The Daily Moth 7-31-2018

August 1, 2018

LeBron James Opens Public School for At-Risk Youth in Akron; North Korea Reportedly Building ICBM Missiles; 3D Printed Guns To Be Available, Several States Move To Block Them; Afghan Man from Sweden Plane Protest Was Jailed for Assault; Paul Manafort Trial Starts; American Cyclists Among Four Killed in Possible Terror Attack in Tajikistan

Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, July 31. Ready for news?




LeBron James Opens Public School for At-Risk Youth in Akron


Basketball superstar LeBron James has opened a new public school for at-risk children in his hometown, Akron, Ohio.


The school’s name is “I Promise School” and it has 240 students in the third and fourth grade. Classes started yesterday.


LeBron did this through his LeBron James Family Foundation, working with the Akron school board since last fall.


LeBron was the primary donor to fund the school, while the school board was responsible for the curriculum and educational standards.


The school will have programs to provide support to the parents of the students, who might be struggling to pay the bills.


The school plans to expand to a 1st through 8th grade program by 2022. Those who graduate will have free tuition at the University of Akron.


It’s not the first time LeBron has supported children’s education — his Foundation has committed to paying for more than 1,000 children to go to college.


LeBron will be with the LA Lakers team this year, but he said in a speech that Akron is always home for him, always. He said us as adults have a responsibility to not let these kids down.


In separate but related news, LeBron criticized President Trump by saying he is dividing us and using sports to do this. LeBron said Trump’s focus on the NFL kneeling controversy caused a “wedge.”


LeBron said he couldn’t relate to this because sports allowed him to meet a white person for the first time and become friends — he said sports brings people together.  


When a reporter asked him if he would sit down with Trump, he said he would never do that, but he would sit down with Barack.




North Korea Reportedly Building ICBM Missiles


The Washington Post reported that there are signs of North Korea building new missiles at the same factory where previous long-range intercontinental ballistic (ICBM) missiles were made.


There are satellite photos from recent weeks that shows activity, vehicles coming and going. It is possible there are people working on one or two ICBM missiles inside. The newspaper got the information from U.S. spy sources.


There was a recent report that North Korea was still working in an uranium-enrichment facility.  


Sec. of State Mike Pompeo did confirm that North Korea continues to produce fissile material — which is “bomb fuel” for nuclear weapons.


Pompeo said there is a complex negotiation and that the U.S. is patient with persuading North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons.


We remember the summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June. Trump said North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat. Kim said his country would work towards denuclearization.


North Korea did take apart a missile launching station after the summit.


But with the reports of North Korea’s recent missile activity, it shows there are still difficult negotiations and that North Korea isn’t quickly bending to Trump’s will.




3D Printed Guns To Be Available, Several States Move To Block Them


Starting tomorrow, Americans will officially be able to make 3D printed guns at home and assemble it with other parts to make guns. But over 20 states are trying to block this.


An organization, Defense Distributed (DD), has a website where you can download files to provide instructions for 3D printers to create gun parts using hard plastic. DD also sells a milling machine and other parts that you can buy and assemble to make a complete gun that you can fire.


The guns would have no serial number on it, which makes them untraceable. DD calls them “ghost guns.” They would be invisible, the government will not know if you have a gun or not.


Now I’ll give some background information.


DD is based in Austin, Texas. They started the concept of a 3D printed gun several years ago, but was blocked by the U.S. government, specifically the State Department, in 2015. Their website shut down, but the files have been available on the internet all this time.


DD’s founder, Cody Wilson, sued the government saying he didn’t sell guns, that he just distributed the computer code/files. He won last month when the government, the Trump administration, reached a settlement with him and paid his legal fees, about $40,000. This allowed him to proceed.


Now DD will make the files officially public tomorrow, but it is said they already released some files on Friday and thousands of people have downloaded it. Tomorrow is when it is official.


Now 21 states hope to block this, sending letters to Trump officials. Eight states and D.C. have sued the government to not allow this. They are concerned about public safety.


Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Los Angeles were successful in getting a court order to block people from those areas from accessing DD’s website, but DD said they would fight back.


President Trump tweeted today that he was looking into 3-D plastic guns being sold to the public. He said it doesn’t seem to make sense and that he has spoke with the NRA. Some people were confused on his statement, because his administration was the one who approved this.  


Democratic senators say Trump can stop this and said he is responsible for every plastic gun in our country, that blood will be on his hands.


