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Endangered pangolins found on Chinese poacher boat

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The Philippine coast guard said Monday it had found hundreds of frozen scaly anteaters, or pangolins, in the cargo hold of a Chinese boat that ran aground in a protected marine sanctuary last week.

Wildlife officials have been informed of the surprising discovery, which could lead to more charges for the 12 Chinese men arrested on charges including poaching after their boat was stranded in Tubbataha Reef last week.

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“We found 400 boxes containing anteaters aboard the vessel, and we are now determining where these came from,” coast guard spokesman Lieutenant Commander Armand Balilo told AFP.

He could not say whether the pangolins were frozen alive, or had already been butchered as meat.

A protected species, pangolins are widely hunted in parts of Asia for their meat, skin and scales. In China, they are known as a delicacy and are purported to have medicinal qualities.

According to the International Union of Conservation of Nature, all eight species of the insect-eating mammals are protected by international laws around the world.

Two — the Malaysian and Chinese pangolins — are in its “red list” of endangered species.

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Pangolins are also found roaming in the wild in the western Philippine island of Palawan, the nearest land area to Tubbataha Reef where the Chinese boat had been marooned.

Balilo said the vessel remained stuck in Tubbataha, while the coast guard awaited arrival of a salvage ship to tow it away.

Prosecutors charged the 12 Chinese fishermen last week with illegal poaching and with corruption for attempting to bribe Filipinos officials, and if convicted they could face long jail terms.

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It was not immediately clear however what additional charges, if any, are to be filed against them with the discovery of the pangolins, Balilo said.

The grounding of the 48-metre (157-foot) boat came amid deep tensions between the Philippines and China over competing territorial claims to the neighbouring South China Sea.

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China claims virtually all of the South China Sea on historical grounds, including waters close to the shores of its neighbours.

The Philippines, as well as Vietnam, have accused China of bullying other claimants as it aggressively stakes out its claims.


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Why Trump’s plot to ‘investigate the investigators’ is going up in a puff of smoke

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For months, the names of Michael Horowitz and John Durham have figured in the pounding rhythms of right-wing media in which a heroically afflicted president faces down his perfidious enemies. A steady drumbeat of reports from Fox News, echoed by President Trump and Republican loyalists in Congress, proclaimed these two obscure Justice Department officials would get to the bottom of an alleged conspiracy against the Trump presidency.

They would, in Trump’s words, “investigate the investigators.” It was oh so promising.

“I will tell you this,” Trump blustered on October 25. “I think you’re going to see a lot of really bad things,” he said. “I leave it all up to the attorney general and I leave it all up to the people that are working with the attorney general who I don’t know. … I think you’ll see things that nobody would’ve believed.”

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2020 Election

Demand grows for Pete Buttigieg to come clean about his time at ‘corporate greed machine’ McKinsey

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"The political risk is not that his former employer, a multibillion-dollar corporate entity that promotes fraud across the globe, will be mad at him. It's what he would have to disclose."

Days after reports surfaced about the global consulting firm McKinsey's work advising the Trump administration on immigration policy, calls are growing louder for South Bend, Indiana mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to disclose details about the work he did for the company.

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Deutsche Bank busted in money-laundering scheme case

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Prosectors in Frankfurt have dropped their investigation into two Deutsche Bank employees who were accused of aiding tax evasion schemes in the Virgin Islands, due to "lack of suspicion." The institution has instead been fined for compliance lapses.

“With the closure of these proceedings it is clear that the prosecutors have not found any instances of criminal misconduct on the part of Deutsche Bank employees following the raid of our Frankfurt office in November 2018,” Deutsche Bank spokesman Joerg Eigendorf said in a statement.

“The investigation that has now been closed due to lack of sufficient suspicion had a heavy impact on Deutsche Bank last year,” he added. “It is true that the bank had weaknesses in its control environment in the past. We identified these weaknesses and we have addressed them in a disciplined manner.”

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