Trump’s war on truth takes a dangerous turn as he attacks the media’s coronavirus coverage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

 Trump’s war on truth takes a dangerous turn as he attacks the media’s coronavirus coverage

New York (CNN Business)Since the dawn of the Trump presidency, countless experts have warned that the president’s lack of credibility would imperil the country in the event of an emergency.

With the worsening coronavirus outbreak, those fears may be coming true.
President Trump’s political allies have made overly optimistic statements only to be contradicted by the government’s top scientists and doctors. For example, Trump claimed on Monday that the coronavirus was “very much under control in the USA.” A day later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus’ spread to the US was inevitable. He said the stock market is “starting to look very good” even as the Dow was nosediving amid coronavirus anxiety.
And the president has been blaming the media for this predicament, reverting to the same tactics that he has employed ever since taking office.
On Wednesday, in a widely-criticized tweet, he claimed that CNN and MSNBC “are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible.”
He misspelled coronavirus and the typo is still visible on his Twitter profile more than eight hours later.
But misspelling the name of the virus is the least of the government’s problems. President Trump has systematically undermined trust in the media and other institutions that play important roles in public health emergencies. He has explicitly said not to trust sources that he doesn’t personally approve.
He has engaged in what several columnists have called a “war on expertise.” Scientists have been among those adversely affected. Last December an investigation by The New York Times concluded that science is “under attack” by Trump appointees.
“Trump’s disdain for science and his cuts to science and public health programs have subverted preparedness for emergencies like the coronavirus,” said Michiko Kakutani, the famous literary critic and author of “The Death of Truth.”
Trump has also contradicted accurate information from government agencies, like the National Weather Service, as when he insisted that Alabama was threatened by a hurricane last year. The so-called Sharpiegate caused anger and consternation inside the federal agencies responsible for weather forecasting.
Now health agencies like the CDC are in the spotlight. High-minded warnings about breakdowns in trust and the death of truth have more impact when deaths from the coronavirus are being reported every day.
“When you learn you have a dangerous disease, you need to be able to trust your doctor. When entire populations face a dangerous public health crisis, they need to be able to trust their governments,” Dr. Leana S. Wen, a visiting professor at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last month.
That’s a problem in this environment, where trust is in short supply. Multiple polls have shown that only one in three Americans believe he is honest and trustworthy.
The President’s lies have given the public ample reason to distrust what he says — and this has negatively affected perceptions of his administration as a whole.
“This president has lied about everything from trade deficits to Russian interference in US elections. He has disparaged experts at almost every opportunity,” said Daniel W. Drezner, professor of international politics at Tuft University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and author of the forthcoming book “The Toddler in Chief.”
“At a time when people are looking to the federal government for reassurance,” Drezner said, “he will be hard-pressed to provide any.”
Ultimately, Kakutani said, Trump’s free-flowing falsehoods undermine the credibility of the government leaving the public unsure of who or what to trust.
“Truth and an informed public are essential to the functioning of a democracy — and essential, too, for a practical and reasoned response to an emergency,” she said.

Author warns that Trump ‘will not exit quietly,’ even if defeated or impeached

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWS)

 

‘Anonymous’ author warns that Trump ‘will not exit quietly,’ even if defeated or impeached

USA TODAY

The anonymous official who has written a scathing account of the presidency of Donald Trump suggests the president might refuse to leave office even if convicted in impeachment hearings or defeated narrowly in the 2020 election – and says Trump is preparing his followers to see either outcome as a “coup” that could warrant resistance.

“He will not exit quietly – or easily,” the author, self-described as a senior administration official, writes in A Warning, a book that builds on an explosive op-ed by the same unnamed author last year. USA TODAY obtained an early copy of the book.

“It is why at many turns he suggests ‘coups’ are afoot and a ‘civil war’ is in the offing. He is already seeding the narrative for his followers – a narrative that could end tragically.”

From ‘Anonymous’:Read key excerpts from inside Trump White House on Putin, Pence, Hillary

As the House of Representatives prepares to open public impeachment hearings Wednesday, the book also says that Trump ordered aides more than a year ago to pursue a “deliberate and coordinated campaign” to obstruct an impeachment inquiry and other congressional investigations. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has said he is considering obstruction of Congress as a possible Article of Impeachment.

