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FTX Crypto Fraudster Bankman-Fried Freed on US$250 Million Bail Bond

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FTX Crypto Fraudster Bankman-Fried Freed on US$250 Million Bail Bond

FTX crypto fraudster, Sam Bankman-Fried, walked out of a Manhattan courtroom with his parents on Thursday after they agreed to sign a $250 million bond and keep him at their California home while he awaits trial on charges that he defrauded investors and looted customer deposits on his FTX trading platform.

In federal court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos stated that Bankman-Fried, 30, “perpetrated a fraud of epic proportions.” Roos proposed strict bail conditions, including a $250 million bond — the largest federal pretrial bond ever, according to Roos — and house arrest at his parents’ home in Palo Alto.

According to Roos, one of the main reasons for allowing bail was that Bankman-Fried, who had been imprisoned in the Bahamas, agreed to be extradited to the United States.

Inside the courthouse, reunited with his parents and lawyers, a silent Bankman-Fried shook the hand of a supporter before walking out the door, where photographers and video crews rushed him until he left in a car.

Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein agreed to the bond and house arrest, but he insisted on Bankman-Fried wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet before leaving the courthouse. Roos had suggested that it be attached on Friday in California.

Bankman-Fried entered the courtroom in a suit and tie, shackled at the ankles, to take a seat between his attorneys. He only spoke once during the hearing to respond to the judge. Near the end, Gorenstein asked him if he understood that if he chose to flee, he would face arrest and a $250 million fine.

“I do,” Bankman-Fried replied.

Soon after, the hearing ended, and Bankman-Fried was led out by two U.S. marshals, his hands in his front pants pockets. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 3 before the judge who will preside over the case.

His bail conditions also include prohibiting opening new lines of credit, starting a business, or engaging in financial transactions worth more than $1,000 without the government’s or the court’s approval.

According to Roos, the bond was to be secured by the equity in his parents’ home and the signatures of his parents and two other financially responsible people with significant assets. The bail was described as a “personal recognizance bond,” which meant that the collateral did not have to cover the full amount of the bail.

FTX founder was granted a $250 million bond and placed under house arrest

After his parents signed a $250 million personal recognizance bond, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was released from federal court in Manhattan. While awaiting trial, he will reside at his parents’ home in California. (Dec. 22) (AP video by David R. Martin, Ted Shaffrey, Patrick Orsagos)

Bankman-Fried, arrested last week in the Bahamas, was flown to New York late Wednesday after deciding not to contest his extradition.

While he was in the air, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that two of Bankman-closest Fried’s business associates had also been charged and had secretly pleaded guilty on Monday.

Carolyn Ellison, the former CEO of Bankman-trading Fried’s firm, Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, the co-founder of FTX, both pleaded guilty to wire fraud, securities fraud, and commodities fraud.

In a video statement, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated that both were cooperating with investigators and had agreed to assist in any prosecution. He warned those who assisted the alleged fraud in coming forward.

“Now is the time to get ahead of it if you participated in misconduct at FTX or Alameda,” he said. “We’re moving quickly, and our patients won’t last forever.”

Prosecutors and regulators allege that Bankman-Fried was at the center of several illegal schemes involving using customer and investor funds for personal gain. If convicted on all counts, he could face decades in prison.

Bankman-Fried stated in a series of interviews before his arrest that he never intended to defraud anyone.

Bankman-Fried is accused of illegally obtaining funds from customers to facilitate trades at Alameda, spend lavishly on real estate, and make millions of dollars in campaign contributions to US politicians.

FTX, founded in 2019, rode the crypto investing phenomenon to great heights, quickly becoming one of the world’s largest digital currency exchanges. Seeking customers outside of the tech world, it hired comedian and writer Larry David to appear in a Super Bowl commercial promoting cryptocurrency as the next big thing.

Bankman-crypto Fried’s empire, on the other hand, abruptly collapsed in early November when customers withdrew deposits in large numbers amid reports that some of its financial arrangements were questionable.

The Associated Press

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THAILAND: Rescue Dig Saves Toddler Trapped In Well For One Night

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BANGKOK, Thailand — A 19-month-old girl fell into a dry artesian well shaft at a cassava farm in northern Thailand 18 hours before she was saved. It took rescuers all night to get her out.

Rescuers clapped and cheered as the toddler, the daughter of Myanmar migrant workers, was pulled from the 15-meter (49-foot)-deep well shaft and placed on a stretcher that carried her to an ambulance waiting nearby.

“You guys did an excellent job. “We did it!” exclaimed one rescuer as his colleagues wept and hugged each other in Tak province’s Phop Phra district.

While her parents were working at the plantation, the child fell into the hole late Monday afternoon.

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Rescuers In Thailand Were On The Scene Quickly

The deep pit, dug by the landowner to be an artesian well, was left uncovered after it failed to reach groundwater, according to Phop Phra district chief Sanya Phetset on Tuesday.

According to local media, the first rescuers on the scene shouted down the hole and heard the child cry back. After lowering a camera into the hole to assess the situation, a tube was snaked to provide oxygen.

Using backhoes and other excavation tools, rescuers dug a 30-centimeter-wide trench alongside the pit overnight.

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The Child Is Now Safe And Sound

“At first, it appeared to be a simple operation because it appeared to be loose dirt, but once we started digging, we discovered rock, which made it difficult because excavators cannot dig through it,” Sanya explained.

He explained that the operation was risky because the digging could collapse the well’s sides onto the child.

After being carried to safety, the toddler was immediately taken to Phop Phra Hospital in Thailand.

“She is now safe. “She’s a little tired, but nothing serious,” Sanya explained.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Pope Francis Clarifies his Remarks on Homosexuality and Sin

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Pope Francis Clarifies his Remarks on Homosexuality and Sin

Pope Francis has clarified his recent remarks about homosexuality and sin, stating that he was referring to official Catholic moral teaching, which states that any sexual act other than marriage is a sin.

In a Friday note, Francis emphasized that even black-and-white teaching is subject to circumstances that may eliminate the sin.

Francis made the remarks in an interview with The Associated Press on January 24, stating that laws criminalizing homosexuality are “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime.”

As he often does, Francis then imagined a conversation with someone who brought up the issue of the church’s official teaching, which states that homosexual acts are sinful or “intrinsically disordered.”

“All right, but first, let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime,” Francis said in the fictitious conversation. “It is also a sin not to be charitable to one another.”

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Pope asked for Clarification.

LGBTQ advocates hailed his comments calling for decriminalizing homosexuality as a watershed moment that would help end harassment and violence against LGBTQ people. However, his use of the word “sin” raised questions about whether he believed that simply being gay was a sin in and of itself.

The Reverand James Martin, an American priest who runs the Outreach ministry for LGBTQ Catholics in the United States, asked Francis for clarification and published the pope’s handwritten response late Friday on the Outreach website.

In his note, Francis reiterated that homosexuality “is not a crime” and that he was trying “to emphasize that criminalization is neither good nor just.”

“When I said it is a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which states that every sexual act other than marriage is a sin,” Francis wrote in Spanish, emphasizing the final phrase.

However, in a nod to his case-by-case approach to pastoral ministry, Francis noted that even teaching is subject to the circumstances, “which may decrease or eliminate the fault.”

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Sex is a Sin, as is Any Sexual Act

He admitted he could have been more specific in his comments to the AP. However, he stated that he was using “natural and conversational language” in the interview, which did not necessitate precise definitions.

“As you can see, I was generally repeating something. ‘Sex is a sin, as is any sexual act outside of the bonds of holy marriage,’ I should have said. This is to speak of ‘the matter’ of sexual sin, but we all know that Catholic morality considers not only the matter but also freedom and intention, and this for all types of sin,” he said.

According to Human Dignity Trust, which works to end such laws, 67 countries or jurisdictions worldwide criminalize same-sex sexual activity, 11 of which can or do impose the death penalty. According to experts, even when laws are not enforced, they contribute to harassment, stigma, and violence against LGBTQ people.

According to Catholic teaching, marriage is a lifelong bond between a man and a woman. It restricts intercourse with married couples and prohibits artificial contraception.

During his decade-long pontificate, Francis has upheld that teaching while prioritizing outreach to LGBTQ people.

Pope Francis has emphasized a more merciful approach to applying church doctrine, preferring to accompany rather than judge people.

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US General Tells His Officers to Prepare for War with China in 2025

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US General Tells His Officers to Prepare for War with China in 2025

In an internal memo, a four-star general in the United States Air Force stated that the US and China risk going to war in two years and advised officers under his command to prepare, including with target practice.

According to NBC, General Mike Minihan, head of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, believes the fight will take place in 2025 but hopes he is wrong. He claimed that presidential elections in the United States and Taiwan in 2024 would allow China to take action against Taiwan.

According to NBC, a Defense Department official stated that the remarks do not represent the Pentagon’s position on China. According to an Air Mobility Command spokesperson, the memo is part of the command’s effort to prepare for conflict if deterrence fails.

The administration of President Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed concern about China’s military buildup and what the US perceives to be a more aggressive Chinese stance toward Taiwan.

According to the administration’s national security strategy, China is the only US competitor “with the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do so.”

China has slammed the latest US defense spending bill, which allows up to $10 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan, for exaggerating the China threat and meddling in its internal affairs.

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Blinken Conerned Over Taiwan and China

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern about Beijing’s intentions regarding Taiwan as he prepares for a rare visit to Beijing, China.

When asked if the temperature had cooled with China during a visit to the University of Chicago, Blinken replied, “I think so because when you’re talking and engaging, it tends to have that effect.”

“The rest of the world anticipates that we will manage this relationship responsibly. “They understand that how we manage it will also impact them,” he said.

According to Taipei Times, Blinken will visit Beijing from February 5 to 6, marking the first US secretary of state visit to the rising Asian power since October 2018.

The trip was decided after US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping () met in November in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss wide-ranging disagreements between the world’s two largest economies.

Blinken, on the other hand, expressed concern about Taiwan, citing Beijing’s growing efforts to isolate the country and major military exercises conducted near it in August.

“What we’ve seen over the last few years is, I believe, China deciding that it was no longer comfortable with the status quo, a status quo that had prevailed for decades and had been successful in terms of our countries’ relationship and managing what a difficult situation is,” he said.

“What we say to China is that — they say this is a sovereign issue for us; we respond that this is an interest to the United States and countries all over the world,” Blinken said, referring to Taiwan’s dominance in semiconductors, which is critical to the global economy.

Any disruption of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait would be disastrous for the global economy, he said, adding that 50 percent of container ships operating around the world pass through the Taiwan Strait and that Taiwan manufactures 70 percent of higher-end computer chips.

Blinken was in Chicago for a trip that included a stop at the city’s historic Ukrainian community to discuss the response to Russia’s invasion.

By: Geoff Thomas

China Records 1st Population Drop In Decades As Births Fall

China Records 1st Population Drop In Decades As Births Fall

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