‘Mentally unstable, armed with nukes’: US billionaire looks to impeach Trump

A US billionaire has launched a campaign, calling for the impeachment of “mentally unstable” President Donald Trump, who has brought America “to the brink of nuclear war.”

Tom Steyer, an American billionaire and self-identified environmentalist addressed the public in a video released on Thursday. “He [Donald Trump] has brought us to the brink of nuclear war,” the tycoon said. 

Steyer lambasted the current administration of the US leader as well as Congress, saying people there know that Trump “is a clear and present danger, who’s mentally unstable and armed with nuclear weapons, and they do nothing.”

“If that isn’t a case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what has our government become?” he asks. The billionaire explained that he is funding the effort “to demand that elected officials take a stand” on impeaching Trump. 

In an open letter, Steyer goes on to say that Trump is simply lacking “fitness for office,” and notes that the question of impeachment thus “becomes a very real issue.”

READ MORE: US porn king offers $ 10mn for ‘smoking gun’ to impeach Trump

Steyer is the founder of Farallon Capital investment firm and NextGen America environmental political action committee which opposes the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. 

Earlier in October ‘porn king’ Larry Flynt offered a hefty sum of up to $ 10 million for any information that would help to remove Donald Trump, whom he called “a moron” from the White House.

“Larry Flynt and Hustler magazine announce a cash offer of up to $ 10 million for information leading to the impeachment and removal from office of Donald J. Trump,” an advertisement from the founder of the Hustler pornographic magazine said.

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Spanish Constitutional Court website down after ‘Anonymous hack’ (VIDEO)

A hack purportedly executed by Anonymous, the online activist group, has blocked the website of the Spanish Constitutional Court. On Saturday morning, the court’s website was unreachable online and displayed a connection error message.

The website blackout has been linked to Anonymous, which expressed its desire to oppose the Spanish government’s attempts to stifle the region of Catalonia’s autonomy from the rest of the country.

READ MORE: Putin on Catalonia: EU triggered rise of separatism by supporting Kosovo independence

Spain’s Department of National Security said that on Friday the group had announced its intention to target government pages, in solidarity with those seeking independence for Catalonia.

“Hacktivist group Anonymous, through associated Twitter accounts, is announcing a massive cyberattack for tomorrow… under the name ‘#OpCatalunya’ and ‘#FreeCatalunya’,” the Department of National Security tweeted.

A video linked to members of Anonymous suggested that the hacking collective would undertake an operation to ‘free’ Catalonia.

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What lies beneath: 'Monster' plankton discovered in Arctic ice (PHOTO)

A new species that has been dubbed a hidden ‘monster’ of the plankton world has been found lurking under Arctic sea ice in Canada.

The fortuitous discovery of the eight-legged creature – which freakishly only has one eye, no mouth and two hairy antennae – was made by a University of Manitoba student in 2014.

READ MORE: Jellyfish invasions caused by human construction at sea – study

Aurelie Delaforge was working at an ice camp in the wilds of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, to study plankton blooms when the zooplankton emerged in ocean ice samples. With the bizarre creature turning up in ice on a number of occasions, Delaforge thought it likely that the species was local to the area.

Delaforge sent a message to Department of Fisheries and Oceans researcher Wojciech Walkusz, informing him: “I have this alien.”

Details of the new species of ‘monstrilloid copepod’ have now been published in the peer-reviewed ZooKeys journal. The creature joins six similar polar latitude ‘monster’ plankton species in science ledgers.

However, the creature has some anatomical differences to other tiny plankton. For example, it has a reduced fifth leg armed with sensory setae bristles.

The minute monster is not quite on the same level of horror as the fictional parasitic creature in the movie ‘The Thing’. But it is the first of its kind to be documented around Canada, leading researchers to ponder what other secrets are still hidden under Arctic ice.  

READ MORE: Siberian volcanoes triggered Earth’s most devastating extinction event – study

“When we study the Arctic, there are still things we don’t know. This is a good example,” Delaforge told UM Today News.

“I find this pretty cool. It’s not an everyday thing, discovering new species and it feels incredible. I wasn’t looking to find a new species for my PhD, but for me personally, who loves taxonomy, I think this is really important because it brings new information on the biodiversity present in the Arctic,” she said.

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California court overturns $417mn verdict linking J&J baby powder with cancer

A California court has overturned a verdict in a lawsuit against pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) brought by a woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on the company’s talcum powder. She had been awarded a record $ 417 million in August.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson decided on Friday that the previous ruling ordering J&J to pay Eva Echeverria $ 417 million was riddled with errors.

Both parties failed to provide compelling evidence at the trial, the judge announced, adding that jury misconduct had been recorded during the trial. On these grounds, the court granted J&J’s request for a new trial.

