Fox News 2024-02-23 10:33:29


MSNBC says indictment vindicates ex-officials’ claims about Hunter Biden laptop

MSNBC made a leap on Thursday to declare that the ex-intel officials who peddled the Russian disinformation narrative about Hunter Biden’s laptop were actually “right” following the DOJ’s recent indictment of Alexander Smirnov.

Smirnov, an ex-informant for the FBI, was charged last week by Special Counsel David Weiss of making false statements alleging both President Biden and his son pocketed millions in bribes for the ousting of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings, on which Hunter sat as a board member. 

It has since been revealed by the DOJ that Smirnov had ties to Russian intelligence officials, who allegedly fed the Burisma narrative to him. 

FROM ‘SMEAR CAMPAIGN’ TO ‘RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION,’ LIBERAL MEDIA TEAMED UP TO DISMISS HUNTER BIDEN STORY

In light of the recent developments, MSNBC revisited the infamous open letter signed by 51 ex-intel officials in October 2020 responding to the bombshell reporting from The New York Post about Hunter Biden’s laptop, insisting the published emails had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

“The revelation of a Russia-linked informant here. It comes nearly four years after many in the American intelligence community warned Moscow was behind many of the allegations being levied at the Biden family,” Wllie Geist of “Morning Joe” began. “In a 2020 letter, 51 former US intel officials expressed concern about the source of a much-discussed story on the right: Hunter Biden’s laptop.”  

2022: THE YEAR THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP WAS FINALLY VERIFIED BY THE MEDIA

NBC News correspondent Ken Dilanian told Geist that those former intel officials “paid a steep price” for signing that letter. 

“House Republicans conducted an investigation. They brought some of them in to testify under oath. The Republicans said this was election interference, this was a bogus attempt to suppress a legitimate story. And as it turns out, they were right,” Dilanian said. “Not in the sense – they said that the laptop was part of a Russian information operation or had all the hallmarks of a Russian information operations. They didn’t say that the contents of the laptop were made up- and obviously we know that they weren’t. Many of them have been now corroborated. What they said was they were suspicious about why that story was emerging in the middle of an election campaign and whether Russian intelligence was flogging it or was somehow amplifying it.” 

“And now, they’ve been proven correct in the sense that we now know that Russian intelligence, at least according to the statements of this informant bolstered somewhat by this indictment, were feeding him information, false information,” Dilanian added. 

While he acknowledged that the ex-intel officials were “trying to help Joe Biden” with the open letter, Dilanian insisted the point they were making “holds up over time.”

MSNBC rejected the legitimacy of Hunter Biden’s laptop right out of the gate, with the same narrative. 

“Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough declared the story “false” and later claimed it was “so obviously” Russian disinformation, asking, “Why are we spreading the lies here?”

Co-host Mika Brzezinski cited multiple reports about intelligence agencies investigating former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s dealings with “alleged Russian agents,” as well as whether emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop are “linked to a foreign intel operation.”

“Deadline: White House” host Nicolle Wallace was more confident in dismissing Hunter Biden’s laptop, telling viewers, “We shouldn’t look at it as anything other than a Russian disinformation operation.” MSNBC anchor Katy Tur mocked the Post’s story, saying it “dropped like a bomb,” but to “wither under scrutiny, not really dropping like a bomb.”

MSNBC BURIES NBC NEWS REPORT ON HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP, OFFERS LESS THAN 4 MINUTES OF COVERAGE

MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle criticized those who were covering the Hunter Biden controversy, referring to it as a “so-called story” with “unverified claims.”

“We are now four days away from the election and the truth is more important than ever,” Ruhle told her viewers at the time. “The truth is that we’re in the middle of a pandemic. The truth is that millions of Americans are out of work. The truth is we have to listen to science. And in these final days, instead of debating crowd size or unverified claims or conspiracy theories, we should be talking about policy, values and ideas.”

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But in May 2022, NBC News joined several news organizations in their stunning reversals in verifying the laptop.

“NBC News obtained a copy of Biden’s laptop hard drive from a representative of Rudy Giuliani and examined Biden’s business dealings from 2013 to 2018 based on the information available on the hard drive and the scope of the documents released by the Senate,” NBC News said in a report about Hunter Biden’s lavish spending.

