines from her stump speech on the theme that “we are better than this.” Her worst moments occurred shortly thereafter, during the debate over health care, which revealed her substantive weakness on the policy issue dominating the Democratic primary.Biden landed some solid blows against Harris’s health-care plan by pointing out that it doesn’t take effect for ten years, would cost $ 30 trillion over a decade once implemented, would eventually abolish employer-based insurance, and would require “middle-class taxes to go up, not down.”“Anytime someone tells you you're going to get something good in ten years, you should wonder why it takes ten years,” Biden said. “This is the single most important issue facing the public. And to be very blunt and to be very straightforward, you can't beat President Trump with double-talk on this plan.”And “double-talk” is what Harris ultimately engaged in when discussing the cost of her plan.Colorado senator Michael Bennet also pointed out that Harris’s plan abolishes employer-based insurance and costs $ 30 trillion, adding that this price tag equals 70 percent of all federal revenues over the next decade. “We cannot keep with the Republican talking points on this,” Harris responded.Biden claimed his own plan establishing a “public option” would cost $ 750 billion (one-fortieth the cost of Medicare for All), limit co-pays to $ 1,000, and cap out-of-pocket health-care expenditures at 8.5 percent of income.“$ 30 trillion has to ultimately be paid,” Biden said. “I don’t know what math you do in California, but I tell ya, that’s a lot of money, and there will be a deductible. The deductible will be out of your paycheck, because that’s what will be required.”“Let’s talk about math!” Harris replied. “Let’s talk about the fact that the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies last year alone profited $ 72 billion, and that is on the backs of American families.” What Harris didn’t note is that if every dollar of that $ 72 billion were confiscated, it would pay for about 2.4 percent of one year of her plan. That’s probably why she began denouncing Biden’s plan as “immoral” for failing to sufficiently rein in insurance companies, rather than actually talk about math.Harris deftly attacked Biden on the issue of busing during the first debate, but the issue didn’t work for her on Wednesday.“Vice President Biden says that your current position on busing, you're opposed to federally mandated busing, that that position is the same as his position. Is he right?” CNN moderator Jake Tapper asked.“That is simply false,” Harris said. But Harris failed to explain how her position on busing differs from Biden’s position today — something she has been struggling to do for the past month — and instead said that she would have voted differently back in the 1970s.Biden did something smart during his rebuttal: Rather than relitigate the 1970s, he pivoted to an attack on Harris’s record in California. He criticized her for failing to bring any cases as California attorney general to desegregate the San Francisco and Los Angeles public schools, and he went after Harris for failing to provide potentially exculpatory evidence to prisoners that ultimately resulted in 1,000 of them being freed. “If you doubt me, Google 1,000 prisoners freed, Kamala Harris,” Biden said.The Sacramento Bee reports: “Biden alluded to a crime lab scandal that involved her office and resulted in more than 1,000 drug cases being dismissed. [Representative Tulsi] Gabbard claimed Harris ‘blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until she was forced to do so.’ Both of these statements are accurate.”Biden also appeared, in contrast to his first-debate performance, lucid and sharp when debating Cory Booker on the issue of criminal justice and Julián Castro on the issue of immigration.“I have guts enough to say his plan doesn't make sense,” Biden said of Castro’s plan to decriminalize illegal entry into the United States, a policy backed by most other Democratic candidates. “When people cross the border illegally, it is illegal to do it unless they're seeking asylum. People should have to get in line. That's the problem. And the only reason this particular part of the law is being abused is because of Donald Trump. We should defeat Donald Trump and end this practice.”Biden did have a few moments of weakness. He refused to say whether he’d advised President Obama to stop deportations — “I keep my recommendation to him in private” — but later touted his private recommendation to Obama against the troop surge in Afghanistan. And just when it looked like Biden was in the clear, he appeared to struggle to read a teleprompter or cue card when he haltingly concluded his closing remarks by telling debate watchers to “go to joe-3-0-3-3-0 and help me in this fight.” There was no joe30330.com website to visit. Biden had apparently garbled a message about texting “joe” to the number 30330.But all in all, it was a good night for the septuagenarian front-runner. Whether he can keep it up when all of his serious rivals — Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris — are on the same stage is a question to be answered at the next debate, in September.



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Trump news – live: President calls CNN anchor of colour ‘stupid’ for bringing up racist tweets ahead of second Democratic debates

Trump news - live: President calls CNN anchor of colour ‘stupid’ for bringing up racist tweets ahead of second Democratic debatesDonald Trump is attacking a CNN anchor of colour for bringing up tweets the president launched against minority politicians and civil rights leader that were largely viewed as racist.He referred to journalist Don Lemon as “the dumbest man on television” for discussing the tweets at Tuesday night’s Democratic debates, adding, “I am ‘the least racist person in the world,’ appearing to quote his own previous claims.The president found himself under siege in the latest round of Democratic 2020 primary debates on Tuesday evening, with Pete Buttigieg accusing him of pretending to be disabled to avoid service in the Vietnam War and Elizabeth Warren saying he “disgraces the office of president every single day”. In further bad news for the president, California governor Gavin Newsom has signed a new bill into law that would make it mandatory for every presidential candidate to release five years of their tax returns or face being left off ballot papers in the state in November next year.Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load



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