By Sami Aboudi and Suleiman Al-Khalidi DUBAI/AMMAN (Reuters) - Muslim clerics widely denounced Islamist militants in Syria over the burning to death of a Jordanian pilot, saying such a form of killing was considered an abomination under Islam, no matter the justification. Islamic State militants released a video on Tuesday appearing to show captured pilot Mouath al-Kasaesbeh being burnt alive in a cage. Jordan, which has participated in a U.S.-led military campaign to bomb Islamic State positions, responded overnight by executing two al Qaeda convicts on death row. Egypt's top Muslim authority, the 1,000 year old Al-Azhar university revered by Sunni Muslims around the world, issued a statement expressing "deep anger over the lowly terrorist act" by what it called a "Satanic, terrorist" group. The Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, said the killers themselves deserved to be "killed, crucified or to have their limbs amputated." In Qatar, the International Association of Muslim Scholars, headed by prominent cleric Youssef al-Qaradawi and linked to the Muslim Brotherhood that has influence across the region, called the burning of Kasaesbeh a criminal act. "The Association asserts that this extremist organisation does not represent Islam in any way and its actions always harm Islam," it said. The Islamic State posted a religious edict on Twitter, which ruled that it is permissible in Islam to burn an infidel to death. However, senior clerics across the Islamic world argued that inflicting death by fire was always banned under Islam. "The Prophet, peace be upon him, advised against burning people with fire," Sheikh Hussein bin Shu'ayb, head of the religious affairs department in southern Yemen, told Reuters in Aden. Saudi cleric Salman al-Odah wrote on his Twitter account: "Burning is an abominable crime rejected by Islamic law regardless of its causes." "It is rejected whether it falls on an individual or a group or a people. Only God tortures by fire," he added. SHOCKING Even clerics sympathetic to the jihadist cause said the act of burning a man alive and filming the killing would damage Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot which controls wide territory in Syria and Iraq, and is also known as ISIL or ISIS. "This weakens the popularity of Islamic State because we look at Islam as a religion of mercy and tolerance. Even in the heat of battle, a prisoner of war is given good treatment," said Abu Sayaf, a Jordanian Salafist cleric also known as Mohamed al-Shalabi who spent almost ten years in Jordanian prisons for militant activity including a plot to attack U.S. troops. "Even if the Islamic State says Mouath had bombed, and burnt and killed us and we punished him in the way he did to us, we say, OK but why film the video in this shocking way?" he told Reuters. "This method has turned society against them." SITE, a U.S.-based monitoring service, quoted Abdullah bin Muhammad al-Muhaysini, whom it described as a Saudi jihadi, as saying on Twitter it would have been better if Kasaesbeh's captors had swapped him for "Muslim captives". His killing would make ordinary people sympathetic to Kasaesbeh, he said. Still, some admirers of Islamic State cheered the killing. In a Twitter message, a user called Suhaib said: "To any pilot participating in the crusader coalition against the holy warriors - know that your plane might fall in the next mission. Sleep well!" Still, people across the Middle East mainly expressed disgust. "This a criminal, barbaric act which has no place in Islam or humanity. Islam bears no responsibility for them and their claim to be an Islamic State is ridiculous," said Nawaf al-Dweik, 43, an engineer from Ramallah in the West Bank. "There should be a joint Arab force to go in and destroy these killers and be rid of them once and for all," he added. "I have never heard of any group that claims to be Muslim and commits such atrocities," said Shadi Abdel-Wahhab, a 22-year-old university student in Sanaa, Yemen's capital. The killing was widely denounced in the Arab press. The pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper published the report on its front page under the headline "Barbarity". Saudi Arabia's Arabic daily al-Riyadh newspaper wrote that the Islamic state had "deepened its savagery and its bloody approach" by burning Kasaesbeh. (Reporting by Sami Aboudi in Dubai, Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Amman, Michael Georgy and Omar Fahmy in Cairo, Sylvia Westall in Beirut, Noah Browning in Ramallah, Amena Bakr in Qatar, Mohammed Mokhashaf in Aden, Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa and Farishta Saeed in Bahrain; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Peter Graff)
- Associated Press
A white military veteran shot and wounded a 15-year-old girl when he fired his gun into a car carrying four Black teenagers during a tense confrontation at a Trump rally near the Iowa Capitol last month. Michael McKinney, 25, is charged with attempted murder in the Dec. 6 shooting in Des Moines. McKinney, who was heavily armed and wearing body armor, told police he fired the shot in self-defense.
