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Washington Post Withheld Secret ISIS Plot Details Trump Reportedly Gave To Russians

The Washington Post?s report Monday that President Donald Trump ?revealed highly classified information? about an Islamic State plot to Russian officials appeared to show more restraint than the commander-in-chief.

The Washington Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.

According to the Post, details Trump gave to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had been provided by a U.S. partner, and were ?so sensitive? that they?d been ?withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government.? The Post reported that Trump?s disclosure risks future cooperation with the unnamed U.S. partner, which hadn?t given permission to share the information. 

The Post proved to be ?more effective at protecting classified information than President Trump in his exchanges with the Russians,? Ned Price, a former National Security Council spokesman, said on MSNBC Monday evening.

Jim Roberts, a former editor at The New York Times and Mashable, said the paper acted ?more responsibly? than the president. 

The New York Times and BuzzFeed separately confirmed that Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russians.

The White House rejected the Post?s bombshell. National security adviser H.R. McMaster denounced the story and said?at no time were sources or methods discussed? in the meeting. The Post story didn?t claim Trump disclosed sources and methods. 

Washington Post reporter Greg Miller said on CNN that the White House is ?playing word games … to try to blunt the impact of this story.? Miller said he ?absolutely? stood by the reporting. 

Trump met with Lavrov and Kislyak the morning after firing FBI James Comey, who was overseeing the investigation into whether Trump campaign associates colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.

The White House barred U.S. journalists from covering any part of the meeting, though permitted a photographer working for Lavrov and Russian state media inside the Oval Office. 

It?s unclear how much of the meeting was attended by the Russian photographer, who revealed Kislyak?s presence. The White House did not tell reporters of Kislyak?s appearance in an official readout of the meeting. 

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Potential 2020 Candidates Are Already Spending Big On Online Ads. Here’s Why.

WASHINGTON ? Having won office just seven months ago, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) won?t face re-election for another 2,000 days or so. But already, she is spending massive amounts of money on digital advertising from her campaign account.  

The nearly $300,000 she?s spent on those digital ads in the first three months of 2017 has sparked private speculation about whether the freshman senator is in fact prepping for a different sort of race. A fast-rising star within the party, Harris is often included on shortlists for possible presidential candidates in 2020. That she?s essentially investing in email acquisition and brand-building only further suggests interest in a White House bid.

A Harris strategist, speaking on condition of anonymity, insisted that the presidency is ?not the motivation? for her digital expenditures. Rather, the strategist said, Harris is simply looking to shore up her finances. The atmosphere of activist energy permeating Democratic politics during the turbulent early days of the Trump administration has given Harris? team an opportunity to dramatically upend their traditional fundraising structure.

?I had never seen anything like it,? said the strategist. ?This may be a once-in-a-lifetime moment from the standpoint of not just the short-term opportunity to raise money, but how we increase our reach… The opportunity is there to get out of the traditional fundraising rat race and to make a direct appeal to donors on a widely distributed small-dollar basis. And obviously we are building our online fundraising capacity because now, for the first time in Harris? career, we have an opportunity to scale it up.?

Harris? team is not wrong. This is a golden age of Democratic online organizing. According to experts, the wave of anti-Donald Trump sentiment may represent a rare opportunity for lawmakers to shift away from a reliance on big-money donors and toward a system popularized by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during his presidential run: small-dollar giving that begets sustained forms of activism.

?When you stack it up against other ways to raise money, it has the advantage that when you?re fundraising, you?re also mobilizing a base that you can use for other actions,? Michael Malbin, the head of the Campaign Finance Institute, told HuffPost. ?The important thing is that these are people who might not only vote for them, but might recommend them to other people.?

Campaign fundraisers say the deluge of money currently coming in online is unlike anything the party has ever seen in the first quarter following a presidential election. More than one operative described investments in digital advertising as ?free money,? and as a chance for someone with an eye on the White House to build a foundation for that campaign.

