Cisco Lays Off 4,000+ Employees to Concentrate on AI
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Networking giant Cisco is laying off more than 4,000 employees to shift focus and resources towards developing its AI capabilities.

The New York Post reports that Cisco, the multinational technology conglomerate, announced plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs across its global workforce in order to redirect resources into AI initiatives. The layoffs account for approximately five percent of Cisco’s 85,000 employees and are expected to cost the company $800 million in severance packages.

In an earnings call, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins stated that the company would be focusing on “high-growth areas such as AI and software development.”

He emphasized Cisco’s goal to “capitalize on the multibillion-dollar AI infrastructure opportunity” through partnerships with companies like Nvidia. Cisco recently collaborated with Nvidia to develop AI products for enterprise use.

The announcement comes alongside Cisco’s quarterly earnings report, which showed adjusted profits of $0.87 per share and revenues of $12.79 billion. However, Cisco also trimmed its annual revenue forecast from a high of $55 billion down to a range of $51.5-$52.5 billion.

Robbins cited “weak demand with our telco and cable service provider customers” as a factor in the adjusted projections.

Cisco joins a growing list of tech companies that have conducted layoffs in 2024, including Snap, Google, eBay, Microsoft, Amazon, and SAP. These workforce reductions highlight an industry-wide slowdown as economic volatility persists.

Cisco’s restructuring efforts mirror the successful downsizing approach taken by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, which reduced its employee count by 22 percent last year. In his remarks, Robbins framed the layoffs as a necessary step to free up resources for strategic AI capabilities. He stated, “Our innovation sits at the center of an increasingly connected ecosystem and will play a critical role as our customers adopt AI and secure their organizations.”

As experts predict long-term job disruption at the hands of AI, Silicon Valley progressives may be surprised to find their own industry on the chopping block.

Read 12 Comments
  • L'Angelo Mysterioso says:

    Are these more of those jobs Ol’ Scramblebrains & His Kommie Klown Krew created? The MYTH is LEGEND! Gee, I wonder who’s gonna take care of these people & ALL the people who follow? This AI thing is gonna be great for humanity, ain’t it?

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    Iran Threatens to Hit US Bases If Washington Backs Israeli Counterattack



    Top Iranian commanders warned Israel on Sunday that the country would face a bigger attack if it retaliates against overnight drone and missile strikes, adding that Washington has been told not to back any military action from its ally.

    “Our response will be much larger than tonight’s military action if Israel retaliates against Iran,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri told state TV, adding that Tehran warned Washington that any backing of Israeli retaliation would result in US bases being targeted.

    “If the Zionist regime (Israel) or its supporters demonstrate reckless behavior, they will receive a decisive and much stronger response,” Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi said in a statement.

    The commander of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, also warned that Tehran would retaliate against any Israeli attack on its interests, officials or citizens. He said Tehran had created a “new equation” in which any Israeli attack on its interests, assets, officials or citizens would be reciprocated from its own territory. Salami also said the operation was a success “beyond expectations.”

    Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said in a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Tehran on Sunday that his country had informed the US that its attacks against Israel will be “limited” and for self-defense.

    Meanwhile, the Hamas terror group, one of Iran’s proxies in the region, jumped to Tehran’s defense after the attack.

    “We in Hamas regard the military operation conducted by the Islamic Republic of Iran a natural right and a deserved response on the crime of targeting the Iranian consulate in Damascus and the assassination of several leaders of the Revolutionary Guards,” the Palestinian group said in a statement. Israel is engaged in a war, now in its seventh month, with Hamas after the Gazan terror group killed nearly 1,200 people and abducted 253 in a shock onslaught on October 7.

    Israel reported modest damage and reopened its airspace after Iran launched a large wave of around 300 attack drones and missiles in the first-ever direct attack on the Jewish state by the Islamic republic, while the United States said it would discuss a diplomatic response with major powers on Sunday.

    Tehran’s attacks late on Saturday — launched after a alleged Israeli airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 1 that killed officers of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a US-designated terror group — raised the threat of a wider regional conflict.

    Iran had previously relied on its proxies across the region to attack Israeli and US targets in a show of support for Hamas in the ongoing war in Gaza, which shows no sign of easing despite numerous mediation efforts.

    “We intercepted, we repelled, together we shall win,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted on X, formerly Twitter, after the Iranian attack.

    The Israel Defense Forces said more than 99 percent of the Iranian drones and missiles had been shot down by its air force and by allied countries, and it was discussing follow-up options.

    Channel 12 TV cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying there would be a “significant response” to the attack.

    The war in Gaza has ratcheted up tensions in the region, spreading to fronts with Lebanon and Syria and drawing long-range fire at Israeli targets from as far away as Yemen and Iraq.

    Iran’s most powerful ally in the region, the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah — which has been exchanging fire with Israel since October 8 — said early on Sunday it had fired dozens of rockets at an IDF base in the north.

    Drones were also reportedly launched against Israel by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group, which has attacked shipping lanes in and around the Red Sea to show solidarity with Hamas, British maritime security company Ambrey said in a statement.

    Those clashes now threaten to devolve into a direct open conflict pitting Iran and its regional allies against Israel and its main supporter, the United States. Regional power Egypt urged “utmost restraint.”

    IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari called Iran’s actions “very grave,” saying during a televised briefing that they “push the region toward escalation.”

    The Iranian salvo caused light damage to an Israel Air Force base in the south, Hagari said.

    Iran had vowed retaliation for what it called the Israeli strike on its embassy compound that killed seven IRGC officers, including two senior commanders. Tehran said its strike was punishment for “Israeli crimes.” Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the consulate attack.

    “Should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe,” the Iranian mission to the United Nations said, warning the US to “stay away.” However, it also said Iran now “deemed the matter concluded.”

    US President Joe Biden, who spoke by phone with Netanyahu after the Iranian attack, said he would convene a meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven major economies on Sunday to coordinate a diplomatic response to what he called Tehran’s “brazen” attack.

    US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said America did not seek conflict with Iran but would not hesitate to act to protect US forces and support the defense of Israel.

    The UN Security Council was set to meet at 4 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) on Sunday after Israel requested it condemn Iran’s attack and designate the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization.

    Iran’s Fars news agency quoted a source as saying Tehran was closely watching Jordan, which might become the next target in case of any moves in support of Israel.

    Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝


    Biden: US Won’t Support an Israeli Counterattack on Iran



    President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister that nothing of “value” was hit in Iran’s airborne attack Saturday and asserted American forces will not be participating in any offensive against Iran, according to a report.

    The president called Israel’s defense during the attacks a win — telling Netanyahu Israel’s ability to intercept nearly all of the hundreds of missiles and drones showed its military superiority, a US official told CNN.

    Biden also made it very clear that the US would not be engaging in any military offensive against the Islamic Republic, the senior official told the channel.

    Israeli Defense Forces said it had shot down the “vast majority” of projectiles outside of Israel’s borders. It was assisted by the US military.

    “At my direction, to support the defense of Israel, the U.S. military moved aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region over the course of the past week,” Biden said in a statement Saturday night after his phone call with the Israeli leader, according to readout of the call released by the White House.

    “Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our servicemembers, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles,” he added.

    “At my direction, to support the defense of Israel, the U.S. military moved aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region over the course of the past week,” Biden said in a statement Saturday night after his phone call with the Israeli leader, according to readout of the call released by the White House.

    “Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our servicemembers, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles,” he added.

    A handful of missiles made it through, with one striking an Israeli base, but damages were minor and no injuries were reported, according to IDF officials.

    A senior US official told CNN that the US forces intercepted more than 70 drones and at least three ballistic missiles. The missiles were shot down by two guided missile destroyers deployed in the eastern Mediterranean.

    US fighter jets also helped defend Israel from the barrage, another official told the outlet.

    Biden said he will meet with G7 leaders on Sunday “to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack.”

