He is the smiling, Sphinx-like presence that helped propel Donald Trump to victory in November. But while Jared Kushner’s voice carries weight with his father-in-law, the husband of Ivanka Trump has kept a relatively low-profile as one of his most powerful advisers in the White House. Up until now. Mr Kushner has been thrust into the spotlight after becoming swept up in the Russia probe that has rocked the Trump administration. Congressional investigators, examining alleged Kremlin attempts to meddle in the US election, have questioned Mr Kushner over his interactions with Russians, including the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow. “I am not a person who has sought the spotlight,” the 36-year-old wrote in an 11-page written statement before meeting the Senate Intelligence Committee. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Credit: AFP “All of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign,” Mr Kushner later told reporters outside the White House. “I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did.” As one of Mr Trump’s closest advisers, Mr Kushner has been given a broad portfolio in the White House. He was appointed the White House’s point person on the Middle East, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and travelled to Iraq in April to meet American generals and hold talks with Iraqi officials. He also serves as the president’s lead adviser on relations with China, Mexico and Canada. Demestically, he has been given an ambitious remit that ranges from reforming veterans’ care to combating US opioid abuse. Early signs of influence There were signs soon after the election that Mr Kushner would have a significant role in the White House. Among them was the fact he was named by Mr Trump alongside retired general Michael Flynn as his staff-level companions for the daily presidential briefings. Mr Flynn later became Mr Trump’s national security adviser but resigned in February after it emerged he had misled the vice-president about his meetings with Russian officials. It was reportedly Mr Kushner and his wife Ivanka, Mr Trump’s daughter, who persuaded Mr Trump to make Reince Priebus his chief of staff. And it was Mr Kushner who was said to have convinced Mr Trump to make Mike Pence the vice president, instead of Chris Christie, the New Jersey Governor. Mr Kushner is also said to have been behind the removal of Paul Manafort, Mr Trump’s previous campaign manager, who was replaced in August by Mr Bannon and Ms Conway. Profile | Jared Kushner In the final anxious days of the campaign, Mr Trump was said to have taken comfort in “the soothing, whispery voice of his son-in-law”, who now appears to be playing a far more significant role than soother-in-chief. On the face of it, Mr Kushner would appear to be the antithesis of his father-in-law. He has almost 11,000 Twitter followers but has never tweeted, having signed up in April 2009. The anti-Trump Vanity Fair described him as “the anti-Trump: well-mannered, reticent, self-effacing”. He is one of four siblings born in New Jersey to Charles and Seryl, brought up in the Orthodox Jewish tradition that Mrs Kushner grew up in. His grandparents, Joseph and Rae, survived the Holocaust in Poland and eventually emigrated to the US. Joseph, a carpenter, worked on construction sites until he earned enough money to develop plots of land with partners. Charles Kushner took the fledgling construction business and ran with it. By the time Jared was born, the family was wealthy and his parents went on to become among the most prominent funders of Democratic politicians on the East Coast. Jared Kushner went to Harvard – his father gave a $2.5 million donation. Donald Trump with Chris Christie, who successfully prosecuted Mr Kushner’s father for tax evasion 11 years ago Credit: Mike Stone/Reuters Having been deeply involved in his father’s business, he retained his focus and, as a sideline, he bought buildings in nearby Somerville, converted them into flats and sold them for a reported profit of more than $20 million. In 2005, however, the gilded family crashed. Jared Kushner was 24 when his father pleaded guilty to tax evasion, witness tampering and offering illegal campaign donations. Family troubles The charges stemmed from an investigation into donations made to then-New Jersey governor Jim McGreevy’s campaign. The case became particularly lurid when Charles Kushner hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law – filming the encounter and sending it to the man’s wife, his sister, who he felt was working against him. Donald Trump introduces Mike Pence as his VP nominee 01:32 Charles Kushner was sentenced to two years in prison, paroled after one. Chris Christie, then New Jersey’s attorney general, prosecuted Charles Kushner. He had previously sought a longer sentence, claiming Kushner had failed to show “acceptance of