The Harris strategist said the senator received nearly 48,000 individual contributions in the first three months of 2017, with an average donation of just under $18.50 ? Sanders-like numbers. They also calculated that they were getting a 700 percent return on investment for every dollar spent on digital (though a industry source said that, after retainers, that figure was likely closer to 300-400 percent). Partly as a result of her online ad spending, Harris raised $738,459 from small donors giving less than $200 from January through March.

Other Democratic stalwarts are making similar digital expenditures at a very early stage this cycle ? and finding similar levels of success.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are all up for re-election in 2018, and all are on 2020 presidential candidate shortlists. Each of them spent huge sums on digital ads and consultants in the first three months of 2017.

Gillibrand has spent the most, with nearly $500,000 flowing to Anne Lewis Strategies for online consulting. This has helped her rake in close $1.5 million in the first three months of the year. Both of those figures are radically higher than the last time she ran for election in 2012. Back in the first three months of 2011, Gillibrand spent less than $50,000 on her online consultants and raised just $101,288 from small donors.

?She is up in ?18,? said a Gillibrand aide. ?We don?t know what kind of race we are going to have yet. You could always get a self-funder who decides they want to spend $15-40 million to go buy a Senate seat. So we are going to actively raise all the resources we need to be competitive regardless of the situation we are in.?

Murphy, who like Gillibrand is running for his second term, spent $391,000 on digital advertising in the first three months of 2017 and raised over $1 million from small donors. In 2011, he spent less than $10,000 on online consultants and raised $55,995 from small donors over the same period of time.

?Senator Murphy is working hard to lay the groundwork for his re-election campaign next year,? said Murphy?s aide, Chris Harris.

Warren, also up for her second term, spent $262,787 on digital ads and consultants in the first quarter of 2017. A star in the party, Warren came into 2017 with a built-in small-donor constituency. That helped her raise a stunning $3.2 million from small donors in the first three months of the year ? a 1200 percent return on investment. Her $3.2 million small-donor haul in the first three months of a non-election year is close to the amount she raised from small donors during the summer and fall months leading up to her 2012 election.

?In 2012, we built what at the time was the largest grassroots fundraising campaign, and we are making similar investments in digital ahead of the re-election, especially because engagement online is so ridiculous right now,? said a Warren aide. ?It would be foolish for us not to tap into that outlet.?

Unlike Warren, Gillibrand and Murphy, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) ? another name often heard in discussions about Democratic White House hopefuls ? is not up for re-election in 2018. His term expires in 2020. Booker?s digital ad expenditures are modest compared to those of his colleagues. But the $83,500 he has spent in the first three months of 2017 has still helped him raise $289,757 from small donors ? and invites questions about why someone who won?t face voters for another three years is spending that money at all.

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U.S. Accuses Assad Regime Of Building Prison Crematorium To Cover Up Mass Murders

According to the U.S. State Department, the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad not only tortures and kills detained prisoners en masse ? it also disposes of them in one of the most undignified ways imaginable. 

?We now believe that the Syrian regime has installed a crematorium in the Sednaya prison complex which could dispose of prison detainees? remains with little evidence,? Stuart Jones, acting assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, said at a news conference on Monday.

Beginning in 2013, the regime is believed to have ?modified a building? in the prison complex to support what appears to be a crematorium, Jones said. It represents an ?effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place in Sednaya prison.?

The complex, located about 45 minutes outside of Damascus, is Syria?s largest and most secure prison. It?s been the site of extrajudicial killings and mass hangings since the war began, Jones said. Authorities kill as many as 50 detainees every day.

Authorities reportedly executed between 5,000 and 13,000 people in Sednaya from 2011 to 2015, according to an Amnesty International report released in February. Amnesty?s research led them to deem the prison a ?human slaughterhouse? where crimes against humanity occur regularly.

The regime deploys torture tactics including beatings, electrocution and rape, to name a few, Jones said.