    “While we have not seen attacks on our forces or facilities today, we will remain vigilant to all threats and will not hesitate to take all necessary action to protect our people,” the president said.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Chicago Mass Shooting: 8-Year-Old Girl Killed, 10 Wounded Including Small Children



    Eleven people standing outside a family gathering Saturday night were shot including a young girl who was killed in what Chicago police believe was gang-related violence on the city’s South Side.

    Four victims were children, police said Sunday. An 8-year-old girl was fatally shot, while a 1-year-old boy and a 8-year-old boy were each shot multiple times and listed in critical condition. A 9-year-old boy was also injured with a graze wound to his finger and hospitalized.

    The department’s Sunday statement updated the number of shooting victims to 11 from 8 and gave new ages for the victims compared with a news conference late Saturday.

    No one was in custody Sunday.

    Department Deputy Chief Don Jerome told reporters Saturday that the shooting happened when shots were fired at a crowd standing outside a family gathering around 9 p.m.

    “This was not a random act of violence. It was likely gang-related,” Jerome said.

    “The offenders’ actions, make no mistake, are horrific and unacceptable in our city.”

    Police responding to a gunfire alert applied tourniquets and chest seals to victims, who also included adults between the ages of 19 and 40, Jerome said.

    A 36-year-old man who was shot in the arms and and back was listed in critical condition.

    The other adults were listed in good condition, police said Sunday.

    The investigation was still in the preliminary stages but witnesses told police that a black sedan approached and someone fired shots into the crowd before fleeing, police said Sunday. Jerome also told reporters Saturday that witness accounts described two possible shooters on foot.

    Go deeper ( < 1 min. read ) ➝


    Trump Slams Biden and Dems Amid Iranian Drone Attack on Israel



    Former President Donald Trump started his rally in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, with remarks that the Iranian attack on Israel on Saturday would not be occurring if he were still president.

    “I want to say God bless the people of Israel — they’re under attack right now,” he said as he began his rally, taking place ahead of Pennsylvania’s primary on April 23.

    “That’s because we show great weakness — this would not happen. The great weakness that we’ve shown is unbelievable, and it would not have happened if we were in office. You know that, they know that, everybody knows that.”

    “But America prays for Israel. We send our absolute support to everyone in harm’s way. This is an attack that would not have happened,” he added. “I will revive American strength abroad, and we will restore American strength at home.”

    “ISRAEL IS UNDER ATTACK!” Trump had posted earlier in the day on his Truth Social platform. “This should never have been allowed to happen – This would NEVER have happened if I were President!”

    Trump and Biden have each become the presumptive nominees of their respective parties and are headed for a rematch in November.

    Biden had returned to Washington, D.C., from Rehobeth Beach, Delaware, on Saturday earlier than expected to meet in the White House Situation Room with national security advisers that afternoon.

    “President Biden is being regularly updated on the situation by his national security team and will meet with them this afternoon at the White House,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement. “His team is in constant communication with Israeli officials as well as other partners and allies.”

    The first drones were expected to reach Israel around 2 a.m. local time, or 7 p.m. Eastern time.

    “This attack is likely to unfold over a number of hours,” Watson added. “President Biden has been clear: our support for Israel’s security is ironclad. The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran.”

    On Friday, the president told reporters his “expectation is sooner than later” that Iran would attack Israel, but he did not provide specifics.

    “We are devoted to the defense of Israel,” Biden added Friday afternoon. “We will support Israel and help defend Israel and Iran will not succeed.”

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    REVEALED: Sydney Knife Killer’s Secret Life as Escort



    The knifeman who carried out the Sydney shopping centre massacre had a secret life as an escort offering sexual services online to men and women, it has been revealed – as his family condemned the attack as ‘truly horrific’.

    New details have emerged about Joe Cauchi, who murdered six people and left a nine-month-old baby fighting for her life following Saturday’s stabbing rampage.

    The shoppers were killed during the attack at Bondi Junction’s Westfield centre in Sydney before Cauchi was gunned down by a hero female police officer.

    The knifeman, 40, had previously listed himself on several male escort websites, including Australia Cracker, Empire Escorts and Escorts Australia.

    In his online biography, Cauchi described himself as an ‘athletic good-looking 39-year-old’ based in Sydney who was looking for a ‘fun time’ – and offered dozens of ‘closed door services’ which are too graphic to publish.

    After identifying Cauchi as the man behind Saturday’s stabbing rampage, Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said he was known to police and was ‘very clearly’ suffering from mental health issues.

    Mr Cooke said: ‘We know that shortly after coming to Sydney, he took possession of a storage facility that has been identified.

    ‘We are continuing to work through the profiling of the offender but very clearly to us at this stage it would appear that this is related to the mental health of the individual involved.’

    His family has now issued a statement via Queensland Police, saying he had suffered mental health issues ‘since he was a teenager’.

    The family said: ‘We are absolutely devastated by the traumatic events that occurred in Sydney yesterday.

    ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims and those still undergoing treatment at this time.

    ‘Joel’s actions were truly horrific, and we are still trying to comprehend what has happened. He has battled with mental health issues since he was a teenager.

    ‘We are in contact with both the New South Wales Police Force and Queensland Police Service and have no issues with the police officer who shot our son as she was only doing her job to protect others, and we hope she is coping alright.’

    According to his social media profiles, Cauchi grew up in Toowoomba and claimed he worked as an English tutor.

    He was a surfing enthusiast and just last week posted in a Sydney Facebook group asking if anyone would like to meet him for a surf in Bondi.

    In an profile for seeking shared accommodation, Cauchi said he was looking for a place to live in Sydney’s western’s suburbs in ‘Liverpool, Blacktown, Pendle Hill or Parramatta’.

    He wrote: ‘I love meeting new people and seeing new interesting places!’

    The new information emerged as police also provided an update on the condition of a nine-month-old baby girl who was seriously injured in the attack.

    The infant was rushed to hospital in a critical condition last night for emergency surgery.

    A police spokesperson said: ‘We understand baby Harriet is stabilising this morning.

    ‘We understand that she underwent surgery and she remains in a serious but stable condition.’

    Harriet’s mother, Ash Good, 38, was among those killed during Cauchi’s rampage.

    Another victim was last night identified as the 25-year-old daughter of millionaire businessman John Singleton – Dawn Singleton, known to friends as Dawnie.

    A local artist has been identified as the fifth victim of the stabbing horror – Pikria Darchia, 55, who is understood to originally hail from Tbilisi in Georgia.

    The male victim was a security guard at the shopping centre and was later identified as 30-year-old Faraz Tahir from Pakistan.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    US Steel Shareholders Approve Sale to Japan’s Nippon Steel



    U.S. Steel shareholders on Friday approved its proposed $14.9 billion acquisition by Japan’s Nippon Steel, as expected, taking the merger one step closer to completion even as political opposition to the deal mounts.

    U.S. Steel said that over 98% of the votes were in favor of the deal under which Nippon will pay $55 per share, an amount that represented a hefty premium when the takeover was announced in December.

    Since then, however, several U.S. lawmakers have come out in opposition to the deal, citing national security concerns. President Joe Biden has said U.S. Steel must remain a domestically owned American firm.

    U.S. Steel’s shares closed down 2.1% at $41.33 on Friday, well below Nippon Steel’s offer of $55 a share, reflecting uncertainty over whether the deal will secure regulatory approval.

    The deal has drawn strong criticism from the United Steelworkers (USW) labor union, which is worried about potential job losses.

    “We are not surprised by stockholders electing to cash in and sell out the iconic American company’s employees and retirees,” the USW said in response to the vote.

    Regulators are also scrutinizing the deal. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a powerful panel that reviews foreign investments in U.S. companies, has met with the parties to discuss the deal, Reuters has reported.

    The U.S. Justice Department has opened an in-depth antitrust investigation into the takeover, Politico reported on Wednesday.

