• Epstein allowed to buy small women’s underwear in jail, records reveal

    Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was allowed to buy small women’s underwear while serving a jail sentence for soliciting a minor for prostitution, official records have revealed.Mr Epstein, a wealthy financier with links to the higher ranks of US society, hung himself in his cell in Manhattan after he was arrested last month and pleaded not guilty to federal charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls as young as 14.Before his arrest on 6 July 2018, Mr Epstein served another 13 months in custody in Florida in 2008-2009 after a state court found him guilty of soliciting a minor for prostitution.But during that jail term, he was allowed to purchase female underwear that would not fit an average adult woman, the Miami Herald revealed after examining records obtained from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.During his time in custody in Florida between 30 June 2008 and 22 July 2009, Mr Epstein benefited from a generous work-release programme that allowed him to walk out of prison for up to 16 hours per day for six or seven days a week. Some records even began to refer to him as a “client” rather than an inmate.Mr Epstein’s death has caused outrage and prompted an investigation into the circumstances that allowed him to escape justice and apparently take his own life.Attorney general William Barr said there were “serious irregularities” within the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in New York City, where Epstein was awaiting trial.Reports have indicated that standard protocol was not met in the jail.An autopsy concluded that the cause of his death was suicide.Two guards have been put on administrative leave after it was determined that they had fallen asleep and had falsified records in a log to indicate they had been checking on the disgraced financier every 30 minutes, as was required.Falsified entries such as those could constitute a federal crime.

  • Russian nuclear near blast site 'went silent' after missile testing explosion

    Two Russian radiation monitoring stations went offline last weekend following reports of a nuclear accident in Arkhangelsk region on Russia’s northern frontier, fuelling concerns of a cover-up.  The Russian government has been vague and at times contradictory when addressing the mysterious explosion near a military test range on August 8.  At least five nuclear scientists died, and a brief radiation spike was detected over nearby Severodvinsk. According to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which operates an international network of radiation monitoring stations, two key Russian stations went offline two days after the unexplained explosion and reports of radiation spikes. According to Russian officials, RBC reported, the stations in Dubna and Kirov experienced “network and communications problems” two days after the explosion in Arkhangelsk region. Russia nuclear map The Russian military has denied that any radiation was released by the explosion, and an official statement from Severodvinsk authorities notifying the public of an increase in radiation levels was quietly withdrawn from the city government’s website.  International confirmation of a radiation spike is hard to come by.  CTBTO head Lassina Zerbo wrote on Twitter Sunday that the organisation was addressing with station operators “technical problems experienced at two neighboring stations.” He included a graphic of the organisation's modelling of radioactive particle dispersal over time. The graphic included time stamps indicating where CTBTO models predicted radioactive particles would travel. Antennas of a testing facility for seismic and infrasound technologies of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Credit: REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo According to this model, when the two Russian stations stopped reporting, the particles would have been passing directly overhead.  Some have speculated that the blast was caused by a failed test of a nuclear-powered cruise missile.  However, evidence suggests that whatever radiation was released by the August 8th explosion was localised and small scale. Experts say a nuclear-powered cruise missile would release far more. “When the US deliberately blew apart a nuclear rocket engine at the Nevada Test side in 1965 to see what would happen, the peak gamma dose rate 25 km downwind was 700 microSieverts per hour - hundreds of times greater than what was observed in Severodvinsk,” Edwin Lyman, director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists said.

  • Palestinian president fires advisers as financial crisis hits

    Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has fired all of his advisers, his office said Monday, amid a financial crisis in the occupied West Bank that has prompted deep salary cuts. Abbas's office did not provide further details on the number of advisers or the costs involved, pointing only to a brief statement issued through official Palestinian news agency WAFA. The move comes amid a spending crunch following Israel's decision in February to withhold around $10 million a month in tax transfers.

  • Incredible images of rare strawberry leopard captured by couple at wildlife reserve

    The strawberry leopard - an erythristic species referring to an unusual reddish skin pigmentation - was snapped by a motion triggered camera in Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve.

