Feds Bust Terrifying Chinese Operation That Stalked Dissidents, Harassed Them Into Leaving U.S.

NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty

The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced charges against seven Chinese nationals and one American man involved in what they said was an illegal law enforcement operation in the U.S. targeting dissidents and other political opponents.

Authorities say the arrests are in connection with operation “Fox Hunt,” which China describes as an “anti-corruption” campaign to bring fugitives back to China but which U.S. officials say is “not the whole story and oftentimes it simply isn’t true.” Five Chinese nationals involved in the operation on both the East and West Coasts were arrested but officials say three more suspects successfully fled to China.

According to the criminal complaint unsealed in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday, the eight people involved are Zhu Feng, Hu Ji, Li Minjun, Hongru Jin, Zhu Yong, Michael McMahon, Rong Jing, and Zheng Congying. The individuals, who have all been charged with conspiracy to act as an illegal agent of a foreign government, conspired to work on behalf of China in an “international campaign to threaten, harass, surveil, and intimidate,” the complaint says. Six of them also face charges of conspiring to commit interstate and international stalking.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Trump Spokesman Flails When Grilled on White House Claim That Pandemic Has Ended

CNN

Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley faced a tough grilling by CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota on Wednesday morning, touching upon the White House claim that President Donald Trump has already ended the coronavirus pandemic. In response, Gidley squirmed, claiming he didn’t “write the document” and didn’t want to “quibble over semantics.”

Despite the United States seeing a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations as the country experiences record-high daily cases, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a document this week that included “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as one of the Trump administration’s first-term accomplishments.

Camerota immediately referenced this statement during her New Day interview with Gidley, wondering aloud how the White House could justify its claim that the president had brought an end to a clearly ongoing crisis.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Don’t Be Fooled When Trump Touts Greatest-Ever GDP Report

REUTERS

Thursday morning, the government will release a number, and Donald Trump and his flunkeys will jump all over it. It will be the official level of GDP growth in the third quarter of this year, and it’s going to show a huge number, like 30 percent.

You can hear him now, and Larry Kudlow, and all the rest of them. Thirty percent! The biggest quarter of economic growth ever, by far! (Unlike everything else Trump says, this will be technically true, even.) The economy is back, baby! V-shaped recovery! The economy is again the greatest in the history of the country, the Western Hemisphere, the world, the solar system, the known universe, the mind of God!

That’s what they’ll say. Don’t buy it. I write this column as a public service to explain to you why this is a massive and desperate lie. The number will be the last piece of good pre-election news Trump will get. In a week when polls are reinforcing the idea that he’s sliding, he’s flailing around at his rallies attacking Ilhan Omar and Borat, getting his supporters sick, stranding them in 32-degree weather for three hours, he’ll seize on this as good news. But it isn’t anywhere near as good he’ll be trying to spin.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Kim Kardashian’s Tone-Deaf Private Island 40th Birthday Bash Post Draws Backlash Full of Perfect Memes

Danny Moloshok/Reuters

If social-media influencer and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian thought her 67.1 million followers would be happy that she got to celebrate her 40th birthday with close friends on a private island during the worst of the pandemic, she was dead wrong.

The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star tweeted a string of glitzy photos of her and her glam guests Tuesday after assuring her followers that—despite the worst COVID-19 spike in cases yet in the pandemic—she was being careful.

“After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time,” she wrote, following up with what amounted to a privilege disclaimer.

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Know Someone Who Loves to Cook? Here’s What to Gift Them

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Scouted/Vendors

Whether you like to cook or know someone who does, odds are you or they have been doing it more frequently this year. This holiday season is an excellent time to give them something to upgrade their kitchen. Whether that’s olive oil, a feast of steaks, new spices, or something a little unique and different, we cover a ton of kitchen items at Scouted year round. But these are our favorites for gifting, and each one will shine in its own way.