    Nippon has pledged no job cuts as a result of the deal, to honor all agreements between the union and U.S. Steel, as well as to move its own U.S. headquarters to Pittsburgh where U.S. Steel is based.

    The Japanese steelmaker said in a statement that it is “confident” the acquisition will “protect and grow U.S. Steel and bring significant benefits to its stakeholders …as well as to the American steel industry and the United States as a whole.”

    “We look forward to collaborating closely with U.S. Steel to move forward together as the ‘Best Steelmaker with World-Leading Capabilities,’” said Vice Chairman Takahiro Mori.

    Friday’s vote “represents a major step,” the company said.

    Nippon Steel won the race for U.S. Steel over rivals Cleveland-Cliffs, ArcelorMittal and Nucor.

    The deal is expected to close in the second or third quarter of this year, the companies have said previously.

    Bloomberg News reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter, that both steelmakers are expected, to announced they now anticipate the deal to close in the second half of 2024.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Brigitte Macron Sues Conspiracy Theorists Who Claim She Was Born a Man



    France’s first lady, Brigitte Macron, is about to take the extraordinary step of going to trial in a Paris court to fight a conspiracy theory — amplified last month by American conservative commentator Candace Owens — that she was born a man.

    Brigitte, 70, has long been the subject of fascination because of her marriage to the much younger Emmanuel Macron, 46. The two met in northern France when he was a 15-year-old student and she was his drama teacher, and wed in 2007.

    But now wild claims, made by two female French Internet influencers, that she was actually born Jean-Michel Trogneux and became a trans woman in the 1980s have electrified France.

    The French scornfully call it part of the burgeoning “complosphère,” or world of conspiracy theories.

    Brigitte’s libel trial is set for June, where she will face off against the accuser and freelance journalist Natacha Rey, who hides behind avatars to push rumors that powerful members of the French establishment are hiding Brigitte’s true identity.

    Emmanuel Macron has angrily hit back at the rumors, calling them “false and fabricated.”

    He was unusually candid and emotional about the ongoing speculation about his wife, whom he married in 2007.

    “The worst thing is the false information and fabricated scenarios,” Macron said at an International Women’s Day event in Paris in February after he guaranteed the right to abortion in France’s Constitution.

    “People eventually believe them and disturb you, even in your intimacy.”

    The bizarre saga began back in December 2021 when Rey, 49, a self-described freelance journalist and Amandine Roy, 53, who calls herself a clairvoyant, made a now-deleted YouTube video as part of Roy’s online show “Mediumsation,” in which they claimed that Brigitte was born as a baby boy called Jean-Michel Trogneux in 1953.

    Trogneux is Brigitte’s maiden name, and Jean-Michel is her older brother.

    The conspiracy theory first surfaced in an article written by Rey in the French magazine “Faits et Documents” after Macron was first elected president of France in 2017.

    The women also alleged that Brigitte Macron’s first husband, André-Louis Auzière, had never actually existed. The two, who were married from 1974 to 2006, shared three children: daughters Tiphaine, 40, and Laurence, 47, and son Sébastien, 49. Auzière passed away in 2019 at age 68.

    Rey claimed that and uncle of André-Louis, Jean-Louis Auzière, forged administrative documents to hide that his wife had given birth to all of Brigitte’s three children.

    Last summer, a judge in Normandy found Rey and Roy guilty of libel. Both Brigitte and her brother have brought separate suits against the women. Following appeals, Roy was fined the equivalent of just under $1,000 and Rey had to pay about $500.

    “After looking into this, I would stake my entire professional reputation on the fact that Brigitte Macron is in fact a man,” Owens wrote in a Tuesday post on X, formerly Twitter. “Any journalist or publication that is trying to dismiss this plausibility is immediately identifiable as establishment. I have never seen anything like this in my life. The implications here are terrifying.”

    Jean-Michel is far left, while young Brigitte is on her sister’s lap.

    After Owens’ tweet, Brigitte’s Paris lawyer Jean Ennochi said he requested the trial date involving the defamation case against Rey be moved up to June 2024. It had originally been scheduled for March 2025.

    “In recent weeks, particularly internationally via the Trumpist influencer Candace Owens, I felt that the harm to my clients was increasing day by day,” Ennochi said.

    “It doesn’t make sense, I think it’s insane and so does most of France,” Marie, a 70-something fashion executive in Paris who did not want to give her last name for fear of online backlash, told The Post.

    “I think it’s all jealousy and propaganda. Just look at them. Macron is always reaching for her hand or her shoulder. She has that big smile when she looks at him. She always looks like she’s in love. Married people don’t usually look like that.”

    Though many in France wonder why the Macrons are giving the conspiracy theory attention by suing, some admire them for it.

    “The whole story really angers me, similar to the same story that still circulates about Michelle Obama who certain trolls still call Michael,” Allison Coe, a 25-year resident of France and veteran blogger, told The Post.

    “It’s peak trolling because it is just so mean and humiliating and you don’t want to stoop to defend against it. The lawsuit definitely gives the story more oxygen, but on the other hand it takes enormous courage to dare face it head-on knowing the predictable tabloid backlash,” Coe added. “I cringe for [Brigitte] but really admire her for having the (courage) to refuse to cower.”

    Longtime French Riviera-based musician Rose Leroux agreed:

    “She is so clearly a woman. A smart woman. A woman not afraid to defend herself rather than to ask anyone else, like a man, like her husband, who is president of France, to help her. She is the quintessential, ultimate French femme.”

    Many French media outlets have weighed in with headlines about Brigitte’s supposed secret side.

    The infamous satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo ran a graphic cartoon of Macron gesturing at his wife’s crotch, saying: “She isn’t transgender, she’s always been a man!”

    Brigitte’s daughter Tiphaine Auzaine, an attorney who rarely gives interviews, first addressed the painful rumors in an interview in February in Paris Match.

    “I have concerns about the level of society when I hear what is circulating on social networks about my mother being a man,” Auzaine told the outlet.

    “The confidence of what is affirmed and the credit given to what is proclaimed. Anyone can say anything about anyone, and it takes time to get it taken down.”

    Though journalists have confronted Amandine Roy with photographic evidence and other documentation showing Brigitte as a young girl and evidence that her brother is still alive, Roy was undeterred.

    “‘I come from Brittany,” Roy told the Daily Mail last month. “People from Brittany are stubborn. A lot of people have said I am crazy. They look at me with contempt. But I follow the facts, so if this really is untrue, then Brigitte Macron can prove it by taking a simple DNA test.”

    Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝


    Meghan Markle’s Brother Mocks Duchess in “Grotesque” YouTube Video



    Meghan Markle’s estranged half-brother has been accused of “betrayal” after sharing a savage new YouTube video in which he dresses up as the duchess and accuses her of faking her pregnancies.

    Thomas Markle Jr., 57, donned a wig and a tiara in the 87-minute video posted to the platform on Wednesday, while stuffing a pillow up his shirt to imitate a pregnant woman.

    “My name’s Me-again Swamp-donkey Crotch,” Thomas declares during the bizarre impersonation. “I was just showing off the new bump I bought used on eBay out of Montecito.”

    Royal commentator Jennie Bond slammed the video on Sunday, telling the Daily Mail: “‘To have your own flesh and blood lead the assault must feel like the ultimate betrayal for Meghan.”

    She further described the footage as “grotesque.”

    Thomas has reportedly not spoken to his half-sister in more than a decade, but seemingly has no qualms about milking his connection to the royal.

    “If you don’t like it, don’t watch, right? I’m gonna be riding those coattails, baby,” he shamelessly says in the clip. “Oh, yeah, if it wasn’t for Meghan Markle I don’t know what I’d be doing.”

    According to The Mirror, Thomas plans to bring out his a range of merchandise, including lines of glasses, mugs and T-shirts.

    Thomas, who works as a window fitter and lives in Grants Pass, Ore., is one of Meghan’s two half-siblings.