Lara Trump reveals plan to revamp RNC, get Republicans back to winning elections

Lara Trump is working double-time cementing her front-runner status to be the next co-chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), including laying out her priorities to turbocharge the organization struggling to keep up with its Democrat counterpart’s massive fundraising numbers.

Trump described those priorities during a campaign stop in North Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday while firing up voters for her father-in-law — former President Donald Trump — ahead of Saturday’s Republican primary election.

“We have to legally ballot harvest everywhere we possibly can,” she told the riled up crowd of roughly 150 supporters gathered in the Trump campaign headquarters, stressing the need to follow the law, unlike Democrats, who she accused of trying to steal elections through various means.

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Trump added that in addition to ballot harvesting, “on day one” as RNC co-chair she would launch initiatives to register more Republican voters, as well as recruit and train poll watchers to help crack down on any potential illegal activity.

“I’m here to do whatever I can to make sure we get this country back on track,” she said.

In an interview with Fox News Digital ahead of her speech, Trump also addressed the fundraising challenges facing the RNC as it began the election year dwarfed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — combined with the rest of President Biden’s joint fundraising entities — in terms of cash-on-hand.

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“That’s exactly why we have no time to waste. I was honored by the endorsement of my father-in-law for co-chair of the RNC. They do still have to vote, ultimately. We’ll see what happens with that. But I think that is goal number one on day number one is we need to start fundraising on the Republican side of the aisle because the Democrats have a war chest,” she said. 

“We all know that Joe Biden, despite him being a horrific candidate and having just really awful polling that you see right now across the board for him, he does have a lot behind him,” she added. “He’s got a lot of money behind him. He’s got the mainstream media behind him. He’s got the Democrat political machine behind him. And so we have a lot of ground to cover between now and November 5th.”

Trump repeated an argument she made last week that “every single penny” the RNC receives should go toward ensuring former President Trump is elected in November, as well as expanding the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and flipping the Senate from Democrat control.

WATCH: TRUMP CONDEMNS ALEXEI NAVALNY’S DEATH AS ‘HORRIBLE THING’ AFTER FACING SHARP BACKLASH FROM HALEY

She also addressed the controversy surrounding conservative activist Charlie Kirk, who founded Turning Point USA, a non-profit that advocates conservative policies on college campuses, and reporting that he played a part in current RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel’s plan to step down from the role she’s held for over seven years.

A NBC report published over the weekend detailed Kirk’s role in McDaniel’s pending ouster, as well as the criticism he’s received from Republicans since concerning past controversial comments on his podcast, as well as for steering money away from the RNC.

However, none of that deterred Trump from praising Kirk, who she hopes will play a larger role in Republican politics in the future.

“I think he’s actually been amazing in the way that he’s engaged young voters. We need to be doing that as a party,” she said. “The reality is the Democrats really have a leg up on us. They have Hollywood. They have the music industry. They have all the social media out there possible in their field and in their corner. And it is a struggle for us to engage with a younger audience.” 

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“I think something that Charlie Kirk has been masterful at doing is just that — reaching out to the youth of this country, reaching out to kids on college campuses. I think he already has played a huge role in the future of this party, and I hope he plays a role from now until we get back on top and we win the White House and there and beyond,” she added.

No date has been set for when McDaniel will step down from her role as chairwoman, but RNC committee members are reportedly expected to elect her successor early next month.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Biden bashed after bragging SCOTUS unable to stop him from canceling student debt

President Biden asserting that the Supreme Court couldn’t stop him from canceling student debt set off social media users for his “assault on democracy.”

On Wednesday, Biden spoke at the Julian Dixon Library in Culver City, California, where he referenced his efforts to cancel more student loan debt. He noted that while his student debt handout program was initially halted by the Supreme Court, its ruling “didn’t stop” him.

“Early in my term, I announced a major plan to provide millions of working families with debt relief for their college student debt,” Biden said. “Tens of millions of people in debt were literally about to be canceled in debts. But my MAGA Republican friends in the Congress, elected officials and special interests stepped in and sued us. And the Supreme Court blocked it. But that didn’t stop me.”

