TDB Top 5 International Stories: Friday 21st April 2017

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5: A Kremlin Think Tank Designed a Plan to Meddle in the US Election
4: ARKANSAS FIGHTS TO EXECUTE TWO MEN WITHOUT TESTING DNA EVIDENCE THAT COULD EXONERATE THEM
3: First Roger Ailes, Now Bill O’Reilly: Sexual Harassment Scandal Ousts Top Men at Fox News
2: Paris: Gunman kills officer before being shot dead
1: No encounters: most ambitious alien search to date draws a blank

5: A Kremlin Think Tank Designed a Plan to Meddle in the US Election

The documents, prepared by a think tank linked to Vladimir Putin, called for a major propaganda campaign and was circulated at the top of the Russian government, according to Reuters.

According to several former and current US officials, the Russians outlined a plan to undermine the 2016 presidential election in a set of classified documents prepared by a think tank linked to Vladimir Putin, Reuters reports.

The two documents, drafted under the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies in June and October, put forth a strategic plan to undermine US voters’ faith in the election by spewing propaganda on social media and drumming up information about voter fraud. Though not addressed to any one person specifically, the documents were circulated at the top of the Russian government, outlining a game plan to damage Hillary Clinton’s credibility and reputation and skew US voters to elect a president who would go easy on Russia.

Many of the sources said the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies operates as the Kremlin’s in-house foreign-policy think tank, as it’s run by former foreign intelligence officials who were appointed by Putin’s office.

Vice News

4: ARKANSAS FIGHTS TO EXECUTE TWO MEN WITHOUT TESTING DNA EVIDENCE THAT COULD EXONERATE THEM

DAMIEN ECHOLS NEVER planned to come back to Arkansas. “These days, I try to look forward,” he wrote in his 2012 memoir, Life After Death. “I’m tired of looking back.” After spending half his life on Arkansas’s death row – he was finally released in 2011 – Echols was “sick to death” of his claim to fame as one of the West Memphis Three. “It’s a title I’d prefer never to hear again,” he wrote. “It does nothing but remind me of hell.”

Echols was wrongfully accused of murdering three 8-year-old boys whose bodies were discovered in the woods in rural Arkansas in 1993. It was the tail end of a bizarre era in American criminal justice, a wave of public hysteria known as the satanic ritual abuse panic, in which numerous people were wrongly sent to prison for lurid — and in some cases nonexistent — crimes against children. Echols, who grew up as a misfit in his small Arkansas town, was accused of being a member of a satanic cult, based on such proof as the fact that he listened to heavy metal, along with the coerced confession of one of his teenage co-defendents, who was mentally disabled. The case inspired multiple documentaries, which transformed Echols’s plight into a cause célèbre. He was grateful for the support, but even on death row the attention eventually took a toll. “My entire life had been exposed for anyone and everyone to examine,” he wrote. “Every day I received letters from people who did nothing but ask the most intimate aspects of my life.” There was one letter, though, that disarmed Echols, from a woman who “apologized for invading my privacy by seeking me out.” That woman, Lorri Davis, later became his wife.

The Intercept

3: First Roger Ailes, Now Bill O’Reilly: Sexual Harassment Scandal Ousts Top Men at Fox News

The longtime Fox News star Bill O’Reilly is out, after more than half a dozen women accused him of sexual harassment. His departure follows the similar ouster of longtime powerful Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who was also forced out this past summer after more than 20 women accused him of sexual harassment. Over 50 advertisers boycotted “The O’Reilly Factor” over revelations O’Reilly and Fox paid $13 million to settle lawsuits by five women who accuse O’Reilly of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behavior. For more, we speak with civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom. She represents three women who have accused Bill O’Reilly of unwanted sexual advances.

Democracy Now

2: Paris: Gunman kills officer before being shot dead

A gunman has killed a police officer and seriously wounded two others before being shot dead in an attack on the Champs Elysees shopping district in the French capital, according to Paris police and the interior ministry.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday evening, which took place three days before France’s first round of presidential election. It was not possible for Al Jazeera to independently confirm the claim.

Pierre-Henry Brandet, interior ministry spokesman, said the attack happened near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station, at the centre of the avenue popular with tourists.

Aljazeera

1: No encounters: most ambitious alien search to date draws a blank

Astronomers who have been listening for signals from alien civilisations in the most intensive hunt for extraterrestrials yet have found no evidence of life in its first year in operation.

The Breakthrough Listen project began to eavesdrop on the universe with the Green Bank observatory in West Virginia in January last year, but the most intelligent transmissions the telescope has picked up so far appear to be from satellites or mobile phones and other earthly devices.

Data released by the project on Thursday revealed eleven of the most promising signals detected, but after close inspection scientists concluded that the radiowaves probably came from humans rather than other intelligent lifeforms.

“These are the signals that look most like what we’d expect to see from a distant technology, but when we looked at them closely were were able to determine that it’s most likely they’re interference,” said Andrew Siemion, the director of the Berkeley Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence centre.

The Guardian 

 

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