The book’s author is identified only as “a senior official in the Trump administration,” and its forthcoming publication has created a firestorm over both its depiction of a dysfunctional president and the decision by the writer to remain anonymous.

Cover of "A Warning" by an anonymous senior Trump administration official.

“The coward who wrote this book didn’t put their name on it because it is nothing but lies,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

Many of the disclosures echo news stories that have portrayed the president as impulsive, sometimes uninformed and regularly willing to defy established norms. There is already no shortage of books by Trump critics, including former FBI director James Comey and others who have served in his administration, that raise questions about the president’s fitness for office.

But The New York Times op-ed in 2018 and the new book, being published next Tuesday by Twelve, have commanded enormous attention because the author had an inside view, often participating in small White House meetings where crucial decisions were made.

The author portrays himself or herself as sharing some policy views with Trump and initially having a positive if wary view of the possibilities of his presidency.

The author says the intended audience for A Warning isn’t those who closely follow politics but rather those who don’t, particularly voters from across the country who were drawn in 2016 to Trump’s promise to shake up the establishment.

Dropping Pence from the ticket?

The book says that Trump “on more than one occasion” discussed with staffers the possibility of dropping Vice President Mike Pence before the 2020 election.

“Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley was under active consideration to step in as vice president, which she did not discourage at first,” the author writes, saying some advisers argued that putting Haley on the ticket would help the president bolster his support among female voters.

In an interview Friday with USA TODAY, Nikki Haley dismissed out of hand the suggestion that she might replace Pence. In her new book, With All Due Respect, Haley offers a generally positive portrait of Trump, and the president rewarded her with a friendly tweet urging his millions of followers to buy a copy.

Pathway of impeachment:How it works, where we are

“Anonymous” depicts Trump as impatient, immoral, cruel, even dangerous as he rejects the limits placed on presidents by Congress and the courts.

As the 2018 midterm elections approached, the book says, the White House counsel’s office began to develop a “contingency plan” to shield the administration if Democrats gained control of Congress, and with that the ability to launch investigations and issue subpoenas. New lawyers were hired and internal procedures revamped, the author writes.

“The goal wasn’t just to prepare for a barrage of legislative requests,” the book says. “It was a concerted attempt to fend off congressional oversight. When Democrats finally took the House, the unspoken administration policy toward Capitol Hill became: Give as little as possible, wait as long as possible. Even routine inquiries are now routed to the lawyers, who have found unique ways to say “We can’t right now,” “Give us a few months,” “We’re going to need to put you on hold,” “Probably not,” “No,” and “Not a chance in hell.”

Trump impeachment inquiry:Early findings and how Republicans are opposing them

The author says the administration’s refusal to comply with congressional requests and even subpoenas “go beyond standard practice and have turned into a full block-and-tackle exercise against congressional investigators across an array of Trump administration controversies.”

On the president’s actions with Ukraine, now the heart of the impeachment inquiry, the author writes that the idea Trump was trying to battle corruption abroad – rather than gain some partisan political advantage at home – was “barely believable to anyone around him.”

But the book provides no significant new information or insights into that episode.

‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards

The author’s agent, Matt Latimer, said the author didn’t take an advance payment for the book and plans to donate a substantial amount of the royalties to nonprofit organizations that encourage government accountability and an independent press.

Among other allegations, the book says:

  • Several top advisers and Cabinet-level officials last year discussed a mass resignation, “a midnight self-massacre,” intended to call attention to what they saw as Trump’s questionable and even corrupt behavior. “The idea was abandoned out of fear that it would make a bad situation worse.”
  • If a majority of the Cabinet called for Trump’s removal under the rules of the 25th Amendment, Pence would have been willing to go along with them. But the author provides no evidence to back up that assertion, and Pence in recent days has strongly denied it.
  • Trump told officials that, if they took illegal actions on his behalf, he would give them presidential pardons. “To Donald Trump, these are unlimited ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards on a Monopoly board.”
  • Trump was “particularly frustrated that the Justice Department hasn’t done more to harass the Clintons.” The president suggested to his first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, that he might “un-recuse” himself from the Mueller inquiry into Russian election interference, presumably so he would feel free to order a more aggressive inquiry into Trump’s 2016 opponent. “You’d be a hero,” the president told him.