Biden’s dismissal of the Supreme Court decision that ruled his plan unconstitutional angered and concerned many people on X.

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“Yesterday he was going on about how republicans were going to destroy ‘democracy,’” The Federalist senior writer David Harsanyi remarked on the irony.

RealClearInvestigations editor-at-large Benjamin Weingarten agreed, “We’ve been reliably told this kind of rhetoric is an assault on democracy.”

“One of the ‘nobody is above the law’ people is debunking that again,” Twitchy’s Doug Powers wrote.

Townhall.com columnist Derek Hunter commented, “Biden always sounds like death warmed over.”

“Biden explaining that he’s happy to break the law to give away your money,” Foundation for Economic Excellence editor-at-large Jon Miltimore summarized.

“The decay of checks and balances isn’t a flex,” Georgia Rep. Mike Collins warned.

Former Ted Cruz advisor Omri Ceren noted, “One striking thing about the political left is that, over and over again, across literally decades, they act as if they believe they’ll be in power forever.”

“Hope Democrats enjoy this precedent under the next GOP administration,” Targeted Victory vice president Logan Dobson added.

BIDEN’S $1.2B STUDENT DEBT CANCELLATION IS ABOUT ‘BUYING VOTES’ TO WIN RE-ELECTION, SAYS GOV NOEM

In June, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that federal law does not allow Biden’s Secretary of Education to cancel more than $430 billion in student loan debt. Biden promised at the time that his administration would continue to push for his student debt relief plan. 

On Wednesday, he announced that Savings on Valuable Education (SAVE) plan that cancels debt for enrolled borrowers who have been in repayment for at least 10 years and hold $12,000 or less in student loan debt. Those with larger debts will receive relief after an additional year of payments for every additional $1,000 they borrowed.

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Grandparents may have significant impact on mental health, study finds

Grandparents could be good for women’s health.

The support and presence of grandparents can have a significant impact on the mental health of mothers, according to a new study published this week in the journal Population Studies.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland found that grandparental support could protect mothers from depression — especially those who have separated from their partners and have become single parents.

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The study examined Finnish register data of 116,917 separating mothers and 371,703 non-separating mothers with children under the age of 12. 

The women were examined for at least three years between 2000 and 2014.

The researchers compared the prevalence of mothers’ antidepressant medications to grandparental characteristics related to their ability to provide support. 

A lower probability of maternal depression was predicted with the presence of grandparents who were under age 70, who were employed and who did not have severe health problems.

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Depression was also less common if the grandparents were still married and lived near their daughter.

The characteristics of the maternal grandmother seemed to carry the most weight in impacting the mental health of the mother. The role of paternal grandparents was smaller, the study found.

“Grandparental characteristics associated with increased potential for providing support and decreased need of receiving support predict a lower likelihood of maternal depression, particularly among separating mothers,” the researchers stated in the findings.

Matt Lundquist, LCSW, MSED, a psychotherapist at Tribeca Therapy in New York City, was not involved in the study but reacted to the findings in an interview with Fox News Digital.

In many cases, she said the most helpful form of mental health intervention is a sense of community and support from loved ones.

“Moms who had their own mothers living close by were less likely to be depressed.”

“While there can be psychiatric issues that need attention from a mental health professional, often the kinds of community support, family support, caring and nurturing that new moms and new parents get is incredibly significant,” he said.

The support of a maternal figure who can offer woman-to-woman guidance is especially important, Lundquist noted.

Women face the challenges of the change in identity that comes with new motherhood, particularly if it’s their first time giving birth, he said.

“And also, [they face] the challenges of learning to take care of a little baby and become a parent,” Lundquist said. “A lot of folks reach for support from their moms or from somebody who can be a stand-in with some wisdom and experience.”

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In terms of tackling postpartum depression, Lundquist said that being a new mom is an “underappreciated” challenge — which is where grandparents can step in.

“When we think about the role that [the mother’s] parents play, especially her mom, there’s a particular form of guidance in navigating those shifts in identity and creating space to talk about that,” he said.

Educational psychologist and parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba, who was not involved in the study, also emphasized that “caring relationships are crucial for mental well-being.”