Outside of prisons, Assad?s regime been known to hammer cities like Aleppo with airstrikes, launch chemical-weapon attacks, starve civilians, commit sexual violence and deny services like water and medical care, Jones noted. An estimated 400,000 people have died in the Syrian war, according to the United Nations.

President Donald Trump retaliated against the regime?s latest chemical attack in early April by launching strikes on a Syrian air base that housed a chemical weapons stockpile.

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A Fifth ‘Game Of Thrones’ Spinoff Is Coming Because Four Aren’t Enough

When it comes to spinoff shows, ?Game of Thrones? doesn?t want to be spokes on a wheel. It wants to break the wheel!  

Series author George R.R. Martin cleared up news about the development of HBO?s four ?Game of Thrones? spinoffs on his Not A Blog Sunday, revealing that a fifth show is now in the works with a secret writer. Surprise!

We had four scripts in development when I arrived in LA last week, but by the time I left we had five. We have added a fifth writer to the original four. No, I will not reveal the name here. HBO announced the names of the first four, and will no doubt announce the fifth as well, once his deal has closed. He?s a really terrific addition, however, a great guy and a fine writer, and aside from me and maybe Elio and Linda, I don?t know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as he does.

If there are five spinoffs on the way, HBO might be in need of some of that Lannister gold to pay for them. But Martin himself thinks it?s unlikely that five new shows will be making it on-air.

For now, the author wants us to know that there is an order for five pilot scripts and he is working with all the writers, not just two as previously reported.

Also, the spinoffs aren?t going to be spinoffs like we usually think of them. They?re all going to be prequels from stories we likely haven?t heard before:

So all of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment. Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Some may not even be set on Westeros. Rather than ?spinoff? or ?prequel,? however, I prefer the term ?successor show.? That?s what I?ve been calling them.

But there won?t be any Robert?s Rebellion or Dunk and Egg prequels as of now. Sorry, everyone.

And for those who are wondering, Martin reiterated that he?s still working on his next book in the ?Song of Ice and Fire? series, The Winds of Winter. But, oh sweet summer child, you probably shouldn?t expect it to come anytime soon.

At least we have the possibility of five new ?Game of Thrones? shows on the way.

Open that wine, Tyrion. It?s time to turn up.

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As A Trans Woman, I’m Grateful For A Mother Who Accepts Me

I remember in one of my early appointments with a gender therapist in New York, the therapist said to me, ?Can you imagine a strong, independent, dominant kind of woman?? The question may seem inane to an outside observer, but what he was trying to do was make sure my sense of gender identity and my sense of gender stereotypes were separate. My response was, ?Of course! Those are always the kinds of women I?ve admired and wanted to emulate.? I rattled off some of my female idols in that model; Hillary Clinton, Viola Davis, Amal (at the time) Alamuddin. However, my earliest model of a strong independent woman was my mom, Amy Levinson.

As a kid, I watched as she juggled raising my two brothers and I with her career as a jewelry designer. When I was really little, before I even really understood my own gender, I took for granted that I would grow up and become a woman just like her.

I?d look at her in the morning and somehow she always seemed to have the barest hint of the previous day?s eye makeup lingering around her eyes. I thought it looked glamorous, like some beautiful Jewish Priestess from a time long ago. She?ll probably be mortified that I?m bringing it up, even though my mom is one of the most arrestingly beautiful women I know.

Back in my childhood years, she would make sure the three of us got off to school, and she?d get to work. She?d go above and beyond supporting us in any of our extracurricular endeavors. After much begging on my part, she let me get a piano in third grade and began getting me private lessons. That support directly led to my work as a composer today. Every chorus concert, every theatre performance, every orchestra concert, she was there. I mean every one. If there was more than one performance, she was at every. one. This was while she was going back and forth into Manhattan and to Providence RI, designing jewelry for QVC, Lainie Kazan, and eventually, The Met Museum, to name a few? not to mention getting involved in school and library board politics.

