Russia Today reporter resigns over Flight 17 coverage, says station's number one rule is 'it is always Ukraine's fault'
A Russia Today reported based in London resigned with immediate effect Friday morning due to the state-backed channel's "disrespect for the facts," she told the UK's Press Gazette. Sara Firth, who had been with the station for five years, said RT's coverage of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 — which was shot down over Ukrainian airspace by an anti-air missile likely obtained from Russia, killing 295 civilians — was the "straw that broke the camel's back."
Firth spent Friday tweeting, re-tweeting, and responding with surprising honesty to unflattering truths about Russia Today before revealing that she had resigned. Her tweets included the fact that the station's number one rule is that it is "always Ukraine's fault," and she even refuted one user's attempts to compliment her, insisting that because she was being paid by a government-funded station, she had to "always obey."
RT style guide Rule 1: It is ALWAYS *Ukraine's fault (*add name as applicable)
— Sara Firth (@Sara__Firth) July 18, 2014
— Sara Firth (@Sara__Firth) July 18, 2014
Firth's tweets were so shocking that one user thought her account had been hacked.
Firth also told BuzzFeed that when she went to the newsroom after the plane went down yesterday, she "saw how we were covering it already and I just knew I had to go. It was a total disregard to the facts... I couldn't do it any more. Every single day we're lying and finding sexier ways to do it." Kimberly Alters
At the age of eight, Sophia Spencer has done something that most scientists only dream of: she co-authored a paper that was published this month in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.
Spencer, who lives in Canada, loves bugs — snails, slugs, caterpillars, and her personal favorite, grasshoppers. When the kids at school started making fun of her because they thought it was weird for her to be so interested in bugs, Spencer's mom wrote a letter to the Entomological Society of Canada, asking if they could share any words of encouragement, Quartz reports. After the request was tweeted out, support started flooding in for Spencer, and Morgan Jackson, an entomologist at the University of Guelph Insect Collection, decided to publish a paper on the importance of social media making science accessible to a greater audience, and asked Spencer to be his co-author.
Jackson analyzed engagement and the topics that were brought up, like getting more women involved in STEM, while Spencer wrote about her love of insects and what it was like to speak with entomologists. The tide has turned at school, Spencer said, and now the kids think bugs are cool and they use her microscope to get a closer look. "If somebody said bugs weren't for girls, I would be really mad at them," she said. "I think anything can be for anybody, including bugs." Catherine Garcia
Attorneys for first lady Melania Trump have warned the Americki Institut in Croatia to stop using her image on their billboard, next to the words, "Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English."
Her lawyers said they are ready to sue the English-language school if they don't take down the billboards in Zagreb, which feature a painting of Trump in front of a microphone, within 24 hours, the BBC reports. The school's founder, Brett Campbell, told a Croatian publication all he is trying to do is emphasize the fact that "knowledge is essential for international success" and "if you are well-versed in English, in these markets you can go very far. And we can help you."
Trump is multi-lingual, speaking French, Italian, and German in addition to her native language of Slovenian and English. Since becoming first lady, her attorneys have gone after several companies for using her likeness without permission, including a honey business in Slovenia that was told they cannot use the name "Melania" on their labels. Catherine Garcia
A spokesman for President Trump's onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Tuesday if reports are correct that Manafort was wiretapped by federal investigators as part of a probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, there should be an "immediate investigation" into the leak by the Department of Justice's Inspector General.
"It is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant, regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerged," Jason Maloni said in a statement. Manafort is requesting the Department of Justice "release any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ — there is nothing there." CNN reported Monday that Manafort was wiretapped before Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to take over the FBI's Russia investigation, and The New York Times reported that Manafort was told by prosecutors they plan to indict him. Catherine Garcia
Donations to President Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee are going towards paying off Trump's Russia probe legal bills, Reuters reported Tuesday. While it's legal for campaign funds to be used "to pay legal bills arising from being a candidate or elected official," Reuters reported that Trump "would be the first U.S. president in the modern campaign finance era to use such funds to cover the costs of responding to a criminal probe."
Reuters was not able to determine how much campaign cash Trump has spent so far on his team of lawyers, who are working on his behalf in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russia's election meddling and the Trump campaign's potential ties to it. However, one person familiar with the matter told Reuters that the first of his payments would be disclosed in public filings. The RNC is slated to release reports on its August spending Wednesday, and the Trump campaign's will be out in a month, on Oct. 15.
Either White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had a bad headache on Tuesday, or President Trump's debut address before the United Nations General Assembly was giving him one. While Trump was calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man," threatening to "totally destroy" North Korea, and informing world leaders that some countries, "in fact, are going to hell," Kelly sat beside first lady Melania Trump with his head in his hands and his eyes on the ground.
John Kelly apparently went through some sort of existential crisis during Trump's UN speech. pic.twitter.com/v0JUz21klN
— Kyle Feldscher (@Kyle_Feldscher) September 19, 2017
Another notable reaction was displayed by representatives from Zimbabwe, who looked equal parts amused, concerned, and sleepy. Becca Stanek
— Mike Giannoni (@mikegiannoni) September 19, 2017
Mexico was struck by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake with an epicenter about 70 miles south of Mexico City on Tuesday, just days after the nation was hit by its biggest earthquake in centuries, on Sept. 8, The Associated Press reports. Early photos show areas where buildings have collapsed and people milling in the streets, afraid to go back into their homes or offices in case of aftershocks.
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) September 19, 2017
El edificio de Álvaro Obregón 286, en la Condesa, se colapsó. Hay persona heridas. Ya hay cuerpos de rescate en el sitio pic.twitter.com/VMHbZ1FObt
— BuzzFeed News México (@BuzzFeedNewsMex) September 19, 2017
Mexico City after earthquake. pic.twitter.com/qd3VeLslAf
— Jorge Guajardo (@jorge_guajardo) September 19, 2017
Mexico City shaking pretty strongly right now. Earthquake
— David Luhnow (@davidluhnow) September 19, 2017
"In the neighborhood of Roma Norte, an entire office building collapsed," The New York Times writes. "Rescue efforts at the offices were getting underway to save people trapped in the rubble. Several people suffered injuries and were quickly whisked away in ambulances. Others lay on the ground covered in dust."
Tuesday's earthquake coincidentally falls on the 32nd anniversary of a disastrous 1985 earthquake in Mexico City that left at least 5,000 people dead. That earthquake was an 8.0 on the Richter magnitude scale. The Sept. 8 earthquake, off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico, registered as an 8.1 and killed at least 98 people. Jeva Lange
Lindsey Graham insists his health-care bill is the only thing standing between America and socialism
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday painted a stark dichotomy between Americans' health-care prospects as he continued to rally support for his Graham-Cassidy bill. "Here's the choice for America: socialism or federalism," Graham said. He warned that his ObamaCare repeal bill is "the only process available to stop a march toward socialism," which is apparently his word for Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) single-payer health-care bill.
Graham explained that with his health-care bill he's "trying to take power and money in Washington and send it back closer to the patient." "ObamaCare is failing for a reason: It's a bad idea. State control of health care will work because the people in charge will be accountable to you, unlike ObamaCare where the person in charge could give a damn of what you think," Graham said.
While Graham maintained that he's "never felt better where we're at," CNBC's John Harwood noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) remained "notably non-committal" about whether the bill will come to the floor for a vote by Sept. 30 — Republicans' deadline for passing the bill with a simple majority vote. After a GOP lunch spent chatting about the Graham-Cassidy bill, McConnell did say that there's "lots of interest" in the caucus. Becca Stanek