President Trump went from berating former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his lack of Harry Potter knowledge to commuting his prison sentence. In 2011, Blagojevich was convicted of wire fraud, attempted extortion, soliciting bribes, conspiracy to commit extortion, and conspiracy to solicit and accept bribes, and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Trump admonished him for sharing "inaccurate" facts about the boy wizard, and once Blagojevich began blathering about "Slithering and Hufflepuff and Ravencloth," it was all over.
A federal judge in Kansas who was publicly reprimanded for sexually harassing female employees and having an extramarital affair with an offender resigned on Tuesday, saying he could no longer effectively serve on the court. U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia, who was based in Kansas City, Kansas, said in his letter that his resignation will be effective April 1. “In recent months, it has become clear that I can no longer effectively serve the Court in this capacity,” Murguia wrote.
Reuters/Pool China is expelling three Wall Street Journal reporters, accusing the newspaper of publishing a racist headline about the country's battle with coronavirus. On February 3, the Journal had published an op-ed by a foreign-affairs academic titled "China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia." The "sick man of Asia" is a 19th-century term that referred to a time when China was internally divided and exploited by foreign powers — a period that still deeply humiliates the country's leadership.
A Mexican man residing in Singapore was arrested in the U.S. on Tuesday, after he allegedly tracked a U.S. government source for Russia in order to obtain the source's license plate number. Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes has been charged with acting in the U.S. on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the attorney general, and conspiracy to do the same. Court documents allege that a Russian government official recruited Fuentes in 2019 and tasked him with renting a specific property in Miami-Dade County, Florida, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's push to ban the sale of assault weapons has failed after members of his own party balked at the proposal. Senators voted to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room packed with gun advocates. Four moderate Democrats joined Republicans in Monday's committee vote, rejecting legislation that would have prohibited the sale of certain semiautomatic firearms, including popular AR-15 style rifles, and banned the possession of magazines that hold more than 12 rounds.
The director of a Chinese hospital at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak became one of its victims Tuesday despite "all-out" efforts to save his life, Chinese health officials said. The death came the same day Chinese officials released data indicating the new virus could be 20 times more lethal than the flu. Liu Zhiming, president of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital in Hubei province, died of coronavirus-related pneumonia, China Daily reported.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders continues to cement his position as the Democratic presidential front-runner, registering a sizable lead over rivals in a new national poll by The Washington Post/ABC News. Sanders garnered 32% support in the survey of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, a nine percentage-point boost from the outlets' January poll and after strong performances in state contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. Competition was stronger for second place, with Joe Biden at 16%, Michael Bloomberg at 14% and Elizabeth Warren at 12% in the survey.
The people waiting to board the van have already crossed into the USA, but have been sent back under the Trump administration's so-called Migrant Protection Protocols - known as “Remain in Mexico” – whereby would be asylum seekers must await their appointed hearing south of the border. MPP was rolled out in January last year, since when an estimated 57,000 people now wait south of the border for their asylum hearing date. Tens of thousands more are waiting just for the initial application for asylum.
Daria Mastikasheva was one of scores of prisoners exchanged between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in December, but she says she is now being kept against her will in a hospital in eastern Ukraine by the same people who secured her release. A former taekwondo champion, Mastikasheva spent years in Ukrainian custody on what she says were trumped up treason charges in a case that was documented by rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. She was handed over to separatist fighters in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine in a mass prisoner exchange, one of a number of confidence-building measures agreed by Ukraine and Russia to end the simmering conflict.
The Federal Judges Association will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss concerns members have over President Trump and top Justice Department officials intervening in the case of longtime Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone. The association has more than 1,000 members, and says it supports a "fair, impartial, and independent judiciary." The group's president, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, told USA Today that members decided they "could not wait" until the organization's spring conference to address the matter. Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering, and last week, Trump complained about federal prosecutors recommending Stone receive a sentence of seven to nine years.
A Syrian passenger jet landed in Aleppo on Wednesday from Damascus, marking the resumption of domestic flights between Syria's two largest cities for the first time since 2012, while the government's onslaught continued nearby with airstrikes reported in several rebel-held towns and villages. The flight carrying Syrian officials and journalists was a symbolic message from President Bashar Assad's government, days after its forces consolidated control over the northwestern province of Aleppo and seized the last segments of the strategic M5 highway linking Aleppo to Damascus. The motorway is being repaired and is scheduled to reopen in coming days for the first time in eight years.
Former national security adviser John Bolton criticized the White House on Monday for what he termed its efforts to censor his memoir on working in the Trump administration. “For all the focus on Ukraine and the impeachment trial and all that, to me, there are portions of the manuscript that deal with Ukraine, I view that like the sprinkles on the ice cream sundae in terms of what's in the book,” Bolton told an audience at Duke University. “I'm hoping ultimately I can get the book published,” Bolton said.