    The duchess’ other half-sibling is Samantha Markle, 59, who has also cashed in on her connection to the royal.

    Samantha, who is similarly estranged from Meghan, has brutally described the former “Suits” star as having “narcissistic personality disorder.”

    Last month, Samantha lost a defamation suit she brought against her estranged sister, with a judge saying Samantha had “failed to identify any statements that could support a claim for defamation or defamation-by-implication” made by Meghan.

    Meanwhile, British politician Damian Collins, who serves as digital economy minister, told the Daily Mail that Thomas’ videos could constitute harassment.

    “The major social media companies must do more to combat harmful content on their platforms, including campaigns of harassment and intimidation,” he declared.

    Meghan appears to be paying her hateful half-brother no mind, however.

    The budding lifestyle maven — who is soon set to launch her brand American Riviera Orchard — looked happy and relaxed as she joined Prince Harry in Florida earlier this week, where he is shooting a new Netflix series about polo.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Biden Cancels Beach Weekend, Returns to White House.



    President Joe Biden is cutting his weekend at the beach short and racing back to the White House to deal with spiraling tensions in the Middle East that could lead to a full-scale war.

    Biden, 81, is set to leave Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, home on Saturday afternoon so he can meet his national security team just 24 hours after he said an Iranian strike on Israel would happen ‘sooner rather than later’.

    He was due to stay until Sunday, but will now return to Washington D.C. after less than 20 hours following reports Tehran was moving more than 100 cruise missiles and drones to prepare for an assault.

    The White House said Biden is set to ‘consult with his national security team about events in the Middle East’ – the day after he delivered a one-word warning to Tehran over possible strikes: ‘Don’t.’

    He is also set to be briefed in the White House Situation Room as the drama unfolds.

    It is unclear if Biden received new information that forced him to quickly cut his trip short, as he had previously indicated belief that an Iranian attack was being readied before he departed on Friday evening.

    The Pentagon has already moved aircraft carriers into the Red Sea amid fears of a full-scale war, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant today to tell him he has ‘unwavering’ backing from the U.S.

    Austin reiterated ‘that Israel could count on full U.S. support to defend Israel against any attacks by Iran and its regional proxies’, in a statement made shortly after Biden returned from his beach trip.

    In response, Gallant said the nation is closely following ‘a planned attack’ from Iran.

    After issuing his one-word message to Iran not to strike Israel, Biden affirmed that the US was committed to supporting one of its oldest allies despite simmering tensions with Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over the war in Gaza.

    Iran has publicly threatened to hit back at Israel over an attack in Syria last week, which Tehran say was an Israeli airstrike on an Iranian diplomatic building in Damascus.

    The strike in Syria led to the deaths of seven members of the Revolutionary Guard, including two generals.

    Amid fears over a retaliatory attack from Tehran, reports indicated Iran was preparing its offensive as officials conceded that such a strike may be inevitable.

    It is unclear if Biden received new information that forced him to quickly cut his trip short, as he had previously indicated belief that an Iranian attack was being readied before he departed on Friday evening.

    The Pentagon has already moved aircraft carriers into the Red Sea amid fears of a full-scale war, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant today to tell him he has ‘unwavering’ backing from the U.S.

    Austin reiterated ‘that Israel could count on full U.S. support to defend Israel against any attacks by Iran and its regional proxies’, in a statement made shortly after Biden returned from his beach trip.

    In response, Gallant said the nation is closely following ‘a planned attack’ from Iran.

    Emergency national security meeting

    President Biden is to hold an emergency national security meeting after Iran launched a drone attack on Israel.

    A National Security Council spokesperson said the White House meeting will take place Saturday afternoon, hours after Biden canceled his weekend break in Delaware and rushed back to Washington DC.

    The spokesperson said: ‘Iran has begun an airborne attack against Israel. President Biden is being regularly updated on the situation by his national security team and will meet with them this afternoon at the White House.

    ‘His team is in constant communication with Israeli officials as well as other partners and allies. This attack is likely to unfold over a number of hours.

    ‘President Biden has been clear: our support for Israel’s security is ironclad. The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran.’

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    UPDATE: Sydney Stabbing Spree Killer Identified




    NSW Police have identified the 40-year-old knifeman as Joel Cauchi.

    Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said he was known to police and originally hailed from Queensland.

    ‘We know that shortly after coming to Sydney, he took possession of a storage facility that has been identified and we have worked through that very small storage facility,’ he said.

    Assistant commissioner Cooke said the attacker ‘very clearly’ had been suffering from mental health issues.

    ‘We are continuing to work through the profiling of the offender but very clearly to us at this stage it would appear that this is related to the mental health of the individual involved,’ he said.

    ‘Investigations will very clearly continue through the day.’

    According to his social media profiles, Cauchi grew up in Toowoomba and claimed he worked as an English tutor.

    He was a surfing enthusiast and just last week posted in a Sydney Facebook group asking if anyone would like to meet him for a surf in Bondi.

    Cauchi is understood to have suffered from schizophrenia.

    Original post:

    Six people have been killed and several others injured, including a nine-month-old baby, in a mass stabbing at a busy shopping mall in Sydney, Australian police said.

    The offender, who NSW Police believe to be a 40-year-old man, was shot dead at the scene by a senior officer.

    Five of the victims — four women and a man — died at the busy centre on Saturday afternoon and another woman died from her injuries in hospital.

    Eight others who were injured, including a nine-month-old child, remain in hospital and some are in a critical condition.

    NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said authorities believed the man acted alone and there was no ongoing threat.

    Police Commissioner Karen Webb said police believed they knew who the man was but he had not been formally identified.

    She said the man was known to police and, while the motive was unclear, early indications suggested the attack was not related to terrorism.

    “There’s no suggestions anyone was targeted but that could change,” she said.

    Police said the man was in the shopping centre at about 3pm before leaving and then returning around 20 minutes later with a knife.

    A female police inspector, who was nearby, was directed towards the man by witnesses, and she shot him dead after the offender confronted her.

    “She confronted the offender, who had moved by this stage to level five, as she continued to walk quickly behind him to catch up with him. He turned to face her, raised a knife,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

    “She discharged a firearm and that person is now deceased.”

    Commissioner Webb said the officer was “doing well under the circumstances”.

    “She showed enormous courage and bravery … we just talked [and] she’s OK, her family is OK. She’s got everything she needs for the time being.”

    She said the officer would be formally interviewed on Sunday.

    A NSW Ambulance spokesperson said the injured people were taken to a number of hospitals across Sydney.

    The baby has undergone surgery Sydney Children’s Hospital at Randwick. Another victim was taken to St George Hospital and another to Royal North Shore Hospital.

    Three people were taken to St Vincent’s Hospital at Darlinghurst. Another two are at Royal Prince Alfred in Camperdown.

    Acting NSW Premier Penny Sharpe said the event was horrific and distressing for the whole state, particularly as it came at a time when people were doing ordinary things and enjoying the first day of the school holiday.

    “I’m personally distressed by this … This is not who we are, this is not the community that we live in,” Ms Sharpe said.

    “We hold in our hearts the families and the friends and those who have lost loved ones.

    “We stand with those who are waiting to hear from those that have been injured.”

    She thanked the innocent bystanders who risked their lives to help others, particularly the police officer who stopped the offender.

    Premier Chris Minns is in Tokyo on leave, but Ms Sharpe said he had been briefed and was part of a crisis cabinet meeting which would be looking at providing support going forward.

    “This is going to be difficult, it’s going to be hard for days to come,” she warned.

    “This is really just the beginning of the pain and the grief for so many people.”

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Iran Launches Drone Attack at Israel



    Iran on Saturday launched attacks against Israel, according to U.S. officials, escalating long-standing tensions between the two nations that have the potential to trigger a regional war.

    “Iran has begun an airborne attack against Israel,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a Saturday statement. “The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran.”

    Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Saturday that Israel would work “in close coordination” with the U.S. and regional partners to intercept the launches.

    “We are monitoring the threat in the airspace. It is a threat that takes several hours to reach the territory of the State of Israel,” he added.

    The Biden administration is expecting Iran’s attack to target Israeli government sites, not civilian or religious sites and not U.S. assets in the area, U.S. officials told NBC News.

    The administration is anticipating the attack to involve 100 drones, dozens of cruise missiles and dozens of ballistic missiles, one of the officials added.

    Ahead of the attacks on Saturday, President Joe Biden was en route back to the White House, earlier than initially scheduled, to meet with his national security team, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, amid the growing prospect of an Iranian strike.

    Earlier on Saturday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized a Portuguese-flagged cargo ship with links to Israel in the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping route. The White House condemned the move shortly after.

    In anticipation of the attacks, airspaces in Israel and throughout the region were being temporarily shut down.

    Israel also announced that beginning on Sunday, it would close schools and limit gatherings to 1,000 people in certain areas.

    Strains between Iran and Israel have been heating up since the start of the war in Gaza in October, and especially over the past several weeks after Iran accused Israel of perpetrating an attack on its consulate in Damascus on April 1.

    The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said in a Saturday statement that the missile and drone launches were “in response to the crimes by the Zionist Regime.”

    Iranian leaders, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had previously pledged to retaliate against Israel for the Damascus strike and Israel, in turn, threatened a counterattack of its own. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in the Damascus attack.

    “If Iran attacks from its territory, Israel will react and attack in Iran,” Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Israel Katz wrote in a Wednesday post on X, tagging the Ayatollah’s X account.

    Given Iran’s various warnings, the White House had been expecting an Iranian strike and had been communicating with Israel to ensure they would be prepared to defend themselves.

    In a statement after the launches, Iran’s mission to the United Nations warned the U.S. not to get involved.

    “It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, from which the U.S. MUST STAY AWAY!” the mission posted to X.


    Israel shot down the “vast majority” of drones and missiles shot at them by Iran after the Jewish state was attacked in a vicious Saturday barrage, officials said.

    Iran launched some 200 drones and missiles from within the Islamic Republic — as well as from proxies in Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon.

    The “vast majority” of the missiles were intercepted outside of Israeli air space, the Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement. Only minor damages were reported.

    “A wide-scale attack by Iran is a major escalation,”  Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told The Associated Press.

    When asked whether Israel would respond, Hagari responded that the army “does and will do whatever is required to protect the security of the state of Israel.”

    A few missiles managed to get through Israeli defenses, he said. Israeli emergency officials confirmed that one strike critically wounded a 7-year-old girl in southern Israel.

    But there were no casualties as a direct result of the Iranian strike, according to Magen David Adom [MDA], Israel’s emergency service agency.

    Earlier, MDA said a 7-year-old girl was severely injured in southern Israel by shrapnel from an interceptor missile during Iran’s attack.

    The agency said it responded to 31 people who were injured seeking shelter or suffering from anxiety.

    Another missile struck an army base, causing some damage but no injuries were reported, Hagari said.

    US military forces shot down an undisclosed number of Iranian drones, according to officials.

    “In accordance with our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security, US forces in the region continue to shoot down Iranian-launched drones targeting Israel,” the official told CNN.

    Hours after Iran’s attack, the IDF’s Home Front command told Israelis nationwide no longer need to stay near protected rooms — but that restrictions on gatherings announced earlier would remain in effect, The Times of Israel reported. All educational activities have also been canceled.

    Follow live updates.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    West Bank Sees Some of Worst Violence Since War Began as Israeli Teen’s Body Found



    The Israel Defense Forces announced that a teenage Israeli boy who was reported missing on Friday has been found “murdered in a terrorist attack” in Gaza’s West Bank, after his disappearance set off a clash between Palestinians and Israelis.

    The body of 14-year-old Binyamin Achimair was found near where he had been reported missing, and an investigation into his death is underway. The investigation is being carried out by Israel’s security agency Shin Bet.

    “The body of 14-year-old Binyamin Achimair was located in the area of Malachei HaShalom a short while ago,” the IDF said in a post to X on Saturday.

    “Binyamin went missing yesterday morning (Friday) and was murdered in a terrorist attack. Security forces continue the pursuit after those suspected of his murder.”

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also ordered investigations by the Israeli police and IDF to be carried out in Palestinian towns near where the boy had disappeared.

    “The abominable murder of the boy Binyamin Achimair is a serious crime. I send my heartfelt condolences to his family,” Netanyahu said in a statement obtained by the Jerusalem Post. “IDF and Shin Bet forces are in an extensive pursuit of the despicable murderers and all those who cooperated with them. We will get to the murderers and their helpers as we do to anyone who harms the citizens of the State of Israel.”

    The Israeli boy had been grazing sheep at the “Gal Farm” on Friday morning, when his sheep returned home without him, according to local police.

    Achimair’s disappearance led to a clash on Saturday that resulted in one death of a Palestinian man so far. It is not clear whether the 26-year-old Palestinian was killed by a settler or an IDF soldier.

    Two other Palestinians were also shot and killed by Israeli forces in riots on the West Bank, according to the BBC. One was confirmed to be a local Hamas commander, according to the terrorist organization.

    Tensions have been rising in the Middle East recently, and Achimair’s death comes as Israel prepares for a possible attack from Iran over the weekend, in response to the deaths of seven Iranian military members who were killed by Israeli air strikes in Syria.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    NYT Poll: Trump Loses Massive Lead He Built Up Over Biden



    Former President Donald Trump has lost almost all of his early lead over President Joe Biden in a new poll released Saturday, which showed the candidates within the margin of error.

    Trump is technically still leading with a 1-point margin in the New York Times-Siena poll, with the support of 46% of the respondents, compared to Biden’s 45% if the election was just between the two major party candidates. But the numbers are significantly closer than earlier results, including closer than February’s poll, which saw Trump leading by 5%.

    When asked who survey respondents would vote for in a wider context that included third-party candidates, Trump had a 2% lead with 42% of the vote compared to Biden’s 40%.

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was the candidate with the third highest vote with 2%, though 7% said they would not vote if those were the candidates on the ballot.

    The close results come as both campaigns prepare for a tight election in November, which is expected to come down to a handful of swing states.

    Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan are among the states that have played a major role in recent elections, and will also play an important role in 2024.

    The poll also found that more than half of respondents (69%) believe that Biden is “too old” to be an effective president, and 48% strongly concur.

    This is compared to just 41% of respondents believing Trump is too old to be effective, and just 21% strongly agree.

    Trump is currently 77, but would be 78, and Biden would be 82 when taking office next January.

    When it comes to the temperament of both candidates, voters said neither candidate had the temperament to be an effective president.

    The poll was conducted April 7-11 and polled a total of 1,059 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3%.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Ex-US Ambassador Gets 15 Years for Acting as Cuban Spy



    The former US ambassador to Bolivia was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday after admitting to a decades-long campaign of spying on the US government for communist Cuba.

    Miami-based US District Judge Beth Bloom accepted Victor Manuel Rocha’s guilty plea on two counts, including acting as an agent of a foreign government, before handing down his decade-and-a-half-long sentence and a $500,000 fine, the maximum penalty allowed.

    Rocha, 73, was indicted last December, in a case that Attorney General Merrick Garland described as “one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the US government by a foreign agent.”

    “Today’s plea and sentencing brings to an end more than four decades of betrayal and deceit by the defendant,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen said Friday.

    “Rocha admitted to acting as an agent of the Cuban government at the same time he held numerous positions of trust in the U.S. government, a staggering betrayal of the American people and an acknowledgement that every oath he took to the United States was a lie,” the Justice Department official added.

    Rocha, who served as ambassador to Bolivia from 2000 to 2002, held high-ranking posts in several embassies and even the White House during the Clinton administration over his more than 20 years in public service.