Some people are not concerned about bad people, criminals — because the 3D printer is expensive, the guns do break apart after firing rounds, and that “bad people” can buy or find normal guns easily.


If you want to understand more about 3D printed guns and about Cody Wilson, you can watch a VICE News documentary from 2013. Link is in transcript.






Afghan Man from Sweden Plane Protest Was Jailed for Assault


Here is an update on the Swedish woman who protested on Facebook Live a 52-year old Afghan man’s supposed deportation on a plane last week — remember this?


Fox News reported today that the Afghan man was imprisoned in Sweden for assault and that his application for asylum in Sweden was rejected by the Swedish government.


A Finland newspaper reported the same thing, that he was imprisoned.


The Afghan man was supposed to be deported but he was taken off the plane, his stay in Sweden is delayed. He will stay there longer because of the Swedish woman’s protest. But Swedish authorities say he will be deported in the future.


The Swedish woman, Elin Ersson, is an activist and bought the ticket specifically to protest the deportation. She thought there would be a 26-year old Afghan man on the plane, but he was not there. But there was the 52-year old man, and Elin protested on Facebook wanting to block it, saying if he was deported, he would die. She said Afghanistan was a dangerous country. She said she wanted to change the Swedish government’s rules. She did actually “save” the Afghan man by extending his stay.  


Many applauded Elin and the protest sparked a discussion on the countries’ policies towards refugees.


With this new information that he was jailed, Fox News reached out to Elin, but she did not respond for a comment.


What do you think? Does this change anything? Or does the same principle apply?




Paul Manafort Trial Starts


Today is the first day of Paul Manafort’s trial on 18 federal charges of tax and bank fraud. The trial is in Alexandria, Virginia and is expected to last three weeks. The jury has 6 men and 6 women.


Manafort is accused of earning tens of millions of dollars from several years of work with Ukrainian government leaders who supported Russia. His work was from 2006 to 2015. It is said he did not register as a foreign agent to conceal this, and that he moved the money to offshore bank accounts outside of the U.S. to avoid paying taxes.

He is also accused of defrauding U.S. banks to get loans of millions of dollars after his Ukraine work ended. Those are the two things.


Manafort used to be Trump’s presidential campaign manager.


This will be the first trial related with special counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation. Many consider this a “test” for Mueller. His team plans to call 35 witnesses.


Manafort’s lawyers have said the possible crimes shouldn’t be a part of Mueller’s investigation. They said that Mueller went over his scope of authority in the investigation, that he went too far.


But the judge, T.S. Ellis III, allowed Mueller to charge him because he followed the money that was paid by pro-Russian officials, which made it a part of “Russia.”


Yet, the judge did say previously that he knew Mueller’s team didn’t care about Manafort’s fraud, that they only wanted information that would be used against Trump to lead to his prosecution or impeachment or whatever, saying they wanted to make Manafort “sing.”  


Now if Manafort is convicted, he faces potential life in prison because he is 69 years old. But President Trump could pardon him.




American Cyclists Among Four Killed in Possible Terror Attack in Tajikistan


In Tajikistan, four tourists riding on bicycles were killed by a group of men. Two were American, one was from Switzerland, and the fourth from the Netherlands.


This happened on the Pamir Highway on July 29, two days ago. A car rammed into a group of seven foreign cyclists, then the driver and other men inside the car got out and stabbed the cyclists with knives. Four died and three were injured.


The U.S. Embassy and State Department confirmed the deaths, saying it was an attack. They did not release the victims’ identities because of privacy concerns.


Tajik officials said they have killed four of the suspects and arrested five people. They blame a banned organization, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, for the attack, based on a confession of one of the suspects. They say the men were trained in Iran and planned to escape to Afghanistan.


But ISIS said they are responsible and released a video of five men who were “ISIS soldiers,” saying they did it. In the video, the five men pledges support to ISIS but does not talk about planning an attack, so there are questions and confusion on if the five men are actually connected or not.


I reached out to a Deaf couple who are traveling in Tajikistan — Gabriel Pauline and Violet Blake. I asked them if they were okay and on their thoughts on the attack.


Gabriel said they are baffled about the attack, that they have met many cyclists on the Pamir highway and that they consider it a world-class journey. They said they were sad it happened. They said that people in Tajikistan are well known for their hospitality.




That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!


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