The Real Reason Trump Withheld Military To UKraine: Is A Favor To Putin?

The Real Reason Trump Withheld Military Aid To UKraine Is A Favor To Putin?

 

This is just an oped on my part, I am only giving you my opinion about this issue. This is something that I have thought to be the truth ever sense the Ukraine story broke. As most of the world knows President Putin of Russia took the State of Crimea by military force from the country of UKraine a few years ago and Russian forces have been at war with the nation of UKraine in the east of that country ever sense. So, of course Mr. Putin does not want the US selling military arms to the nation of UKraine because those weapons are being used against his Russian soldiers on the battle field. I simply believe that it only makes sense that Mr. Putin wanted Mr. Trump to freeze that weapons sale to the Ukrainian government. As most of the world realizes, including the Republicans in the US Congress and Senate, Mr. Trump is nothing but a Putin Patsy. Now because of all of Mr. Trumps habitual lying he has found himself on the impeachment hot seat, it isn’t like he can actually tell the truth about his collusion with the Russian government to undermine an American Ally. These are just my thoughts, right, wrong or only somewhat correct, or not. What are you thoughts on this matter?

Trump administration opposes bill meant to deter Russia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump administration opposes bill meant to deter Russia

(CNN)The Trump administration is pushing back on a wide-ranging piece of legislation meant to deter and punish Russian aggression and its interference in the 2016 election.

In a 22-page letter to Congress dated Tuesday, a senior State Department official outlined a series of concerns about the bill, calling it “unnecessary” and in need of “significant changes.”
“The Administration shares the goal of deterring and countering Russian subversion and aggression,” Bureau of Legislative Affairs Assistant Secretary Mary Elizabeth Taylor wrote in the letter, which was obtained by CNN. However, she said the administration “strongly opposes” the bill in its current form.
The Daily Beast was the first to report on the contents of the letter, sent exactly a week after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
Russia sanctions have been an ongoing source of contention between the Trump White House and Congress, where there has been strong bipartisan support for measures to punish Moscow since its 2014 annexation of Crimea. The US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to bolster Trump, and former and current administration officials’ warnings that it will meddle again in 2020, have lent urgency to congressional efforts.
The President, however, has consistently urged better relations with Russia and displayed an affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The State Department did not immediately reply to a request for comment about the letter, which said the administration opposes the bill because it “risks crippling the global energy, commodities, financial and other markets.”
A bipartisan group of senators, including Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, introduced the “DASKA” bill in February. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday advanced the bill to the full Senate for a vote that’s not expected until next year.
On Wednesday, Graham said he was “incredibly pleased with the overwhelming bipartisan support for my legislation.”
“This strong vote indicates an overwhelming desire by the Senate as a whole to push back against Russian interference in our election and Putin’s misadventures throughout the world,” Graham said, before going on to signal a willingness to make adjustments to the bill. “I am committed to working with my colleagues to improve this legislation, but it must be strong to be meaningful,” he said.

‘It must be strong’

The legislation would force the administration to assess whether Russia is a state sponsor of terror and would hammer Russia with a host of additional sanctions. It would require a two-thirds Senate vote if Trump decides to leave NATO and includes measures to crack down on Russian disinformation and cyber crimes. Additionally, it would also require a series of reports on illicit Russian activities worldwide.
In its letter, the Trump administration argued that the bill is too inflexible and “would divert resources from the ongoing aggressive targeting of Russian malign actors under existing authorities…as well as from efforts with respect to Iran, North Korea, ISIS, Venezuela, Hezbollah, counter terrorism, human rights and corruption and other (US government) priorities.”
T
he administration also claimed that it “has aggressively imposed sanctions that are targeted, tailored, and impactful to address Russian malign activities while mitigating negative effects on allies and close partners utilizing these authorities.”
Samuel Charap, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, said that no administration likes legislative sanctions out of Congress, adding that “there’s good reason for that.”
“If sanctions are about changing another state’s behavior, then the promise of sanctions relief has to be credible,” Charap said. “If it requires the approval of Congress, that limits the ability of the executive branch of government to make credible promises that it will relieve sanctions” to reward a change of behavior.
The tension between lawmakers and the White House over sanctioning Russia reflects a broader dynamic, Charap said.
“The Congress doesn’t trust the President on Russia policy… I think that’s what’s going on here,” he said.
The Trump administration has long faced criticism for its soft-handed approach to Russia. It was more than six months late in imposing legally mandated sanctions on the Kremlin for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the United Kingdom.
In his public rhetoric, Trump has largely failed to condemn Russia for its interference in the 2016 US election or for its illegal annexation of Crimea.