    Between 2006 and 2012, after leaving the State Department, Rocha served as an advisor to the US Southern Command, a Miami-based joint military command post of the Department of Defense whose area of responsibility includes Cuba.

    The DOJ noted that his various high-level roles provided him access to nonpublic and classified information “and the ability to affect US foreign policy.”

    Rocha admitted that his involvement with Cuba’s intelligence service began in 1973 and continued until the time of his arrest – spanning his entire career in government.

    The Colombian-born career diplomat portrayed himself as a Cuba hardliner, opposed to the communist regime, in an effort to keep suspicions to a minimum, according to prosecutors.

    He was arrested after a series of meetings with undercover FBI agents posing as Cuban intelligence officials, during which Rocha acknowledged the “decades” of spying he had done on behalf of Cuba, spanning “40 years.”

    Rocha referred to the US as “the enemy” and praised the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro during his meetings with the undercover FBI agents, according to the DOJ.

    He also described his work as a Cuban agent as “enormous … More than a grand slam,” and asserted that what he did “strengthened the Revolution … immensely.”

    The US government has not revealed what information Rocha might have provided Cuba or how he may have influenced US policy toward the island.

    “15 years in a federal prison will never be enough for the irreparable harm he’s inflicted on our nation,” Cuban-born Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) wrote on X.

    The Justice Department did not charge Rocha with espionage, a crime that would’ve carried a stiffer sentence.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Liberal Media’s “Smear” of Highly Decorated War Vet Running for Senate Leaves Out Key Details



    The Washington Post is facing a backlash after the media outlet quoted three experts to cast doubt on the validity of a bullet wound sustained in Afghanistan by a top Republican Senate candidate, but omitted the trio’s ties to the Democratic Party.

    Former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, who is running to unseat Democrat Sen. Jon Tester, went to the emergency room after a reported fall in Montana’s Glacier National Park in 2015. Sheehy was asked about a bullet found in his arm during the visit and told a National Park ranger that he had accidentally shot himself with a Colt .45 revolver — but Sheehy recently revealed that he actually suffered the injury while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.

    Sheehy told the Washington Post that he never reported it to his superiors to avoid an investigation, telling the outlet that he was unsure where the bullet came from. He said he did not report the incident in an effort to protect his former platoonmates.

    The Post, which began the report by claiming Sheehy left the bullet in his arm “as evidence of his toughness,” spoke with several individuals who called Sheehy’s story into question. Public records reviewed by Fox News Digital reveal these same individuals combined have donated thousands of dollars to the Democratic Party.

    Upon looking at an X-ray of the wound, which was provided to the Post by Sheehy, Joseph V. Sakran, a Johns Hopkins trauma surgeon and longtime Democrat donor, raised questions about the Republican Senate candidate’s story. Sakran told the Post that Sheehy’s wound “probably depicts a bullet, but it is not possible to tell what type of weapon it came from nor the age of the wound.”

    Sakran previously worked as a Democrat staffer, serving as a health policy fellow for Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. Filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) reveal the doctor has a long history of contributing to the campaigns of Democrat candidates up and down the ballot, including giving at least $21,000 to groups such as the Hillary Clinton Victory Fund, Hillary for America, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Biden for President.

    Sakran’s website calls him a “nationally recognized activist coalition builder” and said his “activism first achieved national recognition when he founded Doctors for Hillary.”

    Sakran has also made public comments against former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Sheehy for the Montana Senate in 2024. Sakran wrote on Jan. 6, 2021 that the former GOP president “left an undeniably dark Stain on U.S. History.” Additionally, White House visitor logs reveal that Sakran has made at least four visits to the Biden White House.

    “We aren’t shocked the Washington Post chose to cite known Democrats for their smear piece against decorated combat veteran Tim Sheehy,” a Sheehy for Montana spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement. “These are the same people that pushed the Democrats’ Russian hoax and pretend every day that President Biden is mentally fit and that our border isn’t in crisis. Tim Sheehy will defeat Jon Tester this November and will join President Trump, so we can drain the swamp for good.”

    The outlet spoke with another expert, former Air Force attorney Rachel VanLandingham, who questioned Sheehy’s hesitancy to report the incident. She said she believes it to be “very unlikely a years-old potential ricochet injury would compel naval investigators to open any kind of investigation based on a park ranger’s report.”

    VanLandingham has made multiple donations to ActBlue and Hillary for America, records show. Additionally, she has referred to Trump as a “terrorist recruiting poster child.”

    VanLandingham, who said she is currently a registered Democrat but finds “both parties extremely problematic,” told Fox News Digital in an email that her political views never came up in conversation while contributing to the piece.

    “My political views did not, and have never, come up in conversation with this reporter during this particular interview, nor in any others; again, my expertise is viewed is neutral, I hope, and I want to keep it that way,” VanLandingham said. “I have publicly criticized President Biden and certainly Secretary of Defense Austin in the past, and would doso [sic] again if my professional judgment deems it warranted.”

    She also added that she was appointed by President Trump’s last Secretary of Defense to the Military Justice Review Panel as evidence that she is known as “an unbiased, straight-shooting military law expert unafraid to speak her mind.”

    Despite claiming she is “neutral” and that her “analyses are not based on politics, but on the law and facts,” a Fox News Digital review found several examples of VanLandingham attacking Trump and his supporters.

    “Trump is a terrorist recruiting poster child. Tx for making America less safe & w/ less real power!” she wrote in 2017.

    In 2020, VanLandingham also wrote that “Trump’s call to label Antifa ‘domestic terrorists’ is dangerous.”

    “Yeah welcome to the party I felt that way when racist thuggish Trump and his domestic & foreign enablers won the electoral college in 2016 – and that way during glorification of our deeply racist nation at Charlottesville the next year. Yesterday was not a surprise. Pathetic, yes” she wrote on January 7, 2021, the day after the January 6 Capitol riot.

    After contributing to the Post report, VanLandingham painted Sheehy as a “deeply flawed hero whose fitness for office is highly questionable,” in an April 6 post on X. The attorney has been a vocal supporter of Biden, calling his decision to select Vice President Kamala Harris as his running mate an “excellent” decision.

    Vanlandingham shared a USA Today op-ed in 2021 from David Rothkopf, a vocal Biden supporter who has called Trump a “greater” threat to the United States than al-Qaeda. The op-ed was titled, “Trump and his supporters are dangerous enemies of American democracy.”

    The Post also spoke with the director of the Military, Veterans & Society program at the Center for New American Security, Katherine Kuzminski, who said she “believed it was highly unlikely that a civilian hospital would report a years-old bullet wound to the Navy or that anyone would fear such a report would result in an investigation,” according to the report.

    Kuzminski, who got a picture with Biden and the first lady in 2023 and has made multiple visits to the Biden White House, wrote in a 2016 post on X that Trump “is no Republican.”

    She also said it was “unfair” for Republicans to criticize the military’s focus on diversity, telling the Hill in May 2023 that “if what we’re afraid of is Vladimir Putin thinking poorly of our military readiness because we enable pronouns, all we have to do is look at the outcomes on the battlefield that the Russian army is facing right now.”

    Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., blasted the article as a “politically motivated smear.”

    “A ridiculous, politically motivated smear,” Cotton wrote in a post on X. “Sheehy has a decorated record of service and he’ll fight Biden’s disastrous policies. That’s why the Washington Post is attacking him—they know he can win.”

    Go deeper ( 5 min. read ) ➝


    Teens Assault, Attempt to Rob Uber Driver at Gunpoint While Filming NYC Attack



    A group of teens attacked an Uber driving while filming him, breaking his nose and gashing his head.

    The brazen kids — who appear to be between 11 and 17 years old — recorded the Brooklyn beatdown with a cell phone, said the driver, who asked not to be identified because he fears retribution.

