- World The Telegraph
Burmese fishermen 'faint' after mistaking $20 million of floating crystal meth for natural deodorant
Sacks of crystal meth scooped from the sea by Burmese fishermen who mistook it for a deodorant substance had a street value of $20 million (£15.4m), an official said on Sunday, in a country believed to be the world's largest methamphetamine producer. The accidental drug haul off Burma's coastal Ayeyarwady region occurred when fishermen spotted a total of 23 sacks floating in the Andaman Sea on Wednesday. Each one contained plastic-wrapped bags labelled as Chinese green tea - packaging commonly used by Southeast Asian crime gangs to smuggle crystal meth to far-flung destinations including Japan, South Korea and Australia. Locals were mystified by the crystallised substance in the sacks, Zaw Win, a local official of the National League for Democracy party who assisted the fishermen and police, told AFP. At first, they assumed it was a natural deodorant chemical known as potassium alum, which is widely used in Burma. "So they burned it, and some of them almost fainted," he said. They informed the police, who on Thursday combed a beach and found an additional two sacks of the same substance - bringing the total to 691 kilogrammes (1,500 pounds) which would be worth about $20.2 million (£15.6m), Zaw Win said. "In my entire life and my parents' lifetime, we have never seen drugs floating in the ocean before," he said. The massive haul was sent on Sunday to Pyapon district police, who declined to comment on it. Burma's multi-billion-dollar drug industry is centred in eastern Shan state, whose poppy-covered hills are ideal cover for illicit production labs. Made-in-Burma crystal meth - better known as ice - is smuggled out of the country to more lucrative markets using routes carved out by narco gangs through Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. A study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says that Southeast Asia's crime groups are netting more than $60 billion a year - a conservative estimate, according to experts - thanks to a sophisticated smuggling and money-laundering operation. In March, Burma authorities seized more than 1,700 kilogrammes of crystal meth worth nearly $29 million, which police said at the time was their biggest drug haul this year.
- U.S. ABC News
'He fought them,' father says of son killed on his birthday defending his family in Texas home invasion
Security video of a car speeding from the Texas home of a father gunned down on his 29th birthday while defending his wife and two young children from intruders was released by authorities desperate to identify the suspects and bring them to justice. Brenton Estorffe, an Australian native raising his family in the Houston suburb of Katy, was shot to death early Wednesday while attempting to fight off at least two men who broke into his residence, according to Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office investigators. "He wrestled those two blokes away from his wife and kids," Estorffe father, Michael Estorffe, told The Australian newspaper before flying from Australia to Texas to be with his son's grieving widow and children.
- PoliticsThe Daily Beast
Days after his disastrous White House press briefing in which he admitted President Donald Trump was seeking out a quid pro quo with Ukraine before saying never mind, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney struggled to walk back his comments under the intense and relentless grilling of Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace.Almost immediately during the Sunday morning broadcast, Wallace pressed Mulvaney on his remarks, asking why he said during the press conference that military aid to Ukraine depended on investigating the actions of Democrats during the 2016 election, prompting Mulvaney to assert that he never actually said that.“Again, that’s not what I said, that's what people said I said,” he replied before saying there were “two reasons” why the United States would have held up aid: corruption and whether other European nations were helping with aid.Mick Mulvaney Has Conservatives Asking: WTF Are You Doing?Wallace, meanwhile, didn’t let Mulvaney’s spin go unchecked, telling the chief of staff that anyone listening to the briefing could “come to only one conclusion” before playing clips Mulvaney confirming that Trump withheld aid unless the Ukrainians investigated the Democrats.Mulvaney continued to insist that he had been misinterpreted and that aid was only contingent on corruption and additional European assistance, causing the Fox News anchor to fire back.“I hate to go through this but you said what you said,” Wallace stated. “And the fact is, after that exchange with [ABC News correspondent] Jonathan Karl, you were asked another time why the aid was held up. What was the condition for the aid? And you didn’t mention two conditions, you mentioned three conditions.”Wallace, once again, threw Mulvaney’s own remarks back in his face, playing yet another clip from the press briefing of Mulvaney claiming military aid to Ukraine was contingent upon them cooperating with the Trump administration and investigating the Democrats.The Trump aide, however, attempted to brush off his previous remarks by saying he didn’t actually use the words “quid pro quo,” prompting Wallace to point out that when Karl pressed him on whether or not there was a quid pro quo, Mulvaney said that “happens all the time.”Fox News Host Ed Henry: Not ‘Media’s Fault’ Mick Mulvaney Admitted Quid Pro QuoThe two would go back and forth over this issue for a few more minutes, with Wallace repeatedly cornering Mulvaney over his previous comments and the chief of staff flailing away and struggling to present even a laughable defense.At one point, Wallace asked Mulvaney whether he had offered his resignation to Trump in the wake of the blowback and criticism he received over the press briefing. Mulvaney said the topic was “absolutely not” discussed with the president, adding that he is “very happy working there.”CNN, meanwhile, reported Sunday that prior to the impeachment crisis that Trump finds himself currently embroiled in, there were internal efforts to push Mulvaney out as acting chief of staff. Those efforts subsided, however, when the push for impeachment heated up in the wake of the Ukraine scandal late last month.Besides the issues surrounding the Ukraine scandal and impeachment, Wallace also grilled Mulvaney on the president’s sudden reversal on next year’s G7 summit, which Mulvaney announced last week would be held at Trump’s personal property. Asked by Wallace why the president “caved” to the bipartisan backlash, Mulvaney said Trump was “honestly surprised at the level of pushback,” adding that the president “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.”Wallace seized on the “hospitality business” comment and pressed Mulvaney if the president understood why it “looked lousy.” The acting chief of staff's retort: “I think he thinks people think it looks lousy.”Sean Hannity Goes Off on Mick Mulvaney: ‘I Just Think He’s Dumb’Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.