By Rasha Elass BEIRUT (Reuters) - A man and a woman have been stoned to death for adultery in separate executions in jihadist-controlled areas of Syria, a monitoring group reported on Tuesday. The man was executed in Idlib province in an area controlled by Islamist groups including the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks violence on all sides of Syria's civil war. It is the first documented case of a man being stoned to death for adultery since Syria descended into civil war in 2011 and hardline Islamic groups emerged as powerful players in areas that slipped from government control, the Observatory said. The woman was executed in Hama province in an area controlled by Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq and is being targeted by U.S.-led air strikes, the Observatory said. A video posted online appeared to show her execution. A bearded fighter is shown passing down the sentence in the presence of other gunmen and her father, who appears to approve of her execution. Her hands and feet are then tied with a rope and she is forced to kneel in a pit. Covered head to toe, she begins to pray out loud as large rocks are seen striking her body. The video shows the logo of Islamic State. The two incidents, which Reuters could not independently verify, appear to be unrelated. The woman's execution was the third of its kind in Islamic State-run territories in Syria, according to the Observatory. Islamic State controls around a third of Syria and Iraq after having acquired new territory with lightening speed earlier this year. It quickly established a fierce reputation by crucifying, beheading and carrying out public executions of anyone deemed a threat to its rule. Islamic State routinely carries out sentences of lashing against men in territories it rules for offences that range from adultery and subversion to blasphemy and missing prayer time. In July, Islamic State stoned two women to death under similar circumstances to the Hama stoning. One was of a 26-year-old widow, according to the Observatory. Syrian society is unaccustomed to sentences like stoning and lashing. For decades, the country was ruled by a government that implemented a mixture of Islamic and secular laws. Offences such as adultery were rarely prosecuted. The fighter overseeing the woman's execution appears to lay the blame for her crime on her husband, suggesting he had been absent. He urges "all men to treat women well" before the stoning begins. "Do not leave women. Do not be absent from them for longer than the time period permitted (by Islamic law). Return to God, brothers. And take good care of women," he says. At one point he addresses the woman as "honorable sister", and asks her for final words. "I advise every woman to protect her honor more than her life," she says. And I ask every man, before he marries off his daughter, to scrutinize her new marital environment. That’s all," she says in a faint voice. It is not clear exactly when the video was shot, or how the woman was found guilty of adultery - a conviction that would require at least four witnesses according to Islamic law. (Editing by Tom Perry and Angus MacSwan)
- The Telegraph
The joy of receiving a note from a member of the Royal Family, in response to a card or a letter, has long been keenly felt by well wishers from across the globe. But the Duke and Duchess of Sussex now face a scramble to make new arrangements for their correspondence after the Prince of Wales withdrew his financial support for the mail service provided by his team at Clarence House. The couple’s decision not to return to the royal fold as working members of the family means that all professional ties will be severed from the end of next month. For practical reasons, that will include arrangements relating to their mail, the Sunday Telegraph understands, meaning that well wishers might have to start posting their cards to the US instead. The Correspondence Section at Clarence House, comprising around four members of staff, has traditionally handled the Sussexes’ mail, as well as that of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Maximalism is trending in home decor. Experts said the style can actually make small spaces feel bigger, and it gives homes more personality.
- The Telegraph
Budding American astronauts have been asked to make Dragon’s Den style pitches to a billionaire tech mogul in order to win a place on the first ever civilian space mission. Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of payments technology company Shift4 Payments is offering three seats on a SpaceX Crew Dragon rocket to people who show entrepreneurial flair, generosity and hope. The venture is supporting efforts to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to fight childhood cancer, with half the sum already donated by Mr Isaacman. An accomplished jet pilot, he will be the commander on the mission, making it the first ever all-civilian trip to space. One seat has already been given to a hospital worker from St Jude’s and another will be given to someone who donates to the research hospital via an online portal. The third winner will be decided in a Dragon's Den-style contest run by Shift4 Payments in which users have to design their own website on the platform.
- Martha Stewart Living
Prince Harry Just Revealed Exactly When He Knew Meghan Markle Was the One: "We Went from Zero to 60"
The Duke of Sussex candidly shared more about his married life in a recent interview with James Corden—watch it here.
- The Week
Democrats decry Biden's airstrikes in Syria as unconstitutional. Republicans praise them as 'proportional.'