    “One was punching me and the other one had a gun,” the victim said. “He said. . .‘Give me everything – give me all the money.’”

    The driver had arrived on Alabama Avenue in East Flatbush to pick up a female fare named Precious around 7 p.m. Sunday and noticed a group of teens across the street, he said. He asked if they knew his fare and they said no, he recalled.

    When he turned his head to look for his client — he was suddenly punched in the face through his open window.

    “I didn’t see them — a surprise punch,” he said.

    He got out of his car “to fight back” and “noticed that one of them was filming,” said the victim.

    At that point, a brawl broke out and he ended up on the ground, where one of the punks hit him in the head with the scooter, he said.

    The attackers scattered after a neighbor came outside and called 911. The neighbor also found the phone the kids used and saw a video of the victim on the device.

    As he waited for an ambulance, two of the kids returned, “looking for the phone,” the driver said.

    “The party’s over, the police are coming,” the driver yelled, sending them scurrying. “I don’t know if they intended to rob me or if it was just to make a TikTok video.”

    The NYPD released photos of the pint-sized suspects.

    The fare, Precious, said she was shocked by what happened and shot video of the kids as they returned to the scene.

    “I’m so heartbroken that these kids are doing that,” the 28-year-old from Nigeria said.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Iran Prepares to Strike Israel with 100+ Cruise Missiles and Drones



    Iran has reportedly readied more than 100 cruise missiles as part of an ‘imminent’ strike on Israel after the US moved more forces into the Middle East over fears an attack could spark a full-scale war.

    Military officials briefed on the matter told both ABC News and CNN that the US has observed Iran readying at least 100 cruise missiles, indicating they could be ready to attack.

    ABC also reported that a large number of drones that could be used in an attack on Israel have also been readied by the nation.

    Pentagon officials said the US would beef up its presence in the region and the USS Dwight Eisenhower would be sent into the Red Sea in a warning to Tehran.

    Iran has publicly threatened to hit back at Israel over an attack in Syria last week, which Tehran say was an Israeli airstrike on a Iranian diplomatic building in Damascus.

    Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei vowed retribution in the wake of the Damascus attack, for which Tel-Aviv has yet to take responsibility.

    US Defense officials on Friday said they are moving ‘additional assets to the area’, hours after the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem locked down it’s staff.

    The USS Dwight Eisenhower would be able to intercept missiles and drones fired by Iran.

    President Biden said on Friday that he expected Iran to attack Israel ‘sooner than later’ and that his message to Tehran was ‘don’t’.

    ‘We are devoted to the defense of Israel. We will support Israel and help defend Israel and Iran will not succeed,’ Biden said.

    Asked how imminent an attack on Israel may be, Biden said he didn’t want to get into classified information but ‘my expectation is sooner than later.’

    Former President Trump called Biden ‘pretty pathetic’ and claimed that had he been in office Iran wouldn’t be attacking Israel.

    Trump said: ‘For the president of our country to actually put out a warning that he thinks that we’re going to be attacked or they’re going to be attacked. That’s pretty pathetic.’

    ‘They wouldn’t be attacking Israel if I were president, that I can tell you,’ he continued. ‘And they never did.’

    Israel was widely blamed for an April 1 attack that destroyed Iran’s consulate building in Damascus and killed seven Revolutionary Guards, including the two generals.

    The strike levelled a five-storey building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus.

    General Mohammad Reza Zahedi was one of those who died in the attack, having held a succession of commands in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ foreign operations arm, the Quds Force.

    Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned Wednesday that Israel ‘must be punished and will be punished’, days after one of his advisers said Israeli embassies are ‘no longer safe’.

    Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz swiftly replied on social media site X that ‘if Iran attacks from its territory, Israel will respond and attack Iran’.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to respond with force to any assault by Iran, leaving tensions in the Middle East on a knife-edge.

    Defense officials on Friday said they are moving ‘additional assets to the area’, hours after the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem locked down it’s staff.

    The USS Dwight Eisenhower would be able to intercept missiles and drones fired by Iran.

    The White House on Friday wouldn’t go as far as to say that an attack was ‘imminent,’ instead calling the threat ‘viable.’

    ‘We still deem the potential threat by Iran here to be real, to be viable, certainly credible and we’re watching it as closely as we can,’ White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday.

    Kirby added that the U.S. was in ‘constant communication with our Israeli counterparts about making sure that they can defend themselves against those kind of attacks.’

    He added that ‘force posture changes’ had been made to ensure the US is ‘properly prepared’ for any Iranian assault, but declined to go into detail.

    The NSC spokesperson gave no details on the potential timing of such an attack, amid warnings it could happen within the next 48 hours.

    ‘I really don’t want to get into armchair quarterbacking this thing in a public way in terms of the conversations we’re having or what we’re seeing in the intelligence picture,’ Kirby said.

    On Thursday, the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem did not explicitly mention Iran but issued a warning to government workers.

    ‘Out of an abundance of caution, U.S. government employees and their family members are restricted from personal travel outside the greater Tel Aviv, … Jerusalem, and Be’er Sheva areas until further notice,’ the security alert read.

    Iran enjoys a heavy advantage in terms of sheer manpower, boasting a collective active and reserve military of roughly 1.2 million troops as well as thousands upon thousands of artillery systems.

    Israel meanwhile has around 750,000 active and military personnel at its disposal – but hundreds of thousands of these are already engaged in operations in and around Gaza, while others maintain a presence in the north to ward off border attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    Though Israel is outnumbered, it is by no means outgunned – the IDF boasts more than 3,000 tanks in its ranks, roughly double the number thought to be in service in Iran.

    The Washington Post reported Thursday that senior Pentagon officials were frustrated that the U.S. did not get a heads up from Israel before conducting an airstrike on the Iranian site.

    Three unnamed U.S. officials told the paper said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other senior defense officials believed Israel should have informed the Pentagon ahead of the attack because of the strike’s implications for U.S. servicemembers in the region.

    Had the U.S. gotten a heads up, the Pentagon would have been able to heighten defense capabilities in order to withstand Iranian retaliation, the sources said.

    If Israel and Iran to engage in an all-out war, the consequences could be devastating.

    Professor Gerald Steinberg, an expert in conflict management and founder of Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, said a potential war between Iran and Israel would be both futile and devastating.

    ‘They are on the verge of a confrontation similar to the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis between Washington and Moscow. Both countries can do massive damage to the other, but neither can “win”,’ he said.

    Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝


    Judge Rejects Trump Bid, Rules Hush Money Trial Will Begin on Monday



    A New York judge on Friday tossed one of former President Trump’s final remaining pathways to avoid his imminent hush money trial, rejecting his bid to delay the proceedings over “prejudicial” pretrial media coverage.

    Judge Juan Merchan ruled that Trump’s trial will go forward Monday with jury selection, rejecting defense arguments that the barrage of media coverage around the trial has prejudiced potential jurors.

    “Defendant appears to take the position that his situation and this case are unique and that the pre-trial publicity will never subside. However, this view does not align with reality,” Merchan wrote in the four-page ruling.

    The ruling marks the fourth time this week that a judge has rejected a Trump attempt for a last-minute delay of jury selection, which would mark the former president’s first criminal trial.

    Trump’s lawyers insisted the former president could not receive a fair trial in Manhattan this year, re-upping their demand to delay the proceedings until after this year’s election. Trump has looked to delay all four of his criminal cases so Trump can first try to retake the White House, which would halt the indictments.

    In a motion last month, Trump’s lawyers argued that extensive reporting on his legal woes – only expected to increase as the trial date nears – prevented a fair trial. They cited a media study and polling conducted at the direction of Trump’s team suggesting most Manhattan residents already believe Trump is guilty.

    Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s (D) office in opposing the delay request questioned the reliability of Trump’s data but also said it suggested the opposite conclusion — that a fair group can be selected through proper jury selection procedures.

