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Women detained at the US-Mexico border were forced to drink out of toilets when their sinks stopped working, a Congresswoman has said.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known as AOC, told a Congressional committee that the US border policy is needlessly cruel, after she visited detention centres.

In a passionate speech she said: “When these women tell me that they were put into a cell and their sink was not working and we tested the sink ourselves and the sink was not working and they were told to drink out of a toilet bowl, I believe them.”

“I believe these women. I believe the canker sores that I saw in their mouths because they were only allowed to be served un-nutritious food.

“I believe them when they said they were sleeping on concrete floors for two months.

She added: “This is a manufactured crisis, because the cruelty is manufactured. This is a manufactured crisis because there’s no need for us to do this.”

Donald Trump immediately hit back at the claims, saying Ms Ocasio-Cortez “made that up” and calling it a “phony story”.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee is holding hearings after alleged abuses against migrant minors during a period where families were split up at the border.

Mr Trump also said immigration raids targeting people who are in the US illegally will start on Sunday.

He said authorities from Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be focusing on criminals and looking for those he called “bad players”.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 12:  U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee holds a hearing on "The Trump Administration's Child Separation Policy: Substantiated Allegations of Mistreatment." July 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. The hearing comes just ahead of a planned multiday Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation to arrest thousands of undocumented immigrant families in several cities across the U.S.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered an impassioned plea at a committee

Asked about whether there would be warnings about the raids, Mr Trump said: “Nothing to be secret about. If the word gets out, it gets out because hundreds of people know about it. It’s a major operation. So the word gets out it gets out.

“It starts on Sunday and they’re going to take people out and they’re going to bring them back to their countries or they’re going to take criminals out – put them in prison or put them in prison in the countries they came from. We’re focused on criminals as much as we can.”

Children in the busy border facilities in the US. Pic: ABC
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Children in the busy border facilities in the US. Pic: ABC

In Congress on Friday, Ms Ocasio-Cortez called for policy change, and said: “What’s worse, Mr Chairman, was the fact that there were American flags hanging all over these facilities.

“That children being separated from their parents in front of the American flag, that women were being called these names under an American flag, we cannot allow for this.”

More than 100,000 migrants have been trying to get over the border every month since March, which has overwhelmed the federal agencies’ ability to keep those seeking access to the US in sanitary conditions.

A group of Democrats visited the stations last week and reported overloaded, fetid facilities, as well as the cases Ms Ocasio-Cortez spoke of in her speech.

Rashida Tlaib, another freshman Congresswoman, said: “We do have a crisis at our border. It is one of morality.”

However four Republican representatives blamed the Democrats for the problem.

Chip Roy said the Democrats were using their trip to put on “a show in front of fences and the media” and accused them of “vilifying” border agents.

CLINT, TX - JULY 01: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) addresses the media after touring the Clint, TX Border Patrol Facility housing children on July 1, 2019 in Clint, Texas. Reports of inhumane conditions have plagued the facility where migrant children are being held. (Photo by Christ Chavez/Getty Images)
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Ms Ocasio-Cortez saw the conditions in the facilities in Texas

Last month Congress passed a $4.6bn (£3.6bn) measure to improve border stations and migrants’ treatment.

A report last week by the Department of Homeland Security found “serious overcrowding and prolonged detention” of children, families and single adults at the border facilities in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.

It found hundreds of children were being held longer than the 72-hour limit, and faced clothing shortages, and a lack of hot meals, while some adults were detained for a week in a cell so crowded they had to stand.

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Unhatched birds can warn other eggs in nest of danger by vibrating | Science & Tech News

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Unhatched baby seabirds can warn each other of impending danger by vibrating within their shells, scientists have discovered.

A study of yellow-legged gull embryos, found they reacted to warning calls from a parent and even passed on the message to siblings who had not heard the call.

The researchers collected gull eggs and divided them into groups of three.

