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Thai tiger temple monk caught fleeing with skins and fangs

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Thai authorities uncovered a trove of animal parts and intercepted a monk trying to leave a controversial “tiger temple” with skins and fangs Thursday, the latest discovery to fuel accusations that the zoo is involved in the illegal wildlife trade.

Dozens of police and park officials have been stationed at the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua temple in western Kanchanaburi province since Monday after receiving a court order to remove over 100 adult cats from the complex.

For decades the infamous temple has been a popular stop for tourists who pay a steep fee to pet and be photographed with the predators — which animal rights groups say are heavily sedated.

“Today we found found tigers skins and amulets in a car which was trying to leave the temple,” Adisorn Noochdumrong, the deputy director of Thailand’s parks department, told AFP.

In addition to more skins that were later found in monks’ quarters, officials discovered a live lion, hornbill, sun bear and banteng (an endangered species of wild cattle) inside the temple compound.

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They also uncovered around 20 jars of preserved tiger parts containing “both whole bodies and organs to be use for medicines,” Adisorn said.

The discovery comes after authorities found dozens of dead tiger cubs inside a freezer at the temple Wednesday.

Animals rights groups and conservationists have long accused the temple of secretly acting as a tiger farm and making huge profits by selling animals and tiger parts on the black market for use in Chinese medicine.

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Repeated efforts to shut down the temple over the years have been delayed and complicated by the fact that secular Thai authorities are often reluctant to intervene in the affairs of the clergy.

The temple has always denied trafficking allegations.

Officials said they have removed 84 tigers so far this week and are transferring the animals to nearby breeding centres.

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No criminal charges have been filed against the temple yet, according to police.

Previous raids of the temple revealed that dozens of hornbills, jackals and Asian bears were also being kept at the sanctuary without proper permits.


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‘Degree to which Trump loses his mind on Twitter’ is the best way to assess Mueller impact: GOP strategist

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The best way to assess the impact of former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony is to judge the response from President Donald Trump on Twitter, a Republican strategist explained on MSNBC on Tuesday.

GOP strategist Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies, was interviewed on MSNBC by Brian Williams.

"I think we should have a real filter that the Republican guys are going to try to set their asses on fire and run around on the stage to distract people from the weight and gravity of this testimony, but that — so that show tomorrow is going to be one that is going to hold America pretty transfixed," Wilson predicted.

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Deutsche Bank is the ‘last resort for unsavory characters’ like pedophiles and Trump: Congresswoman

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Democratic Party rising-star Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) blasted Deutsche Bank during a Tuesday evening appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

The law professor, who won an Orange County, California seat in the 2018 midterms that Democrats had never held, has been highly praised for her congressional questioning expertise, especially will grilling banks from her role on the House Financial Services Committee.

"The New York Times is reporting tonight that convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, who is now facing new sex trafficking charges in New York, has had dozens of accounts at Deutsche Bank which flagged suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department involving Jeffrey Epstein earlier this year," anchor Lawrence O'Donnell reported.

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Aaron Zebley testifying will ‘establish the precedence’ Congress can interview all Mueller investigators: Democrat

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The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will swear in deputy special counsel Aaron Zebley along with special counsel Robert Mueller, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported Tuesday.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell followed up on Maddow's reporting while interviewing Rep. Peter Welch, who sits on the Intelligence Committee.

"In your committee tomorrow, Aaron Zebley’s going to be a sworn witness at this stage. Do you expect committee members to solicit testimony from him as well as Robert Mueller? As much as Robert Mueller?" O'Donnell asked.

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