The California-based expert told Fox News Digital, “[It’s] little surprise that this study found that moms who had their own mothers living close by were less likely to be depressed,” 

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When living near family isn’t possible, daily video calls with grandparents could be a good alternative, Borba suggested.

“Grandmothers can also find support networks for their daughters — friends and relatives as well as nearby medical resources,” she said.

“The key is that the caregiver consistently reaches out in a caring, concerned manner to help the mother’s personal well-being as well as their children’s.”

This child-parent relationship can be instrumental in helping to ease the transition to motherhood, which can be jarring for some new moms, according to Lundquist.

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There is an “enormous intensity” in realizing “how much of yourself you have to give to someone else,” said the therapist.

“And that’s physically, spiritually, energetically and emotionally,” he said.

“If someone has a close relationship with their own parents, particularly their mom, that’s a space where they can talk about those feelings.”

While single mothers seem to appreciate the support from their parents a little more, Lundquist said that for some families, it’s important to define the grandparents’ roles.

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“It seems evident that the grandparents are showing up with good intent, though they may not be as careful or nuanced in their approach as possible,” he said.

Lundquist suggested that grandparents offer their help rather than assuming they’re invited to visit or stay with their children and grandchildren.

He encouraged grandparents to ask, “What are some ways that we can be helpful but not feel like we’re imposing on you?” 

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“I think that has the effect of helping new moms or new parents feel more open to accepting help.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the study researchers for further comment.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com.com/lifestyle.

City fears being overrun by migrants after welcome center announces it’s run out of money

A San Diego migrant center announced it will be forced to close its doors Thursday after running out of funds to assist the overwhelming number of asylum-seekers who have illegally crossed into the county.

The mayor of nearby El Cajon, Calif., told Fox News Thursday that he fears the welcome center’s closure will quickly become a “serious problem” for his community.

“Over the past few months, we’ve seen 100,000 migrants come across the San Diego border,” Mayor Bill Wells told “Fox & Friends First.” 

“A lot of those have been absorbed by this county shelter that used taxpayer money. They asked for $3 million and they spent over $6 million and now they say they’re out of money. So we’re going to see migrants congregating in our streets.”

“I think it’s going to become a pretty serious problem pretty quickly.”

7.2M ILLEGALS ENTERED THE US UNDER BIDEN ADMIN, AN AMOUNT GREATER THAN POPULATION OF 36 STATES

The center, which claims to be handling up to 800 migrants a day, has been sending buses to county Border Patrol stations to pick up migrants, bring them back to the site and provide services to prepare them for the journey to their final destination.

“As the number of migrants arriving at the center has increased significantly over the last few weeks, our finite resources have been stretched to the limit,” SBCS CEO Kathie Lembo said in a statement.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data obtained by Fox News reveals that nearly 140,000 illegal immigrants in total have crossed into the San Diego sector since Fiscal Year 2024 began on October 1st.

“The Border Patrol tells us we’re going to go from about 300 drop-offs a day to maybe a thousand drop-offs a day,” Wells said Thursday.

MIGRANTS CAUGHT ON NEW VIDEO STREAMING DOWN REMOTE CALIFORNIA MOUNTAINSIDE TO ILLEGALLY CROSS THE BORDER

When asked by co-host Todd Piro where the migrants are going to go without the center, Wells said hotels could become an unwelcome solution that compounds the state’s existing homeless problem.

“They spent up to $8,000 per person per month to put somebody up in a hotel, and they seem to have no problem spending that kind of money. It ruins the neighborhoods, it destroys the hotels, it destroys our security infrastructure. And it’s really bad for everybody,” he said. 

Among the 140,000 illegal immigrants encountered in San Diego have been thousands of “special interest aliens,” classified as those who come from countries with potential national security concerns. 

Fox News’ Bill Melugin reported Friday that 21,000 Chinese nationals have been apprehended in the San Diego Sector since Oct. 1, according to CBP sources. The number is second only to Colombian nationals and shockingly eclipsed the number of Mexican nationals.

Wells, who recently visited the border, described witnessing an encampment of around 150 male Chinese migrants.

“I think that’s a real serious concern. China is not neutral with us. They’re somewhat of an enemy, at least in a Cold War at this point. And it makes me nervous to see enemies of our nation congregating right in our city,” he said.