One of my myriad of struggles, as a bullied queer kid, was with my weight. I had become very overweight as a kid, and by high school, I felt completely out of control. One night, I was visibly upset. She came up to my bedroom and I confessed how distraught I was about where my weight had gotten. She sat with me and listened. We made a plan.

Over the next year, she went food shopping with me, she made meal plans with me, she cooked for me, and helped me take it off. When I originally came out as gay, it was a complete non-issue. When I was going into my junior year of high school, we were on a summer vacation in Boston and Maine. I was depressed over an unrequited crush on a boy in the grade above me. My mom suggested we break from our scheduled plans and take a day trip over to Provincetown to cheer me up.

In my adulthood, she stepped in to help my dad with his business when he needed it, dropping everything to help him and our family to succeed. When I came out as trans, it stressed our relationship a bit at first, but it put us on a major path of growth together. For perhaps the first time, we really see each other. She has flown around the world to be with me throughout my transition, being away from home for long stretches of time to offer emotional support.

She is the first person to uplift me and validate me when I?m feeling low. ?I wish you could see how beautiful you are inside and out? is a common text from my mom. She now loves to talk about, and my dad verifies this, that when she was pregnant with me, she was utterly convinced that she was having a daughter. I joke that as a typical Jewish mom, she just loves that she found out she was right twenty-five years later.

But the truth is, as a trans woman on Mother?s Day, I am profoundly grateful for a mother who truly sees me as her daughter. I know how incredibly lucky I am. But it?s not just luck, it?s a testament to the woman who raised me. She is a strong, independent, empathetic, woman who took the time to truly see and know her child. I woke up this morning on the opposite end of the country, my first Mother?s Day away from her, and looked in the mirror; yesterday?s eye makeup lingering around my eyes. I smiled. I am my mother?s daughter. Thank you, mom, for raising me right. I love you. Happy Mother?s Day.

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Someone Illegally Shot A Rare White Wolf At Yellowstone National Park And Left It To Die

$10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the conviction of a gunman who shot and mortally wounded a rare white wolf in Yellowstone National Park.

Hikers found the elderly alpha female abandoned in the woods near the northern boundary of the park near Gardiner, Montana, on April 11. They called for help, but she was so severely injured that she had to be euthanized.

Necropsy results released Thursday show that the 12-year-old ? who was twice as old as the average wolf in the park ? had been shot with a rifle.

?The death of this wolf is another tragic loss in the trend of illegally poaching iconic species,?  said Jaimie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife.

?Yellowstone National Park?s wolves are unequivocally prized. These wolves are valued globally, and local communities reliant on tourism benefit significantly from their presence. Returning wolves to their natural habitat has a beneficial effect on the entire ecosystem.?

The canine was one of three white wolves in the park. She was the alpha female of the Canyon Pack for more than nine years with the same alpha male, and had at least 20 pups. She was one of the most recognizable wolves in the park,

Yellowstone offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the killer or killers. The wildlife advocacy group the Wolves of the Rockies in Montana doubled the reward. 

Some conservationists believe the wolf was shot by someone angry about the reintroduction of the animals into the park 20 years ago ? otherwise they would have likely taken the ?trophy.?

?People take matters into their own hands and feel they are above the law and they kind of flaunt that fact that they can do what they want to do and there?s no repercussions,? Wolves of the Rockies President Marc Cook told The Associated Press. There are now close to 100 wolves in the park, despite the complaints of many ranchers and hunters.

It?s illegal to shoot animals in the park ? or to discharge a firearm.

Yellowstone accepts anonymous tips to its phone line at 888-653-0009. ?You don?t have to tell them who you are, but please tell them what you know,? said the park statement. You can email information to nps_isb@nps.gov or submit it online at www.nps.gov/isb.

The shooting upset many animal lovers who expressed their outrage on Twitter.