A 12-year-old boy was tortured and beaten to death by his grandparents and a teenage uncle at their home in Montana, authorities said. In multiple instances, the suspects recorded themselves torturing the boy on their cellphones, police said. James Alex Hurley had been living with his grandparents, James Sasser Jr., 47, and Patricia Batts, 48, for about two years after the death of his father, who Batts identified as her biological son, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Claims that Yemeni rebels shot down a Saudi warplane have spotlighted the increasingly potent Huthi arsenal -- cause for alarm in Riyadh as fighting escalates amid faltering efforts to end the five-year conflict. The Iran-aligned Huthi rebels said they downed the Tornado aircraft on Friday over the volatile northern province of Al-Jawf, in a setback for the Riyadh-led military coalition that has always enjoyed air supremacy in the conflict. The rebels, once dismissed as a ragtag militia, said they hit the jet with an "advanced surface-to-air missile".
Key point: Washington wants to sell more weapons to foreign countries. In order to win over customers, the United States is touting its superior (although more expensive) systems. The U.S. government has a message for those nations that would buy Russian and Chines weapons: buyer beware.
The New York Magazine reports former president Barack Obama's radio silence on the 2020 Democratic primary is part of a "choreographed strategy" on the part of Obama, who is "increasingly sure he will need to play a prominent role in bringing the party back together and calming its tensions later this summer."
A campus protest against the “Kent State gun girl” Kaitlin Bennett was not “a riot,” according to Ohio University police. Ms Bennett, who helps run a conservative website called Liberty Hangout and who often appears on Alex Jones' InfoWars programs, was driven off the campus of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio on Monday by a student protest according to the Athens News. She said the students “started a riot” and claims the police “let it happen.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday dismissed a veteran, once close adviser who until recently managed Moscow's relations with war-torn Ukraine. Putin fired Vladislav Surkov, seen as a hardliner by many in Kiev, in a terse two-line statement on the Kremlin website. The decree was issued a week after the Kremlin said a senior Ukrainian-born Russian official, Dmitry Kozak, was now in charge of managing Moscow's relations with Ukraine, effectively sidelining Surkov.
WASHINGTON–Two federal prosecutors have been tapped to manage open investigations and other yet-to-be-substantiated allegations of wrongdoing involving Ukraine, the Justice Department told lawmakers Tuesday. Responding to recent inquiries from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd defended the moves, including the appointment of a Pennsylvania prosecutor to review information supplied by President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani has sought to tar Trump rival Joe Biden by attempting to link him to unsupported corruption claims.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg turned 78 years old last Friday. Yesterday, a voter told me he was interested in Bloomberg because "Biden & Bernie are too old."@JoeBiden is 77. Everybody is expected to pile on Bloomberg in Wednesday night's Democratic debate in Nevada, and Sanders tested out his salvos in a CNN town hall on Tuesday night.
When a Chinese government mass detention campaign engulfed Memtimin Emer's native Xinjiang region three years ago, the elderly Uighur imam was swept up and locked away, along with three of his sons. The database profiles the internment of 311 individuals with relatives abroad in Karakax County, and lists information on more than 2,000 of their relatives, neighbors and friends. Taken as a whole, the database offers the fullest view yet into how Chinese officials decided who to put into and let out of detention camps, as part of a crackdown that has locked away more than a million ethnic minorities, most of them Muslims.
A missing Milwaukee woman and her two daughters were found dead Sunday, the victims of an apparent homicide, authorities said. Amarah J. Banks, 26, Zaniya R. Ivery, 5, and Camaria Banks, 4, were found in a Milwaukee garage Sunday afternoon, Milwaukee police Chief Alfonso Morales said at a news conference. "You have to also understand that foul play was not an initial piece of this investigation, it was a missing investigation that escalated," Morales said.
Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Georgia who called out alleged voter suppression during that election, said Monday that she “would be honored” to be the vice presidential candidate on the 2020 Democratic ticket.
As the Syrian military backed by the Russian air force takes another strategic town in Idlib, thereby inching closer towards the Turkish border, the endgame for Turkey in Syria has begun. The Syrian government has also taken the key highway that links Damascus to Aleppo and secured Aleppo from the incoming Turkish backed rebel artillery. Diplomatically the first acknowledged meeting between the Turkish and Syrian intelligence chiefs in Moscow just over a week ago heralded the final act in Erdogan's quest to knock over President Bashar al-Assad.
The coronavirus is expected to cost the US travel industry more than $10 billion over the next four years, with more than half of that loss coming in 2020. Although US airlines are working to minimize the impact, hotels, museums, retail and dining sectors, and other businesses that rely on tourist dollars are expected to face major economic fallout from the outbreak. If the coronavirus continues to spread, particularly in other countries, the impact could be significantly worse.