Breathtaking Photos of the Coldest City in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WEATHER CHANNEL)

 

Breathtaking Photos of the Coldest City in the World

By Nicole Bonaccorso

January 31 2014 10:15 AM EST

weather.com

This communist-era monument marks the record-breaking temperature of -71.2 recorded in the village in 1924. The monument reads "Oymyakon, the Pole of Cold." (Amos Chapple)
21 of 21
This communist-era monument marks the record-breaking temperature of -71.2 recorded in the village in 1924. The monument reads “Oymyakon, the Pole of Cold.” (Amos Chapple)

Next time we’re having a brutal cold snap, think of the poor souls in the coldest city on Earth. Winter temperatures in Oymyakon, Russia, average minus 50 C ( minus 58 F). The remote village is generally considered the coldest inhabited area on Earth. Oymyakon is a two-day drive from Yakutsk, the regional capital which has the lowest winter temperatures of any city in the world.

How do the locals deal with the cold? “Russki chai, literally Russian tea, which is their word for vodka,” photographer Amos Chapple told weather.com after his visit to the coldest city.

Oymyakon ironically means “unfrozen water.” This is due to the thermal spring located nearby. Originally the location was used by reindeer herders who would water their flock in the warm springs.

Oymyakon’s lowest recorded temperature was a frigid minus 71.2  C (minus 96.16 F) back in 1924. According to The Independent, wearing glasses outdoors can cause them to stick to the wearer’s face. This is just one of the more menial problems of the extremely cold weather.

Other adaptations locals have to make in their daily lives are more extreme than a short time of nearsightedness or farsightedness when stepping outside. The frozen ground makes it difficult for working indoor plumbing, so most toilets are outhouses. The bitter cold also makes it difficult to dig graves. The ground  has to be warmed with a bonfire before a funeral. Locals use heated garages for their cars. Cars left outside need to be kept running, otherwise they will not restart. Planes cannot fly into the area in the winter. And of course the risk of frostbite is great after only a few minutes in the cold.

“I was wearing thin trousers when I first stepped outside into minus 47 C,” Chapple said. “I remember feeling like the cold was physically gripping my legs, the other surprise was that occasionally my saliva would freeze into needles that would prick my lips.”

Due to the frozen ground, crops cannot be grown in Oymyakon. The population survives on mostly meats. “Yakutians love the cold food, the frozen raw Arctic fish, white salmon, whitefish, frozen raw horse liver, but they are considered to be delicacy,” local Bolot Bochkarev told weather.com. “In daily life, we like eating the soup with meat. The meat is a must. It helps our health much.”

Chapple traveled through Oymyakon and Yaktusk on a journey for interesting pictures about life in the brutally cold environment. As a photojournalist, he searches for uplifting stories around the globe. He said that the cold posed some difficulties for his photography. He said that focusing the lens would sometimes be as challenging as opening a pickle jar.

Summers, however, in Oymyakon and Yakutsk, are relatively warm, and average around the mid-60’s and 70’s, and have reached as high as 94 degrees F, according to meteorologist Jon Erdman. But the winters are long and the summers, short, and according to Bochkarev, many locals actually complain about the warmer weather.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Ukraine, Russia agree on full ceasefire in eastern Ukraine before 2019-end

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Ukraine, Russia agree on full ceasefire in eastern Ukraine before 2019-end

Xinhua
Ukraine, Russia agree on full ceasefire in eastern Ukraine before 2019-end

AFP

This handout picture released by the Ukrainian presidential press service early on December 10, 2019, shows (from left to right) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin giving a press conference after a summit on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace, in Paris.

