BREAKING NEWS: Trump Removes Anthony Scaramucci From Communications Director Role By MAGGIE HABERMAN, MICHAEL D. SHEAR and GLENN THRUSHJULY 31, 2017

Anthony Scaramucci spoke outside of the White House last week. Tom Brenner/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump has decided to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his position as communications director, three people close to the decision said Monday, relieving him just days after Mr. Scaramucci unloaded a crude verbal tirade against other senior members of the president’s senior staff.

Mr. Scaramucci’s abrupt removal came just 10 days after the wealthy New York financier was brought on to the West Wing staff, a move that convulsed an already chaotic White House and led to the departures of Sean Spicer, the former press secretary, and Reince Priebus, the president’s first chief of staff.

The decision to remove Mr. Scaramucci, who had boasted about reporting directly to the president not the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, came at Mr. Kelly’s request, the people said. Mr. Kelly made clear to members of the White House staff at a meeting Monday morning that he is in charge.

It was not clear whether Mr. Scaramucci will remain employed at the White House in another position or will leave altogether.

Bill Browder’s Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Could Explain Anthony Scaramucci’s Bizarre Behaviour 31/07/2017 10:31


In his first week on the job, Anthony ‘The Mooch’ Scaramucci grabbed headlinesaround the world by swearing like a trooper and saying things like this about his new colleagues…

Anthony Scaramucci told @RyanLizza that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention: 

— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) 04:30 – 28 Jul 2017

The new White House Communications Director was so busy causing a scene he even reportedly missed the birth of his baby son on Monday, congratulating his recently-estranged wife by text message.

Whilst barely any type of behaviour from the Trump administration surprises anymore, it’s worth asking if The Mooch’s outbursts were spontaneous or designed to distract from something else.

On Wednesday 26th July, financier Bill Browder was due to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

LEON NEAL via Getty Images
Bill Browder.

In pre-prepared remarks published by The Atlantic, he said: “I hope that my story will help you understand the methods of Russian operatives in Washington and how they use US enablers to achieve major foreign policy goals without disclosing those interests.”

On the same day Browder was due to testify, President Trump announced, seemingly out of nowhere, that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in “any capacity” in the US military.

Browder’s testimony was then postponed to the next day – the same day The Mooch made headlines when his expletive-ridden tirade was published.

Browder’s testimony, which received relatively little coverage, is extraordinary with a senator calling it one of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s “most important” hearings.

In it he describes a Russian system of government that operates in the shadows using corruption, blackmail, torture and murder – all led by Vladimir Putin.

Browder said: “Effectively the moment that you enter into their world, you become theirs.”

Browder was a very successful businessman operating in Russia and was on friendly terms with Putin but this all changed when he and his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, uncovered evidence of a huge $230 million corruption scandal.

The pair reported it to the Russian authorities: “And we waited for the good guys to get the bad guys.

“It turned out that in Putin’s Russia, there are no good guys.”

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30 Unforgettably Sweet Moments Between Animal Moms and Babies – By Casey Smith PUBLISHED JULY 31, 2017

These photographs of nursing animals will warm your heart.

From a polar bear and her cubs in Canada to a dolphin and her calf in Japan, these animal moms are there to help when babies get hungry.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of World Breastfeeding Week, we’ve collected incredible photos of 30 different animals nursing their offspring. World Breastfeeding Week is recognized every year from August 1 to 7 to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

Sneak a peek at these photos of animal mothers and their kin in these National Geographic Creative photos, which showcase the unique work of award-winning photographers and cinematographers.

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Darpa Wants to Build a BS Detector for Science – ADAM ROGERS SCIENCE 07.30.17

Getty Images

Adam Russell, an anthropologist and program manager at the Department of Defense’s mad-science division Darpa, laughs at the suggestion that he is trying to build a real, live, bullshit detector. But he doesn’t really seem to think it’s funny. The quite serious call for proposals Russell just sent out on Darpa stationery asks people—anyone! Even you!—for ways to determine what findings from the social and behavioral sciences are actually, you know, true. Or in his construction: “credible.”

Even for Darpa, that’s a big ask. The DoD has plenty of good reasons to want to know what social science to believe. But plenty more is at stake here. Darpa’s asking for a system that can solve one of the most urgent philosophical problems of our time: How do you know what’s true when science, the news, and social media all struggle with errors, advertising, propaganda, and lies?

Take a scientific claim. Do some kind of operation on it. Determine whether the claim is right enough to act on. So … a bullshit detector?

