Relatives of six American oil company employees detained by the Venezuelan authorities have made a powerful appeal for their release, demanding they not be overlooked as tension mounts in the country. The six men – five US citizens and one permanent resident, and all employees of Citgo, the US subsidiary of Venezuela's state-run Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) – were detained in November 2017 after being called to Caracas from Houston for a meeting. President Nicolas Maduro went on television to denounce them as “traitors”, saying: “They're properly behind bars, and they should go to the worst prison in Venezuela.” Asdrubal Chavez, a cousin of the late president, was appointed company's new president.
Still struggling to come to terms with their share of responsibility in the clerical sex abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church, France's bishops have agreed to award financial compensation to victims whose cases fall outside of France's statute of limitations. "We have agreed in principle to make a financial gesture," Vincent Neymon, head of communications for the French bishops'conference, told The Associated Press in an interview this week. France has not been immune to the scandal that has prompted a credibility crisis for the Catholic hierarchy, and that is the topic of a summit at the Vatican this week on preventing sex abuse and prosecuting pedophile priests.
A White House spokeswoman predicted that Robert Mueller's final report, which could be issued as early as next week, will vindicate the president. “We feel good about the fact that what we've said all along for the last two years will be clear,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on 'Fox & Friends' Friday morning. “The idea that President Trump needed to collude with Russia in order to beat Hillary Clinton is frankly laughable,” Sanders continued.
Three of the world's biggest airlines have admitted some of their planes have cameras installed on the backs of passenger seats. American Airlines, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines have new seat-back entertainment systems that include cameras. Companies that make the entertainment systems are fitting them with cameras to offer passengers options such as seat-to-seat video conferencing, according to an American Airlines spokesman.
Southwest Airlines suffered a computer outage early Friday that temporarily grounded flights across the country, adding to a string of flight woes at the airline this week. Southwest had some issues with a computer system that automatically uploads flight plans to the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said. Southwest said in a statement that it suspended operations for about 50 minutes early Friday to "ensure performance'' of software systems that were upgraded overnight.
Pakistan has re-instated a ban on two charities linked to the founder of an Islamist militant group that has carried out attacks in India, the interior ministry said on Friday. The ban comes as Pakistan faces international pressure to act against militant groups, amid escalating tension with its nuclear-armed neighbor, India, following a suicide bomb attack on Indian police in the disputed region of Kashmir. The attack, in which 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed, was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group.
World stock markets advanced Friday as investors awaited what they hoped will be encouraging news from US-China trade talks in Washington, dealers said. Europe's key equity markets were modestly higher at the close, building on earlier Asian gains. Wall Street was also higher in the late New York morning as US economic concerns appeared to be eclipsed by hopes that high-level talks between the United States and China will seal a trade war truce.
Pope Francis is conducting his extraordinary summit with cardinals on the problem of sexual abuse in the Church. The first was Pope Francis's recent laicization of the former cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick, a man who was notorious for his sexual abuse of seminarians and other priests, while at the same time he was the public-relations face of the Church's response to sexual abuse and cover-up in the early 2000s. McCarrick was finally publicly exposed when an investigation into his abuse of a minor became public last year.
This 1970s-era Ford Mustang kit is customizable; there's a supercharger, front and rear spoilers, tail or side pipes, and even a nitrous-oxide tank. A removable roof panel permits access to the attentively detailed interior. The kit will be available directly from Lego stores or online, starting March 1.
The North Carolina Board of Elections voted unanimously to hold a new election in the state's Ninth District after overwhelming evidence of vote tampering. Prior to the board's decision, Republican Mark Harris, the declared winner in the race who had been fighting for his election to be certified, changed his position and called for a new election. Harris was initially declared the winner by 905 votes over Democrat Dan McCready, but the race was never certified, as evidence began to surface of ballot fraud by employees of the Harris campaign.
Gaza health officials say the 15-year-old boy was shot by Israeli troops during a protest attended by thousands on the Gaza Strip border. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
U.S. prosecutors have charged an IRS employee with leaking banking records of President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen that flagged suspicious activity, the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco said Thursday. John C. Fry, an investigative analyst for the IRS, acknowledged releasing information to attorney Michael Avenatti, according to the affidavit by Linda Cieslak, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Treasury. Avenatti represents adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump that he denies.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been charged in Florida after allegedly soliciting a prostitute, police say. Mr Kraft, 77, was charged by officials after an investigation in the city of Jupiter, where a sex sting operation targeted the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr confirmed the sting on Friday, and said that there is video evidence of all 100 or so men being charged.
