Remains of U.S. Soldiers Who Served in Korean War Headed to Hawaii; Passenger Plane Crashes In Mexico, No Deaths; President Trump Tells Sessions To Shut Down Mueller Russia Probe; Updates on Paul Manafort Trial; Former Waitress Pays Back Money She Stole From Restaurant Decades Ago; Federal Judge Blocks Release of 3D-Printed Gun Blueprints; News Briefs On The 2018 Midterm Elections
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, August 1. Ready for news?
Remains of U.S. Soldiers Who Served in Korean War Headed to Hawaii
Last Friday, North Korea handed 55 boxes of human remains (bones) from the 1950-1953 Korean War to Americans, saying they were American soldiers who died there.
The boxes were placed in a U.S. military aircraft and transported to a U.S. base in South Korea. The remains were moved to full-sized caskets with blue U.N. flags covering them in a show of honor.
Today there was another formal ceremony to honor them and move them to two planes and now they are on their way to Hawaii for analysis and identification. Vice President Pence will be in Hawaii when the plane arrives.
There are 7,700 U.S. soldiers who are missing from the Korean War, and it is thought that over 5,000 of them are still in North Korea.
The U.S. military’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency will look at the remains and extract DNA from it, then try to match it with their family members to identify them. They will also look at any pieces of uniforms, dog tags, or wedding rings.
Out of the 55 boxes, there was only one dog tag. It might take several months or years to identify them.
This cooperation between North Korea and the U.S. was one of the agreements from the Trump-Kim summit.
Passenger Plane Crashes In Mexico, No Deaths
In Durango, Mexico — an Aeromexico passenger jet crashed shortly after takeoff from a strong wind gust.
The plane’s left wing banged to the ground, then its belly hit, both engines were ripped off and a fire started.
The plane’s escape slides were opened and all 99 passengers and four crew made it out alive. Some walked away, looking for help, or going home.
First responders rushed to the scene. There were 49 people who were transported to hospital with varying injuries, including burns. The pilot was severely injured.
The plane was completely on fire. There were at least three Americans on the plane — including a priest from Illinois.
Survivors say they were confused on why the plane was taking off because it was pouring rain. When it crashed, people were pushing at one another to get out of the plane.
Before the takeoff, during that time, there was a strong storm at the time with hail, so it is likely what caused the crash. But there could have been a mechanical failure or human error. An investigation has started.
There were 88 adults, 9 children, and 2 babies on the plane, along with two flight attendants and two pilots.
President Trump Tells Sessions To Shut Down Mueller Russia Probe
President Trump said that the Mueller Russia investigation should stop right now. He tweeted that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop the “rigged witch hunt” before it continues to stain our country.
Trump said Mueller is conflicted (that he is biased against him) and that his team, which he calls “17 Angry Democrats,” is doing his dirty work and that this is a disgrace to USA.
Trump said this tweet after tweeting criticism of a top FBI agent, Peter Strzok, who was removed from the Mueller team last year because of his texts in 2016 with another FBI employee. His texts showed he was clearly against Trump. He texted “we’ll stop” him from being President.
Strzok appeared before lawmakers who questioned him last month in a Capitol Hill hearing. Strzok said “we” didn’t refer to the FBI, that it meant the American people during the elections, that they would stop him. He also said his personal beliefs and opinions did not influence his FBI work.
Now, back to Trump’s tweet to stop the investigation -- some looked at it as inappropriate, saying it looked like he was trying to obstruct justice, that he broke the law with that tweet.
Trump’s lawyers said he didn’t make any order to the Department of Justice and was just expressing his opinions.
Updates on Paul Manafort Trial
Here are updates on the Paul Manafort trial on financial fraud charges.
Manafort’s lawyers are pointing the blame on Rick Gates, who used to be his business partner for many years.
Gates was charged with financial crimes with Manafort in October, and since then he has agreed on a plea deal to cooperate with the Mueller team to reduce his charges.
Manafort’s lawyers say Gates embezzled millions of dollars from him, and took advantage of Manafort’s trust in him.
It was previously thought Gates would testify as a witness against Manafort, but a prosecutor said Gates may or may not testify. The prosecutor said he didn’t mean he would not testify, just that the team constantly assess on how to proceed. We don’t know if he will testify or not.
The prosecutors so far are focusing on Manafort’s wealthy lifestyle, trying to show he spent a lot of money on luxury items without reporting them on tax forms, to prove that Manafort was trying to hide from the government.
