With preparations for the Senate impeachment trial underway, there are still several days before next week's opening arguments, leaving a vacuum Republicans and Democrats will fill with debate over whether witnesses will be allowed to testify. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been laying the groundwork for weeks to argue against witnesses in the Senate trial. McConnell's case against witnesses is built on a key premise that he has worked hard to establish: the idea that the House is a less serious, more partisan body whose members are more prone to take a short-term view.
Jimmy Fletcher Meders, 58, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson at 7 p.m. EST for the 1987 murder of Don Anderson. Georgia has executed 75 inmates since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. As of Wednesday, a request for the Georgia Supreme Court to halt the execution was pending.
Key point: America should be worried. A cybersecurity firm reports that Chinese hackers have stolen technical data for the Iron Dome rocket-defense system from Israeli computers. Maryland-based Cyber Engineering Services detected the cyber burglary, according to cybersecurity writer Brian Krebs.
The Washington-based Syria Justice and Accountability Center said Thursday that the evidence — documents produced by IS itself — could help identify individuals responsible for atrocities during the militants' four-year reign of terror and lead to criminal prosecutions. The 24-page report, called “Judge, Jury and Executioner,” is based on dozens of documents obtained by SJAC from inside Syria and collected by a local activist from abandoned IS offices in Raqqa province, where the militants also had their self-declared capital in a city that carries the same name.
On Wednesday, Virginia governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency ahead of an annual second-amendment demonstration expected to draw thousands next Monday, and announced a ban on all weapons in the state capitol building, citing “credible intelligence” of “groups with malicious plans. Northam implied the rally, hosted by Virginia Citizens Defense League ahead of the passage of a number of gun-control bills by the Democratic-led legislature, was motivating “violent rhetoric” that mirrored the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
WEST PALM BEACH – An Ibis woman who fed vultures, alligators and other wildlife behind her house agreed Wednesday to pay $53,000 to settle a suit brought by the community's property owners association. In approving the settlement, Judge Scott Kerner permanently enjoined Irma Acosta Arya from further feedings and ordered her to pay the $53,000 for attorneys' fees, costs and fines by Feb. 14. The Valentine's Day payment will come as a relief to residents of the gated golf community, which borders Grassy Waters Preserve, a wildlife-filled Everglades remnant, on the western side of West Palm Beach.
The violent protests and political upheaval that marked 2019 and challenged governments from Hong Kong to Chile is set to stay and is now the “new normal,” according to a global risk firm. Verisk Maplecroft, which advises corporate clients on political risk around the world, said in a new report released Thursday that it predicts “continued turmoil in 2020” as administrations around the world continue to be surprised by demonstrators and ill-prepared to address the underlying social grievances that spur them. We all need to buckle up for 2020,” said Miha Hribernik, the Singapore-based head of Asia risk insight for Verisk Maplecroft.
Hearings into whether a Huawei executive can be extradited to the United States will begin on January 20 in Vancouver, in a case with potential repercussions for ties between the US, China and Canada. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom giant and daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, was detained in the Canadian city on a US warrant in late 2018. Founded by former People's Liberation Army (PLA) engineer Ren in 1987, Huawei has grown into one of the world's biggest technology firms.
Hajizadeh said that Iran denied the shoot-down "for the betterment of our country's security, because if we had said this, our air defense system would have become crippled and our guys would have had doubted everything." Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP He appears to have meant that Iranian missile defense would have been compromised by a lack of confidence in itself after making such a catastrophic error, rather than any technical fault to stop their equipment working. Hajizadeh is part of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful paramilitary force which answers directly to the country's supreme leader and is considered more hardline than its elected government.
Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, says he told Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash that in exchange for information that could discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, he would try to stop Firtash's extradition to the U.S. to face corruption charges. Firtash, who is believed to have ties to the Russian mob, was in Vienna fighting extradition. During an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, Parnas said he was told Firtash's camp claimed to have evidence that one of Mueller's prosecutors was doing some "illegal stuff," and he was tasked with securing this evidence.
LOS ANGELES—United States District Court Judge James V. Selna ordered today that Stormy Daniels' ex-attorney Michael Avenatti remain in federal custody for possible violation of his conditions of pretrial release and be transported “forthwith” to New York, where he will stand trial next week. The judge found there was probable cause Avenatti had committed crimes in violation of the terms of his bond and ordered the embattled celebrity attorney detained without bond. Avenatti will continue to be held in an Orange County jail pending transfer to New York and will remain in custody “for the foreseeable future,” according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told the Guatemalan government that a caravan of migrants heading towards the United States from Honduras would not be allowed to enter Mexico, new Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said on Wednesday. "Today in the conversation with foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard we asked about that caravan," Giammattei said after meeting the Mexican minister. "The Mexican government told us that they won't let it pass ...
The Idaho House of Representatives on Thursday expelled one of its members a day after he was convicted of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. The House voted 65-0 to expel Republican Rep. John Green of Post Falls. It is the first ever expulsion from the Idaho Legislature, state officials said.
Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden has been distancing himself from his 2002 vote for the invasion of Iraq as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time.
Vermont Fish and Wildlife shared the clip of an eight-point buck shedding its antlers in the middle of the night, captured by a resident of Northfield, Vermont. The wildlife agency posted the footage on Facebook, calling it “spectacular and unique.” It's been viewed more than 277,000 times and shared by over 3,000 users. The animal is called an eight-point buck for its eight antlers, according to the Noble Research Institute, an agriculture research organization.
A week ago, koalas at an Australian wildlife park were in the path of raging bushfires. On Friday, they were soaking wet and being carried to safety from flash floods. Months of drought that have contributed to Australia's catastrophic bushfire season have this week given way to huge downpours in some of the blaze-ravaged areas.
With China accounting for an estimated 90 percent of North Korea's international trade, the sanctions are set to bite on one of the regime's last major remaining sources of cash. “There are very limited ways for North Korea to make money: selling weapons, smuggling and mining,” according to Choi Kyung-soo, president of the North Korea Resources Institute in Seoul. In May, South Korea's infrastructure ministry invited bids for possible infrastructure projects in the North, including those concerning the resource sector.
Congressional Republicans are distancing themselves from Robert Hyde, a controversial House candidate and GOP donor who has become the latest figure to get wrapped up in the Ukraine saga that led to President Donald Trump's impeachment. The top three Republican leaders in the House — Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming — all said they don't know Hyde and don't support him, according to their offices. And the Republican Party chairman in Connecticut, where Hyde is one of several Republicans vying to challenge Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes this fall, is calling on Hyde to drop out of the race.
A woman awaiting trial for allegedly killing a former Arkansas state senator was hit with new charges Tuesday after she promised fellow inmates she would give them “gold and silver” to murder the victim's ex-husband and his new wife, prosecutors said. Rebecca Lynn O'Donnell, who pleaded not guilty to several charges in the June murder of former State Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, was slapped with two counts of soliciting to commit murder and two counts of solicitation to commit tampering with physical evidence in connection with the elaborate plot she allegedly tried to orchestrate from prison. The former campaign staffer for Collins-Smith has been behind bars since June 14—10 days after the 57-year-old Republican was found fatally stabbed and wrapped in a blanket under a tarp at the end of her Pocahontas, Arkansas, driveway.
Eoin Carrigan wrote on Twitter that his flight out of Chicago got cancelled and he was put up at the Comfort Inn O'Hare's "boardroom suite." He was surprised to find that it was an actual boardroom with a bed off to the side. He shared a photo on Twitter, where it went viral and prompted other travelers to share their hotel misadventures.
The Islamic Republic has been reeling from one crisis to another, from the targeted killing by the United States of its top general to the Revolutionary Guard's accidental shootdown of a passenger plane carrying scores of young people, most of them Iranians. U.S. sanctions have crippled its economy as tensions with America have soared. In a rare Friday sermon in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stuck to the playbook Iran has relied on since 1979, blaming the country's woes on the U.S. and other Western powers, and proclaiming that Iranians still support the Islamic Revolution.
U.S. News data shows that Harvard accepted only 5% of applicants in fall 2018, making it one of the most selective colleges in the country, compared with a national average acceptance rate of 67% among all ranked schools that participated in the U.S. News Best Colleges survey. Only Stanford had a lower acceptance rate at 4%. The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado had the highest yield among National Liberal Arts Colleges, schools that emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts.
The European Union's trade chief said the race is on to avert an escalation in transatlantic commercial tensions as a result of U.S. objections to a French digital-services tax. European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said coming days could determine whether the EU succeeds in helping broker an international agreement on the taxation of digital businesses through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “Next week is a very important week to try and see, could we come to a positive outcome on this,” Hogan said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Thursday in Washington.
An abandoned baby rescued from a bin in Singapore has aroused widespread sympathy, drawing several offers of adoption, according to authorities and media in the city-state wrestling with low birth rates. Aside from adoption enquiries received by child protection services, at least six women have written to local daily The New Paper saying they wanted to care for or adopt the baby. Rubbish collectors found the crying baby last week in a bloody plastic bag while clearing rubbish from a bin at the foot of a trash chute on a local housing estate.