Instant upgrades for your home's green scheme
The reports of Kim's departure from North Korea came after Vietnam announced that Kim would make an official visit in "coming days", as the Southeast Asian country prepares to host the summit with Trump on Wednesday and Thursday. Trump and Kim will meet in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, eight months after their historic summit in Singapore in June - the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader - at which they pledged to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The Trump administration has pressed North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, which threatens the United States, before it can expect any concessions.
Russia on Friday accused the United States of using aid deliveries to Venezuela as a ploy to carry out military action against President Nicolas Maduro's government. "A dangerous provocation, instigated and led by Washington, is planned for February 23," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, pointing to efforts by opposition leader Juan Guaido to pick up US aid being stockpiled on the Colombian border. Guaido's plans to try to bring the aid across the border are aimed at provoking clashes, she said, to provide "a convenient pretext for conducting military action".
Ford has launched an investigation into the actual emissions of its vehicles after employees reported errors in data given to authorities, the automaker said. "In September, a handful of employees raised a concern... regarding the analytical modeling that is part of our US fuel economy and emissions compliance process," Kim Pittel, an executive responsible for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, said in a statement released late Thursday. "We have hired an outside firm to conduct an investigation" into specifications used in testing and "applications to certify emissions and fuel economy," Pittel said.
A beloved, longtime Walmart greeter with cerebral palsy met with store management in Pennsylvania on Friday in a bid to keep his job but came away with no guarantees, and his family is girding for a fight. Adam Catlin, who uses a walker and is legally blind, is worried he'll be out of work after store management told him he would need to be able to lift heavy weights, read receipts and perform other tasks. The retailer has been replacing "people greeters" with "customer hosts" who are responsible for helping with returns, checking receipts to help prevent shoplifting, and keeping the front of the store clean.
Pakistan said it will respond if India launches a military strike, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration announced plans to divert water from its neighbor as tensions between the nuclear-armed countries remained high following a deadly terrorist attack in Kashmir. On Friday, Pakistan's army spokesman said that the country did not want a war with India but warned that Islamabad would retaliate and “dominate the escalation ladder” if New Delhi authorized any military strikes. Pakistan's armed forces shall never be surprised by you, but let me assure you we shall surprise you,” Major General Asif Ghafoor said at a press conference in the garrison town of Rawalpindi on Friday.
A Japanese probe sent to examine an asteroid 170 million miles from the Earth for clues about the origin of life and the solar system landed successfully on Friday. Data from the probe, Hayabusa2, showed changes in speed and direction, indicating it had touched down on the asteroid and was blasting back to its orbiting position, according to officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). A live webcast of the control room showed dozens of JAXA staff members nervously monitoring data ahead of the touchdown before exploding into applause after receiving a signal from the probe that it had landed.
A California high school student who was banned from wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat on campus is challenging her school district for impinging on her First Amendment rights. Maddie Mueller, who attends Clovis North High School in Fresno, is a member of Valley Patriots. The conservative activist group asked its affiliates to wear the well-known hat bearing Donald Trump's campaign motto on Wednesday.
While charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft for soliciting prostitution brought national attention to the issue of sex trafficking on Friday, data, expert opinion and cases from around the USA show how widespread the problem is. Sex trafficking accounted for 6,081 of the more than 8,500 reported cases of human trafficking in the United States in 2017, according to statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline. There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. Polaris, a non-profit that operates the hotline on human trafficking, estimates that the total number of victims nationally reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated.
Trucks loaded with civilians left the last Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria on Friday, as U.S.-backed forces waited to inflict final defeat on the surrounded jihadists. Reporters near the front line at Baghouz saw dozens of trucks driving out with civilians inside them, but it was not clear if more remained in the tiny pocket. The village is all that remains for Islamic State in the Euphrates valley region that became its final populated stronghold in Iraq and Syria after it lost the major cities of Mosul and Raqqa in 2017.
The spectacle will play out on opposite ends of a 300-meter bridge connecting Venezuela with Colombia to the west. The bridge is now blocked with freight containers left there by the military, with President Nicolas Maduro refusing to let aid in and arguing it would be the first step toward a foreign invasion. The opposition charity concert organized by British billionaire Richard Branson -- called "Venezuela Aid Live" will be held in the Colombian border town of Cucuta.