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Big Child Webcam Sex Bust Reveals Rising Abuse

The suspected pedophile could see people banging on his front door. But were they neighbors? Cops?


One had letters on her jacket. As David Timothy Deakin googled “What is NBI?” from the laptop on his bed, the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation smashed their way into his cybersex den.


Children’s underwear, toddler shoes, cameras, bondage cuffs, meth pipes and stacks of hard drives cluttered the stuffy, two-bedroom townhouse. Penciled on the wall, someone had scrawled “My Mom and Dad love me.” In his computer were videos and images of young boys and girls engaged in sex acts.


“Why is everyone asking about children coming into my house?” said Deakin, 53, bare-chested and slick with sweat, his breath sour and glasses foggy, his wrists bound with a zip tie.


Deakin’s arrest on April 20 reveals one of the darkest corners of the internet, where pedophiles in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere pay facilitators in the Philippines to sexually abuse children, even babies, directing their moves through online livestreaming services.

This relatively new crime, webcam sex tourism, is spreading rapidly. The United Nations describes “alarming growth of new forms of child sexual exploitation online.” The FBI says it’s epidemic, and that at any given moment, 750,000 child predators are online.


Almost every case stems from the Philippines, where good English speakers, increased internet connections and widespread international cash transfer systems combine with widespread poverty and easy access to vulnerable kids. There have been as many as three busts a week there this spring. The youngest victim ever, rescued a few weeks ago, was an infant, 2 months old. Most are under 12.


This spring The Associated Press watched a raid, rescue and launch of a major investigation that continues to play out on both sides of the world.

‘They will die in jail’


“This should serve as a warning,” said NBI anti-human trafficking chief Janet Francisco, who led the case. “We will really put them in jail and they will die in jail.”


Even as police burst in, Deakin was streaming illicit content through the anonymous Tor network. Agents said he had a webpage open to wipe his phone clean. They tied him up with an iPhone charging cord before he could hit the button.


AP and investigators asked him repeatedly why he had the obscene images stored on his computer.


“There was no children in front of the cam in my house, not even dressed, as far as I know, not even with their frigging mothers as far as I know,” he said.  


But he said the images and videos may have slipped in when he downloaded massive files using BitTorrent, a data tool used legitimately by academics and artists, but also by child pornographers. FBI agents looking for abusers search BitTorrent to spot people sharing exploitive images.


Deakin said he grew up in Peoria, Illinois, in a splintered family. He was licensed as a roofing contractor in his 30s, seasonal work which left winters free; he used the time to study computers. He moved to the Philippines in 2000 for a job setting up internet service providers and installing Blackmagic livestreaming production programs.


In recent years, Deakin said, he earned $30 an hour as a systems administrator. But his home was filled with junk, his refrigerator near empty. Stacks of used egg cartons fell from the shelves, and a half-eaten pot of cold rice sat on the stove.


“You know what you’ve done in this room,” an investigator told Deakin.


She showed him a photo of several children. Shrugging, he said one of them was probably a few doors away with her cousin. Minutes later, two girls, 9 and 11 years old, were rescued by police.


‘Not just a virtual crime’

AP did not interview the girls Deakin told police about; victims of such raids need immediate and long-term counseling and care. But in the tranquil garden of a shelter for sexual exploitation survivors about 60 miles south of Deakin’s town house, 19-year-old Cassie described her ordeal. AP did not use her whole name to protect her privacy.


The youngest daughter in an impoverished family, Cassie believed the man who came to her village promising a better life if she’d go to the city with him. She was 12.


Within months the man bleached her dark skin, straightened her hair, and began waking her at 4 a.m. to work.


“He needed some girl to show her whole body in front of the camera,” she said.


The abuse ended when her older sister found out and went to the police.


Some buyers try to brush off the abuse, saying they’re not directly touching the children.


