At least twice this year, the Syrian military fired Iranian-made artillery shells filled with a chlorine-like substance that oozed poison slowly, giving victims just a few minutes to escape. In another attack, Syrian forces dropped a chemical bomb on the top-floor balcony of an apartment building, killing 49 people, including 11 children. Their skin turned blue. These details and others blaming Syria for atrocities in eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, were uncovered by a United Nations commission investigating and documenting possible war crimes in the seven-year-old conflict. But when the commission issued a report on Wednesday, the details were omitted. Read more
SCANDAL-PLAGUED ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has now spent more than $4.6 million from public coffers on security, according to documents obtained by The Intercept and Documented under the Freedom of Information Act. The amount represents a $1.1 million increase from Pruitt's total security costs as released in another disclosure just a month ago. Pruitt's high spending on security has become the subject of mounting criticism and a host of official investigations: Several EPA inspector general investigations have been opened, as well as an ongoing investigation by the Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee. Read more
CLAIM Stephen Miller -- a principal architect of the Trump administration's immigration policy -- is the descendant of asylum seekers who escaped anti-Jewish persecution in Eastern Europe. RATING TRUE
Our guest Suzanne Gordon, author of "The Battle for Veterans' Healthcare, Dispatches From the Front lines of Policy Making and Patient Care", discusses what the VA is, the effects of under-funding and rules made by Congress; who is eligible; the difference between VA health care and private health care; what happens when veterans are moved from the VA to private service providers. Read more
Few people consider used plastic to be a valuable global commodity. Yet China has imported 106 million tons of old bags, bottles, wrappers and containers worth $57.6 billion since 1992, the first year it disclosed data. So when the country announced last year that it finally had enough of everybody else's junk, governments the world over knew they had a problem. They just didn't know exactly how large it was.
It will be easy to miss the most important point amid the partisan bleating over what the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General report on the FBI's Clinton email investigation really means. Read more
EAST PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- A 17-year-old boy was shot by police and killed while fleeing from a car that had been pulled over in East Pittsburgh following a reported shooting in North Braddock Tuesday night, authorities said. The medical examiner identified the victim as Antwon Rose, of Rankin. Autopsy results were pending Wednesday. The Woodland Hills School District confirmed he was a student, and issued a statement expressing condolences. Officials confirmed Wednesday the officer who shot Rose was sworn in Tuesday night as an East Pittsburgh police officer. He had previous experience working for multiple departments. At a news conference Wednesday, Allegheny County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said Rose was shot three times. When asked if Rose had been shot in the back, McDonough responded that the teen was shot in "various places on his body" and said the medical examiner would release further information.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given birth to her first child, a girl weighing 3.31kg (7.3lb). This makes her only the second elected leader in modern history to give birth while in office. Read more
Were you ever told that if you swallowed any apple seeds, a tree would start growing in your stomach? Well, these medical case studies are a bit like that, but 100 times worse. Read more
A review of federal records by investigative reporters Eric Rasmussen and Erin Smith revealed in May that child welfare agencies throughout the country have closed the cases of at least 61,000 foster children listed as "missing" since 2000. An additional 53,000 were listed as "runaway." A "missing" foster child is not necessarily on the streets; some are safe with a foster family or relative, and even though the state has lost track of them, they aren't being harmed. But the point is that the state has no idea.
Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney, has reportedly resigned from his position as deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee. Perhaps more surprising than the news that Cohen -- who remains under federal investigation -- was still on the RNC's finance leadership team at all was his rebuke of his former boss in his resignation letter. Cohen called out the Trump administration's policy of separating families at the border as part of its "zero tolerance" immigration enforcement, according to ABC News:
"As the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart wrenching," Cohen wrote. "While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips."It's a stunning criticism from Cohen, who has billed himself as the ultimate Trump loyalist.
Staff working on the behalf of the Office of Refugee Resettlement are routinely drugging detained child migrants with psychotropics without their parents' consent, according to legal filings. Trump administration officials have repeatedly insisted that the family separation policy they implemented over the last six weeks is humane. But the ongoing lawsuit over the Flores agreement, a 1997 settlement that partly governs the detention of child migrants that the White House hopes to overturn, alleges a litany of wrongdoings at the ORR-contracted facilities. The drugging allegations are among the most disturbing. One child cited in the lawsuit reported taking up to nine pills in the morning and another seven in the evening, without knowing what the medication was. Read more
In recent years, physicists have been watching the data coming in from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) with a growing sense of unease. We've spent decades devising elaborate accounts for the behaviour of the quantum zoo of subatomic particles, the most basic building blocks of the known universe. The Standard Model is the high-water mark of our achievements to date, with some of its theoretical predictions verified to within a one-in-ten-billion chance of error a simply astounding degree of accuracy. But it leaves many questions unanswered. For one, where does gravity come from? Why do matter particles always possess three, ever-heavier copies, with peculiar patterns in their masses? What is dark matter, and why does the universe contain more matter than antimatter? Read more
President Donald Trump is planning to meet with Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, during Trump's visit to Europe next month, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Two possibilities for the meeting are either before the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11 or after Trump's visit to Britain on July 13, one of the people said....
The president has shown keen interest in restoring Putin's place in the international community.
At the G-7 summit in Quebec earlier this month, he proposed that Russia should be re-admitted to the Group of Eight countries, which was reduced to a Group of Seven following Putin's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
We the media have "fact-checked" President Trump like we have fact-checked no other human being on the planet -- and he's certainly given us plenty to write about. That's probably why it's so easy to find lists enumerating and examining his mistakes, missteps and "lies." Read more
The CEO who runs 26 immigrant shelters across the country makes nearly $1.5 million a year, which makes him one of the highest paid charity CEO's in the country.