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FBI report criticises handling of Donald Trump-Russia investigation

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Special counsel John Durham says probe lacked “analytical rigour”

A report has criticised the FBI’s handling of its investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

Special counsel John Durham says probe lacked “analytical rigour”.

The release of the 306 page report by Durham marks the end of a four-year investigation into potential missteps by the FBI.

In the midst of the 2016 campaign, the FBI received a tip that a Trump campaign official had bragged to an Australian diplomat that Russia had offered to help the Republican candidate by releasing damaging information about his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

That tip blossomed into a full-fledged counterintelligence probe, dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane,” involving government requests to surveil members of Trump’s campaign. That probe was later taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Trump raged against Mueller, castigating the probe as a witch hunt.

“It’s just the continuation of the same witch hunt, they know it and behind closed doors they laugh at it. It’s just the continuation of the same nonsense,” Trump said in March 2019.

After securing indictments or pleas from 34 individuals, Mueller in 2019 concluded that despite an array of contacts between Trump and individuals linked to the Russian government, he lacked sufficient evidence of a criminal conspiracy.

That same year, Attorney General William Barr tapped John Durham to investigate the investigators.

In lieu of convictions, Durham instead castigated U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, accusing them of treating the 2016 Trump probe differently from other politically sensitive investigations.

For instance, he said Clinton and other officials received defensive briefings about being the possible targets of foreign interference, whereas Trump received no such briefing before the FBI opened probes into four members of his campaign.

“The Department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report,” Durham added.

In response to the report, the FBI said it has already implemented dozens of corrective actions that have been in place for some time.

Durham’s findings are likely to become political fodder for Trump, who is currently running for re-election in 2024 despite facing criminal charges in New York and two federal investigations by Special Counsel Jack Smith that are looking both at Trump’s retention of classified records and his role in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump said on social media Monday that he was pleased with the results of Durham’s report.

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Boston Dynamics’ electric marvel or robot contortionist?

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Boston Dynamics has recently unveiled its latest creation, the electric Atlas robot, boasting enhanced agility and strength.

However, with its uncanny ability to contort and rise from the ground with an almost eerie grace, one might wonder if we’re witnessing the birth of the world’s first robot contortionist.

As this technological marvel flaunts its capabilities, one can’t help but ponder if we’re on the brink of a future where household chores will be effortlessly handled by robots moving like a fusion of ballet dancers and horror movie monsters.

With its cadaver-like movements and illuminated head, it’s hard not to speculate whether Atlas is destined to revolutionise robotics or simply rehearsing for a techno-horror rendition of The Nutcracker. As Boston Dynamics continues to push the boundaries of robotics, the line between science fiction and reality becomes increasingly blurred.

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The Coffee confusion causing health concerns

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As the morning sun peeks through the curtains, many reach for that familiar brew, kickstarting their day with a comforting cup of coffee.

It’s a ritual ingrained in cultures worldwide, offering a jolt of energy to combat the grogginess of dawn.

But when is the optimal time for that caffeine fix? According to registered dietitian Anthony DiMarino, RD, LD, the answer isn’t crystal clear.

Some experts suggest delaying that first sip until mid-morning or later. However, DiMarino reassures coffee lovers that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this dilemma.

Meanwhile, the science behind coffee production unveils fascinating insights into its instant variant. Whether produced through freeze-drying or spray-drying methods, instant coffee offers convenience without sacrificing flavor.

Yet, beyond convenience, recent studies delve deeper into coffee’s impact on our bodies. Research exploring the acute effects of decaffeinated versus caffeinated coffee reveals intriguing findings on reaction time, mood, and skeletal muscle strength.

Moreover, investigations into the gut microbiome shed light on coffee’s influence on liver cirrhosis patients. A study analyzing the duodenal microbiome in this population found correlations between coffee consumption and microbial richness and evenness.

So, as you sip your coffee and ponder the day ahead, consider not just the flavour in your cup but also the subtle impacts it may have on your body and mind.

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Laughing in limbo Canadian Just for Laughs cancelled

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The renowned Montreal-based Just for Laughs comedy festival, one of the world’s largest international comedy events, will not grace the calendar in 2024.

The Canadian company overseeing the festival announced its cancellation this year, citing efforts to steer clear of bankruptcy. Having marked its 40th anniversary in 2023, Just For Laughs has long been a beloved fixture on the city’s cultural landscape.

With its absence raising questions about which event will inherit the title of the biggest comedy festival, speculation arises whether Melbourne will seize the mantle, given its burgeoning comedy scene and the success of its own Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

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