“I wouldn’t characterize it that way, and I think it’s important not to,” Russell says. He doesn’t want to contribute to cynicism that lets people think if scientists admit uncertainty, that means they can’t be trusted. “I have a deep faith that there is real science. It’s not that we know nothing about the world.” Science is still the best way of knowing stuff. Darpa just wants to know what stuff science is really sure about, and how it knows it. And how it knows it knows it.

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Several Countries Reject Venezuela’s Election To Rewrite Constitution – Emma Bowman July 30, 201711:21 PM ET

Members of Argentina’s Venezuelan community protest against the election for a constituent assembly on Sunday, in Buenos Aires, as Venezuela holds the controversial vote. | Alejandro Pagni/AFP/Getty Images

Months of opposition to President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to strengthen his party’s power has resulted in more fatal clashes on the day of the election.

Citing Venezuela’s chief prosecutor’s office, the Associated Press reports 10 people were killed in Sunday’s unrest.

“Seven police officers were wounded when an explosion went off as they drove past piles of trash that had been used to blockade a street in an opposition stronghold in eastern Caracas,” the AP says.

At least two of the dead were teenagers, reports NPR’s Philip Reeves.

The vote is to create the National Constituent Assembly, composed of new delegates who will rewrite Venezuela’s Constitution. As NPR has reported, that rewrite would have the power to dissolve the National Assembly, an opposition-heavy body of lawmakers.

Multiple media reports and social media said polling places were near empty in the Caracas, the Venezuelan capital.

Opposition parties, who boycotted the vote, see the move as a step towards dictatorship, NPR’s Reeves says. So does much of Venezuela’s public, who’ve long expressed no appetite for the new assembly.

Two weeks before Sunday’s official vote, opposition activists held a symbolic referendum: 98 percent of voters rejected Maduro’s call to rewrite the 18-year-old constitution.

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2017 is so far the second-hottest year on record thanks to global warming – Dana Nuccitelli Monday 31 July 2017 06.00 EDT

View of the cracked riverbed scorched by heat waves at the Nanchang section of the Ganjiang river in Nanchang city, east China’s Jiangxi province.
View of the cracked riverbed scorched by heat waves at the Nanchang section of the Ganjiang river in Nanchang city, east China’s Jiangxi province. Photograph: Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock

With the first six months of 2017 in the books, average global surface temperatures so far this year are 0.94°C above the 1950–1980 average, according to NASA. That makes 2017 the second-hottest first six calendar months on record, behind only 2016.

That’s remarkable because 2017 hasn’t had the warming influence of an El Niño event. El Niños bring warm ocean water to the surface, temporarily causing average global surface temperatures to rise. 2016 – including the first six months of the year – was influenced by one of the strongest El Niño events on record.

Reality has debunked the ‘warming stopped’ myth

For a long time one of the favorite climate denier myths involved claiming that we hadn’t seen any global surface warming since 1998. That myth has fallen by the wayside since 2014, 2015, and 2016 each broke the global surface temperature records previously set in 2010 and 2005 (which were also both hotter than 1998). Yet the myth persisted for years because 1998 was anomalously hot due to the monster El Niño event that year, which meant that global temperatures weren’t much hotter than 1998 until 2014 to today.

Now the first six months of 2017 have been 0.3°C hotter than 1998, despite the former having no El Niño warming influence and the latter being amplified by a monster El Niño. In 1998, there was also more solar energy reaching Earth than there has been in 2017.

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The Congressional Apprentice – By Jeff Bergner July 31, 2017

Within 100 days of his inauguration as U.S. president, Donald Trump had concluded that the U.S. legislative process is “a very tough system.” He is hardly the first occupant of the Oval Office to arrive at that judgment. Every new president finds interaction with Congress more difficult than expected. But what is challenging for any president was bound to be even more so for Trump—especially given the political climate in the United States today.

Trump ascended to the highest office in the land with no previous political experience, few settled policy views, and a combative style that had created enemies in quarters not usual for political leaders. With transactional instincts honed by decades in the business world, Trump has an approach that is characterized by speed and finality—hardly the hallmarks of the U.S. Congress. Instead of one place or person for a president to work with, there are two houses and two political parties, several dozen committees, various informal voting blocs, and a range of quasi-congressional bodies such as the Congressional Budget Office. A deal struck with one group must wend its way through the rest of the legislative process. It might change significantly in the process, as in the case of current Republican health-care legislation, which took several forms in the House of Representatives, a brand new form in the Senate, and a yet-to-be-determined form if there is ever a House-Senate conference. Or it might die altogether, as in the case of the 2013 immigration-reform legislation, which passed in the Senate but died in the House.

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