Ukraine and Russia have agreed on a full and comprehensive implementation of a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine before the end of 2019, announced leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany on Monday evening.

“The parties commit to fully implementing the ceasefire, which will be consolidated by the implementation of all necessary ceasefire support measures, before the end of 2019,” said a joint declaration issued by French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Following the talks called Normandy Four Summit, the parties also agreed to hold another meeting in the Normandy format in the next four months, discussing “political and security conditions for local elections,” said the declaration.

Established in June 2014, the Normandy Four is a contact group for senior officials from the four countries to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine that erupted in April 2014.

Monday’s summit was the first of its kind in three years. The last was held in Berlin in 2016.

It was also the first time that Putin and Zelensky met face to face since the latter was elected president earlier this year. After the four-party talks, the two leaders had a separate one-on-one meeting.

Russian president Vladimir Putin signs law to label journalists as ‘foreign agents’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Russian president Vladimir Putin signs law to label journalists as ‘foreign agents’

Foreign agents, defined as involved in politics and receiving money from abroad, must register with the justice ministry, label publications with the tag and submit detailed paperwork or face fines.

WORLD Updated: Dec 03, 2019 06:23 IST

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Moscow
Russian legislation passed in 2012 already gave authorities the power to brand media organisations and NGOs as foreign agents, a term that has Soviet-era overtones.
Russian legislation passed in 2012 already gave authorities the power to brand media organisations and NGOs as foreign agents, a term that has Soviet-era overtones.(REUTERS FILE)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a controversial law allowing independent journalists and bloggers to be labelled as “foreign agents”, a move that critics say will violate media freedom.

Russian legislation passed in 2012 already gave authorities the power to brand media organisations and NGOs as foreign agents, a term that has Soviet-era overtones. The new law, which now extends to individuals, will come into effect immediately, according to a document published on the Russian government website.

Foreign agents, defined as involved in politics and receiving money from abroad, must register with the justice ministry, label publications with the tag and submit detailed paperwork or face fines.

Nine human rights NGOs, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, have expressed concern that the amendments may be aimed not only at journalists, but also at bloggers and internet users who benefit from scholarships, funding or revenues from a relevant media outlet.

NGOs said in a joint statement last month the law was “a further step to restrict free and independent media” and “a strong tool to silence opposition voices”.

Authors of the bill have said it is intended to “perfect” existing legislation on “foreign agents” that already covers NGOs and media organisations. Russia says it wants the law as a tit-for-tat mechanism if its journalists are defined as foreign agents in the West. Russia first passed legislation allowing media organisations to be slapped with the label in 2017, after Kremlin-funded RT television was declared a foreign agent in the United States. Russian opposition politician Alexi Navalny’s organisation has been branded a foreign agent, as has US-financed media outlet Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe and Voice of America.

The term foreign agent was used negatively during the Stalinist era in the 1970s and 1980s for opponents accused of being paid by the West.

Xi, Putin witness launching ceremony of China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Xi, Putin witness launching ceremony of China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline

Xinhua
Xi, Putin witness launching ceremony of China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline

Xinhua

The Heihe section of the east-route natural gas pipeline.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had a video call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Monday afternoon, as the two heads of state jointly witnessed the launching ceremony of the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline.

“East-route natural gas pipeline is a landmark project of China-Russia energy cooperation and a paradigm of deep convergence of both countries’ interests and win-win cooperation,” Xi told Putin via the video call in Beijing.

He congratulated the launch of the pipeline and expressed appreciation to the construction teams from both countries.

The east-route natural gas pipeline began providing China with Russian natural gas, which is scheduled to reach 5 billion cubic meters in 2020 and increase to 38 billion cubic meters annually from 2024, under a 30-year contract signed between the China National Petroleum Corp and Russian gas giant Gazprom in May 2014.