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Many people in society today are suffering from depression and they don’t know it. Some signs exist that point to the likelihood of someone being depressed. A change in body weight with little or no exercise could be a sign. Another example of things to look out for include forgetfulness and someone letting themselves go or not caring about themselves or their surroundings.Are you one of the many who are looking to get scalp micropigmentation done in Minnesota? Depression can also manifest in more harmful forms like heavy drinking of alcohol, mood swings and addiction to the internet. One result of this sad state is people suffering from depression often find it hard to make decisions. One way of spotting depressed friends is looking out for sad status updates and silent cries for help.

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Many people in society today are suffering from depression and they don’t know it. Some signs exist that point to the likelihood of someone being depressed. A change in body weight with little or no exercise could be a sign. Another example of things to look out for include forgetfulness and someone letting themselves go or not caring about themselves or their surroundings.Are you one of the many who are looking to get scalp micropigmentation done in Minnesota? Depression can also manifest in more harmful forms like heavy drinking of alcohol, mood swings and addiction to the internet. One result of this sad state is people suffering from depression often find it hard to make decisions. One way of spotting depressed friends is looking out for sad status updates and silent cries for help.

If You’re Wondering Where ‘Big Little Lies’ Was Filmed, Plan A Trip To Monterey

Nicole Kidman and her posse may be the biggest stars of HBO?s ?Big Little Lies,? but the miniseries? stunning location is a close runner-up. The story takes place in Monterey, California, and much of it was filmed in the town and its surrounding area.

The nearby rugged coastline ? known as Big Sur ? has been a hit with travelers lately, and the show aimed to boost its allure even more.

?Aesthetically, we were looking to draw the audience in and (have them say) ?I want to go there on vacation,?? creator David E. Kelley told The Mercury News. 

Here?s where to visit during yours.

Bixby Bridge and Highway 1

The opening credits feature this iconic bridge, which arches 260 feet above a canyon in Big Sur. Plan a drive along Highway 1 to soak in those legendary views, but note that a fire and mudslides have caused closures lately, so you may need to take an alternate route after checking current road conditions

Garrapata State Park

Those shots of powerful crashing waves come from this scenic state park, where locals go for uncrowded hiking trails that climb steeply up to ocean vistas before plunging into redwood forests. Again, check for closures before choosing a trail. 

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Fisherman?s Wharf

The show?s moms gossip at a coffeeshop on Fisherman?s Wharf, which was originally built in the 1800s to unload passengers and freight (namely sardines). Today, the wharf?s seafood options are more refined: Try the clam chowder at Old Fisherman?s Grotto or the king crab at Domenico?s On the Wharf.

Del Monte Beach

Shailene Woodley?s character loves to run on the beach, and this wide-open stretch of sand made the perfect filming location. Mostly locals hang out here, and it?s an ideal spot for beach walks, picnics and kayaking.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

It makes only a quick cameo in the series trailer, but no visit to Monterey would be complete without at least a half-day trip to this world-class aquarium, which is home to more than 35,000 creatures. 

Lovers Point

Many key scenes take place at this beach and park in the charming city of Pacific Grove. Stop by for a beachside run, volleyball game, dip in the ocean or nap on the lawn. Ahh.

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Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court Nomination Expected To Clear Senate Committee In Partisan Vote

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to approve the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump?s choice to sit on the Supreme Court, along party lines on Monday.

But committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), the No. 2 Democrat on the panel, announced Monday morning that they?ll join their party?s planned filibuster of the nominee, bringing their party closer to an attempt to prevent his name from proceeding to a confirmation vote in the Senate. 

Democrats appear to be one senator short of the 41 needed to block the vote, which is scheduled for Friday. As the committee was deliberating, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) also announced he would vote to block the nomination.

?Unfortunately, based on Judge Gorsuch?s record at the Department of Justice, his tenure on the bench, his appearance before the Senate, and his written questions for the record, I cannot support this nomination,? Feinstein said during the hearing.

Leahy said the judge?s testimony before the committee was ?excruciatingly evasive? and ?patronizing? ? particularly with respect to historic cases.

