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Indonesian Island Bawean Contains 1 of World’s Rarest Pig Populations, Researcher Says

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Indonesian Island Bawean Contains 1 of World's Rarest Pig Populations, Researcher Says

By day, they rest in the surviving scraps of rainforest on their remote tropical-island home. By night, they grub around for tubers and roots in the forest gardens of local communities, dodging guard dogs and the occasional angry farmer with a gun.

Now, the diminutive warty pigs of Bawean, a small island in Indonesia’s Java Sea, have a new claim to fame: they may be the rarest pigs in the world.

The warty pigs of Southeast Asia come in many shapes and sizes – and, it seems, many species too. Often dismissed as little more than pests, they are receiving a taxonomic makeover, with a dozen distinct species now acknowledged, and others likely to emerge.

The latest is the Bawean warty pig (Sus blouchi), a dwarf relative of the Javan warty pig (Sus verrucosus), but now claimed to be a species in its own right.

It is smaller than its cousin and has three scent lobes on the back of its front legs rather than the four found on the Javan pig, says its chief champion, Dutch researcher Mark Rademaker of the VHL University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.

Rademaker published the first ever ecological study of the animal this week, based on records from 100 camera traps scattered across its tiny home – a volcanic island just 15 kilometres across. He estimates the pig’s population to number about 230 individuals.

Pig protection

Much of the centre of Bawean Island was declared protected in the 1930s. But it is far from clear that this has helped the warty pigs, which find most of their food by foraging for roots and tubers among the forest gardens of local villagers.

“Community forests appear to be very important to the pigs. They prefer semi-open cultivated habitat,” says Rademaker. The small size of the island suggests that the pig’s numbers may never have been much higher than today, he says.

Glimpse of a rare pig

Bawean Endemik Konservasi Initiatif

Nonetheless, he says that the animal, which currently has no protection under Indonesian law, qualifies for endangered status at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, where Rademaker is a member of the wild-pig specialist group.

But the warty pigs may not be cute enough to bring many TV camera crews rushing to Bawean. “The males have three pairs of enormous warts on each side of their face,” says Johanna Rode-Margono, a wild-pig specialist from the North of England Zoological Society in the UK.

The pigs are part of an unlikely menagerie of endemic species on the island, which has been separated from neighbouring islands for 10,000 years. Others include a critically endangered deer, a subspecies of crested serpent eagle thought to be down to its last 30 pairs, and a spotted wood owl.

Rademaker and Rode-Margono have set up a conservation project, the Bawean Endemics Conservation Initative, to document and protect the island’s rarities.

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

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Trump Again Boosts a Baseless Conspiracy Theory, This One About Jeffrey Epstein

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Trump Again Boosts a Baseless Conspiracy Theory, This One About Jeffrey Epstein

President Donald Trump on Saturday promoted a conspiracy theory linking the Clinton family to the death of multimillionaire and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, the latest instance of Trump propagating baseless conspiracy theories and falsehoods.

Trump shared a tweet and video from conservative comedian Terrence Williams that claimed without evidence that former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — Trump’s 2016 presidential election rival — were responsible for Epstein’s death. The Federal Bureau of Prisons and Attorney General Bill Barr said Epstein died in an “apparent suicide” while in federal custody.

As a result of Trump’s retweet, the video received more than 3 million views on Twitter by Sunday morning — more than triple Williams’ most recent videos. Both Trump and Bill Clinton were friendly with Epstein in previous decades, but Trump seized on the conspiracy theory Saturday in his latest dig at the Clintons. The tweet also falsely claimed that Epstein died while on suicide watch, even though Epstein had been taken off of suicide watch before his death.

Angel Ureña, a spokesman for the former president, called the conspiracy theory “ridiculous, and of course not true.”

“And Donald Trump knows it,” Ureña tweeted.

Trump promotes conspiracy theories

Lawmakers and government officials have called for inquiries into Epstein’s death, but none have gone so far as to even suggest that political rivals were behind it.

Unlike any other President before him, Trump has repeatedly promoted evidence-free conspiracy theories and falsehoods without regard for the consequences of his rhetoric.

Even before he was a candidate for President, Trump grew his following on the political right by promoting the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya — and not the United States — even after Obama released a birth certificate showing he was born in the US.

During his campaign for President, Trump spread a conspiracy theory linking the father of his then-GOP presidential rival Sen. Ted Cruz to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Cruz campaign denied it was Rafael Cruz and Cruz, a Texas Republican, responded at the time by blasting Trump as a pathological liar.

And in the second month of his presidency, Trump accused Obama without evidence of tapping his phones in Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign. More than two years later, there is still no evidence that Trump’s phones were wiretapped during the 2016 campaign.

Trump has also repeatedly claimed without evidence that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election; has fed conspiracy theories about a “deep state” of government officials working against him; and has also falsely smeared former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” and called the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign “treason” — among many others.

Trump was not the only official in his administration to promote the Epstein-Clintons conspiracy theory.

Lynne Patton, a senior official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a longtime Trump family aide and friend, also gave voice to the conspiracy theory on her Instagram account earlier in the day.

Trump’s tweet promoting the conspiracy theory came about an hour after Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio warned of the dangers of spreading partisan conspiracy theories about Epstein’s death.