Speaking highly of the arduous efforts Chinese and Russian builders and companies have made in frozen and snow-covered land in the past five years, Xi said they have shown to the world their consummate skills and the fruitful results of China-Russia cooperation.

Xi and Putin witnessed the signing of the pipeline agreements in 2014 in Shanghai.

The launch of the pipeline is not only an important result at the current stage but also a new start for future cooperation, Xi said.

He called on both countries to make the pipeline a safe and green pipeline of development and friendship, ensure the safe operation of the pipeline and boost the sustainable development of the regions along the line.

Xi, Putin witness launching ceremony of China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline

Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping has a video call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Beijing to witness the launching ceremony of the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline, December 2, 2019.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Russia. Xi and Putin announced in June in Moscow to lift bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era.

Stressing that he and Putin agreed to continue putting bilateral ties as a priority of each other’s foreign relations and enhancing strategic coordination and cooperation, Xi called on both countries to redouble their efforts to initiate more key projects like the east-route natural gas pipeline, to boost both countries’ development and better benefit both peoples.

Putin, who made the video call from the Russian city of Sochi, said it is of great historic significance that the east-route natural gas pipeline was launched on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Russia-China diplomatic ties.

The launch has lifted bilateral strategic coordination to a new level, said Putin.

Hailing the five-year toil of construction teams from both countries on the project under extreme weather and the completion on schedule, Putin said Russia will provide 1 trillion cubic meters of natural gas to China in the next 30 years.

This is conducive to the realization of a Russia-China trade volume of 200 billion U.S. dollars in 2024, Putin said.

Russia stands ready to work with China to ensure the smooth implementation of the landmark strategic project, he said.

During the video call, China and Russia representatives at northeast China’s Heihe station and Russia’s Atamanskaya compressor station and Chayandin gas field reported in turn to the two presidents that they were ready to receive or provide natural gas. Xi and Putin then gave the go-ahead to the teams.

Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng attended the ceremony in Beijing.

The cross-border gas pipeline has a 3,000-km section in Russia and a 5,111-km stretch in China.

Mummified Pup Died in Siberia 18,000 Years Ago

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF LIVE SCIENCE)

 

Mummified Pup Died in Siberia 18,000 Years Ago … And Might Be a Wolf (or Something Else)

The pup still had its milk teeth, suggesting it was under 2 months old when it died.

The pup still had its milk teeth, suggesting it was under 2 months old when it died.
(Image: © Sergey Fedorov/The Siberian Times)

A young pup that spent 18,000 years buried in Siberian permafrost looks remarkably lifelike and pettable — for a freeze-dried mummy. From its frozen tomb, the Ice Age canine’s body emerged in near-perfect condition, retaining even the pads and nails on its small feet and plenty of hair, down to its tiny eyelashes and delicate whiskers.

The pup still had its milk teeth, suggesting it was under 2 months old when it died; The body is so well preserved that its resemblance to a wolf is clearly visible, The Siberian Times recently reported.

But is the youngster a wolf … or a dog?

Dogs are descended from wolves, and their lineage may have split from their lupine ancestors’ as early as 40,000 years ago, according to ancient DNA evidence. Scientists at the University of Stockholm’s Centre for Palaeogenetics conducted genetic tests on the Siberian pup’s remains, but they were unable to determine if the mummy represented a dog or a wolf, the Times reported.

Related: Photos: Is Ice Age Cat Mummy a Lion or a Lynx?

DNA analysis did tell the scientists that the pup was a male. They named it “Dogor” — “friend” in the Yakut language — though in English, the name references the mummy’s uncertain status: dog or … something else, according to the Times.

The scientists named the pup "Dogor" — "friend" in the Yakut language.

The scientists named the pup “Dogor” — “friend” in the Yakut language. (Image credit: Sergey Fedorov/The Siberian Times)

Researchers discovered the mummified pup during the summer of 2018 near the Indigirka River in Yakutia, in the northeastern part of Russia. The oldest known fossil of a domesticated dog dates to 14,700 years ago, though remains of dog-like canines are known from 35,000 years ago, another research team reported in 2017 in the journal Nature. In the study, the scientists suggested that dogs diverged genetically from their wolf ancestors between 36,900 and 41,500 years ago.