    “Defendant simply cannot have it both ways: complaining about the prejudicial effect of pretrial publicity, while seeking to pollute the jury pool himself by making baseless and inflammatory accusations about this trial, specific witnesses, individual prosecutors, and the Court itself,” prosecutors wrote in court papers.

    Trump’s legal team also pointed to remarks made by two of the state’s expected star witnesses, ex-Trump fixer Michael Cohen and porn actress Stormy Daniels.

    And the lawyers claimed that the timing of the Wednesday perjury sentencing of Trump’s longtime financial gatekeeper, ex-Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, was “manufactured” to prejudice Trump in his own case. Weisselberg was sentenced to five months for lying to state lawyers in the business’s civil fraud trial.

    “[N]o fair and impartial jury can be selected in this County at any time in the near future, including in April of this year. Therefore, the Court should adjourn the trial date until the prejudicial media coverage subsides,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in court papers.

    Trump faces 34 charges of falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment made by Cohen to Daniels to keep the porn actress quiet about an alleged affair with then-presidential candidate Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has denied the affair and pleaded not guilty.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Kari Lake Slammed for Flip-Flopping on Abortion Law



    Republican Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake faces criticisms from both sides of the abortion debate after a visit to the University of Arizona on Thursday.

    Lake faced criticisms about her changing position on Arizona’s strict Civil War-era abortion law, as she navigates the political arena ahead of the 2024 elections.

    Hosted by the College Republicans, the event grew heated as attendees pressed Lake on her inconsistent stance, according to NBC News. Initially, Lake praised abortion law in 2022, calling it a “great law.” However, after the state Supreme Court upheld the ban, she reversed her stance and began advocating for its repeal.

    Lake was quickly challenged by a student on her significant shift in abortion rhetoric. Former President Donald Trump‘s recent description of abortion as a states’ rights issue failed to calm the controversy, leaving Lake, who calls herself “Trump in heels,” to confront criticism from both local and national sources, the outlet stated.

    In response, Lake defended her pro-life stance but emphasized the practical political implications of the law. “First of all, I am pro-life and I love — I want to save as many babies as possible. But you do realize that that law is not going to survive November?” Lake asked, NBC News stated.

    “There’s a ballot, on the November ballot, that is written by Planned Parenthood that will eventually lead to abortion up to nine months.”

    “I want to save every baby. I can’t imagine any circumstance that I would choose an abortion. But I’m not standing in the shoes of a woman who’s been beaten by … her pimp. I’m not standing in her shoes, and neither are you,” Lake continued. “If you read a story about what happened here tonight, just know how the media operates.”

    “We thought when you said you supported the 1864 ban, you meant it,” a man told Lake at the event, NBC News reported.

    “When the Supreme Court came out and delivered that miracle to this country and freed us from evil, you changed your mind. I want to know what you say to people who trusted you and believed in you and believe that you are as much in love with babies in this world as them, and that Arizona has undergone a miracle.”

    Adding to the pressure, Lake’s opponents are using her past statements to challenge her credibility. Democratic Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego posted her previous endorsements of the abortion ban on Twitter.

    “I’ll save you the listen. Here’s Kari Lake in her own words citing this abortion ban, calling it a ‘great law’ and encouraging other states to follow. Not amount of backpedaling will make us forget,” Gallego wrote on Twitter.

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    Iran Seizes Israeli-Linked Ship in Strait of Hormuz



    Commandos from Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard rappelled down from a helicopter onto an Israeli-affiliated container ship near the Strait of Hormuz and seized the vessel Saturday, the latest in a series of attacks between the two countries.

    The Middle East had braced for potential Iranian retaliation over a suspected Israeli strike earlier this month on an Iranian consular building in Syria that killed 12 people, including a senior Guard general who once commanded its expeditionary Quds Force there.

    The Israeli war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip meanwhile is now 6 months old and is inflaming decades-old tensions across the whole region. With Iranian-backed forces like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Yemen’s Houthi rebels also involved in the fighting, any new attack in the Mideast threatens to escalate that conflict into a wider regional war.

    Iran’s state-run IRNA said a special forces unit of the Guard’s navy carried out the attack on the vessel, the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries, a container ship associated with London-based Zodiac Maritime.

    Zodiac Maritime is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group. Zodiac declined to comment and referred questions to MSC. Geneva-based MSC later acknowledged the seizure and said 25 crew had been aboard the vessel. IRNA said the Guard would take the vessel into Iranian territorial waters.

    Earlier, a Middle East defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, shared a video of the attack with The Associated Press. In it, the Iranian commandos are seen rappelling down onto a stack of containers sitting on the deck of the vessel.

    A crew member on the ship can be heard saying: “Don’t come out.” He then tells his colleagues to go to the ship’s bridge as more commandos come down on the deck. One commando can be seen kneeling above the others to provide them potential cover fire.

    The video corresponded with known details of the MSC Aries. The helicopter used also appeared to be a Soviet-era Mil Mi-17 helicopter, which both the Guard and the Iranian-backed Houthis of Yemen have used in the past to conduct commando raids on ships.

    The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations described the vessel as being “seized by regional authorities” in the Gulf of Oman off the Emirati port city of Fujairah, without elaborating.

    The MSC Aries had been last located off Dubai heading toward the Strait of Hormuz on Friday. The ship had turned off its tracking data, which has been common for Israeli-affiliated ships moving through the region.

    Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called on nations to list the Guard as a terrorist organization.

    Iran “is a criminal regime that supports Hamas’ crimes and is now conducting a pirate operation in violation of international law,” Katz said.

    Iran since 2019 has engaged in a series of ship seizures and attacks on vessels have been attributed to it amid ongoing tensions with the West over its rapidly advancing nuclear program.

    Since November, Iran had dialed back its ship attacks as the Houthis targeted ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. Houthi attacks have slowed in recent weeks as the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan ended and the rebels have faced months of U.S.-led airstrikes targeting them.

    In previous seizures, Iran has offered initial explanations about their operations to make it seem like the attacks had nothing to do with the wider geopolitical tensions — though later acknowledging as much. In Saturday’s attack, however, Iran telling offered no explanation for the seizure other than to say the MSC Aries had links to Israel.

    For days, Iranian officials up to and including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have been threatening to “slap” Israel for the Syria strike. Western governments have issued warnings to their citizens in the region to be prepared for attacks.

    However, Iran in the past largely has avoided directly attacking Israel, despite it carrying out the targeted killing of nuclear scientists and multiple sabotage campaigns against Iran’s atomic sites. Iran has however targeted Israeli or Jewish-linked sites through proxy forces over the decades.

    Earlier this week, Guard Gen. Ali Reza Tangsiri, who oversees its naval forces, criticized the presence of Israelis in the region and in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE reached a diplomatic recognition deal with Israel in 2020, something that long has enraged Tehran.

    “We know that bringing Zionists in this point is not merely for economic work,” Tangsiri reportedly said. “Now, they are carrying out security and military jobs, indeed. This is a threat, and this should not happen.”

    The U.S., Israel’s main backer, has stood by the country despite growing concerns over Israel’s war on Gaza killing more than 33,600 Palestinians and wounding over 76,200 more. Israel’s war began after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people and saw some 250 others taken hostage.

    On Friday, President Joe Biden warned Iran not to attack Israel and said he felt an Iranian attack on Israel likely would happen “sooner than later.”

    “We will help defend Israel, and Iran will not succeed,” Biden added.

    The Gulf of Oman is near the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of all globally traded oil passes. Fujairah, on the United Arab Emirates’ eastern coast, is a main port in the region for ships to take on new oil cargo, pick up supplies or trade out crew.

    Since 2019, the waters off Fujairah have seen a series of explosions and hijackings. The U.S. Navy blamed Iran for limpet mine attacks on vessels that damaged tankers. The UAE meanwhile has sought to mend ties with Iran and issued a statement condemning the suspected Israeli attack in Syria.

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