“It’s not just a virtual crime. It is an actual crime,” said human rights attorney Sam Inocencio, who heads International Justice Mission’s Philippines office, which supports local law enforcement with investigators and attorneys. “Online sexual exploitation is possibly the most evil thing that I’ve seen.”  


Gaining global attention

In 2013, online sex exploitation of children gained global attention after researchers at the Netherlands-based nonprofit Terre des Hommes launched a realistic-looking animation of a 10-year-old Filipino girl named Sweetie. They took the fake girl on chat groups and online forums. Pedophiles swarmed. In 10 weeks, analysts identified 1,000 men in 71 countries who had tried to get illegal images.


The proliferation of crimes, along with new mandatory reporting, led to 8.2 million reports last year to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline related to online child sexual exploitation. That compares with 8.3 million reports in the 17 years prior.


Officials at both ends of the abuse agree they need to collaborate to stop it, and last month the U.S. committed $3 million.


Deakin’s bust turned out to be one of the largest seizures of its kind in the Philippines. His Cheery Mobile Touch HD tablet – which can be wiped clean and reset with a four digit code – had more than 4,000 contacts. One computer had another 13 networked into it, from servers he said were around the world. There were 30 hard drives.


Neighbor Bessie Geronimo was teary-eyed. She’d seen children going in and out. Now, she wondered, could she have intervened?


“Oh, I pity those children,” she said.


Authorities from a village police substation said a housekeeper filed a complaint against Deakin last year: he wasn’t paying her, she said, and she was worried about what he was doing with children in the bedroom with the door closed. They visited his house but had no authority for a raid.

“There are many such places,” said the security officer Mike Wood.

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Поліція Дніпра відкрила справу через сутички біля пам’ятника Слави 9 травня

Поліція Дніпра відкрила кримінальне провадження через сутички під час масового заходу біля пам’ятника Слави 9 травня. Про це Радіо Свобода повідомили в прес-службі головного управління Національної поліції в Дніпропетровській області.

За даними речника поліції Ольги Кузнецової, за фактом сутичок в Соборному районному відділенні поліції відкрили кримінальне провадження за частиною 2 статті 296 Кримінального кодексу – хуліганство.

За її словами, зокрема, під час сутичок невідомі застосовували сльозогінний газ, двоє поліцейських отримали ураження очей. Поліція сльозогінного газу не застосовувала.

«Двоє поліцейських звернулись до лікарні з ураженням очей від сльозогінного газу, який застосовували невідомі особи. Поліція сльозогінного газу не застосовувала», – зазначила речник.

Водночас в обласній лікарні імені Мечникова Радіо Свобода повідомили, що після масових заходів 9 травня за медичною допомогою до закладу звернулися п’ятеро людей.

«Двоє лікуються у відділенні, у них черепно-мозкові травми, одна особа – із щелепно-лицьовою травмою, ще двоє з легкими ушкодженнями, їм надали допомогу і відпустили додому», – повідомили Радіо Свобода в лікарні. За даними з лікарні, серед тих, хто звернувся до закладу, один учасник АТО.

Дніпряни, користувачі соцмереж повідомляють про щонайменше про двох постраждалих у сутичках біля пам’ятника учасників бойових дій на сході України. А народний депутат України Андрій Денисенко – про те, що серед активістів «десяток отримали травми».

9 травня у Дніпрі, біля пам’ятника Вічної Слави, сталася штовханина під час святкування 9 травня. Конфлікт спалахнув на підході до пам’ятника, під час проходження колони, організованої партією «Опозиційний блок», на чолі якої йшов народний депутат, один з лідерів партії Олександр Вілкул.

Демобілізовані бійці АТО, які стояли обабіч, зажадали від організаторів ходи відмовитись від використання партійної символіки. У цей момент з колони вискочили молодики спортивної статури, зав’язалась бійка. Учасники АТО також просили людей, які йшли в колоні, зняти «георгіївські» стрічки. У тих, хто не реагував на прохання, стрічки зривали силоміць. Поліція розмежовувала й відтісняла сторони конфлікту.

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Міноборони Росії заперечує загибель російського полковника в Сирії

Міністерство оборони Росії заперечує загибель у Сирії російського офіцера, відео ймовірної страти якого оприлюднили бойовики екстремістської організації «Ісламська держава».

У прес-службі російського військового відомства, поширеному державним агентством ТАСС, стверджується, що російські військовослужбовці, які перебувають на території Сирії, «живі, здорові і виконують бойові завдання».

Про публікацію відео страти раніше 9 травня повідомила базована в США моніторингова група SITE, що відстежує діяльність ісламістів та екстремістів в інтернеті.

У публікації SITE убитий названий полковником Євгеном Петренком. На записі чоловік, одягнений в чорний комбінезон, російською розповідає про роботу на російські спецслужби перед стратою.

Підтверджень автентичності відеозапису і особи вбитого SITE Intelligence Group не наводить.

Росія є ключовим союзником сирійського президента Башара аль-Асада в громадянській війні, що триває в Сирії шість років. Міністерство оборони Росії повідомляло про загибель у Сирії від вересня 2015 року 30 російських військовослужбовців.


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Kushner Firm Apologizes for Reference to White House Ties

Plenty can go wrong when foreign money mixes with immigration green cards, real estate deals and political connections.


Revelations that the sister of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, promoted a program offering a path to U.S. citizenship to Chinese backers in a Kushner family project bring new scrutiny to a foreign investor visa program. The Kushner Companies apologized Monday, saying it had not meant to lure investors by using Jared Kushner’s name at an investment promotion event held Saturday at a Ritz Carlton in Beijing. Marketing materials for the event promoted Nicole Kushner Meyer as Jared’s sister, and cited the Kushner family’s “celebrity” status.


The project promoted by Meyer in Beijing is a 79-story apartment building in Jersey City, New Jersey, called Kushner 1. The company is seeking 300 aspiring U.S. residents to invest a total of $150 million, and it follows other Kushner family projects using the investment program known as EB-5, including a nearby Trump-licensed building promoted as “Trump Bay Street.”


At a press briefing, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Jared Kushner has no involvement in the project. An attorney for Jared Kushner said he had sold his stake to a trust benefiting other members of the Kushner family, and would recuse himself from related policy matters while serving as an adviser to Trump.


Though the foreign investor immigration program has become a source for cheap real estate financing for projects like the Kushner family’s, questions about its fairness and national security implications have made it a political briar patch for years. One recent scandal involved Hillary Clinton’s brother.


Created to counter recession

Created in 1990 as a way to encourage investment during a recession, the program requires foreigners to invest $1 million in a business that sustainably employs 10 people anywhere or $500,000 in rural areas or those with high unemployment.


The smaller investment is done through a regional center, a collection point for multiple investments that can be used for a variety of projects. The regional center is at the root of many complaints about the program.


As part of such deals, investors – who in recent years have been overwhelmingly from China – typically accept below-market investment returns to qualify for a visa, allowing the developer to pocket the savings on financing costs. After as little as two years, participants can apply for a fast-track green card and later U.S. citizenship. With permanent residency in hand, the foreign investors can then sponsor additional visas to bring in family members.


Critics have faulted the program for failing to bring investment into downtrodden communities as intended. By gerrymandering together rich geographic areas with poor ones, developers have managed to win approval from economic development authorities for luxury projects in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and Miami’s South Beach.


Risks involved

Beyond the question of whether the program encourages development as intended lie allegations of political favoritism and national security risks.


President Barack Obama’s choice for the No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department nearly had his appointment derailed in 2013 amid allegations that he provided special treatment to a company run by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s brother and others. Alejandro Mayorkas was accused of intervening in three visa cases involving prominent Democrats, including Clinton’s brother.


The Homeland Security Department inspector general concluded in 2015 that Mayorkas’ intervention created the appearance of favoritism and special access. Mayorkas denied wrongdoing. He said at the time that while he disagreed with the inspector general’s report, he would “certainly learn from it and from the process.”