What does this mean for the Siberian pup? A mummified canine dating to 18,000 years ago could be a dog, a wolf or possibly even a transitional form — an animal with traits of both species, the Times reported.

“This is intriguing,” said Sergey Fedorov, a researcher with the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, Russia, and one of the scientists investigating the puppy. “We can’t wait to get results from further tests,” he told the Times.

Preserved in ice

After spending 18,000 years buried in Siberian permafrost, this pup looks pretty good.

After spending 18,000 years buried in Siberian permafrost, this pup looks pretty good. (Image credit: Sergey Fedorov/The Siberian Times)

Over the past several years in Siberia, melting permafrost has released some astonishingly well-preserved examples of ancient animals. In 2017, paleontologists unearthed an astonishing mummy of a young horse from a crater in Yakutia; the 2-month-old foal lived 30,000 to 40,000 years ago and its body was whole and undamaged, with its skin and hooves intact. And in 2018, a man searching for mammoth tusks discovered the mummy of a young Ice Age feline. Like the newfound puppy, the wild kitten’s species was hard to pin down, and experts suspect it could be a cave lion or a Eurasian lynx.

Then in June, a man walking by a river in Yakutia in Russia spied the enormous, severed head of an Ice Age wolf, dating to more than 40,000 years ago.

The frozen Siberian wilderness also recently revealed something more gruesome than ancient animal remains: a bag containing 54 severed human hands, buried in snow on a river island and found in 2018. Unlike the Ice Age mummies, the hands were modern in origin and were likely discarded illegally by a nearby forensic lab, according to Russian authorities.

Originally published on Live Science.

College shooting kills one, injures four in the Far East of Russia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SIBERIAN TIMES)

 

College shooting kills one, injures four in the Far East of Russia

By The Siberian Times reporter
14 November 2019

19 year old student opens fire at group mates before turning the gun on himself.

One of the victims injured during the college attack. Picture: Amurskaya Pravda

Two injured students are reported to be in grave condition after morning attack at the Amur College of Construction, Housing Maintenance and Utilities in the center of Blagoveshchensk.

The young man identified by Russian police as Daniil Zasorin opened fire from Izh-81 pump-action shotgun at fellow students, and later at police officers who tried to stop him.

Student Alexey Golubichniy, 19, was initially reported to be killed in the attack, but later local media and Russian Ministry of Health corrected the reports saying he was alive.

Golubichniy’s friend named Kirill said: ‘He wasn’t killed, he was gravely wounded and went through a surgery. When the attacker ran inside the room, Alexey refused to run away and said that the wasn’t scared.’

 


College shooting kills one, injures four in the Far East of Russia


Zasorin refused to stop and opened fire at traffic policeman, who fired back and wounded the gunman. The attacker who by then was inside the classroom turned the gun at himself. Pictures: Amurskaya Pravda


Three other male students confirmed as wounded were identified as Kasiyan Kamanets, 19, Igor Stasyuk, 17 and Vladislav Rozhkov, 20.

They were rushed to hospital with neck and back injuries.

Zasorin was reported to carry a gun in a bag past the college security man, and assembled it in a bathroom before walking upstairs to his class room.

He pushed a young female teacher out of the class, shut the door and opened fire.

As other students fled the building in panic, one of them managed to report the attack to a nearby traffic police patrol.

Zasorin refused to stop and opened fire at traffic policeman, who shot back and wounded the gunman.

The attacker who by then was inside the classroom turned the gun at himself.

College shooting kills one, injures four in the Far East of Russia
College shooting kills one, injures four in the Far East of Russia. Picture: Amurskaya Pravda


The tragedy was reportedly caused by Zasorin’s conflict with group mates.

He was described as ‘quiet and peaceful’ by fellow students.

‘The attacker was acting along, he is dead. My deepest condolences to relatives of everyone wounded and killed, their families will be given support and help’ said Vasily Orlov, acting governor of the Amur region.

Criminal investigation was launched into the circumstances of the attack, with several investigators flying to Amur region from Moscow at the order of Head of Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin.