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The 30-year-old gun enthusiast who turned out to be a Russian spy

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The 30-year-old gun enthusiast operated as a Kremlin agent as she befriended National Rifle Association leaders and influential conservatives, she admitted Thursday in federal court in Washington.

Maria Butina pleaded guilty to acting as an undeclared Russian agent in the U.S. and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

The 30-year-old gun enthusiast operated as a Kremlin agent as she befriended National Rifle Association leaders and influential conservatives, she admitted Thursday in federal court in Washington.

“Butina sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics,” prosecutor Erik Kenerson said at the hearing, reading from the government’s statement of facts. “Butina sought to use those unofficial lines of communication for the benefit of the Russian Federation.”

Asked by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan if she agreed with the government’s characterization of the conspiracy, Butina said yes.

Cooperation Deal

Butina, who remains jailed, faces a maximum of five years in prison, but she won’t be sentenced immediately. Her cooperation could lead to a reduced punishment. The judge scheduled a status hearing for Feb. 12.

The NRA and the Kremlin didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier Thursday that any decision Butina took to help free her from detention in the U.S. would be supported by Russia.

Butina was arrested in July. While in the U.S. starting in 2015, she was working to advance Russia’s interests, reporting regularly to a senior Russian official, according to her guilty plea.

The charges were filed by the Justice Department’s national security unit and U.S. prosecutors in Washington, rather than by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian influence in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As part of the plea agreement, Butina may provide information about Paul Erickson, her onetime boyfriend. Erickson matches the description of a man referred to as “U.S. Person 1” in Butina’s charging documents. The person connected her with influential Republicans and wrote in a message that he had been involved “in securing a VERY private line of communication between the Kremlin” and key officials of the NRA, prosecutors said.

‘Good American’

Erickson has visited Butina in jail several times this year, according to her attorney, Robert Driscoll. Bill Hurd, Erickson’s lawyer, said his client is “a good American” who “has never done anything to hurt our country and never would.”

Hurd was in the courtroom for the proceedings. He declined to comment afterward.

Butina’s admission added to the drumbeat of developments in investigations related to the 2016 presidential election, and there were several signs this week that prosecutors were receiving information from several people close to President Donald Trump.

Trump’s longtime fixer was sentenced to three years in prison and said he’d assist prosecutors, and the president’s former national security adviser acknowledged he’d sat for 19 interviews with prosecutors and provided thousands of pages of documents. A tabloid publisher with ties to Trump is cooperating, too, after admitting to federal investigators in New York that its CEO talked to people on Trump’s nascent campaign about buying and burying damaging stories that could damage the candidate.

Russia says its spy agencies had no knowledge of Butina or her activities.

“When I heard something was going on around her, for a start I asked the heads of our secret services, ‘Who is she?’ Nobody knows anything about her,” President Vladimir Putin said in a televised appearance in Moscow on Tuesday, the day after Butina said in a filing she wanted to change her plea.

Student Visa

Butina traveled to the U.S. in 2015 and entered the U.S. on a student visa in 2016 to study at American University in Washington. She reported to Alexander Torshin, the former deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank, court documents show.

Torshin accompanied Butina to a variety of conservative political events. In 2015 and 2016, the pair attended at least one NRA conference and a National Prayer Breakfast, the filings say. At one conference, they met with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Butina also attended Walker’s announcement that he was running for president.

At a town-hall-style event in Las Vegas in 2015, Butina asked candidate Trump whether he would improve the U.S. relationship with Russia. Trump said he would.

Butina, who’d started an NRA-like group in Russia called the Right to Bear Arms, was already a fixture in the American gun-rights community. NRA members traveled to Russia in 2013 to attend an event she organized. Among the attendees were Torshin and David Keene, then president of the NRA.

Driscoll, Butina’s lawyer, has said his client was a legitimate university student.

The Butina matter has echoes of an earlier espionage case. In 2010, Anna Chapman and nine other “sleeper agents” working secretly in the U.S. on behalf of Russia pleaded guilty and were sent back to Moscow as part of a prisoner exchange.

Butina’s plea agreement says she is likely to be deported, but that probably wouldn’t happen before prosecutors are finished debriefing her.

Another consequence of her guilty plea is that she’s not allowed to own a gun.

Source: HindustanTimes

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Shraddha Murder Case: Police found spinal cord, 10 body parts recovered so far from the forest

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Photo by Hassan Rafhaan on Unsplash | (Representational Image)

The bones of Shraddha found by the Delhi Police in the forest of Mehrauli belong to the back part of the body. About 10 such body parts have been found so far, including the reed bone. Apart from this, some bones have also been recovered from the drain.

Delhi Police has received 10 parts of the body including the lower part of the spinal cord. The police have also found blood stains in the kitchen of the flat, whose samples have been sent for examination to find out whose the blood stains are.

Aftab had cleaned the fridge with chemicals so that when caught, he could spoil the forensic investigation. Delhi Police will soon call Shraddha’s father for a DNA sample. After which blood sample and bone sample will be sent to FLS, after which FSL will do a DNA test.

After the investigation so far, the police suspect that Shraddha’s body was dismembered in the bathroom after the murder. Along with this, the accused used to leave the water running from the shower so that the dead body could be easily cut and blood flowed. The FSL team along with Aftab was present during the investigation at his flat.

Source: Aajtak

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Fog will be seen in Delhi’s sky from tomorrow, cold will increase with drop in temperature!

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Representational Image | Image Source: Sumita Roy Dutta (Wikimedia)

After the passing of half of November, there is a rapid change in the weather. The country’s capital Delhi is feeling cold in the morning and evening, while the temperature is rising in the afternoon. However, a change in the weather can be seen in the coming days. According to IMD, the cold may increase in Delhi from tomorrow i.e. 17 November with a drop in temperature.

Delhi’s temperature condition

According to weather experts, in the next few days, icy winds will blow in the northwest direction, due to which Delhi’s temperature will drop and the cold will increase. Talking about the temperature, on November 17, the minimum temperature can be 12 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperature can be 27 degree Celsius. Two days ago i.e. on November 15, the minimum temperature was recorded at 15 degrees and the maximum temperature was 30 degrees. At the same time, there is a possibility of further decline in it for the next two days. On November 18, the minimum temperature can reach 11 °C and the maximum temperature can reach 26 °C.

Source Aajkal.in

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In Delhi, 37 lakh people apply for power subsidy

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Representational Image | Image Source: Snappygoat.com

After the 15-day-expansion by the Delhi government to select for the power subsidy scheme finished Tuesday, just three lakh individuals applied during the augmentation time frame. From September 14 till Tuesday night, 37,13,179 individuals applied to keep on benefiting from the subsidy scheme.

In spite of the fact that authorities are guaranteeing that a decent level of individuals has applied, the information shows a distinction of around 10 lakh customers when contrasted with a year ago. As per the information, around 46.8 lakh individuals profited from the advantage under the plan in 2021-22.

“This was the normal number of individuals who get the advantage, and the people who go under the 200 unit class probably applied. Likewise, the number varies as a few purchasers get the financed bill during winters and the number descends in summer as individuals use ACs, coolers, and fans,” said a senior authority from the power office.

He added that individuals who got sponsored bills under 400 units during winter should not have applied. “In any case, they can, in any case, apply before their next charging cycle and profit from the subsidy scheme,” said the official.

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