Bee Nguyen, Georgia's first Vietnamese American state representative, donned an áo dài to her swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. Regarded as the most popular national costume of Vietnam, the áo dài for women is a long dress with a contoured top that flows over loose-fitting trousers that reach the sole of the feet. Nguyen, 39, decided to wear the garment in response to the Capitol siege on Jan. 6, in which rioters carried the South Vietnamese flag.
- The Independent
Local newspapers turn on Lauren Boebert as 68 state politicians demand investigation into Capitol riot role
Lauren Boebert is under fire for sharing details about the location of the House speaker during the Capitol riots
- The Week
A reserve of second-dose COVID-19 vaccines set to be repurposed as first doses is already empty, state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans tell The Washington Post.Both the coronavirus vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. require two doses to be fully effective. So when distribution of first doses began, the Trump administration held back matching second doses to make sure recipients would be fully protected against COVID-19. Amid a massive demand for more doses, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced earlier this week that the department would begin doling out those reserved doses to more people, saying increased production speed would make up for the soon-to-be-depleted reserve.But as officials soon learned, the federal government had stopped stockpiling second dose vaccines weeks ago, they tell the Post. Both first and second doses were instead taken right off the manufacturing line. That meant Azar's announcement reportedly released a stockpile that didn't exist. The U.S. had already reached its maximum distribution capacity, and new doses distributors were expecting next week weren't coming, the Post reports.HHS spokesperson Michael Pratt confirmed in an email to the Post that the last of the reserve had been taken out for shipment this weekend. He didn't acknowledge Azar's comments, but said Operation Warp Speed had "always intended to transition from holding second doses in reserve as manufacturing stabilizes and we gained confidence in the ability for a consistent flow of vaccines." he also said states had only ordered 75 percent of the vaccines available to them. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious Do Democrats realize the danger they are in? 5 scathing cartoons about Trump's second impeachment
Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte is one of the most popular presidents in the world, in spite — or perhaps in part because of — his history of prejudiced remarks about women, gay people and minority groups.Driving the news: Polls suggest his daughter and successor as mayor of Davao City, Sara Duterte, is the electorate's top choice to succeed him as president in 2022. But he said Thursday that Sara would not be running.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * The presidency, he said, is "not meant for women," as they have a different "emotional setup" than men. * Duterte, who frequently complains about the miseries of his job, added that his daughter would “go through what I went through.”What to watch: Duterte is not eligible to seek re-election at the end of his six-year term, though an attempt by his allies to amend the constitution raised speculation he might try to stick around. * “Even if you serve it to me on a silver platter or give me 10 more years for free, I am done,” he said Thursday.Meanwhile, Duterte is facing a Senate investigation into reports that doses of an unapproved Chinese vaccine were smuggled into the Philippines and given to upward of 100,000 Chinese nationals as well as to some of the soldiers assigned to guard Duterte. * Duterte has told the soldiers not to cooperate with the investigation, and his office described the vaccines as a "gift" from China. * Worth noting: Many of the Chinese nationals in question work in offshore gambling. Several illegal medical clinics catering to Chinese nationals working in offshore gambling were discovered in the Philippines last year.Go deeperBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- Associated Press
A friendly $100 wager over the 2020 Presidential election has landed in a Florida small claims court. Before the election, Sean Hynes, a Trump supporter from St. Petersburg, reached out to Jeffrey Costa, an acquaintance who is a Biden supporter from Atlanta. The deal was sealed on Facebook Messenger: If Trump won, Costa would pay $100.