Nearly 7.3 million migrants have illegally crossed the southwest border under President Biden’s watch, a number greater than the population of 36 individual states, a Fox News analysis finds.

That figure comes from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has already reported 961,537 border encounters in the current fiscal year, which runs from October through September. If the current pace of illegal immigration does not slow down, fiscal year 2024 will break last year’s record of 2,475,669 southwest border encounters — a number that by itself exceeds the population of New Mexico, a border state. 

The total number of southwest land border encounters since Biden assumed office in 2021 is 7,298,486, CBP data shows. 

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Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo, Bradford Betz, Adam Shaw, Bill Melugin and Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.

Riley Gaines responds after San Francisco State University police suspend hostage probe

Riley Gaines on Thursday spoke at length about the San Francisco State University Police Department’s suspension of its investigation into her hostage incident and assault last year.

Gaines, an OutKick contributor and host of the “Gaines for Girls” podcast, appeared on “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich” and said the result of the investigation sets a bad precedent.

“So it seems, which I would say is absolutely disgusting,” Gaines told Dan Dakich. “I would say it’s disgraceful. I would say that it sets a terrible precedent. 

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“Not just for conservative speakers on college campuses, which of course is the setting where I was attacked. No, this sets a terrible precedent for every single person, every single human.”

Gaines recalled the incident as “incredibly disorienting.” She said her message has always been simple.

“I’m merely saying that men and women are different, that there are two sexes, that you can’t change your sex, and that each sex is deserving of equal opportunity, privacy and safety,” she said.

She recalled the protesters rushing her in the classroom.

“In that moment, actually in those hours, because they held me for ransom for four hours, in those hours I feared for my life, truthfully,” she said.

The San Francisco State University Police Department didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on Thursday.

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The former NCAA star swimmer told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that she followed up with the San Francisco State University Police Department last month on its investigation into the incident “where I was held hostage.”

In a reply email dated Feb. 2, an officer replied, “After a thorough investigation, the alleged charges in this case are unfounded and have been suspended pending further lead[s].”

The officer said the department sent emails to Gaines in June and July of last year “for a case follow up,” which they claim “went unanswered.” 

The officer then requested “any photos and/or videos you may have in your possession as well as the contact information for anyone who was present that may have digital evidence.”

The officer added, “Please do so and the case may be further investigated.”

Gaines told Fox News Digital on Wednesday she met with campus police and gave them an official statement.

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The former Kentucky swimmer, who is director of the Riley Gaines Center at the Leadership Institute, said one of the officers present during the incident sent the email notifying her that the investigation had been suspended.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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Biggest snake species in the world discovered while filming with Will Smith in the Amazon

The green anaconda, an aquatic snake often found in South America’s Amazon region, is the largest of its kind — measuring nearly 21 feet in length, according to experts.

Now, the snake behemoth has been identified as two separate species — the northern green anaconda and southern green anaconda — after researchers initially assumed it was only one.

A study published in the journal MDPI Diversity used genetic data from four recognized anaconda species across nine countries.

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Explorers and researchers found that the northern green anaconda is “genetically distinct” from its southern relative by 5.5%.

By comparison, humans and chimpanzees differ only by 2%.

The researchers took blood and tissue samples from green anacondas in Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil to make this discovery, which was documented exclusively by National Geographic for its upcoming series “Pole to Pole: With Will Smith.”

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The snakes were also closely examined to count their scales and record other physical traits that indicated “evolutionary divergence,” NatGeo reported.

“It’s clear that the snakes in the Waorani lands are indeed the biggest of all anacondas.”

Study co-author Bryan Fry — a National Geographic explorer and a biologist at the University of Queensland in Australia — told Fox News Digital in an email that the key species difference is geographic range.

The Amazon is made up of two separate basins — the large southern Amazon basin and the “much smaller” northern Orinoco basin.

“The southern green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) is found across a vast range spanning Brazil, Bolivia, Perú and parts of French Guiana,” he said. 

“By contrast, our newly described northern green anaconda (Eunectes akayima) is restricted to Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad, Venezuela and parts of French Guiana.”

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The new northern green anaconda can also reach larger sizes, researchers found.