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© Mike Segar

Echeverria alleged that the New Jersey-based company failed to properly inform consumers of health risks posed by the firm’s famous baby powder when used for feminine hygiene. The plaintiff, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, was a regular user of the powder between 1950 and the 2000s.

Echeverria’s lawsuit said that she developed the cancer as a “proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder.”

Responding to the court’s decision to throw out the verdict, Echeverria’s lawyer Mark Robinson said that he would appeal the ruling even though Echeverria has now died.

“We will continue to fight on behalf of all women who have been impacted by this dangerous product,” Robinson said.

J&J said it was satisfied with court’s decision in a statement on Friday.

“Ovarian cancer is a devastating disease but it is not caused by the cosmetic-grade talc we have used in Johnson’s Baby Powder for decades,” the company’s spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said, as cited by AP.

READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson wins appeal in $ 72mn talc cancer risk verdict

The pharmaceutical giant has been hit with a number of lawsuits, with some of the cases still pending. Some of the lawsuits were tossed out. On Tuesday the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District overturned a judgment against J&J in favor of the family of Alabama resident Jacqueline Fox. The family had claimed that Fox’s death from ovarian cancer stemmed from her use of the company’s talc-based products.

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Pastor returns 5yo child’s repossessed gravestone after public backlash

A North Carolina pastor who removed a child’s headstone from a graveyard as an incentive for his parents to pay their bill has reinstated the monument following a public backlash.

Five-year-old Jake Leatherman from Hickory, North Carolina, died of juvenile leukemia last year. On Monday, Jake’s parents called the media to say their son’s headstone had been removed following a month-long payment dispute with the pastor, who runs the Southeastern Monument Company.

“He repossessed it, like it was a car,” the boy’s mother, Crystal Leatherman, told WBTV on Monday.

Rev. JC Shoaf, 73, who has been a minister for 50 years, said he removed the headstone in the hope it would give him “some leverage,” but started to have second thoughts afterward.

“I hated to do it. I’m not heartless and I have had a child die, so I know how it feels. But what was I to do? In hindsight, I should have just written it up as a bad debt,” Shoaf told the Observer on Tuesday.

At the time, Shoaf said he installed the headstone without full payment out of sympathy for the grieving family, but was hoping to resolve the situation “even if I have to take a loss on it” as it “could ruin my reputation”.

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© Matt Morgan

By Friday morning, the headstone had been put back in place at no expense of the family, according to the reverend’s grandson, Justin Shoaf, who works at the monument company and who had originally installed the headstone.

“My grandfather did what he thought was right and put business aside today, even though he will never see the couple thousand that is owed to him and the damage to his reputation and to our family cannot be fixed,” said Shoaf to RT.

“We’d like very much so to return the grave marker back to Woodlawn Cemetery and give our appreciation to the media for helping us get this resolved, that the family would not owe us anything, we will mark their bill paid in full,” Rev. Shoaf said in a statement to WBTV.

“We waive all expenses from the Leatherman family. If there are any charges to be paid to the cemetery to have this reinstalled, we will pay all expenses for doing that, and we’re sorry this has happened,” he added.

Shoaf went on to say his grandparents have been tormented by the incident, “receiving threats and phone calls all hours of the day and night, as well as other members in the family being bullied through social media.”

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Astronaut completes essential ISS repairs despite worn-out tether & faulty jetpack

A NASA astronaut had to battle with faulty live-saving gear before he could replace a blurry camera essential for docking cargo spaceships to the International Space Station (ISS) in a more than six-hour spacewalk.

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 © NASA Johnson

Shortly after flight engineer Joe Acaba and expedition commander Randy Bresnik embarked on an array of maintenance tasks Friday, Acaba noticed that one of the two steel lifelines attaching him to the space station had “wear and tear.”

Bresnik had to come back to fetch a new tether so Acaba could continue working on replacement of a camera on the hand of a robot used to seize hold of the spacecraft for docking.

The camera, installed previously, was sending murky images back to Earth and had to be replaced with a new high-definition one so next month’s scheduled supply ship docking can go along without any glitches.

“Crisp, new space views!” NASA, which broadcast the ordeal live, wrote on Twitter, accompanying the message with footage of first few seconds of new camera working.

However, Acaba’s troubles for the day didn’t stop at that.

Towards the end of the spacewalk, Acaba suffered another malfunction, this time, with his jetpack. The device is worn like a backpack and is designed to propel an astronaut back to the station in case he or she happens to drift off. Dubbed SAFER, or Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue, it can be directed only by hand controllers attached to the space suit.

