A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves: EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a weekly look at the latest developments in the South China Sea, the location of several territorial conflicts that have raised tensions in the region. TOP U.S. NAVY OFFICER URGES CHINA TO RESPECT RIGHT OF PASSAGE The U.S. Navy's top officer says he urged China to follow international rules at sea to avoid confrontations and insisted that ships should be able to pass safely though the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.
The death toll from a fiery explosion in central Mexico rose to 89 on Monday as authorities vowed to hold accountable those responsible for a deliberate fuel-line puncture that drew hundreds of people looking to gather gasoline before it ignited. The search for human remains at the site of the explosion in the state of Hidalgo ended Saturday. While families began to bury the dead, officials indicated the death toll could still rise.
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Sorkin – who is renowned for penning political dramas like the West Wing and Charlie Wilson's War – argued that while he likes the young freshman Congressmembers, “They need to stop acting like young people, ok? In an extended thread, Ocasio-Cortez argued that Sorkin is falling into a trap common among conservatives – belittling individuals, and especially women, for their identity or style rather than addressing their ideas.
Women from various political and ideological backgrounds challenged the 2019 Women's March by marching in protest and organizing alternative rallies near the Washington, D.C. event on Saturday. The third annual Women's March took place in Freedom Plaza, a more confined space than in years past, suggesting that organizers anticipated smaller crowds after facing allegations of anti-Semitism and defending Nation of Islam's anti-Semitic leader Louis Farrakhan. Following the development of those controversies, conservative group Independent Women's Forum (IWF) organized a rally across the street in the name of “all women” at the same time as the Women's March.
Donald Trump has cited San Antonio as proof that border walls make the US safer, despite the Texas city not having a border wall and being 150 miles from Mexico. “Everyone knows that walls work,” claimed the president as he addressed reporters outside the White House. Mr Trump's comments on Saturday were intended to justify his demand for $5.7bn to fund a US-Mexico border wall.
Amtrak says it expects to have all of its trains back on a full schedule Monday after a weekend of cancellations and delays caused by the winter storm as it rolled through the Midwest and Northeast. Among the lines impacted were the Acela Express between Boston and Washington; Empire Service between New York and Buffalo; the Lake Shore Limited that travels between Chicago, New York and Boston; and Keystone Service between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Amtrak says travelers should continue to check on their train status on the Amtrak website or smartphone app before leaving for the station.
Zimbabwe's Ministry of Information said on Monday that a Twitter account using the presidential spokesman's name is fake. Bloomberg erroneously reported earlier that President Emmerson Mnangagwa's spokesman, George Charamba, dismissed rumors of a palace coup, citing a tweet from the account. Charamba does not have a Twitter account, Regis Chikowore, principal director at the information ministry, said by phone.
A passerby's video of Tallahassee Police making a shoplifting arrest Thursday showed a toddler climbing out the driver's side door of a pick-up truck and walking barefoot with her hands up over her head toward officers with their guns drawn. As the video ricocheted around social media and concern mounted, TPD released two body camera videos in response Friday evening that provide a fuller picture of the incident. It shows the officers talking with adults and working to get the toddler and an infant who were in the cab safely away from the vehicle.
Israeli airstrikes in Syria killed 11 Iranian and pro-regime fighters on Monday, in the most serious direct confrontation between Iran and Israel in the last six months. Israeli warplanes attacked bases belonging to Iran's elite Quds Force after an Iranian missile was fired from Syria towards the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights on Sunday, the Israeli military said. The Iranian missile was reportedly fired in response to Israeli air raids carried out inside Syria earlier in the day on Sunday.
KAMALA HARRIS 2020: Strong reaction is pouring in from the Bay Area after the California senator and Oakland native announced she is running for president.
The pound recovered ground Monday after British Prime Minister Theresa May said she plans to return to Brussels to discuss changes to the Brexit deal she agreed with EU leaders last month despite an overwhelming rejection of the draft text by MPs last week. There was mixed news out of China, with official data showing the country's economic growth at its slowest pace in 28 years offsetting a report that the country has offered to eliminate its massive trade surplus with the United States -- easing trade war tensions between the world's two biggest economies. Britain, meanwhile, is on course to crash out of the European Union on March 29 without a deal unless UK MPs can force a delay or come up with an alternative plan that Brussels is also happy with.
A Kentucky Catholic high school is considering expelling students who were captured in viral videos taunting a Native American veteran on Friday. In the videos, a large group of teenage boys – including several wearing Covington Catholic High School sweatshirts – are seen chanting and surrounding a small group of Native Americans, who were attending the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, D.C. One of the boys, wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, smirks and stands close to an elderly Native American man, who was later identified as Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips. Covington Catholic High School and the Diocese of Covington released a joint statement Saturday, saying that they “condemn the actions” of the students and apologize to Philips.