“The Ecuadorian eastern rain forest has long been rumored to hold the largest of all anacondas, but until our expedition with Will Smith for National Geographic’s ‘Pole to Pole’ series, this had never been investigated,” Fry said.

“Not only because the area is so incredibly remote, but also because it’s the autonomous lands of the Waorani indigenous people.”

While scoping out the area, Fry noted that the size of the snakes “didn’t disappoint.”

The largest anaconda they encountered measured 6.3 meters, or 20.6 feet long, and weighed about 793 pounds. 

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“But the Waorani regularly see snakes much larger than that,” Fry said. “They’ve seen snakes they reckon were over 8 meters and 800 kilograms. So, it’s clear that the snakes in the Waorani lands are indeed the biggest of all anacondas.”

Fry called the expedition into the heart of the Amazon a “true cross-cultural endeavor.”

The explorer was invited by Waorani Chief Penti Baihua to enter the Baihuaeri Waorani Territory in the Ecuadorian Amazon for this research.

The invitation was reportedly “one of only a handful granted since the tribe’s first contact in 1958,” according to Fry.

“It was a real honor.”

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Fry and the Waorani collaborators were recognized as co-authors in the journal publication of the study, which Fry considers a “career-defining moment.”

“[It’s] a testament to the surprises that the natural world still holds,” he said.

“The success of this expedition and the inclusion of Waorani as equal partners really underscores the essence of what it means to be an explorer,” he added.

The Amazon offered a “kaleidoscope of challenges and wonders,” Fry said, including the surroundings of “dense canopy above … and the rivers below, serpentine paths cutting through the darkness of the jungle floor.” 

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“Our expedition was marked by the relentless heat, the omnipresent swarm of insects, and the symphony of the wild that crescendoed into the night,” Fry said. 

“I like nothing better than being overheated and underwashed while wading through swamps in search of giant snakes.”

The discovery also “serves as a stark reminder of the threats faced by the Amazon, including deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change and oil spills, which place this new species and the entire ecosystem in jeopardy,” Fry went on.

Although this discovery was a breakthrough, Fry said the team’s work in the Amazon is “far from complete,” as it continues to study the impact of frequent oil spills in the region.

“Our expedition was marked by the relentless heat, the omnipresent swarm of insects, and the symphony of the wild that crescendoed into the night.”

“Our future expeditions will focus on the collection and analysis of soil, water and biological samples, employing cutting-edge techniques to trace the pathways of these contaminants,” he said.

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More on this discovery can be found at natgeo.com.

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Zelenskyy challenges Trump during interview on Russian invasion: ‘He can’t solve this’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in an exclusive FOX News interview, appealed to President Biden and Republican front-runner Donald Trump to visit Ukraine and see for themselves at the front lines of “this tragedy.”

“I’m happy to see all the candidates and all the people who are decision-makers or can support not to be against just to understand what the war in Ukraine means,” Zelenskyy told FOX News chief political anchor and executive editor of “Special Report” Bret Baier. 

“Who opened this war, who began it, and what’s going on, what’s around,” Zelenskyy said. “What brilliant Ukraine we had. We have [a] beautiful country, but in the war it’s another picture and other lives,” adding that the candidates should “Come see people, just to see them on the streets.” 

Baier met with Zelenskyy near the front lines in Kharkiv, just a few kilometers from heavy fighting. Distant artillery shots and explosions peppered the background of the interview and throughout the morning as the team set up for the interview. 

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Zelenskyy underscored the value of hosting the interview in such a precarious location, saying, “It’s very important for me, like I said before we started … the United States [needs] to see different war in the capital and here closer to [the] front line.” 

Baier confronted Zelenskyy with Trump’s famous quote in which he claimed that he would end the war in 24 hours, which the Ukrainian president still “can’t understand how” Trump would achieve such a feat. 

“He can’t solve this problem, this tragedy with me,” Zelenskyy said. He said he would host the former President on the frontlines where he “will explain everything, and he will explain what his thoughts, maybe he has some ideas. I don’t know.” 

He continued, “he will see what’s going on, and after that, I think he will change his mind, and we all understood that there is no two sides of this war: There is only one enemy, and this is the position of Putin,” Zelenskyy insisted. 