Prosecutors wanted to show the jury photos of his expensive things, but the judge stopped it — saying Manafort was not on trial for having a rich lifestyle.
Another update: a FBI agent described what the early morning raid in his home last summer looked like. He said the FBI got a key and a team of 14 agents went into his condo building. They knocked on his door three times and didn’t get an answer, so they went inside and saw Manafort and his wife there.
They seized applications for several bank loans, wife transfers of millions of dollars, and bills/invoices for home improvement work at his homes. They used them as evidence against him.
President Trump tweeted support for Manafort, saying he was treated worse than Al Capone. He said his charges was a hoax. Trump complained that the FBI never told him that Manafort was under investigation.
The trial is expected to last three weeks, so there will be plenty of news from the courtroom in the coming days.
Former Waitress Pays Back Money She Stole From Restaurant Decades Ago
An owner of a Mexican restaurant in Tucson, Arizona — the El Charro Cafe — got a surprise handwritten letter and $1,000 in cash from a former waitress from long ago who admitted she stole money when she worked there.
The letter was anonymous, there was no name written on it.
The person said at the time she was a student at the University of Arizona. She said another waiter encouraged her to “forget” to ring in a few drink orders, then when customers paid for it, to pocket the cash. She said for some stupid reason, she did it.
She said she grew up in the church, she knew better, and haven’t stolen a dime before or since then.
She said she was actually a terrible waitress and the restaurant fired her. The stolen money totaled to a few hundred dollars.
She said it’s been 20 years, but she still has remorse, said that she was very sorry and offered the $1,000 in cash for repayment plus interest.
The restaurant owner, Carlotta Flores, said the letter caused some of the restaurant’s managers to cry. Carletta said she don’t know who or where the former waitress is, but she hopes she can read or see what kind of impact the letter has on her.
Carletta’s son posted the letter on Facebook.
Photo of Letter on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2v6FnIU
Federal Judge Blocks Release of 3D-Printed Gun Blueprints
A federal judge in Seattle has blocked the release of downloadable files that would allow people to make 3D-printed guns.
The blueprints/files were supposed to be released today, but it is blocked with a TRO temporary restraining order.
The federal judge said there is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way the guns can be made. He sided with the 8 states who filed a lawsuit to block the release of information.
But thousands of people have already downloaded the files, and the TSA said they have found several plastic guns at airport checkpoints.
For perspective, the TSA found almost 4,000 weapons at airport checkpoints in 2017, and almost all of them are normal weapons, but they did find some 3D printed guns.
The NRA National Rifle Association issued a statement against 3D printed guns. They said plastic guns that can’t be detected by metal detectors have been illegal for 30 years.
The case is not over, as there will be another court date on August 10.
Cody Wilson and his organization, Defense Distributed, say they will continue to fight to allow the information to be public.
News Briefs On The 2018 Midterm Elections
Here are three news briefs related to the 2018 midterm elections, which is a few months away.
The first — former President Barack Obama released a list of 81 Democrats who he is endorsing in several states. He said he would release another list of candidates he endorses.
Obama said he is proud to endorse them, saying it was a diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted group.
Obama said he will be involved in the weeks ahead leading to the November 6 elections, that he will appear at campaign events in several states.
One person Obama did not name in his endorsement is New York House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is popular with liberal Democrats and has appeared at events with Sen. Bernie Sanders. Obama didn’t mention her.
Obama did name Stacy Abrams, who is campaigning to be Georgia governor.
The second news brief — President Trump has been very active in endorsing Republican candidates for the midterm elections, tweeting names of people he supports.
Last night he was at a Florida rally and named two people he supports to be Florida governor and Florida U.S. senator — Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott.
We can expect Trump to continue to travel to various states and endorse candidates for the elections.
The third news brief — Facebook announced they have identified several FB pages and accounts that are trying to influence the 2018 elections by misleading people and causing division.
Facebooks said they have removed 32 pages that have been viewed by almost 30,000 people. The posts were about race, fascism, feminism, and wanted to encourage people to oppose Trump. The posts also planned to host events and protests, some liberal and some conservative.
Facebook said they would inform users who were exposed to the “fake pages.”
Facebook didn’t disclose who was behind this, but analysts say they look like it was done by people in Russia, saying it was similar to fake pages during the 2016 elections.
The Russian government said they were not involved with this.
[CORRECTIONS: Facebook didn’t specifically say the posts were trying to influence the election, just that it was “political activity.” The posts were seen by almost 300,000 people, not 30,000 people]
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!