?Is there anybody on this committee or elsewhere who would disagree with Brown v. Board of Education?? Leahy asked. He noted that he was planning to vote his ?conscience? in joining the opposition to Gorsuch.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has sent strong signals that, if Democrats? blockade succeeds, he?ll deploy the so-called ?nuclear option? ? a rule change that would allow a simple majority of Republicans to vote Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court bench.

During his turn to speak Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said ?we?ll change the rules if we have to? to get the judge confirmed, but warned that going that route will result in more ideological nominees in the future.

?The Senate traditions are going to change over this man, based on the times in which we live,? Graham said. ?And I find it ironic and sad that we?re going to change the rules over somebody who?s lived such a good life, who?s been such a good judge for such a long time. It says more about the Senate than it does Judge Gorsuch.?

We’ll change the rules if we have to.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

McConnell has vowed Gorsuch will be confirmed by this Friday. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has indicated the nuclear option shouldn?t be Republicans? response.

?You shouldn?t change the rules. You should change the nominee,? Schumer told reporters last week on Capitol Hill. ?If they decide to change the rules, it will be on their back.?

The Senate Judiciary Committee?s 11 Republicans and nine Democrats last month took turns praising and grilling the respected Colorado judge, who has served in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit for a decade and was on a shortlist of judges that Trump touted during the campaign as potential nominees to drum up support for his White House bid.

Senate Democrats have pointed to this list of handpicked judges ? assembled with the help of conservative groups The Federalist Society and The Heritage Foundation ? and the millions of dollars being spent on pro-Gorsuch ads as evidence the judge is a surefire vote for Republican causes in ideologically close cases. Before selecting Gorsuch, Trump promised his supporters he?d appoint a Supreme Court justice who would be ?pro-life? on the issue of abortion.

Gorsuch tried to distance himself from Trump and these campaign promises during his confirmation hearings, asserting that he?d rule independently and that he would have ?walked out that door? if Trump had asked him to vote to overrule Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that established a woman?s constitutional right to end her pregnancy.

Still, Gorsuch?s evasiveness and his steely answers on settled questions of constitutional law didn?t assuage key Democrats coming out of the hearings. Feinstein noted during a follow-up committee meeting last week that her party, given the questions still surrounding the nomination, was ?in a terrible position? to support the judge.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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There are many types of fabrics that probably you are aware of, some that you have heard of and others a mystery to you. fabrics. When furnishing your home it?s important to understand the difference of various fabrics Tina’s Facebook page. Some fabrics are fragile and need careful handling others like nylon is indestructible.

Landslide Kills More Than 150 People In Colombia

A landslide in Colombia?s southwestern border province of Putumayo sent mud and debris crashing onto houses overnight, killing at least 154 people and injuring scores, officials said on Saturday.

Heavy rains caused several rivers to overflow, pushing sediment and rocks onto buildings and roads in the provincial capital of Mocoa and immobilizing cars in several feet of mud.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos flew to Mocoa, population 345,000, to oversee rescue efforts on the city outskirts and speak with affected families.

?We will do everything possible to help them,? Santos said after confirming the death toll. ?It breaks my heart.?

Officials were working to determine the number of missing, Santos said. Nearly 200 people were injured, the defense ministry said, and more than 1,100 soldiers and police officers were called in to dig people out.

?We have sent a team of 150 people to make our response effective and machinery began work immediately,? Carlos Ivan Marquez, head of the national disaster unit, said in a statement.

Even in a country where heavy rains, a mountainous landscape and informal construction of homes combine to make landslides a common occurrence, the scale of the Mocoa disaster was daunting. By comparison, a 2015 landslide killed nearly 80 people in Salgar, Antioquia.

?It?s a big area,? Mocoa Mayor Jose Antonio Castro, who lost his house, told Caracol radio on Saturday. ?A big portion of the many houses were just taken by the avalanche.?