Program’s flaws

U.S. officials have raised concerns about the vetting of investors, too. A 2013 Homeland Security Department investigation cited risks that Iranian intelligence operatives may have exploited the program, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services found numerous fraudulent documents when it audited a sampling of investors’ green card applications.


In an unclassified State Department report from June 2012, officials said that Chinese applicants to the program are “usually coached and prepped for their interviews, making it difficult to take at face value applicant claims regarding income” or membership in the Communist Party.


In 2015, the Government Accountability Office warned that the program could not reliably catch fraud by visa applicants who bought into the program with money obtained through drug trade, human trafficking, or other criminal activities.


The program’s flaws have drawn repeated efforts by members of Congress, including Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., to impose further oversight and restrictions on the visas, but such efforts have not overcome substantial lobbying by developers and real estate interests.


On Monday, Trump administration spokesman Sean Spicer said the president would look at the foreign investor visa program as part of a broader review of immigration policy.

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South Korea’s Ousted Leader Alone, Kept in Dark on Election

South Korea’s ousted leader is expected to spend Tuesday’s presidential election alone in a solitary detention cell without any visitors.


Park Geun-hye, a former president’s daughter and president of South Korea until she was removed by the Constitutional Court on March 10, is being held at a detention center on corruption charges.


All major South Korean TV channels are broadcasting election news throughout the day, but Park will be kept in the dark for most of the time. Without visits from her lawyers or help from prison guards, she may not discover who is chosen to succeed her until Wednesday evening.


Television programs shown in prison are selected by the government, and Park’s first news about the election is likely to come when the prison TV shows its first news program at about 8 p.m. Tuesday evening, when polling stations close and vote counting starts. Before that, she might watch a scheduled documentary about the U.S. presidential system or a soap opera.


Park is asked to go to sleep at 8 p.m. and rise at 6 a.m. It’s unclear whether the prison guards will allow her to watch TV news for a few minutes before she goes to bed.


No visitors are allowed on holidays such as election day, and her contacts will be limited to prison guards, according to the detention center.


She is confined at the Seoul Detention Center in a small cell with a television, toilet, sink, table and mattress. Her government-provided meals typically consist of rice, soup, a meat dish, kimchi and a vegetable dish. She eats the $1 meal alone and does her own dishes.


Other than Park, several former South Korean presidents were shown on TV casting their ballots, including former military dictator Chun Doo-hwan and Park’s predecessor, Lee Myung-bak.


It’s not known whether Park voted by absentee ballot.


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South Korean Exit Polls Project Moon Jae-in Winner in Presidential Election

Early exit polls are projecting Liberal Democratic Party of Korea candidate Moon Jae-in as the winner of the South Korean presidential election.

The post election survey conducted by Korean broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS say Moon won with over 41 percent of the vote. The exit poll is also in line with opinion polls taken before the election that gave Moon a 20 percentage point lead over the field of 13 candidates.


Voter turnout was historically high following a tumultuous political period in which revelations of ex-President Park Geun-hye’s alleged a multi-million dollar influence peddling scheme led to weeks of massive public protests that pressured the National Assembly to force her removal from office and call for a new election.


The National Election Commission announced that voter turnout of the 42 million Koreans registered to vote was on track to reach over 80 percent, which would be the highest since President Kim Dae-jung was elected in 1997, with 80.7 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.

Moon’s closest competitors in the exit polls were conservative Liberty Korea Party candidate Hong Joon-pyo winning 23 percent and centrist People’s Party candidate Ahn Cheol-soo gaining 21 percent.


Official results are expected to be announced early Wednesday morning in Seoul, but the wide margin of Moon’s victory in the exit polls is unlikely to be so far off the official count to change the outcome.

Protest vote


Strong public anger directed at Park over the corruption scandal seemed to energize the liberal base while depressing support for conservative candidates.