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Zelenskyy agreed that the Russian people could create change within their country and remove Putin, but that task remains a long and difficult road, particularly as “Putin is afraid only of strong, and he’s not accepting any weakness,” which means that Ukraine must be “strong on the battlefield, prevent [Russia] from occupying anything.” 

“His positions will be weaker if with more and more casualties, the people in Russia will see those doubts that will be against this war,” Zelenskyy explained. “This wave is something that we need.”

When asked about the losses his forces have suffered, Zelenskyy remained vague, citing “tens of thousands” but spinning the losses as fewer than Russia has suffered, claiming – and yet to be verified – that Russia loses five soldiers for every one Ukrainian soldier killed. 

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The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has estimated that Russia has lost more than 400,000 troops. Those losses have amounted to small gains since the start of the war, with Russia only succeeding in taking the city of Avdiivka near Donetsk. 

Russia has experienced a roller coaster year, starting with the embarrassing rebellion of mercenary warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin – who later died when his plane spontaneously exploded – before spending months stymying Ukraine’s much-touted counteroffensive. Putin grew so confident that he ended the U.N.-brokered grain deal.

Ukraine turned around those failures and finished out the year with significant wins over Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which allowed Kyiv to create a new grain corridor and forced Putin to replace his naval command. 

“You remember and you remind today that those days of the war, nobody in the world really believed that we will do it,” Zelenskyy told Baier. “Today, sometimes we have – and also in Congress … we have good relations because we met a lot of time, [and] they say, “When? When we will finish the war? When we will win? Why so slowly?”

IRAN DELIVERS HUNDREDS OF BALLISTIC MISSILES TO RUSSIA AS UKRAINIAN DEFENSE FALTERS

The effort to continue the support from the U.S. Congress and other Western allies remains, and also to convince several holdouts in Congress including Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio.; Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.; and Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.; all who have spoken against continued support for Ukraine

Vance has argued that he sees little sense in “unlimited, unaccounted-for aid to Ukraine without any goals in mind,” while Tuberville found it difficult to continue “paying Ukrainian farmers” after “we just punted the farm bill for American farmers [to] next year.” 

Asked about his message to Congress, Zelenskyy said he was thankful for everything the president and Congress have done. “My message is, if they want to be very pragmatic, the price, we are asking now to support, this price is less than it will be in the future … They will pay much more, much more. We just want to live, to survive. We don’t have alternative.”

He continued, “Congressman, just people with their families, with their children. And I think they understand that we are just trying to save our houses with children and just say that if you think that we are fighting for the common values, so let that help us and let’s support, let’s be in unity.”

Zelenskyy responded to criticisms over corruption and reports that he canceled the country’s elections, saying that he never canceled them, noting that during wartime there was a law in place that didn’t allow them to run them. He also said, given his present popularity and were there an election today he would be reelected by the people.

On American fears of corruption in Ukraine, Zelenskyy said that, “everything is clean,” noting that they followed the reforms demanded by the European Union but he also said it was hard to put in new “difficult anti-corruption reforms,” during wartime while stating E.U. leaders had signed off on Ukraine’s transparency.

Zelenskyy continues to insist that without aid from the West, Ukraine will not be able to maintain its defense but also to improve the strength of the country’s economy and stability, which could in turn allow the country to ramp up production of its own weapons again. Particularly, Kyiv needs “strong weapons, long-distance weapons, long-distance missiles and artillery.” 

“It’s not about the types, with the production,” Zelenskyy clarified. “Increasing it each day, yes, and air defense just to defend people to give possibility, economy to increase it means give possibility of security situation.”

PRESSURE GROWS ON JOHNSON TO MAKE MOVE ON UKRAINE AID AS RUSSIAN INVASION NEARS 2-YEAR MARK

“If people, Ukrainians, will come back the economy will increase,” he continued. “A lot of jobs, a lot of taxes, so, I mean, this is to be more strong and of course, to push them as much as possible, to push them. And in this position, in the strong position, we found one very important diplomatic route. It’s a document. When it will be ready, it doesn’t matter where it will stay.”

“At this time, what I wanted to say, it doesn’t matter,” he insisted. “It will be strong. In all the cases I set and if we will have the document with the most big countries, important countries, decisionmakers in the world on our side, of course, we can find a political negotiation.”

The question of a diplomatic resolution has hit a new stumbling block after a recent interview in which Putin claimed Zelenskyy had signed a decree forbidding negotiations with Russia, insisting that Moscow has “never refused” to negotiate.

After saying he did not need to hear more than two hours of “bull—-” about Ukraine, Zelenskyy blasted Putin’s claims and dismissed him as an untrustworthy person: He recalled that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz both received assurances from Putin that Russia would not occupy Ukraine. 

He also belittled Putin’s insistence that Russia had no interest in going to Poland, Latvia or “anywhere else,” adding that people around Putin have said he’s “not willing to stop until they reach their goals.”  

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At one stage of the interview, Baier asked Zelenskyy about attempts made against the Ukrainian president’s life. Zelennskyy said that after the fifth attempt it was “not interesting for me now.”

Asked when he thought the war would end after nearly two years of intensive fighting, Zelenskyy said that “The world is not really ready for Putin to be able to lose his power. The world is afraid of changes in Russian Federation. The United States and the European countries and the global South can choose. 

Zelenskyy had this warning, “Putin has broken all the red lines. He’s an inadequate person, that he was a threat to the whole world, that he will destroy NATO. And he will try to do that. So when the world will understand that, okay, that’s it. So in this moment, the war will end.” 

Over 120K gun safes sold at Walmart, Amazon, Bass Pro Shops recalled

Four different companies have recalled certain gun safes after some – about 120,520 total products – were determined to have faulty biometric locks, allowing the safes to be opened by unauthorized users.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recalls on Thursday affecting safes sold by Bulldog Cases, Machir, MouTec and Awesafe.

OVER 15M TOSHIBA LAPTOP ADAPTERS RECALLED AFTER REPORTS OF OVERHEATING, CATCHING FIRE

Bulldog Cases said its Magnum Biometric Pistol Vault (BD4030B), Magnum Biometric Pistol Vault with Shelf (BD4040B) and Magnum Biometric Top Load Pistol Vault (BD4055B) are part of the recall after four reports of safes being opened by an unauthorized user. No injuries were reported from the defect.

The safes sold for $194 to $216 at Bass Pro Shops, Walmart and firearm stores across America, and on Amazon from July 2016 to January 2024. Owners are advised to stop using the biometric feature immediately and only use the key when storing firearms. Bulldog Cases said it will send a repair kit or a free replacement safe depending on the model number to those impacted.

Machir said the recall affects 24,820 Biometric Personal Safes that fall into 12 different ranges of serial numbers, which can be found in the lower right corner of the safe’s front door. The safes impacted are about 10 inches by 14 inches by 10 inches. The recall was prompted by 15 reports of the safes being opened by unauthorized users after the biometric lock failed. No injuries were reported.

The safes were sold for around $98 at Walmart stores nationwide and online at Walmart and Machir.com from July 2019 through September 2021. Customers have been advised to only use the key when storing firearms and to contact Machir for a free replacement.

POPULAR CLOTHING STEAMERS SOLD AT WALMART, AMAZON, OTHERS RECALLED DUE TO ‘SERIOUS BURN HAZARD’

MouTec said its recall only involves the BBRKIN Biometric Gun Safe with model number QCJJ01 and a serial number in the following range: SQC202121000 through SQC202247603. Though no injuries were reported, the recall came after a customer informed the company that a 6-year-old was able to open the safe.

The safes were only sold on Amazon for between $170 and $400 from September 2021 to February 2023. Owners of the safes have also been told to only use the key when storing firearms and to contact BBRKIN for a free repair kit or replacement safe.

Awesafe is recalling about 60,000 gun safes that fit two pistols and have a completely black exterior with the brand name “Awesafe” printed on the front. A specific model number or serial number was not included in the notice. The recall comes after 71 reports of the safes being opened by unauthorized users.

The safes were sold on Amazon and in store and online at Walmart from August 2019 to Dec. 7, 2022, for around $130. Impacted customers were told to stop using the biometric feature and to contact Awesafe for a free replacement.

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All impacted safes were manufactured in China, according to the CPSC.