  • Iran Warns U.S. Against Seizing Oil Tanker Headed to Greece

    (Bloomberg) -- Iran warned the U.S. against apprehending a supertanker carrying the Middle East country’s oil and said it couldn’t be clear on the ship’s ultimate destination, leaving the fate of the vessel uncertain as it sailed into the Mediterranean Sea from Gibraltar, where it had been detained.The tanker, formerly called the Grace 1 and re-named the Adrian Darya 1, was signaling Kalamata, Greece -- at least for now -- with an arrival date of Aug. 26, according to tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg at 5:25 p.m. London time. It had previously been showing an arrival date of Aug. 25.The vessel left Gibraltar Sunday night after being detained there since early July, when British forces seized it on suspicion of carrying oil to Syria in violation of European sanctions. The U.S., which has sanctions against Iran, is seeking to prevent anyone from doing business with the ship.Iranian Crude Tanker Leaves Gibraltar Waters: What Happens Next?U.S. sanctions mean Iran cannot be “very transparent” about the destination of the tanker, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said at a press conference in Helsinki. He said the U.S. is trying to “bully others from purchasing our oil” and that he hopes the release of the vessel will de-escalate tensions in the Persian Gulf.A spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.The incident is one of several in recent months that have strained relations between Iran and the West, following the U.S. reinstatement of sanctions on the Islamic Republic last year. Iran has maintained that the ship’s original detention on July 4 was unlawful. The Persian Gulf state continues to hold a U.K.-flagged tanker, the Stena Impero. Aggression in the region has threatened shipping in recent months in the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most critical waterway for oil supplies.“The U.S. surely can’t seize the Iranian tanker and, if it does, it would pose a threat to international maritime security,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said. Iran warned the U.S. via “diplomatic channels,” including Switzerland, against interfering with the tanker, in international waters, Mousavi said at a news conference in Tehran. Swiss diplomats serve as interlocutors between the U.S. and Iran.Destination UnclearIt’s not known where the Iranian vessel is ultimately headed. Greek authorities haven’t received formal notification that the vessel intends to head to a port in the country, according to a spokesman for Greece’s coast guard. Kalamata’s port usually serves pleasure craft like sailboats and cruise ships, data compiled by Bloomberg show.The waters off Kalamata could be a possible location for ship-to-ship cargo transfers, according to two vessel brokers without specific information about the tanker’s plans. A ship’s destination is entered manually into its Automatic Identification System and is picked up by vessel-tracking. The destinations can be altered multiple times on the same journey.Gibraltar rejected an attempt by the U.S. to block the Iranian supertanker, saying that EU regulations don’t allow it to seek a court order to detain the vessel.U.S. ComplaintA complaint unsealed in Washington stated that “Oil Tanker ‘Grace 1,’ all petroleum aboard it and $995,000 are subject to forfeiture,” according to a Justice Department statement. The statement alleges a “scheme to unlawfully access the U.S. financial system to support illicit shipments” of oil from Iran to Syria in violation of U.S. sanctions, money laundering and terrorism statutes.Gibraltar last week released the vessel, after the government said Iran had provided assurances that the ship would not sail to a destination sanctioned by the EU. In response, the U.S. said it was gravely disappointed with Britain, and it warned that ports, banks and anyone else who does business with the vessel or its crew might be subject to sanctions, according to two administration officials.(Updates vessel’s estimated arrival date in second paragraph, request for comment in fifth. An earlier version of this story included an incorrect spelling for a port official in Kalamata, Greece.)\--With assistance from Serene Cheong, Anthony DiPaola, Alex Longley, Julian Lee, Paul Tugwell, Kati Pohjanpalo and Nick Wadhams.To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Wingfield in London at bwingfield3@bloomberg.net;Arsalan Shahla in Tehran at ashahla@bloomberg.net;Verity Ratcliffe in Dubai at vratcliffe1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net, Brian Wingfield, Rachel GrahamFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • School workers who used Sharpie to color in black teen’s hair in Texas are being sued

    A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed on Sunday against a Texas school district and three officials after they took disciplinary action for a student’s haircut, court documents say.

  • Scientists detect a black hole swallowing a neutron star 'like Pac-man'

    For the first time, scientists have detected a black hole devouring a neutron star, according to a report released Monday.