responsibility”. Now Mr Christie has lost out on the vice-presidential slot despite reportedly having been assured by Mr Trump that it would be his, and received a further blow on Friday when he was removed as chairman of Mr Trump’s transition effort. Jared steps in to run business While Mr Christie’s term in New Jersey has been scandal-plagued, that never seemed to trouble Mr Trump in the past, leading to speculation that it is Mr Kushner’s influence that has seen him relegated to the outskirts of Mr Trump’s inner circle. When his father was jailed, Jared Kushner stepped in to run the family businesses. In 2006, he bought the New York Observer, developing a side interest in publishing. He sought advice from Rupert Murdoch, who would go on to become a friend. But there was a positive side to the tough times. In 2007, a property developer he knew arranged a business lunch with someone he thought may be useful to him: Ivanka Trump. Ivanka Trump takes the stage at the Republican National Convention Credit: Evan Vucci/AP “They very innocently set us up thinking that our only interest in one another would be transactional,” she told Vogue. The pair dated but split up. Then Wendi Deng, Mr Murdoch’s then-wife, reportedly invited him on the family’s yacht – only for him to find Miss Trump had been invited as well. They were reunited and married in 2009. And, until 2015, the couple lived a golden existence; friends with Chelsea Clinton and her husband, and spending time with Mr Kushner’s brother Josh, an online entrepreneur who is the long-term boyfriend of Victoria’s Secret supermodel Karlie Kloss. They live in an elegant, art-filled flat on Park Lane and now have three photogenic children – Arabella, now five; Joseph, three, and Theodore, born in March. Kushner gets involved in campaign When Mr Trump announced he was running for president, in June 2015, Mr Kushner became interested in the campaign – in particular, it is said, when he attended a rally and saw the passion of Mr Trump’s followers. And Mr Trump became increasingly impressed by his son-in-law. Mr Kushner has liaised with dozens of influential figures, including Henry Kissinger, Paul Ryan, Rupert Murdoch, and, until recently, Roger Ailes. But his public words were few. Indeed, his only intervention came when Mr Trump’s team was excoriated for using a symbol of a star, with money and the words “Crooked Hillary” – the picture was seen as anti-Semitic and deeply offensive. In response to the row, Mr Kushner published a letter titled “The Donald Trump I Know”. He said that the tweet was an innocent mistake. “America faces serious challenges,” he wrote. “A broken economy, terrorism, gaping trade deficits. . . Intolerance should be added to that list. I’m confident that my father-in-law. . . will be successful tackling these challenges.” Mr Kushner has been closely involved in helping him try to do just that.
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Researchers regularly remind us that the world’s oceans are still hiding some truly remarkable secrets, but when we imagine new species of ocean life it’s usually tucked away in the crushing depths, or so tiny that we somehow didn’t notice it up until now. An all-new species of ocean sunfish was just discovered that throws those expectations completely out of the window, weighing in at over two tons and making regular trips near the surface in order to keep warm, but it’s a remarkable find nonetheless.
Researchers led by Marianne Nyegaard of Australia’s Murdoch University discovered the new sunfish species after looking closely at over 150 DNA samples from various sunfish. After matching three of the DNA samples with known species, the team realized that the fourth was completely new and undocumented. They subsequently nicknamed it the “hoodwinker sunfish” thanks to its ability to remain hidden for so long.
But despite having DNA samples that proved the presence of an unknown species, nobody knew exactly what it looked like. After hunting for a specimen that matched the DNA for a year, Nyegaard got a tip that four sunfish had washed up on a beach in New Zealand, and it was at that point that she finally found what she had been searching for.
Like the other members of the ocean sunfish family, the new species — officially named Mola tecta — is absolutely huge. Its massive, disc-shaped body is punctuated by large fins on its top and bottom, and its bony structure pushes its weight over the two ton mark.
The hoodwinker sunfish has since been spotted in several different places, including the waters off South Africa, Chile, Australia and New Zealand.
By Jim Forsyth SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) – The man accused of smuggling at least 100 illegal immigrants inside a sweltering tractor-trailer, 10 of whom died, has said he was unaware of the human cargo he was hauling until he took a rest stop in Tex…