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© Getty Images

Flight controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center observed that one of the handles of Acaba’s jetpack was open. Bresnik volunteered to help his crewmate fix the handle with tape, but NASA declared the jetpack unreliable and ordered Acaba to go back inside after he was done with his current task, which was to lubricate the stations new robot arm.

After his seven-hour spacewalk, Bresnik said that while the operation did not run smoothly “with all the stuff that happened today and the challenges we had,” it still was a success.

NASA said that the duo managed to complete all of the tasks planned for the spacewalk, which is set to become the last for them this year.

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Pelosi cites being a woman as reason not to give up House leadership role

Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi says she was ready to vacate her House leadership position if Hillary Clinton had become president, but sees that loss as a personal mandate to instead stay on as the “only woman at the table.”

Despite facing direct challenges and calls to step down from her role as House minority leader, Pelosi (California) said, “I have to stay,” during an interview on ABC’s ‘The View’ on Friday.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi  © Joshua Roberts

Pelosi had been describing meeting with President Donald Trump and members of his cabinet, alongside her Senate counterpart Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York). That bipartisan meeting last month ended up stirring feelings of betrayal among contingents from both parties, when Pelosi and Schumer announced a deal had been struck on immigration that excluded the president’s border wall.

“Some of the cabinet members at the table, I was the only woman at the table, and that’s why I have to stay there, to be one of the top women, top people, at the table,” she said to cheers from the TV studio audience.

“They asked a question,” she said of the cabinet members. “I was responding, and they all kept saying, well why aren’t we talking about this and why aren’t we—”

Pelosi then relayed that she told the table, “Does anybody listen when a woman speaks around here?”

The audience applauded, and then Pelosi clarified: “But the president was listening. I have to give him credit for that.”

READ MORE: Rumored immigration deal between Trump & Dems sparks ‘deep suspicion in conservative wing’

Pelosi revealed that she has considered relinquishing her post, when she was asked about some of her colleagues wanting her to step aside to make way for “new blood” to lead Democrats in the House.

“I was ready to go if Hillary won, have a woman at the top of the table, protecting the Affordable Care Act, which is to me similar to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid,” Pelosi said

Pelosi overcame a challenge as minority leader when Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio ran against her following the 2016 election. But the issue has not gone away, as just earlier this month, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez of California urged Pelosi and other longtime leaders to resign.

Pelosi has served as the leader of House Democrats since they broke the Republican majority in 2006, when she became the first female speaker of the House, a position formally third in line in the succession to the US presidency.

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‘Drugged & tortured:’ Mental health center employees arrested over extreme child abuse

Ten employees of a state-run mental facility in Colombia have been charged with torture for allegedly subjecting children in their care to a “military doctrine” that involved stuffing minors with drugs, tying them to beds and other extreme punishments.

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© Jochen Sand / Global Look Press

At least 11 children were reportedly subjected to long-term ill-treatment at the hands of their caretakers in the Peces Vivos center in the city of Ibagué, western Colombia. The facility was contracted by the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), a government agency tasked with “comprehensive protection of infancy, childhood, adolescence and well-being of families.”

Prosecutors say that the employees of Peces Vivos did exactly the opposite, effectively turning children’s life in the institution into a nightmare.

“The children were subjected to degrading acts of cruelty. They were tethered to their beds. The people who supposedly looked after them and had to protect their rights gave them drugs to keep them under control and applied military doctrine to punish them,” child welfare prosecutor Mario Gomez said, as cited by Colombia Reports.

Police began looking into the reports of wide-ranging human rights violations in the facility since June after a former employee leaked information to the prosecutor’s office and local police.

As a result of the investigation, 10 of the center’s employees were placed under arrest and charged with torture and conspiracy to commit a crime and to destroy evidence.

City police chief Colonel Jorge Morales said that one of the punishments administered by the workers to the disabled children was throwing soup in their faces if they refused to eat.

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© Google

While the abhorrent nursing practices came to light only now, locals say they were constantly hearing blood-curdling yells and pleas for help from behind the closed doors of the facility, which was known locally as a “house of terror.”

“Day and night, I heard the heartbreaking screams of young people interned in that house,” a local woman said, as cited by El Tiempo, adding that last week she heard a young man crying for help as though he was about to be killed.

Despite all the signs of abuse, nobody attempted to stop the suspected mistreatment as the center’s authorities made sure no information seeped out.

“The house was always closed, even padlocked, to hide the abuse against children,” another woman said.

In the wake of the revelations, the center was temporarily shut down and children, some of them severely traumatized, transferred to other institutions.

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Trump's black-marker Empire State Building sketch fetches $16,000 at auction

California-based auction house Julien’s Auctions has sold Donald Trump’s sketch of the Empire State Building to a winning bid that far exceeded initial expectations.