“Scrutiny of how #Epstein was able to commit suicide is warranted,” Rubio tweeted. “But the immediate rush to spread conspiracy theories about someone on the ‘other side’ of partisan divide having him killed illustrates why our society is so vulnerable to foreign disinformation & influence efforts.”

White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on Fox News Sunday defending the President. “I think the President just wants everything to be investigated,” Conway said when asked about Trump’s controversial retweet.

“Just the day before, there was some unsealed information implicating some people very high up,” she said, referring to the hundreds of pages of documents from a defamation lawsuit from one of Epstein’s accusers. Those documents were unsealed Friday by a court.

“I will say that there’s always this rush to (say), ‘We need transparency. We need accountability,’ when it involves fictional accusations like collusion with Russia to swing an election. This seems to be very concrete and that Jeffrey Epstein has done some very bad things over a number of years. So let’s continue to investigate that,” Conway said.

Democrats call out Trump for ‘more recklessness’

Still, two 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday called out Trump for retweeting the Epstein conspiracy theory and the President’s history of spreading baseless claims.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker called Trump’s latest theory-peddling “more recklessness” and “dangerous,” telling CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that Trump has “been using the Clintons as a means for a lot of his false accusations.”

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke also told Tapper that Trump is attacking his “political enemies with unfounded conspiracy theories” and called it “bizarre behavior.”

O’Rourke said the President is attempting to shift the focus away from last weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

“He’s changing the conversation, and if we allow him to do that, then we will never be able to focus on the true problems, of which he is a part, and make sure that we get to the solutions,” O’Rourke, an El Paso native, said.

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Jeffrey Epstein Was Not Being Monitored in Jail as Directed Before His Death

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Jeffrey Epstein was not being monitored in jail as directed before his death

Jeffrey Epstein was not being monitored in jail as directed before his death early Saturday, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the financier’s detention told The New York Times.

Authorities said Epstein died of apparent suicide. He was in jail on sex-trafficking charges.

The law enforcement official told The Times Epstein was supposed to be checked by guards every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not being followed the night he was found dead in the Manhattan jail.

The jail had also transferred Epstein’s cellmate and left him alone ahead of his apparent suicide, The Times reports.

Epstein’s death has left officials and lawmakers asking for answers on how this happened.

Epstein had apparently been taken off suicide watch before he died.

His death comes just weeks after officials investigated a possible suicide attempt.

The FBI is launching an investigation into the circumstances of Epstein’s death, Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.

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R. Kelly Charged With Soliciting a Minor in Minnesota

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R. Kelly Charged With Soliciting a Minor in Minnesota

A Minnesota prosecutor has charged R. Kelly with prostitution and solicitation charges for a 2001 allegation that he invited a 17-year-old girl to his hotel and paid her $200 to dance naked with him.

On Monday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is accused of soliciting the girl after meeting her before a concert in Minneapolis.

Freeman said the girl was trying to get an autograph from Kelly, and that the R&B performer gave her his signature and a phone number. When the girl called the number, she was invited to Kelly’s hotel. There she was offered $200 to take off her clothes and dance, Freeman said. He said Kelly took his clothes off and they danced together.

R. KELLY PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO FEDERAL CHARGES HE SEXUALLY ABUSED WOMEN AND GIRLS

A criminal complaint said the girl said Kelly lay on his bed and the girl climbed on top of him “body to body.”

“According to Victim, the defendant was rubbing her body” and fondling himself, according to the complaint. “Victim stated that the defendant touched all over her body.”

The complaint said the girl attended Kelly’s concert “as a guest who did not have to pay,” and told her brother what had happened in Kelly’s hotel room.

According to Variety, Freeman said that the victim was under 18 but at least 16 years old at the time and the incident involved “dancing and sexual contact.” He added that there was no sexual intercourse between Kelly and the victim.

The charges are felonies, each punishable by up to five years in prison. Freeman said his office investigated after getting a tip from a Chicago tip line.

R. KELLY CHARGED WITH 11 NEW SEX-RELATED COUNTS

“We felt we had more than enough to charge based on her testimony and corroboration from her brother,” Freeman — who did not provide a name for the alleged victim in Minneapolis — said.

In a statement to Fox News on Monday, Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg, said: “That case is a pure publicity grab by the prosecutor.” Greenberg also tweeted: “Give me a break. This is beyond absurd.”

Gloria Allred, the attorney for several of Kelly’s accusers, said she also represents the newest woman to come forward. She commended the woman “for the courage she displayed in speaking to law enforcement.

“As this new case demonstrates, it is not too late for there to be justice for even more victims of R. Kelly,” Allred — who added she will not name the woman — said in a statement.

R. KELLY ARRESTED ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, CHARGED WITH RACKETEERING AND SEX-RELATED CRIMES

Allred said her client is not a prostitute. She told a news conference in Los Angeles on Monday that she was told the prostitution statute was the only one available to Minnesota authorities to charge Kelly in this case.

The charges are the latest legal problem for the 52-year-old singer, who remains jailed in New York after pleading not guilty last week in federal court to charges that he sexually abused women and girls who attended his concerts there. He is accused of using his fame to recruit young women and girls into illegal sexual activity.

Kelly is also charged separately in Chicago with engaging in child pornography.

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