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August 2, 2014

If you happen to be near Hohenfelden, Germany today, you may wonder what's up with all those sheep.

Actually, if you're near Hohenfelden, Germany, you probably know that shepherds from across the country are competing in the regional Shepherds Championships. The annual competition requires the men to use two sheepdogs and a lot of moxie as they lead 300 of the animals. Judges pick a winner based on which herd is deemed to have the best formation.

Check out the fascinating photos, below. --Sarah Eberspacher

Shepherd Mario Scheffel leads a flock of sheep. | (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

A sheep peers out over its herd. | (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Scheffel's sheepdogs help move the flock. | (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

8:12 a.m. ET
Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Uber has launched an "urgent investigation" into claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, and seemingly incompetent HR policies after a former employee published a stunning confessional about her time with the company. Susan Fowler, a former site reliability engineer who joined Uber in 2015, published a long blog post on her website outlining her time with the ride-hailing company, and why she left. In the post, she paints a damning picture of a company where women are targeted and undermined by managers and HR representatives alike.

Fowler claims her manager made sexual advances toward her via online chat. She said she took screenshots of the messages and showed them to human resources, but was told that her boss was a "high performer" and senior managers didn't want to punish him for something they saw as an "innocent mistake." She later discovered other women in the company experienced similar abuse, and received equally insufficient responses from the HR department.

After a series of meetings with HR, things came to a head:

The HR rep began the meeting by asking me if I had noticed that *I* was the common theme in all of the reports I had been making, and that if I had ever considered that I might be the problem ... Less than a week after this absurd meeting, my manager scheduled a 1:1 with me, and told me we needed to have a difficult conversation. He told me I was on very thin ice for reporting his manager to HR. [Susan Fowler]

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said the behavior Fowler described was "abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in." Jessica Hullinger

6:07 a.m. ET
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

America has no intention of seizing Iraqi oil, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Monday before making a surprise visit to Iraq. His comments directly contradict those made by President Trump.

"We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil," Mattis told reporters. Trump has said repeatedly that his preferred strategy for taking on ISIS would be to "take the oil." "You wouldn't have ISIS if we took the oil," Trump told ABC's David Muir in January. As CNN explains, that would have been a war crime and a violation of international law.

Mattis is visiting Iraq as the push by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces to remove ISIS militants from Western Mosul enters its second day. "I need to get current on the situation there, political situation, the enemy situation, and the friendly situation," Mattis said.

The Islamic State was thought to have 6,000 fighters in Mosul in mid-October, when the government's offensive began, Reuters reports. More than 1,000 of those are estimated to have been killed.

This isn't the first time Mattis has broken with Trump's policy plans. In January, he said he does not support scrapping the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump has dubbed "one of the dumbest deals ever." Over the weekend, Mattis said he disagreed with Trump's claim that the press is "the enemy of the American people." Jessica Hullinger

5:25 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At a Florida rally on Saturday, President Trump told the crowd that Sweden was facing problems with immigrants. "You look at what's happening last night in Sweden," Trump said. "Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible."

But what, exactly, happened in Sweden "last night" was unclear. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson told The Associated Press that the government didn't know of any "terror-linked major incidents." The country's government asked the State Department for clarifications on the meaning of Trump's comments.

On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to explain that his statement was relating to a segment he'd watched on Fox News. "My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden," Trump tweeted.

Sarah Sanders, the principal deputy press secretary for the White House, said Trump was "talking about rising crime and recent incidents in general, and not referring to a specific incident."

Sweden's crime rate has been falling for the last 12 years, Reuters reports, "even as it has taken in hundreds of thousands of immigrants from war-torn countries like Syria and Iraq."

The Swedish Embassy in Washington kindly offered to inform the president about the country's immigration policies. Jessica Hullinger

4:47 a.m. ET
Johannes Simon/Getty Images

When Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Munich and Brussels over the weekend, many foreign leaders were hoping he would provide them with some clarity on President Donald Trump's stance on various international issues. Instead, they got "boilerplate reassurances about United States commitments" and "bland mollifications."

"Today, on behalf of President Trump, I bring you this assurance: The United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to this transatlantic alliance," Pence said at the Munich Security Conference.