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Going 10 Rounds with Award-Winning Fashion Designer Todd Snyder

Legent Bourbon

What is the all-time best dive bar jukebox song? “Anything by Johnny Cash.”

Name the first good drink you ever drank and where you had it. “I remember visiting the King Cole Bar inside the St. Regis Hotel. I had the Midtown Spice Cocktail, which called for bourbon, apple liqueur, Domaine de Canton and Angostura Bitters with a maraschino cherry.”

What book on cocktails or spirits is your go-to resource? The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Progressives Ready to Push Biden Leftward ‘Immediately’

Drew Angerer

Progressives are just keeping their tongue-biting promise to help Joe Biden deliver, presenting the former vice president to their supporters, once and for all, as the last chance of demolishing Donald Trump’s stronghold on Washington.

But that courtesy is not likely to extend much longer if Trump loses re-election next week, according to interviews with elected officials and prominent figures in the movement. If Democrats win the White House and lock both chambers of Congress, those who backed Biden’s bid with an asterisk are preparing to push him with speed and purpose on a number of important issues, leaving little room for the pleasantries of party unity that prevailed throughout the general election.

“The word on the street is it’s definitely going to start immediately,” a former senior adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in an interview on Tuesday. “Most people are putting on the good face to vote Trump out. But make no mistake, the current power structure on the Democratic side should take no comfort that the main reason why Biden may be elected president of the United States of America is mostly anti-Trump.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Drugs People Not Named Trump Get for COVID-19 Right Now

Ulrich Perrey/Getty

When it comes to treating serious cases of COVID-19, the antiviral drug Remdesivir helps. So do steroids, which can serve to reduce inflammation. And supplemental oxygen, as most Americans familiar with the basics of the coronavirus pandemic might guess, can ease shortness of breath.

The jury’s still out on convalescent plasma, however, despite plenty of hype and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) controversy. And you shouldn’t count on getting access to experimental monoclonal antibodies like the ones that Donald Trump says got him back out on the campaign trail—at least not anytime soon. Plus, there are a host of once-promising therapies that probably don’t work at all, pointing to the frustratingly short menu of options available to Americans in a slew of states experiencing record COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Welcome to Rabbit Hole, where we dive deep on the biggest story. It’s for Beast Inside members only. Join up today.

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The Scariest Thing Happening in Deadwood, South Dakota, This Halloween

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast / Photos Getty

At least there is no coffin race.

On previous Halloweens, the annual Deadweird gathering in the historic South Dakota town of Deadwood has featured not only a costume contest but a race where quartets of pallbearers pushed wheeled caskets 350 feet down the main street.

But the sight of a crowd cheering competing coffins would be an unfortunate optic amidst a pandemic in which more than 220,000 Americans have died.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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China’s Real Invasion of Taiwan Has Already Started

Getty

HONG KONG—When Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping visited a military base in Southeast China this month, he told members of the party’s Marine Corps to “focus your minds and energy on preparing to go to war.” His speech came shortly after the Trump administration said it would move forward with a $7 billion arms sale to Taiwan, which China has threatened to retaliate against if it goes through.

Xi has long wanted to absorb Taiwan under the Communist Party’s rule—he’s openly stated his ambition to “reunify” the democratic island with mainland China while he is the party’s helmsman. And his strategy to dominate Taiwan includes more than gunboats, jets, and boots on the ground. For decades, party leadership in Beijing has leaned on what Xi calls his “magic weapon” to leverage trade relationships and shared ethnic roots to lay the groundwork for entrenched CCP influence in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Chinese diaspora abroad: wielding soft power through China’s United Front Work Department.

Compared to the CCP’s military jingoism and propaganda-spreading “wolf warrior” diplomats, the United Front works behind the scenes, often targeting wealthy individuals with transnational holdings to do the CCP’s bidding through persuasion, economic incentives, and blackmail, or by funneling money toward grassroots organizations that shape opinions about the party among Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and expat Chinese communities.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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