DHS faces whistleblower claims; new fire at Beirut's port; second blaze rips through Moria camp

Sep 10, 2020

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An official from the US Department of Homeland Security, Brian Murphy, said in a whistleblower complaint that senior officials pressured him to suppress facts in intelligence reports that President Donald Trump might dislike. The information allegedly included details about possible Russian interference in the upcoming Nov. 3 election and the escalating threat posed by white supremacists in the US.

Murphy accused DHS of forcing him to modify reports to conform to the Trump administration’s political goals, saying he was demoted for not going along with the requested changes and for logging confidential internal complaints about his challenges.

A DHS spokesman denied Murphy’s allegations and said he expected an investigation to “conclude that no retaliatory action was taken.” Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, described the allegations as “grave and disturbing,” adding that Murphy has been asked to give a deposition to Congress.

Meanwhile, Microsoft recently alerted one of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s main election advisory firms that it had been targeted by Russian state-sponsored hackers. But the attempts reportedly failed to gain access to digital networks for SKDKnickerbocker, the communications outfit advising him.

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Barely a month after a massive blast tore through Beirut’s port, a large fire has engulfed the area once again, sending a huge column of black smoke into the air. The Lebanese army said a storehouse of oil and tires had burst into flames, and a military helicopter was seen on TV dropping water on the fire. There were not yet reports of injuries, except for shortness of breath from smoke inhalation.

And little remained on Thursday of Greece's overcrowded Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos after a second fire overnight destroyed almost everything that had survived the initial blaze. Thousands more people were in need of emergency housing as a result. Smaller fires picked up in the remnants of tents just outside the camp as strong winds blew.

From The World'There is a sense of being robbed': Olympian Caster Semenya loses appeal on testosterone rule

Semenya won't get to defend her title at next year's Olympics unless she takes medication to lower her testosterone levels. But her lawyer says that she will not take any hormones.

"She's absolutely strong-willed, and there's absolutely no way that she will take any medicine or hormonal interventions at all, physically. She testified as much and she said as much publicly. So you won't find her doing that. No," said attorney Gregory Nott.

'Racist' hair care ad in South Africa sparks demonstrations

Demonstrations have been taking place across South Africa over a hair care advertisement, after the campaign was run online last week by Clicks, a major pharmaceutical, beauty and health retail chain. It prompted outrage on social media, with many people calling it racist.

The ad pictured a Black woman with curly hair that was labeled "dry," "damaged," "frizzy" and "dull." On the other side, was an image of a white woman with blonde, straight hair. Hers was labeled "fine," "flat," and "normal."

Bright spot

A little extra TLC from Fundashon Dier en Onderwijs Cariben in the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao included special socks to help this young flamingo be reintroduced to the wild.

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This juvenile flamingo ended up at @jasperdoest's cousins wildlife rescue as it needed immediate medical care for its severe foot lesions. She treated the bird and made special socks to fit the bird’s feet to avoid too much stress on the healing wounds. After the recovery at @fdoccuracao, the bird was successfully reintroduced to the wild. Video by @jasperdoest and @klomp.thomas #flamingo #wildliferescue #conservation

A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on Sep 9, 2020 at 9:26am PDT

In case you missed itListen: Fire destroys Europe's largest refugee camp on Lesbos

An overnight fire has destroyed the largest refugee camp in Greece — and Europe — displacing more than 12,000 people. And, South African track star Caster Semenya has lost her appeal over a 2018 ruling that would require female athletes with high testosterone levels to medically lower them before competing. Also, a study found that a robot capable of holding basic conversations reduced loneliness and improved mental health for residents at elder care homes in Japan and the UK.

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