A week before hatching, two of the three eggs in each nest were temporarily removed and exposed to a recording of a predator alarm call.

The noise was delivered four times a day at random intervals for three minutes at a time until hatching.

The third egg from each group remained in the nest in silence.

All three eggs were then reunited and left to hatch.

It was found the embryos responded to the external alarm calls by vibrating more.

This information appeared to be passed on to the third egg which had not been directly exposed to the sounds and it then mimicked the vibrations.

Experts from the Animal Ecology Group at the University of Vigo in Spain discovered all the chicks underwent genetic changes that delayed hatch time.

There was also evidence of increased production of stress hormones which is known to make birds more aware of their surroundings after hatching.

The findings were published in the journal, Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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Bali arrests: Shackled Australians facing jail over ‘cocaine use’ | World News

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Two Australian men have been paraded in front of the media a week after being arrested in Bali on suspicion of cocaine use and possession.

Indonesian police are preparing to charge the pair and are currently searching for a third suspect after a series of drug raids in the village of Canggu, a popular nightclub area on the island of Bali.

The two men, who have been named as William Cabantong, 35, and David Van Iersel, 38, were led out in front of the media in hand and foot shackles, alongside local drug suspects.

Police acted on a tip-off, and said they found 1.12g of cocaine in the pockets of one of the men, as well as drug equipment including a set of broken scales.

The men bought 2g of cocaine for three million rupiahs (£172), according to police.

The pair have undergone days of interrogation and tests while in prison. Police say a blood test revealed that both Mr Cabantong and Mr Van Iersel were cocaine users.

Denpasar police chief Ruddi Setiawan told reporters: “We advise tourists, locals, and foreigners to come here for a holiday, don’t come to have a drugs party or to use drugs.

“We will take firm action if any foreigners resist. We will not be lenient.”

The men are expected to be charged under Indonesian law 112, legislation which covers drug possession. The punishment carries a possible jail term of between four and 12 years, as well as a fine of 800 million rupiah (£45,000).

The men hid their faces as they stood with others arrested on drug charges
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The men hid their faces as they stood with others arrested on drug charges

It is understood that both Mr Cabantong and Mr Van Iersel worked as nightclub promoters whilst they lived in Australia before they travelled to Bali.

Indonesia is known for its strong penalties against those who commit drug offences. In 2017, Indonesian President Joko Widodo told police officers to shoot drug traffickers.

He said: “Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest. Shoot them because we indeed are in a narcotics emergency position now.”

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Drug-resistant malaria strains spread through south east Asia | World News

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Strains of drug-resistant malaria are becoming more dominant in Vietnam, Laos and northern Thailand after spreading rapidly from Cambodia.

Malaria is caused by parasites which are carried by mosquitoes and spread through their blood-sucking bites.

And scientists have discovered a growing number of cases where the parasite has mutated making it resistant to drugs.

“We discovered (it) had spread aggressively, replacing local malaria parasites, and had become the dominant strain in Vietnam, Laos and northeastern Thailand,” said Roberto Amato, from the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Malaria can be successfully treated with medicines if it is caught early enough, but resistance to anti-malarial drugs is growing in many parts of the world, especially in south east Asia.

The first-line treatment for malaria in many parts of Asia in the last decade has been a combination of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine, also known as DHA-PPQ.

Researchers found in previous work that a strain of malaria had evolved and spread across Cambodia between 2007 and 2013 that was resistant to both drugs.

This latest research, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, found it has crossed borders and tightened its grip.

“The speed at which these resistant malaria parasites have spread in south east Asia is very worrying,” said Olivo Miotto, who co-led the work.

“Other drugs may be effective at the moment but the situation is extremely fragile and this study highlights that urgent action is needed.”

Almost 220 million people were infected with malaria in 2017, according to World Health Organisation estimates, and the disease killed 400,000 of them.

The vast majority of cases and deaths are among babies and children in sub-Saharan Africa.

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