The Daily Populous

Tuesday September 21st, 2021 day edition

image for GOP operatives charged with funneling $25,000 from Russian citizen to Trump campaign in 2016

(CNN) The Justice Department on Monday charged two prominent Republican operatives who allegedly helped a Russian citizen illegally donate $25,000 to the Trump campaign in 2016.

Jesse Benton, 43, and Doug Wead, 75, were charged in a six-count indictment and made their first appearance in DC District Court.

They're accused of conspiring to violate campaign finance laws, making an illegal foreign contribution and helping submit false records to the Federal Election Commission.

Prosecutors said Benton and Wead funneled $25,000 from the unnamed Russian donor to the Trump Victory Committee, a joint fundraising venture between then-candidate Donald Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee.

The Russian then attended a September 2016 fundraiser in Philadelphia, where he met Trump and took photos with the future President.

Benton worked for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's 2014 reelection campaign, Sen. Rand Paul's first campaign in 2010 and former Rep. Ron Paul's presidential campaign in 2012.

Wead was an aide to former President George H.W. Bush, served with Benton on Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign and worked on Rand Paul's Senate reelection campaign in 2016. »

VA tells veterans discharged under 'don't ask, don't tell' they are eligible for all VA benefits

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Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough issued guidance to veterans benefits administrator adjudicators that military service members who have an "other than honorable discharge due solely to their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status should be considered veterans who may be eligible for VA benefits," Williams said during the virtual event.

The moves marks another step from the Biden administration to improve rights for LGBTQ+ service members and veterans.

The Veterans Affairs Department is also moving to make gender confirmation surgery for transgender veterans available through VA health care coverage, McDonough announced in June. »

India seizes $2.7bn of heroin from Afghanistan at port

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Nearly three tonnes of heroin with a street value of $2.7bn (£2bn) from Afghanistan have been seized from a western Indian port in a major bust, officials said.

The consignment – with one container carrying nearly 2,000kg of heroin and another holding nearly 1,000kg – originated from Afghanistan and was shipped from a port in Iran to Gujarat, the DRI said.

Heroin production has boomed in Afghanistan in recent years, helping fund the Taliban which returned to power in August. »

A giant space rock demolished an ancient Middle Eastern city and everyone in it – possibly inspiring the Biblical story of Sodom

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Flashing through the atmosphere, the rock exploded in a massive fireball about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) above the ground.

None of the 8,000 people or any animals within the city survived – their bodies were torn apart and their bones blasted into small fragments.

About a minute later, 14 miles (22 km) to the west of Tall el-Hammam, winds from the blast hit the biblical city of Jericho. »