Democrats are calling the Biden administration's airstrikes in Syria unconstitutional. President Biden on Thursday ordered airstrikes against facilities in eastern Syria used by Iranian-backed militant groups, his first military action since taking office. The strikes were in response to several rocket attacks against U.S. targets in Iraq. While Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the limited scope of the airstrikes "aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq," many Democrats expressed concerns on Friday that the move has done just the opposite, and argued it wasn't legally justified. "Some Democrats said that Congress has not passed an authorization for the use of military force specifically in Syria," reports CNN. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said "there is absolutely no justification for a president to authorize a military strike that is not in self-defense against an imminent threat without congressional authorization ... we need to extricate from the Middle East, not escalate." Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) agreed, calling for an immediate congressional briefing and saying "offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances." Republicans, however, were seemingly largely pleased with the move. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the U.S. response a "necessary deterrent" to tell Iran that attacks on U.S. interests "will not be tolerated," reports CNN. As Fox News notes, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), among others, also applauded the strike, calling it "proportional." White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended the action as "necessary," and said Biden "has the right to take action" as he sees fit. She said "there was a thorough, legal response" and the Defense Department briefed congressional leadership in advance. More stories from theweek.comBiden in the quagmireBen Sasse on Matt Gaetz: 'That guy is not an adult'Newly confirmed Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is 'obsessed' with creating 'clean-energy jobs'
- Business Insider
Go back to the place you got your first shot if you lose your paper card, and make sure to take a photo of the vaccine card after your first dose.
Variety show edits photo of US pop star Selena Gomez taken after her kidney transplant surgery.
- Associated Press
Protesters blocked a busy intersection in Bangladesh’s capital Friday to protest the death in prison of a writer and commentator who was arrested on charges of violating a sweeping digital security law that critics say stifles freedom of expression. Mushtaq Ahmed, 53, was arrested in Dhaka in May last year for making comments on social media that criticized the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. It was not immediately clear how Ahmed died on Thursday.
A harmless side effect of the shot can be swollen lymph nodes. That means the vaccine is working, but could cause false alarm, so you should wait.
Iran on Saturday condemned U.S. air strikes against Iran-backed militias in Syria, and denied responsibility for rocket attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq that prompted Friday's strikes. Washington said its strikes on positions of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah paramilitary group along the Iraq border were in response to the rocket attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq.
It's been 40 years since Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announced their engagement with a televised interview.
- Business Insider
Trump supporters and right-wing reporters wouldn't stop heckling CNN's Jim Acosta during second day of CPAC
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- Associated Press
Gunmen abducted 317 girls from a boarding school in northern Nigeria on Friday, police said, the latest in a series of mass kidnappings of students in the West African nation. Police and the military have begun joint operations to rescue the girls after the attack at the Government Girls Junior Secondary School in Jangebe town, according to a police spokesman in Zamfara state, Mohammed Shehu, who confirmed the number abducted. One parent, Nasiru Abdullahi, told The Associated Press that his daughters, aged 10 and 13, are among the missing.
- Associated Press
A woman who ran away from London as a teenager to join the Islamic State group lost her bid Friday to return to the U.K. to fight for the restoration of her citizenship, which was revoked on national security grounds. Shamima Begum was one of three east London schoolgirls who traveled to Syria in 2015. Begum's lawyers appealed,, saying her right to a fair hearing was harmed by the obstacles of pursuing her case from the camp.
- Yahoo News Video
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she won't take AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine because she is too old, a comment that comes as millions of Germans refuse to take the vaccine because they do not trust it.
Residents of an Indian slum thought they were getting vaccinated like everyone else but were unknowingly part of a clinical trial
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- The Independent
Senator complains about cancel culture, socialism and the media
TikTokers tried to prove that snow in Texas was 'fake' as weather conspiracy theories ran wild online
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- Business Insider
Merkel says she won't take AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine because she's too old, as 1.4 million jabs are left unused
The German chancellor said she wasn't eligible because the vaccine isn't approved for people over 65 in Germany.
Former Sen. Kelly Loeffler is out as owner of WNBA team, and the new owners include former star player who retired to fight for social justice
One month after WNBA players helped oust Kelly Loeffler from the Senate, the league announced that it had approved sale of the franchise she co-owned.