Hwang Eui-soon, who attended the past rallies demanding Park’s ouster, said Moon’s support for their cause and calls for anti-corruption reforms influenced him to vote for the Democratic Party candidate.


“I didn’t know at that time, but how Mr. Moon played a role as a leader during the protests was very impressive,” said Hwang after voting at the Hongeun-dong polling station in the North of Seoul.


Moon’s victory with just 40 percent of the vote also reflects deep ideological divisions in South Korea. In the South Korean election system the candidate who gains the most votes is declared the winner, even if that total is less than a majority of the electorate.


His Democratic Party holds 119 seats in the 299 member National Assembly. The South Korean parliament usually has 300 members but Ahn Cheol-soo dropped out to run for president and has not yet been replaced. The two main conservative parties hold 126 seats. While Moon does not have a super majority in the legislature, he should be able to implement his polices with support from other liberal leaning parties.


National security


Many of Moon’s supporters said they like his domestic policy agenda to increase government spending for jobs and education. But some are ambivalent about his pro-engagement polices on North Korea that his conservative opponents have labeled as weak on national security.


“[Some people] said [candidate Moon] is pro-North, but I think we don’t need to worry about it,” said Kim Eun-hee after she voted for Moon in Seoul.


Despite the impeachment scandal many older voters like Lee Bong-ho still supported the conservative parties due to their strong national security positions that emphasize sanctions, military deterrence and support for the U.S. alliance to restrain the North Korean nuclear threat.


“I’ve been supporting conservatives, because I consider stability [as a priority]. Looking back at previous administrations, conservatives secured stability,” said Lee.


Sunshine 2.0


Moon advocates a two-track policy on North Korea that promotes dialogue while maintaining pressure and sanctions to encourage change. But many liken his approach to the Sunshine Policy Of Engagement initiated in the early 2000s by late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung. That attempt to build inter-Korean trust through assistance and cooperative projects eventually ended in the face of the North’s refusal to suspend its nuclear programs and its continued military provocations.


Moon ran against the conservative Park in 2012 presidential election but narrowly lost in part because she was seen as stronger on national security.


During this presidential campaign Moon criticized the conservative punitive approach toward North Korea for not only failing to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons development, but for also allowing it to accelerate under their watch with increased ballistic missile and nuclear tests.


Moon said on Tuesday that the next South Korean president should take on a more active diplomatic role in working with both the United States and China to bring North Korea to international talks to resolve the nuclear standoff.


The new president will have to deal with erupting diplomatic crises with U.S. President Donald Trump’s $1 billion dollar demand for the THAAD missile defense system being deployed on the Korean Peninsula, and with China’s economic retaliation against South Korea, limiting tourism and imports, for supporting THAAD that Beijing sees as a threatening increase of the U.S. military presence in the region.

Youmi Kim contributed to this report.

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China Rights Lawyer Recants Torture Allegations in High Profile Case

In a surprising reversal, Chinese human rights lawyer Xie Yang has recanted allegations that he was tortured while in custody and pleaded guilty to charges of subverting state power and disrupting court order.


Xie has worked on some of China’s most sensitive and controversial cases and has long been an outspoken critic of the government and the country’s legal system.


But on Monday, he told a court in China’s central city of Changsha that that never happened and his legal rights were guaranteed, according to transcripts and videos posted on Chinese social media.

In allegations that were leaked to the public earlier this year through his lawyers, Xie alleged he was punched and kicked, and that authorities threatened to turn him into an invalid. The allegations spurred 11 countries to send letters to China asking it to investigate.

For authorities in China, the trial supports their argument that his allegation of torture was fabricated “fake news.” Authorities may now believe the “open trial,” which was blogged live on the Chinese social media site Weibo, will silence the domestic and international attention the case has gathered.

But that is unlikely.