- NBC News
The flag has become a symbol for different things: anti-communism, U.S. imperialism, democracy and recollection of the past.
- Yahoo News Video
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000-kilometer (8,000-mile) Pacific Ocean crossing from the United States to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it.
- The Telegraph
Wearing a giant furry hat, black leather jacket and a beaming smile, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un introduced “the world’s strongest weapon” – a new submarine-launched ballistic missile – at a nighttime parade on Thursday in Pyongyang. The display of North Korea’s military might followed a rare congress of the ruling Workers' Party, during which leader Kim denounced the United States as his country's “foremost principal enemy” and vowed to strengthen the North’s nuclear war deterrent. On Friday, the reclusive regime’s state media released 100 photos of a mass celebration of the national armory, including tanks and rocket launchers, all flanked by rows of marching soldiers, noticeably not wearing masks. Military aircraft were illuminated by LED lights as they flew overhead in formation. “They’d like us to notice that they’re getting more proficient with larger solid rocket boosters,” tweeted Ankit Panda, a North Korea expert and author of ‘Kim Jong Un and the Bomb’, as the parade unfolded in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung square. As the spectacle reached its climax, the military rolled out what analysts said appeared to be new variants of solid-fuel short-range ballistic missiles – which are more quickly deployed than liquid-fuelled versions - and four Pukguksong-class submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
The man accused of throwing a fire extinguisher during the Washington, D.C. riots last week has been arrested. Robert Sanford, a retired Chester Fire Department firefighter, was arrested on Thursday and charged with assault on a police officer, among other offenses. Attorney Enrique Latoison argues Sanford went on a free bus to the rally for Trump at the Capitol, but he did not enter the government building.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) has apologized to Black Oklahomans for challenging Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, saying he did not realize his actions would be seen as "casting doubt on the validity of votes" in predominantly Black cities like Atlanta, Philadelphia and Detroit.The big picture: Lankford was part of a group of 11 senators, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who planned to object to the Electoral College certification unless Congress launched a commission to audit the election results. He later withdrew his objection after the pro-Trump siege of the Capitol.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Between the lines: "Lankford has been more involved with Black Tulsans, and particularly the historic Greenwood District, than any statewide Republican officeholder in decades," Tulsa World writes. * However, after Lankford's comments on the Senate floor, several state Black leaders said he should be removed from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, which is dedicated to educating communities about the massacre that killed 300 people. * Other Republicans involved in the election challenges, including Cruz and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) have faced massive backlash.What they're saying: "My action of asking for more election information caused a firestorm of suspicion among many of my friends, particularly in Black communities around the state," Lankford wrote in a letter addressed to "my friends in North Tulsa." * "I can assure you, my intent to give a voice to Oklahomans who had questions was never also an intent to diminish the voice of any Black American," he continued. * "I should have recognized how what I said and what I did could be interpreted by many of you. I deeply regret my blindness to that perception, and for that I am sorry."Go deeper: GOP Sen. Josh Hawley under fire after Electoral College challengeBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
Fearing COVID cases, lost profits and possible lockdowns, China's local governments and humming factories are offering a slew of incentives to persuade workers not to go home for the Lunar New Year holiday in February. This period usually sees the majority of the country's 280 million rural migrant workers, as well as millions of white-collar workers who live far from home, travel back to see family. Factories were paralysed, industrial production plummeted, and workers lost weeks of income.