He said that people were warned ahead of time and many were able to get out, but several neighborhoods and two bridges had been destroyed.

Photos posted on Twitter by the air force showed neighborhood streets filled with mud and damaged houses, while videos on social media showed residents searching for survivors in the debris and struggling to move through waist-high water during the night.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Nelson Bocanegra; Editing by Bill Trott and Mary Milliken)

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Activist Glenn Martin ‘Grateful’ #CLOSErikers Campaign Was A Success

Mayor De Blasio announced a 10 year plan to close the notoriously violent New York prison facility Rikers Island on Friday afternoon. The decision comes after a year of aggressive crusading to shut down the prison from the #CLOSErikers campaign, which was founded by activist and former Rikers prisoner Glenn E. Martin.

In a statement sent to The Huffington Post, Martin said that he?s ?grateful? the mayor has realized that the only solution to the prison?s problematic nature is to close it.

?For too long, New Yorkers ? especially poor people of color ? have languished in this grist mill, where human rights abuses are routine,? Martin said. ?Countless failed attempts at incremental reform have proven that the only viable solution is to close Rikers.?

The campaign, which Martin founded in 2016, has done everything from follow the mayor to Florida to ensure he hears their concerns surrounding the prison to create a commercial calling the mayor out on his inaction around Rikers.

Martin, who was imprisoned at Rikers twice and currently has a brother in the prison, said the mayor?s announcement was ?especially meaningful? to him.

?Mayor de Blasio has finally heard the demands of the #CLOSErikers campaign, and we thank him for recognizing that the problem with Rikers is Rikers,? he continued.

Martin is also a member of the Lippman Commission which, in a 97 page report provided to the mayor, outlined ways to successfully go about closure of the prison.  

Aside from his intent to close the island and open other jails in its place, the mayor?s full plan has not yet been released. But is expected to include some of the suggestions from the commission?s report.

You can read more about the mayor?s announcement here

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The Best Easter Ham Recipes

It doesn?t feel like Easter if there isn?t a great big ham crowning the table. And since you know just how much ham you need for your holiday feast, and just how long you need to cook it, the only thing you need now is a recipe.

You?ve come to the right place. We have just the recipes you need for a beautiful Easter ham. Pick a recipe and get started on this glorious meal ? just be sure you don?t forget dessert! (We have stunning spring desserts and cute Easter-inspired sweets for you to choose from.)

But first, the hams…

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These Powerful Photos Of Women ‘Flip The Bird’ At Society’s Standards

Photographer Julia Busato?s ?Mannequin Series? is meant to break the mold.

Inspired by Instagram and (briefly) banned by Facebook, the 46-year-old?s body-positive series shines a light on women of all shapes and sizes. It all happens with the help of a unique prop ? a mannequin she had in her closet. 

?A friend of mine said she would love to flip the bird at society?s standards so we grabbed the mannequin and started shooting,? Busato told The Huffington Post via email. ?From there it just evolved as more people came forward asking to be part of it and answering my requests for volunteers.? 

The subjects used in the photos are not all professional models, and are mostly locals from Busato?s town in Guelph, which is near Ontario, Canada. The mannequin used in the photos is nicknamed ?Lucy? after Lucille Ball. According to Busato, posing with Lucy helps the women loosen up and laugh during the shoot.

The mannequin also helps people share their stories, which Busato says range from body issues to mental and physical health.  

?Each person has their own personal story about how they don?t fit the standards expected from society. It?s not just about weight anymore, its about being happy in your own skin,? the photographer told The Huffington Post.

If there?s one thing people ? and women in particular ? take away from the shoot, Busato hopes that it?ll encourage women to come together in support of each other around the globe. 

?I really want to show the world that no matter what size, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, physical/mental limitations or social status; we are all women and all strong enough to get through this together,? Busato said. ?I just want women to love themselves unconditionally because we are all beautiful in our own way.? 

To see more of her photos, scroll through the slideshow below: 

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– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.