The 12-inch-by-9-inch drawing, made with a black marker, was created by Trump in the early 1990s during an art festival in what would later become the Mar-a-Lago club. According to the note attached to the lot, “during this time the Empire State Building occupied a great deal of Trump’s attention as he was attempting to take over the iconic New York landmark.”

At its 1990s public debut, the sketch fetched under $ 100 at a charity auction. As years went by, its reported price tag grew, until on Thursday Julien’s Auctions estimated that it was worth $ 8,000 to $ 12,000 at its Street, Contemporary & Celebrity Art event.

According to the auction house, some of the proceeds from the drawing’s sale will go to National Public Radio (NPR).

The mystery buyer, who almost doubled the estimated price, has not been identified.

Other items in the catalogue included pieces by street art icon Banksy and pop art legend Andy Warhol.

This is not the first time a Trump drawing has fetched a hefty price. In July, his rendition of the New York skyline, also in his favorite medium of the black marker, was auctioned off for over $ 29,000.

Which did nothing to stop online ridicule of the president’s art skills, however.

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Iraqi forces clash with Kurds moving closer to regional capital Erbil (VIDEO)

Iraqi and Kurdish forces have clashed in the town of Altun Kupri on the border of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, security official said, as Baghdad continues its offensive in the wake of a controversial referendum on Kurdish independence.

Iraqi security and pro-government militias descended on Altun Kupri, which lies some 50 km (30 miles) to the south of the Kurdish capital, Erbil, early on Friday.

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© Alaa Al-Marjani

Iraqi security and pro-government militias descended on Altun Kupri, which lies some 50 km (30 miles) to the south of the Kurdish capital, Erbil, early on Friday.

Video footage from the Kurdish front lines showed columns of smoke rising and what sounds like gunshots being heard in the distance.

In a statement, the Peshmerga General Command said it had repelled the Iraqi advance and destroyed a number of vehicles, including an American-made Abrams tank.

“In the morning of Friday October 20, 2017 at 8am, the Hashd al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilization Forces] militias using American weapons which were given to the Iraqi army launched a widespread attack on the Peshmerga forces in [Altun Kupri] Pirde with the Iranian artillery units also involving,” read the statement published by the Kurdish news outlet Rudaw.

READ MORE: Iraqi forces taking over Kirkuk ‘a declaration of war’ – Kurdish Peshmerga

“Until now, all of the attacks have been repelled and forces defeated and more than 10 Humvees and an Abrams tank were destroyed. In the confrontation, the Kurdistan Peshmerga forces have bravely put up a defense, achieving a great dignity for them.”

However, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said that the military have secured the town and the area around it.

“Altun Kupri is now under the total control of federal forces,” the ministry said in a statement quoted by Al-Jazeera.

Pictures on social media appear to show Iraqi soldiers in the town, displaying captured Kurdish flags.

A security source told AFP that Iraqi forces managed to “hoist the flag on the municipality building” in Altun Kupri as the sides exchanged mortar and automatic gunfire. 

The sources also said that Kurdish general Ghazi Dolemri was killed in the fighting on Friday.

It’s unclear how many have been killed or wounded in Altun Kupri, but hospitals have confirmed they are dealing with a number of casualties.

An Al-Jazeera correspondent reported that two bridges had been destroyed and local people were fleeing the scene, while the Kurds were sending in reinforcements.

According to Iraq’s Joint Operations Command, the governmet forces have extended its territory to within 50 kilometers (30 miles) of Kurdish capital, Erbil.

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Members of Iraqi federal forces enter oil fields in Kirkuk, Iraq October 16, 2017. © Reuters

AFP reported further shelling as Iraqi troops and militias advanced on Sirawa, located five kilometers north of Altun Kupri.

The district of Alton Kupri lies on the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and disputed territories formerly under its control, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, which had been seized by the Kurdish peshmerga forces during the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) advance of 2014.

The fighting in Alton Kupri comes days after the Iraqi military captured the regional capital of Kirkuk on Monday, where fighting also broke out with Kurdish militias.

Though Kurdish peshmerga fought alongside Iraqi soldiers and Shiite militias in the campaign against Islamic State, relations with the central government in Baghdad have taken a downward turn since then.

In September, the Kurdish government went ahead with a controversial referendum on independence, with 93 percent of voters opting for sovereignty. This drew the ire of not only Baghdad but also Turkey and Iran, which have their own large Kurdish minorities.

READ MORE: Barrels, ballots & ISIS: Why Iraq is taking back Kirkuk, and what the US will do about it

As a result, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered his military to take control of the contested areas including Kirkuk Governorate, and government forces began advancing on the region on Monday

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