Blow to ‘rule of law’

For rights advocates and lawyers, both in China and overseas, the case still highlights abuse of the legal system by authorities and disregard of the principles of the rule of law. Xie’s confession in court has only raised more questions about his treatment and spurred more calls for his unconditional release.

The U.S. State Department says it remains deeply concerned about the case and Xie’s well-being, noting that his confession “appeared to be given under duress.” It also called for his release as well as other lawyers detained in China.

Zhang Zhongshi, one of Xie’s lawyers says everyone knows what happened in court, calling the trial a huge blow to the rule of law in China.

“For such a long time, he was disconnected from society without being allowed to meet anyone [from his family] or given any [legal] assistance,” adding that it shows how he has completely been deprived of his legal rights. Zhang met at length with Xie in November of last year, more than a year after he was taken into custody.

In an eerily foretelling note Xie penned in January and sealed with his red wax thumbprints, the rights lawyer warned that if one day he did confess, “that will not be the true expression of my mind.”

The note went on to say: “It may also be because I’ve been subjected to prolonged torture.”

“I was fully aware of [the fact Xie was tortured] and heard from him,” Zhang said. “I personally overheard him being tortured and saw with my own eyes where he had been hit in the head.”

Xie, arrested in July of 2015, is one of more than 300 lawyers to be caught up in a nationwide dragnet aimed at those assisting dissidents and government critics. Most of those lawyers have been released, but 32 have been indicted and seven others are awaiting trial.

Inexplicable reversal

For most of the time during the past two years, Xie was denied access to his lawyers and at his hearing on Monday he was represented by a court appointed lawyer.

His wife, Chen Guiqiu, who has fled the country and is now in the United States, fears there is much more to his inexplicable reversal in court. She told VOA it could have something to do with the fact that since February, Xie has been prohibited from speaking with his lawyers.

Chen said those in the detention center where her husband is being held have told her he was placed under strict control, barred from using money and prohibited from speaking with others.

“If others speak with him, they will be punished and if he speaks with others, Xie would be punished. He was also frequently beaten by death row inmates. And now, he has denied all of these facts,” Chen told VOA. “Isn’t that strange?”

Chen said it may not be until much later that they will know the truth about what happened to her husband. The hearing ended on Monday, without the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court announcing a verdict. Given his confession, a guilty verdict is expected, but how long he might be sentenced is uncertain.

“I have no expectations for what might happen next because the court has no principles. The law should set standards and norms for society, but given that they have completely ignored the basic principles of the law, I do not know what to expect,” she said.

Late last week, just days before the trial, Xie’s current lawyer, Chen Jiangang, and his family were detained in China’s southern province of Yunnan. Chen told VOA his family was sent back to Beijing by plane, but that he was driven all the way home by authorities. On Monday, during the trial, he was still on his way back to China’s capital.

Brian Kopczynski contributed to this report.


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На Донеччині у Мар’їнці поранена місцева жителька – поліція

На Донеччині у Мар’їнці сьогодні поранена місцева жителька.

Як повідомляє прес-служба управління поліції в Донецькій області на Facebook, 51-річна жінка була поранена на власному городі, постраждалій надано необхідну медичну допомогу.

«О 18:00 до поліції надійшло повідомлення від лікарів про те, що до них доставлено жінку із вогнепальним пораненням», – йдеться у повідомленні.

У поліції зазначають, що постраждалу госпіталізували до лікарні міста Курахове.

За фактом інциденту відкрито кримінальне провадження за статтею 258 «Терористичний акт» Кримінального кодексу України.

Конфлікт триває від квітня 2014 року. Росія неодноразово заперечувала участь своїх військових у конфлікті, про що заявляють Україна і Захід. Москва ж визнає лише присутність російських «добровольців» на Донбасі.

За останніми даними ООН, від початку збройного конфлікту на сході України загинули майже 10 тисяч людей. В ОБСЄ повідомляли, що станом на 30 березня від початку року в зоні бойових дій на Донбасі постраждали 116 цивільних, 21 людина загинула.