China's population growth rate continued to slow in 2018, spelling possible trouble ahead as a swelling number of retirees pushes up against a shrinking labor pool. Numbers released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics put the population at 1.395 billion in 2018. China for decades sought to slow its population growth, seeing a massive population as a drag on development, and it now joins Japan, South Korea and other East Asian nations in seeing a radical drop in its birthrate.
Donald Trump's White House spokeswoman has triggered anger by writing that slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King “gave his life”. On a day when people across the country paid respects to the campaigner, organiser and preacher who 50 years ago was central to the still unrealised push for African American equality, Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote of King: “Today we honour a great American who gave his life to right the wrong of racial inequality. People were quick to point out that King, hated by the white political establishment of the 1960s and spied on by the FBI, had been shot dead in April 1968 at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
Hundreds of flights have been canceled at Boston's Logan International Airport as the major winter storm continues to bring an ice storm and heavy snow to New England. At least one fatality has been associated with this storm. In Kansas, a snowplow driver was killed after his vehicle drove onto the shoulder and rolled over, the Associated Press reported.
The International Monetary Fund renewed its warning about the economic risks of a no-deal Brexit to the U.K. It held its 2019 growth forecast at 1.5 percent, saying fiscal stimulus in the last budget would offset the dampening effect of Brexit, but warned “substantial uncertainty” surrounds the estimate. “This baseline projection assumes that a Brexit deal is reached in 2019 and that the U.K. transitions gradually to the new regime,” the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook Update on Monday.
A police officer in Florida ran over two people lying on a dark road to watch the lunar eclipse, leading them requring hospital treatment. The West Palm Beach Police Department has confirmed the officer ran over the two people, who were taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries after the incident on Sunday night. Police said that the individuals, who have not been identified, were hit around 11.30pm, just at the height of the eclipse.
Passengers aboard a United Airlines flight out of New Jersey found themselves stranded at a Canadian military base for more than 15 hours. United Flight 179 left New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday afternoon, destined for Hong Kong International Airport. But a medical emergency diverted the flight to Goose Bay airport in Newfoundland, Canada, flight records show.
Google has kicked off 2019 by getting hit with yet another multimillion-dollar fine from a European regulator. Stemming from an investigation that began in May — the day after Europe's strict new data privacy rules known as GDPR went into effect — France's data protection authority has announced a $57 million fine against Google in the first such GDPR penalty levied against a US technology company. In a statement explaining the action, the French agency known as the CNIL noted that the fine is a result of deficiencies that include Google not being clear enough about the way user data is handled to present personalized ads.
A suicide bomber attacked a convoy of US troops and their allies in Syria on Monday, killing five members of a Kurdish-led force fighting the Islamic State group, a monitor said. The assault, claimed by IS jihadists, came less than a week after another deadly attack on US forces in Syria, and a month after Washington announced a US troop pullout from the war-torn country. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in the blast on a road in northeastern Hasakeh province.
Four aid workers were convicted Friday on charges connected to their efforts to leave food and water for migrants in an Arizona wildlife refuge along the U.S.-Mexico border. The volunteers, who are members of the faith-based humanitarian aid group No More Deaths, were caught on Aug. 13, 2017, by a Federal Wildlife officer as they left water jugs, beans and other supplies for migrants in Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, which shares a 50-mile border with Mexico. The judge, United States Magistrate Bernardo P. Velasco, ruled that three of the volunteers – Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick – were convicted of entering a national wildlife refuge without a permit and abandoning personal property or possessions.
China's population grew at a slower rate last year despite the abolition of the one-child policy, official data showed Monday, raising fears an ageing society will pile further pressure on an already slowing economy. There were 15.23 million live births in 2018, a drop of two million from the year before, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed. With 9.93 million deaths, this led to a growth rate of 3.81 per thousand in 2018, a dip from 5.32 per thousand the previous year.
U.S. President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani backtracked on Monday from earlier comments that Trump pursued a business deal to erect a tower bearing his name in Moscow throughout 2016, saying his statements "were hypothetical and not based on conversations I had with the President." Giuliani told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that Trump may have continued to pursue the project and had discussions about it with his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, until as late as October or November 2016, when Trump was closing in on his election victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Giuliani went a step further with the New York Times, where he quoted Trump saying the Trump Tower Moscow discussions were "going on from the day I announced to the day I won." The Moscow deal ultimately did not materialize, but Giuliani's remarks suggest that Trump's discussions about the project with Cohen may have dragged on until the election, raising new questions for congressional investigators looking into possible ties between the president and Russia.
Trump offers DACA extension for wall funds, Schumer refuses wall talks until government is reopened; senior political analyst Brit Hume weighs in.
Wind gusts exceeding 40 mph (64 kph) have caused flight disruptions at LaGuardia Airport in New York City. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey warned passengers Monday evening to check their flight status before heading to the airport. The alert came as the National Weather Service said 25 to 30 mph (40 to 48 kph) winds were expected to decrease to 14 to 19 mph after midnight.