Meanwhile, Trump was at a rally in Florida, criticizing NATO, which he has called "obsolete," and seemingly suggesting Sweden had been the victim of a non-existent terror attack.

"People were not reassured," Daniela Schwarzer, the director of the German Council on Foreign Relations, told The New York Times. "They think that Trump is erratic and incalculable. We all want to hear what we want to hear. But everyone knows that any Trump official could be gone tomorrow, or undercut in another tweet."

The conference came after a tumultuous week in Washington: Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned, and Trump's pick for Flynn's replacement turned down the job. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary James Mattis threatened NATO allies, saying they must increase defense spending, or America would "moderate its commitment" to the alliance.

European diplomats were also hoping Pence would provide some hints as to how, exactly, the balance of power works in the White House, The Washington Post reports. Does his adviser Stephen Bannon hold the reins? What about Jared Kushner? How much sway does Pence have? The vice president stuck to prepared statements at the conference, and did not take questions.

Pence heads to Brussels on Monday, where he will meet with EU leaders before heading home to Washington. Jessica Hullinger

February 19, 2017
Farah Abdi Warsameh/Associated Press

An estimated 14 people were killed and another 30 wounded by a car bomb in the Somali capital city of Mogadishu on Sunday. The explosion happened in a crowded intersection, with shrapnel hitting nearby food stalls and shops.

"I was staying in my shop when a car came into the market and exploded. I saw more than 20 people lying on the ground," said an eyewitness named Abdulle Omar. "Most of them were dead and the market was totally destroyed." Most of those killed are believed to be civilians, though Somali security forces were also in the area.

No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, though it was likely perpetrated by al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked Islamic extremist group that seeks to overthrow the Somali government. On Sunday, al Shabaab in a radio message denounced Somalia's new president, who holds dual U.S. and Somali citizenship, as an "evil-minded" "apostate" whom Somalis should not support. Bonnie Kristian

February 19, 2017
Rep. Earl Blumenauer/Screenshot

A bipartisan group of lawmakers — Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), and Don Young (R-Alaska) — this week announced the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The group is the first of its kind, devoted to prodding the federal government to catch up with the move toward legalization and decriminalization of marijuana at the state and local level. Notably, all four representatives hail from states that have already made pot legal for recreational use.

"The federal government's decades-long approach to marijuana is a colossal, cruel joke, and most Americans know it," Rohrabacher said in a press release introducing the caucus. "Not only have incalculable amounts of taxpayers' dollars been wasted, but countless lives have been unnecessarily disrupted and even ruined by misguided law enforcement."

Though the caucus did not spell out particular policy goals, its members indicated a willingness to fight any Trump team moves toward a more aggressive drug war. "I'm very happy with the idea that if we have to we'll bump heads with the attorney general," Young said of new Attorney General Jess Sessions, a die-hard drug warrior. Rohrabacher was more blunt: "The Trump administration should and will get the word that things have changed in the countryside, and they better not just be stuck in the '50s and '60s," he said. Bonnie Kristian

February 19, 2017

In an interview on ABC's This Week Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) strongly opposed former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton as a potential replacement for Michael Flynn, who recently resigned from his post as national security adviser.

"I think the problem with John Bolton is he disagrees with President Trump's foreign policy," Paul said. "He would be closer to John McCain's foreign policy. John Bolton still believes the Iraq War was a good idea. He still believes regime change was a good idea. He still believes that nation building is a good idea," the senator continued. "My fear is that secret wars would be developing around the globe, and so I think he'd be a bad choice." McCain, Paul said in the same interview, was likewise wrong on Iraq and would lead the U.S. into "perpetual war" were he in charge.

Bolton's name was previously floated for secretary of state or deputy secretary of state, possibilities Paul rejected in equally vehement terms, casting a Bolton hire as a regressive betrayal of Trump voters. One of Trump's best attributes is "his opposition to the Iraq war and regime change," Paul wrote in a November op-ed, while "Bolton was one of the loudest advocates of overthrowing Saddam Hussein and still stupefyingly insists it was the right call 13 years later." Watch his comments on ABC below. Bonnie Kristian

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