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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.

“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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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GUILTY: Jury rules Michael Flynn’s former business partner is guilty of lobbying for Turkey

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Michael Flynn's former business partner Bijan Kian was found guilty by a jury for illegally lobbying for a foreign country.

The information was uncovered as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and as the Justice Department's crackdown on illegal foreign lobbying, CNN explained.

Flynn has had a difficult go in his court case, but information Flynn gave was helpful, according to the DOJ.

Kian is an Iranian-American businessman who was charged with conspiring to hide his lobbying work for Turkey without registering as a foreign agent for the Turkish government.

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“It’s as bad as it looks”: Pelosi under fire for debt ceiling deal that hands GOP power to kneecap progressive agenda

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"It sets up a crisis of the first year of the next president's administration," said a former congressional staffer. "We're letting them light the fuse on another bomb and place it squarely in the middle of the next president's first year."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have helped temporarily avert a looming fiscal crisis on Tuesday by striking a budget deal with the Trump administration, but progressives warned the agreement hands Republicans power to kneecap the next president's agenda by suspending the debt ceiling until after the 2020 elections.

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FLASHBACK: Mueller makes GOP lawmaker look like an absolute fool during 2013 hearing

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While previewing former special counsel Robert Mueller's upcoming testimony before the House of Representatives, CNN on Tuesday played a clip from six years ago showing Mueller schooling Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who tried to corner the then-FBI director about his agency's work on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

During the hearing, Gohmert tried to get Mueller to explain why the FBI supposedly hadn't visited the mosque that was frequented by the Tsarnaev brothers, the two American citizens of Chechen descent who carried out the attack.

"Why did no one go to the mosque and say, who are these guys?" Gohmert asked. "Why was that not done?"

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