- Architectural Digest
When it came to the lighting in his home, Pardo drew inspiration from the insides of fruits, nuts, and seeds, as well as sea creatures and machine parts.Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Week
President Trump's approval rating has fallen to the lowest level of his presidency, with a significant drop among Republicans.In the latest Pew Research Center poll released Friday, Trump received a job approval rating of 29 percent, which is his lowest-ever number in this poll and a decline of nine percentage points from August. Additionally, Pew notes that "much of the decline has come among Republicans and GOP leaners," 60 percent of whom approve of Trump's job performance compared to 77 percent in August.Additionally, Pew found that Trump voters "have grown more critical of their candidate's post-election conduct," as the "share of his supporters who describe his conduct as poor has doubled over the past two months, from 10 percent to 20 percent." The poll also found that only 29 percent of respondents said Trump should remain a major figure in U.S. politics in the years to come, while 68 percent said he shouldn't be.The poll was conducted in the wake of last week's deadly attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, which led to Trump becoming the first president in American history to be impeached twice. In the poll, three-quarters of respondents said Trump bears either a lot or some responsibility for the riot, while only 24 percent said he isn't responsible at all. Ahead of his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, 54 percent of respondents also said it would be better for Trump to be removed from office than finish his term, a possibility that has been ruled out due to the trial not being expected to begin until President-elect Joe Biden is in office.Pew Research Center conducted its poll by surveying 5,360 U.S. adults from Jan. 8-12. The margin of error is 1.9 percentage points. Read more at Pew Research Center.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious Do Democrats realize the danger they are in? 5 scathing cartoons about Trump's second impeachment
- NBC News
No one was injured in the September collision, but it's thought to be the first criminal conviction for unsafely using a drone.
- The Telegraph
The one-time lover of Spain's former king has accused him of ordering the secret service to deliver death threats to her after their relationship was exposed. Speaking as a witness in a court hearing on Friday, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein stated that her life and those of her children were threatened by the then head of Spain’s CNI secret service, General Félix Sanz Roldán, in her London hotel room in May 2012. The beginning of the alleged campaign of harassment came weeks after a disastrous elephant-hunting trip to Botswana had led to her relationship with Juan Carlos becoming public knowledge. “Sanz Roldán and King Juan Carlos were at great pains to make it clear that it was Juan Carlos who was giving orders to Sanz Roldán, that these orders were coming from the top,” the 56-year-old businesswoman said, speaking to the court in Madrid via a video link from Westminster Magistrates Court. The comments came in a trial in which former Spanish police commissioner José Manuel Villarejo faced charges of slander and false accusation against Mr Sanz Roldán. Mr Villarejo was facing defamation charges after he accused Mr Sanz Roldán of threatening Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein during a 2017 television interview. Mr Villarejo has been remanded in custody since November 2017 while he is investigated on dozens of counts of alleged illegal espionage and other offences. In court, Mr Villarejo said he had been commissioned by the CNI to meet Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein in London in 2015 “to gain her confidence” and convince her to hand over sensitive documents and defuse the dispute between her and Juan Carlos. Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein ratified that she had told Mr Villarejo that Mr Sanz Roldán had said he “could not guarantee my safety and that of my children” during a meeting she said was arranged by Juan Carlos in London’s The Connaught hotel. Since a tape of the conversation between Mr Villarejo and Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein was leaked to the media in 2018, she and other associates of Juan Carlos have been placed under investigation in Switzerland for alleged money laundering. After prosecutors at Spain’s Supreme Court also opened a probe into the former monarch last June, Juan Carlos left Spain and has remained in exile in UAE since.
- Charlotte Observer
An Army private first class was arraigned on sexual assault charges before a military judge.
- Associated Press
Chuck Schumer is used to drinking from a firehose. A 38-year veteran of Congress who first came to the Senate during President Bill Clinton's impeachment, Schumer is a 70-year-old bundle of energy with one overriding mandate: Help Joe Biden become a successful president. To do so, he’ll have to leverage the narrowest possible majority — a 50-50 Senate with the incoming vice president, Kamala Harris, delivering the tiebreaking vote.
- Associated Press
A 16-year-old boy has admitted fatally shooting his newborn daughter and leaving her body inside a fallen tree in the woods in southern Wisconsin, according to prosecutors. Logan Kruckenburg-Anderson, of Albany, is charged as an adult with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. According to a criminal complaint, the teen took the infant shortly after she was born Jan. 5 to a wooded area in Albany, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) southwest of Milwaukee, placed her inside a fallen tree and shot her twice in the head.
- Architectural Digest
The Manhattan-based interior designer preserved the element of gritty New York through a “raw but elevated” renovationOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest