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Sarah Sanders accused of sharing ‘fake’ video to justify banning CNN reporter

Related Story: White House accuses CNN man of 'touching' intern during row with Trump Rela..

Related Story: White House accuses CNN man of 'touching' intern during row with Trump Related Story: What it was like being in the room when Donald Trump took on Jim Acosta

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has been accused of sharing a "doctored" video which exaggerates the actions of CNN reporter Jim Acosta to justify suspending his credentials.

Key points:

  • The video seems to show CNN reporter Jim Acosta pushing down on the arm of a White House intern
  • Analysis of the video by Storyful shows it contains extra frames, which have been repeated
  • The video was first shared online by a conspiracy theorist, who denies doctoring it

Acosta had his hard pass to access the White House grounds revoked hours after a testy exchange with US President Donald Trump during a press conference.

The White House said it was because Acosta put "his hands on" an intern who was trying to grab a microphone off him, while CNN said it was "retaliation for his challenging questions".

The pair began sparring after Acosta asked Mr Trump about the caravan of migrants heading from Latin America to the southern US border.

When Acosta tried to follow up with another question, Mr Trump said "That's enough!" and a female White House aide unsuccessfully tried to grab the microphone from the reporter.

A White House staff member reaches for the microphone held by CNN's Jim Acosta as he questions Donald Trump.

Ms Sanders released a statement accusing Acosta of "placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern", calling it "absolutely unacceptable".

The interaction between Acosta and the intern was brief, and Acosta appeared to brush her arm as she reached for the microphone and he tried to hold onto it. "Pardon me, ma'am," he told her.

Acosta tweeted that Ms Sanders' statement that he put his hands on the aide was "a lie".

But Ms Sanders later posted a video of the incident on Twitter, saying she stood by the decision to revoke Acosta's pass and the White House would "not tolerate the inappropriate behaviour clearly documented" in the footage.

External Link: Sarah Sanders tweet: "We stand by our decision to revoke this individuals hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video."

The video appears to show Acosta pushing down forcefully on the intern's arm.

But video analysts said the clip repeats several frames that do not appear in the original footage.

Analysis by news website Storyful said the video Ms Sanders shared "halts" and then repeats several frames in order to exaggerate Acosta's movements.

On Twitter, video editor Rafael Shimunov shared a different analysis which he said proved the video was "doctored".

External Link: Rafael Shimunov twitter: "1) Took @PressSec Sarah Sanders' video of briefing"

Tinting the video red and playing it over a transparent version of the original showed, Mr Shimunov said, the clip had been "sped up to make Jim Acosta's motion look like a chop".

The video Ms Sanders posted was first shared online by Infowars editor and conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson, who denied doctoring the video.

"The video was not 'doctored' by me — all I did was zoom in on the original from the Daily Wire," Watson said.

"I did not 'speed up' anything. The screenshot from Sony Vegas Pro here proves that."

External Link: Paul Joseph Watson tweet: ""He never once touched her." That is a complete lie. He clearly did. Is whatever you're paid by CNN really worth making a total fool out of yourself for the world to see?"

According to Storyful, the Daily Wire version is a GIF-format file, which has a lower frame rate than the original footage and does not contain the repeat frames.

Buzzfeed reported there was no evidence the video shared by Watson was deliberately sped up, but that by changing format into a lower-quality GIF, it turned "the question of whether it was 'doctored' into a semantic debate".

CNN executive Matt Dornic accused the White House press secretary of releasing "actual fake news" and called her tweet "absolutely shameful".

The White House News Photographers Association decried the sharing of the footage.

"As visual journalists, we know that manipulating images is manipulating truth," Whitney Shefte, the association's president, said.

"It's deceptive, dangerous and unethical.

"Knowingly sharing manipulated images is equally problematic, particularly when the person sharing them is a representative of our country's highest office with vast influence over public opinion."

ABC/wires

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China deploys anti-ship missiles in the desert making them harder to intercept

Beijing has announced it has deployed intermediate ballistic missiles to the country's north-we..

Beijing has announced it has deployed intermediate ballistic missiles to the country's north-west region, saying the weapons have the capacity to destroy US ships entering disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Key points:

  • The missiles can fire long distances and would be difficult for US ships to shoot down
  • Defence strategy expert Dr Malcom Davis said the move means China can back up its threats
  • The news came after a US guided missile destroyer passed through the South China Sea

The DF-26 missiles — which have been previously dubbed the 'Guam Killer' or 'Guam Express' by Chinese media and defence experts — are capable of carrying conventional or nuclear warheads.

They have a range of 4,500 kilometres, making them capable of reaching as far as Guam in the east and Indonesia in the south, providing Beijing with a powerful weapon as tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea.

External Link: @globaltimesnews: China's df-26 missiles

According to Chinese state media publication The Global Times, the DF-26 missiles are now stationed in north-west China's sparse plateau and desert areas, carried on the backs of trucks able to traverse the harsh terrain.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Beijing-based military expert told the Times that positioning the missiles deep in China's mainland made them more difficult to intercept as it allowed the missile to enter its final stages at a high speed.

Footage on CCTV showed trucks carrying the missiles driving through rough terrain and sand dunes.

The missiles were first paraded in 2015 and China confirmed they were now operational in April last year, but this is the first footage of the missiles outside of a parade.

It is unclear when the missiles were moved to the northwest region, the Times reported. (more…)

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Melbourne driver who cheated death when sign fell on car in no rush to drive again

Related Story: Dashcam footage shows moment car was crushed by falling freeway sign

The Melbourne ..

Related Story: Dashcam footage shows moment car was crushed by falling freeway sign

The Melbourne driver who cheated death when an overhead road sign fell and crushed her car says she cannot believe such an accident could happen in Australia.

Key points:

  • A second sign on the Tullamarine Freeway has been taken down as a precautionary measure
  • An inspection of similar-sized sign and gantries is underway
  • VicRoads says an independent investigator has been brought in to determine what happened

Extraordinary dashcam footage shows the moment the five-by-four metre sign fell in front of, and then on top of, Nella Lettieri's car as she was travelling on Melbourne's Tullamarine Freeway earlier this week.

While the 53-year-old was not seriously injured, she is bruised and battered — and wondering how she is still alive.

"It felt like a roller door had slammed shut in front of me," Ms Lettieri said.

"I've gone to swerve, but as I swerved, it just felt like the sign was actually falling on the car.

"And it just kept bouncing, and I felt like it was pushing me to the right, and I'm thinking, 'OK, is it going to stop?'"

A woman smiling and looking off camera.

She thought the metal object may have been from a plane landing or taking off from the nearby Essendon Airport, or from a truck on the freeway.

But she was shocked to discover it was actually an overhead sign, meant to be directing drivers to their destination. (more…)

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In his Brexit speech in Wakefield, Jeremy Corbyn again demanded the impossible

Speaking in Wakefield this morning, Jeremy Corbyn restated his demand for a solution to the Brexit i..

Speaking in Wakefield this morning, Jeremy Corbyn restated his demand for a solution to the Brexit impasse that appears effectively impossible: a general election.

In what is likely to be his last major public statement before MPs vote on the withdrawal agreement next Tuesday, he attempted to redefine the terms of the question facing both the Labour leadership and its MPs – from those that threaten to stretch his fissiparous electoral coalition to breaking point, to those which, on paper, unite it.

That resulted in a speech whose thrust was an appeal to class consciousness from Remainers in Tottenham and Leavers in Mansfield, rather than any meaningful debate over the validity or viability of Brexit itself. “Youre up against it,” Corbyn said, citing austerity, stagnant wages, and the cost of living crisis, “but youre not against each other.”

Accordingly, his cursory repetition of Labours policy – that a second referendum should remain on the table as an option in the event a general election does not happen – came with a caveat so huge that it amounted to an implicit dismissal of a so-called peoples vote. “Any political leader who wants to bring the country together cannot wish away the votes of 17 million people who wanted to leave, any more than they can ignore the concerns of the 16 million who voted to remain.”

But despite the fact that his attention was more or less exclusively focussed on the question of what sort of future relationship with Europe would negotiate – with the fact of the divorce undisputed – Corbyn categorically ruled out doing anything but whipping his MPs to vote against the withdrawal agreement. The vast majority of them will do so on Thursday, after which point Corbyn said, as expected, that Labour would table a motion of no confidence in the hope of securing an election and with it the chance to renegotiate Brexit (rather than, say, holding a second referendum).

Notably, however, he did not specify a timescale for tabling a confidence vote after Mays deal falls – despite several of his shadow cabinet ministers insisting that he would do so “immediately”. He instead put on the record the more cautious line briefed by his team yesterday: “Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the government at the moment we judge it to have the best chance of success.”

That statement of intent was followed with a caveat seldom offered by shadow cabinet ministers sent out to spin the partys line on Brexit. “Clearly,” Corbyn said, “Labour does not have enough MPs in parliament to win a confidence vote on its own.” As he himself alluded to when he urged opposition MPs to join Labour in voting against the government, Labours chances remain slim until such time that the ten DUP MPs drop the government. (That every other party will is a racing certainty.) Paradoxically, the defeat of the withdrawal agreement – and with it the backstop Mays sometime coalition partners object to – will make that chance even slimmer.

We know from what Corbyn said this morning that the Labour leadership will not whip its MPs to approve Theresa Mays Brexit, back a second referendum out of choice – both courses threaten its electoral base in different ways – or support any attempt by Downing Street to make the Brexit deal more amenable to Labour MPs by tacking on guarantees on workers rights. That strategy has held until now.

But failure to roll the pitch for any alternative at all – or, indeed, for the inevitable breakdown in party discipline after Mays vote is defeated and Labour has no way to bind MPs who seek mutually exclusive Brexit aims – will make the messy politics of the aftermath of next Tuesday rather more difficult to finesse.

Patrick Maguire is the New Statesman's political correspondent. (more…)

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